Thursday, February 12, 2015

If I Must Share...

A dangerous habit of randomly writing what comes to mind is the distraction that it also causes. I was looking for a song to encompass my feelings of lonesomeness and I discovered that there are not that many songs about being happy while being alone. One of the closest ones that I came up with was 'Home on the Range' but the lyrics, when I read them made me recoil a bit. I did a few searches, side stepped, and decided to write anyway.

Cyrillian Voth did an impressive write up about the potential of ship crews in Eve where he builds up ideas laid out by others into a more coherent plan. This is a conversation that started (mostly) on twitter. It seems to me to be a side effect of the recent expansion of lore and the general interests that players have in expanding the fine detailed depth of their game.

I've read proposals for ship crews on and off over the years. I have one problem with the topic. I hate that Eve ships have crews. It was very devastated when I discovered that they did. I had always assumed that they did not. And one day I read something that said they have crews and my world rained down around me.

New Eden Crew Guidelines

I'ma  science fiction junky with a great love of sentient spaceships. Thorarinn Gunnarsson's Starwolves did it for me. The first book in the series I read was Dreadnought. I still own a copy and I love it. one day I will write about sentient AIs. I did not read  Ian Bank's culture books till much later and Saberhagen's Berserker series left me a bit unsatisfied because I love a good AI. I really enjoyed David Weber's Fury character but felt a bit unhappy because the ship was a reflection of the main character even thou she developed her own personality.

I love AI's. Second best is when a person can interface with the ship. Bio-engineering is amazing.  That makes Dietz's Legion series amazing. I love cyborgs and telepathy and people that are half or fully machine. I just adore that fusion of science and biology. So it means that I unconsciously pushed all of that onto Eve only to discover sometime later that my ship was full of people.

Woe is me.

Beyond that I think we are looking at various avenues of what I'm going to call 'fine grained' game play. Complexity that comes out of choices and patterns to create an intricate and perhaps personal puzzle. I use perhaps because the right way is a constant source of peer pressure in Eve. But, I see the desire to have complexity at the higher level instead of the base level. Crews. Boosters. Attributes. All of these discussions have been swirling around the basic premise that the game should be playable and the complications available for those who seek improvement and gains based on knowledge. Not on the level of basic game mechanics.

I think I like the focus. I'm the lazy player that gets a flaming sword and uses it for the next seventy levels. But the details expand the world as much as the large chunks of new space and the release of new technologies.

Maybe one of them will let me be alone in my ship. For now, I'll have to tolerate others. I do admit, I'm not sure why someone wired into a pod and immersed in goo needs a living crew. I thought that was the whole purpose of the link into the pod.

Sigh.

30 comments:

  1. Is there a link to Cyrillian Voth's write up?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You mean the link I forgot to attach cuz I was so busy trying to spell the name right.... *slinks off*

      Delete
  2. Gosh, that's two days in a row now that you've made my day. Thanks for the write up! There's nothing wrong with being a loner by temperament; I may have some ideas for pt.III that could help to alleviate the woe.

    Regarding happy-lonesome songs, how about this?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dr0FPRC82j4

    ReplyDelete
  3. Two things...

    (1) have you read Anne McCaffery's The Ship Who Sang? If not, I feel it is right up your alley especially in light of this post...

    and

    (b)... with the greatest respect, IMHO, one human, no matter how well or deeply cyber connected could ever hope to run a Titan. Period. An 18 MILE long spaceship with literally billions of parts and millions of systems... and automation and only one mind could control it? keep it flying? utilize, maintain and repair ALL it's vast systems?

    I have always known our ships were crewed... it makes no realistic sense otherwise. Shuttles... maybe not and the smallest noob ships and frigates might just possibly not absolutely 'need' crew, but the lore says they do and that's that.

    Plus, again, with all due respect.. I personally intensely dislike the whole POD idea... I want to stand, wirelessly connected to the ship but ON my bridge with my crew and be with them as we take my ship into the fight.

    And... again, for me personally, as far as I am concerned when Duster's appeared in New Eden, the very first thing Tur did was spend whatever amount of ISK was necessary to have ALL of his clones fitted with Templar implants...

    When Tur dies, he dies fighting to save his mortal crew and upon death, his consciousness is transferred to the PODs systems by the Templar implants and then to his new clone... so he never ever has to subject himself to the indignity of being locked away in a goo filled can...

    No, I am not some disembodied god like being who ignores the people who fly with him and who risk EVERYTHING each time we undock...

    No, I will not hide from my crew, I will stand on the deck with them and face our adversaries together... the only difference is, I am immortal... and that's enough.

    My only personal foray into the lore is this story of Tur and his corps move to W-space... and a disturbing potential discovery made there...

    Doth We Profit, From Their Bloodless Deaths…?

    I love that we have a 'verse filled with people... as much as I hate being surrounded by them... and I know, I know... I oft come across as conflicted and yet, somehow I really am not. =]

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love conversations like this since what’s being discussed is what Eve means to us when game mechanics grow invisible through familiarity. You, character Tur appear driven by comradery. Character Sugar, as she explains above, is drawn to congenial seclusion. And me, I’m drawn to character DireNecessity who, to filch a wonderful line from Cyrillian Voth’s set up piece, comfortably recognizes that “mortals may be cherished as pets, disdained as automata, or tormented as playthings at [our] Empyreans' deranged whim.”

      This is the way of immortality explains DireNecessity. Loyal pet, pleasant company, undifferentiated automata, all appropriate because we immortals decide it so, because we immortals drive history, because we immortals are the measure of all things.

      Eve needs its horrors. It also needs its delights. As CCP extends the lore (which it appears to be doing, at least a little) it would serve them well to find space for both possibilities.

      Special note - if you follow Cyrillian Voth’s crew proposal link referenced above, do step back one page to read the intro as well. Good stuff.

      Delete
    2. Thank you! :-)

      (Deleted post below - double posting, gah. Still getting the hang of this.)

      Delete
    3. Dire...agree with you completely. And yes, for me the idea that I would lose my 'humanity'... that I would feel superior to 'mere' mortals and treat them as 'things' and not a people as worthy of respect and decency as I... no, that does not sit well with me.

      Plus the idea that I am completely 'alone' on my ship... no matter it's size... is simply unsettling though I cannot fully voice why... the idea just makes me very uncomfortable. Feelings that are similar but opposite to Sugar's desire to be alone on her ship I guess...

      Plus I ran into CCP's Crew Guidlines years ago... actually in my first months as I remember it, so I have always known and accepted that our ships are crewed... that has always been part of the background of my mental view of EVE as it were...

      Delete
    4. Oh Sugar, do forgive me but I’m about to push the bounds of relevancy all out of shape. The milieu carries me away.

      >>><<<

      At the roundtable discussion following Sugar Kyle’s presentation Turmarth Elrandir stakes his claim, “No, I will not hide from my crew, I will stand on the deck with them and face our adversaries together... the only difference is, I am immortal... and that's enough.”

      Cyrillian Voth gently nudges DireNecessity’s elbow asking, “What’s up with him?”

      “Tur?” she replies. “Big rumble of a man living a big rumble of a life. Of course he prefers not podding up. Don’t misunderstand, I love puppies too. Reasonably tasty when properly prepared. Still, I prefer veal.”

      At this, Turamarth stands up, strolls across the room then, once towering over DireNecessity, delivers a menacing sneer.

      “Oh sweetie,” says DireNecessity, “I’d never consume your puppies. That would be terribly rude.”

      >>><<<

      Delete
    5. LOL... I get it but... I think I am gonna stop commenting here... not rage quitting or any such, it's just I am not obviously not communicating well...

      None of what I say is in anger or in any type of indignation or with any feeling of 'you are wrong and I am right'... but I am obviously being read that way so the fault lies with me and how I am writing.

      I do feel strongly about ship crews... but I accept all the other opinions here as absolutely valid, just different. But I would never ...tower over anyone, with any kind of menacing sneer. It is not who I am...

      I love the back and forth, the give and take... I love the discussions that take place here. I have found if you always agree with someone then there is nothing to really talk about, it is only in disagreement that we can have true discourse...

      But I am obviously not wording my 'differing' views so they are understood as I mean them... so I am seen as confrontational and opinionated... and that is on me.

      I like the idea that we have crews... it increases my immersion and the depth of the feeling of reality of our shared 'verse... that's all.

      Delete
    6. Ah hell. It’s a risky thing trying to capture another’s character and I seem to have gone awry. Your language is always bold and enthusiastic. Didn’t seem to me Tur would take a barb from DireNecessity sitting down.

      The out of character thing that’s crucially important (and I now wish I’d added it to my in character post) is we all bring our motivations to the game and the game, to be successful, must allow space for such motivations. What so intrigued me about Tur’s initial presentation was its compelling earnestness. In a wonderful way I bought in. Not in the sense that I share his motivations but rather in the sense that DireNecessity, a fellow immortal would have to grapple with them.

      What so captivates me about playing Eve long term is how, once the mechanics are mastered, we players define what it all means. In a wonderful piece of mirror imaging, our characters, being immortal demi-gods are in similar position. Over and over again, the sandboxyness of it all astonishes me.

      If I were to write the scene to its conclusion (and who knows, I might), it wouldn’t surprise me to find one on of Tur’s puppies whispering into DireNecessity’s ear as he slipped the blade between her ribs, “You shouldn’t eat puppies.” “Well argued,” she’d respond as exsanguination faded the color from her lips.

      Delete
    7. ...as exsanguination faded the color from her lips.

      With a gasp, she looked up. her eyes sought out the young Matarii crewman's eyes, she whispered... "Wait here, I'll be right back..." she continued to stare into his eyes as hers clouded over, a small smile on her lips.

      Turamarth enters the room... immediately realizes what has transpired, and why. "Dammit Nolar." he says in a quiet voice...

      "OK, I know you felt you were doing what had to be done... I know some of us are... well... most Empyreans are not like me." he says as the young man shakily rises to his feet, dropping the bloody combat knife with a clatter… "I had to... I had to... she... she… the, the things she did…" his voice trembles.

      "Yeah..." sighs Tur... "I know, but you also know what happens now. Right now Dire is being handed towels to dry her new clone. She is now, or has already, given orders for you to be captured, alive and immediately." The young man stares at the lifeless empty husk that was only a temporary body... fear and loathing wrought on his young features.

      Tur sighs heavily, "Come on. We have to go... and we don't have much time." He turns for the door quietly giving orders by Neocom implant for his fastest 'ceptor to be ready to depart the second they arrive at the dock.

      "Move your ass crewman, if you want to live, remember... you aren't immortal."

      I just don't see Tur the way I seem to be 'seen' through my words, which means I am not creating an accurate mental image with them... I need to step back and re-examine what I say, and how I say it.

      Delete
    8. Now we’re back on track Tur. What do we make it mean (if we so choose) to have mortal crews? A surprisingly small thing that can end up meaning a whole lot. Though I’m a sucker for collaborative fiction, the comments section of Sugar’s blog doesn’t seem the appropriate venue. I’ll Evemail you.

      Delete
    9. The door slid closed with a soft hiss, and Nolar leaned back against it, eyes closed, and tried to breathe normally. Safe at last. After a wild ride across five systems, the Captain had brought him here and gone to smooth things over with Dire. In the meantime, the guards outside and the latest in security tech would keep him safe for a few hours.

      A while later, he stepped out of the shower cubicle, his face buried in a towel.

      "Don't be alarmed."

      He froze, and looked. A young woman was sitting on the couch, as calm as if she lived there. She looked harmless enough. He hastily reconfigured the towel.

      "That was brave of you - and resourceful. It's not easy to get close to a capsuleer with a knife."

      "How" - he swallowed. "How did you find me?"

      The young woman proffered a datapad, a shadow of reluctance in the gesture. "Mr Elrandir has come to an understanding with the capsuleer you attacked, and with my employer, Mr Voth." She sighed a little, sadly. "Some money changed hands. Fortunately for you, Mr Voth appreciates talent, and conviction."

      "No... the Captain would never..."

      The young woman rose, a sympathetic smile in her eyes. "Dire would have had you cornered sooner or later. This way, he knows you will be safe. And I understand your contract fee was... quite considerable."

      He swallowed again. "What about my - my nephews?"

      The young woman smiled, and held out the datapad again. The picture it showed was time-stamped twenty minutes earlier. "They're already safe."

      She led him gently, still in his towel, through the door. The guards were gone, and a transit pod was waiting for them.

      In another station, orbiting another star, Voth smiled to himself, and closed the report. Then he reflected for a moment. Tur would find out sooner or later. He started composing a conciliatory note.

      It was a sound investment. The algorithm didn't lie.

      Delete
    10. Oh my! What wonderful complication. I'll Evemail you too.

      Delete
  4. This is actually really funny. The fictional movement I always found to be the most reasonable was the Butlerians from Dune. Their mantra was "Thou shalt not create a machine in the likeness of a human mind," and they fanatically destroyed any thinking machine technology.

    The idea of AI scares the hell out of me, because I simply can't see an unemotional, logical creature coming to any conclusion other than that all other forms of life other than itself are a threat and should be destroyed at the soonest possible opportunity.

    I truly don't fear humans killing ourselves off. I simply don't see a way a machine-based intelligence could ever, ever coexist with biological life forms.

    I just hope there's something inherent in self-consciousness that makes it impossible to exist in a machine. Else, we're screwed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're not that bad Tal! Gosh.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. [Edited cause Imma derp... and can't read...]

      Tal, the issue I have with this is an assumption you make... "...coming to any conclusion..." Conclusions are made based on what the being/intelligence has been taught and learned through experience. We know that in the human experience this can lead to very diverse conclusions being made on any given issue by people from diverse backgrounds.

      An AI is at least initially, programmed much as we are... IE genetic inherited responses such as 'fight or flight'... responses that bypass higher rational functions in the presence of stimulus perceived as an immediate threat.

      But... AI's programming is artificial... IE man made, not derived , IE evolved over time as the byproduct of interactions with the external world. So the scary here is not that AI would think AT ALL like us... and come to conclusions that 'we' might based on our programming... our combination of genetic and learned information... oh no...

      The scary is that they will come to conclusions that we can never forsee... ever. These do not necessarily include any kind of Berserker of Skynet type of cleansing of all inimical lifeforms... no... what if the end product of that equation is safe keeping us from ourselves? You yourself brought up the Butlerian Jihad of Dune... but do you remember why it started?

      Excerpt from The Dune Encyclopedia...

      "...the Jihad is named for Jehanne Butler. Trained as both a priestess and a Bene Gesserit on the planet Komos, Jehanne marries Thet'r Butler late in life. Due to her Bene Gesserit training, a pregnant Jehanne is in contact with her developing fetus and knows the state of its health and development. After waking from the anesthesia given during delivery, she is shocked to be told that the fetus had been malformed and the infant therapeutically aborted. She later discovers through investigation that her child had in fact been healthy, but that the hospital director, the first self-programming computer on the planet, had been secretly carrying out a policy of unjustified abortions.

      This discovery triggers further investigation into the extent to which such machines had been controlling society and altering the emotional and intellectual characteristics of planetary populations over a course of centuries."


      Yes, this ended in a genocidal war between man and the machines... but not one started by the machines... they were not trying to kill us, but to control us, to make us perfectly safe, even from ourselves... WE started the war...

      If you really think about it, were the machines really wrong? Look at all the war and evil that followed 'after' humanity was 'freed' from the centuries of secretly imposed 'safety' quietly forced on humankind by the machines...

      Now THAT shit is scary!

      Delete
    4. I'll start worrying about artificial intelligence when scientists start agreeing about what constitutes intelligence...

      Now, what is scary is the thought of someone building something and calling it "Intelligence", then using it to replace "human" intelligence.

      From a strict factual sense, human beings are inefficent. This is why humans must be sacrificed to the god of proficency. Now they're not deprived of the essentials for living: they're "made redundant", and that's a cosnequence of their actions which led them into being inefficent thus redundant.

      So, mankind building true artificial (alien?) intelligences? No worry. But, "intelligences" capable of sending endless human beings into misery along with their inefficent brains...? THEY (we?) are fucking striving for it!!

      Delete
    5. Relax, there was an experiment a few years ago with self-replicating machines. Even though they literelly were dumb as bricks, they started to cooperate to fullfill their orders.

      So even emotionless machines know somehow that cooperation is better than destruction. The only thing holding us (and the fictional people from Dune's univese) back is fear. Fear is the mind-killer, after all.

      Delete
  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I recently read The Martian, which contains interesting narrative how someone on their can survive on their own for an extended time. I can highly recommend it. Considering that it has raised the interest of director Ridley Scott is good indicator.

    *=======

    Meanwhile at the job line for ship crews; "I have an opening here for a mining barge". Ranks of awaiting crewmen looked down and at the drab walls as though the aeons of graffiti suddenly contained elevated wisdom. The silence was loud as the foreman flipped over a page on his clipboard. "Battleship, Amarrian!" A sea of hands raise, many holding their discs of service.

    *=======

    As for music. Been listening a lot of Dark Side of the Moon. I find very decent when I am in my own head space, and need to combat the echo of a long business day now over.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Yeah, honestly they need to take that idea that capsuleer ships have flesh and blood crews and throw it out the airlock where it belongs. The way the npcs act, they are obviously remote controlled or primitive mission-based AI. Our ships seem to work at 99.999999% efficiency (an occasional server glitch being the rare exception) so where are the humans to make mistakes? We either have very advanced AI's, fantastic automated drone crews, or a combination of various things that keeps everything in working order.

    Honestly, I'd much rather have bloodline bonuses implemented first. boosted missile rate of fire for a caldari, drone speed for gallente, agility for minmatar, copy speed for an Achura, etc....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I beg to differ... "...Our ships seem to work at 99.999999% efficiency (an occasional server glitch being the rare exception) so where are the humans to make mistakes?"

      Ever deploy drones? They HAVE to b human driven... even today's AI is better than the derp shit my drones do!!

      Delete
    2. 7.9m sps in drones... I've rarely had a problem with them... hence the 99.999999% efficiency rating I gave them. That one time in a billion they go off after something I didn't tell them to I can always get them back under control with a single keypress...

      Delete
  8. Sugar, Sugar... you made me browse my HD for music!

    Try this one: Royksopp - Beautiful day without you

    As for crews!

    Quite early I understood that the ships used by capsuleers are ordinary ships whose command bridge has been replaced with the Pod. Much like a metal body whose inner organs are the same regardless of the brain, the machines work identically, just the pod and its one-mind give them better performance than ships where mutliple humans must communicate and coordinate while subject to the pressure of a command line. I assume that, without Jove tech, the Empires plain can't fully authomatize the ships

    SF-like, though, fully authomated ships have always bothered me. Fully authomated systems, IMO, would lead to combats gone in a fraction of a second: when two flawless AI fight, the faster one will win because the other will not have a chance to kill it. So in the long run, maybe full automated systems which destroyed each other with 99.9999% proficency would be too onerous to build, compared to just putting a few Human Mk. 1 inside them.

    (Yes, there *is* a story by Isaac Asimov with a loosely similar argument. And to finish the off-topic, if you want to look at what authomation does to stuff, look at what some trading companies do today as they struggle to put and withdraw buy/sell orders in miliseconds)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, if you haven't already, I would urge you to read some Iain M Banks, he explores exactly these thoughts in all sorts of depth. Consider Phlebas, for example, on AI ship combat, or Excession on the strategic implications of AI ship combat, and some adorable scenes of properly sentient "Minds" sniffing at "mere" AIs. The latter also passes the @SwiftOnSecurity test: an AI talks to another AI about something other than a biological organism.

      I think full automation is possible in the universe of New Eden - but the efficient automation of such large & complex war machines would necessarily require intelligence, which is utterly banned in all Empire space for compellingly good reasons:
      https://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/Rogue_Drones_%28Chronicle%29

      My favourite Iain M Banks novel, The Algebraist, explores the spectacularly dystopian implications of a galactic civilisation where artificial intelligence is banned. There are echoes of New Eden in it.

      Delete
  9. I can't imagine I've never recommended this to you before, but if I did lapse let me fix this now. If you've never read it and like AI's, Dan Simmons Hyperion Cantos is a really good read, just because of his portrayal of them.

    It's probably my favourite SciFi from the 80's by a margin. If you do pick it up read the books in chronological order though, Simmons likes to mess with time (and does that in a remarkably un-annoying way too) :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Ignore the lore!
    I am the only person on my ship. An AI obeys my commands and takes care of the rest. My alts are just illegal clones downloaded to a modified body and then activated concurrently with my main body. Every so often memories are synchronized.

    ReplyDelete
  11. If you haven't tried them, I recommend the Avogadro Corp. Series by William Hertling. It describes the emergence of AI in the near future, and projects over the next 20+ years afterwards.

    ReplyDelete