Okay, we all know and love Limit Theory, and we are all well aware that the concept of this game is truly jaw-dropping. However, for ye of little faith we will once again go through the basics to get you more familiar with LT and its development.
Limit Theory: Then, Now and Everything in the Between
The guy behind the project, Josh Parnell, envisaged in 2012 a space sim with a procedurally-generated universe. What’s procedurally-generated, you might ask? Imagine a game with an infinite number of star systems, planets and asteroids. Yes, this guy is actually trying to do just that.
Now, when one just tries to think about the concept of such a video game, one can only imagine a triple A studio with an infinite budget managing to grasp such a concept and make it into a working project. But this guy started doing this on his own. Sounds crazy, right? Check out his current studio located in Louisiana Tech Park right here.
Parnell managed to get funding of over $180,000 from Kickstarter (always a hooray for Kickstarter) and begin the development of the concept of procedural generation for the game, because procedural generation is his greatest obsession. He managed to get to creating a working prototype of the game which can be found here, but the fate of this game is inextricably linked to the concept behind it and the maze in which its’ maker found himself.
After a bombastic start to the project, where the internet went ablaze and continued being so for a couple of years, the game was slowly getting shaped by Parnell and a group of Kickstarter backers who worked on the development with him. But then around January this year, Parnell went quiet. We’ve addressed this topic briefly a few months ago. Turns out, according to a post he made on Kickstarter in September, he fell into the all too familiar modern abyss which is being under slept and overworked, coupled with a bad diet, which led to his mind slipping. By bashing himself into a wall of script, he managed to go off the rails for an instant and has had to recuperate from a mental illness ever since.
We all know of the massive Kickstarter failures, which promised entire worlds on paper, but failed to give us even a flicker, but this project seems to be going forward, despite its’ author’s ailment. When I start thinking of this concept of an algorithm which perpetuates infinitely within a space sim universe, I cannot but think of Parnell and what must have been going on in his mind during those endless nights in isolation, coding the game. The implication just leaves an eerie feeling when I see the snapshots of the game.
After announcing his return in September, Parnell has jumped on his dev forum, and keeps in regular touch with his backers in a topic which he calls The Beginning of the Golden Days. According to him, he managed to get out of his room and into an office space in Louisiana, where he works day shifts from 8AM to 7PM. The idea behind the game is amazing, the concept art looks like a beefed up version of Freelancer, which makes my fingertips itchy to try it out immediately, obviously. But, I cannot but feel that this idea of a guy working alone can bring to bear a game of this magnitude and make it fun to play, apart from the concept of an infinitely expanding universe.
I cannot wait to see how this story develops. I love these genius type American kids, unburdened with experience, with an impetuous drive to succeed and fulfill their dreams, but this kind of thinking can be dangerous when taken to extremes, and one can only hope that this kid will find his way around.
Keep at it, Josh Parnell. But spread that stress around a bit; don’t get bogged down by trying to own the whole of it. The great majority of us will never be able to understand artists such as you are. Whatever that you are going through at this moment, know that there are thousands of us cheering for you, waiting for your masterpiece and follow your every update vigorously. On that note, here is the latest one:
You can follow Josh on the official Limit Theory forum, as well on his blog, and through Limit Theory Kickstarter page.
You can also find some nice visuals that he made on his Flickr page