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Monday, August 1, 2016

Building a Virtual Neolithic

It is my dream to rebuild the world of 11,000 years ago in virtual reality, but I know I can't do it alone. It would be ideal if prehistoric researchers and writers, perhaps even classrooms, could help with this task and choose regions of the planet or particular flora and fauna to contribute. I believe the easiest medium with which to do this right now is the Sandbox RPG "Shards Online" and so I am currently an alpha tester. It's a game that allows you full control over the development of your virtual world and is completely open ended. Best of all, you don't have to be a game programmer to use it, so our reconstruction could be built (at least in part) by people who know about prehistory, rather than people who know about code. It's a lot like the old game Neverwinter Nights, in which I built a module that recreated a part of ancient China during the Neolithic.

Of course there would have to be a panel of judges, preferrably teachers or history professionals, to make sure that no pseudoscience slips in.

So I've been extracting some of my old custom content from Neverwinter in order to prepare for when Shards lets us use our own custom content, and wanted to share a few screen shots. Some of this is from the Neverwinter CEP, which pooled the best custom assets from many community designers back when neverwinter still had official support.

Maybe after we've assembled a great team, learned enough about Unity, and generated enough interest, we could recreate the Upper Paleolithic world as well, perhaps in our own game!
Shards uses the Unity game engine, and though its learning curb is slightly higher, at least Shards will give us experience while we have some fun and get something uber-cool accomplished for all mankind!

Joe Lyon Layden is a prehistoric fiction author and primitive musician. To receive a free copy of this entire novella "The Man from Parkho Khatune Bears Favor," as well as three free songs and monthly updates, freebies, and discounts on Joe's ongoing work, please sign up for the newsletter below.

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