At some point in the early history of libraries — many millennia before the Dewey decimal system, presumably in the ancient stacks of Alexandria and Mesopotamia — curators of books and records must have realized that they had to get organized. Even an obscure or difficult classification system is better than no system at all, especially in a large collection where it could take years to find a single tome.
I’m somewhat pleased to announced that we’ve reached that point in our own library, decidedly surreal and virtual though it is. We’ve hit a turning point in our design, something we’ll hopefully be talking more about soon, and it hinges upon a way of organizing the books in our infinitely re-created library. What do the books in a single room of this library have in common? How do you navigate through these chambers?
We’re experimenting with these questions as we speak, and some of the results have turned out to be visually fascinating.
The colored lines represent relationships between books that are scattered across the overlapping spheres that create our library (which you can read about in a previous post!) We’re also exploring the use of color to convey these relationships to the player, but we’re really not sure yet if we want a rainbow-colored library, a monochromatic library (the preference of our resident architect) or something in-between.
As for what these relationships represent… well, that’s still under wraps for now, because we have no idea if it’ll lead to fruitful gameplay, or end up as an odd idea that we pursue for a while, but fall back from to explore other directions. Fortunately, we’ve found so far that every time we do pursue an avenue that we end up retreating from, we come back from the exploration with some interesting pieces and flavors that continue to inform the overall design. On we go!