What is worldbuilding? (Elden Ring)

Oh, you’re seeking the Calcified Veil are you? [dry laugh] Well, you won’t find it here, among the Earfolk… get out while you can, chosen one. There are only podcasts here. [creepy chuckle]

Hello. What I’ve just done is called worldbuilding. Did you like it? Oh, well, never mind. I’ve got someone here who’s much better at it. In this episode of Hey Lesson, we talk to games writer Jon Ingold of Inkle Studios about the process of worldbuilding. What exactly is it? How important is it? And how do the scribblers of games, TV and film use it without falling into a deep cavern of useless lore? We’re interested because fantasy RPG Elden Ring has just come out, with author George R R Martin contributing to the game. How much exactly, we don’t know. But we can ask games journalist Ed Thorn what he felt about this latest game from creators of notoriously difficult Soulsbornes.

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How does gravity work on a ring world? (Halo Infinite)

Hope you’re not prone to dizziness. Halo Infinite is set on a giant ring in space and we wanted to know: how does gravity work on something like that? So we spoke to Scott Manley, astronomer and celebrated YouTube rocket man, about how the centrifugal force of spinning would keep Master Chief’s boots planted on the ground, and how the human body can adapt to such weirdness. Also joining us is Natalie Clayton of PC Gamer, who has been gung-ho-ing through the shooter’s campaign as well as its multiplayer. Is Halo good again? Well, she says, it’s complicated.

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What’s your zombie apocalypse plan? (Back 4 Blood)

We’ve all got one. Mine is to loot a pharmacy for pills, the delicious currency of our future. But there are better people than I in the upcoming zombie apocalypse. Dr Emily Zarka is a professor and expert on monsters and the undead. You might have seen her show, Monstrum. Well, she’s here to tell us all about the zombie’s origins in Haiti, how it has mutated over time, and her own zombie preparedness kit. Also joining us is returning bullet-mate Matt Cox! Matt has been playing Back 4 Blood with me, and you can really tell because his zombie plan is a bit, well, shooty.

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Is time an illusion? (Deathloop)

Physics says no, time is real. But that doesn’t mean strange things can’t happen to the human brain when it tries to understand the passage of time. We speak to philosopher of time Professor Craig Callender about the nature of the universe’s big ticking clock, why physicists disagree about it, and how you can categorise time travel stories as “consistent” or “inconsistent”. Deathloop is… well, it’s surprisingly simple next to Einstein’s theories. We’ve got games journalist Nic Reuben to talk about the game and what makes its Groundhog Day styled time loop (not to mention its shooting) so compelling.

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