He gazed out into the darkness, the nothingness, his fingers trembling with anticipation. He could see nothing, but he felt the potential, building and sparking from his fingertips.
The first steps were always the same, a framework for later creativity to stand upon. “Let there be light,” he spoke out. “Point source, coordinates x zero,, y zero, z one thousand.”
Light clicked on above him, brilliant and blinding. His eyes snapped shut reflexively. He always forgot about specifying a brightness modifier. He commanded the brightness to drop to seventy five, and then opened his eyes again to gaze out into the whiteness.
“Let there be earth,” he announced next. “Origin x zero, y zero, z zero, variation constant zero point two eight, z-min minus four hundred, z-max two hundred and fifty.” The land flashed out in all directions from his feet, the rough pixelated grid appearing in each square for a split second before it was filled in with generated terrain.
He paused for a moment to admire the newly created topography before his next creationary command. He had learned early on to make the oceans and valleys deeper than the highest mountains, to help avoid cropping issues with the light. The variation constant, however, had taken him years to perfect. He nodded approvingly at the rolling hills that surrounded him.
His next command was much more complex, referencing several inserted templates. Water was tricky to create, and he preferred to simply reuse the code that specified variables like light permeability, surface tension, flow rates, and so on. Some purists rewrote their water code from scratch with each world, but he personally felt that doing so was just overkill. He had written the original code he worked with, and knew every line. He finished the command and watched approvingly as the bottoms of the valleys filled with clear water.
Now that the basics of the landscape were in place, he pulled up his assignment to check the specifics. He was glad to see that this world was supposed to be lush with vegetation across a variety of biomes. He had designed post-apocalyptic worlds before, when work had been scarce, but irradiated wastelands quickly grew repetitive.
He called up his subroutines and templates for grass, bushes, and trees. He set the grass to a ninety five percent spread rate, where light levels were above thirty, and watched it grow outward from his feet to cover the distant hills. Trees were next; he set a variable spread rate, from five percent up to sixty percent, knowing that this would give him both plains and forests. With clumps of trees now dotting the landscape, he added scattered bushes, keeping them sparse enough to prevent them from obstructing the view.
Before moving on he stopped, drinking in the panorama. The very first clouds were starting to form, and the sky was darkening from white to pale blue. He coded a faint intermittent breeze, rustling the leaves of the trees and bending the blades of grass.
After a deep breath, he leapt up into the air, scanning for chunk generation errors as he flew over the land. The buildings and animals would be added in later, lovingly released by their own individual designers. For now, the world would wait, peaceful in green stasis.
He saved the new world, his creation, and specified the proper code names and extensions for the world to be linked to its project file. He unplugged himself briefly from his terminal, stood up, stretched his arms over his head. After a sip of rehydrated coffee, he opened his next assignment. He called up a new file.
Plugging himself back in, he gazed out at the darkness. His fingers tingled.