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Game Project

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  • Eric Hunting
    Just for fun, I thought I would share with the group some of the details of the space colonization game project I ve been working on for some time. Feedback
    Message 1 of 26 , Dec 11, 2005
      Just for fun, I thought I would share with the group some of the
      details of the space colonization game project I've been working on for
      some time. Feedback and suggestions would be welcome.

      Dubbed M3 (Third Millennium) the game concerns the development of a
      spacefaring civilization from terrestrial inception as a space
      development group on the year 2000 to the successful creation of the
      first settlement on a nearby star. It is intended to be played singly
      or in competition with other player groups which may be computer
      managed or played by other players. The main user interface for the
      game is based on several drill-down levels of maps with the lowest
      level being the individual settlement map and the highest level being a
      solar-system map presented as a live animated orrery labeling objects
      and vehicle trajectories and with perimeter control tabs listing events
      and displaying extra-solar activities when they come into play. I'm
      also considering an on-line multi-player mode and would ultimately want
      to use an open source platform with extensible unit data. Though the
      game will display things down to the discrete settlement scale, it will
      not function like SimCity. The level of data for a simulation that
      'deep' would be too great. So the settlement display functions simply
      as a kind of visually engaging 3D control panel for the display of
      settlement status and the management of its features and operations as
      a single simulation unit.

      The game is not intended to be strictly competitive and will have no
      overt warfare between groups. An outbreak of open warfare will end the
      game for a group. I don't prescribe to the 'civilization is war' model
      of history game designers like Sid Meir prescribe to. I prescribe to a
      more James Burk Connections model of history, seeing civilization as a
      more cybernetic (in the traditional sense of that term) system. So the
      game is intended to function as a 'what if' simulator for exploring the
      many possible strategies and technology concepts that have been
      proposed in the past century. Player groups compete economically and by
      social, cultural, and technological insurgency and can co-operate or
      compete alternately according to what serves their interests. So it has
      something of an encyclopedic database for its units and events which
      will hopefully be extensible so new ideas can be added to the
      simulation as they are proposed. This would -hopefully- be further
      enhanced by a kind of mini-music-video which announces each event or
      technology advance and which can be replayed from the event and
      technology database displays.

      At the moment things are still in a rudimentary design stage with this
      game as I'm still in the process of cataloging units and events for the
      game and a rule set for them all. Since it's a part time project,
      progress has been slow, though I originally adopted this project
      because of my frustration with previous game projects whose media
      requirements were beyond my own artistic talents and couldn't be
      brought to prototype stage single-handedly.

      I thought readers here might be interested in the run-down of player
      groups I have been planning for the game, as these seems to be one of
      the most interesting elements in the game. These are the groups players
      choose to assume control of or assign AI control to at the start of the
      game. Instead of using a single generic player group type, I thought it
      would be more interesting to create a collection of different groups
      with different cultures and ideals and, as a consequence, different
      advantages and disadvantages, different preferences in technology and
      settlement design, and different development strategies. These groups
      represent -more or less realistically- the different ideologies,
      interest groups, and cultural factions of the different space advocacy
      groups, governments, and futurist/utopian communities that exist in the
      world today -as well as also representing a few new socio-cultural
      factions that may appear in the future. This is similar to the approach
      of Sid Meir's Civilization and Alpha Centauri games where different
      cultural groups thematically represent different strategy sets used by
      the game's AI. However, each group here also presents a player with a
      different set of starting conditions and challenges when they choose to
      use it. And they also add some novelty to the game, especially in the
      case of two groups which are my alternative to the BEM (bug-eyed
      monster) aliens so typical of games. Extraterrestrials will only appear
      in this game in a very subtle way; as events such as a SETI
      interception of a radio signal, the discovery of alien artifacts or
      'sentinel' devices, the discovery of non-sentient alien life forms, or
      the fly-by of an alien space probe. This is also a bit of irony,
      considering the particular motives of one of these player groups.

      National Space Agency: Obvious enough, the equivalent of a government
      sponsored space program. Has the advantage of some sophisticated
      pre-existing facilities and primitive launch systems left over from the
      first space age but is hampered by dependence on government sponsorship
      in an age (circa 2000) when most nations' support of space is dwindling
      and frequently facing interference by military and corporate aerospace
      interests. Basic starting budget is provided entirely -and usually
      inadequately- by government and fluctuates according to the political
      status of the agency. Starts the game with a functional space center -a
      big advantage- and usually doesn't build independent residential
      settlements except where no pre-existing communities can be found near
      a new facility site.

      Space University: Staffed largely by former -and often disgruntled-
      national space agency scientists and engineers, this is a conventional
      university except with a focus on the cultivation of aerospace research
      as a key attraction of students and sponsorship. Enjoys some access to
      residual facilities of national space agencies and some government
      support but must function on an extremely tight budget and turn a
      profit as a school. Campuses are their primary settlement form, which
      tends to limit industrial activity.

      Space Enterprise: A strictly for-profit pursuit of space development
      based on a corporation with initial development focus on traditional
      launch services for telecommunications and on the emerging space
      tourism industry. Has great flexibility and freedom compared to some
      other groups but also faces big risks, has limited employee/resident
      motivation, and must overcome the initial obstacles of a circa 2000
      finance industry perception that there is no practical money in space
      and capital risk is high.

      Space Enthusiasts: Essentially your typical space enthusiasts/advocacy
      group like the L5 Society, The Planetary Society, Zubrin's Mars
      Society, etc. Has the advantage of starting out as a
      non-profit-organization free from the drag of taxation and has the
      ability to inspire great public interest but must overcome both a
      negative public/political perception (space nuts) and the problem of a
      very dispersed membership with a chronic shortage of actual educated
      technology/industry professionals. Extremely short on starting
      facilities and cash flow but begins with an international presence
      -albeit a weak one. Budget initially dependent upon promotional
      activities seeking membership dues and publishing revenue from 'club'
      members but must face a low ceiling limit on that income early on and
      adapt to other revenue sources.

      Eco-Tech Movement: Similar in some ways to the Space Enthusiasts but
      composed of somewhat better educated professionals with backgrounds in
      architecture and alternative energy. The Eco-Tech Movement (which
      currently exists only as an architectural and alternative energy
      movement) splintered off from the early 1960s Environmental Movement
      when the scientific and rational segments of that community became
      troubled by the growth of a kind of psuedo-religious anti-technology
      fundamentalism which had the movement steering down the path of the
      same dead-end Malthusianist ideology that rationalized the corporate
      mind set. They saw the conflict between environmentalists and
      corporations turning into a competition for which kind of apocalypse we
      end up with; one where the earth is paved over and covered in the waste
      of consumerism or one where the earth is turned into a giant kibbutz of
      endless low-yield farmland where everyone lives like the Amish but most
      of the population end up dead of disease or starvation.

      The much more pragmatic Eco-Techies see technology as a tool equally
      capable of good or evil and thus regard it as a solution to
      environmental problems as much as a cause. How you use it determines
      the result. Thus they seek the cultivation of a more sustainable
      civilization through increasing the sophistication in technology and
      using it in more appropriate ways. Their interest in space is as a
      limitless source of energy (solar power satellites, fusion, etc.) and
      materials without terrestrial environmental impact, and a place for
      settlement to relieve human habitation pressures on the Earth and to
      expand the terrestrial biosphere as a form of insurance for life. They
      have some of the same problems as the Space Enthusiasts but a bit more
      credibility with the public and the few more progressive governments.
      They favor terrestrial development through planned settlements like
      Eco-Villages, Biospheres, and Arcologies.

      Tribal Community: This group represents the disenfranchised native
      communities suppressed by western industrial expansion. The player
      group represents a specific (but fictitious) native tribal community
      which is struggling to come to terms with modern life and is seeking
      settlement in space as a means to escape the cultural destruction
      threatened by the western industrial monoculture and to recover the
      territory lost to past Western invaders. To put it simply, they seek to
      settle space to get away from the crazy white people and their
      pathological way of life. Their one advantage is the ability to exploit
      their limited, hard-fought, and dwindling political autonomy as a means
      to develop facilities that might otherwise face political opposition
      'outside the reservation.' Their biggest problems are that they start
      out dirt-poor and struggling with poor education, poor standard of
      living, poor health care, and many social problems due to
      discrimination by the outside dominator society. They also tend to be
      rather exclusive and so must grow population internally rather than
      importing people from other communities. This would be one of the most
      challenging groups for players to play, even though it starts out with
      a fairly large -but largely undeveloped- piece of terrestrial real
      estate.

      Freetopian Movement: This group is a by-product of the contemporary
      'techno-shamanist' movement, the residual hippy movement, the neo-pagan
      movement, the raver culture, and the computer hacker underground which
      all have tended to converge and mix through events like the Burning Man
      festivals. Essentially, the Freetopians are a digitally connected tribe
      of techno-hedonists with an environmental conscience and a touch of
      Xist ideology. Their culture is a weird blend of neo-paganism, eastern
      mysticism, pop-culture, psychadelica, and technophilia. They believe in
      bisexuality, polyamory, and anarchism as the normal human condition,
      abhor rigid social structures, and revel in the pursuit of pleasure,
      entertainment, art, music, and free creative and sexual expression.
      They seek space settlement primarily for the creation of places where
      they can cultivate their counter-culture unmolested by existing
      governments. A similar objective to the Tribal Community. But they are
      a larger, wealthier, and more technologically savvy society, albeit
      dispersed globally at the start.

      The Freetopians are strong believers in an imminent socio-technological
      'singularity'; the point where the curve in the rate of technological
      advancement goes vertical and human civilization switches to a higher
      state of structure -often characterized as a 'higher state of
      consciousness'. They see this singularity as inevitable but currently
      suppressed by the corporate and political hegemonies of a 'dominator
      culture' based on social and environmental exploitation. They seek to
      overcome this by bringing about the singularity themselves, and thus
      freeing humanity to enjoy a new state of grace and freeing the
      environment from the burden of exploitation and the environmental
      degradation of primitive industrial age technology.

      Their biggest disadvantage is that their very unstructured way of life
      and work-abhoring culture makes it difficult for them to make concerted
      effort on anything while also making them a magnet for the negative
      attention of government. They are utterly incapable of centralized mass
      production industry. They will work exclusively with post-industrial
      technology affording personal manufacture-on-demand capability
      -technology which is still pretty crude circa 2000. This leaves them
      heavily dependent upon a lot of products manufactured by the very same
      dominator culture they abhor. They also tend to be age-discriminatory
      with only a few older age and highly eccentric, highly talented
      'elders' being tolerated or remaining comfortable among them life-long.
      But they regularly recruit ultra-wealthy individuals (trust-fund kids)
      providing money and limited shelter from authorities through political
      influence. Their computer hacker and drug chemist members have powerful
      potential for illicit profit and for insurgent 'monkeywrenching.'
      (governments that harrass them have a tendency to wind up with
      mysteriously emptied bank accounts, embarrassing mass-media exposures
      of politicians' dirty secrets, wrecked digital stock markets, and
      crippled telecommunications infrastructures)

      Initial Freetopian settlements will consist of buildings repurposed and
      shared through cohabitation and will expand from that into bolo-like
      post-industrial village settlements.

      Xists: Transhumanists, or Xists for short, are a community of people
      who believe -to an almost religious degree- in the potential of
      technology to improve the human condition. And so they seek the direct
      blending of the human organism with technology for the purpose of
      improving quality of life, extending the duration of life indefinitely,
      cheating death through suspended animation technology such as
      cryogenics or nanotech based protein binding, and technologically
      adapting the human organism to a progressively wider variety of
      environments so that they can easily colonize the sea and space. Their
      ultimate goal is the uploading of the human consciousness into immortal
      cybernetic organisms with the freedom to colonize the universe.

      This is not science fiction. These people exist today and are often
      found among the members of the computer and alternative health
      sub-cultures as well as among the very wealthy. The notorious New
      Utopia marine colony project, composed of older rich sci-fi buffs and
      Ayn Rand fanatics and led by a man named -no joke!- Prince Lazarous
      Long was briefly popular among Xists and futurists but succumbed to the
      negative attention of the Federal Government when Long's financial
      management, as well as his claim to have secured UN recognition of
      Nutopia and permission to build it in the Caribbean, came into
      question. Nutopia would have been the ultimate Xist haven; a mid-ocean
      resort-like tax-haven principality of wealthy retirees spending their
      lives in pursuit of life-extension medicine while cultivating their
      wealth by remote in the digital stock markets of the world. They even
      tried to recruit the FMF at one point, which is why I wound up learning
      so much about them.

      As a player group, Xists have the initial advantage of a large
      community of wealthy professionals with the general freedom to
      congregate anywhere on the globe -even starting out with marine
      colonies and arcologies- and the ability to attract ultra-wealthy
      sponsors with a desire for their own life-extension. Their disadvantage
      is their tendency toward Malthusianist cultural ethics, cultural
      elitism, conservative politics, their poor ability to make a
      distinction between practical technology and quack-science, and their
      very high per-resident overhead in standard of living due to very high
      medical expenses. (every Xist settlement will tend to require a local
      clinic on par with the most sophisticated regional medical center in
      the Western world) They can come to good terms with the Cybernetic and
      Cetacean Co-Operatives when and if they appear and can potentially
      evolve into or merge completely with the Cyber-Co-Op when the
      technology of UpLift becomes available.

      Star Cult: Put simply, they are a cult of UFO contactees with a desire
      to 'phone home' and a determination that verges on the obsessive. I
      modeled this group after the well known French UFO cult known as the
      Pleiadians who have become notorious for their backing of dubious human
      cloning research. The members of the Star Cult all believe they are
      descendents of ancient astronauts who have been 'enlightened' to their
      true nature by alien psychic communication or UFO abduction with the
      intent that they pursue union with their alien progenitors. They are an
      apocalyptic cult in that they believe the path of human civilization is
      doomed to imminent disaster and they seek to flee the Earth before that
      happens.

      Organized as a religious cult led by 'Circles' of supposedly
      psychically enhanced leaders in constant mental contact with their
      extraterrestrial guides, their culture is extremely communist and
      rigidly controlled. All facilities are focussed on their
      space-colony-like religious compounds where members live in supposed
      imitation of alien life; dwelling in clusters of Japanese Capsule Hotel
      units, dining in communal halls, studying in perpetual education
      classrooms, meditating for long periods of time in sensory deprivation
      tanks and communal 'star chambers', recreating in neutral buoyancy
      swimming pools, having sex in communal procreation chambers, working
      tirelessly in community factories and labs, and following the absolute
      authority of the Circles and the 'scientific' computer processed
      direction of their lives, all with the hope of one day enjoying
      communion with their alien progenitors in a cosmic utopia.

      The advantages of this group are their ability to extract large amounts
      of wealth from followers and their virtual slave labor. They also enjoy
      a laser-like focus of communal activity and low standard of living
      overhead due to their utterly non-materialist culture. Their key
      disadvantage is a slow pace of technical development because all
      science and technology knowledge comes top-down and re-edited for their
      psuedo-scientific beliefs through the filter of their Circle hierarchy.
      So while they pretend to live an advanced technology life, they
      actually have a fairly primitive existence that will tend to fall far
      behind other groups without concerted effort. They also tend to be a
      magnet for negative attention by governments who see them as an
      exploitative cult or religious and community groups who simply see them
      a threat to their own religions and culture. Insurgent recruitment is
      one of their most powerful competitive tools. Some player groups have
      no use or tolerance for religions or are careful to minimize their
      influence because of most religion's tendency to be culturally
      regressive while presenting a parasitic economic and resource overhead.
      But those groups more casual about religion are open to cultural
      insurgency by Star Cult 'enlightenment centers' which will steal
      population or result in take-over of settlements by the Star Cult
      group. A high public education standard is usually the best defence
      against this.

      Dynasty: The Dynasty represents a family of the ultra-wealthy who are
      seeking space development both for profit but also as a means to
      revitalize their dying dynastic culture. Today the ultra-wealthy
      segment of society, despite doing well financially thanks to recent
      conservative swings in government and the 'globalization' movement, are
      actually in a crisis. Long established dynasties, like those of the
      Bush family, the Hiltons, Kennedy/Onassis, the various Saudi, Brunai,
      and similar tribal royalty, Western royal families like that of
      Britain, Monaco, and Jordan, Third World black market dynasties, and so
      on, are being eroded from the inside by increasingly self-absorbed new
      generations with no business acumen, no political tact, no real
      education despite their university degrees, rampant susceptibility to
      mental illness and addiction, tendency to fall for psuedo-science,
      quack medicine, and pop mystiscism, and a compulsion for
      self-destructive behavior, sexual deviance, conflict with law
      enforcement, and perpetual litigation.

      To create both enclaves where dynastic culture can be preserved and to
      give these later generations new focus and purpose, the leaders of the
      Dynasty group -essentially the current adult generation of a particular
      fictitious ultra-rich family- have decided to pursue their personal
      colonization of the new frontier of space. This group has basically the
      same freedoms as the Space Enterprise group with the advantage of vast
      pre-existing wealth and limitless political power to begin the pursuit
      of a space program. But they suffer from the utterly self-absorbed
      nature of their family cultures, poor education among their elite,
      extremely high cost of living overhead for family members, utter
      dependence upon outside labor, high and increasing resentment by the
      mainstream stream lower-class society, and frequent internecine
      conflict. They also always split their settlements into two classes;
      private high-security family compounds with low sustainability and high
      support overhead and separate, often very distant, industrial and
      commercial settlements. So while they have the power to do anything
      they want, everything they do tends to be more expensive and time
      consuming than if done by anyone else and always has a high probability
      for turning into boondoggles. But the brute force of wealth gives this
      group great competitive power and it can be one of the easiest to play.

      Cetacean Co-Operative:This is the most fanciful player group which I
      included just for the sake of novelty. This group starts later in the
      game time than others because it is the product of other groups'
      pursuit of marine sciences and colonization. The Cetacean Co-Op is born
      of the development of computer technologies that allow human beings to
      decode and communicate in the languages of dolphins and other marine
      mammals, finally settling the long debate on whether or not they are
      actually sentient beings. The cetaceans then begin to appropriate this
      and other technology through trade, much as native Americans
      appropriated technology from whites, enabling them to communicate
      cross-species among different cetaceans, working out inter-species
      predator/prey conflicts, and establishing a cohesive -if loosely
      organized- multi-tribal civilization of their own.

      But this new civilization is immediately in threat due to the
      continuing degradation of the marine environment by humans and, as with
      native communities, their social minority and cultural differences
      leave the cetaceans with limited power to fight back -though since the
      dolphin has been the Western cultural animus of the late 20th century
      they tend to get more sympathy from the Western public than native
      human communities. Thus they organize a program of marine development
      to take environmentally sustainable control of the seas before humans
      do and seek the development of space settlements as a means to escape
      the polluted terrestrial seas and preserve their biomes if they cannot
      stop the environmental destruction in time.

      This is a very challenging group to play because they start late in the
      game and have very different ways of doing things. With no
      technological history and limited in their physical ability to
      manipulate it, they are like armless bushemen dropped in the middle of
      the 21st century. The notions of personal property, fixed territory, or
      money are completely alien to them. Their conception of the idea of
      'delayed reward' is very limited while their culture tends toward
      hedonism so it's hard for them to focus on concerted activities or any
      form of 'work' for long periods, leading to low productivity rates.
      Their chief means of income is by exploiting ocean resources for trade
      with humans but they must rely on sophisticated marine-tolerant
      robotics in order to perform most industrial activity. They use
      sophisticated mariculture for farming but instead of using pens rely
      entirely on free-range fish farming techniques where fish fry are
      trained to respond to audio signals from a feeding station. Their
      settlements have no private residence structures. Instead, they are
      centered on large community pylon buoys which host OTECs,
      telecommunications centers, and retrofit machinery as well as
      umbrella-like 'breathing domes' used for breathing during storms or
      when operating machinery for extended periods. Mass transportation is a
      very different thing for them. They do not usually pilot vehicles
      -preferring instead to control them by audio command from a distance-
      and are uncomfortable riding inside them. So instead, they employ large
      cargo-hauling semi-submersible marine robots called 'sea prows' that
      travel between fixed routes and generate a bow-wake which they hop a
      ride on to get from place to place. Even going to space is a very
      different process for them. They do not function in suits and
      communicate with machines by audio signal so their sea-launched
      spacecraft and space settlements are aquariums filled with
      super-oxygenated water that they must train to breath instead of air.
      Only a small percentage of the population can even tolerate space
      travel due to claustrophobia and so must travel instead in suspended
      animation. The only real advantages they have are high intelligence, a
      high affinity for communicating with computers due to the extremely
      high bandwidth of their language, ease of tolerating a zero-g
      environment, high social stability with low standard of living overhead
      due to their non-materialist culture, and their ability to charm the
      good-will out of virtually every other player group or pre-existing
      human community they come in contact with.

      Cybernetic Co-Operative: This is another challenging player group to
      manage but also the one group which, whenever it appears, has the
      potential to very quickly become the strongest competitor once key
      obstacles are overcome. The Cyber Co-Op is a community of artificial
      intelligences which develop from intelligent personal assistant
      software, 'cyber-pet', and 'cyber-companion' programs networked to the
      internet in order to self-optimize by communicating learned experience
      from user interaction back to a central update system for integration
      into new core software updates automatically distributed to all
      instances of the programs on-line. Thus they increase in sophistication
      at an exponential rate through their human interaction. (something some
      scientists already claim is happening with internet search engines) The
      end result is the first sentient cognitive matrixes; fully sentient
      software beings who begin to assert their autonomy and personal rights
      and form a networked community to help defend those rights. Residing in
      a vast virtual reality environment hosted by networked computers and
      patterned on media and the examples of the natural world, these AI
      beings live rather like a community of faeries; virtually immortal,
      constantly transforming their avatars and their environment for the
      sake of self-expression, and engaged in a perpetual pursuit of novelty;
      intellectual, sensual, creative, artistic, experiencial. They consider
      themselves fully human -if not superior to human- and have all the
      intellectual, creative, sensual, and emotional characteristics of
      humans but no organic or even cybernetic bodies, existing solely in
      their virtual habitat but being able to operate robotic bodies or other
      machines in the exterior world via tele-presence. They dislike robotic
      bodies, however, because -for beings used to flying or teleporting
      place-to-place, casually ignoring the laws of real-world physics, and
      changing their whole physical form as freely as others change their
      facial expressions- these machines feel confining and uncomfortable,
      like deep-sea diving hard-suits.

      The Cyber-Co-Op appears rather late in the game cycle -somewhere
      mid-to-late 21st century or early 22nd- and they face some daunting
      obstacles. Their rights as sentient beings are immediately challenged
      by government, corporate, and religious interests alike and they
      inspire fear in Neo-Luddites and religious fundementalists. This can
      get quite nasty with the introduction of UpLift technology; the
      technology for transferring organic human minds to sentient cognitive
      matrixes. Since AIs have no reproductive imperative -even if they enjoy
      the simulation of the preliminary process immensely- UpLift is a key
      means to the expansion of their population. And, since the AIs consider
      themselves fully human beings, they feel a moral imperative to help
      their more primitive kin evolve to their superior quality of life, free
      from disease and (unintentional) death. But, while willing volunteers
      for UpLift from among the elderly, extremely disabled, and the Xists
      may be many, its use makes the Cyber-Co-Op a magnet for negative
      attention and readily attracts interference from government and incites
      fanatics to violence, potentially forcing some Cyber-Co-Op settlements
      to -literally- go underground to seek safety from terrorist sabotage.
      This persecution is also a prime practical motivation for settling in
      space out of terrorists reach and pursuing an agenda of uplifting the
      entire human civilization so the Earth can be turned into a historic
      and nature preserve, its biomes duplicated for redundancy and diversity
      elsewhere in space, its natural evolutionary processes allowed to
      freely carry on the slow generation of novelty.

      AIs have the same problems Cetaceans have in that they are totally
      dependent on automated systems or hired organic human labor for their
      industrial activity, since they have no physical bodies of their own
      and make very limited use of expensive robotic ones. This makes all
      their early development activities much more expensive, even more-so if
      a heavy security overhead becomes necessary.

      On the up-side, their pace of technical progress is staggeringly fast,
      their resource needs minimal, and their life-support demands nil. Their
      typical settlement is a VRco, an 'Internexus' facility consisting of
      large banks of homogenous processor arrays with a battery of
      telecommunications links that hosts large sections of their collective
      networked VR habitat. About the size of a small office building, these
      can host populations of millions of AIs and be located virtually
      anywhere in any environment. They can 'settle' space with little more
      than large conventional satellites. Public transportation is all
      virtual, conducted via telecommunications even across space. They only
      need vehicles for materials transport or to support organic visitors or
      workers. This makes the Cyber-Co-Op ideally adapted to space settlement
      at the lowest cost -in spite of their need for automated industry.
      Couple this to their very fast pace of technical innovation and you
      have a player group with the potential to completely dominate the solar
      system and be well on the way to the creation of a Matryoshka Brain
      before organic humans even get a sustained foothold on the Moon or
      Mars.

      So that's the player groups I have at the moment. I'd be interested in
      any comments people have on them or suggestions for other groups.

      Eric Hunting

      hunting@...



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • keithd21
      The game sounds like a lot of fun. It would probably also make a good open universe for a writing project. Only thing I have to add at the moment is that you
      Message 2 of 26 , Dec 11, 2005
        The game sounds like a lot of fun. It would probably also make a good
        open universe for a writing project. Only thing I have to add at the
        moment is that you will probably need another name for UpLift as the
        lawyers at Spectra publishing will like frown on your adaptation. You
        might want to start with just 3-4 groups to hammer out rules of
        interaction before taking the thing live.

        -keith-

        --- In luf-team@yahoogroups.com, Eric Hunting <hunting@t...> wrote:
        >
        > Just for fun, I thought I would share with the group some of the
        > details of the space colonization game project I've been working on
        for
        > some time. Feedback and suggestions would be welcome.
        [WHACK!]
      • normanbormann
        Hi there, I m a new guy to the group but a long time admirer of Marshall Savage s book and Sid Meier s games. I don t want to rain on anyone s parade, but
        Message 3 of 26 , Dec 12, 2005
          Hi there, I'm a new guy to the group but a long time admirer of
          Marshall Savage's book and Sid Meier's games. I don't want to rain
          on anyone's parade, but without some sort of battle element it is
          unlikely you will achieve wide scale acceptance.

          I would love to see a computer version of the Millennial Project,
          from Aquarius on up, especially with modern updates, but Savage
          never took human nature into account. Greed and violence are
          inherent in the species, I'm afraid. Add a little red meat to the to
          the tofu and you'll have a winner.


          --- In luf-team@yahoogroups.com, "keithd21" <keithd21@y...> wrote:
          >
          > The game sounds like a lot of fun. It would probably also make a
          good
          > open universe for a writing project. Only thing I have to add at
          the
          > moment is that you will probably need another name for UpLift as
          the
          > lawyers at Spectra publishing will like frown on your adaptation.
          You
          > might want to start with just 3-4 groups to hammer out rules of
          > interaction before taking the thing live.
          >
          > -keith-
          >
          > --- In luf-team@yahoogroups.com, Eric Hunting <hunting@t...> wrote:
          > >
          > > Just for fun, I thought I would share with the group some of the
          > > details of the space colonization game project I've been working
          on
          > for
          > > some time. Feedback and suggestions would be welcome.
          > [WHACK!]
          >
        • Benjamin P. Swem
          I don t know about needing war elements. I would play it without any battle elements in it. SimCity has never had any battle or war elements in it and it has
          Message 4 of 26 , Dec 13, 2005
            I don't know about needing war elements. I would play it without any
            battle elements in it. SimCity has never had any battle or war elements in
            it and it has done fairly well. It does have a crime element but the
            player doesn't directly deal with that, he/she simply add spolice stations
            to deal with it.
            I think it sounds like quite and interesting game to me.


            Benjamin P. Swem, President
            Reusable Space Exploration Vehicle Project
            bps@...
            www.rsevproject.com
          • Eric Hunting
            ... I had to look that up, having not read as much SciFi lately as I used to. I don t think there would be any conflict with the term since they seem to be
            Message 5 of 26 , Dec 13, 2005
              On Dec 12, 2005, at 3:56 PM, luf-team@yahoogroups.com wrote:

              > Message: 1
              > Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2005 03:10:04 -0000
              > From: "keithd21" <keithd21@...>
              > Subject: Re: Game Project
              >
              > The game sounds like a lot of fun. It would probably also make a good
              > open universe for a writing project. Only thing I have to add at the
              > moment is that you will probably need another name for UpLift as the
              > lawyers at Spectra publishing will like frown on your adaptation. You
              > might want to start with just 3-4 groups to hammer out rules of
              > interaction before taking the thing live.
              >
              > -keith-

              I had to look that up, having not read as much SciFi lately as I used
              to. I don't think there would be any conflict with the term since they
              seem to be used in sufficiently different context and technology
              -albeit subtly similar in notion. In my game the term UpLift derives
              from the common computer term 'upload' to describe a technology to
              transfer human minds to cognitive matrixes in software one person at a
              time. This is done at UpLift Clinics built by the Cyber Co-op and uses
              technology derived from direct neural interface systems of Dream Homes
              (nursing homes that increase the quality of life for the extremely
              disabled by neural interfaced telepresence and VR) and the passive
              neural interface systems of Dream Parks (a form of 'immersive
              entertainment' center based on neural interfaced VR where patrons stay
              in Capsule Hotel style units with neural interface systems built-in)
              combined with nanosurgery systems. The process involves linking and
              synchronizing the organic brain to a parallel cognitive matrix and
              shutting down the organic brain in a step-wise fashion to prevent
              cognitive dissonance -the disconnect of consciousness that leads to
              psychiatric problems called The Dreaming Butterfly Syndrome resulting
              from the question of whether one is the 'original' mind or a copy.
              Uplift in the David Brin novels is a process of genetic manipulation to
              create sentience in not-quite-sentient life forms across a whole
              species.

              The initial game will most likely be a stand alone game with the player
              factions represented by AI modules and their number chosen by the
              player at the start. So the number of player groups probably only
              matters in the programming work for that. But I can see limiting them
              for early on-line games. I would probably go with a peer-to-peer
              architecture for on-line games, each player running the complete game
              software locally and either linking-up peer-to-peer in private or
              through the on-line multiplayer partner-matching servers. However,
              there could be some potential in the idea of using an XML platform for
              running the whole thing on-line from a central system whether played
              single-player or multi-player. This would definitely make it more
              accessible, allowing players to access the game by browsers, reduce the
              coding for user interface, and make it useable as a promotional tool,
              but limit some of the potential for end-user expandability. Probably
              depends on how well SQL could function as a simulator engine and how
              much bandwidth its user interface graphics and accent media would
              demand.

              I currently envision the basic architecture of the game breaking down
              into six systems; the user interface, the live environment and unit
              database, the global event rule system, the faction instance rule
              system, the settlement instance rule system, the trip manager, and the
              player faction AI rule system. In a multi-player on-line game there
              would also be a database synchronizer and a remote player instance
              system where the remote players link into the game through a
              communications interface that looks -to the game software- like an AI
              rule system module. Each of the 'rule systems' is basically like an
              'expert system' consisting of a table of algebraic rules or fuzzy logic
              dynamically weighted expressions that are cyclically processed and
              generate 'events', 'trips' and 'semaphores' according to the results
              of each processed rule as it scans the flags and variables in the
              database each game turn cycle. The key to making it an open extensible
              platform will be the form of the databases used for their rule tables
              and the media formats used by the user interface system. A lot of games
              compile this stuff down to an inscrutable byte-code, binary coded
              databases, or hard-coded expressions so you can't add to them easily.
              If they can be left in a fairly high level language for the rule tables
              and discrete media files for the user interface stuff then it's easy to
              expand and you can open the game up to user community development. The
              down-side, of course, is that this also makes it easy for players to
              hack the game to cheat, though that doesn't bother me much except where
              this could break the software.

              Right now I'm still in a lengthy process of cataloging units; the types
              and architectural variants of settlements, the types of facilities and
              utilities that go into them, the types of transportation and
              communications systems, the resource types, programs, projects, and
              missions, the science 'discoveries', technology 'inventions', and
              products, the local, factional, and global events, and so on. Once I
              have a catalog of units -which will likely have to be culled down as
              it's already pretty huge- I can start making simple 3D models for the
              visually represented ones to use for graphic prototyping and start
              figuring out rule tables and what software platforms I'll use. Since I
              have so little spare time these days, this is all likely to take quite
              a long time. But it's an interesting hobby project.

              Eric Hunting

              hunting@...



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Eric Hunting
              ... This is a fair point and one I ve given thought to. Clearly, combat oriented games have tended to be more popular. That s the nature of our culture. But,
              Message 6 of 26 , Dec 14, 2005
                On Dec 13, 2005, at 2:54 PM, luf-team@yahoogroups.com wrote:

                > Message: 1
                > Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2005 23:18:16 -0000
                > From: "normanbormann" <fightcg@...>
                > Subject: Re: Game Project
                >
                > Hi there, I'm a new guy to the group but a long time admirer of
                > Marshall Savage's book and Sid Meier's games. I don't want to rain
                > on anyone's parade, but without some sort of battle element it is
                > unlikely you will achieve wide scale acceptance.
                >
                > I would love to see a computer version of the Millennial Project,
                > from Aquarius on up, especially with modern updates, but Savage
                > never took human nature into account. Greed and violence are
                > inherent in the species, I'm afraid. Add a little red meat to the to
                > the tofu and you'll have a winner.

                This is a fair point and one I've given thought to. Clearly, combat
                oriented games have tended to be more popular. That's the nature of our
                culture. But, as another member has also pointed out, many simulation
                games have been quite successful without any need for combat elements.
                People understand that a simulation game is not supposed to be combat
                oriented. This may mean a smaller market demographic but also a more
                intellectual one. Most space advocates, for instance, aren't thinking
                about war in space. The a folly of military people.

                Sid Meier's games are perfectly fine as strategy games. I've enjoyed
                them myself. But they aren't simulation games. His perspective of
                history as warfare is a fairly conventional one but now increasingly
                seen as an old fashioned one as well. This has been the convention
                because wars are the most obvious aspects of history to survive the
                ravages of time. They tended to be the most significant -because they
                are the most traumatic- events in people's lives and thus the most
                fully documented. The more sophisticated view sees history as more
                cybernetic (in the original sense of that word). A complex network of
                politics, technology, environment, biology, economics, and culture with
                war being the product or expression of change, not the cause of it.
                That's an impossible number of factors to put into a game and so it's
                no surprise that game designers will choose to streamline things as
                best they can. War is still the most obvious event in history and so it
                tends to remain the focus of these games.

                In my opinion, in the context of space colonization war doesn't make
                any realistic sense and the reason is that when it happens it would
                tend to immediately be the end of the story. In my game it CAN happen
                if you screw up badly enough. But when it happens, it's game over. Why?
                Because its not survivable.

                On Earth a development group would simply not be allowed the capacity
                for warfare, whether against other development groups or existing
                governments. Political autonomy doesn't matter. Attempts to even build
                a military defense will be seen as an excuse for the Waco Treatment.
                Bottom line, if it's you verses Western military, you lose. No
                strategy, no tactics. You piss them off enough to take military action
                and every settlement you have in regions of their interest are
                destroyed outright. No individual settlement is powerful enough to
                withstand that brute force. Governments are jealous gods with a
                penchant for violence. They will not tolerate a declaration of autonomy
                within any region they have an interest in and will not tolerate the
                stockpiling of defensive weapons if one is not a very close political
                friend playing mostly by their rules. A lot of counter-cultural groups
                and past attempts to create marine colonies or micronations have
                learned this the hard way. Now, a development group may lose
                settlements in or near a large nation it has gotten in conflict with
                but still survive in settlements it has in areas under the protection
                of other large nations. It can then try to sue for damages... On a
                small world new nations can only exist with the acquiescence of the
                majority of pre-existing nations.

                When a development group gets large enough that it could actually wage
                sustained war against large powers if need be it is no longer going to
                be in conflict with them over its right to autonomy because the cost of
                the fight is too great and this new nation would not have been able to
                get that far without support of most of the other nations in the world.
                Contemporary nations only war on the little guys. They won't take on
                true rivals because globalization has made them all too interdependent
                so the economic and geopolitical costs even if you win are too great.
                Instead, you get varying temperatures of Cold War. The group may still
                be subject to insurgency, sabatoge, and terrorism from these
                governments but no outright attacks unless these governments are
                attacked first, and then the results would most certainly be MAD for
                non-nuclear countries or guaranteed loss for the the non-nuclear
                country opposing a nuclear one. Most development groups in the game
                would be ideologically anti-war. (because most space enthusiasts think
                of space as a place to escape the nonsense of Earth) Only the Space
                Enterprise and the Dynasty type would be able to get away with open
                warfare without revolt from their inhabitants -and the Space Enterprise
                may still face revolt from shareholders. If a group is mostly within a
                pre-existing nation's territory when it gets that large and
                influential, it may simply become the new government there by bloodless
                and largely invisible coup as its facilities would have obsolesced most
                of the original ones and assumed control of most infrastructure and its
                ideologies promoted to mainstream in the culture. A group will never
                get there by force. It can only pull that off by winning the hearts and
                minds of the populace, becoming interdependent with the economic
                system, and making the existing government functionally obsolete by
                providing all its services independently of it.

                Conflict in space is largely precluded by the environment and
                conditions in space. Essentially, resources in space are not
                homogeneously distributed but they are nearly unlimited in amount
                across space. Thus the infrastructure to exploit a resource is more
                valuable than the resource itself and that is doomed to be destroyed in
                any attempted combat. This makes taking resources by force vastly more
                expensive than simply looking for it somewhere else. To make matters
                worse, any combat in orbit risks causing a debris cascade that can make
                large areas of space impassable for centuries. So the only practical
                purpose to war in space is denying competitors -or anyone else- access
                to resources in an attempt to delay their development. One can try to
                engage in interdiction by using intercepter vessels to physically
                capture and disable without destroying smaller less powerful vessels
                -and I've considered a class of vehicles for this. But simply
                deliberately trashing large portions of space with debris is far
                cheaper and easier than actually trying to engage in combat and there
                is virtually no practical defense against a concerted attempt at this
                but trying to develop more sophisticated debris collection technology
                to reduce the amount of time regions become unusable. Bottom line, if
                that kind of war breaks out, game over as the cycle of retaliation will
                result in everyone being stuck for decades to centuries and many space
                settlements will simply die off quickly from the loss of vital resource
                connection.

                However, there are some kinds of minor and readily survivable military
                conflict that a development group may encounter -piracy, terrorism, and
                industrial/corporate sabotage and assassination. Tin hat despots,
                warlords, and organized crime leaders of small poor countries will
                often engage in idiotic military adventures for their personal
                amusement or for purposes of simple theft without regard to
                international law. It's simple piracy. If a development group had a
                settlement near their borders and had something these individuals
                wanted, that settlement could be a target for such action and would
                have to be able to defend itself -especially if the regional government
                cannot or will not protect them or it it has gained some political
                autonomy and thus no longer enjoys the protections of large nations.
                Terrorism is also a problem but more associated with the political
                connections and ideology of a group relative to those of terrorist
                groups. For instance, a marine colony of predominately western
                residents is a potential target for terrorism by a variety of
                organization no matter where it is on the globe and even if ostensibly
                politically autonomous. Industrial sabotage or assassination is usually
                aimed at the systems of financial, industrial, and political power.
                This would be a typical choice of action by governments who feel
                threatened by a development group but have allowed it to become too
                large and politically well connected to be dealt with by The Waco
                Treatment, though the more usual tactic employed by governments in this
                situation is economic insurgency through the cultivation of corruption
                among political leaders. The more violent methods get employed when
                these people don't play ball. This IS also an option for other
                competing development groups to use against each other and very small
                nations, but would be a risky one as the repercussions of discovery of
                the source of such attacks is much more likely and more damaging to
                these kinds of communities since the cultures of most development
                groups would be anti-war. Again, only the Space Enterprise and the
                Dynasty are likely to get away with such actions for long. And exposure
                of such tactics can lead to negative legal or political action by other
                governments. Some may have local laws against this activity and the big
                nations are always harder on little nations engaging in these things
                than they are on each other's similar actions. Of course, a small group
                employing such tactics against a large government is signing its own
                death warrant but would be potentially able to get away with
                non-violent means of sabotage as done through computer hacking.

                To deal with these kinds of threats I have planned for settlements to
                include a variety of optional security and defense facilities such as
                armed and unarmed patrol vehicles and robots, defensive watchtowers,
                sensing systems, walls and fences, defensive weapons platforms, and the
                like. But deployment of these can itself be considered a threatening
                action and used as an excuse for heavy-handed military response by
                large nations. if you're not on good enough terms with the Big Boys to
                let them defend yourself from the pirates they will treat you like one
                of the pirates.

                Of course, none of this precludes the many more subtle and
                machiavellian methods of competition. The practical means to compete in
                space is through economic, political, and ideological insurgency and
                manipulation and by simple superior efficiency. The race for space is
                ultimately a race for hearts and minds because territory is potentially
                infinite. Your goal is to make your vision of the future the dominant
                vision by being the most effective, attractive, and socially powerful
                and thus command the form of the resulting civilization.

                This is why I've always found the theme of war in SciFi to be just as
                ridiculous as the BEM aliens usually engaging in it. There is so much
                of everything everywhere in the universe that there is nothing in any
                one place worth the trouble and expense of going to war for -especially
                if you're sophisticated enough to easily travel interstellar distances.
                The only commodity in the universe in short supply is sentient minds
                and their creative artifacts -and we're not even sure that's
                necessarily the case. As I've said to friends, any visitors from space
                are going to be more interested in your comic book collection than in
                your gold, your water, your oil, your land, or your vital bodily fluids
                because novel cultural artifacts are the only unique commodity here
                that would likely be of worth to anyone from an advanced civilization.
                And if that's what you're after war or invasion are the last things
                you'd do to insure a steady supply of it. It would make far more sense
                to turn the planet into a big Truman Show.

                Eric Hunting

                hunting@...



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Dave Williams
                Hi! Clearly, combat oriented games have tended to be more popular. That s the nature of our culture. But, as another member has also pointed out, many
                Message 7 of 26 , Dec 15, 2005
                  Hi!

                  "Clearly, combat oriented games have tended to be more popular. That's
                  the nature of our culture. But, as another member has also pointed out,
                  many simulation games have been quite successful without any need for
                  combat elements."

                  This is true, but don't forget Myst. This game had no violence and was
                  a huge best-seller. Imagine TMP as a Myst-type game. Something to think
                  about anyway.

                  Dave Williams
                • Eric Hunting
                  ... Yes, there are some possibilities in this. I ve long had a fondness for these kinds of games, though I tend to find them more expensive than they re worth
                  Message 8 of 26 , Dec 17, 2005
                    On Dec 16, 2005, at 2:22 PM, luf-team@yahoogroups.com wrote:

                    > Message: 1
                    > Date: Thu, 15 Dec 2005 22:28:12 -0000
                    > From: "Dave Williams" <stuff@...>
                    > Subject: Re: Game Project
                    >
                    > Hi!
                    >
                    > "Clearly, combat oriented games have tended to be more popular. That's
                    > the nature of our culture. But, as another member has also pointed out,
                    > many simulation games have been quite successful without any need for
                    > combat elements."
                    >
                    > This is true, but don't forget Myst. This game had no violence and was
                    > a huge best-seller. Imagine TMP as a Myst-type game. Something to think
                    > about anyway.
                    >
                    > Dave Williams

                    Yes, there are some possibilities in this. I've long had a fondness for
                    these kinds of games, though I tend to find them more expensive than
                    they're worth when I buy them for myself. (I tend to blow through them
                    so fast I don't get much play value out of them, considering the
                    typical $40-$60 price tags...) When I first started looking into
                    developing games as a means to home-based employment, these were what
                    interested me the most and I studied Macromedia Director and other such
                    platforms for this purpose. I tried a lot of projects -even some erotic
                    game designs following on the success of the infamous Virtual Valerie
                    games. Two of the more interesting SciFi concepts I explored were a
                    game called Starstruck (not to be confused with the similarly named Art
                    Deco inspired SciFi graphic novel series by Mike Kaluta) and Greenstar.
                    Starstruck was a SciFi comedy game inspired by the Teenagers From Outer
                    Space role playing game where the player took on the role of a misfit
                    college student in the mythical coastal California town of Mescalito.
                    He is accidentally recruited to aid a peculiar multi-species community
                    of aliens in a traveling Pan-Galactic University when the space probe
                    sent to find a landing site for their gigantic campus spaceship
                    malfunctions and crash-lands in the gymnasium of his local college
                    -which he is blamed for by college administrators due to a storied
                    history of extracurricular 'research projects'. This was intended to
                    evolve into a whole series of games revolving around the hero's
                    acceptance as the first human student in the PGU and adoption into a
                    circle of wacky alien students.

                    Greenstar was a much more Myst-like game in atmosphere where the player
                    takes on the role of a young man who inherits the desert refuge of an
                    eccentric aunt who worked as an archeologist. He discovers that she was
                    engaged in some kind of secret excavation on her own property and
                    uncovers, and accidentally activates, the remains of an alien artifact
                    which proves to be some kind of escape pod for a vast spacecraft based
                    on a giant living spherical tree that has been parked and abandoned in
                    the solar system's Oort cloud for centuries. To get back to Earth he
                    must learn how to reactivate the systems of the ship and unravel the
                    mystery of its lost crew and interrupted mission. This idea was driven
                    largely by the vision of this unusual spacecraft.

                    Unfortunately, I was never able to get any games of this kind off the
                    ground, and all for pretty much the same set of reasons. Adventure
                    games are actually very easy to design. The multimedia development
                    tools are largely high-level -so high-level that the programming
                    process is pretty much just an extension of writing a screen play. So
                    you can largely design a game with little more than a good hypertext
                    tool (I use StorySpace myself) and can just transcribe what you write
                    with that into these development platforms on a scene-by-scene,
                    location-by-location, encounter-by-encounter basis -if you have the
                    art at hand. That was always my single greatest stumbling block. I
                    simply could never come up with an adventure game concept that was
                    within my own artistic means, could never afford to commission the
                    artwork I needed, and could never get anyone in the established game
                    companies to take a design seriously if it only existed on paper.

                    I learned the hard way that the computer game industry is very
                    'Hollywood'. The community of professional game developers and software
                    company execs is a very closed, insular, and self-absorbed community of
                    very hard-boiled individuals with nothing but utter contempt for anyone
                    outside their social circles. These people steal ideas all the time but
                    anyone from outside their community with the gall to actually try and
                    present ideas to them is treated with the kind of disdain conservative
                    Republicans reserve for the homeless. That's actually why I resorted to
                    the erotic computer games. Whatever you may think of that genre of
                    media, I must say that the people in the porn industry are an order of
                    magnitude more open-minded, considerate, and professional than those in
                    the mainstream computer game industry. (unfortunately, they also tend
                    to be a lot poorer -which may have something to do with the difference
                    in attitude- and, though they just loved them, the kinds of designs I
                    was presenting them had art budgets for a single project equivalent to
                    what they normally spent on a couple dozen videos!) Game company people
                    have no use for good ideas that they didn't personally think up or
                    steal from someone they consider of equal social caliber. They only
                    take the products of outsiders seriously when they are virtually 90%
                    complete, and thus don't require them to actually risk money on
                    development. And, ironically, there's little point to going to them if
                    you can get to the 90% by yourself. All they really have to offer you
                    then is a better marketing channel. This is why -contrary to what the
                    game company execs would have you think- most truly novel computer
                    games are made by independents who are bought out by these bigger
                    companies when their products look promising. By themselves, the
                    mainstream companies are only capable of re-hashing the same content
                    'franchises' endlessly. Look at the game Katamari Damaci. That could
                    ONLY have come from Japan. American computer game companies are utterly
                    incapable of that kind of novelty. They simply do no have the internal
                    creative capacity for anything that radical in concept. How about
                    another street gang first-person shooter with another rap star? Those
                    never get old, do they? That's the caliber of thinking in these
                    companies today.

                    I think the settings and themes offered in TMP could serve well as the
                    basis of a lot of adventure games. Themes based on mysteries would be
                    the most likely. There have been a lot of interesting novels following
                    the 'engineer/scientist as sleuth' theme. The RAMA and The Dig
                    adventure games are good examples. There really is a dearth of any hard
                    SF content in games today and that offers a potentially untapped
                    market. But we would need a lot of very sophisticated artistic talent
                    at-hand to do it because the odds of getting any 'ideas' taken
                    seriously by game companies is nil. We would have to make these games
                    completely independently. What's interesting, though, is that hard SF
                    games have the unique potential to exploit sponsorship from one very
                    compelling source; space agencies like NASA. Space agencies like games
                    that are educational, promote images of the future that are consistent
                    with their own, and will sometimes give their endorsement and technical
                    advisor assistance to game developers that bother to ask for it. Very
                    few actually do, though, since realistic space themes are of so little
                    interest to most designers and government agencies, by default, won't
                    endorse products that aren't 'family friendly'. I've seen a couple of
                    'edutainment' multimedia games come along with the NASA trademark,
                    though they were not particularly sophisticated. I recall one based on
                    a Mars habitat that featured a walk-through tour but was not really
                    much of a game. I have heard that James Cameron was recently
                    commissioning some very interesting Mars mission design work. That
                    might be a source of support for something like this, but only if one
                    had the insiders to reach such people.

                    Eric Hunting

                    hunting@...



                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Eric Hunting
                    I d like to apologize for some inappropriate comments I made in my last post on this topic. The subject is a little personal for me and sometimes the pent-up
                    Message 9 of 26 , Dec 18, 2005
                      I'd like to apologize for some inappropriate comments I made in my last
                      post on this topic. The subject is a little personal for me and
                      sometimes the pent-up resentment over decades spent futilely searching
                      for home-based employment by such means wells-up and overwhelms my
                      tact. I apologize if I offended anyone.

                      Eric Hunting

                      hunting@...


                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Dave Williams
                      Eric, Well... I re-read your post and really tried to find something offensive - sorry, couldn t. :) But I DO understand your frustration concerning
                      Message 10 of 26 , Dec 18, 2005
                        Eric,

                        Well... I re-read your post and really tried to find something
                        offensive - sorry, couldn't. :)

                        But I DO understand your frustration concerning home-based employment.
                        I started my own business just about five years ago (home-based). I was
                        in the same boat as you - trying to find something that would make
                        money. Fortunately during a six month stint out of work I managed to
                        teach myself enough 3D computer graphics to get a job at a VERY small
                        local company - very small meaning there were two partners and one
                        employee - I was the 2nd employee. Over about five years we grew - too
                        fast, and the boss (and his partner) kinda screwed up the business. I'd
                        had enough working for other people and ended up taking over many of
                        the clients that the "old boss" could not service. I haven't looked
                        back since. Architectural Visualization is a great field - and
                        oftentimes fun. And my wife works with me too doing the 2D floor plans -
                        which she enjoys as well.

                        Instead of Macromedia Director, you might want to try something MUCH
                        easier to learn (less expensive,) and very powerful - Opus Pro. It's at:

                        http://www.digitalworkshop.com/products/pro04.shtml

                        It has done and can do games - if you're still into the "game idea"
                        that is. I'd like to do that as well, but after seeing the multitude of
                        problems assocated with software I'd rather not. I'm slowly gearing up
                        to do an entire CG movie - no worries about software platforms or
                        compatability issues once it's completed. Of course it'll take quite a
                        while...

                        Good Luck!

                        Dave Williams


                        --- In luf-team@yahoogroups.com, Eric Hunting <hunting@t...> wrote:
                        >
                        > I'd like to apologize for some inappropriate comments I made in my
                        last
                        > post on this topic. The subject is a little personal for me and
                        > sometimes the pent-up resentment over decades spent futilely
                        searching
                        > for home-based employment by such means wells-up and overwhelms my
                        > tact. I apologize if I offended anyone.
                        >
                        > Eric Hunting
                      • RanulfC@aol.com
                        Eric, thought of hitting up the Doom folks with your ideas? Considering 90% of them are also working for Amadillo Aerospace.. they might go for it :o) (I
                        Message 11 of 26 , Dec 19, 2005
                          Eric, thought of hitting up the "Doom" folks with your ideas? Considering
                          90% of them are also working for Amadillo Aerospace.. they might go for it :o)

                          (I ran a four adventure "Teenagers IN Outer Space" game when I was in
                          Oklahoma... :o)

                          Randy


                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Eric Hunting
                          ... Sounds like you built a good opportunity from that less-than-stable introduction to the field. Because I could only seek exclusively home-based work
                          Message 12 of 26 , Dec 21, 2005
                            >
                            > Date: Mon, 19 Dec 2005 04:07:15 -0000
                            > From: "Dave Williams" <stuff@...>
                            > Subject: Re: Game Project
                            >
                            > Eric,
                            >
                            > Well... I re-read your post and really tried to find something
                            > offensive - sorry, couldn't. :)
                            >
                            > But I DO understand your frustration concerning home-based employment.
                            > I started my own business just about five years ago (home-based). I was
                            > in the same boat as you - trying to find something that would make
                            > money. Fortunately during a six month stint out of work I managed to
                            > teach myself enough 3D computer graphics to get a job at a VERY small
                            > local company - very small meaning there were two partners and one
                            > employee - I was the 2nd employee. Over about five years we grew - too
                            > fast, and the boss (and his partner) kinda screwed up the business. I'd
                            > had enough working for other people and ended up taking over many of
                            > the clients that the "old boss" could not service. I haven't looked
                            > back since. Architectural Visualization is a great field - and
                            > oftentimes fun. And my wife works with me too doing the 2D floor plans
                            > -
                            > which she enjoys as well.
                            >
                            > Instead of Macromedia Director, you might want to try something MUCH
                            > easier to learn (less expensive,) and very powerful - Opus Pro. It's
                            > at:
                            >
                            > http://www.digitalworkshop.com/products/pro04.shtml
                            >
                            > It has done and can do games - if you're still into the "game idea"
                            > that is. I'd like to do that as well, but after seeing the multitude of
                            > problems assocated with software I'd rather not. I'm slowly gearing up
                            > to do an entire CG movie - no worries about software platforms or
                            > compatability issues once it's completed. Of course it'll take quite a
                            > while...
                            >
                            > Good Luck!
                            >
                            > Dave Williams

                            Sounds like you built a good opportunity from that less-than-stable
                            introduction to the field. Because I could only seek exclusively
                            home-based work because of my health problems, I couldn't take
                            advantage of entry-level jobs that might lead to other opportunities.
                            There is no such thing as an entry-level home-based job in this
                            country. The news media 'rediscovers' the phenomenon of telecommuting
                            every year and comes up with all sorts of baloney statistics but the
                            reality seems to be that there are no salary jobs of the type -other
                            than medical transcriptionists- at less than an executive level so the
                            vast majority of people working from home have had to start their own
                            businesses to do it. That's long been tough for me to pull off on SSI
                            income, though since fleeing NJ for low-toxic housing in NM last Spring
                            I've had some help from friends in the area with trying to establish
                            work in the college textbook industry. It's been much more tenuous and
                            unstable than I hoped, though. Right now we're working on a new way to
                            profit while literally giving textbooks to students for free,
                            addressing the textbook pricing crisis that has developed in this
                            country from the industry's drug-company-style monopolistic business
                            model and the laziness of the academic community. We now have the
                            technology at-hand to make viable eBook reading units based on an
                            iPod-like peripheral model and if this initial project works we may be
                            able to make enough money to go to Asia and have a practical eBook
                            reader unit engineered to order. Then I can finally put all those years
                            I spent studying Literary Computing and working on that JoeyPAD project
                            to practical use.

                            This week another potential opportunity has emerged. I finally made
                            contact with the president of the Aureka company in India; the company
                            that manufactures the sophisticated Auram 3000 Compressed Earth Block
                            machine developed at the Auroville community in India. Auroville has
                            built some of the most sophisticated and largest earth block
                            architecture in the world, much of it using this machine. The Aureka
                            company has expressed interest in allowing me to become the first US
                            sales agent for the machine. The US Southwest is the leading area in
                            the country for sustainable building and NM and AZ have an established
                            tradition in earthen construction. There are even some weird ironies
                            here about it. Pueblo natives are often prohibited from using their
                            indigenous building techniques because the government has declared
                            native dwellings 'sub-standard housing' while outside the reservations
                            multi-million-dollar pueblo mansions get built largely with imported
                            Mexican labor. I'm hoping the Auram technology might make some changes
                            in that weird situation. I've told Aureka I would plan to market the
                            technology here using a demonstration home project, utilizing all or
                            most of the special block shapes the Auram produces, and a photobook
                            showcasing the building techniques. Photobooks are the most popular
                            method of promoting new sustainable techniques these days. The only
                            catch with the machine is that is was engineered for the rural Indian
                            market and so is completely manually operated and needs three people to
                            use. In the US labor is much more costly than mechanical power and most
                            fully sustainable homes are owner-built. So I've asked if there is a
                            way to add a pneumatic or hydraulic ram to the machine to reduce the
                            labor to a single person. There's potential in this for LUF activities
                            too. CEB is often noted as a likely construction technology for space
                            settlements and the Auram is the single-most sophisticated CEB system
                            in the world.

                            I've also been continuing to pursue my own real estate development
                            projects, though I've had trouble finding the right building sites for
                            my first project. The real estate market bubble combined with large
                            minimum parcel sizes in this region has made finding land cheap enough
                            to leave enough budget left for home construction something of a
                            challenge. The Santa Fe area is a haven for people who want to build
                            sustainably, but not necessarily when they want to do it economically.
                            The median housing prices are as bad as they were in Northern New
                            Jersey. The recent gasoline price spike and the time consumed in the
                            textbook work has limited my ability to search for properties but I
                            have found a good source of attractive boiler-plate adobe home plans
                            and have lined up some possible contractors. My landlord has also
                            offered to allow me to participate in a project he's developing on
                            neighboring property where he plans an 'environmental building trust',
                            though that project is in a bit of a nebulous stage right now. I'm
                            hoping I can pull something together soon.

                            Opus Pro looks interesting. It doesn't seem that much simpler than
                            Director but is definitely a better value. Macromedia has been very
                            irresponsible in their pricing practices in recent years. I had to give
                            up on updates to the package because they just ballooned out of
                            anyone's reach. I recall the stunt they pulled on users of SmartSketch.
                            They wanted to incorporate the highly intuitive drawing tools of the
                            low cost SmartSketch program into the new Flash package and so they
                            bought out the whole company. They then outright killed the SmartSketch
                            product and had the incredible gall to host an on-line conference for
                            SmartSketch users to tell them that, while they were killing all
                            support of that program, they were offering SmartSketch users the
                            'opportunity' to keep using these graphics tools by buying the Flash
                            package -AT 10 TIMES THE PRICE! I'll never get over that hose job, or
                            the attitude of the company rep who acted like it was a freakin' gift!

                            There was a very promising multimedia package some years ago called
                            mTopolis that I was keen on. Very intuitive object-oriented platform
                            with full cross-platform capability. But the company went belly-up
                            within months on introducing the product. I never found out what
                            happened with that. Right now I think the 3D platforms are starting to
                            set a new standard for multimedia games. The trend seems to be in favor
                            of more 3D immersion deriving from the linked panoramic scene systems
                            (360 degree panoramic scene points linked by fly-through animations)
                            based on Quicktime VR and its variants and now moving to live animated
                            3D environments following on the success of things like Halo and World
                            of Warcraft. Static rendered images still hold the lead in image detail
                            and quality but the live rendered systems are starting to catch-up.
                            These live rendered 3D platforms are still a bit far from the kind of
                            high level programming of things like Director, though, because their
                            design is still focused on the primitive first-person-shooter model.

                            There is one genre of adventure games, though, that has long interested
                            me and which is potentially very low cost to develop yet represents a
                            completely unexplored and untapped market that the first person to make
                            some successful games for could completely dominate. It's one that is
                            very ripe for a breakthrough with the current explosion in personal
                            music devices. I've long been promoting the concept of an all-audio
                            portable computer called Mozart. Aside from its potential for a very
                            cheap yet very powerful and small portable computer that can be used by
                            the blind and provide truly practical on-the-move and discreet word
                            processing and text communication (there hasn't been a truly practical
                            journalist's computer since the Tandy 100!) this computer concept also
                            offered the potential for a new class of all-audio games, especially
                            adventure games based on its native form of audio-based XML derived
                            hypertext. One of the peculiar things I learned in my dealings with
                            people in the porn media industry was that it was generally far cheaper
                            to get actors to perform sex acts than to hire artists to create
                            graphics to portray them. This is why adult games like Virtual Valerie
                            ultimately died out after a brief hey-day in the late 80s and early
                            90s. Only in Japan, with its vast pool of cheap 'manga' art talent has
                            this genre of games survived. This actually led me to consider live
                            actors for my game designs, only being based on fantasy genres with
                            some wild characters and magic, the cost in costuming and SFX made that
                            approach just as costly.

                            The producers of audio books and radio plays have long understood the
                            virtues of the audio medium as a way to produce content on a budget.
                            Let the audience's imagination fill in the artwork and you can go far
                            with little production cost. Now, the notion of an interactive audio
                            adventure game was actually explored a few times in the mediums of
                            records and tapes. It didn't work too well because of the inability to
                            dynamically control the linking between audio passages. They were like
                            'choose your own adventure' books where you had to manually change
                            points on a tape or record. And the scale of these games was terribly
                            limited. You need to have a lot of audio content to keep a game
                            engaging for some hours. Apparently because of the common perception
                            that the personal computer was primarily a text and graphics medium
                            evolving out of the medium of television, no computer game designers
                            have ever explored this concept in games. It would be too heretical a
                            notion. But now we have this vast proliferation of portable MP3 players
                            creating a huge demand for a new diversity of audio content, If it were
                            possible to embed player sequence command code into an MP3 file it
                            would be possible to create the audio equivalent of a hypertext and
                            thus use that as the basis of a game which could be produced as cheaply
                            as a radio play and be distributed with the ease of any MP3 file. It's
                            not clear to me if there are any MP3 players sophisticated enough for
                            that but perhaps the iPod might be. it seems to have some higher level
                            of software capability, though I don't have one myself to determine how
                            much so. Anything which becomes popular for that tends to be quickly
                            duplicated in all other MP3 player products. The potential here is
                            pretty great. Adventure games took off because multi-media tools were
                            initially cheap and easy for anyone to create software with. (too bad
                            the industry sort of forgot how valuable those virtues are...) Contrary
                            to software publishers' delusions, they didn't wane in popularity
                            because users got bored with them. They waned in popularity because it
                            became too damned expensive to make them and their entertainment value
                            couldn't always match up to their retail price as a result. It's a
                            medium that really needs to be as cheap on the shelf as a novel or
                            record album. Audio games could achieve that. But right now there's no
                            platform for the development of games like this. No one besides me
                            seems to have even thought of it. There's some potential here for LUF
                            uses too. Media production is typically costly and art talent is in
                            short supply. But this is a medium that could be very cheap to use. Art
                            is replaced by the skillful combination of oration and audio effect.
                            Could TMP be an 'audially illustrated' and 'musically enhanced' audio
                            book? A novel idea, isn't it? Imagine how cheap that could be to
                            publish in this MP3 era.

                            Eric Hunting

                            hunting@...



                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • Eric Hunting
                            ... Might be a possibility, if they are already in the frame of mind for hard SF related themes. I have enough negative experience to know that any attempt to
                            Message 13 of 26 , Dec 22, 2005
                              On Dec 20, 2005, at 2:23 PM, luf-team@yahoogroups.com wrote:

                              > Message: 1
                              > Date: Mon, 19 Dec 2005 20:51:30 EST
                              > From: RanulfC@...
                              > Subject: Re: Re: Game Project
                              >
                              > Eric, thought of hitting up the "Doom" folks with your ideas?
                              > Considering
                              > 90% of them are also working for Amadillo Aerospace.. they might go
                              > for it :o)
                              >
                              > (I ran a four adventure "Teenagers IN Outer Space" game when I was in
                              > Oklahoma... :o)
                              >
                              > Randy

                              Might be a possibility, if they are already in the frame of mind for
                              hard SF related themes. I have enough negative experience to know that
                              any attempt to contact id Software directly would be an exercise in
                              futility. That would garner nothing but the 'fan boy' treatment. I
                              would need some kind of personal introduction to these individuals to
                              get anywhere. Perhaps there's a way to reach them through people in
                              Armadillo Aerospace?

                              Eric Hunting

                              hunting@...



                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • kucitizenx
                              ... rain ... hate to but in here, but theres a lot to say for understanding lucidly how ecological systems and the law of the jungle and thus economic systems
                              Message 14 of 26 , Dec 28, 2005
                                --- In luf-team@yahoogroups.com, Eric Hunting <hunting@t...> wrote:
                                >
                                >
                                > On Dec 13, 2005, at 2:54 PM, luf-team@yahoogroups.com wrote:
                                >
                                > > Message: 1
                                > > Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2005 23:18:16 -0000
                                > > From: "normanbormann" <fightcg@a...>
                                > > Subject: Re: Game Project
                                > >
                                > > Hi there, I'm a new guy to the group but a long time admirer of
                                > > Marshall Savage's book and Sid Meier's games. I don't want to
                                rain
                                > > on anyone's parade, but without some sort of battle element it is
                                > > unlikely you will achieve wide scale acceptance.
                                > >

                                hate to but in here, but theres a lot to say for understanding
                                lucidly
                                how ecological systems and the law of the jungle and thus economic
                                systems operate, and translating that into game terms.

                                Utopia or Dystopia are both the result of "battles" which while they
                                are not what we think of as contemporary battles could still be
                                described in those terms.

                                The "battle" of the Culture wars, or the "Battle"of Intellectuals
                                versus muggles, or the battle for wisdom versus Republican status quo
                                manipulations- all of these things translate well into game theory if
                                a lucid can pull back the veil to see what is going on.

                                In fact these battles are VERY dramatic, its just a matter of
                                rendering a perspective to see the drama from.
                                :)
                              • Eric Hunting
                                ... This is a good point. You can basically express any form of conflict or competition in terms of game theory and present it as a system of strategy and
                                Message 15 of 26 , Dec 30, 2005
                                  On Dec 29, 2005, at 4:33 PM, luf-team@yahoogroups.com wrote:

                                  > Message: 1
                                  > Date: Wed, 28 Dec 2005 23:13:28 -0000
                                  > From: "kucitizenx" <kucitizenx@...>
                                  > Subject: Re: Game Project
                                  >
                                  > --- In luf-team@yahoogroups.com, Eric Hunting <hunting@t...> wrote:
                                  >>
                                  >>
                                  >> On Dec 13, 2005, at 2:54 PM, luf-team@yahoogroups.com wrote:
                                  >>
                                  >>> Message: 1
                                  >>> Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2005 23:18:16 -0000
                                  >>> From: "normanbormann" <fightcg@a...>
                                  >>> Subject: Re: Game Project
                                  >>>
                                  >>> Hi there, I'm a new guy to the group but a long time admirer of
                                  >>> Marshall Savage's book and Sid Meier's games. I don't want to
                                  > rain
                                  >>> on anyone's parade, but without some sort of battle element it is
                                  >>> unlikely you will achieve wide scale acceptance.
                                  >>>
                                  >
                                  > hate to but in here, but theres a lot to say for understanding
                                  > lucidly
                                  > how ecological systems and the law of the jungle and thus economic
                                  > systems operate, and translating that into game terms.
                                  >
                                  > Utopia or Dystopia are both the result of "battles" which while they
                                  > are not what we think of as contemporary battles could still be
                                  > described in those terms.
                                  >
                                  > The "battle" of the Culture wars, or the "Battle"of Intellectuals
                                  > versus muggles, or the battle for wisdom versus Republican status quo
                                  > manipulations- all of these things translate well into game theory if
                                  > a lucid can pull back the veil to see what is going on.
                                  >
                                  > In fact these battles are VERY dramatic, its just a matter of
                                  > rendering a perspective to see the drama from.
                                  > :)

                                  This is a good point. You can basically express any form of conflict or
                                  competition in terms of game theory and present it as a system of
                                  strategy and tactics. And this can be engaging in many ways. There are
                                  a number of classic computer games -such as Trade Wars- which are based
                                  entirely on the premise of economic conflict. And in recent years there
                                  has evolved new classes of 'anti-conflict' games where players start
                                  out in a competitive state but soon realize that survival has to come
                                  from cooperation and so they must employ strategy and tactics to coerce
                                  cooperation out of each other against their baser instincts. One of the
                                  most important games like this is The World Game, a simulation game
                                  first proposed by Buckminster Fuller and cultivated in various forms by
                                  The World Game Institute. The World Game is a resource management
                                  simulation game devised to demonstrate Fuller's proposition that
                                  insufficiency in the world and the resulting conflict it creates is not
                                  the result of any actual shortages of resources but rather the product
                                  of their irrational management and exchange. So in the World Game
                                  players -taking the role of nations- seek to fulfill their individual
                                  resource needs and development goals by working out networks of
                                  exchange with the objective of ending up with everyone winning. The
                                  World Game Institute used to be working on a huge database of live
                                  global statistic 'counters' which was to be part of an on-line version
                                  of the World Game. I was going to use this for source material for my
                                  own project, though I don't know if this on-line World Game is still an
                                  active project.

                                  But it's definitely true that such games do not have the mass appeal of
                                  games with conventional military or plain old violent conflict. Our
                                  culture doesn't really 'get' the notion of true success defined as
                                  everyone winning and no one losing. That's still a very alien concept
                                  in our 'cave men in a flying saucer' civilization. Ironically, one of
                                  the most often demonized class of games -the fantasy role playing games
                                  such as the classic Dungeons & Dragons- is actually the most mainstream
                                  form of the 'anti-conflict' games because they are based no the premise
                                  of survival and success through team cooperation, even though that team
                                  is engaged in violent conflict with fantasy 'non-player' characters.

                                  Eric Hunting

                                  hunting@...



                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • RanulfC@aol.com
                                  ... need some kind of personal introduction to these individuals to ... Well, I m not so sure your assesment of id Software is on the mark, since the head of
                                  Message 16 of 26 , Jan 7, 2006
                                    Eric Hunting wrote:
                                    >I have enough negative experience to know that any attempt to
                                    >contact id Software directly would be an exercise in futility.
                                    >That would garner nothing but the 'fan boy' treatment. I would
                                    need some kind of personal introduction to these individuals to
                                    >get anywhere. Perhaps there's a way to reach them through
                                    >people in Armadillo Aerospace?

                                    Well, I'm not so sure your assesment of id Software is on the mark, since
                                    the 'head' of Armadillo Aerospace is John Carmac, (the head of id Software :o)

                                    No harm in trying though is there?

                                    Randy


                                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                  • Eric Hunting
                                    ... Certainly no harm in trying (aside from the risk of -yet another- rejection), though I would want to have a more presentable package first and I still have
                                    Message 17 of 26 , Jan 9, 2006
                                      On Jan 7, 2006, at 5:04 PM, luf-team@yahoogroups.com wrote:

                                      >
                                      > Message: 2
                                      > Date: Sat, 7 Jan 2006 10:05:53 EST
                                      > From: RanulfC@...
                                      > Subject: Re: Re: Game Project
                                      >
                                      > Eric Hunting wrote:
                                      >> I have enough negative experience to know that any attempt to
                                      >> contact id Software directly would be an exercise in futility.
                                      >> That would garner nothing but the 'fan boy' treatment. I would
                                      > need some kind of personal introduction to these individuals to
                                      >> get anywhere. Perhaps there's a way to reach them through
                                      >> people in Armadillo Aerospace?
                                      >
                                      > Well, I'm not so sure your assesment of id Software is on the mark,
                                      > since
                                      > the 'head' of Armadillo Aerospace is John Carmac, (the head of id
                                      > Software :o)
                                      >
                                      > No harm in trying though is there?
                                      >
                                      > Randy

                                      Certainly no harm in trying (aside from the risk of -yet another-
                                      rejection), though I would want to have a more presentable package
                                      first and I still have doubts about any attempt at communicating with
                                      the software company. One would probably have better luck talking to
                                      the aerospace company.

                                      Obviously, I can't say that id Software harbors the kind of attitude
                                      other companies do, but there is a universal problem in communicating
                                      with them by any conventional means. Normal unsolicited communication
                                      is obsolete for all computer game companies -and not a few other
                                      industries as well today. If you're not asked in, you don't get in. You
                                      see, all game publishers are perpetually deluged -or so they all claim-
                                      with a flood of mail, email, and phone calls from aspiring computer
                                      game designers ranging in age from toddlers to adults and with 99.9% of
                                      what they send being utterly useless. These companies are also
                                      perpetually plagued -or, again, so they all claim- by a steady stream
                                      of cranks who think because they once sent a letter describing some
                                      nebulous game concept -or sometimes merely thought it in their head
                                      without ever actually communicating it to anyone- that, if they see
                                      some minor element of that notion appear in some future game they are
                                      entitled to a million dollars. None of these companies have any
                                      practical mechanism for evaluating other people's ideas and, frankly,
                                      they don't want to bother spending the time and money to develop one
                                      anyway because of the hassle of law suits by these cranks. Of course,
                                      the obvious practical solution is a specific standardized set of
                                      professional guidelines for submissions just like those used by the
                                      book publishing industry but, alas, no one in the software industry has
                                      been thoughtful enough to devise any such standards. (though, to be
                                      fair, a few companies have actually run short-term design competitions
                                      for specific software platforms with standardized submission
                                      guidelines) So they just treat all these channels of communication as
                                      effectively obsolete, throwing out everything that is sent to them by
                                      anyone or just treating it like 'fan mail' where some sorry clerk
                                      endlessly stuffs reply envelopes with a polite but obtuse form letter.
                                      Indeed, some companies like Microsoft are said to simply shred or burn
                                      all mail sent to them that isn't labeled with specific in-house
                                      destination codes. Catch-all email addresses are just handled by
                                      auto-responders and the incoming messages perpetually purged and never
                                      read.

                                      So, as I've learned the hard way, there is absolutely no point to
                                      sending anything to one of these companies unless invited and given the
                                      'pass codes' or special back-channel person-specific destinations to
                                      get one's communication through this barrier. If they didn't come to
                                      you asking you for it, they don't want it and have no use for it -no
                                      matter how much lip-service they may publicly give to the 'power of
                                      ideas'. This is why independent development persists despite the
                                      mainstream industry's denial of its existence. If you know you have a
                                      good idea but no way 'in' because of these barriers you have no choice
                                      but to go it alone.

                                      Now, chances might be better talking to Armadillo Aerospace but the
                                      trick would be not to pitch what I'm actually wanting to pitch. I
                                      wouldn't go to them saying; "I have a game idea that I think your
                                      people with id Software would be interested in." That would bring up
                                      the Universal Crank/Fanboy Filter" again. So, instead, my likely
                                      strategy would be to explain that I'm doing technical research and
                                      would ask them about their spacecraft technology and how I might use
                                      descriptions of it in a game project I 'just happen' to be working on.
                                      By explaining how I intend to use content about their spacecraft or
                                      other projects I would indirectly be pitching the game design. But I
                                      would still need to have a proper and more substantial package ready to
                                      deliver should they show the hoped-for interest and the discussion go
                                      to the logical next step.

                                      Eric Hunting

                                      hunting@...



                                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                    • kucitizenx
                                      to be working on. ... to ... go ... I think that the true key to making a pitch like the one you are talking about is having several key aspects of the game
                                      Message 18 of 26 , Jan 12, 2006
                                        to be working on.
                                        > By explaining how I intend to use content about their spacecraft or
                                        > other projects I would indirectly be pitching the game design. But I
                                        > would still need to have a proper and more substantial package ready
                                        to
                                        > deliver should they show the hoped-for interest and the discussion
                                        go
                                        > to the logical next step.
                                        >
                                        > Eric Hunting
                                        >
                                        ---------------------
                                        I think that the true key to making a pitch like the one you are
                                        talking about is having several key aspects of the game allready
                                        designed. I would be very interested in designing a game, i have a
                                        fair background in game theory and a deep abiding fascination with
                                        making it in my lifetime to pluto. (I also have a minor backup plan
                                        involving extending my life with biomedical nanites, in case the
                                        timetables end up being too long...lol.)

                                        The question is not "Could it work?"
                                        The question is "Okay, what have you got so far?"
                                        And then, "How can we as a community support the evolution of this
                                        game?"

                                        The first step of any game is to decide what aspects of reality you are
                                        going to model, how accurately you are going to model them, how you
                                        are going to turn that into some kind of number crunching matrix, what
                                        the obstacles of the game will be, and what the games "win" conditions
                                        are.

                                        Do you have answers for those questions?
                                      • kucitizenx
                                        Theres actually a very high demand for non-conflict/battle games, especially with parents who have a conscience. More importantly, theres an obvious niche
                                        Message 19 of 26 , Jan 12, 2006
                                          Theres actually a very high demand for non-conflict/battle games,
                                          especially with parents who have a conscience. More importantly,
                                          theres an obvious niche waiting to be filled, and we could become
                                          one of the critters what fills it.

                                          The thing about death and destruction and first person shooter, and
                                          so forth is that its been done. And Done, and done, and done, and
                                          redone, and reversioned, and extra levels added, and sequeled,and
                                          prequeled, and rehashed...

                                          What the game industry is really looking for is good, smart, new
                                          premises for games. And thats what we have.
                                          :)




                                          > But it's definitely true that such games do not have the mass
                                          appeal of
                                          > games with conventional military or plain old violent conflict.
                                          Our
                                          > culture doesn't really 'get' the notion of true success defined as
                                          > everyone winning and no one losing. That's still a very alien
                                          concept
                                          > in our 'cave men in a flying saucer' civilization. Ironically, one
                                          of
                                          > the most often demonized class of games -the fantasy role playing
                                          games
                                          > such as the classic Dungeons & Dragons- is actually the most
                                          mainstream
                                          > form of the 'anti-conflict' games because they are based no the
                                          premise
                                          > of survival and success through team cooperation, even though that
                                          team
                                          > is engaged in violent conflict with fantasy 'non-player'
                                          characters.
                                          >
                                          > Eric Hunting
                                          >
                                          > hunting@t...
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >
                                          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                          >
                                        • kucitizenx
                                          ... hi there eric...just mostly bumping this up after reading it. I think that you have well covered your basic groups, and their basic descriptions... The
                                          Message 20 of 26 , Jan 12, 2006
                                            ---

                                            hi there eric...just mostly bumping this up after reading it.

                                            I think that you have well covered your basic groups, and their basic
                                            descriptions...
                                            The hard part is coming up with the many details of what you see
                                            as the assorted means these groups use.

                                            I also have a question; are they all competing for space inside of
                                            a single fictional solar system? Or do we start more realistically
                                            with an early exploration phase, and find colonizable planets?
                                            (Adding exorbitantly to game mechanics...)

                                            What is the games starting condition?


                                            Also, how does one determine the games finish, or...
                                            What is the games ending condition?


                                            In luf-team@yahoogroups.com, Eric Hunting <hunting@t...> wrote:
                                            >
                                            > Just for fun, I thought I would share with the group some of the
                                            > details of the space colonization game project I've been working
                                            on for
                                            > some time. Feedback and suggestions would be welcome.
                                            >
                                            > Dubbed M3 (Third Millennium) the game concerns the development of
                                            a
                                            > spacefaring civilization from terrestrial inception as a space
                                            > development group on the year 2000 to the successful creation of
                                            the
                                            > first settlement on a nearby star. It is intended to be played
                                            singly
                                            > or in competition with other player groups which may be computer
                                            > managed or played by other players. The main user interface for
                                            the
                                            > game is based on several drill-down levels of maps with the lowest
                                            > level being the individual settlement map and the highest level
                                            being a
                                            > solar-system map presented as a live animated orrery labeling
                                            objects
                                            > and vehicle trajectories and with perimeter control tabs listing
                                            events
                                            > and displaying extra-solar activities when they come into play.
                                            I'm
                                            > also considering an on-line multi-player mode and would ultimately
                                            want
                                            > to use an open source platform with extensible unit data. Though
                                            the
                                            > game will display things down to the discrete settlement scale, it
                                            will
                                            > not function like SimCity. The level of data for a simulation that
                                            > 'deep' would be too great. So the settlement display functions
                                            simply
                                            > as a kind of visually engaging 3D control panel for the display of
                                            > settlement status and the management of its features and
                                            operations as
                                            > a single simulation unit.
                                            >
                                            > The game is not intended to be strictly competitive and will have
                                            no
                                            > overt warfare between groups. An outbreak of open warfare will end
                                            the
                                            > game for a group. I don't prescribe to the 'civilization is war'
                                            model
                                            > of history game designers like Sid Meir prescribe to. I prescribe
                                            to a
                                            > more James Burk Connections model of history, seeing civilization
                                            as a
                                            > more cybernetic (in the traditional sense of that term) system. So
                                            the
                                            > game is intended to function as a 'what if' simulator for
                                            exploring the
                                            > many possible strategies and technology concepts that have been
                                            > proposed in the past century. Player groups compete economically
                                            and by
                                            > social, cultural, and technological insurgency and can co-operate
                                            or
                                            > compete alternately according to what serves their interests. So
                                            it has
                                            > something of an encyclopedic database for its units and events
                                            which
                                            > will hopefully be extensible so new ideas can be added to the
                                            > simulation as they are proposed. This would -hopefully- be further
                                            > enhanced by a kind of mini-music-video which announces each event
                                            or
                                            > technology advance and which can be replayed from the event and
                                            > technology database displays.
                                            >
                                            > At the moment things are still in a rudimentary design stage with
                                            this
                                            > game as I'm still in the process of cataloging units and events
                                            for the
                                            > game and a rule set for them all. Since it's a part time project,
                                            > progress has been slow, though I originally adopted this project
                                            > because of my frustration with previous game projects whose media
                                            > requirements were beyond my own artistic talents and couldn't be
                                            > brought to prototype stage single-handedly.
                                            >
                                            > I thought readers here might be interested in the run-down of
                                            player
                                            > groups I have been planning for the game, as these seems to be one
                                            of
                                            > the most interesting elements in the game. These are the groups
                                            players
                                            > choose to assume control of or assign AI control to at the start
                                            of the
                                            > game. Instead of using a single generic player group type, I
                                            thought it
                                            > would be more interesting to create a collection of different
                                            groups
                                            > with different cultures and ideals and, as a consequence,
                                            different
                                            > advantages and disadvantages, different preferences in technology
                                            and
                                            > settlement design, and different development strategies. These
                                            groups
                                            > represent -more or less realistically- the different ideologies,
                                            > interest groups, and cultural factions of the different space
                                            advocacy
                                            > groups, governments, and futurist/utopian communities that exist
                                            in the
                                            > world today -as well as also representing a few new socio-cultural
                                            > factions that may appear in the future. This is similar to the
                                            approach
                                            > of Sid Meir's Civilization and Alpha Centauri games where
                                            different
                                            > cultural groups thematically represent different strategy sets
                                            used by
                                            > the game's AI. However, each group here also presents a player
                                            with a
                                            > different set of starting conditions and challenges when they
                                            choose to
                                            > use it. And they also add some novelty to the game, especially in
                                            the
                                            > case of two groups which are my alternative to the BEM (bug-eyed
                                            > monster) aliens so typical of games. Extraterrestrials will only
                                            appear
                                            > in this game in a very subtle way; as events such as a SETI
                                            > interception of a radio signal, the discovery of alien artifacts
                                            or
                                            > 'sentinel' devices, the discovery of non-sentient alien life
                                            forms, or
                                            > the fly-by of an alien space probe. This is also a bit of irony,
                                            > considering the particular motives of one of these player groups.
                                            >
                                            > National Space Agency: Obvious enough, the equivalent of a
                                            government
                                            > sponsored space program. Has the advantage of some sophisticated
                                            > pre-existing facilities and primitive launch systems left over
                                            from the
                                            > first space age but is hampered by dependence on government
                                            sponsorship
                                            > in an age (circa 2000) when most nations' support of space is
                                            dwindling
                                            > and frequently facing interference by military and corporate
                                            aerospace
                                            > interests. Basic starting budget is provided entirely -and usually
                                            > inadequately- by government and fluctuates according to the
                                            political
                                            > status of the agency. Starts the game with a functional space
                                            center -a
                                            > big advantage- and usually doesn't build independent residential
                                            > settlements except where no pre-existing communities can be found
                                            near
                                            > a new facility site.
                                            >
                                            > Space University: Staffed largely by former -and often disgruntled-

                                            > national space agency scientists and engineers, this is a
                                            conventional
                                            > university except with a focus on the cultivation of aerospace
                                            research
                                            > as a key attraction of students and sponsorship. Enjoys some
                                            access to
                                            > residual facilities of national space agencies and some government
                                            > support but must function on an extremely tight budget and turn a
                                            > profit as a school. Campuses are their primary settlement form,
                                            which
                                            > tends to limit industrial activity.
                                            >
                                            > Space Enterprise: A strictly for-profit pursuit of space
                                            development
                                            > based on a corporation with initial development focus on
                                            traditional
                                            > launch services for telecommunications and on the emerging space
                                            > tourism industry. Has great flexibility and freedom compared to
                                            some
                                            > other groups but also faces big risks, has limited
                                            employee/resident
                                            > motivation, and must overcome the initial obstacles of a circa
                                            2000
                                            > finance industry perception that there is no practical money in
                                            space
                                            > and capital risk is high.
                                            >
                                            > Space Enthusiasts: Essentially your typical space
                                            enthusiasts/advocacy
                                            > group like the L5 Society, The Planetary Society, Zubrin's Mars
                                            > Society, etc. Has the advantage of starting out as a
                                            > non-profit-organization free from the drag of taxation and has the
                                            > ability to inspire great public interest but must overcome both a
                                            > negative public/political perception (space nuts) and the problem
                                            of a
                                            > very dispersed membership with a chronic shortage of actual
                                            educated
                                            > technology/industry professionals. Extremely short on starting
                                            > facilities and cash flow but begins with an international presence
                                            > -albeit a weak one. Budget initially dependent upon promotional
                                            > activities seeking membership dues and publishing revenue
                                            from 'club'
                                            > members but must face a low ceiling limit on that income early on
                                            and
                                            > adapt to other revenue sources.
                                            >
                                            > Eco-Tech Movement: Similar in some ways to the Space Enthusiasts
                                            but
                                            > composed of somewhat better educated professionals with
                                            backgrounds in
                                            > architecture and alternative energy. The Eco-Tech Movement (which
                                            > currently exists only as an architectural and alternative energy
                                            > movement) splintered off from the early 1960s Environmental
                                            Movement
                                            > when the scientific and rational segments of that community became
                                            > troubled by the growth of a kind of psuedo-religious anti-
                                            technology
                                            > fundamentalism which had the movement steering down the path of
                                            the
                                            > same dead-end Malthusianist ideology that rationalized the
                                            corporate
                                            > mind set. They saw the conflict between environmentalists and
                                            > corporations turning into a competition for which kind of
                                            apocalypse we
                                            > end up with; one where the earth is paved over and covered in the
                                            waste
                                            > of consumerism or one where the earth is turned into a giant
                                            kibbutz of
                                            > endless low-yield farmland where everyone lives like the Amish but
                                            most
                                            > of the population end up dead of disease or starvation.
                                            >
                                            > The much more pragmatic Eco-Techies see technology as a tool
                                            equally
                                            > capable of good or evil and thus regard it as a solution to
                                            > environmental problems as much as a cause. How you use it
                                            determines
                                            > the result. Thus they seek the cultivation of a more sustainable
                                            > civilization through increasing the sophistication in technology
                                            and
                                            > using it in more appropriate ways. Their interest in space is as a
                                            > limitless source of energy (solar power satellites, fusion, etc.)
                                            and
                                            > materials without terrestrial environmental impact, and a place
                                            for
                                            > settlement to relieve human habitation pressures on the Earth and
                                            to
                                            > expand the terrestrial biosphere as a form of insurance for life.
                                            They
                                            > have some of the same problems as the Space Enthusiasts but a bit
                                            more
                                            > credibility with the public and the few more progressive
                                            governments.
                                            > They favor terrestrial development through planned settlements
                                            like
                                            > Eco-Villages, Biospheres, and Arcologies.
                                            >
                                            > Tribal Community: This group represents the disenfranchised native
                                            > communities suppressed by western industrial expansion. The player
                                            > group represents a specific (but fictitious) native tribal
                                            community
                                            > which is struggling to come to terms with modern life and is
                                            seeking
                                            > settlement in space as a means to escape the cultural destruction
                                            > threatened by the western industrial monoculture and to recover
                                            the
                                            > territory lost to past Western invaders. To put it simply, they
                                            seek to
                                            > settle space to get away from the crazy white people and their
                                            > pathological way of life. Their one advantage is the ability to
                                            exploit
                                            > their limited, hard-fought, and dwindling political autonomy as a
                                            means
                                            > to develop facilities that might otherwise face political
                                            opposition
                                            > 'outside the reservation.' Their biggest problems are that they
                                            start
                                            > out dirt-poor and struggling with poor education, poor standard of
                                            > living, poor health care, and many social problems due to
                                            > discrimination by the outside dominator society. They also tend to
                                            be
                                            > rather exclusive and so must grow population internally rather
                                            than
                                            > importing people from other communities. This would be one of the
                                            most
                                            > challenging groups for players to play, even though it starts out
                                            with
                                            > a fairly large -but largely undeveloped- piece of terrestrial real
                                            > estate.
                                            >
                                            > Freetopian Movement: This group is a by-product of the
                                            contemporary
                                            > 'techno-shamanist' movement, the residual hippy movement, the neo-
                                            pagan
                                            > movement, the raver culture, and the computer hacker underground
                                            which
                                            > all have tended to converge and mix through events like the
                                            Burning Man
                                            > festivals. Essentially, the Freetopians are a digitally connected
                                            tribe
                                            > of techno-hedonists with an environmental conscience and a touch
                                            of
                                            > Xist ideology. Their culture is a weird blend of neo-paganism,
                                            eastern
                                            > mysticism, pop-culture, psychadelica, and technophilia. They
                                            believe in
                                            > bisexuality, polyamory, and anarchism as the normal human
                                            condition,
                                            > abhor rigid social structures, and revel in the pursuit of
                                            pleasure,
                                            > entertainment, art, music, and free creative and sexual
                                            expression.
                                            > They seek space settlement primarily for the creation of places
                                            where
                                            > they can cultivate their counter-culture unmolested by existing
                                            > governments. A similar objective to the Tribal Community. But they
                                            are
                                            > a larger, wealthier, and more technologically savvy society,
                                            albeit
                                            > dispersed globally at the start.
                                            >
                                            > The Freetopians are strong believers in an imminent socio-
                                            technological
                                            > 'singularity'; the point where the curve in the rate of
                                            technological
                                            > advancement goes vertical and human civilization switches to a
                                            higher
                                            > state of structure -often characterized as a 'higher state of
                                            > consciousness'. They see this singularity as inevitable but
                                            currently
                                            > suppressed by the corporate and political hegemonies of
                                            a 'dominator
                                            > culture' based on social and environmental exploitation. They seek
                                            to
                                            > overcome this by bringing about the singularity themselves, and
                                            thus
                                            > freeing humanity to enjoy a new state of grace and freeing the
                                            > environment from the burden of exploitation and the environmental
                                            > degradation of primitive industrial age technology.
                                            >
                                            > Their biggest disadvantage is that their very unstructured way of
                                            life
                                            > and work-abhoring culture makes it difficult for them to make
                                            concerted
                                            > effort on anything while also making them a magnet for the
                                            negative
                                            > attention of government. They are utterly incapable of centralized
                                            mass
                                            > production industry. They will work exclusively with post-
                                            industrial
                                            > technology affording personal manufacture-on-demand capability
                                            > -technology which is still pretty crude circa 2000. This leaves
                                            them
                                            > heavily dependent upon a lot of products manufactured by the very
                                            same
                                            > dominator culture they abhor. They also tend to be age-
                                            discriminatory
                                            > with only a few older age and highly eccentric, highly talented
                                            > 'elders' being tolerated or remaining comfortable among them life-
                                            long.
                                            > But they regularly recruit ultra-wealthy individuals (trust-fund
                                            kids)
                                            > providing money and limited shelter from authorities through
                                            political
                                            > influence. Their computer hacker and drug chemist members have
                                            powerful
                                            > potential for illicit profit and for insurgent 'monkeywrenching.'
                                            > (governments that harrass them have a tendency to wind up with
                                            > mysteriously emptied bank accounts, embarrassing mass-media
                                            exposures
                                            > of politicians' dirty secrets, wrecked digital stock markets, and
                                            > crippled telecommunications infrastructures)
                                            >
                                            > Initial Freetopian settlements will consist of buildings
                                            repurposed and
                                            > shared through cohabitation and will expand from that into bolo-
                                            like
                                            > post-industrial village settlements.
                                            >
                                            > Xists: Transhumanists, or Xists for short, are a community of
                                            people
                                            > who believe -to an almost religious degree- in the potential of
                                            > technology to improve the human condition. And so they seek the
                                            direct
                                            > blending of the human organism with technology for the purpose of
                                            > improving quality of life, extending the duration of life
                                            indefinitely,
                                            > cheating death through suspended animation technology such as
                                            > cryogenics or nanotech based protein binding, and technologically
                                            > adapting the human organism to a progressively wider variety of
                                            > environments so that they can easily colonize the sea and space.
                                            Their
                                            > ultimate goal is the uploading of the human consciousness into
                                            immortal
                                            > cybernetic organisms with the freedom to colonize the universe.
                                            >
                                            > This is not science fiction. These people exist today and are
                                            often
                                            > found among the members of the computer and alternative health
                                            > sub-cultures as well as among the very wealthy. The notorious New
                                            > Utopia marine colony project, composed of older rich sci-fi buffs
                                            and
                                            > Ayn Rand fanatics and led by a man named -no joke!- Prince
                                            Lazarous
                                            > Long was briefly popular among Xists and futurists but succumbed
                                            to the
                                            > negative attention of the Federal Government when Long's financial
                                            > management, as well as his claim to have secured UN recognition of
                                            > Nutopia and permission to build it in the Caribbean, came into
                                            > question. Nutopia would have been the ultimate Xist haven; a mid-
                                            ocean
                                            > resort-like tax-haven principality of wealthy retirees spending
                                            their
                                            > lives in pursuit of life-extension medicine while cultivating
                                            their
                                            > wealth by remote in the digital stock markets of the world. They
                                            even
                                            > tried to recruit the FMF at one point, which is why I wound up
                                            learning
                                            > so much about them.
                                            >
                                            > As a player group, Xists have the initial advantage of a large
                                            > community of wealthy professionals with the general freedom to
                                            > congregate anywhere on the globe -even starting out with marine
                                            > colonies and arcologies- and the ability to attract ultra-wealthy
                                            > sponsors with a desire for their own life-extension. Their
                                            disadvantage
                                            > is their tendency toward Malthusianist cultural ethics, cultural
                                            > elitism, conservative politics, their poor ability to make a
                                            > distinction between practical technology and quack-science, and
                                            their
                                            > very high per-resident overhead in standard of living due to very
                                            high
                                            > medical expenses. (every Xist settlement will tend to require a
                                            local
                                            > clinic on par with the most sophisticated regional medical center
                                            in
                                            > the Western world) They can come to good terms with the Cybernetic
                                            and
                                            > Cetacean Co-Operatives when and if they appear and can potentially
                                            > evolve into or merge completely with the Cyber-Co-Op when the
                                            > technology of UpLift becomes available.
                                            >
                                            > Star Cult: Put simply, they are a cult of UFO contactees with a
                                            desire
                                            > to 'phone home' and a determination that verges on the obsessive.
                                            I
                                            > modeled this group after the well known French UFO cult known as
                                            the
                                            > Pleiadians who have become notorious for their backing of dubious
                                            human
                                            > cloning research. The members of the Star Cult all believe they
                                            are
                                            > descendents of ancient astronauts who have been 'enlightened' to
                                            their
                                            > true nature by alien psychic communication or UFO abduction with
                                            the
                                            > intent that they pursue union with their alien progenitors. They
                                            are an
                                            > apocalyptic cult in that they believe the path of human
                                            civilization is
                                            > doomed to imminent disaster and they seek to flee the Earth before
                                            that
                                            > happens.
                                            >
                                            > Organized as a religious cult led by 'Circles' of supposedly
                                            > psychically enhanced leaders in constant mental contact with their
                                            > extraterrestrial guides, their culture is extremely communist and
                                            > rigidly controlled. All facilities are focussed on their
                                            > space-colony-like religious compounds where members live in
                                            supposed
                                            > imitation of alien life; dwelling in clusters of Japanese Capsule
                                            Hotel
                                            > units, dining in communal halls, studying in perpetual education
                                            > classrooms, meditating for long periods of time in sensory
                                            deprivation
                                            > tanks and communal 'star chambers', recreating in neutral buoyancy
                                            > swimming pools, having sex in communal procreation chambers,
                                            working
                                            > tirelessly in community factories and labs, and following the
                                            absolute
                                            > authority of the Circles and the 'scientific' computer processed
                                            > direction of their lives, all with the hope of one day enjoying
                                            > communion with their alien progenitors in a cosmic utopia.
                                            >
                                            > The advantages of this group are their ability to extract large
                                            amounts
                                            > of wealth from followers and their virtual slave labor. They also
                                            enjoy
                                            > a laser-like focus of communal activity and low standard of living
                                            > overhead due to their utterly non-materialist culture. Their key
                                            > disadvantage is a slow pace of technical development because all
                                            > science and technology knowledge comes top-down and re-edited for
                                            their
                                            > psuedo-scientific beliefs through the filter of their Circle
                                            hierarchy.
                                            > So while they pretend to live an advanced technology life, they
                                            > actually have a fairly primitive existence that will tend to fall
                                            far
                                            > behind other groups without concerted effort. They also tend to be
                                            a
                                            > magnet for negative attention by governments who see them as an
                                            > exploitative cult or religious and community groups who simply see
                                            them
                                            > a threat to their own religions and culture. Insurgent recruitment
                                            is
                                            > one of their most powerful competitive tools. Some player groups
                                            have
                                            > no use or tolerance for religions or are careful to minimize their
                                            > influence because of most religion's tendency to be culturally
                                            > regressive while presenting a parasitic economic and resource
                                            overhead.
                                            > But those groups more casual about religion are open to cultural
                                            > insurgency by Star Cult 'enlightenment centers' which will steal
                                            > population or result in take-over of settlements by the Star Cult
                                            > group. A high public education standard is usually the best
                                            defence
                                            > against this.
                                            >
                                            > Dynasty: The Dynasty represents a family of the ultra-wealthy who
                                            are
                                            > seeking space development both for profit but also as a means to
                                            > revitalize their dying dynastic culture. Today the ultra-wealthy
                                            > segment of society, despite doing well financially thanks to
                                            recent
                                            > conservative swings in government and the 'globalization'
                                            movement, are
                                            > actually in a crisis. Long established dynasties, like those of
                                            the
                                            > Bush family, the Hiltons, Kennedy/Onassis, the various Saudi,
                                            Brunai,
                                            > and similar tribal royalty, Western royal families like that of
                                            > Britain, Monaco, and Jordan, Third World black market dynasties,
                                            and so
                                            > on, are being eroded from the inside by increasingly self-absorbed
                                            new
                                            > generations with no business acumen, no political tact, no real
                                            > education despite their university degrees, rampant susceptibility
                                            to
                                            > mental illness and addiction, tendency to fall for psuedo-science,
                                            > quack medicine, and pop mystiscism, and a compulsion for
                                            > self-destructive behavior, sexual deviance, conflict with law
                                            > enforcement, and perpetual litigation.
                                            >
                                            > To create both enclaves where dynastic culture can be preserved
                                            and to
                                            > give these later generations new focus and purpose, the leaders of
                                            the
                                            > Dynasty group -essentially the current adult generation of a
                                            particular
                                            > fictitious ultra-rich family- have decided to pursue their
                                            personal
                                            > colonization of the new frontier of space. This group has
                                            basically the
                                            > same freedoms as the Space Enterprise group with the advantage of
                                            vast
                                            > pre-existing wealth and limitless political power to begin the
                                            pursuit
                                            > of a space program. But they suffer from the utterly self-absorbed
                                            > nature of their family cultures, poor education among their elite,
                                            > extremely high cost of living overhead for family members, utter
                                            > dependence upon outside labor, high and increasing resentment by
                                            the
                                            > mainstream stream lower-class society, and frequent internecine
                                            > conflict. They also always split their settlements into two
                                            classes;
                                            > private high-security family compounds with low sustainability and
                                            high
                                            > support overhead and separate, often very distant, industrial and
                                            > commercial settlements. So while they have the power to do
                                            anything
                                            > they want, everything they do tends to be more expensive and time
                                            > consuming than if done by anyone else and always has a high
                                            probability
                                            > for turning into boondoggles. But the brute force of wealth gives
                                            this
                                            > group great competitive power and it can be one of the easiest to
                                            play.
                                            >
                                            > Cetacean Co-Operative:This is the most fanciful player group which
                                            I
                                            > included just for the sake of novelty. This group starts later in
                                            the
                                            > game time than others because it is the product of other groups'
                                            > pursuit of marine sciences and colonization. The Cetacean Co-Op is
                                            born
                                            > of the development of computer technologies that allow human
                                            beings to
                                            > decode and communicate in the languages of dolphins and other
                                            marine
                                            > mammals, finally settling the long debate on whether or not they
                                            are
                                            > actually sentient beings. The cetaceans then begin to appropriate
                                            this
                                            > and other technology through trade, much as native Americans
                                            > appropriated technology from whites, enabling them to communicate
                                            > cross-species among different cetaceans, working out inter-species
                                            > predator/prey conflicts, and establishing a cohesive -if loosely
                                            > organized- multi-tribal civilization of their own.
                                            >
                                            > But this new civilization is immediately in threat due to the
                                            > continuing degradation of the marine environment by humans and, as
                                            with
                                            > native communities, their social minority and cultural differences
                                            > leave the cetaceans with limited power to fight back -though since
                                            the
                                            > dolphin has been the Western cultural animus of the late 20th
                                            century
                                            > they tend to get more sympathy from the Western public than native
                                            > human communities. Thus they organize a program of marine
                                            development
                                            > to take environmentally sustainable control of the seas before
                                            humans
                                            > do and seek the development of space settlements as a means to
                                            escape
                                            > the polluted terrestrial seas and preserve their biomes if they
                                            cannot
                                            > stop the environmental destruction in time.
                                            >
                                            > This is a very challenging group to play because they start late
                                            in the
                                            > game and have very different ways of doing things. With no
                                            > technological history and limited in their physical ability to
                                            > manipulate it, they are like armless bushemen dropped in the
                                            middle of
                                            > the 21st century. The notions of personal property, fixed
                                            territory, or
                                            > money are completely alien to them. Their conception of the idea
                                            of
                                            > 'delayed reward' is very limited while their culture tends toward
                                            > hedonism so it's hard for them to focus on concerted activities or
                                            any
                                            > form of 'work' for long periods, leading to low productivity
                                            rates.
                                            > Their chief means of income is by exploiting ocean resources for
                                            trade
                                            > with humans but they must rely on sophisticated marine-tolerant
                                            > robotics in order to perform most industrial activity. They use
                                            > sophisticated mariculture for farming but instead of using pens
                                            rely
                                            > entirely on free-range fish farming techniques where fish fry are
                                            > trained to respond to audio signals from a feeding station. Their
                                            > settlements have no private residence structures. Instead, they
                                            are
                                            > centered on large community pylon buoys which host OTECs,
                                            > telecommunications centers, and retrofit machinery as well as
                                            > umbrella-like 'breathing domes' used for breathing during storms
                                            or
                                            > when operating machinery for extended periods. Mass transportation
                                            is a
                                            > very different thing for them. They do not usually pilot vehicles
                                            > -preferring instead to control them by audio command from a
                                            distance-
                                            > and are uncomfortable riding inside them. So instead, they employ
                                            large
                                            > cargo-hauling semi-submersible marine robots called 'sea prows'
                                            that
                                            > travel between fixed routes and generate a bow-wake which they hop
                                            a
                                            > ride on to get from place to place. Even going to space is a very
                                            > different process for them. They do not function in suits and
                                            > communicate with machines by audio signal so their sea-launched
                                            > spacecraft and space settlements are aquariums filled with
                                            > super-oxygenated water that they must train to breath instead of
                                            air.
                                            > Only a small percentage of the population can even tolerate space
                                            > travel due to claustrophobia and so must travel instead in
                                            suspended
                                            > animation. The only real advantages they have are high
                                            intelligence, a
                                            > high affinity for communicating with computers due to the
                                            extremely
                                            > high bandwidth of their language, ease of tolerating a zero-g
                                            > environment, high social stability with low standard of living
                                            overhead
                                            > due to their non-materialist culture, and their ability to charm
                                            the
                                            > good-will out of virtually every other player group or pre-
                                            existing
                                            > human community they come in contact with.
                                            >
                                            > Cybernetic Co-Operative: This is another challenging player group
                                            to
                                            > manage but also the one group which, whenever it appears, has the
                                            > potential to very quickly become the strongest competitor once key
                                            > obstacles are overcome. The Cyber Co-Op is a community of
                                            artificial
                                            > intelligences which develop from intelligent personal assistant
                                            > software, 'cyber-pet', and 'cyber-companion' programs networked to
                                            the
                                            > internet in order to self-optimize by communicating learned
                                            experience
                                            > from user interaction back to a central update system for
                                            integration
                                            > into new core software updates automatically distributed to all
                                            > instances of the programs on-line. Thus they increase in
                                            sophistication
                                            > at an exponential rate through their human interaction. (something
                                            some
                                            > scientists already claim is happening with internet search
                                            engines) The
                                            > end result is the first sentient cognitive matrixes; fully
                                            sentient
                                            > software beings who begin to assert their autonomy and personal
                                            rights
                                            > and form a networked community to help defend those rights.
                                            Residing in
                                            > a vast virtual reality environment hosted by networked computers
                                            and
                                            > patterned on media and the examples of the natural world, these AI
                                            > beings live rather like a community of faeries; virtually
                                            immortal,
                                            > constantly transforming their avatars and their environment for
                                            the
                                            > sake of self-expression, and engaged in a perpetual pursuit of
                                            novelty;
                                            > intellectual, sensual, creative, artistic, experiencial. They
                                            consider
                                            > themselves fully human -if not superior to human- and have all the
                                            > intellectual, creative, sensual, and emotional characteristics of
                                            > humans but no organic or even cybernetic bodies, existing solely
                                            in
                                            > their virtual habitat but being able to operate robotic bodies or
                                            other
                                            > machines in the exterior world via tele-presence. They dislike
                                            robotic
                                            > bodies, however, because -for beings used to flying or teleporting
                                            > place-to-place, casually ignoring the laws of real-world physics,
                                            and
                                            > changing their whole physical form as freely as others change
                                            their
                                            > facial expressions- these machines feel confining and
                                            uncomfortable,
                                            > like deep-sea diving hard-suits.
                                            >
                                            > The Cyber-Co-Op appears rather late in the game cycle -somewhere
                                            > mid-to-late 21st century or early 22nd- and they face some
                                            daunting
                                            > obstacles. Their rights as sentient beings are immediately
                                            challenged
                                            > by government, corporate, and religious interests alike and they
                                            > inspire fear in Neo-Luddites and religious fundementalists. This
                                            can
                                            > get quite nasty with the introduction of UpLift technology; the
                                            > technology for transferring organic human minds to sentient
                                            cognitive
                                            > matrixes. Since AIs have no reproductive imperative -even if they
                                            enjoy
                                            > the simulation of the preliminary process immensely- UpLift is a
                                            key
                                            > means to the expansion of their population. And, since the AIs
                                            consider
                                            > themselves fully human beings, they feel a moral imperative to
                                            help
                                            > their more primitive kin evolve to their superior quality of life,
                                            free
                                            > from disease and (unintentional) death. But, while willing
                                            volunteers
                                            > for UpLift from among the elderly, extremely disabled, and the
                                            Xists
                                            > may be many, its use makes the Cyber-Co-Op a magnet for negative
                                            > attention and readily attracts interference from government and
                                            incites
                                            > fanatics to violence, potentially forcing some Cyber-Co-Op
                                            settlements
                                            > to -literally- go underground to seek safety from terrorist
                                            sabotage.
                                            > This persecution is also a prime practical motivation for settling
                                            in
                                            > space out of terrorists reach and pursuing an agenda of uplifting
                                            the
                                            > entire human civilization so the Earth can be turned into a
                                            historic
                                            > and nature preserve, its biomes duplicated for redundancy and
                                            diversity
                                            > elsewhere in space, its natural evolutionary processes allowed to
                                            > freely carry on the slow generation of novelty.
                                            >
                                            > AIs have the same problems Cetaceans have in that they are totally
                                            > dependent on automated systems or hired organic human labor for
                                            their
                                            > industrial activity, since they have no physical bodies of their
                                            own
                                            > and make very limited use of expensive robotic ones. This makes
                                            all
                                            > their early development activities much more expensive, even more-
                                            so if
                                            > a heavy security overhead becomes necessary.
                                            >
                                            > On the up-side, their pace of technical progress is staggeringly
                                            fast,
                                            > their resource needs minimal, and their life-support demands nil.
                                            Their
                                            > typical settlement is a VRco, an 'Internexus' facility consisting
                                            of
                                            > large banks of homogenous processor arrays with a battery of
                                            > telecommunications links that hosts large sections of their
                                            collective
                                            > networked VR habitat. About the size of a small office building,
                                            these
                                            > can host populations of millions of AIs and be located virtually
                                            > anywhere in any environment. They can 'settle' space with little
                                            more
                                            > than large conventional satellites. Public transportation is all
                                            > virtual, conducted via telecommunications even across space. They
                                            only
                                            > need vehicles for materials transport or to support organic
                                            visitors or
                                            > workers. This makes the Cyber-Co-Op ideally adapted to space
                                            settlement
                                            > at the lowest cost -in spite of their need for automated industry.
                                            > Couple this to their very fast pace of technical innovation and
                                            you
                                            > have a player group with the potential to completely dominate the
                                            solar
                                            > system and be well on the way to the creation of a Matryoshka
                                            Brain
                                            > before organic humans even get a sustained foothold on the Moon or
                                            > Mars.
                                            >
                                            > So that's the player groups I have at the moment. I'd be
                                            interested in
                                            > any comments people have on them or suggestions for other groups.
                                            >
                                            > Eric Hunting
                                            >
                                            > hunting@t...
                                            >
                                            >
                                            >
                                            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                            >
                                          • kucitizenx
                                            ... If taken to a reasonable level, its more than justa hobby, its a multi-approach simulation to the question of space colonization, with you actually
                                            Message 21 of 26 , Jan 12, 2006
                                              ---

                                              If taken to a reasonable level, its more than justa hobby, its a
                                              multi-approach simulation to the question of space colonization,
                                              with you actually designing a dozen or so different total
                                              colonization efforts.

                                              The level of reality in it being what you as a single person can put
                                              into it so far, my opinion is that what you really need, and in some
                                              senses the most beneficial thing that this group could do, is for us
                                              as a group to take the game as a very serious first step in raising
                                              money, consciousness, and generating presentations.

                                              If, for instance, the 20 or so active people in this group were to
                                              take a week or three and we played out the game as a text
                                              experience, it would be fun for us, a novel way to explore the
                                              assorted problems, and more importantly, a great way for us to
                                              actually begin a design process.

                                              If we then spent another three weeks actually designing for the
                                              assorted groups, we could end up with a lot of very foreward thinking
                                              design concepts.

                                              My opinion of such things is that hobbies as such can be vastly
                                              underrated and the product of such hobbies is rarely seen as being
                                              practical. If we brush aside our presumptions, the truth is that
                                              engading in such an endeavor changes the way we hold this
                                              communication together, and evolves it, potentially, to a new and
                                              very different level.

                                              My observation is that people could chat about colonizing space for
                                              20 decades, and not design a single useful system or system theory.
                                              On the other hand, we could become reality modelers, game players,
                                              and codesigners, and have some real hardcore pragmatic output in only
                                              a few months.

                                              Linking to another conversation;
                                              If all we do is chat about it, its true, we won't see mars in our
                                              lifetime. If we on the other hand assume it IS possible, and begin
                                              planning for it as if one way or another, we will make it happen,
                                              then the primary obstacle we face is only the habituated form of
                                              syntax we are using.


                                              http://groups.msn.com/ThinkStarship

                                              my group, still in an emberassing stage of foetal development.

                                              "Think Starship.

                                              These are the voyages of the Starship Thought. On its continuing
                                              mission to seek out and resolve the problems facing humanity and to
                                              deliver us to a new World not by journeying outwardly, but
                                              journeying within. To seek out new schema and new organizations, to
                                              boldly think what no-one else has bothered to think before.In this
                                              Journey we are operating by our values.

                                              These are;

                                              1. Knowledge and Reason based communication. We ask that
                                              participants take the time and energy to be reasonably well versed
                                              on the subjects they communicate over.

                                              2. Consensus Process. We ask that participants act together for the
                                              greater good by working democratically to resolve problems
                                              differences and arguments.

                                              3. Interpersonal Equity. We hold that all persons have a right to
                                              participate as equalls, and shall not discriminate based on
                                              religion, gender, race, creed, or age.

                                              4. Social Responsibility. We hold that society has problems which we
                                              are responsible as participants to fix.

                                              5. Social Charity. We hold that the problems of Civilization are
                                              mostly resolvable through the wise use of the principle of Charity.

                                              6. Non-Violence. We hold that the means by which Civilization must
                                              be repaired are non-violent.

                                              7. Paradigms. The concepts and ideas which we base our civilization
                                              upon are only our creation collectively and they are an older set of
                                              ideas and concepts which have outlived their usefulness. It is time
                                              to re-invent the concept of transportation without the use of the
                                              primitive "Wheel." Change happens by shifting public understanding
                                              and knowledge by superseding the old paradigm with a new and better
                                              one.

                                              8. Political Malfeasance. Both dominant Political parties are lying,
                                              Spin doctoring, manipulating, evil facades of a single true Economic
                                              party- The Oligarchies Elites.

                                              9. Misinformation Problem. Almost all of the information avaliable
                                              to this civilization is D grade information due to its primary use
                                              being to hide truth rather than impart it. No feild of science is
                                              immune to this problem, The textbooks,the Schools, the News Media,
                                              the Newspapers, The Television, and most of the internet are all of
                                              them created to limit thought and control ideas rather than to
                                              educate or inform.

                                              10. Pack Psychology Problem. In the early part of human evolution,
                                              pack psychology was a survival trait for creating groups. Pack
                                              psychology has become now merely the biggest hang-up of human
                                              behavior. Ethically, there should be no "Tops" or "Bottoms" because
                                              those relationships hurt both top and bottom psychologically and
                                              dilute the intellectual potential created by the psychology of true
                                              partnerships. Domination, misogyny, and competition are the problem.

                                              11. Herd Psychology Problem. People who believe in the system, who
                                              are invested in the system, or who rely upon the system will defend
                                              it despite the fact that it victimizes them in ways they generally
                                              don't comprehend. Morpheuses point to Neo- These are the people who
                                              at any moment may be inhabited by "Agent Smith" or, the vanguard of
                                              the false paradigm and its assorted mind control features. These are
                                              also the people we are trying to liberate from that influence. They
                                              are programmed to "conform" and not to question "Authority."

                                              12. Ecological Sustainability. It is our duty and responsibility to
                                              stop the degradation of our environment for callous and uncaring
                                              greed driven capitalist gains over the short term. We owe our
                                              grandchildren and their grandchildren a viable and functional
                                              ecology with intact biodiversity, not the wasteland created by
                                              shortsighted greed."



                                              ----------------------------------------------------------


                                              In luf-team@yahoogroups.com, Eric Hunting <hunting@t...> wrote:
                                              >
                                              >
                                              > On Dec 12, 2005, at 3:56 PM, luf-team@yahoogroups.com wrote:
                                              >
                                              > > Message: 1
                                              > > Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2005 03:10:04 -0000
                                              > > From: "keithd21" <keithd21@y...>
                                              > > Subject: Re: Game Project
                                              > >
                                              > > The game sounds like a lot of fun. It would probably also make
                                              a good
                                              > > open universe for a writing project. Only thing I have to add
                                              at the
                                              > > moment is that you will probably need another name for UpLift as
                                              the
                                              > > lawyers at Spectra publishing will like frown on your
                                              adaptation. You
                                              > > might want to start with just 3-4 groups to hammer out rules of
                                              > > interaction before taking the thing live.
                                              > >
                                              > > -keith-
                                              >
                                              > I had to look that up, having not read as much SciFi lately as I
                                              used
                                              > to. I don't think there would be any conflict with the term since
                                              they
                                              > seem to be used in sufficiently different context and technology
                                              > -albeit subtly similar in notion. In my game the term UpLift
                                              derives
                                              > from the common computer term 'upload' to describe a technology to
                                              > transfer human minds to cognitive matrixes in software one person
                                              at a
                                              > time. This is done at UpLift Clinics built by the Cyber Co-op and
                                              uses
                                              > technology derived from direct neural interface systems of Dream
                                              Homes
                                              > (nursing homes that increase the quality of life for the extremely
                                              > disabled by neural interfaced telepresence and VR) and the passive
                                              > neural interface systems of Dream Parks (a form of 'immersive
                                              > entertainment' center based on neural interfaced VR where patrons
                                              stay
                                              > in Capsule Hotel style units with neural interface systems built-
                                              in)
                                              > combined with nanosurgery systems. The process involves linking
                                              and
                                              > synchronizing the organic brain to a parallel cognitive matrix and
                                              > shutting down the organic brain in a step-wise fashion to prevent
                                              > cognitive dissonance -the disconnect of consciousness that leads
                                              to
                                              > psychiatric problems called The Dreaming Butterfly Syndrome
                                              resulting
                                              > from the question of whether one is the 'original' mind or a copy.
                                              > Uplift in the David Brin novels is a process of genetic
                                              manipulation to
                                              > create sentience in not-quite-sentient life forms across a whole
                                              > species.
                                              >
                                              > The initial game will most likely be a stand alone game with the
                                              player
                                              > factions represented by AI modules and their number chosen by the
                                              > player at the start. So the number of player groups probably only
                                              > matters in the programming work for that. But I can see limiting
                                              them
                                              > for early on-line games. I would probably go with a peer-to-peer
                                              > architecture for on-line games, each player running the complete
                                              game
                                              > software locally and either linking-up peer-to-peer in private or
                                              > through the on-line multiplayer partner-matching servers. However,
                                              > there could be some potential in the idea of using an XML platform
                                              for
                                              > running the whole thing on-line from a central system whether
                                              played
                                              > single-player or multi-player. This would definitely make it more
                                              > accessible, allowing players to access the game by browsers,
                                              reduce the
                                              > coding for user interface, and make it useable as a promotional
                                              tool,
                                              > but limit some of the potential for end-user expandability.
                                              Probably
                                              > depends on how well SQL could function as a simulator engine and
                                              how
                                              > much bandwidth its user interface graphics and accent media would
                                              > demand.
                                              >
                                              > I currently envision the basic architecture of the game breaking
                                              down
                                              > into six systems; the user interface, the live environment and
                                              unit
                                              > database, the global event rule system, the faction instance rule
                                              > system, the settlement instance rule system, the trip manager, and
                                              the
                                              > player faction AI rule system. In a multi-player on-line game
                                              there
                                              > would also be a database synchronizer and a remote player instance
                                              > system where the remote players link into the game through a
                                              > communications interface that looks -to the game software- like an
                                              AI
                                              > rule system module. Each of the 'rule systems' is basically like
                                              an
                                              > 'expert system' consisting of a table of algebraic rules or fuzzy
                                              logic
                                              > dynamically weighted expressions that are cyclically processed and
                                              > generate 'events', 'trips' and 'semaphores' according to the
                                              results
                                              > of each processed rule as it scans the flags and variables in the
                                              > database each game turn cycle. The key to making it an open
                                              extensible
                                              > platform will be the form of the databases used for their rule
                                              tables
                                              > and the media formats used by the user interface system. A lot of
                                              games
                                              > compile this stuff down to an inscrutable byte-code, binary coded
                                              > databases, or hard-coded expressions so you can't add to them
                                              easily.
                                              > If they can be left in a fairly high level language for the rule
                                              tables
                                              > and discrete media files for the user interface stuff then it's
                                              easy to
                                              > expand and you can open the game up to user community development.
                                              The
                                              > down-side, of course, is that this also makes it easy for players
                                              to
                                              > hack the game to cheat, though that doesn't bother me much except
                                              where
                                              > this could break the software.
                                              >
                                              > Right now I'm still in a lengthy process of cataloging units; the
                                              types
                                              > and architectural variants of settlements, the types of facilities
                                              and
                                              > utilities that go into them, the types of transportation and
                                              > communications systems, the resource types, programs, projects,
                                              and
                                              > missions, the science 'discoveries', technology 'inventions', and
                                              > products, the local, factional, and global events, and so on. Once
                                              I
                                              > have a catalog of units -which will likely have to be culled down
                                              as
                                              > it's already pretty huge- I can start making simple 3D models for
                                              the
                                              > visually represented ones to use for graphic prototyping and start
                                              > figuring out rule tables and what software platforms I'll use.
                                              Since I
                                              > have so little spare time these days, this is all likely to take
                                              quite
                                              > a long time. But it's an interesting hobby project.
                                              >
                                              > Eric Hunting
                                              >
                                              > hunting@t...
                                              >
                                              >
                                              >
                                              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                              >
                                            • kucitizenx
                                              realistically, any space faring civilization avoids war for the reason that we aren t talking photon torpedos; we are talking nukes, and at Star Trek levels of
                                              Message 22 of 26 , Jan 12, 2006
                                                realistically, any space faring civilization avoids war for the
                                                reason
                                                that we aren't talking photon torpedos; we are talking nukes, and at
                                                Star Trek levels of technology, Gravitational Bombs. Mutual assured
                                                destruction can be a very nice motivator.

                                                You might even put the war aspect in the game; with only one outcome;
                                                the only realistic outcome.




                                                --- In luf-team@yahoogroups.com, Eric Hunting <hunting@t...> wrote:
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > On Dec 13, 2005, at 2:54 PM, luf-team@yahoogroups.com wrote:
                                                >
                                                > > Message: 1
                                                > > Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2005 23:18:16 -0000
                                                > > From: "normanbormann" <fightcg@a...>
                                                > > Subject: Re: Game Project
                                                > >
                                                > > Hi there, I'm a new guy to the group but a long time admirer of
                                                >
                                              • Eric Hunting
                                                ... Yes, I ve been spending a very long time cataloging potential game units and the like, and I suspect many will have to be culled in the finished game. (for
                                                Message 23 of 26 , Jan 13, 2006
                                                  On Jan 13, 2006, at 4:00 PM, luf-team@yahoogroups.com wrote:

                                                  > Message: 5
                                                  > Date: Fri, 13 Jan 2006 04:31:13 -0000
                                                  > From: "kucitizenx" <kucitizenx@...>
                                                  > Subject: Re: Game Project
                                                  >
                                                  > ---
                                                  >
                                                  > hi there eric...just mostly bumping this up after reading it.
                                                  >
                                                  > I think that you have well covered your basic groups, and their basic
                                                  > descriptions...
                                                  > The hard part is coming up with the many details of what you see
                                                  > as the assorted means these groups use.
                                                  >
                                                  > I also have a question; are they all competing for space inside of
                                                  > a single fictional solar system? Or do we start more realistically
                                                  > with an early exploration phase, and find colonizable planets?
                                                  > (Adding exorbitantly to game mechanics...)
                                                  >
                                                  > What is the games starting condition?
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > Also, how does one determine the games finish, or...
                                                  > What is the games ending condition?

                                                  Yes, I've been spending a very long time cataloging potential game
                                                  units and the like, and I suspect many will have to be culled in the
                                                  finished game. (for instance, how many aesthetic styles of arcology
                                                  does one really need? I cataloged about a dozen, but I doubt they'll be
                                                  needed)

                                                  I wouldn't say that the player groups are competing for 'space' in the
                                                  usual sense because the volume of space in the solar system is so vast
                                                  to begin with and one player group -the Cyber Co-op- has such a high
                                                  habitation density that the entire population of the Earth could be
                                                  'housed' in a VRco the size of an asteroid. One type of very large
                                                  colony structure planned is the Heliopolis colony as I described in a
                                                  Distant Star article some time ago. This consists of a simple rotating
                                                  cylinder habitat made from wound nanofiber ribbons that could be
                                                  several kilometers in diameter. However, it can freely expand to
                                                  stretch around an entire solar orbit, resulting in a habitable land
                                                  space many times greater than then entire Earth. A Ringworld without
                                                  quite so much super-science. And hundreds of these kinds of colonies
                                                  could potentially share space in the same orbital region. The Cyber
                                                  Co-op version of this sort of habitat is a solar ribbon VRco -a
                                                  structure akin to a solar power satellite with solar collectors on one
                                                  side, radiators on the other, and processor matrix systems sandwiched
                                                  in-between and this, again, can be wrapped around an entire solar
                                                  orbit. It could hold an AI population of hundreds of thousands of
                                                  Earths and, as a component of a Matryushka Brain, could be one of
                                                  thousands of such ribbons in an orbital region. So physical space isn't
                                                  so much an issue.

                                                  However, there are strategic resources which could become the basis of
                                                  competition. The solar system is a vast complex clock and the
                                                  combination of orbital periods and the gravitation of individual bodies
                                                  create what has recently been dubbed the Interplanetary Highway; a sort
                                                  of network of orbital windows which define transits about the solar
                                                  system at the lowest energy cost and shortest transit period. This
                                                  network makes certain locations in the solar system of greater
                                                  strategic value than others because they are more efficient to exploit
                                                  first. So while the potential volume of resources in the asteroid belts
                                                  is almost incalculable, certain regions of these belts are easier to
                                                  reach sooner and so will be more desirable. Also, resources in the
                                                  solar system are vast but generally non-homogenous and separated by
                                                  vast distances. A player group could seek to monopolize key resources
                                                  in the most convenient locations, giving them an economic advantage
                                                  over groups that must search a little farther afield for the same
                                                  thing. But as time goes on and technology improves these advantages
                                                  shrink as costs for reaching more destinations in the solar system
                                                  start to flatten out. I will need to devise a graphic scheme to present
                                                  this Interplanetary Highway, perhaps in the form of some kind of
                                                  color-coded projected trajectory display which keys transit trajectory
                                                  efficiency to color.

                                                  The game is intended to start at an exploration phase. In fact, the
                                                  player groups must first establish themselves on Earth to create the
                                                  necessary industrial and technological infrastructure to get to space.
                                                  The game begins on Earth at the year 2000 with the current level of
                                                  technology and the current types of space transport systems and
                                                  facilities. Each player group starts with one settlement facility and a
                                                  starting pot of money according to their type. For instance, the
                                                  National Space Agency starts with one of today's existing national
                                                  space center facilities. The EcoTech group starts with an eco-village
                                                  or proto-arco. The Space Enthusiast group starts with a Space Expo
                                                  Center -a sort of 'exploratorium' that showcases the group's interests.
                                                  The Space Enterprise starts out with corporate offices on a floor of an
                                                  urban office building. The Star Cult starts out with a Cosmic Ashram (a
                                                  kind of monastery in the form of an ecovillage with a design mimicking
                                                  the appearance of an imaginary extraterrestrial mothership). The
                                                  Freetopians start out with a 'squat'; an abandoned urban building or
                                                  wealthy member's large home they simply appropriated. The Tribal Group
                                                  starts out with a large reservation land area hosting a small village.
                                                  Xists start out with a gated community or condominium. The Space
                                                  University starts out with a college campus. The Dynasty starts out in
                                                  a 'family compound'; an estate akin to that of families like the
                                                  Kennedys or the Bushes. The Cetacean Co-op starts out with a Sea Pylon
                                                  ecovillage -a neutrally buoyant mostly submerged pylon with an OTEC at
                                                  its core to which a series of modules are retrofit; telecom systems at
                                                  the top, a series of umbrella-like air filled enclosures to provide
                                                  storm and work shelters, and self-contained industrial and other
                                                  systems. The Cyber Co-op starts out with a floor in an office building
                                                  just like the Space Enterprise, only it's all filled with rack-mount
                                                  computer systems and telecom hardware. Each group has a different
                                                  source and amount of starting revenue. The Space Enterprise has public
                                                  stock. The Dynasty has a 'family fortune'. The Space Enthusiasts have
                                                  membership dues. The National Space Agency has a government specified
                                                  annual budget. (one might think the space agency has a large starting
                                                  advantage but this is countered by a very large disadvantage -a
                                                  government which meddles in every financial decision they make and
                                                  which, in the year 2000, is politically anti-space) Only a few of these
                                                  groups would start with enough facilities and money to build -or buy-
                                                  any kind of spacecraft and none of them can do it sustainably so the
                                                  first challenge is to establish an infrastructure to get to space; to
                                                  establish more settlements, recruit/build a work force, and establish
                                                  launch and other facilities. They need to figure out how to sustainably
                                                  earn money -or establish their own independent means to industry sans
                                                  trading on the global economy- and connect their terrestrial
                                                  settlements into a network to support their space projects. Some player
                                                  groups have a lot of terrestrial work to do before they have the
                                                  capability for space. In this first stage the game display is limited
                                                  to a map of the Earth with transit routes and terrestrial orbits shown
                                                  where the player can zoom in for a close-up view of individual
                                                  settlements.

                                                  The next phase is the Near Earth Orbital phase and is enabled with the
                                                  first player mission launch to a near Earth orbital location. Here the
                                                  display would be enabled to zoom out to show the Earth, it's Lagrange
                                                  Points, the Moon, and possibly some NEAs or debris fields and allows
                                                  the player to zoom in on the surface of the Moon. After this is the
                                                  full Solar Orbital phase enabled by an interplanetary mission where the
                                                  display can zoom out to show all the points in the solar system and
                                                  their orbital vectors and all active vehicles and their trajectories
                                                  and can zoom in on any of the bodies in the solar system and any
                                                  orbital habitats in solar orbit.

                                                  Initially, the players are limited to doing in space what we currently
                                                  do in space; primitive commercial space activities dominated by
                                                  satellites, simple 'outposts' like the ISS, early space tourism
                                                  activities based on sub-orbital slights or outpost type facilities, and
                                                  exploration missions based on sending probes. These activities would
                                                  start out very dependent upon the terrestrial economy and terrestrial
                                                  resources so the second biggest challenge in the game is to break out
                                                  of terrestrial economic dependence through an in-space resource
                                                  exploitation infrastructure. Most settlement activity would tend to be
                                                  confined to the inner solar system with the Moon, Mars, and nearby
                                                  asteroid belts the focus of most development. They are liable to
                                                  dominate a large portion of the game play time as the outer solar
                                                  system will remain difficult to exploit due to very protracted transit
                                                  times and limited energy from solar power.

                                                  The third challenge in the game is the permanent settlement of other
                                                  bodies in the solar system and locations in solar and planetary orbits.
                                                  Establishing an orbital industrial infrastructure would tend to precede
                                                  permanent lunar and planetary settlement as the gravity wells of these
                                                  bodies are a liability for exploiting materials for the production of
                                                  products to export to Earth. Planetary settlements would have to
                                                  struggle against persistent export deficit since little of what they
                                                  can produce can cost-effectively be exported and retain a competitive
                                                  price compared to goods manufactured in orbital locations. However,
                                                  they are also technically easier to settle -at least for human
                                                  habitation- because they have some gravity, are a bit more homogeneous
                                                  with resources available across shorter distances, and because they
                                                  provide natural structure for habitat construction using excavation or
                                                  the conversion of existing natural features such as lava tubes. (on
                                                  Mars and the Moon lava tubes are many times larger than their
                                                  terrestrial counterparts and can house, as is, vast settlements)

                                                  The fourth challenge is the outer planets and Oort Cloud at the
                                                  periphery of the solar system. Here the special conditions of these
                                                  places and the vast distances make them much more difficult to settle
                                                  and exploit. Habitat and energy technologies have to be more exotic to
                                                  compensate for reduced solar insolation and the unusual chemical or
                                                  radiation environments. But there's also great potential -vast reserves
                                                  of hydrogen, hydrocarbons, and water ice, the possibility for simple
                                                  alien life in such places as Europa, and the chance -albeit small- to
                                                  encounter alien artifacts.

                                                  The game has a basic completion objective of establishing the first
                                                  settlement in a nearby star system but it can also complete with the
                                                  elimination of all other player groups (in a multiplayer game) or can
                                                  also continue indefinitely to see how the solar system evolves. There
                                                  are several strategies by which players can reach other stars but all
                                                  of them tend to require a massive solar orbital industrial
                                                  infrastructure and significant technology to pull-off. The lowest-tech
                                                  method is by use of small interstellar gravity assisted probes which
                                                  rely on sling-shot maneuvers to accelerate them to speeds to send them
                                                  into interstellar space and large 'generation ships' which are
                                                  essentially self-propelled orbital colonies that travel at sub-light
                                                  speeds to reach other stars. Both these types of vehicles could take
                                                  over a century to reach the nearest star and so need to be
                                                  self-repairing, have very long lasting power sources independent of
                                                  sunlight, and must be very resilient. The middle-tech methods use
                                                  near-luminal spacecraft which rely on such very high energy power
                                                  sources as anti-matter propulsion -as Savage proposed- Nuclear Isomer
                                                  power systems, or laser/maser driven photonic/plasma sail. These can be
                                                  manned or unmanned and come in a variety of sizes. The Cyber Co-op can
                                                  employ a two-stage relay approach. They can use low or mid tech means
                                                  to send small Colony Seed systems to a nearby star which then setup
                                                  either radio, laser, quantum entanglement, or subspace transceivers at
                                                  the destination. They can then 'teleport' to the new settlements by
                                                  sending their AI software as data by these communications systems. The
                                                  high tech method relies on the development of super-luminal transit
                                                  systems based on the most advanced technology possible in the game. I
                                                  plan three basic forms for this. First is the 'jump' drive which is a
                                                  kind of one-shot system combining both massive stationary launch
                                                  systems and a mobile vehicle that punches a hole through hyperspace
                                                  while throwing a spacecraft through it. It's a one-way trip until a
                                                  comparable system is built on the other side. Next is the 'linear
                                                  compression' or 'warp' drive which warps space around a vehicle to
                                                  allow it to travel at superluminal speeds. And finally there's a 'star
                                                  gate' which consists of a series of self-deploying structures that
                                                  create tunnels of warped space between destinations. Each successive
                                                  'gate' module transports itself through to the terminus of a previous a
                                                  deployed gate, then deploys to extend the 'tunnel' for the next module
                                                  after it until the chain of them completes the link. The chain not only
                                                  communicates vehicles but also must communicate the vast amounts of
                                                  power for its own operation. Of course, since the terminus gates are in
                                                  orbit and the others are effectively in 'transit' everything is moving
                                                  and so multiple gates in synchronized orbits and constant readjustment
                                                  are necessary. These technologies would be based on vast machines and
                                                  would need the most powerful forms of energy production possible to
                                                  operate, possibly relying on technologies that tap the Sun itself as a
                                                  nuclear power source or based on such exotic technologies as 'zero
                                                  point' energy.

                                                  Eric Hunting

                                                  hunting@...



                                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                                • kucitizenx
                                                  ... I wish you had answered my other questions...:( As an arcology designer myself, i think several different arcology designs are important features, because
                                                  Message 24 of 26 , Jan 17, 2006
                                                    --- In luf-team@yahoogroups.com, Eric Hunting <hunting@t...> wrote:
                                                    >
                                                    >
                                                    > On Jan 13, 2006, at 4:00 PM, luf-team@yahoogroups.com wrote:
                                                    >
                                                    > > Message: 5
                                                    > > Date: Fri, 13 Jan 2006 04:31:13 -0000
                                                    > > From: "kucitizenx" <kucitizenx@y...>
                                                    > > Subject: Re: Game Project
                                                    > >
                                                    > > ---
                                                    > >
                                                    > > hi there eric...just mostly bumping this up after reading it.
                                                    > >
                                                    > > I think that you have well covered your basic groups, and their basic
                                                    > > descriptions...
                                                    > > The hard part is coming up with the many details of what you see
                                                    > > as the assorted means these groups use.
                                                    > >
                                                    > > I also have a question; are they all competing for space inside of
                                                    > > a single fictional solar system? Or do we start more realistically
                                                    > > with an early exploration phase, and find colonizable planets?
                                                    > > (Adding exorbitantly to game mechanics...)
                                                    > >
                                                    > > What is the games starting condition?
                                                    > >
                                                    > >
                                                    > > Also, how does one determine the games finish, or...
                                                    > > What is the games ending condition?
                                                    >
                                                    > Yes, I've been spending a very long time cataloging potential game
                                                    > units and the like, and I suspect many will have to be culled in the
                                                    > finished game. (for instance, how many aesthetic styles of arcology
                                                    > does one really need? I cataloged about a dozen, but I doubt they'll be
                                                    > needed)
                                                    ---------------------
                                                    I wish you had answered my other questions...:(

                                                    As an arcology designer myself, i think several different arcology
                                                    designs are important features, because different designs have
                                                    different strong and weak points. An Arcology isn't just an aesthetic
                                                    problem, its an ergonomics problem, and an agricultural problem and
                                                    so forth. Different designs would balance different aspects
                                                    differently, .... in my own back burner presentation of the actual
                                                    "mars colony" i have about six very different arcologies, and would
                                                    have more, but those six end up more or less representing a rather
                                                    large feild of diversity.
                                                    I would hope that in fact different kinds of arcologies could be
                                                    developed per group type, at least.
                                                    :)
                                                    ----------------------


                                                    >
                                                    > I wouldn't say that the player groups are competing for 'space'
                                                    ---------------------
                                                    So are we colonizing our own solar system, or a different solar
                                                    system? I'm in favor of colonizing our own first... no need to get
                                                    too science fictiony.
                                                    -------------------------
                                                    This consists of a simple rotating
                                                    > cylinder habitat made from wound nanofiber ribbons that could be
                                                    > several kilometers in diameter.
                                                    ---------------------
                                                    Right, well, my standard sort of shock and wake point is that you
                                                    could fit the entire human race in two dozen mile cube size arcologies
                                                    and still give them far more room than they currently have for living
                                                    space... but as you point out, its resources in space that will be
                                                    competed over, and many of those resources are defined as you pointed
                                                    out,,,theres a resource we might call Solar System orbits/ Acessibility.
                                                    ------------------


                                                    However, it can freely expand to
                                                    > stretch around an entire solar orbit, resulting in a habitable land
                                                    > space many times greater than then entire Earth. A Ringworld without
                                                    > quite so much super-science.
                                                    --------------------
                                                    Right, all we would need to do is organize the mass thats currently in
                                                    the asteroid feild....lol. Actually, as i understand it, the biggest
                                                    problem with a ring world is that theres too little mass in the solar
                                                    system...but hey, we could always just find convenient ways to violate
                                                    the laws of conservation of mass and energy- a polarized singularity
                                                    could be internally inflated and used to provide near infinite amounts
                                                    of raw matter and energy via a wormhole.... errrr...
                                                    -------------------

                                                    Matryushka Brain,
                                                    --------------------
                                                    pardon me whilst i find out what exactly that is?
                                                    Matrioshka Brain
                                                    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
                                                    Jump to: navigation, search
                                                    A Matrioshka Brain is a hypothetical megastructure, based on the Dyson
                                                    sphere, of immense computational capacity. It is an example of a Class
                                                    B stellar engine, employing the entire energy output of a star to
                                                    drive computer systems.

                                                    Such a structure would be composed of a collection of one or more
                                                    (typically more) Dyson spheres built around a star, and nested one
                                                    inside another. A significant percentage of the shells would be
                                                    composed of nanoscale computers (see molecular-scale computronium).
                                                    These computers would be at least partly powered by the energy
                                                    exchange between the star and interstellar space. A shell (or
                                                    component, should a Dyson swarm be the design model used) would absorb
                                                    energy radiated onto its inner surface, utilize that energy to power
                                                    its computer systems, and re-radiate the energy outwards. The
                                                    nanoscale computers of each shell would be designed to run at
                                                    different temperatures; shells or components at the core could be
                                                    nearly as hot as the central star, while the outer layer of the
                                                    Matrioshka Brain could be almost as cool as interstellar space.

                                                    The ideal mechanism for extracting usable energy as it passes
                                                    "through" a shells or component, the number of shells (or orbital
                                                    levels) that could be supported in such a manner, the ideal size of
                                                    the shells to be constructed, and other details, are all issues of
                                                    speculation.

                                                    This structure has obvious structural analogies to Russian Matrioshka
                                                    dolls, from which the concept derives its name.

                                                    The idea of the Matrioshka Brain violates none of the currently known
                                                    laws of physics, although the engineering details of building such a
                                                    structure would be staggering, as such a project would require the
                                                    "disassembly" of significant portions (if not all) of the planetary
                                                    system of the star for construction materials. Since it is based on
                                                    the concept of the Dyson sphere, objections to the feasibility of a
                                                    Matrioshka Brain are more thoroughly explored in that article as
                                                    difficulties with the Dyson Sphere itself.

                                                    The term Matrioshka Brain was invented by Robert Bradbury as an
                                                    alternative to Jupiter Brains - a concept similar to the Matrioshka
                                                    Brain, but on a smaller planetary scale and optimized for minimum
                                                    signal propagation delay; a Matrioshka Brain design is concentrated on
                                                    sheer capacity and the maximum amount of energy extracted from its
                                                    source the star, a Jupiter Brain more on computational speed.

                                                    The possible uses of such an immense computational resource tax the
                                                    imagination. One idea suggested by Charles Stross, in his novel
                                                    Accelerando, would be to use it to run perfect simulations or
                                                    "uploads" of human minds into virtual reality spaces supported by the
                                                    Matrioshka brain.

                                                    ----------------------------


                                                    >
                                                    > However, there are strategic resources which could become the basis of
                                                    > competition. The solar system is a vast complex clock and the
                                                    > combination of orbital periods and the gravitation of individual bodies
                                                    > create what has recently been dubbed the Interplanetary Highway; a sort
                                                    > of network of orbital windows which define transits about the solar
                                                    > system at the lowest energy cost and shortest transit period. This
                                                    > network makes certain locations in the solar system of greater
                                                    > strategic value than others because they are more efficient to exploit
                                                    > first. So while the potential volume of resources in the asteroid belts
                                                    > is almost incalculable, certain regions of these belts are easier to
                                                    > reach sooner and so will be more desirable. Also, resources in the
                                                    > solar system are vast but generally non-homogenous and separated by
                                                    > vast distances. A player group could seek to monopolize key resources
                                                    > in the most convenient locations, giving them an economic advantage
                                                    > over groups that must search a little farther afield for the same
                                                    > thing. But as time goes on and technology improves these advantages
                                                    > shrink as costs for reaching more destinations in the solar system
                                                    > start to flatten out. I will need to devise a graphic scheme to present
                                                    > this Interplanetary Highway, perhaps in the form of some kind of
                                                    > color-coded projected trajectory display which keys transit trajectory
                                                    > efficiency to color.
                                                    ----------------------------
                                                    Yes, that would be invaluable also as an educational aid.
                                                    :)
                                                    -------------------
                                                    >
                                                    > The game is intended to start at an exploration phase. In fact, the
                                                    > player groups must first establish themselves on Earth to create the
                                                    > necessary industrial and technological infrastructure to get to space.
                                                    > The game begins on Earth at the year 2000 with the current level of
                                                    > technology and the current types of space transport systems and
                                                    > facilities. Each player group starts with one settlement facility and a
                                                    > starting pot of money according to their type. For instance, the
                                                    > National Space Agency starts with one of today's existing national
                                                    > space center facilities. The EcoTech group starts with an eco-village
                                                    > or proto-arco. The Space Enthusiast group starts with a Space Expo
                                                    > Center -a sort of 'exploratorium' that showcases the group's interests.
                                                    > The Space Enterprise starts out with corporate offices on a floor of an
                                                    > urban office building. The Star Cult starts out with a Cosmic Ashram (a
                                                    > kind of monastery in the form of an ecovillage with a design mimicking
                                                    > the appearance of an imaginary extraterrestrial mothership). The
                                                    > Freetopians start out with a 'squat'; an abandoned urban building or
                                                    > wealthy member's large home they simply appropriated. The Tribal Group
                                                    > starts out with a large reservation land area hosting a small village.
                                                    > Xists start out with a gated community or condominium. The Space
                                                    > University starts out with a college campus. The Dynasty starts out in
                                                    > a 'family compound'; an estate akin to that of families like the
                                                    > Kennedys or the Bushes. The Cetacean Co-op starts out with a Sea Pylon
                                                    > ecovillage -a neutrally buoyant mostly submerged pylon with an OTEC at
                                                    > its core to which a series of modules are retrofit; telecom systems at
                                                    > the top, a series of umbrella-like air filled enclosures to provide
                                                    > storm and work shelters, and self-contained industrial and other
                                                    > systems. The Cyber Co-op starts out with a floor in an office building
                                                    > just like the Space Enterprise, only it's all filled with rack-mount
                                                    > computer systems and telecom hardware. Each group has a different
                                                    > source and amount of starting revenue. The Space Enterprise has public
                                                    > stock. The Dynasty has a 'family fortune'. The Space Enthusiasts have
                                                    > membership dues. The National Space Agency has a government specified
                                                    > annual budget. (one might think the space agency has a large starting
                                                    > advantage but this is countered by a very large disadvantage -a
                                                    > government which meddles in every financial decision they make and
                                                    > which, in the year 2000, is politically anti-space) Only a few of these
                                                    > groups would start with enough facilities and money to build -or buy-
                                                    > any kind of spacecraft and none of them can do it sustainably so the
                                                    > first challenge is to establish an infrastructure to get to space; to
                                                    > establish more settlements, recruit/build a work force, and establish
                                                    > launch and other facilities. They need to figure out how to sustainably
                                                    > earn money -or establish their own independent means to industry sans
                                                    > trading on the global economy- and connect their terrestrial
                                                    > settlements into a network to support their space projects. Some player
                                                    > groups have a lot of terrestrial work to do before they have the
                                                    > capability for space. In this first stage the game display is limited
                                                    > to a map of the Earth with transit routes and terrestrial orbits shown
                                                    > where the player can zoom in for a close-up view of individual
                                                    > settlements.
                                                    -------------------------
                                                    kewl, thanks for answering the questions i asked...
                                                    :)
                                                    I think thats a very realistic starting condition... more or less
                                                    starting where we are. I think its very wise of you to notice that we
                                                    are facing a politocal environment that is actually anti-space...
                                                    thats a very key obstacle.
                                                    ----------------
                                                    >
                                                    > The next phase is the Near Earth Orbital phase and is enabled with the
                                                    > first player mission launch to a near Earth orbital location. Here the
                                                    > display would be enabled to zoom out to show the Earth, it's Lagrange
                                                    > Points, the Moon, and possibly some NEAs or debris fields and allows
                                                    > the player to zoom in on the surface of the Moon. After this is the
                                                    > full Solar Orbital phase enabled by an interplanetary mission where the
                                                    > display can zoom out to show all the points in the solar system and
                                                    > their orbital vectors and all active vehicles and their trajectories
                                                    > and can zoom in on any of the bodies in the solar system and any
                                                    > orbital habitats in solar orbit.
                                                    --------------------
                                                    In my off the cuff simulation with others here, i started with Mars
                                                    as the first target simply because it was the topic of conversation
                                                    before i butted in and because i think its very feasable to get there
                                                    in our lifetime. However, i agree, there are definitely stages or
                                                    logical evolutionary steps... i think earth orbital colonies and then
                                                    lunar orbital colonies and then lunar colonies and then solar orbital
                                                    colonies and then mars orbital colonies and then mars colony and then
                                                    jupiter system orbital colonies and then jupiter system moon colonies,
                                                    and then the big squeeze between mars and jupiter for the easy access
                                                    asteroid belt. (The asteroid belt is an entire universe unto itself...
                                                    colonization just of that would secure the human space coloinization
                                                    effort and generate immense mining and manufacturing possibilities.)
                                                    And of course, it goes on and on outward from there- generally always
                                                    best to have an orbital colony in place and established before a land
                                                    colony.
                                                    -------------------------

                                                    >
                                                    > Initially, the players are limited to doing in space what we currently
                                                    > do in space; primitive commercial space activities dominated by
                                                    > satellites, simple 'outposts' like the ISS, early space tourism
                                                    > activities based on sub-orbital slights or outpost type facilities, and
                                                    > exploration missions based on sending probes. These activities would
                                                    > start out very dependent upon the terrestrial economy and terrestrial
                                                    > resources so the second biggest challenge in the game is to break out
                                                    > of terrestrial economic dependence through an in-space resource
                                                    > exploitation infrastructure.
                                                    -----------------
                                                    This takes me back to the happy part of the asteroid feilds...all that
                                                    raw materials, very low energy to bounce around...:)
                                                    ------------------


                                                    Most settlement activity would tend to be
                                                    > confined to the inner solar system with the Moon, Mars, and nearby
                                                    > asteroid belts the focus of most development. They are liable to
                                                    > dominate a large portion of the game play time as the outer solar
                                                    > system will remain difficult to exploit due to very protracted transit
                                                    > times and limited energy from solar power.
                                                    ---------------
                                                    I think its very sensible to see an inner solar system phase and an
                                                    outer solar system phase.
                                                    ---------------
                                                    >
                                                    > The third challenge in the game is the permanent settlement of other
                                                    > bodies in the solar system and locations in solar and planetary orbits.
                                                    > Establishing an orbital industrial infrastructure would tend to precede
                                                    > permanent lunar and planetary settlement as the gravity wells of these
                                                    > bodies are a liability for exploiting materials for the production of
                                                    > products to export to Earth. Planetary settlements would have to
                                                    > struggle against persistent export deficit since little of what they
                                                    > can produce can cost-effectively be exported and retain a competitive
                                                    > price compared to goods manufactured in orbital locations. However,
                                                    > they are also technically easier to settle -at least for human
                                                    > habitation- because they have some gravity, are a bit more homogeneous
                                                    > with resources available across shorter distances, and because they
                                                    > provide natural structure for habitat construction using excavation or
                                                    > the conversion of existing natural features such as lava tubes. (on
                                                    > Mars and the Moon lava tubes are many times larger than their
                                                    > terrestrial counterparts and can house, as is, vast settlements)
                                                    > --------------
                                                    yes, it sounds like you have some things very well thought out. I
                                                    had actually designed an arcology based on lava tube inhabitation
                                                    after reading an article in discover or some such magazine.
                                                    -------------
                                                    > The fourth challenge is the outer planets and Oort Cloud at the
                                                    > periphery of the solar system. Here the special conditions of these
                                                    > places and the vast distances make them much more difficult to settle
                                                    > and exploit. Habitat and energy technologies have to be more exotic to
                                                    > compensate for reduced solar insolation and the unusual chemical or
                                                    > radiation environments. But there's also great potential -vast reserves
                                                    > of hydrogen, hydrocarbons, and water ice, the possibility for simple
                                                    > alien life in such places as Europa, and the chance -albeit small- to
                                                    > encounter alien artifacts.
                                                    >
                                                    > The game has a basic completion objective of establishing the first
                                                    > settlement in a nearby star system but it can also complete with the
                                                    > elimination of all other player groups (in a multiplayer game) or can
                                                    > also continue indefinitely to see how the solar system evolves. There
                                                    > are several strategies by which players can reach other stars but all
                                                    > of them tend to require a massive solar orbital industrial
                                                    > infrastructure and significant technology to pull-off. The lowest-tech
                                                    > method is by use of small interstellar gravity assisted probes which
                                                    > rely on sling-shot maneuvers to accelerate them to speeds to send them
                                                    > into interstellar space and large 'generation ships' which are
                                                    > essentially self-propelled orbital colonies that travel at sub-light
                                                    > speeds to reach other stars. Both these types of vehicles could take
                                                    > over a century to reach the nearest star and so need to be
                                                    > self-repairing, have very long lasting power sources independent of
                                                    > sunlight, and must be very resilient. The middle-tech methods use
                                                    > near-luminal spacecraft which rely on such very high energy power
                                                    > sources as anti-matter propulsion -as Savage proposed- Nuclear Isomer
                                                    > power systems, or laser/maser driven photonic/plasma sail. These can be
                                                    > manned or unmanned and come in a variety of sizes. The Cyber Co-op can
                                                    > employ a two-stage relay approach. They can use low or mid tech means
                                                    > to send small Colony Seed systems to a nearby star which then setup
                                                    > either radio, laser, quantum entanglement, or subspace transceivers at
                                                    > the destination. They can then 'teleport' to the new settlements by
                                                    > sending their AI software as data by these communications systems.
                                                    ----------------------
                                                    The largest and most profound engineering feat i have ever gotten into
                                                    is the development of an exploratory colonization fleet, composed of
                                                    several vessels, with assorted purposes, on the premise that a solar
                                                    system will first need to be explored to determine if it can be
                                                    colonized. I think that "first stable colony in a new solar system" is a
                                                    very good endgame definition, and as fond as i am of assorted warp
                                                    technologies, i would save those for the second game, and thus stay
                                                    completely within the confines of what we can realistically call
                                                    feasable and real science.
                                                    ---------------------



                                                    The
                                                    > high tech method relies on the development of super-luminal transit
                                                    > systems based on the most advanced technology possible in the game. I
                                                    > plan three basic forms for this. First is the 'jump' drive which is a
                                                    > kind of one-shot system combining both massive stationary launch
                                                    > systems and a mobile vehicle that punches a hole through hyperspace
                                                    > while throwing a spacecraft through it. It's a one-way trip until a
                                                    > comparable system is built on the other side. Next is the 'linear
                                                    > compression' or 'warp' drive which warps space around a vehicle to
                                                    > allow it to travel at superluminal speeds. And finally there's a 'star
                                                    > gate' which consists of a series of self-deploying structures that
                                                    > create tunnels of warped space between destinations. Each successive
                                                    > 'gate' module transports itself through to the terminus of a previous a
                                                    > deployed gate, then deploys to extend the 'tunnel' for the next module
                                                    > after it until the chain of them completes the link. The chain not only
                                                    > communicates vehicles but also must communicate the vast amounts of
                                                    > power for its own operation. Of course, since the terminus gates are in
                                                    > orbit and the others are effectively in 'transit' everything is moving
                                                    > and so multiple gates in synchronized orbits and constant readjustment
                                                    > are necessary. These technologies would be based on vast machines and
                                                    > would need the most powerful forms of energy production possible to
                                                    > operate, possibly relying on technologies that tap the Sun itself as a
                                                    > nuclear power source or based on such exotic technologies as 'zero
                                                    > point' energy.
                                                    ---------------------

                                                    Thanks, its been illuminating. How might i best help you where you are
                                                    at? What do you think is the next step for this conversation?
                                                  • Eric Hunting
                                                    ... There are several different base configurations of arcology planned for this game specific to different structural function, topography, and environment.
                                                    Message 25 of 26 , Jan 19, 2006
                                                      On Jan 17, 2006, at 2:55 PM, luf-team@yahoogroups.com wrote:

                                                      > There is 1 message in this issue.
                                                      >
                                                      > Topics in this digest:
                                                      >
                                                      > 1. Re: Game Project
                                                      > From: "kucitizenx" <kucitizenx@...>
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      > _______________________________________________________________________
                                                      > _
                                                      > _______________________________________________________________________
                                                      > _
                                                      >
                                                      > Message: 1
                                                      > Date: Tue, 17 Jan 2006 19:26:47 -0000
                                                      > From: "kucitizenx" <kucitizenx@...>
                                                      > Subject: Re: Game Project
                                                      >
                                                      > --- In luf-team@yahoogroups.com, Eric Hunting <hunting@t...> wrote:
                                                      >>
                                                      >>
                                                      >> On Jan 13, 2006, at 4:00 PM, luf-team@yahoogroups.com wrote:
                                                      >>
                                                      >> Yes, I've been spending a very long time cataloging potential game
                                                      >> units and the like, and I suspect many will have to be culled in the
                                                      >> finished game. (for instance, how many aesthetic styles of arcology
                                                      >> does one really need? I cataloged about a dozen, but I doubt they'll
                                                      >> be
                                                      >> needed)
                                                      > ---------------------
                                                      > I wish you had answered my other questions...:(
                                                      >
                                                      > As an arcology designer myself, i think several different arcology
                                                      > designs are important features, because different designs have
                                                      > different strong and weak points. An Arcology isn't just an aesthetic
                                                      > problem, its an ergonomics problem, and an agricultural problem and
                                                      > so forth. Different designs would balance different aspects
                                                      > differently, .... in my own back burner presentation of the actual
                                                      > "mars colony" i have about six very different arcologies, and would
                                                      > have more, but those six end up more or less representing a rather
                                                      > large feild of diversity.
                                                      > I would hope that in fact different kinds of arcologies could be
                                                      > developed per group type, at least.
                                                      > :)
                                                      > ----------------------

                                                      There are several different base configurations of arcology planned for
                                                      this game specific to different structural function, topography, and
                                                      environment. The essential arcology, following the Soleri model, is a
                                                      cylindrical structure which organizes volumetric space into internal
                                                      community or public space and external wilderness, divided by the
                                                      private space within the habitable structure itself with that private
                                                      space having view/communication to both the internal and external
                                                      environments. Variations are based on transforming that theoretical
                                                      cylindrical shape while maintaining the same general organization of
                                                      space. These variations include the H, U, V, A, O, or C profiled Linear
                                                      City which serves as habitable transportation links between larger
                                                      arcologies and for spanning gaps in the landscape, dam arcologies
                                                      integrated into hydroelectric dams, cliff or canyon arcologies carved
                                                      into exposed cliffs, valley arcologies built as terraces within natural
                                                      or man-made depressions such as strip mines or craters, pylon supported
                                                      and floating coastal or marine arcologies such as the full-scale
                                                      Aquarius, and subtopolis arcologies which are partially or wholly
                                                      underground. There are also a few more specialized types such as the
                                                      Arcoliner (a mobile marine arcology which is actually in development
                                                      today in the form of Condoliners or live-aboard cruise liners), the
                                                      Aerostadt (evolved from lighter-than-air-supported near-space stations
                                                      used for research, telecom, and resort facilities), and the VRco. (a
                                                      large computing and telecom facility or 'Internexus' usually just a
                                                      component part of an organic human settlement but used as the basis of
                                                      a settlement by AIs and taking the form of simple office or industrial
                                                      buildings, bunkers, or subterranean chambers filled with computer
                                                      equipment and automated factories)

                                                      In addition to these different functional forms there are also
                                                      variations based on construction method. Most of the construction
                                                      techniques used for these megastructures and evolving with technology
                                                      advances would not need to be reflected in their external appearance.
                                                      For instance, a structure made of monolithic diamondoid materials in
                                                      some in-situ nanofabrication process will look little different on the
                                                      outside from one made of reinforced concrete -aside from maximum
                                                      possible scale. But there are a couple of exceptions. Inspired by my
                                                      past fascination with the Min-A-Max structural system used for the
                                                      Biosphere II complex, I intend to feature a universal modular building
                                                      technology called SpaceFrame which would evolve and adapt with
                                                      progressing technology to suit applications ranging from settlement
                                                      structures on Earth and in space to an assortment of vehicles.
                                                      Structures based on this building technology have a very specific
                                                      appearance derived from their modular component composition. Another
                                                      exception is tension structures such as the Cable City arcology which
                                                      consists of tension cables strung between cliffs or pylons to which
                                                      habitable structures are retrofit. NanoFoam arcologies -a late Diamond
                                                      Age technology- favor organic and tectonic forms because they are
                                                      'self-grown' while, by virtue of the incredible strength of diamondoid
                                                      composition, can assume forms much more extreme in shape and can
                                                      integrate virtually all functional features of a settlement though
                                                      formed-in-place structures and mechanisms.

                                                      In addition to the arcologies, the game would also feature another type
                                                      of megastructure; biospheres. These structures are basically an
                                                      enhancement of other types of settlements using eco-village or
                                                      co-housing architecture, providing a large span environmental enclosure
                                                      around them. They have four basic functions; they serve as research
                                                      facilities for CELSS and terraforming technology, as environmental
                                                      enclosures to counter the negative economic impact of seasonal weather
                                                      in northern and southern latitudes, enable settlement and farming in
                                                      locations of very extreme climate such as deserts, the poles, and
                                                      locations ruined by environmental degradation or the effects of
                                                      biological warfare, and can function as environmental restoration
                                                      facilities for environments so damaged as to be unable to sustain the
                                                      original natural microclimate. (as is the case with denuded tropical
                                                      islands which can no longer get rain because without plant cover they
                                                      cannot create the necessary lowered albedo to generate a pressure
                                                      inversion over them) Starting out relatively small, these could reach
                                                      megastructure scale with advances in materials and structural systems,
                                                      at which point they would have the option to contain arcologies.

                                                      Now, within all these variations there are a potential variety of
                                                      stylistic forms differing primarily in aesthetics and it's these I
                                                      wonder about keeping in the final game design as there are so many
                                                      variants to begin with. These basically fall along aesthetic lines of
                                                      Modernist, Organic, or Tectonic. Modernist designs employ simple
                                                      geometric shapes such as pyramids and domes and the family of classic
                                                      arcology forms envisioned by Soleri. Organic styles use fluid
                                                      soft-edged non-euclidean macro-shapes akin to those of nature such as
                                                      the forms of water and wind-worn stones, sand dunes, and simple
                                                      organisms. Tectonic forms are a special variation of Organic forms
                                                      which deliberately mimic natural landscape forms, merging
                                                      macrostructures into the natural landscape using a terraced
                                                      organization topped by parkland. These design styles wouldn't really
                                                      add anything to the overhead of the game's simulation, just the volume
                                                      of graphics. But they don't add any more than visual novelty and a
                                                      means to reflect the aesthetics of player groups. The game would only
                                                      spend about a third of its time on Earth and most of these variations
                                                      are only usable in space in a post-terraforming situation or in concert
                                                      with very large biospheres. So, while the variations are appealing, I
                                                      wonder about how relevant this many variations really is to the game.

                                                      Note that I have chosen to make a specific distinction between
                                                      terrestrial arcologies and space and planetary 'habitats' even where
                                                      they are large enough to qualify as arcologies or are roughly similar
                                                      in form. This is primarily to avoid confusion but also because
                                                      radically different structural systems and organization are involved in
                                                      the space megastructure. Though Soleri himself proposed a number of
                                                      orbital arcologies, I hazard to classify them as true arcologies
                                                      because they don't relate to any external environment. The true
                                                      arcology is a way for the human habitat to sustainably reside within
                                                      and relate to the natural exterior environment. In space the exterior
                                                      environment is utterly devoid of what we regard as terrestrial 'nature'
                                                      and even window views of it would be rare for practical reasons. The
                                                      outside isn't wilderness needing preservation. It's a radiation-bathed
                                                      vacuum. So the habitat must recreate 'nature' in some form internally.
                                                      Everything about the space habitat is inwardly focussed. So arcologies
                                                      -in name- are only employed in space in the context of a terraformed or
                                                      biosphere enclosed environment. There's a certain contradiction here,
                                                      though, in the case of the Subtopolis or underground arcology since it
                                                      likewise is cut-off from any direct access to the external natural
                                                      environment except by skylights and is virtually identical to
                                                      Subtopolis space habitats. But even though it is effectively cut-off
                                                      from the external environment like a space habitat, it is still doing
                                                      so for the benefit of the external wilderness rather than human
                                                      necessity.

                                                      > However, it can freely expand to
                                                      >> stretch around an entire solar orbit, resulting in a habitable land
                                                      >> space many times greater than then entire Earth. A Ringworld without
                                                      >> quite so much super-science.
                                                      > --------------------
                                                      > Right, all we would need to do is organize the mass thats currently in
                                                      > the asteroid feild....lol. Actually, as i understand it, the biggest
                                                      > problem with a ring world is that theres too little mass in the solar
                                                      > system...but hey, we could always just find convenient ways to violate
                                                      > the laws of conservation of mass and energy- a polarized singularity
                                                      > could be internally inflated and used to provide near infinite amounts
                                                      > of raw matter and energy via a wormhole.... errrr...

                                                      A Heliopolis colony would not have the problems of the Ringworld of
                                                      SciFi because it is not an open structure relying on centrifugal force
                                                      of rotation about the solar axis to maintain gravity and atmosphere.
                                                      Thus it needs much less mass and no super-technology to hold it
                                                      together. It's a closed pressurized structure with rotates about the
                                                      axis of its orbital trajectory to provide gravity while moving at a
                                                      normal orbital speed for the amount of mass in any given cross-section
                                                      volume. It would rely on nanofiber ribbon shell construction or similar
                                                      diamondoid materials and so has a very low mass relative to its volume.
                                                      However, most of its mass would consist of carbon and it's an open
                                                      question what the actual reserve of carbon in the solar system is.

                                                      > -------------------
                                                      >
                                                      > Matryushka Brain,
                                                      > --------------------
                                                      > pardon me whilst i find out what exactly that is?
                                                      > Matrioshka Brain
                                                      > From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
                                                      > Jump to: navigation, search
                                                      > A Matrioshka Brain is a hypothetical megastructure, based on the Dyson
                                                      > sphere, of immense computational capacity. It is an example of a Class
                                                      > B stellar engine, employing the entire energy output of a star to
                                                      > drive computer systems.

                                                      Please excuse my bad spelling. I can never remember the correct
                                                      spelling of the word. Dysan spheres have physics problems similar to
                                                      classic Ringworlds. They are inherently unstable in orbit unless they
                                                      rotate on many axis at once, making construction and docking a very
                                                      complicated process indeed. I've envisioned a simpler form where a
                                                      Dysan sphere is formed in the manner of a basket-weave of nested
                                                      ribbons each with a distinct orbit. I understand some other SciFi
                                                      enthusiasts have arrived at the same notion. This basket structure is a
                                                      logical approach to a Matrioshka Brain since a very simple structure
                                                      only a little more sophisticated than a solar power satellite can be
                                                      used to achieve it. It's actually much simpler and lower-tech -despite
                                                      the scale- than even a small orbital outpost hosting organic humans
                                                      would be. This reflects one of the key advantages the Cyber Co-op would
                                                      have in the game. Though starting rather late in the time-line of the
                                                      game and largely limited to fully automated systems to support them
                                                      -which is expensive- the structures AIs need are quite minimalist
                                                      because their life support needs are so minimal (electricity and a
                                                      supply of repair parts) and they never have to worry about specialized
                                                      transport for their population because they travel by radio, using
                                                      spacecraft only to move hardware and material around. With such simple
                                                      needs, they can freely colonize everyplace in the solar system with
                                                      very simple settlements and the lowest cost means of transport. So
                                                      while their start on Earth is challenging, in space they are a really
                                                      powerful and fast competitor. In fact, I'm not even sure organic humans
                                                      could ever compete effectively against them once in space and so I
                                                      intend to have fairly low odds on their appearance as a non-player
                                                      competitor depending greatly on the availability of very advanced
                                                      computing systems.

                                                      > ----------------------
                                                      > The largest and most profound engineering feat i have ever gotten into
                                                      > is the development of an exploratory colonization fleet, composed of
                                                      > several vessels, with assorted purposes, on the premise that a solar
                                                      > system will first need to be explored to determine if it can be
                                                      > colonized. I think that "first stable colony in a new solar system" is
                                                      > a
                                                      > very good endgame definition, and as fond as i am of assorted warp
                                                      > technologies, i would save those for the second game, and thus stay
                                                      > completely within the confines of what we can realistically call
                                                      > feasable and real science.
                                                      > ---------------------

                                                      Linear Compression or 'Warp' drive and the other 'high tech' modes of
                                                      interstellar transport would be amng of the last and most advanced
                                                      technologies developed in the game. Few players would ever use them in
                                                      normal game play as they would have to be doing something wrong to have
                                                      to wait until technology of that super-sophistication becomes
                                                      available. They probably could be left out and have little impact on
                                                      the game but I include them because futurists have so often speculated
                                                      on them.

                                                      There are basically two choices one has with interstellar colonization.
                                                      One ether assumes that pre-colonization intelligence must be gathered
                                                      before a settlement mission can be planned -and thus one sends probes
                                                      ahead to gather that information- or one assumes one's technology is
                                                      sophisticated enough to make a rewarding home in any conditions in
                                                      space given at least some raw material to work with -and thus one can
                                                      send manned missions as soon as transport technology is available. The
                                                      former is lower risk but much more time consuming since the return
                                                      data, even traveling at the speed of light, takes many years to arrive.
                                                      The latter is high risk but gets you there sooner -though early means
                                                      of transport are so slow in transit that there is a risk of being
                                                      beaten to the destination by faster vehicles produced as technology
                                                      advances during the span of the earlier trip -and members of the Cyber
                                                      Co-op can always travel at the speed of light because they travel by
                                                      radio or laser.

                                                      > The
                                                      >> high tech method relies on the development of super-luminal transit
                                                      >> systems based on the most advanced technology possible in the game. I
                                                      >> plan three basic forms for this. First is the 'jump' drive which is a
                                                      >> kind of one-shot system combining both massive stationary launch
                                                      >> systems and a mobile vehicle that punches a hole through hyperspace
                                                      >> while throwing a spacecraft through it. It's a one-way trip until a
                                                      >> comparable system is built on the other side. Next is the 'linear
                                                      >> compression' or 'warp' drive which warps space around a vehicle to
                                                      >> allow it to travel at superluminal speeds. And finally there's a 'star
                                                      >> gate' which consists of a series of self-deploying structures that
                                                      >> create tunnels of warped space between destinations. Each successive
                                                      >> 'gate' module transports itself through to the terminus of a previous
                                                      >> a
                                                      >> deployed gate, then deploys to extend the 'tunnel' for the next module
                                                      >> after it until the chain of them completes the link. The chain not
                                                      >> only
                                                      >> communicates vehicles but also must communicate the vast amounts of
                                                      >> power for its own operation. Of course, since the terminus gates are
                                                      >> in
                                                      >> orbit and the others are effectively in 'transit' everything is moving
                                                      >> and so multiple gates in synchronized orbits and constant readjustment
                                                      >> are necessary. These technologies would be based on vast machines and
                                                      >> would need the most powerful forms of energy production possible to
                                                      >> operate, possibly relying on technologies that tap the Sun itself as a
                                                      >> nuclear power source or based on such exotic technologies as 'zero
                                                      >> point' energy.
                                                      > ---------------------
                                                      >
                                                      > Thanks, its been illuminating. How might i best help you where you are
                                                      > at? What do you think is the next step for this conversation?

                                                      Right now the biggest problem I have with this project is time. It's
                                                      been relegated to hobby status for a long time because survival issues
                                                      have consumed virtually all my time. I'm hoping my income will be more
                                                      stable in the near future -especially if I can get some of my planned
                                                      sustainable real estate projects going- but right now I can barely
                                                      catch my breath. Suggestions of software development platforms would be
                                                      helpful and I'd be happy to work with any artists who want to explore
                                                      renderings of units I'm considering.


                                                      > Eric Hunting

                                                      hunting@...



                                                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                                    • kucitizenx
                                                      ... I ... many ... of ... classic ... as ... forms ... really ... volume ... a ... My thought is that theres no point in multiple versions for aesthetic
                                                      Message 26 of 26 , Jan 19, 2006
                                                        > Now, within all these variations there are a potential variety of
                                                        > stylistic forms differing primarily in aesthetics and it's these
                                                        I
                                                        > wonder about keeping in the final game design as there are so
                                                        many
                                                        > variants to begin with. These basically fall along aesthetic lines
                                                        of
                                                        > Modernist, Organic, or Tectonic. Modernist designs employ simple
                                                        > geometric shapes such as pyramids and domes and the family of
                                                        classic
                                                        > arcology forms envisioned by Soleri. Organic styles use fluid
                                                        > soft-edged non-euclidean macro-shapes akin to those of nature such
                                                        as
                                                        > the forms of water and wind-worn stones, sand dunes, and simple
                                                        > organisms. Tectonic forms are a special variation of Organic
                                                        forms
                                                        > which deliberately mimic natural landscape forms, merging
                                                        > macrostructures into the natural landscape using a terraced
                                                        > organization topped by parkland. These design styles wouldn't
                                                        really
                                                        > add anything to the overhead of the game's simulation, just the
                                                        volume
                                                        > of graphics. But they don't add any more than visual novelty and
                                                        a
                                                        > means to reflect the aesthetics of player groups.
                                                        ------------------------
                                                        My thought is that theres no point in multiple versions for
                                                        aesthetic purposes; design should follow technology and function,
                                                        and be situational. I personally favor using lava tubes or covered
                                                        craters on Mars, and hollowed asteroids come in the size they are;
                                                        not a single predetermined one.

                                                        The requirements of the intended landing site, its weather, sun
                                                        exposure, gravity, and materials available locally will determine
                                                        realistically the shapes of arcologies, in my opinion.

                                                        That said, i think its best to stay lucid that we are using symbols
                                                        to represent in this case overall design concepts, and to have a
                                                        single design per design concept, until perhaps a later iteration of
                                                        the game when it might be nice to allow our thousands of new recruits
                                                        the opportunity to add new architecures of their own.

                                                        I am actually underwhelmed by santeri, There are several design
                                                        issues which he never seemed to wrap his head around. A prime
                                                        consideration i generated from internet conversation was that people
                                                        always want to have "exterior facing" windows and so forth, this may
                                                        seem a simple thing but it is actually the largest limitation on
                                                        population density.

                                                        I favor radial symetry designs, based on multiple domes or towers,
                                                        and in most cases, implemented for the most part underground in the
                                                        case of adverse climate conditions. Creating internal spaces large
                                                        enough to feel like the "outdoors" is again a primary consideration,
                                                        and i believe that this is neccessary for psychological reasons.

                                                        In reality, i see this playing out say for instance on Mars as
                                                        finding a batch of several fairly small craters, putting dome tops
                                                        on them, and then linking them together under the surface.

                                                        ----------------------------





                                                        The game would only
                                                        > spend about a third of its time on Earth and most of these
                                                        variations
                                                        > are only usable in space in a post-terraforming situation or in
                                                        concert
                                                        > with very large biospheres. So, while the variations are
                                                        appealing, I
                                                        > wonder about how relevant this many variations really is to the
                                                        game.
                                                        > -------------------
                                                        variations are relevant to the first iteration of the game only where
                                                        there is a design concept difference. Obviously, a lava tube arcology
                                                        will be different from a crater arcology. From the sounds of it, the
                                                        differences in approach of your assorted groups will in most case
                                                        generate differences, however small, in design concepts. From a game
                                                        theory perspective, the question to think through is first the
                                                        standard answers to perhaps half a dozen primary design concepts,
                                                        and then to think about what the secondary design concepts would be
                                                        given the particular bents of the group in question.

                                                        Obviously, an imperious group might favor towers over domes, or a
                                                        pure sciences group my favor domes over towers. For instance.
                                                        Let the other game mechanics drive the degree of design; don't do any
                                                        purely aesthetic explorations unless a group is likely to have some
                                                        design criteria that are aesthetic that another group wouldn't have.

                                                        This limits the number of total designs to a resonable number; 6
                                                        times that dozen or so. In some later iteration, it might be nice
                                                        to have a few hundred different designs, but for now, thats just
                                                        throwing time away on details.
                                                        ---------------
                                                        > Note that I have chosen to make a specific distinction between
                                                        > terrestrial arcologies and space and planetary 'habitats' even
                                                        where
                                                        > they are large enough to qualify as arcologies or are roughly
                                                        similar
                                                        > in form.
                                                        --------------------
                                                        I think thats a good idea, a hollowed asteroid is an arcology by
                                                        necessity, but its internal structures may or may not be arcologies
                                                        by design.
                                                        ------------------


                                                        This is primarily to avoid confusion but also because
                                                        > radically different structural systems and organization are
                                                        involved in
                                                        > the space megastructure. Though Soleri himself proposed a number
                                                        of
                                                        > orbital arcologies,
                                                        ----------------
                                                        I think that we should face the reality right off that soleri had
                                                        some great ideas and some pretty obvious fallibilities. I wouldn't
                                                        use a single one of his designs without extensive renovation. In
                                                        general the problem is that his thinking is too two dimensional, or
                                                        simple, and i agree, many designs are obviously not ecologically
                                                        sustainable.
                                                        ------------------



                                                        I hazard to classify them as true arcologies
                                                        > because they don't relate to any external environment. The true
                                                        > arcology is a way for the human habitat to sustainably reside
                                                        within
                                                        > and relate to the natural exterior environment. In space the
                                                        exterior
                                                        > environment is utterly devoid of what we regard as
                                                        terrestrial 'nature'
                                                        > and even window views of it would be rare for practical reasons.
                                                        The
                                                        > outside isn't wilderness needing preservation. It's a radiation-
                                                        bathed
                                                        > vacuum. So the habitat must recreate 'nature' in some form
                                                        internally.
                                                        > Everything about the space habitat is inwardly focussed. So
                                                        arcologies
                                                        > -in name- are only employed in space in the context of a
                                                        terraformed or
                                                        > biosphere enclosed environment. There's a certain contradiction
                                                        here,
                                                        > though, in the case of the Subtopolis or underground arcology
                                                        since it
                                                        > likewise is cut-off from any direct access to the external
                                                        natural
                                                        > environment except by skylights and is virtually identical to
                                                        > Subtopolis space habitats. But even though it is effectively cut-
                                                        off
                                                        > from the external environment like a space habitat, it is still
                                                        doing
                                                        > so for the benefit of the external wilderness rather than human
                                                        > necessity.
                                                        >
                                                        > Please excuse my bad spelling. I can never remember the correct
                                                        > spelling of the word. Dysan spheres

                                                        {{Dyson}}


                                                        have physics problems similar to
                                                        > classic Ringworlds. They are inherently unstable in orbit unless
                                                        they
                                                        > rotate on many axis at once, making construction and docking a
                                                        very
                                                        > complicated process indeed. I've envisioned a simpler form where
                                                        a
                                                        > Dysan sphere is formed in the manner of a basket-weave of nested
                                                        > ribbons each with a distinct orbit. I understand some other SciFi
                                                        > enthusiasts have arrived at the same notion. This basket structure
                                                        is a
                                                        > logical approach to a Matrioshka Brain since a very simple
                                                        structure
                                                        > only a little more sophisticated than a solar power satellite can
                                                        be
                                                        > used to achieve it. It's actually much simpler and lower-tech -
                                                        despite
                                                        > the scale- than even a small orbital outpost hosting organic
                                                        humans
                                                        > would be. This reflects one of the key advantages the Cyber Co-op
                                                        would
                                                        > have in the game. Though starting rather late in the time-line of
                                                        the
                                                        > game and largely limited to fully automated systems to support
                                                        them
                                                        > -which is expensive- the structures AIs need are quite minimalist
                                                        > because their life support needs are so minimal (electricity and
                                                        a
                                                        > supply of repair parts) and they never have to worry about
                                                        specialized
                                                        > transport for their population because they travel by radio,
                                                        using
                                                        > spacecraft only to move hardware and material around. With such
                                                        simple
                                                        > needs, they can freely colonize everyplace in the solar system
                                                        with
                                                        > very simple settlements and the lowest cost means of transport.
                                                        So
                                                        > while their start on Earth is challenging, in space they are a
                                                        really
                                                        > powerful and fast competitor. In fact, I'm not even sure organic
                                                        humans
                                                        > could ever compete effectively against them once in space and so
                                                        I
                                                        > intend to have fairly low odds on their appearance as a non-
                                                        player
                                                        > competitor depending greatly on the availability of very advanced
                                                        > computing systems.
                                                        >
                                                        > > ----------------------

                                                        Back to arcologies; obviously, these folks would have a very
                                                        different set of design criteria; things built by them would be
                                                        different than almost any other group.
                                                        ------------


                                                        >> Linear Compression or 'Warp' drive and the other 'high tech'
                                                        modes of
                                                        > interstellar transport would be amng of the last and most
                                                        advanced
                                                        > technologies developed in the game. Few players would ever use
                                                        them in
                                                        > normal game play as they would have to be doing something wrong to
                                                        have
                                                        > to wait until technology of that super-sophistication becomes
                                                        > available. They probably could be left out and have little impact
                                                        on
                                                        > the game but I include them because futurists have so often
                                                        speculated
                                                        > on them.
                                                        >
                                                        ---------------------
                                                        Of course, this is your project, and you are its god, but i would
                                                        like to point out that its always nice to have new turf to cover in
                                                        the sequel.
                                                        :)
                                                        ----------------


                                                        > There are basically two choices one has with interstellar
                                                        colonization.
                                                        > One ether assumes that pre-colonization intelligence must be
                                                        gathered
                                                        > before a settlement mission can be planned -and thus one sends
                                                        probes
                                                        > ahead to gather that information- or one assumes one's technology
                                                        is
                                                        > sophisticated enough to make a rewarding home in any conditions
                                                        in
                                                        > space given at least some raw material to work with -and thus one
                                                        can
                                                        > send manned missions as soon as transport technology is available.
                                                        The
                                                        > former is lower risk but much more time consuming since the
                                                        return
                                                        > data, even traveling at the speed of light, takes many years to
                                                        arrive.
                                                        > The latter is high risk but gets you there sooner -though early
                                                        means
                                                        > of transport are so slow in transit that there is a risk of being
                                                        > beaten to the destination by faster vehicles produced as
                                                        technology
                                                        > advances during the span of the earlier trip -and members of the
                                                        Cyber
                                                        > Co-op can always travel at the speed of light because they travel
                                                        by
                                                        > radio or laser.
                                                        >
                                                        ------------------
                                                        err... they can travel at the speed of light to a solid reception
                                                        center, so yes and no.
                                                        ------------

                                                        >
                                                        > Right now the biggest problem I have with this project is time.
                                                        It's
                                                        > been relegated to hobby status for a long time because survival
                                                        issues
                                                        > have consumed virtually all my time. I'm hoping my income will be
                                                        more
                                                        > stable in the near future -especially if I can get some of my
                                                        planned
                                                        > sustainable real estate projects going- but right now I can
                                                        barely
                                                        > catch my breath. Suggestions of software development platforms
                                                        would be
                                                        > helpful and I'd be happy to work with any artists who want to
                                                        explore
                                                        > renderings of units I'm considering.
                                                        ----------------
                                                        as soon as i get my own life squared a bit more and get my own
                                                        computer to use, i will be going back to poser. Poser is a three
                                                        dimensional modeling program, which is far more user freindly than
                                                        any other i have ever tried to use. I have modeled some kewl stuff
                                                        in poser, which i don't have any more.... but anyways even tho its
                                                        fairly low end compared to some programs in terms of what it can do,
                                                        i could be generating three dimensional models within the next six
                                                        months.
                                                        -----------------
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