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Geoff the Medio
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#61 Post by Geoff the Medio » Thu Dec 16, 2004 5:27 am

utilae wrote:The theory to my understanding would relate to matter created near instantly and without all required resources. Basically you want some oil, flick your fingers and walla, instant oil.
I think it's better left implied that the matter is being created at a usable rate. We haven't specified that it's "Custom-Designed, Stable, Affordable, Environmentally Friendly Instant Matter Creation", have we? Unless there's a preceeding theory for "Slow Matter Creation" from which we need to distinguish the new theory, I'd generally prefer more general theory names. Most of the details of usability are, to me, really more appropriate for applications and refinements.

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#62 Post by drek » Thu Dec 16, 2004 5:34 am

Does it *really* matter than much that Matter Creation happens Instantly?
laff. good point. I was basically thinking about Star Trekkish replicators and transporters. Basically, it's a general knowledge tech meant to be useful to other trees....once you have it you can teleport and make stuff out of thin air.
"Quantum Mechanics" and the GUC are a bit too already done on Earth now to be included in a future sci-fi setting. We could have "Quantum Gravity", "Theory of Everything" or somesuch, or perhaps something vaguer like "Fundamental Reality" or "Nature of Existence" a bit later in the tree.
Agreed. It was orginally self organizing databases, then something else, then this. Grand Unified Theory was orginally "Theory of everything", changed it to avoid copying Smac.

(I'm perhaps not the best person to be inventing FO's technobabble fluff....)
"Physics of the Mind and Soul" sounds a bit silly / hokey to me.
I'm thinking of something like "Godel, Escher, Bach"....an understanding of the way sentience works. I wanted an AI Theory (rather than an app) because it seemed more useful for other trees.
"Artificial Sentience" is borderline theory / application. Perhaps we could have something a bit broader like "Essence of Consciousness" or "Root of Sentience" or perhaps something that implies that a "mind" cannot exist without a "soul" (of ambiguous definition) like "Soul of Sentience". "Artificial Sentience" would be an application or sub-theory from one of these... and if an application, would unlock a building called "The Machine-Mind Nexus" or somesuch...
see above.

I'd be happy to endose a different tree, and it sounds like you might have some good ideas. Feel free to whip up a tree.

Point isn't to force my tree (which I made in about ten minutes), but to say it would be nice to have a skeleton for a tree, starting with Learning.

Basically the process would be:

1: Build a quick, decent (not perfect) skeleton, ultimately approved by the content thread lead
2: You or I write up the XML for the skeleton
3: Everyone fleshes out the skeleton with XML defs for apps, buildings, etc. Everyone who wants one could "own" their own pet theory, and flesh it out completely as I did over with my first example theory in construction category.

Because as it stands we are shooting in the dark when deciding where to place a technology....
Last edited by drek on Thu Dec 16, 2004 5:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#63 Post by Geoff the Medio » Thu Dec 16, 2004 5:48 am

drek wrote:I'm thinking of something like "Godel, Escher, Bach"....an understanding of the way sentience works.
That sounds more like mind / brain - what makes them good analysis, rather than the deeper root of sentience issue. There's lots of opportunity to right emotive fluff about how analysis of the brain allowed us to make incredibly powerful biocomputers and enhance our own abilities, but we were never able to create true artificial sentience until we realized that just intelligence was not the true source thereof.

Both of those are good candidate theories, but the first tier one should probably be about "Biomechanics of Thought" or the Brain (SMAC: "Secrets of the Human Brain"), and the subsequent theory about the "Root of Sentience".

Edit: perhaps to be whittled down for Root of Sentience fluff, we might want to add something about sentience arising only under certain conditions. Perhaps the essence of sentience requires some sort of sensation, which can be external or internal (ie. your own thoughts)... meaning a sentient being need not have any external stimuli... however perhaps this does not necessarily mean that a sentient being can be created without external stimuli... but can only continue to exist without further external stimuli after sufficient external inputs to reach the sentience threshold... (and the appropriate stable internal thought processes...)
I wanted an AI Theory (rather than an app) because it seemed more useful for other trees.
Good point... though if we do the above sentence / intelligence split, are you wanting an Artificial Sentience, or Artificial Intelligence theory?
Point isn't to force my tree (which I made in about ten minutes), but to say it would be nice to have a skeleton for a tree, starting with Learning.
I think I'll take back my complaint about the structure of the tree... yours is fine (and mine sucks, though I wasn't by any means suggesting mine by used).

Beyond that, it's just naming issues and nitpicking stuff like the above.

What you have now can be a basis for what we end up with.
Grand Unified Theory was orginally "Theory of everything", changed it to avoid copying Smac.
TOE is not SMAC-specific...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_everything

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#64 Post by Geoff the Medio » Thu Dec 16, 2004 2:09 pm

drek wrote:1: Build a quick, decent (not perfect) skeleton, ultimately approved by the content thread lead
M'kay, here's a list-o-theories, with which to form the main trunk of the Learning category, but not yet tree-ified.

-Galactic Exploration (Heroics, Archaeology, Starlane Travel)
-Structure of the Brain (Source of Intelligence & Artistry)
-Self-Modifying Algorithms (Computers, Info Processing, various applications, but all pre-sentient...)
-Theory of Everything
-Artificial Minds (More general than just "AI", Autonomous machines (inc. nanites), Would have had a separate "Essence of Sentience" theory, but can't think of any applications other than artificial minds anyway...)
-Translinguistic Thought (Lots of juicy Learning / Research applications?, Translation)
-Psionics (short range Telepathy, Empathy, Psychokinesis, Clairvoyance)
-Gravitonics (Controlled gravity... lots of applications)
-Nature of Existence (religion, creation / first cause, philosophy)
-Force-Field Harmonics (Energy fields for military and civilian use)
-Advanced Psionics (Energy Augmented, Planet-Galactic ranges, Psionic Machines, Precognition, Psychoenergetics (eg. Force Lightning))
-Unified Consciousness
-Temporal Mechanics ( ? )
-Matter-Energy Conversion (replicators, transporters)
-N-Dimentional Topology (phase shifting, n-space compression)
-Singularity of Transcendence (endgame?)

There's nothing much about biology or genetics or such in the above suggestions. I figure these are best suited for the growth cateogory, and any profound new advances in those fields would be dependent on something more fundamental

To me, the real challenges of the learning category are:
a) Ensuring that the "root theory" techs are really root theories, and not too specific that they'd be better as applications, and not to topical so that they'd be better suited to another category. What are the real profound new ideas that advance knowledge in many other areas?
b) Ensuring there is a good balance of "root theory" techs, and actual "learning" or research oriented techs.

Edit: The tree. Not as nice graph topology as drek's, but perhaps a few additions would help with that? Some of them could use tweaking for fluff reasons too, probably...
Image

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#65 Post by drek » Thu Dec 16, 2004 2:52 pm

Excellent; or at least I like it better than my own effort.

The ideas are solid, thought I might tinker with some of the names:

* Self-Modifying Algorithms could be Proto-Sentient Algorithms or something. I dunno what to call it, but as you probably already know we've got self-modifying algorithms, and have since before computers were invented. I get what you are trying to say though.

* Struture of the Brain I liked some of your other suggestions in the earlier post for this concept.

* Advanced Psionics I'm not sure what to call it yet, but would like to avoid the whole "advanced" this and that trope.

* To distinguish nature of existence from theory of everything, we might rename one or the other. Like "Provable Philosophy of Existence"...erm, that sucks, will try to think of something else.

This would be a good opportunity for those of you who are good at making up sci-fi fluff to chime in.

But the basic structure and ideas behind the tree are fine with me. I say we use it (reserving the right to change the names) and move on.

Thoughts, Bastain?

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#66 Post by Geoff the Medio » Thu Dec 16, 2004 3:31 pm

drek wrote:* Self-Modifying Algorithms could be Proto-Sentient Algorithms or something.
SMAC has "Pre-Sentient Algorithms", which as far as I know isn't a common term like the ToE
I dunno what to call it, but as you probably already know we've got self-modifying algorithms, and have since before computers were invented. I get what you are trying to say though.
Really I just wanted some sort of computers tech... but stuff like "Optical Computers" or "Quantum Computers" seemed too simple... But yeah... "Self-Modifying Algorithms" is lacklusture at best.
Struture of the Brain I liked some of your other suggestions in the earlier post for this concept.
"Biomechanics of Thought"? (were there others?)
Advanced Psionics I'm not sure what to call it yet, but would like to avoid the whole "advanced" this and that trope.
Agreed... though what to call it?

Perhaps we could just make the psionics tree really big and long and get rid of Advanced Psionics as separate theory?
To distinguish nature of existence from theory of everything, we might rename one or the other. Like "Provable Philosophy of Existence"...erm, that sucks, will try to think of something else.
There really shouldn't be much confusion between ToE and anything else... ToE is specific established jargon...

We can change Nature of Existence though...

SMAC has "Secrets of Creation" I think...

uhm... "Meaning of Life" ?
But the basic structure and ideas behind the tree are fine with me. I say we use it (reserving the right to change the names) and move on.
I tweaked the connections a bit as well, but not drastically.

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#67 Post by drek » Thu Dec 16, 2004 3:50 pm

some more thoughts:

Fluff wise, it might make more sense for Galactic Exploration to connect to Translinguistic Thought (instead of Theory of Everything). Explorers meeting new cultures, etc. etc. Plus, I'm assuming Theory of Everything will have more stuff connecting to it on other trees (compared to galactic exploration).

We might keep "Advanced Psionics" as is, and rename Psionics. To what I'm not sure--something that means "kinda psychic". Not sure why Advanced Psionics needs to connect to m-e conversion--when I think of psionics, I don't imagine that kind of concept. The connection could be eliminated, or replaced perhaps with a connection to Artificial Minds (you need the extra Star Trekish computation to store data used by replicators/transporters, etc.)

EDIT: Could remove psionics altogether, and just call translinguist thought our "kinda psychic" category. Maybe replace psionics with a category that basically means "Advanced Research Techniques". pondering...

Thinking now that Struture of the Brain is fine. Better than the alternatives, anyway.

Secrets of Creation sounds great. Maybe we should just copy Smac, at least for this one tech. :P

The RP cost for tiers 3 and up should be astronomical, to dissude players from pure research without forming an empire (they'll need to learn the non-learning techs in order to surive long enough to get to transcendance, if going for a research victory.) Alternately, transcendance can have some prerequists from the top branches of other trees.

hrm, I think, sometime "soon" I'm going to try my hand at making a revised version of your tree--same stuff, just slightly different names and a couple of changed connections.

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#68 Post by Geoff the Medio » Thu Dec 16, 2004 4:13 pm

drek wrote:...it might make more sense for Galactic Exploration to connect to Translinguistic Thought (instead of Theory of Everything). Explorers meeting new cultures, etc. etc. Plus, I'm assuming Theory of Everything will have more stuff connecting to it on other trees (compared to galactic exploration).
No objection.
We might keep "Advanced Psionics" as is, and rename Psionics. To what I'm not sure--something that means "kinda psychic". Not sure why Advanced Psionics needs to connect to m-e conversion--when I think of psionics, I don't imagine that kind of concept.
The idea was that Advanced Psionics got into manipulating energy with the mind, and true characterization of the mechanism by which psionics operates, allowing augmentation of psionic abilities with artificial power sources, and Force-Lightning style Psychoenergetics, and then that M-E Conversion extends these new concepts to alter and create or destroy matter itself. If we just have one Psionics category, I'd go with "Psionics" as the name.
The connection could be eliminated, or replaced perhaps with a connection to Artificial Minds (you need the extra Star Trekish computation to store data used by replicators/transporters, etc.)
That's reasonable. Eg. the amount of data to be processed is so great that only artificial minds can do so quickly enough.
EDIT: Could remove psionics altogether, and just call translinguist thought our "kinda psychic" category.
I rather dislike that suggestion...
Maybe replace psionics with a category that basically means "Advanced Research Techniques". pondering...
That would be a theoryless grouping of applications, wouldn't it?
Secrets of Creation sounds great. Maybe we should just copy Smac, at least for this one tech. :P
How about "Psychology of the Creator" or "Identity of the First Cause" or tie it to "Artificial Minds" and call it "The Conscious Universe" or "Mind of the Void"? (and tie that into "Unified Consciousness" (eg. merging minds with the living mind of the universe / creator)

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#69 Post by drek » Thu Dec 16, 2004 4:22 pm

How about "Psychology of the Creator" or "Identity of the First Cause" or tie it to "Artificial Minds" and call it "The Conscious Universe" or "Mind of the Void"? (and tie that into "Unified Consciousness" (eg. merging minds with the living mind of the universe / creator)
I like your last two suggestions.

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#70 Post by Geoff the Medio » Thu Dec 16, 2004 4:24 pm

Image

Could use some rearrangement, obviously...

Perhaps we should move ToE to 2nd tier, with prerequisites of FANTABULOUS Algorithms and Translinguistic Thought... then move Temporal Mechanics into place of ? with ?'s current prerequisites

Perhaps a link between Psionics (Clairvoyance, Precognition) and Temporal Mechanics, and remove the Gravitonics prerequisite for Temp. Mech. in place of ?

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#71 Post by drek » Thu Dec 16, 2004 5:17 pm

*head explodes*

hrm, it's something to sleep on, await inspiration, etc.

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#72 Post by Prokonsul Piotrus » Thu Dec 16, 2004 9:26 pm

Good idea with creating a theory progress tree. And good that we use SMAC as our reference. Please note that majority of SMAC concepts are not SMAC-unique (they took it from science and sf) and we can use them as well.

There are quite a few concepts that seem very loosely defined to me.
Fantaboulous algorithms? I would rather call it Advanced Math :>
Translinguisitc thought - errrr...I think of xeno-language translation here. I suggest changing the title.
Force-Field Harmonics - scratch harmonics, force fields are important on their own. Btw, shouldn't force field be discovered earler in the game
Mind of the Void - eeee?
N-Dimentional Topology - Advanced Math part 2 :>
Unified Conciousness - again, what would that mean?

I know most of those have definitions, my point is they are meaningless (or confusing) at the first look, something SMAC generally avoided. I'd suggst we use SMAC as a basis for our discussion, see what we want to add/move/remove (with empahsis on add, and removing Planet and colony development specific techs needed by SMAC storyline), change some tech names and obviously all flavour text and we would end with uniqe tech tree without the need of discovering the wheel again (or in our case, the best logical path towards singularity I have seen in any game).
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#73 Post by utilae » Thu Dec 16, 2004 9:42 pm

Geof your tech tree is good overall.

Comments:
1st Tier
Theory of Everything (Nature of Existence religion, creation / first cause, philosophy)
Lots of why do we exist techs under this I assume.
Galactic Exploration (Heroics, Archaeology, Starlane Travel)
Good
Structure Of The Brain (Source of Intelligence & Artistry)
I don't really like the name. What about: "Minds Potential", so under this theory you research heaps of things to improve the mind to its greatest potential, beyond 10%.
Fantabulous algorithms (Computers, Info Processing,all pre-sentient...)
Needs a better name. I agree the these computers are not sentient, even nanites at this stage do not have to be sentient.
Need some inspiration for the future of computers(Molecular Switches
,Quantum Computers,Nano Computers,Optical Computers):
http://web.ukonline.co.uk/p.boughton/hardware.htm
http://web.ukonline.co.uk/p.boughton/software.htm
http://web.ukonline.co.uk/p.boughton/internet.htm
2nd Tier
Gravitonics(Controlled gravity... lots of applications)
I think this should be something along the lines of manipulating all cosmic phenomenon, eg comets, gravity, planets, sun, asteroids, solar winds. Needs a new name as a result: "Cosmic Manipulation".
Translinguistic Thought(Lots of juicy Learning / Research applications?, Translation)
This is some kind of language independant communication, where communication barriers such as different languages are removed: correct?
Psionics(short range Telepathy, Empathy, Psychokinesis, Clairvoyance)
Good
Artificial Minds(More general than just "AI", Autonomous machines (inc. nanites), Would have had a separate "Essence of Sentience" theory, but can't think of any applications other than artificial minds anyway...)
I think just Artificial minds is enough. Though artifical intelligence is sentience. Though is an organic being, who is sentient and was created artificially as artificial as a machine that is sentient?
3rd Tier
Forcefield Harmonics(Energy fields for military and civilian use)
Doesn't really seem to fit into learning unless it is a change in the way of thinking. Could be wrapped into "Cosmic Manipulation" (your gravitonics).
?
Need a new theory:
Physics Independance (breaking the laws of physics and the universe)
Mind Of The Void
What the, is that meant to be.
4th Tier
Temporal Mechanics
I like it alot.
N-Dimensional Topology(phase shifting, n-space compression)
Good.
edit:@Prokonsul Piotrus - think of this as relating to dimension manipulation, ie dimensional travel, dimensional construction, dimensional thought.
Matter Energy Conversion(replicators, transporters)
Probably needs a better name. Ideas: "Matter Reorganisation"
Unified Conciousness
edit:@Prokonsul Piotrus - this is not a useless tech. It represents combining minds, etc.
Good.
5th Tier
Singularity of Transcendence(endgame?)
Good.

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#74 Post by Geoff the Medio » Fri Dec 17, 2004 2:55 am

Prokonsul Piotrus wrote:Fantaboulous algorithms? I would rather call it Advanced Math :>
Obviously "FANTABULOUS" is a placeholder until we get a batter name. We need something computers / data related... We could subsume this into a math-named category, though we need a better name than "Advanced Math"
Translinguisitc thought - errrr...I think of xeno-language translation here. I suggest changing the title.
Read the description earlier in the thread. This is not just (or even mostly) about translation.
Force-Field Harmonics - scratch harmonics, force fields are important on their own.
Force Fields are an application of the theory of Force-Field Harmonics. The theory is not just about force fields... it's about the underlying principles that allow them to be made / controlled.
Btw, shouldn't force field be discovered earler in the game
Probably...
Mind of the Void - eeee?
Theory about the consciousness of the universe itself, what if any gods or higher beings exist, what they are like...
N-Dimentional Topology - Advanced Math part 2 :>
We need to avoid generic names like "Advanced", "part 2" or espeically "Advanced ... part 2". If you can think of a batter general physical-theory sounding name, then suggest it, but this is not just about more math. It's about the extra dimensions of spacetime and their properties.
Unified Conciousness - again, what would that mean?
The theories surrounding joining billions of living minds together with artificial machine-minds, through psionics with the consciousness of the universe itself / gods.
I know most of those have definitions, my point is they are meaningless (or confusing) at the first look, something SMAC generally avoided.
Uhm... let's see, from SMAC:
Bioadaptive Resonance
Centauri Meditation
Cyberethics
Ethical Calculus
Eudaimonia
Field Modulation
Homo Superior
Intellectual Integrity
N-Space Compression
Photon/Wave Mechanics
String Resonance
The Will to Power
Unified Field Theory

These aren't so obvious to me...
I'd suggst we use SMAC as a basis for our discussion, see what we want to add/move/remove (with empahsis on add, and removing Planet and colony development specific techs needed by SMAC storyline), change some tech names and obviously all flavour text and we would end with uniqe tech tree without the need of discovering the wheel again (or in our case, the best logical path towards singularity I have seen in any game).
SMAC has a different tree structure. We have a strong distinction between theories and applications... SMAC mixes them together, effectively treating one tech as the combination of a theory and its applications. That means that our theories are going to have be be more "theoretical" sounding than most of SMAC's techs. We also want to have a basic tree theory trunk, off of which various applications and sub-theories are hung, which are entirely optional. Most of SMAC's tree is required for latter techs. You can pick which to get first, but you need it all eventually to move on.
utilae wrote:
Structure Of The Brain (Source of Intelligence & Artistry)
I don't really like the name. What about: "Minds Potential", so under this theory you research heaps of things to improve the mind to its greatest potential, beyond 10%.
Regarding "Mind", I'm trying to focus this theory on the physical aspects of a brain that can be adjusted for various benefits, so used the word "Brain". Regarding "Potential", I'm again focusing on augmenting the physical structure of the brain. The "Potential" of the "Mind" is basically "Translinguistic Thought", but less specific. I want the theories to actually be "theories", not just general categories of techs without a central theory at the core. A more theory-sounding name might be something like "The Limitless Mind" or somesuch...
Fantabulous algorithms (Computers, Info Processing,all pre-sentient...)
Needs a better name.
See above.
Need some inspiration for the future of computers(Molecular Switches
,Quantum Computers,Nano Computers,Optical Computers):
So... "Nano-Optical Quantum Computing", then? I'm very conflicted about this whole computers / information / algorithms theory... nothing I can come up with seems... futurey enough. Will have to settle for something though, I guess...
2nd Tier
Gravitonics(Controlled gravity... lots of applications)
I think this should be something along the lines of manipulating all cosmic phenomenon, eg comets, gravity, planets, sun, asteroids, solar winds. Needs a new name as a result: "Cosmic Manipulation".
"Cosmic Manipulation" is more of an application. The theory that would allow that applicatin would be Gravitonics (or something similar).
Translinguistic Thought(Lots of juicy Learning / Research applications?, Translation)
This is some kind of language independant communication, where communication barriers such as different languages are removed: correct?
Sort of. It not so much about communication as it is "pure thought" of a sort beyond the limits of language (of words, math, geometry, sound etc.) Initially this makes communication harder, as you have no way to express your translinguistic thoughts in the language that others can understand. See the tech description earlier in the thread or on the examples page of the wiki.
Artificial Minds(More general than just "AI", Autonomous machines (inc. nanites), Would have had a separate "Essence of Sentience" theory, but can't think of any applications other than artificial minds anyway...)
I think just Artificial minds is enough. Though artifical intelligence is sentience.
Not necessarily. I make a strong distinction between sentience (self-awareness, consciousness) and intelligence (data processing ability, reasoning, logic, possibly even artistic ability).
3rd Tier
Forcefield Harmonics(Energy fields for military and civilian use)
Doesn't really seem to fit into learning unless it is a change in the way of thinking. Could be wrapped into "Cosmic Manipulation" (your gravitonics).
Forcefield Harmonics is a "Big Theory" tech... half the Learning stuff is "Big Theories" that unlock stuff in various other categories, and half is actual stuff to actually improve research. This could arguably be moved to another category, but this seems like a pretty important discovering for a scifi game, so worthy of being a potential "Big Theory". Feel free to suggest others though...
Need a new theory:
Physics Independance (breaking the laws of physics and the universe)
Maybe this could be tied into the mind... implying that physical laws are bent or broken by the powers of a conscious mind.
Matter Energy Conversion(replicators, transporters)
Probably needs a better name. Ideas: "Matter Reorganisation"
Transmutation is an application of Matter-Energy conversion... Merely reorganizaing matter is somewhat more limited that actually creating it out of pure energy or vice versa. Arguably "Matter-Energy Conversion" could itself be called a sort of application by my logic, but I can't think of a better way to phrase it as a theory that's not too long (as opposed to "Force-Field Harmonics")

It occurs to me that we might want some lower-tier "Big Theories"... stuff to unlock lower tier stuff in other categories. Perhaps some new theory that allows practical use of Nanotechnology... (though we can't just call this "Nanotechnology" as that's really the application of the theory we're trying to name...). Other suggestions? (Note that "Nanotech Farming" would still be a theory in Growth, for example, requiring the root Nanotech theory from Learning... this isn't a contradiction in my magical wonderword of logic)
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#75 Post by Bastian-Bux » Fri Dec 17, 2004 8:46 pm

drek wrote:
Thoughts, Bastain?
and I answer with your own words:

drek wrote:
*head explodes*

hrm, it's something to sleep on, await inspiration, etc.
Wenn du die Macht hättest die Geschichte zu ändern, wo würdest du anfangen. Und viel wichtiger, wo aufhören?

If you had the power to change history, where would you start? And more importantly, where would you stop?

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