Escapist Magazine has posted a fascinating article detailing the attempts of an heir to a furniture fortune, and graduate students from the Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa to create a non-violent first person Hindu shooter.

It sounds crazy at first, but when you look at the actual thought and effort that went into the game, it isn't that dissimilar from today's RPGs -- "We had Vedic abilities: astrology, Ayurvedic healing, breathing (meditation), herbalism, Gandharva Veda music, architecture (which let you purify demonic areas) and yagyas (rituals). During the game, you could acquire the siddhis of clairvoyance, levitation, invisibility, shrinking and strength. Your aim was to achieve pure consciousness by cleansing your six chakras in ascending order. But your current karma (depicted as a gray pall over your character's silhouette), if it covered any chakras, prevented you from cleansing them. So you had to remove karma by completing quests before you could purify yourself."

The only way to actually win the game would have been to complete it without harming or killing any other living creature. You could die and be reincarnated in a number of different forms like a human, a pig, a dog, or a worm -- but whatever form you came back as would limit the way in which you could interact with other characters in the game.

They had licensed the Unreal Warfare engine for use in the game, but eventually things began to fall apart because the graphics looked sub-par, and the producer had to face the facts that the development was beyond the team's ability to create.

Still, at least they tried to do something new that wasn't another standard shooter clone and featured some true innovation. It's refreshing when someone takes a risk every now and then and puts something truly unique on the map.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

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