Voidspace is supposed to be the first real simulation of a human society. Specifically a game that is built to facilitate this kind of simulation. But what does that really mean?
It can be very difficult to explain what Voidspace is all about because there is no other game that we can realistically compare it to. However comparisons do exist, just not in the video game world. What we're really trying to emulate here is the experience humans have had on Earth. A virtual life akin to what humans would experience if they were placed on a planet with no existing human infrastructure of any kind. Of course with Voidspace this experience takes place in a desolate part of space in which the players find themselves trapped. But the comparison still stands because this part of space has no human infrastructure and, besides natural predators, contains nothing but raw resources and other players.
If you can imagine early humans on Earth, these people would be fighting for a survival, gathering food, creating the first tools, and exploring the world in search of anything of value. This is the early experience that we are aiming for in Voidspace. In this world, wild animals are a major threat to survival. In Voidspace we have something akin to wild animals in the form of the infected ships. There will be other adversaries as well that may not have been introduced yet. Very quickly players will need to defend themselves from other players as well. This should accelerate the need for player groups to form, gathering people together to defend each other because real strength is in numbers.
After some time in the void, after people have started to group together more, people will likely find that life in the void is easier. With people starting to specialize and contribute their skills to the group as a whole, gathering materials and building infrastructure will continue to accelerate. The Pioneer stage had players mostly doing things on their own. This is the stage that Voidspace is in right now and it can be quite a grueling process as every inch of resource needs to be painstakingly processed and gathered. However as it gets easier to make infrastructure it will be therefore easier to create technological advancement, naturally. Just like in real life due to the industrial revolution, was easier to advance our technology when everyone had access to greater tech. Even moreso with the modern invention of 3D printers, prototyping new inventions and the process of inventing something new in real life has improved by magnitudes. The same will be able to be said about Voidspace inventions and infrastructure. Eventually rather than everyone creating their own machine shop and creating everything by hand, entire factories will be created in Voidspace whose sole purpose is to create one component. It doesn't make sense to create something like this in the Pioneer stage but once you start having a lot of people together all needing the same technology, it begins to make more sense.
At this point in the evolution of the game world players will have started making factories that mass produce particular items. Trade routes have been likely established, and safe zones have been created so that players can continue to work to advance their society. We will probably see the formation of governments to replace dictatorships that were more commonplace in the past. I suspect people will start to emulating modern society eventually in the Voidspace game world.
Of course none of this can really be predicted with 100% confidence because we don't actually have direct control over the game world. Players are fully in control of what they do and how they shape the world.
The hope is that we will one day see many games that allow players to shape the world while simulating a realistic and organic game world. We believe the video game industry is lacking in truly organic video games that model a real universe.
Traditional massive online games evolved from pen and paper style games; from a time when there was only so much you could keep track of before it got too tedious to play. But while computers and technology have advanced enough to better model the human experience in a game environment, games have continued idly down this path of game model simplification.
We believe it is time to break this paradigm. Games don't need to have a simple start and end; they don't need to simply simulate one aspect of life. We're ready to experience video games as a true and un-coddled participant in an alternate reality. We're ready to enter a vibrant and active reality that emulates our own, with no excuses and no deception, just the pure and simple emulation of a real world, where game mechanics only exist to ease the disconnect players face in a GUI.
I happened across an infographic depicting the evolution of video games. It's kinda fun so I thought I'd include it.