A detail obsessed game designer must finish his latest virtual reality game or risk losing his job, but as his game becomes more realistic he starts to lose his grip on reality.

    An updated version of previous attempt.

    Mentor Posted on August 7, 2019 in SciFi.
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      To expand upon what mikepedley85 said, high-end computer games have production budgets that rival action films. In a corporate environment, your developer would be working as part of a team of several dozens. If he is involved on the CGI end, he might be responsible for one figure or one scene. It is hard to see how that level of focus would make him lose his grip on reality.

      It might be more believable if you make the MC a tester, not a developer. In-house testers play the games over and over, giving feedback to the developers. A detail obsessed tester might insist on skipping the automated tests and do all testing himself, thus leading to him losing his grip on reality.

      Also, I think we need a hint as to where the journey is headed. What happens if he loses his grip on reality? The usual treatment is a  short stay in a clinic for game addicts, but you will need a stronger story line to interest viewers.


      Mentor Answered on August 7, 2019.
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        I’ve really liked this idea since you first posted. I love the whole “video game vs reality” thing – Ready Player One is one of my favourite books – the film… not without its merits but it lost a little of the magic for me.

        Anyway… back to the logline!

        Is the point where he starts to lose his grip on reality the midpoint? I kinda wanna know how this changes him and his goal. What’s the second part of Act II? Maybe it could be tweaked simply by changing it to “struggles to keep a grip on reality”.

        What happens in the final act? I know that a logline isn’t supposed to give away the ending but it can influence the feel of the logline. At the moment, I sense a downbeat ending for this. He gets absorbed into his world that he created and ultimately prefers that to the real world. Is that the case?

        Detail obsessed – could be perfectionist?

        Virtual reality – VR?

        Part of me wonders if he’d be more interesting if he was actually working on his own, building a VR game to challenge the big companies that he can sell to live comfortably. His life is a desolate wasteland though, he has nothing. This makes the bright lights of the world he creates much more appealing and makes his slide into it more understandable.

        Basically, I just want to know more but in a good way. I don’t feel like this logline lacks anything, but if I were a producer, I guess I’d want to have more of an idea to the tone of the film.

        Hope this makes sense. Looking forward to seeing where this goes. Got a title? The name for his game perhaps?

        Summitry Answered on August 7, 2019.


        Thanks for getting back to me.

        I thought about making him independent, but wondered if when he starts to doubt reality, without a company pushing him, he could just stop. However, I figure he’d have an obsessive component to him, so once has an idea has to see it through to the end.

        Hmm, still working on overall beats, at one point I have him figuring out a major function to the game around end of Act 1, which leads to getting heavy backing and thus needing to follow through, but it is at this same moment he begins to see the mathematical principles that govern our universe as similar to his, could it be God is a game designer? So, as I said, he has an obsessive part to his character and now that the idea is there is won’t just go away.

        However, it also begins to give him insight, if our reality is indeed fake, why did he or does he accept it as real? When he sleeps, is he waking up every morning or entering the dream, what makes one experience get written off as fake vs real?

        I think the MidPoint will probably be where he starts accepting that his reality can’t be real, and really starts becoming unable to tell when he is logged out of the one he is creating. He may even think of leaving our world for his new one, but he still needs to solve the riddle of why do we accept what we see as even if he leaves this reality, he needs to accept the new one.

        Eventually, as it is now, he realises we accept reality as it is the only thing on our existence where death is perminant and anything else beyond that is belief. So, he wonders if he created the game he is already in, then to escape is death or he can choose a new reality, but will he accept it.
        Ending wise, unsure if will cheat and have him wake up like nothing happened, or reveal he logs out.

        Essentially the reason we don’t accept reality on games – in the story – is we know no matter how amazing it is fantasy, his game is about making a new reality acceptable. In the end, we’re unsure if ever left his own game, or has he merely tricked himself into accepting something that isn’t real by discrediting the real

        on August 7, 2019.

        As for title… hmm… At the moment I was going for “Logged Out”

        on August 7, 2019.

        Sounds really interesting. Title wise – “Offline”? Alternate suggestion.

        From a logistical POV, how does food/drink/bodily functions/etc work in this virtual reality. Or is this something which ceases to be in an issue when he realises the real world is actually virtual too? I kinda like the idea of him effectively trying to kill himself by drowning only to realise that if he doesn’t believe that he can he can subvert the reality’s protocols… I’m just throwing stuff out but I hope this makes some sense.

        I’m sure there was a film in the 90s perhaps where a character chooses to starve himself because his life in the virtual reality is so much better than his own… if anyone can remember the name let me know! Hahaha!

        on August 7, 2019.

        “…the mathematical principles that govern our universe as similar to his…”

        Maybe it is because I have worked in the field, but I cannot extend my suspension of disbelief that far. VR worlds are not built using first principle simulations as computers are not powerful enough. VR worlds are simulated using  lots of special tricks. Landscapes are imitated using fractal algorithms and balls look round because of tessellation and ray tracing. And when surfaces collide,  the algorithms used to simulate tactile feedback are based upon classical physics, but need lots of shortcuts to speed up the calculations. And quantum effects cannot be simulated at all using any current computing technology.  (The way the Matrix films got around all this was to say aliens wrote the programs and built the computers using alien technology.)

        It can certainly be interesting to have someone ask whether they live in a simulation, but it cannot be the person who wrote the program.

        on August 8, 2019.
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          Good input, good points by yqertz. If he’s working in a software shop, he’s one cog in a large wheel.  He only has access to and control over one limb of the app elephant.  These days VR games are so freakingly complex and code dense, no single person can grasp and manage it all.

          Also, the code warriors I know seem to look at the GUI as just eye candy, there to validate that the code they are writing works  For them, the fun and games, the dopamine spike, the immersive experience is in writing the code.  That’s what they stare at for hours on end the code, not the GUI.

          And general audiences are  more sophisticated these days. The prime target audience for this film, computer geeks, are super sophisticated, jaded and skeptical about all films where software development is core to the way the plot plays out.  Gone are the days when a movie can palm off a moment when a young kid looks at a GUI — a GUI! — and exclaims. “I know this.  It’s Unix.” (Jurassic Park, 1993).  Punchline:  if you look closely at the hardware in that scene, “Unix” is running on Apple hardware!

          However, as yqwertz suggested,  the MC is a tester might work.

          Singularity Answered on August 8, 2019.
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