Creativity is what separates us from the beasts, or so I was led to believe. Archeological and fossil evidence suggests that Homo sapiens survived and thrived because of the development of a brain capable of abstract and imaginative thought. It helped them, and us, to overcome environmental challenges, to plan for previously encountered difficulties, and it drives our ongoing sociocultural evolution. The various and sundry items and images that surround us are a product of this innate drive to design and have become so pervasive that I would defy anyone to find a single household object or image during the course of a day that wasn’t, directly or indirectly, the product of someone’s evolutionary quest to invent. People need to create and it has been suggested by wiser men than I that creativity is mankind’s highest calling.
A brief glimpse at the paintings from The Cave of Lascaux gives us a perfect example of humanities need to craft our surroundings and how far we have come on this journey of design. For years I have been drawn to what Tolkien called “the secondary world” of fiction, whether it be literary or cinematic. As a young man I read about fictional places like Middle Earth and witnessed vast universes fleshed out before my eyes in the Star Wars movies. I watched (and listened , and read, and…) as these new worlds in turn spawned legions of followers that built on the original premise and created their own stories, drawings, and music inspired by the lands imagined so thoughtfully and artfully in those tales. To me this is the nature of creation and it is something that drew me into EVE Online.
Some might say that this is a bit hyperbolic for a video game, but to me the idea that player participation and individual creativity is what drives the story makes this format far more compelling and less constrained than previous expressions of inspiration. EVE Online is a sandbox for the mind's eye in ways that have been previously untapped. By creating a world and letting the participants drive and shape the narrative we as players are brought into a new dynamic that is free of many of the limitations of previous inventive outlets. Some of the tales we tell are small and inconsequential, while others shape the face of the entire game, but the most important part of all of this is that they are our stories.
Our ideas can be expressed within the framework of the game or flow forth using tools provided by the designers. Players are allowed to exercise their “creative muscles” by suggesting game improvements, creating new tools and making new and exciting original works both inside and outside of the game. These hidden gems and interesting dead-ends add to the flavor of New Eden more than any amount of creator injected material can because they represent the unanticipated creative spark found only in large groups. The exploration of these different works has been my principle focus thus far within the game and it has inspired me to my own crude snippet of inventiveness, this blog.
It is my intention in the coming months to try and bring to you, my dear readers, the flavor and spice that might have gotten lost or forgotten within this new and exciting engine of the imagination. Some of these sites and stories you may have already explored, other may be new to you. Either way I hope that by (re)introducing you to some of the creativity of your fellow players you will be inspired to go forth and craft your own chronicle and to share it with the world.
Welcome to New Eden, again…