I nodded my head, satisfied that the situation was at least mostly resolved now. So long as proper steps were taken in the future, it wouldn’t be too hard to keep the Dawn Kingdom intact as a sign that it was possible to stand apart from the Council. If another crisis happened in the future, and a lower floor was sealed off, it was even possible that Dawn might absorb other floors into its forces as well.
You all narrowed down the game world you want to buy? I sent the message towards Aurivy, since now that the matter with Fyor was taken care of, the only thing left to do at this point was fast forward enough that such a game would be possible in Desbar. And from what I had seen, that meant only ten, maybe fifteen more years.
I think so! Aurivy responded after a moment. There’s this cool one that’s a blend of science and magic. It’s advertised as not being as ‘high power’ as some of their other products, but there is WAY more to explore in it. Think of it like one of those procedurally generated endless sandboxes.
I raised an eyebrow as I thought of that, but ultimately nodded my head in acceptance. I wasn’t quite sure how Sarah had managed to get something like that set up, given what she had explained as her process for creating these game worlds. It wasn’t a big enough question to bother her directly about it, however, as I would likely get the information myself when I purchased the world.
Alright, show me. After I sent her that message, I shifted my focus back to Desbar, making sure that Lenan was still set properly with their focus. As I did so, I noticed that Reality Virtual was a new option for them to specialize their cultural development towards. By the time I had finished inputting that setting, a window had appeared in front of me.
VE for short, this game world is designed to be played with the Reality Virtual system. Set in a world where magic and technology have become one and the same, players are able to take on nearly an infinite number of possibilities in this self-expanding universe. Whether they want to become a king or a bandit, an archmage or a stellar adventurer, it is all possible here.
A note from the developer. This game is a test of a new AI template. If you encounter any problems, please contact the developer and we will walk you through the steps to fix any issues you may have. For ongoing changes, please see the forum thread concerning this world.
A new AI template? I looked a bit confused at that, remembering that Sammy seemed to prefer to ‘program’ all of the AI himself. Maybe this game came around before he started doing that regularly? Just to be safe, I opened up the thread for the world, prepared to find a plethora of issues being addressed. Instead, the only real issue I found was that the game seemed to have trouble working for worlds that did not have a vaguely humanoid race. As one last precaution, I did end up sending a message to Sarah. If we were about to buy an ‘experimental product’, it was worth making sure that she hadn’t run into too many problems with it so far.
EverLasting: Well, that didn’t take long! Settle on which game you want to buy already?
EarthForceOne: Well, hello to you, too. But yeah, they did pick one out that they like. Vision Expanse. Market entry says that it uses an experimental AI, so I wanted to make sure to check that there weren’t any major issues.
EverLasting: Ooh, VE! Good pick for a first go. As for issues… mind if I ask what race you have set to ‘develop’ the game? Given the form you took, it should be humans, right?
EarthForceOne: Close. Actually, a type of nocturnal demons.
EverLasting: Huh, alright. Well, as long as they look at least a little humanoid, it should be alright. We get customers of so many races, we set up the NPCs with a system that matches them to the race of the developing party. VE… if I recall right, that one has a scripted command that it runs when you first purchase it. The script will prompt you to select which race you want as ‘dominant’ in the world, which will be the developing race typically.
EverLasting: Once you make that choice, the game goes into a soft reset. Nothing to panic over. It changes the race of any human NPCs into the one you selected. Since different races have different qualities, this lets the world AI adapt the game to each specific race.
EarthForceOne: It lets the AI adapt it? Is the AI sentient or something?
EverLasting: Oh! Right, yeah, it is. The world AI is kind of like a pseudo-Companion. Uhmm… do you have World Spirits on your world?
EarthForceOne: I do, yes…
EverLasting: Oh, good. Yeah, she’s one of those, with a couple special systems purchased to affect her. She’s able to monitor the entire VE game system, and report back to the Keeper if any problems arise. Aside from that, she has the ability to help set up events for the game, working as a sort of interface between the Keeper and the systems controlling the game.
A World Spirit set up with that much control? Might as well call her a goddess, just without Admin Room access… Either way, I thanked Sarah for the information. Alright, looks like that world’s good for purchase. Once Desbar is able to implement the system, I’ll buy the world off the market.
Shouldn’t be too long. Surprisingly, it was Ashley’s voice that spoke up in my mind next. I’ve got a company starting up with my current incarnation. Once you get things fast forwarding, it should be able to take off and get the system started.
I couldn’t help but chuckle upon hearing that. Ashley had been working to manage a game development team back in our old world, and now she was about to lead a company to develop an online world, complete with the technology to get you there. I’ll get it going, then.
With that, I set the worlds to fast forward, with a new alarm set to stop when the Reality Virtual technology tree had been developed. I did… not have to wait very long at all. A mere eighteen years after the worlds began to advance, and it was ready.
“Any word from the Council?” An aged female dovah asked, sitting upon one of twenty thrones. At the moment, only six of them were occupied, the rest of their owners being out of the palace at the moment. Kneeling before her was a lightborn, its radiance masked to make them appear as little more than a normal human.
“Merely the same, Magister.” The lightborn reported professionally. “They will not condone trade with a ‘rebel nation’, and demand the stones by right of discovery and the old contract.”
The dovah barked a laugh out at that. This was a ‘negotiation’ that had gone on for too long. “They want our resources, but are unwilling to give anything for them? This is the kind of attitude that made us establish Dawn in the first place.”
“What is this old contract that they speak of?” A young halfling wearing blue robes sat on a throne near the elderly dovah, looking to her as he asked.
The dovah sighed, shaking her head. This Magister was still too young, and had only just risen to power due to an innate talent for magic. “Before the Age of Shadows, the Council did indeed find resources within this layer. They sent every able body they could to retrieve them. But, when the night came, and the shadows came to life, how could our grandparents, and their parents spare the time to carry out the Council’s will?”
“Indeed, there was a contract signed by our former generations. But it was not signed by us. This mission has no binding over the world today, and their right of discovery means nothing. The resources that they want come from our seas. That is the only right of ownership that applies here. Tell me, Jasper, what would you do?”
The halfling sank into thought at that, lowering his head. This was not the first time such a question had been posed to him, as the other Magisters often used similar moments to test his ability to make decisions that would affect the kingdom. “We will not hand over the stone.” He said in a resolute voice, nodding heavily. “If they wish for it, they can either purchase it from us, or purchase the right to have their own people pull it from the water.”
“But what if they choose to send in smugglers?” An aged human male asked from the other side of Jasper, smiling slightly as he urged the halfling to continue.
“Smugglers? There’s… not a good way for us to properly stop them if they use a member of the church to avoid checkpoints. Ah! We can set up sea patrols to watch for mining vessels.”
The human gave a satisfied nod at that answer. “Sea patrols, is it? I quite like the sound of that.” He then turned his head to face the lightborn. “Please pass on the message. If they wish to harvest from our waters, they will have to pay the price. We will not offer up what is ours for mere scraps. They can either make an equal trade, or purchase the right to mine from specific regions. Any who violate this decree will be treated as a criminal, and be dealt with according to their crimes.”
The lightborn looked to the remaining Magisters, only to see them nodding their heads in agreement. “Very well, Magisters. I will pass the message along.” With that, his body began to shine, bursting into rays of light that flew through the door to the room.
Once outside, his body reformed, his eyes beginning to shine like torches. “The Magisters have spoken.” His voice echoed in an empty hallway, but it also sounded in the mind of another Lightborn far, far away, passing through several others to reach the first layer. “They will not acquiesce to a contract signed by their forefathers.”
Glad to see that full scale war has not been a thing yet. I thought inwardly, checking up on Dawn once the worlds had stopped fast forwarding. Afterwards, I turned back to the popup that had appeared when my alarm went off.
Reality Virtual system has been researched to Stage 1. You now possess a world capable of creating a vast digital world, and have access to the Reality Virtual interface.
Please use the Reality Virtual interface when buying a new world that you wish to digitize. If you wish to convert an already existing world, there will be a small fee depending on the nature of the world involved. By purchasing through this interface, you will receive a digital copy of the desired world, compatible with the world that has unlocked this system.
“So I have a new interface now, huh?” I shook my head, briefly opening this new interface in order to see what it had available to me. Currently, there was an empty ‘Worlds’ list, with a button to purchase a new one. Aside from that, it looked fairly similar to my normal Keeper menu, except that there was no forum or messaging service.
I gave a small shrug of my shoulders, choosing to purchase the Vision Expanse world through this new interface. Immediately, a series of events took place. The same blue light that so often deposited information globes for me began to rise up from my desk, while at the same time more windows began to appear.
You have chosen to purchase Vision Expanse for 8650 points. Converting to a digital format.
Vision Expanse requires special access permissions for a unique entity. Permissions include messaging powers in connection to the Keeper and all purchased Companions. Do you consent to these permissions?
Congratulations, you have earned a personal achievement!
For buying your first digital world, you have earned the Digitized achievement. +15 points.
As I was looking over the messages, I saw that the light on my desk had faded, leaving behind what looked like a small flash drive. Only, the plug for it was circular, making it look quite a bit different than what I knew. “And I think that’s for me.” Ashley called out from the hall, quickly opening the door and running into the room, her tail swaying behind her.
She ran towards me, clearly excited, and swiped up the flash drive just as quickly as I could ask… “You were expecting this?”
“Terra let me know that you’d be getting something for me once the system was set up.” She answered, looking over the flash drive. “Looks about right for the demons. Hard to believe that this little thing stores enough data to cover an entire universe. I’ll need to plug it in once I get back. Hell, once the data’s transferred, this could be reverse engineered to create an all new generation of computers.”
She seemed almost in a trance as she looked over the flash drive, causing me to chuckle as I turned back towards the computer. Sarah told me that there were special systems for the world spirit on VE, so I immediately chose to accept. And as soon as I did so, another message appeared. Unlike the normal, blue system messages, this one had a faint golden border.
May I know the title of my new Keeper?
I could see the words typing them out within the window, and I wasn’t quite sure how to respond. Verbally, maybe? Should I type back? I decided to try and narrow it down, first. “EarthForceOne. But you can call me Dale.”
Dale. It is a pleasure to meet you. My name is Vivi, and I am the Augmented Intelligence that EverLasting created to watch over this world. Please do not worry, I do not hold any lingering attachments to my former Keeper, as I am aware that she created me for this purpose.
Now, before we begin, there are a few pieces of information that I need to acquire before the world is ready for use.
So… AI was short for Augmented Intelligence, not Artificial Intelligence. I suppose that’s an apt classification, when you’re dealing with an elevated spirit. “She told me. Let’s get started, Vivi.”