It’s an interesting question and one that has stalked the modern age of humanity: what needs are so fundamental that they become moral rights that should be enjoyed by everyone? We’ve worked out a few that we can agree on: the right to shelter, liberty, dignity, etc. In SEED we have some basic needs that inform a central backbone of gameplay. The need for sleep, food and basic hygiene may show that we’re alive, but shows that we’re well, human? But what makes us more than just living creatures, what informs so many of our core concerns and big life decisions? Well maybe that’s where desires come into play.
Seedlings aren’t just living animals, they're the next step of humanity living on a new planet and so like us, or even more than us, they have a complex mesh of desires that need fulfilling. We’re currently developing a system of desires in SEED that deepen the day to day lives of Seedlings. I don’t want to give everything away, especially as we’re right in the middle of this, but suffice to say that our game designers are currently working with a lot of desires. Currently, we’re working with showing four desires in the user interface, we’re calling these prompted desires.
"Hey you", your Seedling is saying, "I have the desire to experience some nature!"
What are you going to do about it?
Image: Work in progress of some possible (non-confirmed) desires
Well, in an ideal world you will fulfill the desire. We are developing different ways to fulfil these Seedling needs. For the most part currently these activities take place in the part of the day not dedicated to sleep or to work. So sticking with the desire to experience nature, you could schedule a visit to the park (and say hi to the duck!) after work. This will then impact - over time - the emotional state of your Seedling. If they go straight from work to the gym every day, there ain't much nature in their life - they’re gonna get a bit bummed out.
As you can see, this aspect of Seedling’s life requires not just a fun and diverse range of activities, but also of locations and areas, where their life is filled out with fun and recreation. Again, I don’t want to give it all away here today, but with a wide range of desires comes the need for us devs to cook up a wide range of places to go and things to do in order for you players to fulfil them!
I’m going to lean on what a game designer remarked on somewhere deep in our game design vault in order to sum this area up, at least in the current version. Thematically speaking, desires focus mostly on the needs from the upper half of Maslov’s Pyramid (emotional and personal needs, belonging and love, self-actualization and esteem). As a result desires are less about physiological needs that you may find in simulation games with a survival setting, rather we want you, the player, to not worry about starvation, but rather comfort, joy or novelty (when it comes to food). In this way SEED is more relatable, real and empathic then base fight for survival.