Aaron Oldenburg
Based in Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Release date:
Fall 2019

PC / Mac


Regular Price:



Desert Mothers is a game where players begin in the same procedurally-generated desert environment, but that begins to diverge for each player as their local landscape changes based on the player's actions. The environmental AI is observing the player and responds "emotionally" to their actions through weather and other changes. The constraints within which the players interact are discovered during play, and revolve around the body, breath, drawing, and out-of-body exploration.


The game was begun in January 2017 and has a planned release for fall 2019. This is part of a series of games where I explore mechanics and generative landscapes inspired by altered states of consciousness. It follows a sub-series of games inspired by internal "worlds" induced by the atypical psychedelic Salvia Divinorum as well as a game that attempts to mimic a hypnagogic state. Desert Mothers is partly inspired by the dynamics of group meditation and psychedelic experiences like ayahuasca ceremonies. Though not a religious game, the name is inspired by early Christian ascetics who lived isolated lives in the desert, having spiritual experiences.


  • Meditate, draw, breathe, and watch the environment change in response
  • Listen to an abstracted audioscape
  • Play the game with others online or solo, in virtual reality (Oculus Rift or GearVR), or with a gamepad if you don't have VR
  • Explore abandoned structures or view the perspective of the world from nearby flora and fauna
  • Communicate gesturally with other players


Trailer Vimeo



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Awards & Recognition

  • "Official Selection" IEEE-GEM 2019 (Games, Entertainment and Media)

Selected Articles

  • "Strangely relaxing."
    - Playtester #1, UBGamelab
  • "I like the confusion, it's disarming."
    - Playtester #2, UBGamelab
  • "Reminded me of one of those strange suspense horror games, where nothing dangerous happens, but the environment is weird and freaks you out."
    - Playtester #3, UBGamelab
  • "Reminds me of a vivid dream."
    - Playtester #4, UBGamelab

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Some inspiration
Migraine Art https:.

Some more inspiration
Etel Adnan https:.

About Aaron Oldenburg

I'm a solo game designer and new media/video/interactive artist.

More information
More information on Aaron Oldenburg, our logo & relevant media are available here.

Desert Mothers Credits

Aaron Oldenburg


Aaron Oldenburg

presskit() by Rami Ismail (Vlambeer) - also thanks to these fine folks