Creator Status: Are We There Yet?
One day we’ll know how our universe came into existence, and how such complexity was accomplished with such basic materials over so vast a space-time. We may even be able to recreate such complexity. We have made tiny accomplishments towards that end, making small simulated environments that are very well defined and static (as in CGI movies), and making other amazingly vast dynamic worlds with extremely simple rendering (such as Minecraft). At some point on this car ride to Creator status, we’ll start asking, “Are we there yet?” Well, we can start asking now. And the answer may be that we are almost there. Case in point: No Man’s Sky.
No Man’s Sky (www.no-mans-sky.com, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Man's_Sky) is a video game produced by Hello Games being released on PC and PS4 in the next 12 months. What sets it apart from every video game you’ve ever seen is this: it hosts a fully explorable galaxy with up to 18 quintillion distinct planets. The sheer massiveness of that is beyond words, and unlike Minecraft or World of Warcraft, the worlds are FULL, not blocky or pre-defined. They may have fully distinct animal and plant species on each habitable planet, of various sizes and shapes and colors. See for yourself:
The way you play is to explore and discover. All players inhabit the same universe, but start out far apart from each other on the rim of this enormous galaxy, so even though you can fly or space-jump from planet to planet in your spaceship and land on innumerable worlds, get out and explore them on foot, you would rarely, or perhaps never, meet another player. So you would just keep exploring, being the first person ever to find and discover the corners of each planet or star you come across, naming and classifying things like a cross between Charles Darwin and Neil Armstrong, surviving the dangers of the natural environments of space, stars, planets and asteroids, gathering materials and improving your craft.
How is it possible for a virtually infinite universe to be created and managed? The answer is that it is procedural, meaning that every star system, orbiting body, continent, feature, plant and animal is generated just beyond your observable view as a product of hundreds of mathematical formulae. Only what you see is managed on the game servers. Nothing you can’t see exists at all in any way, but as soon as you look, it’s there, fully-formed. Leave and come back and it will be exactly as you left it, it being the product of math. How much farther would one have to go in the development of a simulated universe to get something that so closely resembles our vast universe? Maybe not very far at all.
Could God have started our universe as simply as No Man's Sky? Could it be that the entire universe is the product of 100 or 1000 formulas? Physics seems to say so. We only have 100 or so naturally occurring elements, differentiated for the most part by just 3 major particles and a handful of other ones, themselves all just various configurations of energy. The rest is just what happens when those particles get near each other, and the dominoes start falling.
Given the distance we’ve traveled in the last few decades, becoming a Creator of a universe like ours may only be a few decades away.