I made a system of NAND logic gates using the logic of production benches in the video game Rimworld. First I’ll say a bit about the game itself. The posts following this one will detail the NAND gates and the half-adder built with them.
Rimworld: Transhumanistic Cult Simulator
In Rimworld, the player operates a small colony of people in a Wild-West-but-on-Another-Planet setting. It touts itself as a “story generator,” which I truly appreciate. It features several AI storytellers with different personalities and difficulty settings. They decide on randomized events to occur in and around your colony according to their whims. Given a large number of mechanics and options for survival and success in the world, this leads to surprising, charming, often brutal or devastating, and unexpected developments. There is a well-supported and easy-to-use modding system. The creator encourages the community to add items, alter mechanics, introduce entirely new modes of gameplay, or change the colonists’ hairstyles.
Emergent events and structure don’t exist in traditional storytelling. Driving and witnessing a course of events particular only to the player’s instance of the game leads to a strong personal investment. And personal investment is fun. So it’s fun when a game does that. I like fun and fun is good.
Natural disasters and dangerous weather can strike at any time. Human and robotic raiding parties wait for opportune times to assault the camp. There is an ending condition, in which you build a spaceship to escape the planet, but the game is really an “it’s all about the experience-” experience. In terms of what you do, it’s squarely in the simulation genre. Your colony has a bunch of people with a bunch of skills, and you direct them to build homes and farms, workshops and infirmaries. The core of the game is choosing what buildings and structures to build, and where and when to do so, and which colonists will prioritize which kinds of work that must be done to keep the compound running smoothly. The essence of the thing is a matrix of values you tweak to set these priorities appropriately. This becomes necessary once the colony grows too large to comfortably direct each colonist. If changing values in a matrix and later realizing you were wrong about them doesn’t sound like great fun, well, I just don’t know how to help you.
And so you try to create stability amongst randomness. Ima might decide to install those floorboards first instead of these. Euterpe might decide to clean the kitchen before the infirmary. Most tasks can be overridden, and colonists directed to do something specific, but the goal is to develop a system and infrastructure within which everyone gets around to doing all of the tasks you’ve planned.
In my game, once my settlement had developed a solid foundation, defenses, and food stores, I turned to improving the colonists. I became focused on finding, buying, and manufacturing bionic body parts to install in every colonist. A brewing operation shipped thousands of bottles of beer to nearby settlements to pay for resources and trade for any parts they had made. I began sending small parties in ballistic transport pods across the continent to scout distant towns for anyone selling the coveted computer-designed archotech body parts. Any downed but still living enemies were imprisoned and nursed back to health. Healthy raiders were captured by an army sporting an arsenal of psychic shock lances, procured with funds from the brewery. Regardless of their skills, dispositions, preexisting health conditions or chemical addictions, all prisoners would be eventually convinced to join as members of the colony. Once they agreed, they were sent straight to the hospital, where a bionic heart, stomach, and a suite of artificial limbs awaited them. And they had to want it. Body purists, those who were naturally revolted by the transhumanistic dream of glistening plasteel augments, had their bodies replaced regardless. They were fitted with a custom Joywire installed deep in their brain to mind the additions just a little less.
I had discovered the purpose of the game. We were the Borg, but every potential drone’s mind would first be broken down and then rebuilt, until they begged to join and be Improved.
So, I had played the game as it was surely intended, and was ready to do something fresh. I had turned all of my colonists into robots, so the next step was to turn the colony itself into a computer.