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Old 04-29-2008, 12:45 PM   #21
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Re: Science or Fiction?

Originally Posted by Ide View Post
I would say yes, but I have to finish my 5th c. BC Japanese hunting and fishing game first.
No worries. I have a big project that needs to be finished first as well. We'll start this project in two years. Meet here at the same place at the same time in two years!
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Old 04-29-2008, 03:15 PM   #22
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Re: Science or Fiction?

I think one of the main reasons games tend towards science fantasy is because science fiction is really hard. Good science fiction requires some pretty serious understanding of complex disciplines: physics, chemistry, quantum mechanics, biology, chemsitry, etc.

That is a tall order for anyone, and when you add that learning curve on top of the difficulty of creating a mud, I can see why so many people hit a wall and just say "ok, it all works because of nanobots!"
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Old 04-30-2008, 05:47 AM   #23
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Re: Science or Fiction?

I've kicked around SF mud ideas for a long time now, but I'm no builder, so they'll never happen.

If I were hunting for an SF game, I'd probably look around for some Dune variety of game, which if it followed the canonical works of Frank Herbert, would be heavily into terra-forming, genetics, chemistry, and some of that science that's so advanced it becomes magic-like (but he explains it so well, it doesn't push credulity out the window), not to mention advances socio-sciences, theology, and martial arts.

If I could wave a wand, one of my SF ideas wouldn't take an advanced degree in particle physics, astrophysics, quantum mechanics or some of the Einsteinian disciplines. It would only take enough tech to -somehow- reduce humans in size (a colonization tactic that makes space travel less resource-intensive), and have the game based on a crash-land right here on Earth. In that environment, a massive wealth of information is already readily available, with the humans-only PCs basically re-visiting our own world in the microcosm. "Land of the Giants" took a stab at this concept in 60s TV, but it was really a soap-opera with some seriously cheesy special effects. The terra-forming element would be there, since creating a habitable environment at a greatly reduced size would take some ingenuity, and the familiar would seem quite alien.

The problem I would foresee in designing a game that was hard-science based is that lag time of years in developing a game, during which time, some of the far-flung concepts of SF might already be being patented, probably in Japan. Take androids. Why not? They already exist, although not exactly as advanced as Data. By the time you get your game going, if you don't project far enough ahead on the tech ladder so as to become almost science fantasy, your science fiction game may have been outpaced by tech, and is just 'fiction'.

Far harder than imagining a character-o-centric game that would be fun to play would of course be in building a world in which the designer ingeniously extrapolates how that science would affect the intangibles. What -would- happen in the world if teleportation were possible? The impact would be far-reaching on communication, law-enforcement, war, politics, commerce, health care,and heck...everything. Daunting indeed, and that's just on the homeworld.

One of the reason that SF games with interplanetary/galactic/dimensional travel would quickly lose their appeal would be the decided -lack- of science-fantasy elements. I mean, who really wants to adventure on a planet (even assuming that all life forms live on planets) whose creatures are coherent molecular chains a mile long? Or whose life-forms are just a pyramidal ebola virus squared? Star Trek and Star Wars still cling to the basic humanoid model, as do many such movies because it sensibly gives an audience that much-needed feeling of identifying with the characters, but it's hard to fathom that the universe would feel similarly bound to such conformity. I'm reminded of "Men in Black" in which there was a specie that reacted to human speech as if it were an infectious disease. To me, that's credible, but it would take some real game design genius to make that -fun-. Carl Sagan makes a case that we might not even recognize an advanced, truly advanced, civilization, even though its tech has risen to the point where it's shaping the universe itself.

Having said all that, I wouldn't mind a MUD at all that finds some happy medium that biases toward the hard science end of the scale. It's just hard to imagine one that would satisfy me intellectually as well as aesthetically.

Last edited by Disillusionist : 04-30-2008 at 04:44 PM. Reason: Typos and a mistaken word
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