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Re: lame generic humanoid vs variations of deformed blobthing

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 8:29 pm
by m_k
shrinkshooter wrote: To m_k: I apologize for sounding elitist or something, but that way of thinking about evolution is misinformed. We were not evolved to use tools. Somewhere along the line our brains got "tweaked," and we became capable of abstract thought. Tools soon followed. However, you are on the right track; we have evolved in the presence of tools for many, many years, so the two are connected. I just wanted to clarify that technicality.
I know we didn't evolve mainly to use tools and I am aware of the theory that our brain size is the effect of a genetic defect in the jaw muscles, so it many things happened by pure chance.
Nevertheless, we aren't the only ones using tools. Even some birds are known to use tools, the greatest example are ravens. But no species on earth is that profficient in this than the human. In fact there are 2.5 million year old findings of good old sharpened stones, a time when we and the chimpanzees hadn't split. Personally I don't believe we were able of great abstract thinking back then. Consider some of the physiological differences between us and other species, like our hands which are certainly more useful in manipulating objects than a beak. I kinda like my opposable thumbs. :wink: Consider the fact that we are the ones walking upright, there is certainly some correlation here. Locomotion is much harder this way, but the benefit lies in having your hands free to carry tools around an being able to use them all the time. Even the ability of abstract thinking has to do with tools. The only reason to spend more energy on your brain is to use it for survival, like putting a sharpened stone on a stick and use this spear for hunting. And so the list goes on.
I'm not saying we are the only ones being able to use tools, I'm just saying out of all the species on this planet were are the ones suited best for them and this is largely due to evolution, so this is why I believe it safe to say that one of the main directions we have evolved in is to use tools.
Of course there are other forms, but appart from some extra limbs or the deus-ex-machina of telekinetic powers the humanoid form is one of the most obvious solutions, at least for all climatic zones available on our planet that humans live in, in game terms meaning for example desert, terran, tundra and swamp.
As I said, I don't want only humanoids, but I want every race to fit to it's enviroment, maybe I should post some own non humanoid races to exemplify what I mean.

Re: lame generic humanoid vs variations of deformed blobthing

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 10:29 pm
by Tortanick
pd wrote:Your list includes 2 types of worms. It includes amoebas and egg like creatures with a giant mouth an crab legs. That's really ...creative - to the point that it's absurd and just funny. The only purpose seems to be being different at all costs. It won't be easy to find someone interested in visualizing aliens like these, btw.
The Chato'matou'Gormoshk are the epitome of everything you just said: Crystaline combined with a animal / insect hybrid based on order 5 rotational symmetry. Didn't stop Shrinkshooter from making a gorgeous visualisation that meets the description (Kharagh himself said so).
pd wrote:
By adapted from animals, do you include stuff like the Gyisache that are adapted from multiple different animals to the point that its unrecognisable as any of its components?
All those elements are still quite recognizable, as I've proven previously. I wouldn't expect anything else either, because humans are unable to truly create. All we can do is combine different things into something new.
That's what I was saying: the parts are recognisable, but when combined they form a whole that isn't recognisable until you strip it back down to the parts.
pd wrote:While an environment can be tweaked to fit a certain race better, the design process should still be done the other way round. A species evolves from its environment as we all know since Darwin. A design evolves from circumstances.
Races are a lot more important than environment, both to the gameplay and to the story therefore it makes sense to base the design around the species, then retroactively create an environment that fits.

Besides without a doctorate in biology and a cluster of supercomputers we're not going to get much further in working out the correct evolution for any environment than "it feels right". On the other hand you could argue that with such a huge verity of species in any given Earth environment most designs will hit by virtue of having such a large target.
m_k wrote: I'm not saying we are the only ones being able to use tools, I'm just saying out of all the species on this planet were are the ones suited best for them and this is largely due to evolution, so this is why I believe it safe to say that one of the main directions we have evolved in is to use tools.
That's a pretty good point, it seems fair to say that once the Darwin Dice turned apes with primitive tools into apes with the ability for abstract thought and complicated tools those apes started optimising their form around tools, and ended up Humans. However I don't think we can make the leap from that to assuming Humans are automatically the best forms for tools; just the best form apes could easily evolve into, maybe even just a "good enough" form that got randomly picked from among other good enough forms.

If the Darwin Dice gave ravens, or octopus the ability for abstract thought and complex tools who knows what they'd turn into? Like apes they'd probably optimise for using tools but I doubt they'd end up humanoid. And since its quite probable that it really was a fluke that those apes ended up with the big brains another Terrain environments has a high odds of ending up with a different species getting the complex tool gene.
m_k wrote:the humanoid form is one of the most obvious solutions, at least for all climatic zones available on our planet that humans live in, in game terms meaning for example desert, terran, tundra and swamp..
Actually I'd challenge that, the humanoid form + tools can live in nearly every environment, but could we really survive in all of them without tools? Eskimos without igloos or fur clothing? Desert nomads without the ability to transport water? Dead within a day. It would be more accurate to look at where apes/monkeys can survive, if they can't we certainly can't because we've given up on animal advantages like physical strength to focus on tools.

If apes can't survive in a tundra, swamp or desert then whatever animal did learn to use complicated tools wouldn't start their optimisation-for-tools as a humanoid, and thus probably wouldn't end up as one.

Re: lame generic humanoid vs variations of deformed blobthing

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 10:39 pm
by pd
Didn't stop Shrinkshooter from making a gorgeous visualisation
No offense(to shrinky), but you might have noticed that I wasn't too happy with the outcome, no matter what Karagh thinks. People seem to be easily pleased around here... well, I am not.

I won't further discuss all those issues, as I think I've explained this in depth already, in multiply threads. I'm basing my arguments on my experience as an artist and a designer and I feel like we are talking at cross-purposes most of the time.

Re: lame generic humanoid vs variations of deformed blobthing

Posted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:10 am
by shrinkshooter
Well, Tortanick pretty much said everything I could have wanted to. There really isn't anything I disagree with in his post, and from my perspective both he and m_k do have their facts straight when it comes to evolution, which makes me happy. Evolution is probably my most favorite part of biology and I don't like it when people misunderstand its mechanisms. Not like they do it intentionally or anything.
Tortanick wrote:Besides without a doctorate in biology and a cluster of supercomputers we're not going to get much further in working out the correct evolution for any environment than "it feels right".
You have no idea how correct that statement is. Although you forgot to mention perhaps a board of biology Ph.D.s would work better.
pd wrote:No offense(to shrinky), but you might have noticed that I wasn't too happy with the outcome, no matter what Karagh thinks. People seem to be easily pleased around here... well, I am not.
No, you're not, you're right about that. And it sure wasn't any Mona Lisa, but I won't take any offense. The reason I won't is because (although a rather unpolished drawing) it was almost an exact fit with the description, which means I think you had less of a problem with my drawing and probably more of one with the description itself. Of course I could have drawn it from different angles, shaded it, tried to make it look totally awesome, tweaked some features and body part sizes, etc etc. But it was just a drawing cuz I got bored in class, so whatever.

Am I inexperienced compared to you? i sure am. Could my work be better? Yes, of course, that goes for everyone. Is art objective? Not in the least, so just because you may not be pleased with something does not mean that many others won't be. Obviously that goes vice versa, and as I said before you're the lead, which pretty much means what you say goes. I just hope that if something down the road, made by anyone, is a great idea even though you don't think so, you'll consider committing it. Even though this isn't a democracy.

My rant for the evening.