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Where are the Hard Science 4X games?

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by Not_Sure, Apr 5, 2017.

  1. Not_Sure

    Not_Sure

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    Woah, easy. District 9, Akira, and the original Ghost in the Shell.
     
  2. Not_Sure

    Not_Sure

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    Ain't that the truth.

    Everyone LOVED Armageddon, but I'm sitting there cringing with the country-boy oil drillers are talking to NASA scientists and showing them thar "Mr. Scientists!" how to their country-folksy-wisdom one ups them and all their Ivory Tower Liberal book learning. (Hawk-petewy!) (Ting!)
     
  3. Kiwasi

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    Seemed accurate enough to me. Only the US would think it necessary to mount a machine gun on a rover intending to land on an asteroid. The fuel alone to get a single gun into space would run to half a million dollars. And that's without bringing any ammo.

    I mean, who where they going to shoot? Really?
     
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  4. Billy4184

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    Well, I said there hasn't been a 'great' movie on the topic since then, imo. Good yes, but not great.

    What made Bade Runner go beyond any other movie from my perspective, is that it took up what I think is at the very core of the humans vs machines theme, which is the fear that machines might experience life to a greater extent than we can as human beings. That the act of seeing something extraordinary might stir greater emotions, and even provide what might be called a deeper spiritual experience for them, than is possible for a human being. This is by far the greatest fear, I think, that humans have of machines - far greater than any fear of physical superiority or anything like that.

    That's why I feel like many of the movies that deal with more superficial themes are just skirting the real problem and making comfortable assumptions about humanity's relative strengths for theatrical purposes. No doubt it's generally easier for audiences to enjoy, but for me it's not incredibly interesting.
     
  5. Not_Sure

    Not_Sure

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    Isn't there a kiwi on the emblem for your country's Air Force?

    You know, a FLIGHTLESS bird? :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
  6. Not_Sure

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    Oh, man! How does Ghost in the Shell not fit that bill?

    Rather than a story of robots superseding humans it focuses on the blurring of the lines that distinguish them. Kusonagi under goes an existential crisis throughout the film and questions her own existence.

    All the while the movie tells this story by systematically de-sexualizing her.

    She starts off naked in the creation scene. Then later we see another woman with the same body as her. Then her body is torn apart on the tank. And finally she's a child.

    Every step is intended to make her less of a sexual thing and the point is that by the end of the film she's the next step in human evolution. Rather than living through procreation, she's started a unification.

    Man, that's Blade Runner and 2001 rolled into one.

    Ghost in the Shell is by far one of the greatest movies of all time if you read into it.

    Oh, and screw everyone involved in that brain dead Scarlet Johanson gratuitous ass posing vehicle.
     
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  7. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

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    Have you seen our airforce? It's entirely appropriate.
     
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  8. Not_Sure

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    Okay, fair enough.

    But I'll have you know that not all Americans are gun nuts.

    For example I have two pickup trucks and only ONE has a 50 cal mounted on it.

    I keep the other one for displaying my rebel flag, Don't tread on me flag, a picture of Calvin peeing on Hilary, and Trump bumper stickers all over it.

    [/sarcasm]
     
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  9. Billy4184

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    Haven't seen it. I saw the trailer for the remake and it didn't seem all that great, but I'll check out the original.
     
  10. frosted

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    An old friend said something years ago that really stuck with me. He said "Good sci fi isn't about technology, it's about asking 'what if?'"

    Really stuck with me. "Do robots dream of electronic sheep?" - that's sci fi. Getting into car chases with hover cars... not so much. I think Battlestar Galatica asked some great questions about what it means to be "a person" when you can copy someones memories and personality to another body, or even multiple bodies, how should your loved ones react?

    I think this is part of the thing that's missing from a lot of sci fi games, there is only tech, very few questions being asked. I feel like alpha centauri was one of the last games that even tried.

    I think that zombie games, at core, tend to be closer to real sci fi than most sci fi games - at least zombie games ask a question, "what would you do to survive?" - might not be deep philosophy - but at least its something!
     
  11. EternalAmbiguity

    EternalAmbiguity

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    This is a problem with games in general. Most are only interested in having good gameplay, a few are interested in having good stories, and barely any are interested in having thought-provoking philosophical discussion.
     
  12. Ryiah

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    Only impossible based on our current understanding of the universe (which may or may not change). Any arguments about FTL aside though I feel like much of your examples of "hard science" are just as much science fiction at this point.

    It's a niche audience and the companies who have tried to develop a 4X space game are bad enough at creating science fantasy games that they wouldn't have any chance at creating one that would appeal to a hard science crowd.

    Just look at the reviews on Steam for Master of Orion for an example.

    http://store.steampowered.com/app/298050/
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
  13. Vedrit

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    Look, there's truth to "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
    Just because we don't know how one might achieve FTL doesn't mean that such a task is impossible.
    Exactly this. I know that handwavium gets a lot of flak from movie and game critics, I do the same, but...to try and make a distant-future game and hold it to today's technological estimates is not making a distant-future game. It can make up for our lack of knowing the future.

    You must ask yourself this; at what point does the realism start to take away from the fun?
    Because if it's not fun, is it really a game?
     
  14. Not_Sure

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    There was a time when realism was talked down on in FPS games, then Rainbow 6 came out and completely shattered that notion.
     
  15. Master-Frog

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    So, nothing cool. That's probably why.
     
  16. Ryiah

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    How about cryonics for long term travel? Is that cool enough for you? :p
     
  17. Not_Sure

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    WAKKA! WAKKA!

    There's lots of solutions to accomidate the long time involved in space travel.

    1) As @Ryiah pointed out Cryonic preservation or some other form of suspension.

    2) Multi generational ships where people just live on a ship their whole lives.

    3) Medical immortality

    4) Simulated Reality with the crew kept as brains in jars, then making them bodies when we get there.

    5) Robots

    6) Sending genetic material and making people when the probe gets there.

    7) Saving a person's mind as a file and printing out entire people with the mind.
     
  18. Kiwasi

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    All of which are just as speculative as FTL. :p
     
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  19. Not_Sure

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    How so?

    Each and every one of those are things that can be physically done, it's just a matter of how.

    1) Cryonics are being done right now with animals, by accident, and done purposefully for medical reasons (such as freezing someone with a massive trauma so that they can receive the treatment they need before they die.

    2) We have people in space. I don't see why we would ever not be able to have people make people in space. Most likely a terrible idea, but it could work.

    3) Medical immortality is just a matter of being able to fix any problems that arise and creating healthy young cells to people so they can replace older ones.

    4) I think the cochlear implant is evidence enough that we can feed senses directly into the brain. So we can feed all the senses to a brain and create an artificial reality to live in. And considering that someone is having a head transplant in December, I think it's safe to say that keeping a brain outside of the body is not that far off.

    5) We have robots now.

    6) We have test tube babies, we just don't have an artificial womb. Yet....

    7) Okay, so this gets into the mind/brain problem and if you believe that the mind is separate from the brain I won't try to convince you otherwise. But if we assume that it is the same (for the sake of argument) then it is completely withing the realm of possibilities to map a human brain. And then you could print it out on the other end. We do that now with things like hearts and kidneys. But, yeah, I know...

    "HEARTS AND KIDNEYS ARE TINKER TOYS!!!"

    Sorry, I had to. :D

    Oh, and add moving entire stars as #8.

    FTL on the other hand we don't know how it could ever be physically possible. There is no hypothetical method or device that would ever work using the science we know today. And if FTL was possible there's a good chance that time travel would be possible, which is just complete nonsense and instantly presents impossible scenarios. Like Fry becoming his own grandfather.
     
  20. Kiwasi

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    Quantum mechanics enables a particle to be in multiple places at the same time. And also to interfere with itself. But only if no one is watching. Which is also nonsense.

    Don't be so quick to discount physics as down for the count. In early 20th century physics was considered 'solved', with only a couple of unanswered questions. Then along comes Eisenstein, Bhor, Plank, Heisenberg, and a bunch of other guys who turned the whole world of physics upside down.
     
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  21. Not_Sure

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    Fair enough.

    But like I mentioned earlier, even if we figured out how to apply quantum mechanics for FTL purposes you would most likely need to get to the endpoint and set up shop before you could travel to that spot FTL.

    Also, I think it's almost certain that we will be able to transmit information more easily than matter. Which should really effect how we're looking at it.

    Then again, it's pretty clear that in Star Trek transporters are just a cloning machine on one end and a murder machine on the other. So I GUESS we could do that.
     
  22. Kiwasi

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    I think you missed my point. There is absolutely no way quantum could have been guessed before it was discovered. Not one science fiction writer predicted anything like it. And it's implications are enormous.

    Any prediction on hard science more then a century or so out are just guesses. Medical immortality and sentient robots are just as speculative as faster then light travel.

    Which ultimately drops us back to this:

    As soon as you start insisting on sub light space travel and cimmunications, building a 4X game becomes a bit pointless. It would be about as exciting as one of those Facebook games where you build your army, then send it off, then God knows what happens until you receive a battle report three days later.

    Some strategy games have played with the concepts of realistic distance and communications. Check out Dune 1. In it Paul is limited in communications. He can only communicate with sietches he is present at, or within messenger distance. Once troops are commited to a battle, they can no longer be recalled. And if an attack happens on the other side of the planet, you can't do anything about it at all.

    There is a reason the unrealistic Dune 2 became the father of modern RTS games. Meanwhile Dune 1 faded into obscurity, today it only exists to satisfy google searches on 'was there a Dune 1'.

    Realistic gameplay, especially realistic distance and timescales, just isn't fun.
     
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  23. Ryiah

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    Making the gameplay feel the same as a normal 4X game would require you to increase the amount of time represented by a turn which would bring a whole host of other problems with it. What happens to a civilization over the course of a month or a year is a great deal different from what happens over the course of a hundred years.

    A game like Homeworld where hyperspace is replaced with cryonics and an enormous span of time between scenarios would be far more feasible. Having each scenario change based on past decisions the player made hundreds of years ago would be interesting too.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2017
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  24. Not_Sure

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    Thank you!

    I'm not sure why everyone is hung up on the time it takes it travel.

    Why is there so much conjecture that I'm saying that the game would be in real time???
     
  25. Not_Sure

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    BTW, fun fact.

    If you were to accelerate at 9.8 meters per second every second you'd be accelerating at the same rate of gravity. So a starship going that speed would feel like it has earth's gravity on it (Or, actually DOES have the gravity depending on who you ask).

    And if you take the speed of light: 299792458 Meters per second.

    Then divide it by 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day, and 365 days a year, then divide all that by the 9.8 meters per second, you'd get how much time it would tack to accelerate to the speed of light comfortably.

    And shockingly enough that time is almost exactly 1 year.

    Or, 0.97 years.

    Pretty freaking close at any rate.

    Of course I have absolutely no idea how that would change with relativity.

    I mean if you reach 299792458 time would hit infinite (as it wouldn't), but the crew on board would not feel as though its a year.

    Also, as time slows you could also accelerate at increasingly rapid speeds because the time on the ship would slow and thus the acceleration would feel weaker and weaker.

    Anyway, point is the people on the star ship may have 5 light years to Alpha Centauri, but to them it could be much sooner than year if they accelerated enough.

    But lets also not forget that they will need to flip around and go in reverse to stop, and they'd need to do so at the same rate so that it feels like 9.8 m/s/s gravity.

    Oh, and the force needed to accelerate is going to compound at an INSANE rate. Because the ship will get heavier, time will be slower so the output of the drive will be slowed, and if it uses any type of propellant it will exit the ship slower and slower relative to the ship.

    So that's basically 3 different economics of scale working against you.

    Oh, and-and of course every speck of dust would be an atomic bomb on your hull.
     
  26. Kiwasi

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    None of this has anything to do with game play. I'm not arguing against the science. Simply the difficulty of making it into a viable game.

    You keep bringing up the FTL thing. Its your requirement, not ours. Travel time will need to be a factor in any game design trying to span multiple systems and avoid FTL.

    Lets think it through in game play terms. Even at the speed of light, jumping between stars might take anywhere between 4-10 years. In reality you'll be lucky to get to 10% of the speed of light, so that's somewhere between 40-100 years.

    Once you are in the system, you battle it out with the local inhabitants. Lets be generous and assume these guys are really dug in, and the battle takes 10 years. Although with advanced technology it might be decided in a month.

    So your fleet has spent 10-100x as long getting to a relevant location as it needs to spend at that location. Check out any 4X game you'll find this ratio doesn't hold. Its not a fun ratio.

    This has several design implications
    • Players will have to commit resources to an attack a long time in advance.
    • There is pretty much no way to reinforce a system once its under attack, regardless of if you are attacking or defending.
    • If you can detect an attack as it leave the system, you have a long time to prepare for it. Surprise attacks will be especially investigating
    If you think you can address these problems in a game design, I'm keen to hear it. Most players won't give two hoots about the science, as long as the game play is good..
     
  27. Not_Sure

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    Most of that is exactly correct.

    For one, combat would just resolve its self in one turn, no different than other TBS games.

    And you are correct in that it wouldn't really be much of a fight. It would be a matter of detecting the incoming force in time to do something about it or dying on the spot.

    Once there though, there would be no "Pew! Pew! Pew!" nonsense. And the invading army would not stand a chance using ground forces. There's simply no way that a hand full of people could take on a planet full of people.

    I think realistically they'd just use scorched earth tactics.

    Show up and drop a grey goo bomb on the planet.

    Or drop a virus.

    Or make a black hole on top of them.

    Or ignite the atmosphere.

    Or throw giant rocks at them.

    Or wipe out their magnetosphere.

    Or lots of different things.
     
  28. lizifox

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    that would be interesting indeed