Monolith is a freeware video game, inspired by the classic game The Sentinel and a hoax preview of a nonexistent sequel called Monolith, published in April 1995 on the Italian gaming magazine The Games Machine.
This game, developed with Dark Basic Pro, is heavily based on procedural generation, which allows it to feature over 10000 levels with a 6.54 MB executable. It is a deliberate attempt to bring that vision into reality, expanding the mechanics of the original Sentinel game with new enemies, challenges, and even a level generation mode that was missing in the original. Its aesthetics are meant to mirror the 1995 concept art as closely as possible, with new additions in the same style and an extra mode where recreations of models from the 1986 game are used.
The secret of its ten thousand levels lies in the way computers generate "random" numbers. They are not actually random: instead, a formula is used where, after a given initial value known as seed, a maximum and a minimum, a predictable sequence of values is returned.
Usually, when values the user must believe to be random are desired, the seed is the current value of the timer, which is never the same. This is the approach used to create the levels from the "Generate" menu.
If, instead, the seed is chosen in advance, the output sequence will always be the same. The sequence can then be used to generate a consistent terrain height map, coordinates for objects that exist in the game world, how many of those objects exist, and so on. This is how the 10000 levels of the main campaign are constructed.
Despite being based on pre-existing imagery, it is technically incorrect to refer to Monolith as a simulacrum, because it is a genuine game, made for people to have fun with. On the other hand, the only purpose of the 1995 Monolith preview was to deceive the readers and laugh at those who were gullible enough to believe it, and it only looked good to make a successful deception more likely: it was a copy without an original. It was a simulacrum.
Monolith is compatible with any computer that can run DirectX 9.0 programs. It can optionally be viewed in stereoscopy with your driver of choice (nVidia's legacy 3D stereo drivers, nVidia 3D Vision, iz3d, TriDef, VorpX or ReShade).
If you have not installed it already, you will require the June 2010 DirectX End-User Runtimes.
Download monolith.zip (84.9 MB)
Monolith is released under the BY-NC-ND Creative Commons License.
Monolith has two possible control schemes. The first one mirrors the original control scheme from The Sentinel; the second one is more compact and is meant to evoke the feeling of being locked inside a mechanism like the Synthoid.
You can switch between one and the other from the Settings screen in the main menu. The mouse controls are common between the two: look around by moving the mouse around; absorb objects with the left mouse button; move the cursor with the right mouse button.
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