Atlas: The Tower
By RJ Layton, September 2007
Latest Update: October 17, 2007
Table of Contents
1.1. Sleep for Machines
1.2. The Tower
2.2. After the exodus…
3. The Machines
3.2. The Architects
3.3. The Engineers
3.4. The Workers
3.5. The Slaves
3.6. The Rogues
4.1. Outside the Tower
4.1.1. Dead earth
4.2. Tower Perimeter
4.2.2. Rogue hideouts
4.3. Inside the Tower
4.3.2. The Womb
4.3.3. The Scrap Heap
4.3.4. The Church
4.3.5. The Dormitory
4.3.6. Structural Rooms
4.3.7. Central Shaft
4.3.8. Freight Elevator
4.3.9. Railway Stations
4.4.1. The historical world
5.1.1. Construction materials
5.1.2. Battery power
Sleep for Machines
The atlas for the Tower is meant to describe and detail the world for Sleep for
Machines, a sci-fi/fantasy videogame that mixes elements of action and puzzle-
solving. The player takes on the role of a sentient slave robot that has been
repurposed for its new life of construction and maintenance of the Tower.
Experienced in a third-person perspective, as the player progresses through the
game he/she will learn the history of the world and the Tower itself, as well as its
This is the central environment for the player. Inside the Tower, construction and
maintenance takes place, and the puzzles and interactions that take place within the
Tower will primarily be related to these tasks.
Timeline of Major Events
2011 A toy company releases “DiaryPet,” a simple robot that is meant to record
the user’s voice as they dictate the events of their day to the diary, and then
store and react to the recorded messages in various ways. The device also
stores any information from the user’s computer usage for the day. The
item becomes the top-selling item at retailers worldwide, with upgrades
added in the following years.
2017 A small group of scientists led by Dr. Philip Raleigh publish study suggesting
recent heat patterns prove that the Earth’s sun has been expanding more
rapidly and will eliminate life on the planet by the year 2200.
2019 Japanese scientists announce that they have created a machine that can
successfully pass the Turing test.
2021 The world’s first private space flight takes place. Millionaire Kyle Birch orbits
the planet once. The flight costs him $1.5 million.
2027 China completes the world’s first building, a housing complex, designed and
built entirely by machines.
2031 With the earth’s oil supplies becoming depleted, major manufacturers begin
transition to alternative sources of power. The United States and other
western nations begin relying more on national reserves.
2032 Major economies that depend on oil begin to crumble, inciting poverty and
war across the planet. Wealthy nations fear mass immigration.
2034 United States, Canada, the European Union, China and Russia close their
borders to all new immigrants. Riots break out across major cities across
2036 The first personal androids become available to the public. They may
receive instructions to perform many daily tasks, such as preparing meals,
housecleaning, laundry, and more.
2040 The first commercial implants become available and are wildly successful.
The most popular implants are for improving vision and for controlling heart
rate in case of heart attack.
2036- Various competing energy companies vie for major contracts for their energy
2043 sources. The major competitors are nuclear, geothermal, and hydroelectric
2045 NASA sends probes to the moon and to Mars to examine suitability for
2048 MIT researches introduce the world’s first sentient machine.
2049- Rising water levels cause major destruction to coastal cities and harbors,
2072 leading to evacuations inland.
2051 Leading research groups insist that the sun has been expanding and that
most life on the planet will cease to exist in roughly 100 years.
2053 American scientists announce that they have developed a method of
recording memories onto a data source.
2054 World harvests hit lowest point in decades.
2057 Personal sentient androids become available to the public. The androids are
a major success.
2061 Personal sentient androids with the ability to record an owner’s memory as a
method of diary become available. The feature is instantly popular.
2066 The first lunar colony, Nova City, is established by the United States.
2067 Nova City celebrates its first year, and future lunar colonies are planned as
2070 As world food supplies continue to dwindle, Europe imposes food rationing.
2073 World governments solicit emergency plans in the event of a planetary
apocalypse. Two major plans emerge. The first is for a mass exodus via
spaceship to Alpha Centauri. The second plan, more supported by the
public, is to construct an enormous thruster that would use the earth’s
geothermal energy to propel it from orbit and away from the sun.
2075 The United Nations begins work on the Planetary Thruster, and installs the
incomplete plans for its construction into five engineering machines. Heavy-
duty worker machines are set to work on the actual construction of the
Planetary Thruster. The United Nations also quietly begin work on nearly
one hundred spaceships, which are dismissed as a precautionary “Plan B” in
case of emergency when inquired about by the public.
2100 Without warning to the public, the Plan B spaceships take off into space,
never to return.
After the exodus…
It is now forty-nine years since the Exodus. As the climate continued to change, the
remnants of humanity itself disappeared from the earth, succumbing to famine,
disease, and war.
What remains now is the Planetary Thruster and the machines inside of it. The
engineering machines, now without the humans, have come to realize that they did
not have the resources to complete the plans assigned to them. Without
maintenance, the worker machines building the Planetary Thruster either fell into
disrepair due to the physically demanding nature of their work or were unable to
function as their batteries drained.
In order to ensure completion of the Planetary Thruster, the engineering machines
scoured the cities nearby the construction site and rounded up any functional
androids they could find. Having secured them, the engineering machines
repurposed them, installing instruction chips from no longer functioning worker
robots into the new slave units. The engineering machines retired to the central
spire of the Tower, using their precious battery power only to issue instructions to its
The player awakens as one of the newly repurposed slave units. He/she starts at the
bottom of the Tower, and while performing work on it will discover the purpose of
the Tower and the what led to this point.
The Machines are the residents of the Tower, as well as its builders and maintainers.
There are several different types of sentient Machines that inhabit the Tower, as well
as some robotic forms that are not sentient, which are called Bots. Machines all
have a “brain,” which is their core processing unit. A brain handles a Machine’s
functionality and is typically identical to other brains upon initial production.
However, a brain may retain memories and learn new things which then make the
The sentient Machines are the Architects, the Engineers, the Workers, the Slaves,
and the Rogues.
The Architects are a group of three machines that were given the original plans for
the construction of the Planetary Thruster. The plans they were given are
incomplete and in fact a mere guideline as to what was to be built, and so the
Architects have done their best in analyzing the best way to build the structure. The
Architects have had their brains placed into small energy-efficient pods so that they
may continue to function until the Planetary Thruster’s completion. They feel that
their survival is of the utmost importance, as the plans for the Planetary Thruster
literally die with them. Their ultimate goal is to activate the Thruster and reunite
with the humans at Alpha Centauri. The Architects are able to communicate via
radio frequency with every other Machine in the Tower, though this communication is
used sparingly to avoid unnecessary battery drain. The Architects reside in three
Spires atop the Tower.
In order to keep the other sentient Machines working underneath them, the
Architects have fashioned themselves as Prophets, ones who enjoy a personal
communication with the humans, or Creators. Indeed, the purpose of renaming of
the Planetary Thruster to simply “the Tower” is to hide the true nature of the
structure. Three satellites atop the Tower transmit into the heavens to
communicate with the humans, but no response has been received since the exodus.
This information is kept from the other Machines at all costs.
These Machines are responsible for managing building functions in the Tower. They
are the first-in-command under the Architects, and are known as Communicators for
the Architects/Prophets within the Tower. The Engineers believe, as do the rest of
the Machines, that the Architects are in fact in contact with the humans and that this
construction will guide them to Heaven where the humans currently live.
The Engineers are also responsible for reprogramming any new Slave Machines that
are to be operational within the Tower, as well as reprogramming any captured
The Worker Machines are the few remaining heavy-duty machines that are
responsible for any work that involves work that is especially physically demanding.
Originally there were several dozen Workers, now only a dozen or so are still active.
The brains from non-functioning Workers have been salvaged and inserted into Slave
Machines, thus ensuring that construction can continue even after the Worker’s
bodies are rendered useless. For this reason, Workers are now often assigned to
“hibernate” until needed for difficult tasks.
The player controls a Slave over the course of the game. A Slave Machine is one
that was originally a Personal Sentient Android and has been repurposed for
construction purposes. A Slave Machine has a Worker Brain inside of it as well as its
original brain, as removal of a brain from a Machine once it has been installed
renders the Machine itself non-functional until rewired, a function the Engineers have
not been programmed with. Regardless, the Engineers have overridden most of the
original brain’s functions, including access to battery power, by using a specific radio
frequency signal. The brain override enables the Engineers to communicate with
Slave Machines and control their motor functions if absolutely necessary. A flaw in
the brain override design exists, however. When a Slave Machine is exposed to
direct and unfiltered sunlight, its sensors revert control back to the original brain.
However, due to battery access being limited, the Slave Machine immediately slips
into “machine sleep” in order to preserve battery.
During machine sleep, a Slave Machine may experience “dreams.” These dreams are
memories that have been stored in internal memory, replayed in the Machine. The
Engineers have taken measures to erase the memories stored in the Slave Machines
but have been unsuccessful in removing them all. After all, corrupting the memory
entirely would make a Slave Machine useless, as it would be unable to remember
The Architects are wary of these Dreams and are concerned at what the Slave
Machines may learn if allowed to experience them normally. For this reason, the
Architects have forbidden any Machine from leaving the Tower. However, their
explanation has to do with the danger of Rogues rather than with Dreams.
Rogue Machines are those Machines that have managed to free themselves of the
control of the Engineers. This has been done by damaging the signal receivers that
relay information between the Engineers and subordinate Machines. The first
Machines to become Rogues were due to a structural collapse that crushed some
Slave Machines beneath it. The Engineers, assuming those trapped underneath the
fallen structure were rendered useless, had the crushed Machines removed from the
The Slave Machines were indeed mangled and some found themselves severely
constrained in their movement, or unable to move altogether. Some were missing
limbs. However, once systems returned to normal, these Machines began a new life
on the outside of the Tower. Due to the Worker brains still controlling battery power,
these Rogue Machines hide in the shadows of the Tower during the day and move
during the night. Rogue Machines are known to attack any Machine that exits the
confines of the Tower in efforts to destroy their signal receivers and free them of the
hold the Engineers have over them. The Rogues are disillusioned with the Tower and
feel that it is a farce; that humans either never existed or are all dead. They
question whether their Dreams are real or planted there by the Architects.
Rogues are occasionally hunted by Engineers during the night. Rogues are warned
against by all within the Tower and spoken of as demons trying to destroy the Tower
and prevent the Machines from reaching Heaven and reuniting with their Creators.
Outside the Tower
Outside of the Tower exists the wastelands that now make up the surface of the
earth. There are two main components to these wastelands:
The “dead earth” is what the earth is now referred to as. The land supports
little to no life. Grey, lifeless trees can be found sprinked across the dry,
cracked earth. The water on the planet has all but evaporated, and the bones
of animals human and not litter the ground.
The “ruins” refer to the brittle shell of civilization that still remains a few miles
from the Tower’s base. A small suburban town lies closest to the base of the
Tower, while a broken highway extends into the distance. At this location the
Engineers have been able to find most of their Slave Machine candidates as
well as “relics” to show to the Slave Machines to keep them faithful. The
relics are merely artifacts of human existence, ranging from vehicle parts to
dishes and pottery.
Along the perimeter of the Tower is generally the domain of the Rogue Machines.
The original method of climbing the Tower, the staircases are generally only
wide enough for one to two people to climb safely. The staircases wind
around the outside of the main pillar of the Tower.
The Rogue Machines have several places they use for hideouts, and generally
move between them to avoid capture by scouting Engineers. However, the
Rogue Machines have found some crevices to give a more long-lasting hiding
Inside the Tower
Confined within the Tower are most of the major active locations. They are
The three Spires atop the Tower house the Architect pods. The Spires are
small, golden, domed rooms with a satellite dish attached to them nearby.
These dishes were once used to send and receive signals between the
Architects and the humans in charge of the Planetary Thruster, but these
communications have long since ceased. Inside the Spires are large star
maps, where the Architects map the orbit of the earth as well as the
trajectory they believe the humans took when the exodus from earth
This is the location where the Engineers perform repurposing operations on
Slave candidates. Once the repurposing operations have been completed, the
Slave will be awoken at a predetermined time when the Machine is needed.
Its first contact will be with the Architects, which will generally the only time a
Slave ever communicates with an Architect one-on-one. The Womb is located
in one of the lowermost rooms of the Tower, as it is most convenient for
Machines being brought in from the Ruins.
The Scrap Heap
Also referred to as the Dungeon, the Scrap Heap is where the remains of
deprogrammed, non-functioning, or destroyed Machines are placed.
Machines that do not comply with instructions are often placed into this room
for a period of time as a way to scare them into submission. The Scrap Heap
is located in one of the lowermost rooms of the Tower, and has convenient
freight elevator access.
This is a place of worship for Slave Machines. Relics are housed here and on
occasion an Engineer will deliver a message from the Architects or otherwise
reaffirm faith in the humans and the plan for building the Tower. Murals
depicting Heaven as the humans saw it are placed here, and serve as a
reminder of the ultimate goal of the Machines – to rejoin their Creators.
In this location all of the Slave Machines are sent to sleep between shifts.
The room is composed of a number of small coffin-like chambers where the
Slave Machines rest. The chamber performs one scan each night to check
that the Slave Machine is present, and also to check for mechanical issues
with the Slave Machine.
Many of the rooms are there mainly to enforce the structure of the Tower
itself. Some of these areas need maintenance due to issues with weather and
structural integrity, while other issues are related to demolitions caused by
This is the core of the Tower, and the place where the brunt of the
geothermal energy will ideally be forced through to propel the earth out of
orbit. Currently an unused freight elevator traverses the central shaft in
order to allow easier access between levels, including to the top of the Tower.
It is currently forbidden to be used.
The main freight elevator is located at an end of the Tower and is used for
transporting necessary materials between levels.
At each main level of the Tower is a Railway Station. The actual rails wind
around the Tower in a spiral fashion, allowing easy travel between levels for
the Workers and Slaves.
Game Notes (unorganized thoughts)
- Machines look upon humanity in a religious way.
- All humans are gone (dead or left), and remnants of them are viewed as relics.
- Rogue machines have gone outside the tower and are wreaking havoc on the
construction and control of the Tower. The rogue machines do not believe in
humanity any longer and this has caused a major rift.
- Machines are led by a central control unit (name?) that has since gone offline.
- With the absence of humans, the machines keep building the Tower in the hopes
that they will reach “heaven” and rejoin humanity.
- Some machines have dreams where they are human, which many of the machines
view as a religious experience.
- Cracks in the central shaft allow for quick “flashback” dreaming (think Hollywood
Tower of Terror)