With help from a small legion of contributors, Twitter user Jasper has built a library of game levels that you can noclip around from the comfort of your browser. (“Noclip” is an old Quake developer command that lets you zoom around levels as a ghost, swooping through walls and into the voids behind them.) He’s mostly done Nintendo levels so far, the cur, but you’ll also find every location from the original Dark Souls.
I’ve spent more time looking at the “Dark Souls Collision Data”, though. The site’s FAQ talks about how the museum was built to help deepen people’s appreciation for fondly-remembered level design, and for me that’s served better by ogling how everything intersects.
There’s a thrill, too, in pressing the “click here to crash your browser” button. It you press it you’ll be treated to (I think) the entirety of Dark Souls, but all stitched together with bizarre, broken geometry. You explore by thrusting yourself through floors and walls, barging blindly into deeply familiar territory. I went ‘ooh’ out loud when I stumbled onto this beach.
And when I zoomed along this infinite bridge.
It all feels a bit illicit, being given free roam between the forbidden places. For Jasper, it’s a way of learning more about places he loves.
“I’ve always had an appreciation for the incredible worlds that game developers make. Sometimes staring closely at levels might help you understand the challenges the designers were facing, and what problems and techniques they used to solve them. You can learn a lot about a game by looking in the places they don’t show in the game itself. It’s also a ton of fun to test your memory, seeing if you can remember how a level is laid out, or where two rooms might connect to each other.”
I am very, very lost. It’s delightful.