Cantr’s Mission

By   May 24, 2019

Why does Cantr exist, and how should we go about deciding the mechanics and policies of Cantr?

Jos (the founder of Cantr) provides a helpful description of Cantr’s beginnings and motivation:

I think the main points from that are the following:

  1. a player gets to experience many different characters with unique perspectives
  2. there’s time continuity and history
  3. players don’t decide the results of character’s actions- they initiate them
  4. characters are restricted by their environment, which I call the mechanics of the game

But why are limitations desirable?
I recently proposed the following mission statement after some staff discussion, and received Jos’ endorsement as the founder:

Cantr’s mission is to foster creativity, learning, and communication in a world simulating the challenges of real life.


Creativity: Players come up with ideas for characters and their character’s actions, including innovative ways to resolve the challenges that present themselves in interactions with other characters and the environment.

Learning: Learning comes through challenge, failure, and motivation to overcome challenges. Cantr provides this without requiring the loss of opportunities or physical consequences in real life.

Communication: Social interaction with other people is also essential for learning, especially language learning, and Cantr brings together people with different backgrounds and languages. As Cantr is text-based, it provides an opportunity to be expressive and put creative writing to use in a simulated world.

Foster (definitions from
“encourage or promote the development of (something, typically something regarded as good)”
“develop (a feeling or idea) in oneself”
“bring up (a child that is not one’s own by birth)”
Like the development of one’s characters. This reflects the fact that characters do all their learning after spawning, and similarly there is always more for players to learn alongside their characters.

Cantr isn’t real life and doesn’t need to be to simulate many of the mental, emotional, and intellectual challenges of real life. However, reflecting the real world is generally an advantage for this purpose.

If I thought I had nothing uplifting to get out of Cantr, I wouldn’t have been able to justify my stay here all these years. See this post on my personal blog for my thoughts on this point:

I’m excited to put this mission statement into practice by fostering a Cantr with a consistent purpose and for the benefit of players, going beyond simple recreation to recreation that is inspiring and brings one to reflect on life.

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