(I'm something of a MMORPG aficionado (for the unitiated, a MMORPG is an online game with many players, a persistent virtual world, and a strong emphasis on story). Many of these games are in a typical Sword & Sorcery fantasy setting, with a bacground plot like 'The archnecrowizard Mungo D'alba'torbius used the Sacred Percolater of Matanumbyum to create the fabled G'ldeor Latte, a drink that could give cats energy. This accidently destroyed the elven city of Auralcex, and snce then the elves have been at war with the human kingdom of Mandor and the Dwarven real of Upper D'bum. For some reason, brave adventurer, this means you must gradually power level your character by camping mob spawns and selling the loot in a constant cycle'.

This is all well and good, but I have a dream for a mmorpg with a difference. One with more player control, where the majotity of buildings are player built, with businesses player run, with towns and kingdoms and wars and economies player controlled. Where progress is not measured by combat skill point variables, but by networking and building status. Where events might just be a little more like history as we know it.

Until I learn more programming (I am applying for a CS degree, so who knows) this will remain a dream. I have, however, written what could be a brief background to a more realistic, less 'magical' game, trying to express some scientific theories of the world's creation in what I hope is a more poetic form.)

No-one knows for sure how the universe began. Some think that it has always existed; others say that order emerged from primal chaos, or that the universe sprang into existance from the void; still others believe that the world is merely a thought in the mind of some infinite God.

At any rate, the universe has certainly existed for thousands of millions of years. Originally a vast, uniform sea of hydrogen gas, slight fluctuations are amplified by the force of gravity, creating ripples and eddies. These may accumulate into vast interstellar clouds, and the increased gravitational attraction of these clouds causes further accretion of matter, until they coalesce into huge whirling discs of dust and gas.

Mass concentrates in the hub, causing an increase in heat and energy. Hydrogen atoms combine into the element helium, and release further energy; this chain reaction is known as nuclear fusion. A star is born.

The remaining matter in the disk coalesces into smaller spheres. Some are small, rocky worlds; others are large and gaseous. As the disc revolved, so do these planets orbit their star, and the moons orbit their planets; those nearer travelling faster, those farther out, more slowly. Billions of these stars may gather into great formations known as galaxies, and billions of the galaxies exist in the universe.

These infant planets are fiery balls of molten rock, bombarded by meteors and asteroids. If they grow large enough with the material from these bombardments, and are far enough away from their sun, they may be able to retain an atmosphere. This allows further cooling, solidfying the exterior into a thin crust, and allowing the synthesis of water. Rain falls for a few hundred million years, forming the oceans.

In one of these galaxies, around one of these stars, a very interesting molecule was formed in a vast, seething, chemical ocean. This molecule had the ability to stimulate the chemical reactions that formed it; essentially, it could make copies of itself.

As the replicator fulfilled its chemical destiny of conquering the primordial seas, different varieties emerged. Those that were more stable, or more efficient, prospered. Eventually a replicator came into existance that surrounded itself in a lipid bubble, and the first cell was created.

Early life subsisted on the organic molecules ambient in the water, but as the supply diminished, some cells began to subsist on the energy from sunlight, and some by consuming other cells; thus were plants and animals formed.

Life continued to evolve, always into the most efficient forms for survival and reproduction. Lifeforms became multicellular, they colonised the land and the air. Some lifeforms survived by being the strongest, fastest, or toughest; others by strength in numbers, finding an individual niche, or leeching nutrients from the strong, fast and tough.

Around six million years ago, a species of ape came down from the trees and began to walk tall on the wide savannahs. They survived by being the sharpest, and their destiny is to rule their planet.