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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2005 10:33 pm 
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I was thinking about the nature of Trancendence in FO, so far we have defaulted to a SMAC style Trancedence Victory condition, basicaly you hit the top of the tec tree, build the grotescly expensive final wonder and win the game. In this context Trancedence is reaching the tecnological ability to grant imortality and contain conquesnese outside of the physical mind.

If anyone is familiar with modern Sci-Fi you have probably heard of the consept of the Singularity, basicaly its tecnoligical progress at a rate beyond our ability to comprehend or control. Wikipedia quotes Ray Kurzweil the originator of the term as follows.

"An analysis of the history of technology shows that technological change is exponential, contrary to the common-sense "intuitive linear" view. So we won't experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century -- it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today's rate). The "returns," such as chip speed and cost-effectiveness, also increase exponentially. There's even exponential growth in the rate of exponential growth. Within a few decades, machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence, leading to The Singularity -- technological change so rapid and profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history. The implications include the merger of biological and nonbiological intelligence, immortal software-based humans, and ultra-high levels of intelligence that expand outward in the universe at the speed of light."

It seems to me that the "Trancedence" in SMAC was realy more a Singularity with telapathic mind worms thrown in to spice things up a bit.
I began thinking of an alternate kind of Trancedence dipicted in a favorite book of mine Childhoods End by Arthur C. Clarke. In this book benevolent yet super inteligent and powerfull aliens become the guardians of Earth, a period of global peace and prosperity reigns. Then one day a boy is born who has strange telepathic powers yet wont comunicate or interact with others. From that point on ALL children born on earth are like this and they begin to congregate and display more weird powers and become more and more withdrawn. Eventualy all the older people have died leaving only the strange children who Disapear in a flash that destroys the earth. The aliens explain whats going thankfully. This is the next stage in human evolution, the childrens minds are fusing into a single super-mind witch will itself join with the Over-Mind witch they serve. The analogy used was an Island archapelago, each island is a mind, when the ocean is drained away the minds merge. Also this senario is similar to out official Backstory involving the anchient Orions dieing (our writers could develope some conections here).

This is a radicaly differnt kind of ending the that found in SMAC as its not tecnologicaly based in any way. Its more of a Psionic thing that comes from developing the mind rather then tecnology. I propose that we have 2 destinct victory condiftions in the game each reflectiong these 2 senarios. Singularity victory consists of reaching the top of the tec tree and possibly building some wonder. Trancedence victory is accesable midway through the tec tree but is very hard, you need to drive the happyness of your population to the maximum and keep it their for some time, then you can start a countdown to Trancedence. If your familiar with SMAC think of it as geting a Super Golden Age. By making Trancedence tecnology independent it becomes a very different goal then Singularity and is more like the Cultural victory of Civ III in that its an internal non-agressive victory.

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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2005 8:50 am 
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I agree totally. Transcendence should not be a technological achievement, more of a biological and/or spritual one.

What i think would be good would be if, at certain points through the progression of the game, the player's race got the choice to take a step towards transcendence, or not. The catch being, each step towards transcendence weakens your race in the 'real world'.

So, each time you take a step towards transcendence you lose a race pick or two (chosen at random by the game). The aim would be to make it all the way to becoming a transcendent race before being totally wiped out - tricky, since you are going to be falling behind in production/combat/research etc all of the time. Possibly you could pick 1 step towards transcendence as a race pick at the start of the game to give yourself a headstart.

The questions which would need answering in order to make this work as a victory condition are: How often do transcendant steps come along? How many turns should it take a race to become transcendent if they choose trancendence at each step? Is there anything that can be done by a player to accelerate the process (e.g. scientific research, government choices, building religious centres, avoiding wars of aggression)?

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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2005 11:19 pm 
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The singularity is not just rapid progress, it's a massive paradigm shift, it's a major event. It could be a race ascending, the self destruction of a race (apocalypse, end of the world), it could be a race evolving, or merging with machines, even creating machines, who wipe out the original race and takeover.

I think transcendance is available through technology, but given enough time (lots), a race will evolve enough and transcend eventually, however a race would no doubt use technology to achieve transcendance, as it would be faster, plus doing it through natural evolution will take too long, and the game won't last that long.

The whole step torwards transcendance seems good, although it would have to be to do with what the race believes. Like does the race have to kill heaps of races to transcend or does it have to not take part in 10 battle oppurtunities in a row, or please it's people to the height of morale and pleasure.


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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2005 7:20 pm 
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I always thought winning by tech is a tie breaking way to win. And transcending is just fluff.

Spiritual/mind transcendence is good, if we incorporated culture into the game.

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What i think would be good would be if, at certain points through the progression of the game, the player's race got the choice to take a step towards transcendence, or not. The catch being, each step towards transcendence weakens your race in the 'real world'.


I like this idea. Makes winning by transcendence an deliberate effort.

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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2005 10:47 pm 
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I'm glad to hear such a positive response, lets keep evolving this idea and see how it can be incorporated into the Back story (I am thinking that the Orions either Trancended as well or are playing the part of the Overlords and or Overmind).

The particular mechanism by whitch the player achives Trancedence is going to need a lot of work ofcorse, it needs to be relitivly simple yet destinct from all other Victory conditions. Some of the basic features we want are.

Little or no tecnology required (thats the realm of Singularity aka Tec Victory)
Internaly based (dose not require interaction with alien races)
Involves Telepathy/ESP/Psionics
Involves Happy Populations and/or culture
Makes one less powerfull in all other victory paths (Military, Science, Economics ect ect....)

DaveBabby's proposal for random chances to take steps towards Trancedence sounds very intreguing, the player must wait for these events and accept some negative consequences. I think the best way would be to convert some of the population to non-working Telepathic "Deciples" reminisent of the strange children of Childhoods End. Early on these telepaths give some special abilites to the player (Psionic Racial Powers), but later on the drain on ones economy becomes huge. When the "take a step" option occures what is happening is that a small % of your population is starting to manifest psionic powers (if your already a psionic race then they are displaying abnormaly powerfull psionic abilities). You the play can either "Supress" (some short turm unhappyness may result but the "undesirables" are "re-educated"), "Ignore" (slim random chance of getting the next step without paying the costs assosiated with Cultivate, gives you nothing most of the time), and "Cultivate" you spend a large portion of your Civs resorces to develop these telepathic abilites and gain one step towards Trancendence. Step events might be initiated by the equivelent of Golden Ages with each sucsessive event requiring a more golden golden age (aka more happy pop, less unhappy pop).

A race which is naturaly Psionic/Telepathic get the +1 step towards Trancendence for free at the start of the game (maybe even +2 if its a very stron telepathic race). Now a question should Robotic races be penalized or even unable to Trancend? Traditionaly Robots dont have Psionic powers the notible acception being the Foundation series by Asimov (whitch is ofcorse the inspiration for every galaxy spaning Empire). I think at the least Robotic Races should suffer a heavy penalty to Trancendence and possibly they could be bared from it entirely. In principle though I think all races should be "able" to win by any victory condition (by able I mean the rules dont prevent it even if its rediculusly unlikly and hard to do). If yall agree with that principle then I would give robots around -2 to their Trancendence steps. On and incase your wondering its probably 10 steps to Trancendence.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2005 8:51 am 
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I like this idea.

Like Impaler I think the best implemantation is likley to be that with increasing progress towards transcendance, an increasing percentage of the empires population becomes useless for mundane tasks.

The fluff reasons for this might vary from empire to empire, with the common theme that the set aside population is now "called to a higher purpose". So they could be religious practitioners (eg buddhist style monks), or they could be mutated beyond recognition in the attempt to find a "higher form", or they could be doing "research into the meaning of life" etc, all depending on the culture of the empire they are from. The player might have the option to encourage or discourage such 'Trancendant population' in various ways.

From a physical game mechanic stand point Trancendant Population are mostly just a weight around your neck, unless you can gain a critical mass of them high enough to achieve the victory condition. There probably should be some other prerequisites to this victory condition - gameplay items that function as 'keys' to unlock it. Perhaps a couple of requisite techs and cultural advances, artifacts that must be found etc might fulfill this function.

Additionally Trancendant population might bring some advantages - so unique cultural or tech advances might be unlocked by having a certain mass of them. For example, perhaps by meditating on the nature of the universe, your trancendant population might discover the secret to happiness, or a universal 'force' that binds all things together and can be used for some pretty nifty party tricks, etc.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2005 9:35 pm 
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Maybe you could even research some tech that can speed up the transendance process.

"This device will turn our race into GODS!!!!"


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2005 8:30 am 
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Space Squid

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utilae wrote:
Maybe you could even research some tech that can speed up the transendance process.

"This device will turn our race into GODS!!!!"


Such a device might come with the possibilty of horribly backfiring. -perhaps mutating your race somehow (changing race picks), or turning them into terribly mutated parasite monsters from outer space!


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2005 3:54 am 
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How would you balance transcendence against empire size/power?

For example, if Enemy begins conquering the weaker, transcending race -- or ignores them while dealing with other things -- what happens when that race finishes transcending? Does everyone else suddenly lose for not being the first there?

I think that, perhaps, standard gameplay should resume with the affected race suddenly disappearing. And you could give the race some great rewards when it comes to scoring (firstly, you could upgrade their score via the disadvantages caused by the progressive transcendence -- secondly, you could give them a massive score for the victory condition?)...

Maybe you could even score people based on how quickly they can transcend -- and on forums there'll be people going "You transcended in 98 turns! @_@ ".


I don't know... I'm still a fan of the "kill or be killed" kind of game. I generally dislike extra victory conditions. They're unfulfilling.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2005 6:01 pm 
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Quote:
I generally dislike extra victory conditions. They're unfulfilling.


I think a set of sub-tasks with small rewards would help to break the monotony. That's why I like the idea of sectors (you control a whole one you get a special bonus). Or random events, ala HOI or Victoria or Crusader Kings.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2005 3:51 am 
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Actually, I think that part of the problem I have with extra victory conditions is that they tend to come as a surprise -- like the first time I killed the Antarans (though I didn't really mind, then, because the computer clearly had the advantage, and it was little better than actually losing).

I think that the most important thing is that other players should be able to see your progress towards a victory condition and move to stop you. The victory conditions should also be spelt out at the beginning of a game.

Also, I always feel victory should come about from of strategy and competition, not method and fine-tuning. If we end up with only one effective method for reaching any one victory condition, then I think we've lost the strategy.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2005 6:29 pm 
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Space Kraken
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Well I am not talking about "victory" conditions really, but sub-tasks.

I agree that victory conditions should be laid out upfront and every player should have a rough estimate of how well the others are doing fulfiling them.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2005 6:12 am 
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This idea is way cool! 8) I loved Childhood's End and parallels to this idea of Transcendance can be found in other Sci-Fi classics as well (The O.G. Dune for example.) It gives us a chance to introduce a mystical component into the victory conditions of the game, something that almost always works well in a space setting :D

I especially like Ron Taro's suggestions:

Quote:
From a physical game mechanic stand point Trancendant Population are mostly just a weight around your neck, unless you can gain a critical mass of them high enough to achieve the victory condition. There probably should be some other prerequisites to this victory condition - gameplay items that function as 'keys' to unlock it. Perhaps a couple of requisite techs and cultural advances, artifacts that must be found etc might fulfill this function.

Additionally Trancendant population might bring some advantages - so unique cultural or tech advances might be unlocked by having a certain mass of them. For example, perhaps by meditating on the nature of the universe, your trancendant population might discover the secret to happiness, or a universal 'force' that binds all things together and can be used for some pretty nifty party tricks, etc.


It seems to me that, in addition to taking "steps" towards Transcendence (at specific times with specific penalties), and unlocking the pre-requisit conditions like artifacts or secrets, the Trancendence Victory condition should also involve some regular expenditure of resources. Like money dedicated to building up the trancendence population. Kind of like buying ships or buildings, but with the specific focus of advancing the mystical traits of an Empire's society.

Basically in the standard Victory Conditions (Military, Economic, Technological) you have to carefully manage your spending to achieve the final goal. Dilomatic Victory is a little different but involves a similar process of consistant management.

Maybe Transcendence should work in a similar way. The direction of resource spending combined with certain responses to special events, brings a race closer to transcendence.

Man, if we get stuff like this working FO is going to rock hard core. Keep up with the excellent ideas all 8)

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 Post subject: About Robots trascending
PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2005 4:09 pm 
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Space Krill

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First of all, hello to everybody! Excellent brainstorming, your ideas are cool!
Since this is my first post I will try to be brief.

As of robots trascending it could be posible in a sort of , you know, digital way, like a shared Overmind (like in Star Craft)or some kind of fusion between each collective units of the race for after all, being robots, their thoughts , ideas and sentience are nothing more than code.

Then the super contiousness will take a collective step towards transcendence, like discarding their physical digital bodies for energy or something like that.

You know just a thought

Keep up the good job :idea:


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2005 5:59 pm 
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Every time I read about ascendence I can't help thinking of the Hyperion books I've read.

The whole idea of the books (I hope I'm not ruining the books for people) is that humans created AIs and then the AIs became a race of their own and these AIs then evolved and then one day (in one of many possible futures) created/became an AI god which then found the human god and waged war on it (there can be only one)!

This AI god (which used suns as power sources) could send messages back in time to the AIs to tell them what to do, where people will be etc.
I was thinking that we could do something like this for the ascendence race. Each player tries to create a god and the closer you are to creating your god the more perks you get. Also if 2 competing players are on the road to ascention then how far along they are would determine the strength of their gods. When at war the more powerful god(s) would be able to cancel out the effects of the opposing god(s).

Players might be required to follow different paths or a combination of paths (tech, cultural, etc) in order to attain the GodHead.

Once your god is stronger relatively to the other gods it would kill them off (or enslave them) and be the only one left and you'd win the game (How could anyone compete with a race that has a god on his side when they don't).


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