In 1984 David Braben and Ian Bell managed to fit a simulated galaxy into 22 Kilobytes — a computer programming feat that inspired the creation of the first internet newsgroup as well as a generation of programmers.
Now, after a successful crowdfunding campaign, Braben is bringing the classic Elite computer simulation1 to a new generation, and this time it simulates what we know about our existing galaxy, with procedural programming techniques based on real-world data filling in what we don’t.
‘SteveWilds’ in the comments of The New Yorker’s article:
@jmr You can also explore this reconstructed galaxy in David Braben’s game. In fact the first and biggest player group in the game will be the First Great Expedition, whose goal is to travel as far into the simulation as possible, mapping and recording their discoveries as they go, as virtual scientific endeavour.
No other computer game has given people the opportunity to do this, let alone in a theoretically accurate simulation of this scale.
Though John Walker’s essay is about computer games, its arguments apply to ‘intellectual property’ in any field.
Everyone has experienced the dribble-chinned tedium of various copyright industries screeching, “BUT YOU WOULDN’T STEAL A CAR!”* at us, as we sit in the cinema to watch a film while being told about how it’s our fault that no one’s sitting in a cinema watching a film, or indeed as we sit back to enjoy our legally purchased DVD.