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I am developing a game in which the main characters are manifestations of pop culture. The eventually reach a climax where they fight "The Corporate Machine", a manifestation of companies trying to regulate the Internet and TV shows and obstruct free speech, which wants to delete (kill) them and mess with their plots. My questions are:

  1. How should I go about making the Internet a world?
  2. Should websites be places?
  3. How should I develop the characters' personalities - around their memes, fandom e.t.c.?
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    $\begingroup$ This seems slightly too broad for this site, but I don't actually know the specific rules I should cite, nor do I have the authority to really change anything. If I were a moderator, however, I would ask you to expand on your prompt. Make your questions more pointed, add more detail to the world, and format your question in a more readable format. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 3:08
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    $\begingroup$ "How do I represent the internet as a video game level?" isn't a question about building a fictional world but about game design. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 3:10
  • $\begingroup$ This isn't worldbuilding, it's storybuilding. I suggest you go rent Johnny Mnemonic and Tron for examples of how people have done this (the fact that you're using the Internet does not make the issue unique). $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 4:45
  • $\begingroup$ With the exception of "C" this is a worldbuilding question, just poorly worded. The core of the question is how best to represent the structure of the internet (more importantly the web) as geography, to be experienced in a way comparable to the real world. $\endgroup$
    – rek
    Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 4:58
  • $\begingroup$ Another reading suggestion: The WWW trilogy by Robert J. Sawyer. How the Internet became intelligent. Very good books. $\endgroup$
    – Legisey
    Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 8:44

2 Answers 2

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The internet is a massive network comprised of subnetworks, subsubnetworks, etc, etc. On each network are servers, devices, computers, and others, all collectively referred to as "clients". These vary from super computer nodes to home wifi routers, to google web servers.

As pointed out by @rek, the structural unit you choose for each client is up to you. Maybe its planets, maybe its worlds, maybe its buildings. Personally, I like to think of them as buildings. Some of these buildings are small and have complex internals; these are servers that have functions and tools and equipment that lets them do whatever they're supposed to do. Other of these buildings are very large and have many different rooms and "sub-buildings" inside of them; these are routers that have private networks behind them.

Every device on the internet is identified by two things: IP addresses and hostnames. IP addresses are computational ways of identifying other computers and are in the format "123.123.123.123". They can change and be reassigned as necessary in order to free up resources where necessary. Hostnames usually do not change (unless you want them to) and are 'resolved' into IP addresses. This resolution is done by looking up the hostname at an authoritative DNS server; these servers might be the equivalent of a public directory system. If your DNS records are out of date, you can't find a server.

So, to recap, every IP address on the internet refers to a building. Some buildings have multiple IP addresses, and some buildings have many more IP addresses inside of them that you can only access once you're inside the building. So, to move from one building to another, you need to know both the IP address of your current building, and you need to know either a) the IP address of the other building or b) the hostname of the other building and have access to the public directory system.

I hope this helps some. The end visualization can be done a dozen different ways and really relies heavily on what styles and requirements your game has.

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When visualizing the internet it's often represented as a galaxy-like expanse of connections:

Map of the internet

At the intersections of those connective lines are the sites and servers, like stars. The form you want those "stars" to take is really up to you: planets in space, buildings in a city, islands on the ocean, etc.

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