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Primitives and Lore

Primitives and Lore

By GVN & ARB Illustrations by Pangchiu Cowboy

Our first post,Modular and Portable Multiplayer Miniversesconceived Moving Castles as hybrid social spaces built using game engines, decentralised web3 tools and synchronous chat apps. Thanks to their nomadic nature, these patchworks of mutating and incoherent scales could help online communities to come together, organise, and grow, as well as providing them with an authorless way of producing lore, and facilitate an exchange with the public outside their familiar territories.

Starting in February 2022, we will launch the first ever season of crowd-played streams: Arc One. Produced and hosted together with the Trust community, we will develop a novel set of real-time rendered formats for the facilitation of community activities, the creation of community-governed media, and cross-community interactions.

In a landscape in which “the Metaverse” is coming to represent a unified and persistent virtual reality with an attached economic system and rules, we believe this totality is far from total, and we’ll need interruptions along the feedback lines, breaks in service—missing zones, and zones of resistance. Therefore it is of vital importance to counterpose the idea of small, fragmented and yet cohesive online world-communities, organised and interconnected in a network of Castles: imagined, kitbashed and owned, not by a centralised world-master, but by the community itself.

With this post we unpack Moving Castles’ first software primitives to build such worlds and offer a glossary of lore to be shared across the Castles’ network. This network, and the bizarre Rituals they’ll host, will in turn be defined by interoperability, infrastructural and financial interdependence, co-creation of shared lore, imaginary and narratives.

You are about to meet strange characters; gambling Mascots, the frantic Cores controlling them, roaming Castles, scattered Scrap, chaotic Rituals and all the bits and pieces that magically hold together a Moving Castle.

A group of Cores steer their Castle. In the background we see a variation of other roaming Castles.
A group of Cores steer their Castle. In the background we see a variation of other roaming Castles.

We have started a Wiki for Moving Castles, built on Notion for now, that documents all the moving parts as we develop them. We aim to build this out into a federated wiki together with the communities that will build their own Moving Castles - allowing for the simultaneous documentation of shared lore and technical infrastructure.

Below follows a breakdown of the primitives for Moving Castles.

Overview of the initial primitives that make up a Moving Castle.
Overview of the initial primitives that make up a Moving Castle.

Inventories: Cores, Mascots & Castles

Actors participating in Moving Castles are themselves inventories with varying governance-models, ownership and scale. Rather than a fixed representation, their appearance and functionality is a direct outcome of the items (Scrap) that they currently hold - allowing them to change and adapt over time. Swapping out parts as they, or the communities that control them, see fit. We currently have three scales of inventory primitives: Core, Mascot & Castle. These are as much technical primitives as they are ways for users to navigate the world at different scales. We believe one of the strengths of our proposal will be the ability for actors in Miniverses to shift perspective between scales of subjectivity, from the individual (Core), to the group (Mascot), to the organisation (Castle).

Core

Cores are the animating force of Moving Castles. Where they draw their power from we do not know yet

Cores are the representation of the smallest our three inventories. These can represent individual Players or NPCs but can also be nested and controlled by several Players. Cores fit into sockets, which enables them to control Mascots, Castles and Gadgets. Cores can be equipped with cosmetic or functional add-ons called Bits. An overview of Core shape and qualities can be found here. Currently they are the best studied inventory primitive within Moving Castles.

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Mascot

To help build their first Castle, the Cores assembled a puppet

Mascots are inventories with multi-core access and ownership. Mascots are an inventory form that allows ownership/control forms built for specific purposes and is a more loose category then Castles. Mascots have not (yet) been observed to host Miniverses, only joining or living in others.

As part of Arc One with Trust we will develop two Mascots, one that acts as a moderator and one that will be fully assembled, controlled and owned by Cores as a group avatar.

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Castle

An egregore of pieced-together Scrap. Held together and animated by the will of the Cores that call it home

Castles are inventories of Scrap held in common by a community of Cores. Castles are used by Cores to facilitate Rituals; from playing games and creating lore to managing economies and establishing contact with other communities. Castles are the foundational inventory primitive of Moving Castles and a Castle lies at the center of each Miniverse. We believe Castles can be used to represent, but also to control, decentralised organisational activities. This can be done by building rituals that act on Castles as cybernetic dashboards connected to external organisational activities. Castles can link together into networks of Castles.

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Ritual

Little is still known about the Ritual - as the Cores have just started experimenting with their utility - but it seems they are very excited by the potential

A Ritual is a shared activity including a number of inventories in a persistent or temporary game-engine instance. Rituals are often focused around a specific outcome between the participating inventories. This can take shape as a stream, a community call, a persistent world, or minigames that facilitate governance decisions. For Arc One, each Ritual will test a different organisational function; from world-building to collective knowledge, governance and cross-community interactions. We will share our learnings after Arc One, to what hopefully will become a series of Ritual blueprints.

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Scrap

One Core’s trash is another Core’s treasure

Scrap are items that can be held in Moving Castle inventories. Scrap will be a standard for objects, items and mechanisms to be read by game-engines. We aim to open up Scrap as an open format. Scrap-types include:

  • Bits - Add-ons for Cores. e.g. Fedora that gives ability to talk to other group.
  • Gadgets - Scrap with abilities and sockets for Core control. e.g. 3D objects with imbued governance mechanisms
  • Parts without function that make up the hull of Castles. e.g. a really chunky pink piece of wall
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Community infrastructure

Twitch and Discord integrations are used to embed our experiments for Arc One within existing community infrastructure to avoid client-side downloads and complicated onboarding. This allows users to view and control and interact with Cores, Mascots, Castles and Rituals directly via chat inputs on their Discord server or via Twitch streams.

Thank you for reading the whole post. Here is an unpublished Castle illustration as a reward.

Join our Discord to participate and contribute.

Thank you to the participants of the Trust Furnace session who gave early feedback on the piece. A special thanks to @thejaymo @_will @salocin @acherepresent @bunkerheadz1998 @Ack @thinn4ir @Leith @John Groot @Parrr @hxhrts @kara. We also want to thank Other Internet Peer Review for their early feedback which greatly improved the final version of the post.

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