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How to run a virtual world

****Core MemoryPerhaps you have maxed out with real-life challenges to your dominion and are antsy to find new untouched realms to subvert. Or perhaps you are for some reason chafing at the restrictions and rules that the material world has imposed upon you and want to stretch your wings (literally, in some cases) in a non-physical area where you are convinced you will excel. These are situations tailor-made for the supervillain not merely content to craft a new evil scheme but an evil universe with rules and attributes you alone can control.

*Evil plotpoints

  1. The bones of creation. Start out by selecting an engine to drive your clockwork cosmos: processing power, computer software, graphical assets, network tubing to stretch your tendrils toward every corner of the industrialized world. A lot of insane worldbuilding is simply a straightforward extension of the kind of evil thinking you are probably accustomed to, involving conflict, suffering, destruction, and frustration on the part of your victims. Do not worry too much about realism in your virtuality, which everyone knows is boring, instead concentrating on the addictive immersive experience the hapless users will be participants in.
  2. Peopling your world. We assume that you already know how to construct the artificial persons making up part of the population of your world (same as any other thing in your world, only more or less humanoid). You do need to give some thought to how your place in the machine will be able to cause misery to actual breathing people, however, it you have any plans to take it past the point of a cute simulation. You can bribe the people with things they associate with pleasurable emotions, up to the point of mind-sapping addiction. You can trap their consciousness within the world, leaving yourself a window to watch them twist according your fiendish whims. Or you can force the targets to interact with a powerful machine that is able to give them grief in the material world unless they fight it on its own insubstantial terms. Choose one of these and take the usual care to plug up any holes a user might try to worm out of your digital proposition and you will have them cornered.
  3. Missions and other motivators. Once you have them in the dreadful place of your devising, you must by all means make them work for every scrap of peace, otherwise they will simply sit down and refuse to cooperate with whoever is running the show. And how entertaining would that be? Pose an existential crisis either to them personally or to those they have some bond to, or perhaps tease them with an illusory promise of a way out of their ontological predicament.

! Strokes of genius

avatar semaphores
  • Backups. As with any project in which you invest considerable work, considerable apprehension of losing everything can come just before the time you are about to put the plan into motion. Fortunately, in the virtual realm, there is an easy and inexpensive solution: taking good backups of your pocket universe and storing them somewhere safe. If only it were this easy to protect a physical object against loss or destruction at the worst possible moment. Remember to store some of your backup copies far far away from your main operation to frustrate enemies who think to take out your entire complex out at a single stroke.
  • Dreams, phantasms, and hallucinations. While many virtual worlds are easily distinguished from conventional reality, whether due to the objects that populate them or the anomalous rules governing their behavior, the creators of others take particular care to smooth over any telltale signs that will give the game away to the players. This instills a sense of doubt in their minds as to whether they might be in waking reality, in some kind of strange dreamworld or perhaps in a staggering work of fiction, which you can toy with for your own amusement. You might have long stretches where things behave in a utterly routine fashion interspersed with episodes where nightmare logic starts to leak through. Those subjected to this kind of virtual captivity can take a very long time before surrendering their rationality, giving you more time to savor the dread and disorientation as they furiously try to understand their predicament.
  • The crystal jail. You may have a nemesis who is just too close to causing you serious grief and wish to park this individual some place where you do not have to worry about their actions. An immersive virtuality where they find their wishes fulfilled and their inner drives can be exercised upon a few lines of code instead of your real-world evil plotting might well be the cheapest and most foolproof way of taking him or her out of the action for as long as you need to. The lovely thing about this stratagem is that you scarcely have to spend any time planning the details of that other place, since you are perhaps not overly interested in cooking up the tortures and horrors of a virtual universe that is its own excuse for existence, so you might be able to pick one up fairly cheaply off the shelf. Just plug in one or more would-be heroes and then you can be off to your more pressing engagement without worry.

!! Traps for mere fools

  • Visual glitches.
  • SQL injection exploits.
  • Cheat guides. These are why you are better off designing your own scenarios when you can instead of relying on something already packaged by someone else.

+ Precious and needful

  • Server farm.
  • Programmer geeks.
  • Insanely detailed anatomically improbable monster designs.

SPI reader

Further plotting

Created by: GrinningSkull. Last Modification: Sunday 27 of September, 2009 17:07:50 EDT by GrinningSkull.

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