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 Post subject: Simulacrons
PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2006 3:01 am 
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Space Squid

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I have a rough idea about a subtype of a robotic race that I hope to discuss about.

Name: Simulacrons

Archetype: Robotic

Subtype: Cyber life

Physiology: Simulacrons are life existing inside network. Best to think them as people in the Matrix, only without their actual human bodies.

Design points:

- Prior race and transformation: Simulacrons did not spontaneously come to exist in the network - they had a physical form before they converted themselves into cyber beings. I imagine some members of such prior race subjected themselves to a conversion experiment and eventually broke off from the prior race of biological beings (the motivation for such experiment can be political, scientific or cultural). The prior race can be any lifeform (although I tend to imagine them carbon-based humanoids rather than silicoids or gasbags), and can be extinct or co-existing with Simulacrons in the timeline of the game. At the beginning, I would imagine their transformation was incomplete and their physical body existed outside the network (just like the Matrix). As their technology developed, they eventually completed the complete transition.

- Network infrastructure: Since a biological brain is a very complex information-processing unit, one "individual" Simulacron occupies a large amount of dataspace (think of this as hard disk space), which requires large physical dataspace platform for multiple individuals to "live" inside the network. I would imagine the Homeworld of Simulacrons are covered with sprawling monoliths which are dataspace platforms (i.e. computers). Therefore, the size of a planet does affect how many individual Simulacron can live in that planet.

- Reproduction: I would imagine reproductions are still done in a biological way. Sperm and egg are preserved and when government approves reproduction, they are artificially inseminated. The fetus is connected with the network as soon as feasible, and therefore the young Simulacron grows up entirely in the network. Once Simulacron reaches physiological maturity, meaning their brains stop developing and their personalities are formed, the final conversion is conducted and their lifeless bodies are discarded with the exception of their sperm and eggs.

- Life in the network: Each individual Simulacron is immortal inside the network. I would imagine the virtual reality inside the network resembles "Gaia" world for the prior race, and the environment is being constantly developed and upgraded. I would imagine the Simulacron society is close to Utopia, since virtual resources are essentially limitless and happiness can be "made real" inside the network.

- Life outside of the network: Simulacron's Utopian society entirely depends on the proper functioning of the network. Since the dataspace platform is a machine that needs energy and maintenance, Simulacrons cannot sever all ties with the "real" world. Also, I would assume they would still need nutrients for their young, whose brains/bodies need to be sustained. To conduct the maintenance and energy/nutrients gathering, I imagine they have robots that can be remotely controlled. Alternatively, if remote control is not feasible (e.g. ground combat in other planet), I imagine an individual Simulacron can be downloaded to a robot, thereby making it a Mekklar-type individual robot being. This can be seen as the most brave act since otherwise immortal Simulacron can actually die when the robot is destroyed; or alternatively this can be an ultimate punishment/lowliest profession for prisoner or slave Simulacrons.

- Incentives for galactic empire building: I think this is a race that probably has little incentive to actually go out there, explore and build an empire, maybe only second to energy beings. However, there are some reasons I can think of as to why they would want to do the 4X. First of all, a galactic superpower can easily wipe out their entire civilization if their dataspace platform is located on one planet and falls prey. For the sake of racial continuity, they need to have multiple locations for their dataspace. Also, since individual simulacrons are immortal, their population is growing very fast (inside the network) and ever-expanding and need endless dataspace platforms. Although they may need miniscule amount of land for nutrients, they need large amount of mineral and energy resources to support and expand their population. In addition, the outside world is the "real" world, and they are interested in its wonders as well.

All comments welcome!


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2006 5:42 am 
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Cosmic Dragon
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The idea of a race of Virtual beings is very cool.

@ Brain Space
I think that there brains shouldn't take so much space. After all, it would eventually be possible to store billions of lives on one hard disk or data crystal. We should say that intially they can store all they need and they have the infrastructure. But newer technologies will improve this, ie increasing pop limit.

@ " The Outside World "
Maybe the outside world is also modelled within there virtual world, so that they can actively expand, and protect there infrastructure. They can also put most of their citizens in a perfect paradise away from the real world (high morale), while the outside is dealt with.

I like the breeding idea. It wouldn't be any fun if they could just copy and paste, otherwise there population would max very fast. Though part of population increase is to increase infrastructure (brain storage).


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 Post subject: Re: Simulacrons
PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2006 5:48 am 
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SowerCleaver wrote:
Alternatively, if remote control is not feasible (e.g. ground combat in other planet), I imagine an individual Simulacron can be downloaded to a robot, thereby making it a Mekklar-type individual robot being. This can be seen as the most brave act since otherwise immortal Simulacron can actually die when the robot is destroyed; or alternatively this can be an ultimate punishment/lowliest profession for prisoner or slave Simulacrons.

There's really no reason a digital mind can only exist in one place at a time. Individual who specialize in fighting could download the relavant subsets of their minds into Warships, and Battle-Bots. If the ships and bots are destroyed, resources are lost, but the original mind is not. If ships/bots are victorious and return, their experiences can be uploaded and reintegrated into the original mind, thus possibly enhancing it's skill.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2006 7:22 pm 
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Space Squid

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utilae wrote:
@ Brain Space
I think that there brains shouldn't take so much space. After all, it would eventually be possible to store billions of lives on one hard disk or data crystal. We should say that intially they can store all they need and they have the infrastructure. But newer technologies will improve this, ie increasing pop limit.

I like the breeding idea. It wouldn't be any fun if they could just copy and paste, otherwise there population would max very fast. Though part of population increase is to increase infrastructure (brain storage).


One conceptual difficulty I initially had was that population of this race does not directly correspond to the amount of labor/consumption/research the pop generates. This problem gets worse as individual Simulacron needs less resources/dataspace platform. Let's say one tiny data crystal contains trillions of Simulacrons in happy and functioning state. They would need very little materials or energy and would feel no need to build empire in different planets and exterminate other species - rather, they would probably choose a strategy of peaceful coexistence (since they need very small amount of land/resources) or hiding themselves from other races (since the crystal can be easily camouplaged and sent to numerous worlds). Also, if we assume Galactic Senate votes are given to all "individual minds", Simulacron will dominate the Senate by the numerosity. I tried to solve this problem by requiring a large dataspace platform for each individual Simulacron. That way, they would consume a comparable amount of mineral/energy as other races and would be thrown into the galactic conflict that will unfold in FO. Also, given the complexity of human brain, I'd think it is realistic that a computer-based intelligence would require large platform even taking into account future computer techs.

utilae wrote:
@ " The Outside World "
Maybe the outside world is also modelled within there virtual world, so that they can actively expand, and protect there infrastructure. They can also put most of their citizens in a perfect paradise away from the real world (high morale), while the outside is dealt with.


A good detail, I think. The actual space occupied by the datastpace platforms will be represented as Utopian cities, but outside will resemble the real world. Remotely controled robots working in the planet surface may be controlled virtually by Simulacron inside the network. However, fast-paced actions (ship combat or ground combat) probably cannot be controlled in a virtual environment and will need to be resolved in real world only.

eleazar wrote:
There's really no reason a digital mind can only exist in one place at a time. Individual who specialize in fighting could download the relavant subsets of their minds into Warships, and Battle-Bots. If the ships and bots are destroyed, resources are lost, but the original mind is not. If ships/bots are victorious and return, their experiences can be uploaded and reintegrated into the original mind, thus possibly enhancing it's skill.


A good point. The only minor issues I see is (i) whether the to-be-integrated minds would feel they are being executed/destroyed by the assimilation process and (ii) Simulacrons would need to be careful not to assimilate a mind that had been in a robot that had been captured by other species and tampered to be a spy/savoteur.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2006 7:16 am 
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I'd go even more radical, here are a few ideas.

- Reproduction is fully virtualized and esentialy instantanious, when Hard-drive space and energy permit new "personality matixis" can be compiled using existing individuals as a template. The new matrixis are "matured" aka digitaly aged to make them productive members of society. The net effect is that their population incresses everyturn to what ever the current limiting factor is. Rather then thinking of "population" think of processor cycles, given X cycles a smaller population could experience a longer subjective period of time. But this population has no impact on the game other then boosting research output. Robots determine the amount of traditional style "Labor" is avalible.

- Because of the subjective nature of time this race can break the rules on Research requiring a minimum time, they may proceed at some excelerated rate (probaly incressing as they improve in tech). So for example if a tech should take 5 points for 20 years they could do 10 points for 10 years. Their just cranking up the subjective time rate of the individuals doing that reserch. Note that they never get anything for free they still pay the same total point and the rest of their society must get by on less cycles.

- Because of the Copying/uploading system eleazer proposed units belonging to this race are imediatly updated the latest version of combat experience. Thus all units imediatly get their experience level raised to that of the most experienced unit at the start of each turn. Ofcorse their rate of exp gain would be slow because theirs not much new for an imortal AI to learn.

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 Post subject: Re: Simulacrons
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 5:39 am 
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In 'the real world' the race would look like this
Its effectively a Robot Race, but the 'Minds' are Isolated from the Robots

so "population" is not the population of the Simulacra but that of their robots [you could make the 'robots' biological ie eating food by saying that since the Simulacra have such a good development of the Mind-body connection, they just install control devices inside non-Sentient Animals... so entering a Simulacra city has it run by non sentient animals]

The biggest effect of this race is the almost Total disconnect between Morale and the outside world... Simulacra are not going to feel bad if their 'Robots' are starving to death... or possibly even if a planet gets bombed out (assuming they can 'beam' themselves from one location to another.)


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 Post subject: Re: Simulacrons
PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 9:04 pm 
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Space Squid

Joined: Wed Oct 25, 2006 8:59 pm
Posts: 54
Impaler wrote:
Because of the subjective nature of time this race can break the rules on Research requiring a minimum time, they may proceed at some excelerated rate (probaly incressing as they improve in tech). So for example if a tech should take 5 points for 20 years they could do 10 points for 10 years. Their just cranking up the subjective time rate of the individuals doing that reserch. Note that they never get anything for free they still pay the same total point and the rest of their society must get by on less cycles.


Good idea. Plus, I think they should be penalized for technology fields that are more "tangible" in nature - chemistry maybe? In return, they would excel at computer techs. These advantages and disadvantages can be adjusted to ensure this race is balanced.

Krikkitone wrote:
[you could make the 'robots' biological ie eating food by saying that since the Simulacra have such a good development of the Mind-body connection, they just install control devices inside non-Sentient Animals... so entering a Simulacra city has it run by non sentient animals]


This is a cool solution how to implement Simulacron's leaderhead (for diplomacy screen, etc.). If we just use a robotic head, the fact that real Simulacrons live in the matrix would be lost and it will be seen as a simple robotic race. Instead, we can have a non-sentient-looking alien animal, whose brain is linked to a huge computer by a thick wire. That would give the impression at a glance that the animal is controlled by the computer and the real Simulacrons are actually inside the computer.


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 Post subject: Re: Simulacrons
PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2008 12:05 pm 
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Space Krill
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I think this ought to be a tech..

That is, it would be possible, for almost any race, to discover mind uploading and in time transform themselves into uploaded beings..

However, there would be a penalty, like that three quarters of your race would frown upon the idea, and you would have to start the game again with few planets and ships..and a dire diplomatic situation..

Better name.. Uploads, or Copies(from the Egan books) or perhaps Angels would fit the best. Since a mind upload can choose what personality they want, they can be anyone and no one, they live forever and can live in simulated heaven if they want and so on.

Problem here is, that it's the best possible kind of existence, that offers the most freedom, and the highest possible rate of cognition. If your consciousness is computed, and you get a faster, bigger computer, you can increase your rate of cognition, think faster. Enormously useful in combat and research..

The idea with animals sucks. What's wrong with robotic bodies? Could be of any shape, I would suggest that such a race would have ambassadors to alien species that would look just like the aliens, albeit with a few minor signs pointing out that it's an upload. Or an ambassador in the form of a black box with display and keyboard :)

---drawbacks..
Lack of interest in lebensraum/war? What use is conquering the universe if you can, say, dismantle all the planets in one system, make a huge dyson sphere/computer and simulate trillions of trillions in just one system...?

--pacifist green mentality. They want to tread lightly on the enviroment, so no terraforming, no von neumann machines, no bothering comets or disturbing asteroids and so on. Could only manufacture small ships(no death stars or titans). No wrecking planetary biospheres with bombardement...

--diplomatic repulsivness. Since they are perfect and free, warlike races that oppress their own would fear/hate them...

--could be that certain psychopathic individuals could concievably research dangerous AIs, containment of which would tie up research points/ effort /diminish morale occassionally. Let's say a rule that if they start a war, 50% chance some evil nut somewhere looses a pet AI that would copy itself and start wreaking havoc in their living space(networks).

--good idea with the size used for balancing. But even, if say, you needed thousand tons of computers to house one mind... an earth sized planet (5.9736×10^24 kg) after re-structuring could make a supercomputer capable of housing 10^18 individuals. A billion billions of people. I think that with the best tech possible, a human mind might be simulated at reasonable rate in a computer that would be the size of a walnut or so.. there is no reason to think our organic brains are the best kind of mind substrate possible..


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 Post subject: Simulacron Tech
PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:08 pm 
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Dyson Forest
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utilae wrote:
@ " The Outside World "
Maybe the outside world is also modelled within there virtual world, so that they can actively expand, and protect there infrastructure. They can also put most of their citizens in a perfect paradise away from the real world (high morale), while the outside is dealt with.


Impaler wrote:
I'd go even more radical, here are a few ideas.

- Reproduction is fully virtualized and esentialy instantanious, when Hard-drive space and energy permit new "personality matixis" can be compiled using existing individuals as a template. The new matrixis are "matured" aka digitaly aged to make them productive members of society. The net effect is that their population incresses everyturn to what ever the current limiting factor is. Rather then thinking of "population" think of processor cycles, given X cycles a smaller population could experience a longer subjective period of time. But this population has no impact on the game other then boosting research output. Robots determine the amount of traditional style "Labor" is avalible.

- Because of the subjective nature of time this race can break the rules on Research requiring a minimum time, they may proceed at some excelerated rate (probaly incressing as they improve in tech). So for example if a tech should take 5 points for 20 years they could do 10 points for 10 years. Their just cranking up the subjective time rate of the individuals doing that reserch. Note that they never get anything for free they still pay the same total point and the rest of their society must get by on less cycles.


Haussmann wrote:
I think this ought to be a tech..

That is, it would be possible, for almost any race, to discover mind uploading and in time transform themselves into uploaded beings..

Haussmann wrote:
---drawbacks..
Lack of interest in lebensraum/war? What use is conquering the universe if you can, say, dismantle all the planets in one system, make a huge dyson sphere/computer and simulate trillions of trillions in just one system...?


I actually like these ideas, I think the first is a good starting point and the second is a good guideline for the potential disadvantage.

Essentially you would get a Simulacron technology, that after researching, would allow you to build a "Simulacron uploader" on an already populated planet, converting the population to Simulacrons. However you could not use an Exobot colony, or a colony on a planet with the gaia special, and once converted to Simulacrons, they would no longer build ships or colonize new planets. They would however get a major boost to a number of things, such as research and industry, probably supply, and maybe detection.

The general profile I'm thinking so-far is:

Technology: Simulacrons
  • Section: probably growth, maybe knowledge
  • Prerequisites: defiantly cybernetics, at least one other technology, probably more
  • Late game
  • Unlocks: Simulacron uploader building
  • Would replace "pure-energy metabolism".

Building Simulacron uploader
  • Cost: high
  • Time: also high, should b similar to terraforming or gaia
  • Effect
  • Cannot be built by exobots, or if we get them exoliths or xobiots
  • Cannot be built on a planet with the gaia special
  • Probably cannot be built on a plant that has collective thought network

Species: Simulacron
  • Metabolism: self-sustaining (no more effects form "specials")
  • Preferred environment: probably all "adequate".
  • Probalbly telepathic, depending on how people feel about them using psi-dom
  • Cannot build ships or colonize planets
  • Cannot build the gaia special (hence all plants are merely "adequate")
  • Ultimate research and production
  • Great, maybe ultimate supply
  • Good, maybe great detection
  • All other traits would be "bad", just to ensure that they're an investment to protect.

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