For more information, updates and devlogs, see our Atelier.

What is Lilavati?


  • A secret society whose secrecy was maintained for centuries by accepting no members and doing nothing. Now, we make videogames.
  • A design goal: dialogue as a core mechanics, with no less player agency and strategic depth than we'd want from games about killing people.
  • A framework: an engine and a theory, both open to modding.
  • An axiom: the gameplay-narrative divide is a bug, not a feature.
  • A hope: that games can be literary and fun, philosophical as a matter of fact rather than as a manifesto.
  • A promise: that by "philosophical game" we do not mean a quote-spouting postmodern monochrome roguelike Metroidvania titled "God Just Keeps Dying".
    (No matter how much we want to make that game now.)
  • What's the big idea?


    tl;dr: We are all about weaponized eloquence.

    Dialogue in games is becoming more exploratory - but even at its best, it only lets the player react to situations, never take the lead. We want to see games where dialogue is a learnable skill, where it rewards strategy, foresight and curiosity.

    To achieve this, our idea stands between a dialogue tree, a concept map and network theory (or certain hacking minigames!). It plays out on a map where:

  • Ideas are places that you can claim and defend.
  • Arguments are paths between those places.
  • Logic causes chain reactions: disprove an idea, and all those that depend on it may fall.
  • Emotions and relationships are at stake: ideas or arguments
    • improve your standing, if they impress or flatter,
    • weaken it, if they are hurtful or proven wrong.
  • A conversation has multiple goals: your strategy will depend on whether you are trying to
    • prove your dominance in a debate,
    • befriend a stranger,
    • work together to solve a mystery.
  • Every conversation is a different board, with many possible ideas and arguments to explore. You can play to win and ignore the content, read it just for the ideas and narrative, or balance the power game and the communication. As in real discourse.

    For more information, see our complete writeup in the Atelier.

    Who are we?


    The Playful One

    Līlāvatī of Bijapur
    Mythopoeic Archetype
    Collective Persona


    The Founders, Hallowed Be Their Avatars

    Adam Hasvers
    Code, Art, Miscellanea.

    Benjamin Bouvrot
    Music and Sound design.

    Contact them.


    The Helpers, Righteous Among The Interwebs

    Tchako
    The Original QA Master.

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    A lot more can be expressed in a few references than in a great many feature lists, though 'tis said that they who live by comparison shall pale by comparison.

    But hey, here are some giants on whose shoulders we'd love to stand for our next project:

  • Our writing takes inspiration from Hermann Hesse's and Umberto Eco's playful (and unapologetic) erudition, and the mix of genres and tones found in the equally witty Fallen London and Welcome to Night Vale.
  • Our visuals are strongly indebted to the composition of Ho Fan, the melancholy tones of Vrubel, the graphic lines of Mucha and the neo-miniature and illuminated style of Eyvind Earle.
  • Our ideas owe to Goffman and Bateson, Lakatos and the people in Eranos (Jung, Scholem, Eliade).
  • See this devlog for further thoughts about our origins.
    © 2015 Lilavati.