Author Topic: Trees and Spheres  (Read 22228 times)

wogan

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Trees and Spheres
« on: February 14, 2009, 06:45:09 AM »
Y'all know what a Dyson Tree is, i'm sure. The same physicist proposed another hypothetical - a Dyson Sphere. (Personally, I knew about the sphere before I knew about the tree).

A Dyson Sphere is a structure built around a single star, designed in such a way as to capture as much energy as possible from that star. Most science fiction paints a Dyson Sphere as a closed, rigid structure, but the interpretation that Freeman originally intended was that a Dyson Sphere would be a large collection of loose objects - like asteroids, or satellites.

Given that Dyson Trees are likely to need sunlight in order to grow and do things, it would definitely be keeping within the theory to bundle your asteroids (and preferably, a lot of them) around a star. If you ever end up scaling the game to MMORPG levels, that is.

Also, it'll elevate the game from competing for single asteroids, to competing for asteroid belts, to competing for Dyson Spheres. Very ... galactic-dominationy, methinks.

crazeh.monkeh

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Re: Trees and Spheres
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2009, 08:42:49 AM »
I just wanted to say that I had never heard of dyson trees untill the game, but I heard of dyson spheres several years ago. lol

wogan

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Re: Trees and Spheres
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2009, 08:56:48 AM »
Well, obviously, a solar-system sized sphere is a far more interesting plot device than a tree that can grow in a vacuum ;)

Alex

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Re: Trees and Spheres
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2009, 07:37:12 PM »
I'd never heard of them before working on the game either :D

Still, I'd never considered a 'weak' Dyson sphere made from leaves or satellite or whatever - that could get around the problem of radiation pressure/solar winds, which I always thought was a problem with the Dyson sphere.

wogan

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Re: Trees and Spheres
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2009, 03:09:13 AM »
Still, I'd never considered a 'weak' Dyson sphere made from leaves or satellite or whatever - that could get around the problem of radiation pressure/solar winds, which I always thought was a problem with the Dyson sphere.

Not to mention the problem of keeping it anchored around the sun. One of the basic laws of gravity - smaller objects drift towards bigger ones. So now you have this titanic mothersphere that weighs infinitely more than the sun it's drawing energy from. The moment it drifts off balance, what's to stop the sun from crashing into it?

"The sun crashing into it". When did things get so big and complicated? :-\
« Last Edit: February 15, 2009, 03:11:20 AM by Wogan May »

Alex

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Re: Trees and Spheres
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2009, 06:21:46 AM »
Yeah, never considered its mass. It would have to be pretty uniform not to bring the star crashing into it I guess, unless it was so thin its mass was negligible wrt the star.

totally

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Re: Trees and Spheres
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2009, 08:26:45 AM »
Please don't add any suns into the universe. Sunless universe will have different rules which will be a major pattern interrupt for most players (a good thing in games).


A physicist proposing a dyson tree? Lol, that is like a geologist proposing a new way to do heart surgery. Anything selfreplicating is an organism. And as an idea, from a biology standpoint, dyson species is extremely interesting.  :D


Dyson tree doesn't have "leaves" to transform the energy of the sun into seedlings. Where the dyson organisms get their energy to operate is the question.

Alex

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Re: Trees and Spheres
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2009, 04:14:40 PM »
Early versions of Dyson had a star in the centre of the belt. It served no purpose really and so was removed :)

Also well, a physicist did propose the Dyson Tree, but I guess the tree itself doesn't necessarily have to be a biological organism. It's probably easier for us to get a Dyson tree using biology though - maybe? I dunno :D

wogan

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Re: Trees and Spheres
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2009, 10:08:59 PM »
A physicist proposing a dyson tree? Lol, that is like a geologist proposing a new way to do heart surgery.

Theoretical physicist - Freeman Dyson. Theoretical physicists are allowed to come up with new organisms :)

Also well, a physicist did propose the Dyson Tree, but I guess the tree itself doesn't necessarily have to be a biological organism.

You're right there - it would work better as a self-replicating form of nanotechnology, modelled after a tree. It would also give you an excuse to build lasers into your seedlings. Powering them, though, is another question.

This is where a sun comes in handy. It gives you access to solar energy (and specifically, solar winds, which might form a part of long-distance travel).

The only other real way to power your seedlings would be an oxygen drive, with the oxygen being gathered from the asteroids where they're grown. If you consider it a source of fuel, it would deplete as you explore, but replenish every time you enter orbit around an asteroid with one of your spawning trees on.

totally

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Re: Trees and Spheres
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2009, 02:36:37 AM »
You're right there - it would work better as a self-replicating form of nanotechnology, modelled after a tree. It would also give you an excuse to build lasers into your seedlings. Powering them, though, is another question.

I don't know why but introducing the concept of nanotechnology would mean that someone built them which, for some reason, lessens the motivation. In other words seedlings, a very aggressive and effective species (top of a food chain) which fights and kills for food, space and influence (much like ourselves or zergs :) ), turn into mindless robots who just run with the preprogramming. No purpouse or place.


The only other real way to power your seedlings would be an oxygen drive, with the oxygen being gathered from the asteroids where they're grown. If you consider it a source of fuel, it would deplete as you explore, but replenish every time you enter orbit around an asteroid with one of your spawning trees on.

Oxygen doesn't hold much energy, it's a byproduct of plant activity. The source of constant stream of energy in our universe is sun radiation which is utilized by plants and the food chain above them. In dyson universe the source of energy could be, for example, reaction in the cores which is started by the pressure (could be heat or whatever).


Still I am sure that we can design a very complex lifeform which could live and operate in a sunless universe. A universe without a sun, how freaking cool is that?  :D

wogan

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Re: Trees and Spheres
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2009, 03:18:15 AM »
I don't know why but introducing the concept of nanotechnology would mean that someone built them which, for some reason, lessens the motivation. In other words seedlings, a very aggressive and effective species (top of a food chain) which fights and kills for food, space and influence (much like ourselves or zergs :) ), turn into mindless robots who just run with the preprogramming. No purpouse or place.

The Zerg, fyi, were created by the Xel-Naga, so they're just as much a "designed and built" race.

And Dyson Trees would be far from naturally occuring - they'd have to be designed and built, too. Look it up on Wikipedia - the purpose of the Dyson Tree would be to colonize an asteroid (or potentially a small moon / planet), and using nothing but the minerals present in the ground, and sunlight, create oxygen, thereby manufacturing a livable atmosphere. Precursor to human population.

I think it was the movie "Red Planet" - where humans populated Mars with organisms that could produce oxygen from melted water. Dyson Trees are pretty much the same idea, minus the water.

Oxygen doesn't hold much energy, it's a byproduct of plant activity.

Odd, then, that oxygen's a crucial component in fire.

It's been theorized that "empty space" does actually contain gaseous hydrogen - leftovers from solar combustion. Hydrogen can be ignited in the presence of oxygen. Voila - oxygen drive.

Rudolf

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Re: Trees and Spheres
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2009, 03:52:13 AM »
Anything selfreplicating is an organism. And as an idea, from a biology standpoint, dyson species is extremely interesting.  :D

Hehe it is great you guys are entertained by the science behind the game.

The biological complexity needed to establish self replication has been contested successfuly in the past, especially by the work of Lionel Penrose (and his son) who in the 50s? (I think) captured many aspects of life in simple mechanical models. Actual plywood models. They were really fascinatinly simple constructs that could show things like "mating", self replication, and even recombination to produce diverse offspring.

Dyson is a bit of a bouilabaisse of artificial life and theorhetical science put into a scifi jacket. ;-)

Rudolf

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Re: Trees and Spheres
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2009, 03:58:14 AM »
Ah here we go:
THE classic text by penrose:
http://vx.netlux.org/lib/mlp01.html

I will share some more of the inspiration for Dyson soon in another developer diary, although Alex may want to do a programmer/Art one first ;-)

R
 

totally

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Re: Trees and Spheres
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2009, 04:10:18 AM »
The Zerg, fyi, were created by the Xel-Naga, so they're just as much a "designed and built" race.

By "zerg" I ment "zerg mentality". All three races have similar goals, while zergs are the only one who are honest about it, thats why I like them :)
Xelnaga are just a conspiracy theory, are you a crazy person who believes in fairy tales? :D


I thought that dysons are this cool spieces in the alternative universe with different rules who fight for survival. In other words you are saying that dysons are just tools, like screwdrivers. I am a bit dissapointed   :(

Still it doesn't explain why there are many competing colonies of dysons who fight over scarce resources.

wogan

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Re: Trees and Spheres
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2009, 04:28:48 AM »
Still it doesn't explain why there are many competing colonies of dysons who fight over scarce resources.

Because that's a function of the game :-\ And they're not fighting over resources, they're fighting over territory. The only real discernible resource in the game is territory.

totally

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Re: Trees and Spheres
« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2009, 04:57:05 AM »
Still it doesn't explain why there are many competing colonies of dysons who fight over scarce resources.

Because that's a function of the game :-\ And they're not fighting over resources, they're fighting over territory. The only real discernible resource in the game is territory.

Which one is better? To control entire continent and die from hunger or to live in woods and have something to eat? Food is higher priority than territorry, I think. Nice converstaion by the way ;) Never knew that this could evolve this big

wogan

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Re: Trees and Spheres
« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2009, 05:02:58 AM »
Yes, but Dyson seedlings don't eat :(

That's actually something I raised elsewhere - the lack of any real harvestable resource, as well as the lack of any real game limitations. Provided they have an asteroid, Dyson trees will grow and produce offspring.

And yeah, I'm enjoying this conversation too :)

totally

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Re: Trees and Spheres
« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2009, 05:23:04 AM »
Yes, but Dyson seedlings don't eat :(

Finally something we can agree upon. The only form that consumes energy and does something with it is the tree itself, passing some ammount of energy to the offspring.

That's actually something I raised elsewhere - the lack of any real harvestable resource, as well as the lack of any real game limitations. Provided they have an asteroid, Dyson trees will grow and produce offspring.

Yeah, that is true. I proposed an idea somewhere that the resources could be in the cores. Core slowly regenerates its energy, while asteroids without trees could have bigger ammount of energy in their cores and so on. The tree tries to get to that energy with its root.