Firm Ground Below is taken from the Enuma Elish, the Babylonian creation myth that is recognized by historians as the first in human civilization. An excerpt from the first tablet reads:
When on high the heaven had not been named,
Firm ground below had not been called by name,
When primordial Apsu, their begetter,
And Mummu-Tiamat, she who bore them all,
Their waters mingled as a single body,
No reed hut had sprung forth, no marshland had appeared,
None of the gods had been brought into being,
And none bore a name, and no destinies determined–
Then it was that the gods were formed in the midst of heaven.
Lahmu and Lahamu were brought forth, by name they were called.
Game design and development massively multiplayer online games is, at its core, the weaving of a new creation myth – treated as fiction instead of fact, as creative fantasy instead of literal history – but it is about the melding of narrative and world creation all the same. A guiding design theory that is echoed in many of the posts here is the conception that the participants of these interactive worlds are primarily motivated by a need to be both consumer and shaper of worlds and mythos, and that strong design of interactive worlds creates a canvas for them to do so.
The design of interactive worlds, therefore, is calling into name the firm ground below.