In what is a unique take on the open-world sandbox genre of video games, Islands in the Formless Void opens up islands filled with tiny artificial intelligences.
Comprised of people and various creatures, players will witness these tiny creatures learn to manipulate the world around them, eventually learning to build and explore, but what they learn and discover will be entirely up to the player.
Decisions and player interaction is an integral part of Islands in the Formless Void.
“The idea for this game has evolved over the course of many years,” said Jon Galindo, developer of Islands of the Formless Void. “Part of it is just my personal style, and part of it is based on my often-unsuccessful attempts to unravel the philosophy of games and art.”
Players can be a disembodied witness to the world below, or choose to shape the terrain, or jump into a body and pretend to be one of the creatures living on the island.
When jumping onto one of the islands, all the options available to the AI’s is available to the player. Build fires, chop down trees, and build anything.
Of course, when feeling lazy, players can create an assortment of different lifeforms to do the work for them.
Each island has a different assortment of creatures available to them, pick one and see the creatures explore, transform the world around them, and learn new abilities and building projects.
The player can walk among them in hopes to teach them new things, but the tiny creatures will never be under full control, they are their own beings.
The game will take place in a shared universe, comprised of islands. Players can claim exclusive ownership of an entire island, or leave a portion of it open to other players.
These aren’t just empty islands though, these lands are open and available to change to the players hearts content. Want to change the way the hill looks on that side of the island, the option is available to do so.
Of course, just like the real world, anything created on the island will eventually decay over time. Players are warned though, this will create complications for the little island citizens if too many resources decays over time.
Of course, all of these features take place in a gorgeously unique pixel-based universe.
“Shining Force, by Sega, was the first video game I completed, that’s what inspired the graphics of Islands in the Formless Void,” Galindo said. “Minecraft and and Age of Empires are what inspired the building and resource collection mechanics.”
The game will be an HTML5 app, which means it will be playable on practically anything with an internet browser.
The creator of Islands in the Formless Void, Jon Galindo, got started in video games in middle school, where he says his father bought him a $25 PC from a second-hand store.
“On that computer I found a little game called Chip’s Challenge, which I played endlessly,” Galindo said. “I later acquired a CD containing a collection of Sega classics containing the original Sonic games, and Shining Force, the first game I played to completion.”
Later on in life, Galindo said he discovered Pokémon, Minecraft, and Age of Empires, but never found satisfaction with the games, he wanted to change them, improve their mechanics.
Eventually, he got into code and is now developing his own video game.
“There are challenges, but they are like puzzle-solving,” Galindo said. “Trying to understand what games are, understand what fun is, answering these has been an obsession which led me to where I am now.”
With development of Islands of the Formless Void underway, Galindo hopes to one day run a small business, and hopes the development of this game will open the avenue to create more games.
The game is touted for a December 2018 release.
The Kickstarter campaign for Islands of the Formless Void is a little under a month until completion and funds from the campaign are going directly to the game and other related costs of development.
As Jon Galindo states in his Kickstarter campaign, the fate of the game depends on donors decisions.
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