“Alright, Cici, how exactly does C-2 create so many worlds?” I asked, opening my system menu. Ashley had already delivered the software to her incarnation, and was in the process of ‘installing’ the game. This meant that it had appeared within the void, giving me the chance to see what it was like.
To my surprise, this world was tiny. If I had to guess, I would assume that it was a size zero world, which essentially meant that planets were the size of one large building. Obviously, this wasn’t enough to support a population, but there was no population to speak of. Instead, the space within the world had been replaced by what seemed like endless offices, each one having a standing pod. This pod looked like what one might expect to see used as a full-body virtual reality capsule.
“The process is rather simple, sir.” Cici explained with a smile. “Whenever it is time to initiate a new world, a version of myself will take the people who are playing that scenario aside to ask about the parameters of what they want. Afterwards, they enter a capsule within Codex Chaotic. Using a highly advanced artificial intelligence program, backed by the systems built into the game, a simulated world is established for them.”
“If there are key characters that the individual will face multiple times in their daily life, such as family, lovers, or coworkers, those individuals will be supplemented by souls offered from your respective afterlife system. Other inhabitants of their world will be artificial intelligence programs with more simple cognition.”
I gave a small nod when I heard that, before my brows furrowed. “What happens to the souls after the simulation is complete?”
Cici blinked, before seeming to understand. “Do not worry, sir. The souls do not immediately pass through whatever cycle you may possess. Rather, souls obtained for Codex Chaotic are equivalent to full-time workers. When they are inserted into a simulation, their memories and personalities are replaced with the role that they are chosen for.”
“When they are not present in the simulation of another user, they are kept in a collective simulation with their original identities. Likewise, when the simulation that borrows them ends, they are returned to this collective. Souls can either be permanently given to the simulation, or sent to work in shifts, according to the wishes of yourself and whatever entity may be overseeing your afterlife system.”
“Will they remember what role they played in a simulation?” I asked, to which Cici shook her head.
“No, sir. Doing so would compromise their sense of self and could lead to lasting trauma. Instead, the souls are leased to provide a more ‘living’ aspect to the simulation, but the data that the soul carries is converted into their new identity. Similarly, when they leave, their data is restored to the point they were brought in. This is to ensure a peaceful living environment within the collective simulation, and the potential for souls to rejoin the cycle, should an agreement be reached that would allow them to do so.”
I looked over at Irena when I heard that, and she nodded her head. “I can take care of that. Cici, what sort of environment is the collective simulation?”
Cici’s smile became brighter when she heard that. “Unlike the simulations created for players, the collective simulation does not suffer the threat of void monsters. In fact, there are no monsters present within this simulation. It was created with the purpose of being the ‘ideal utopia’, where any of a person’s needs can be handled with ease. The only apparent downside is that souls chosen for a simulation are randomized, so it will be common for a soul to go missing for lengths of time while they are being used in a simulation.”
“I see…” Irena smiled slightly. “In that case, I’ll set things up so that people have a choice upon entering the afterlife. If they want to enter your simulation, they can do so until such time as their soul reaches the end of its lifespan, or they wish to immediately be reborn.”
“That is perfectly acceptable!” Cici nodded her head quickly.
However, that caused me to look over curiously. “If the collective simulation doesn’t have a void threat, does that mean that you could potentially create worlds that don’t have such a threat from the beginning, to use as other forms of simulations?”
Cici tilted her head curiously, a finger on her chin. “While it is possible, it is not a standard application of my systems. Doing so would eliminate the possibility of a ‘game over’, after all. Unless requested by the Keeper, this option will not be available to players of the world.”
“That’s fine, I just wanted to ask about the possibility. What world systems are available for your simulation worlds? Can people design new systems to incorporate?”
When Cici heard my question, she shook her head. “The system database synchronizes with your Administration Room. This is to prevent the Keeper purchasing the game from needing to spend points making different systems available to the game.”
“When someone chooses to create a simulation, they are given a series of choices. They can either choose for their simulation to follow one specific world’s structure, or they can choose to dismiss certain systems.”
“As an example, I see that you are using Runic Magic for one world, and Familiar Magic for another, as well as systems like Party and Kingdom. When people create a simulation, they can either embrace the full shared laws, or remove certain ones, such as ‘a world without magic’ or ‘a world without kingdoms’. They may even go so far as to remove all systems from a world, creating only a fundamentally basic world with the race or races that they choose to inhabit it.”
I nodded my head, before hesitating again. “Would it be possible for someone to create a world where they themselves are the Keeper?”
Cici hesitated, before shaking her head. “Yes and no. They can establish themselves as the Keeper in the way that the mortal world would perceive you, a being with incredible powers. However, they cannot create a simulation in which they have an Administration Room, and the ability to access the Keeper systems. This aspect was purposely excluded from the game’s design to prevent certain events that might occur because of them.”
That was, honestly, probably a good thing. “In that case, I only have one last question. How many people can join a single simulation, and are those people all required to be online at the same time for the simulation to function?”
“There is no limit to the number of people that can be present in a single simulation, sir!” Cici reported energetically, arms crossed behind her back. “However, everyone taking part in the simulation must be logged in at the same time for the simulation to progress. This is because the simulated world is paused while inactive, and the souls within it are temporarily returned to the collective.”
“Thank you, Cici. I think that is everything that we need to discuss immediately. Though, before you go. I don’t believe this to be the case, but your game doesn’t interact with systems that synchronize your power with the game world, does it?”
“It does not, sir.” She shook her head. “Because the player can create a simulation where their power is drastically different from the real world, this was deemed as infeasible. While knowledge obtained in the simulation can be applied to real life, in the exception of cases where critical systems differ, the experience in terms of the world system will not be affected.”
“Thank you.” I nodded, and Cici vanished from the screen, likely going to meet with Fifi and Vivi. Once she was gone, I turned to look at the others. “Any final thoughts or concerns?”
They looked at one another, seeming to think it over. In the end, the one that spoke up was Ashley. “This will mean that certain ideas we had before wouldn’t work out, such as using the simulations to train large groups at once. If a single individual wasn’t able to attend, nobody in the group would be able to activate the simulation. However, it should still be able to help for what it was designed for, raising awareness and training against void threats.”
The others nodded their heads in agreement, Tubrock grunting. “Unfortunately, the fact that this game creates simulations instead of proper worlds means that the Digital Conversion system won’t be able to save files from the simulations. Still, it should be able to be used within the simulations, unless someone asked for it to be excluded.”
Hearing that, I nodded my head as well. Seeing that nobody else had any other concerns, I returned to the mortal world, where I found myself already positioned on my throne. Tsubaki was standing at the base of the stairs in front of me, and I was more surprised by the fact that she wasn’t kneeling than anything else. Though, the fact that she had moved me to the throne may have indicated that she had been busy with other things.
As soon as I arrived, Tsubaki turned to face me with a smile. “Welcome back, my Keeper. I was beginning to grow concerned.”
I nodded, standing up and stretching lightly. “Sorry, I had to contact some people while I was out. Also, we are getting a new game to help train people against the void.” I announced, Tsubaki’s eyes widening slightly.
“I see. When do you plan for it to be released?”
“I’ll have Ashley immediately begin the marketing, but the full release should occur within a week. That will give her enough time to upload the game’s server files to the database, and let people become aware of it.” After I said that, I began explaining the different features of Codex Chaotic, such as its single player nature.
Tsubaki listened attentively, waiting until I was finished before speaking up. “I understand, my Keeper. It will be interesting to see what sort of simulations can be created.”
Despite her saying that in a completely level tone, I couldn’t help but see her eyes all but sparkling. My brow twitched, and I let out a faint sigh. “You’re going to be playing this game regularly for your new Trials of Blood, aren’t you?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, my Keeper.” She shook her head, but her surface thoughts were emphatically agreeing with me.
If this was a game where she could choose to customize her own simulated world, including the condition of her character, I could definitely see Tsubaki setting up multiple trials for herself. Though, given that the void beast’s power level was related to how ‘positive’ the simulated world was, I couldn’t begin to imagine how weak the void beast would be attacking a world that is designed to not even be survivable by a normal person.
“I’m curious though, my Keeper.” Tsubaki spoke up, snapping me out of my thoughts. “If you combined this new game with Lifre’s domains in some way, would you be able to create a ‘replay’ of the game afterwards, letting you know where you went wrong thanks to the narrative?” I blinked when Tsubaki presented that idea, nodding my head slightly.
“That will likely be a significant investment of divinity for Lifre, but something tells me that she would like the idea. And that it would be able to pay off with how many people would use it for various purposes.” We would need to tell Lifre about that the next time she came to Olympus. Which… honestly was probably going to be as soon as Ashley announced the new game. She wouldn’t be able to help herself from wanting to learn more about it, after all.