Self Organizing Self

Dear Insane Children, 

One of those things I always end up pondering when I’m in “altered states” is the fractal organization of the universe. The idea that patterns of organization (shapes, ratios, distances) repeat on scales that range from galactic to microscopic. And that it stands to reason that we, as an expression of the universal pattern, might find reflections of the idea in unexpected places – say in our moods, emotional responses, interpersonal relationships, physical health, and life events. 

Do we honestly expect all these universal mechanisms to suddenly STOP at the door of our conscious experience? And if these mechanisms do continue then what might that mean for the explorers of the mental landscape? Perhaps there’s a larger map of meaning to be found in the expressions and experiences mankind repeatedly expresses across generations of fables and religions.

Dark Crystals

Joey recently sent along a bit of inspiration – not really linked to any particular location or narrative element in our narrative (yet). But it provides an interesting point of reference to the notion I described above. Namely…

Crystals represent order. A crystal lattice is the essence of order. Could be that Hatter asks Alice to trace the source of the material (crystal) that the globe is made from. These shapes are also fractal… they contain repeating patterns that are observable from the macro to the micro. The picture Joey’s drawn is a good example… are those giant crystals or is Alice small and they are tiny ones? This is a topic I’d like to explore in the narrative and design – scale, perspective, and the fractal nature of information and reality. 

Nature is a fantastic place to explore these notions since nature is an explosive expression of fractal self-organizing patterns. We’ve already touched on aspects of nature=psychology=nature in our use of Alchemy throughout the Alice games. That’s why it’s there – because it makes physical the elements and processes of transformation. And, as we all know, transformation is life. 

One of my favorite things about telling stories in Wonderland is that everything exists in a dreamlike state. Alice’s surreal reality becomes a metaphor for everything she’s ever known or experienced. An interface for the direct examination and manipulation of her definition of self. 

Like a naturalist-chemist, she can collect, study, and ultimately understand the very nature of her self

Elements of Discovery

Of course, this is a GAME and we need to dress up all these concepts in fun and engaging art and mechanics. Here’s some art…

As for mechanics… 

Crowd Design Time! Share your ideas. How might you construct a system to game-ify the collection, combination, and use of these elements? How might that fit into an overarching goal representing Alice’s journey to understand herself? 

Lots of great art from Joey here. Let her know in the comments below your thoughts and feedback! 

From Self Isolation in Shanghai, 


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