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.
All Reviews:
Very Positive (503) - 81% of the 503 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date:
Nov 8, 2018

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Recent updates View all (9)

December 14

Weekly Update #40

Internal Combustion:

Sheesh, an internal combustion engine has a lot of moving parts. I should know, because I just drew them all. There was so much detail that I had to lay out the whole thing in CAD software first, as printed a tracing guide. It's all still hand-drawn. Call it Computer Aided Human Drawing.

So I drew it, and now it's up to you to put the damn thing together.

The internal combustion engine was actually a major sticking-point in the design of the game: how do we get over the very steep hump that leads into industrialization? Like I mentioned in a previous update, the actual history here is far from clear. We went from very crude machines that were mostly made out of wood and powered by animals, water, or humans to finely crafted clockwork contraptions that could literally pump like well oiled machines. My guess is that it was a process of micro-refinements over about five hundred years.

So, I kinda just winged it here, assuming that if we had something spinning fast enough, that would be enough to bootstrap the whole thing via the magic of the lathe. And here we are, a week later, with a pretty accurate model of a four-stroke, two-cylinder diesel engine, complete with all major parts.

If you're interested in more details about how this works, this video explains the working of a single cylinder:


And this weirdly-narrated video explains how the camshaft ties the whole thing together in terms of timing:


My gosh, humans are clever!

The major thought experiment in this game is this:

It took us 4000 years to advance from stone-aged tech to the iPhone the first time around. If we had to start over from scratch, naked in the wilderness, with nothing but rocks and sticks, but we retained all knowledge, how long would it take the second time?

The more closely I study this stuff, the more baffled I am about how we ever did it in the first place. How long would it take the second time? My current best guess: Forever.

As in, never.
5 comments Read more

December 7

Weekly Update #39

Black Gold:

"And then one day he was shootin' at some food, and up through the ground come a bubblin' crude. Oil that is. Black gold. Texas tea." Californy here we come!

My father was an oil man. At least he tried to be, for a while. When I was young, he invested in a local oil exploration company in Ohio. Everyone in the family got free ball caps with the drilling outfit's logo. I remember climbing up the steps on the side of a huge oil tank, where he wrenched open the porthole cover and we peered inside as the oil poured in. Was a sight! And more importantly, what a smell! With tiny me perched up there by his side, my father reached his arm down inside with an empty peanut butter jar and filled her up directly from the gushing pump stream. (What the hell was he thinking?) That jar sat---and settled---on his office desk for many years. Sludge would be a naive appraisal of what was in that jar. Brown sludge. A reminder of an investment in oil that never turned a profit.

But your investment in oil will turn a profit!

The more time you spend around crude oil, the more trouble you will have believing that people actually used to rub this noxious stuff on their bodies as a medicine.

But what about the very best stuff? Light, sweet crude, with a very low sulfur content---really top notch. If you're brave enough to take a sip, it actually tastes sweet.

So you want that oil. But oil prospecting and refining requires a lot of equipment along the way. And that's why this update is one of the largest and most complicated in the history of the game so far. Machines galore.

But when you finally see that black plume shoot toward the sky, you too will dream of striking oil before you die.
10 comments Read more


“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.”

About This Game

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

    • 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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