This is a simple history of Infinite Blank’s design, development and growth.  It’s a work in progress right now.


2008 – Initial Concept

Evan Balster, known as “Jellyf15h” at the time, a member of a small Game Maker users’ community (GMClans, now vanished) sees pixel art collaborations among community members.  He thinks how neat it might be to do the same thing but in game form, where the interconnected environments are explorable.  Presumably players would draw their piece, then send the file to other players who would add to it.

May 2010 – Idea Revisited

Evan Balster, now using the handle “Cellulose Man” by coincidence, is very unproductive and a little depressed in the indolence of summer.  His engine, Plaidgadget, features a functional vector drawing utility and a brand-new networking engine written for another game.  He remembers the old idea by chance, realizes he has everything he needs to make it as an MMO and scribbles down designs in a notebook, coming up with the name “Infinite Blank”.  He decides he’ll get his coder-mojo back by starting the project at an upcoming game jam organized by Josh Larson and the Iowa Game Developers’ Fellowship.

June 5-6, 2010 – TIGJam Midwest 2010

Evan Balster begins programming Infinite Blank, getting as far as a basic collision engine for an avatar walking around on simple drawn terrain.  (The terrain is limited to line segments)  The jam is amazing and features free food.  Evan sleeps little. June 7-30, 2010 are at present the most disturbingly productive days of Evan’s life.  He shuts himself in his room for most of each day, missing dinner between three and five days a week and eating cereal in lieu.  Hunched in the dim fluorescent light he ticks away at something experimental and promising.

June 23, 2010 – Phase 0.1 begins

A functional but buggy first version of the game is proudly launched on day 18 of development for Win32, OS X and Linux, its server a five-year-old Dell running under his desk.  An excited Evan recruits a handful of players from an IRC channel to try it out, doing so repeatedly over the next few days.  Personal friends contribute a lot.

July 2010 – Indolence

Productivity comes to a halt as the summer’s habits suddenly shift to watching television with roommates and playing Crawl for endless hours.  A depressing counterbalance to the maddened productivity of the month before.

Early September, 2010 – Phase 0.1 ends

Evan moves out of his summer residence and doesn’t bother to put the server back up, as no one’s still playing.

September 2010 – Slow

The project is picked at a little (motivation is low) and the possibility of a Kickstarter for server-box funding is investigated.  Evan’s friend Ted recommends he enter his game into Sense of Wonder Night 2010, a showcase for strange and innovative games.

(TODO: Phase 0.1 ends, SOWN conference, Kickstarter, phase 0.2)

January 24, 2011 – Gone Academic?

Evan Balster signs up for an independent study under ISU Design professor Steve Herrnstadt, the plan being to have college of design students build a world which will be exhibited.

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