Creation of the next moment is of far greater significance than was creation of the first.
So you want to play god. It happens to a certain fraction of us--the desire to create a world. It could be a fantastical place, a land of adventure and mystery, or it could be a secluded island, a secret hideout, or an outpost on Mars--who knows.
To conjure such an illusionary realm, one must know the right incantations, powerful spells of arcane origin that weave the thread of reality into a tapestry of your own design. Indeed, language is the engine of illusion. And illusion is but another glimpse of reality. Thus reality is language. Nothing more, nothing less.
Let me begin again from another angle. A computer programmer arranges letters to form words of obscure meaning, organizes these into phrases unintelligible to the common mind, and formulates from this an algorithm--a sort of ephemeral spirit who, in the blink of an eye, can do the work of days, or perhaps some mischief if its master has made the slightest error. In short, a computer programmer is a magician, a person whose very words are power.
And every programmer starts out with the desire to create games. I should say, every programmer with a soul. There must be a few ghoulish creatures, pale shadows of humanity, who are born with the desire to write statistical analysis software for the census bureau. But I imagine that deep down inside, even these outwardly unfeeling corpses feel the urge to slip in a tic-tac-toe board, activated by punching the first 30 digits of pi into the data entry screen.
So what is it about computer games that is so attractive to a programmer? It's not necessarily the desire to play the games. I personally very rarely feel the urge! But if it's not that, what is it?
I propose that it is the same desire mentioned initially--the desire to play god. A game, after all, is a sort of artificial world, a place run entirely according to an invented set of rules. And rules are nothing but the minions of sorcerers and programmers--that is, words.
Language again! We keep coming back to it. (Or it keeps coming back to us?) Perhaps it is time to deal with that subject. It is, after all, the reason I am writing (as well as the reason I am able to write).
It has been my passion to discover a language suitable for the creation of worlds. I say discover rather than create, because a language does not come into being at the whim of a mere mortal but instead chooses to reveal itself at the appropriate time and place. One must only provide a suitable home for it.
A language is not a solitary creature, being inherently social by nature. With this in mind, I sought out a company of adventurers, sharp of mind and willing to embark on the arduous quest. We called ourselves Dantom.
It soon became apparent that even our dedicated band of explorers would not provide enough company for this guest, the language of worlds. Its dwelling place, we decided, must reside in the ethers themselves--a meeting place for thousands upon millions of minds. So we began to construct such a place, called BYOND.
Having done so, like minds began to arrive, attracted by the bold and tantalizing statement: Build Your Own Net Dream. And with the growing host of receptive people at hand, a presence began to take shape. Certain words, when uttered in the right context, seemed to cause a stirring, a certain fluttering at the edge of perception. What started as a drip soon became a trickle and then a roaring flood of understanding. We were speaking the language of creation! The quarry so painstakingly sought had come to dwell among us.
This language of worlds within worlds, of illusion become reality, is called DM, the Dream Maker.
Dan of Dantom
November 11, 1999