A multiplayer survival game of parenting and civilization building. Get born to another player as your mother. Live an entire life in one hour. Have babies of your own in the form of other players. Leave a legacy for the next generation as you help to rebuild civilization from scratch. Updated weekly.
Recent Reviews:
Very Positive (76) - 81% of the 76 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
All Reviews:
Mostly Positive (1,021) - 76% of the 1,021 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date:
Nov 8, 2018
Developer:
Publisher:

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Recent updates View all (36)

July 19

Weekly Update #67



New Brothers

I'm back from a very interesting and refreshing trip to Taiwan. Taking time off---and not working on the game at all for a week---is a really important thing to do from time to time.

The variety among the red-headed a black characters has been a little thin for a while. This update adds two more male characters for each, taking the total up to 22 playable characters, currently in four different skin tones (12 males and 10 females) The red-heads and black characters are still missing one female each (to bring them up to six each), but those will be added in the near future.

As the character set has grown, I'm facing a larger and larger creative challenge with each new character that I add. I want them all to look unique, and 22 unique people is already a pretty broad spectrum. I already have a bearded guy... already have a balding guy... already have a mustache guy.... oh wait, I don't have a totally bald guy yet!

Along with the characters, there are a bunch of fixes. I'm still working on those reported issues, bit by bit. Reconnection after a network outtage is now much more robust (before, if the server didn't know you were disconnected, it would block you from reconnecting). Projectile aiming from acute vertical angles was totally broken (the line algorithm that I was using was missing an important case), but it's working now. You can now swap items into full clothing containers (like backpacks). You can't force-break someone's YUM chain by feeding them (getting fed by someone else only helps, but never hurts, your YUM chain).

There's one more big change that I'll describe in a minute, but first a little context.

Over the past few months, I've been tackling several "grand design challenges" in this game. Most of them have now been solved to my satisfaction, but there's one big one left. Those design challenges are:

--The possibility of property as a foundation for social structure, trade, inheritance, and inter-village negotiation.

--Bringing villages closer together in an crunchy way (without having everyone just blend together into one bland mega-city).

--Some reason to care about the survival of each and every one of your offspring.

--The civilization-building arc, from Eve up to the diesel water pump, is challenging and reasonably well-paced. There are many possible failure points along the way, and the challenge is indeed transgenerational. (The pacing might still need tweaking... but it's close enough for now.)

The reason why these design challenges are so important is that, in solving them, we will enable new kinds of intricate emergent stories inside the game. As a simple example, if all property is communal, you never have to ask your neighbor if you can borrow a tool. You just walk up and grab it. The story where you have to ask first is simply more intricate, by one degree. Your neighbor might say no. Then what? Well, you have a bit of drama, that's what. The same goes for caring about offspring. "We were short on food, so my teenage son died. Shrug." That's not a very interesting story. A desperate search for food, to save your teenage son at the last minute, is much more interesting.

The last grand design challenge is this:

--What is the long-term arc of the game? What happens after you hit the top of the tech tree? Does the game vary across a week or a month? Is there a game-wide arc? Do resources run out on a global scale?

This part of the game is currently handled by an ever-expanding Eve placement spiral that forges endlessly into untouched wilderness. We have a perpetual churn of brand new civilizations rising and falling in parallel. But each rise-fall cycle follows the same arc, and happens in relative isolation. Yes, villages can interact, but interaction is optional. There are no pinch-points where they must interact. If you need extra resources, you can always just head into the unexplored hills and find them. If you really run out of resources in your local area, you can migrate into greener pastures. On an infinite map, there is an endless supply of greener pastures.

And you can see how optional village interaction reduces story complexity. "We were out of oil, so we wandered into the hills and found more." That's way less interesting than, "We were out of oil, and we couldn't find any new deposits, but the neighboring village had control over three productive oil wells."

This is the grander-scale version of asking the neighbor if you can borrow a tool. Will they give you some oil? Will they demand something else in trade? Will they answer "no" with a volley of arrows? All of these possibilities are grist for the emergent drama mill.

But currently, there really is no long-term arc in the game. There's a perpetual cycle of parallel civilizations spawning in resource-rich wilderness.

So I'm thinking about changing this. I'm thinking about long-term, world-wide arcs. Arcs that take several days to complete. The most obvious arc is one based on world-wide resources running out. At the start of the arc, the world is green and rich with resources. But as people survive longer and longer in that world, the resources get consumed. Meanwhile, civilizations become more advanced and efficient in their use of the remaining resources. But pinch points and dramatic texture will emerge when one village runs out of a necessary resource first.

The problem with such an arc, of course, is that it's not sustainable. The current implementation is sustainable, though bland. The big question with such an arc is this: what happens at the end? Obviously, there will be some kind of reset at the end of the arc, but what happens in the hours before that reset? Imagine a world where there are almost no resources left, and people are barely surviving. Imagine that you're a brand new player who plays their very first games in such an environment.

Part of this change may involve a finite map. An infinite map, though tantalizing conceptually, means infinite resources.

But this week, as a warm-up exercise, I've patched end of the current civilization arc to eliminate a steady-state once you have a diesel water pump: oil wells now eventually run out.

"We built an oil well, and then had oil forever after that." That's not such an interesting story.

I'll be tackling this issue on a larger scale next week.
11 comments Read more

July 6

Weekly Update #66



More Fixes

Another week spent plowing through the long list of player-submitted bugs and issues. Thank you all for your tireless work in tracking these things down and reporting them to me, and please keep the reports coming.

The biggest gameplay fix is for off-screen murders. You could always hear the off-screen scream, and all sounds in the game are directional, but even with good stereo headphones, there's no way to differentiate north from south. Now certain sounds that occur off-screen produce a visible, directional marker. Currently, this is used only for murder sounds, but it might be expanded to other important sounds in the future.

Next, items can be swapped in full containers, which is a huge convenience improvement.

Finally, a bunch of small fixes. You can now carry sterile pads in the medical apron---it has a separate pocket that expands to keep them isolated from whatever else you're carrying in the main pocket. Rubber trees can be cultivated. Popcorn bowls, and a bunch of other dry bowl items, can be contained. A bunch of more advanced steel items can now be scrapped for recycling, and scrapping is now a two-step process, to prevent the destruction of valuable steel items by accident. Dog aging makes more sense. Threshed wheat piles decay after 30 minutes to reduce clutter. You can no longer build floors and roads on top of existing floors and roads.

There will not be an update next week, because I'm traveling to Taiwan to speak at the Taipei Game Developers Forum:

https://2019.tgdf.tw/en/speakers

When I return, I'll be focusing on getting through the rest of the list of player-submitted bugs and issues, and then adding some new characters.

If you notice anything in the game that's broken or doesn't make sense, please report it. You can report content-related issues here:

https://github.com/jasonrohrer/OneLifeData7/issues

And code-related issues here:

https://github.com/jasonrohrer/OneLife/issues
7 comments Read more

Reviews

“This game broke my heart and restored my faith in humanity.”
Vice Motherboard

“The stories you create are intimate, complex and multidimensional... a moving microcosm of the human condition.”
Wired

About This Game

Note (June 18, 2019): This game is being updated weekly. That means it's going to change, a lot, over the next few years. The game is already playable, feature-complete, stable, and chocked full of content---it's already an entertaining and interesting game. However, my goal is to make the very best game possible. In a large-scale multiplayer setting, it's very difficult to predict the group dynamics that will result from a given change, so there will be some experimentation along the way. You may not like every change that I make, but you should know that I'm working hard and doing my best to explore this brand new design space, and we'll hopefully end up, eventually, at the best destination possible. In the rare case where a given change ends up being completely disastrous, I always act quickly to fix it. There are hard problems to solve, and with your support and input, we can solve them together. That is part of what your are buying when you buy this game: a seat at the table around a game that is changing and improving week after week. Thanks for your input, trust, and support during this process! --Jason

Description


A multiplayer survival game of parenting and civilization building. Get born to another player as your mother. Live an entire life in one hour. Have babies of your own in the form of other players. Leave a legacy for the next generation as you help to rebuild civilization from scratch.

Hey folks, I'm Jason Rohrer, and I've been working on One Hour One Life for more than three years. I've been doing everything myself---I drew all the graphics on paper with pens and markers, I coded the entire engine from scratch, I composed and performed all of the music, and I even made all of the sound effects. It's a very personal game, and it's really unlike anything else that's out there. It's also a huge game---over 1300 fully interactive, craftable objects already. And it's only getting bigger, with weekly updates adding new things all the time. The game was initially released on my own website in February of 2018, and over the intervening months, I released 29 updates off-Steam. I've promised to keep releasing weekly update for at least the next two years, with the end goal of making the largest, most comprehensive crafting game in history.

Okay, so what about the game itself?

First of all, you only live for an hour, where each minute marks a passing year. You join the game server as a newborn baby, and some other randomly-chosen player is your mother. You depend on her for your survival. And why will she be willing to waste her valuable time and resources to keep you alive? Because she's going to die in an hour just like everyone else, and if she wants what she accomplishes in her lifetime to have any meaning, then the next generation (aka, you) is her only hope. And if you survive into adulthood, you may get the chance to have babies of your own---other players, just joining the server---and those babies will be the next generation that gives meaning to your own life accomplishments.

Across this ever-growing family tree of generations, players are collectively conducting an enormous project: they are rebuilding civilization from scratch. The online game world starts out as a near-infinite expanse of wilderness (four billion meters wide from east to west, and four billion meters wide from north to south, with a total surface area of over 18,000,000,000,000,000,000 square meters, or 36,000 times bigger than Earth). The very first player to join the server is Eve, and she starts out in the wilderness as the root of the family tree. Eve and her immediate offspring lay the foundation for the future civilization, perhaps making a few primitive tools, cooking basic foods, and starting a small farm as they scrape out a meager existence before dying. Future generations will build on this primitive foundation, eventually mastering more and more advanced technology, including domesticated animals, metal working, permanent buildings, and transportation networks.

But as real-life history has shown, civilization is fragile. A generation that is born into the lap of luxury---on the backs of their ancestors' hard-won accomplishments---can just as easily squander their inheritance as build upon it. Key resources run out over time, so careful management, planning, and organization are necessary to prevent an inevitable collapse. Thus, the game graduates from the individual challenge of primitive survival in the early stages to a group organizational and leadership challenge in the later stages. How do rules and procedures for group survival propagate across multiple generations? What did our great grandparents have in mind for this village?

The main mode in the game involves being born as a helpless baby to another player as your mother, but you can also play with your friends as twins, triplets, or quadruplets. One baby is hard enough to take care of---any mother that can successfully take care of quadruplets deserves the eternal gratitude of you and your friends.

All of this is happening on my own centrally-managed, persistent servers, and your purchase includes a lifetime account on these official servers. After you buy the game, you can instantly connect to this world with no configuration or server set-up. It all just works. You also get access to the full source code, including the server code. Technically-minded folks can run their own private servers, or even use the powerful content editor to make their own mods.

I hope you'll join us as this sprawling civilization-building experiment continues to unfold. Many thousands of players have already collectively lived over 400,000 hours in this endlessly-changing world so far. Before the Steam release, the average playtime for each player was 17 hours, with dozens of players logging over 500 hours each, and 94% positive off-Steam player reviews. This is a deep and rich game already, and there are still hundreds of content updates to come.

No two lives are ever the same, and a new story always awaits on the other side of the [GET REBORN] button.

Jason Rohrer
October 2018
Davis, California

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP or newer
    • Processor: 1.7+ GHz or better
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: GeForce G210M or better; 256 MB or higher
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Storage: 250 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Any

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