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PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2016 12:14 am 
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Space Krill

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Homeworld: The world of Metox, with extremely volatile chemistry and weather, driven in various parts by massive microbial blooms, a thick atmosphere, active geology, and high solar input. Multicellular life is extremely sparse, and mostly primitive.

Racial Attributes:
GOOD
Adaptively Sessile: Can downregulate most organs when not needed: Less FOOD needed for scientific and agricultural foci
Metabolically Flexible: FOOD is produced as if planet class were closer to EP
Marginally Tolerant: Can colonize planets one EP beyond the current limit, with a FOOD and INDUSTRY penalty.
Prosperity Culture: High population growth
Plant-like: Bonus FOOD

BAD
Coarse Senses: Poor Ship Combat and Ground Combat
Sluggish: Poor INDUSTRY.
Flippant: Poor TRADE

Biophysical Description: The Metabrella, when active, somewhat resemble plump umbrella heads with a bulbish 'head' at the top and two manipulating limbs extending from midway down the 'waist'. Bottom-heavy, they've waddled around like penguins on their homeworld for ages, in search of suitable places to 'plant' themselves and grow food. When supporting photosynthesis or chemosynthesis, their 'skirt' unfolds, spreads out along the ground, and gradually grows.

At about 50kg (active form), the Metabrella are the largest and most complex organisms on the entire planet. Facing no risk from predators throughout the bulk of their evolutionary history, it's thought that they developed social structure and intelligence to protect resources during times of famine, guard against disease during times of plenty, and deal with the omnipresent problem of parasites, most species of which were driven to extinction during their industrial revolution.

As the chemistry of their planet is highly variable and microbes are extremely dominant parts of the biomass (being able to travel in sporulated form toward favorable conditions, even as entire colonies perish), the Metabrella have an extremely complex, adaptive metabolism to cope. In particular, their 'skirt' organ can not only grow to several times its original size when active, but also works to integrate whatever microbes are present in the enviroment into or onto its tissues. The Metabrella is pretty much prepared to take on any microbial organism as livestock, providing it with a complex system of immune protection, waste elimination, and aid in getting its required chemical substrates, while forcibly extracting stored energy from the favored cells as they grow. As the favored microbes in the environment change with the weather, their skirt can adaptively take up new microbial clients.

Secondary to this remarkable organ, the Metabrella are extremely well-adapted to times of famine; indeed their mobility is partially for the purpose of sharing stored food, which they accomplish through specialized in/out openings on their head, which also double for reproductive purposes. Most of their organs can atrophy almost completely, as needed, and their religious and philosophical traditions have centered at least partly on developing ways of bringing the atrophy process under finer control, for the benefit of the individual and the group. Now that they have the capacity to travel among the stars, relatively fine voluntary control is developed routinely as part of basic education.

The Metabrella gestate their young one at a time, but during conditions of stress or famine, their physiology causes them to miscarry the fetus through their posterior cloaca. They also have two ears on their head; one Major ear, on one side; and on the other, a Minor ear together with a row of three tymbals placed above. The small tymbals on either side are used in communication, while the large one, which is more complex, produces low frequency sounds for echolocation. In their world, where the sun is often completely obscured by soupy fog, there was no particular advantage for evolving complex vision. While they can distinguish between light and dark through an eyespot on the top of the head, the Metabrella perception is primarily one of sound, hot and cold, and semi-conscious array of chemical senses distributed in different parts of their body. Having lacked predators for much of their history, their physical reflexes are extremely slow, and their echolative 'vision' doesn't update very frequently, nor give a particularly refined image.

Social Structure: Metabrella society evolved to handle the complexities of disease management, and to prepare against volatile changes in the regional climate of their home planet. Coordinated societies could share and store food, limit disease by promoting diverse metabolic strategies, and protect against the occasional raiding party. All this helped to insure that parents could see their children grow up and have children. All parts of the child-rearing process are a great joy to the Metabrella, and a major reason for living.

However, in other ways, the Metabrella are almost brutally feudal. Mechanisms have developed which ensure that all Metabrella should get time and training in the mobile roles of industry, trade, and crafstbrellaship, but throughout their history, from early geoengineering projects to their Atomic Age, the most efficient way to engage in 'agriculture' was basically to plant a Metabrella in the ground and route the surplus food production to other segments of society. The discovery of basic techniques in microbiology had unexpected results in the microbial ecology, but overall resulted in greatly increased food production from carefully cultured strands of microbial symbiotes for 'planted' Metabrella to cultivate.

The result is a society valuing security and successful reproduction above all things, and respecting complex hierarchical arrangements for deciding who would be forced into the sessile phase of agricultural production, and at what times, and under what conditions -- and who gets to bring children to term. Of their many enduring religious traditions, most involve venerating the Progeny Yet to Come. Common praise is basically to say, "may you give birth", or "may your young grow old"; a coarse insult, in reference to their physiological tendency to miscarry, transliterates roughly as "your progeny are shit". A more cordial form of disrespect is to call someone "fit for the fields", suggesting that they are of no social value apart from the sessile labor of agricultural production.

As a result of the volatile conditions of their home world, their intuitions about social agreements are...complex, and largely instinctual. No Metabrella really makes a promise, when it makes a promise, or really has a duty for sure, when it has a duty. The weather, after all, may change, in any of a million different ways. Metabrella have a relatively difficult time in translating all their unstated feelings about when an agreement 'obviously' should become 'sort of' null and void into TradeSpeak, the rather simplistic, clearly specified legal language that dominates interstellar trade between species.

As a result, it's rather hard to strike a bargain with them. On the one hand, they will, for the most part, agree to honor a well-crafted contract, after many rounds of bargaining and persuading. But on the other hand, the trading partner usually gives up on trying to get unequivocal agreement. Negotiations tend to end with the other species extremely flabbergasted, and the Metabrella, while trustworthy and honorable at their core, will still be saying passionately that there are still unspecified situations where they really cannot do the thing that the contract says, though of course there are unspecified situations where the counterparty would not have to honor the contract either.

The result is that while Metabrella are for the most part honorable trading partners, most of their counterparties in trade are never fully comfortable with their contract, nor entirely sure about the "unspecified situations" in which the Metabrella really feel that they could not honor the contract. This flippancy in Metabrella intuition about social agreements makes trade more risky for the other party, which makes them demand much more favorable contractual terms in order to allow for this nearly incomprehensible wiggle room that the Metabrella are always keen to have.

On the whole, Metabrella tend toward pacifism. Their clumsy physiologies, poor reflexes, and volatile weather on their home planet had a tendency to limit the capacity for warfare to do too much harm until relatively late in their history, and by then, their global culture had already developed culturally tolerant tendencies. Cultural differences, to them, seem quite insignificant when compared with the Weather (another concept that keeps on cropping up in their religions).

Having little more than themselves on their home planet, with the rest of the biosphere being nearly microscopic, the Metabrella are fascinated by the existence of alien creatures with different physiologies and behaviors, both sentient and otherwise, which goes a ways toward explaining their relatively friendly attitudes toward extrametoxials. Saavy diplomats tend to recognize that a nice gift for the Metabrella, on initial contact, would be something like a Goldfish or a Gnawing Rock Louse, together with the required encasement of chemically inert life support required to keep it in the cavernous Governing Complex of Metox, where the most august lineages of the Age work on organizing the labors of the species so that all may have Progeny. Even better is to give them a population of animals that could survive in the open atmosphere of Metox and be sounded at directly, directly smelt. -- and the bigger, the better, in their view, due to their relatively undetailed echolative perception. To date, however, no such organism has been identified.

For the Metabrella, the prospect of colonizing other worlds promises a New Era and countless areas of unprecedented Stable Weather. The Metabrella long to expand their technology and their territory, to ensure the birth of the Future Children that they have venerated for thousands of Galactic Years. It's anyone's guess as to whether they will be able to do it, or succumb instead to religious fatalism about the Weather.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2016 10:34 am 
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Graphics
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Hi SpaceGrapes and welcome to the forums!
Without reading deeply into your post, it is obvious that you do not (yet) have a clear understanding of the game mechanics, for example there is no food, or trade. You might want to get more acquainted with the game before continuing here.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2016 7:02 am 
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Space Krill

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Hmm. Well, trade is slated to come in at some point, if I understand, and it was already clear to me based on the quick start guide that food is dealt with abstractly as some sort of growth meter (really poorly communicated in game, as far as I can see).

But yeah, my last experience with the game until recently was much earlier (.2 I think). What I see now with 0.4.3 (easier for me to use the existing .deb) is a game with some fairly reasonable race ideas, relatively speaking, but hugely disordered, cluttered tech. Among other things, I note an extreme profusion of hulls which will tend toward micromanagement that the game design is supposed to loathe. It seems clear that the game is attempting to commit to the idea of three different 'metabolisms' and exotic, quasi-magical modes of life -- how else to explain a preference for barren worlds in a race that is functionally analogous to a population of organic bipeds that depend on agriculture?

Thinking about it a bit, new races may not be needed so much as some thoughtful editing of existing concepts that will bring more thematic unity to the whole game and help in cleaning up that tech tree. I'll give my initial thoughts on that in another thread.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2016 7:21 am 
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If you're on 0.4.3, and using Linux, then you basically need to be using 0.4.5, you're three years behind the development and the species mix has been improved and rebalanced a fair amount over that time.

It's one of the things I want to do a lot more on once we have 0.4.6 in the bag (hopefully within the next month).

Seriously, I went from a Linux-is-this-weird-thing-I-want-to-try to being able to compile the game myself from source with very little work, it's dead easy and you can be completely up to date, 0.4.3 was horrendously unbalanced in many, many ways.

We have also expanded the hull lines a fair bit in that time, and made sure each of the main choices is a strong one capable of competing.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2016 7:39 am 
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Release Manager, Design
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SpaceGrapes wrote:
What I see now with 0.4.3 (easier for me to use the existing .deb)
Aside from what Mat said, your reference to using a .deb to install FO means that you're probably on Debian or a Debian derivate. In this case you should be able to get a much more recent version from the repos of your distro...


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2016 9:43 am 
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Space Krill

Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2016 7:32 pm
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If a lot has happened since then, I may take a look. 0.4.3 was extremely convenient to get just by pulling from the stable repos, and the changelogs for 0.4.4 and 0.4.5 didn't seem to show a lot of rebalance in the techs area when I skimmed. But that may well be another case of My Bad.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2016 9:42 am 
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SpaceGrapes wrote:
If a lot has happened since then, I may take a look.
I'd recommend to give it a try :)


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