Author Topic: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen  (Read 54276 times)

wogan

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Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« on: February 14, 2009, 09:24:20 AM »
Not to be a nitpicker, but:

Quote
Remotely command semi-autonomous self-replicating mining machines to take over an entire asteroid belt.

Dyson Trees are trees designed to grow in an anaerobic environment (ie, no oxygen), with the express purpose of producing said oxygen, which would theoretically collect in pockets, making asteroids and moons and planets livable.

What you've got in your summary there is a Von Neumann machine. In fact, you might even have picked it up from Arthur C. Clarke's Odyssey Two (2010), where Jupiter was supercondensed thanks to a fleet of semi-autonomous self-replicating mining machines that sucked up hydrogen, converted it to neutron matter, and dropped it to the gas giant's core, causing it to implode and ignite under the weight of it's newfound gravity.

While Freeman Dyson did theorise a self-replicating machine, it was a machine, and not a tree. The two are mutually exclusive.

Which brings me to my second point (sort of). In strategy games such as this, you generally have 3 classes of unit. Offensive, defensive, and resourcing. The former 2 have been largely nailed, but not the third.

Given that the original design of the Dyson Tree was to flourish on barren asteroids and produce oxygen, maybe you could find a way of working this into the game. If seedlings colonise asteroids, produce 3 types of tree (spawner, defense and miner), you could either use that oxygen to create a new type of attacker, or even better, feed it back to the asteroid to improve the Energy, Speed or Strength stats. Ie, pick one, it slowly increments over time.

And if you could move that captured oxygen between asteroids, you could, in time, convert a section of a belt to produce exactly the kind of seedlings you need.

Just a thought :)

Candlejack

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2009, 11:33:49 AM »
I'm pretty sure Dyson was inspired by the concept, not built around it.

wogan

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2009, 11:47:53 AM »
I'm pretty sure Dyson was inspired by the concept, not built around it.

I'm sure of that too, but there is a factual difference between the content of the game and the summary on the webpage - that's what I was pointing out. In a rather nitpicky way, I imagine.

Alex

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2009, 07:32:58 PM »
Yep, you're right, the game's built around the concepts of the Dyson tree, VN machines and astrochicken. Rudolf will be able to explain more, since he's the brains behind the setting. I wrote that description the day the website went up, maybe I should get Rudolf to write a clearer summary!

Rudolf

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2009, 02:34:58 AM »
Yep, you're right, the game's built around the concepts of the Dyson tree, VN machines and astrochicken. Rudolf will be able to explain more, since he's the brains behind the setting. I wrote that description the day the website went up, maybe I should get Rudolf to write a clearer summary!

Its on my list :-)
The game elements yuu are discussing take elements form the mentioned sources (and some other ones like a Philip K Dick story I once read) and forges them into their own weird little interdependent sytem. It is not mean to accurately portray the science behind the ideas, but they do form the basis for engaging game concepts. I will update the game description soon though as their are oher discrepencies. We no longer solely focus on an asteroid belt for example. We have some additional features coming up that will make the game's underlying science feel a better fit btw.

And welcome to the forum Wogan!

crazeh.monkeh

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2009, 02:42:10 AM »
ermmm... Astrochicken? Do I want to know what that is? Lol.

Also, I think Wogan is my new pick for most valuable member (obviously not counting admins) right now.

wogan

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2009, 03:03:35 AM »
I wrote that description the day the website went up, maybe I should get Rudolf to write a clearer summary!

Lol I know what that's like, needing to maintain little bits of static info everywhere :)

We no longer solely focus on an asteroid belt for example. We have some additional features coming up that will make the game's underlying science feel a better fit btw.

Cool - good to know. Weird little interdependent systems rock, btw :) Just don't go reading Rendesvous with Rama now ... lol

ermmm... Astrochicken? Do I want to know what that is? Lol.

Nothing sinister ;) But possibly the best-named thing in this whole soup, lol.

totally

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2009, 07:58:55 AM »
"Self replicating machine" and "living organism" are the same thing.

Dyson tree is the replicating part of the dyson spieces. (A more precise animation of the "planting of tree" is needed though. Like seedling gather on the surface of the asteroid and mate/mutate into tree.) In other words tree is the female part of the dyson spiece while seedling is the male. Seedlings apparently can change their sexes when needed -- like slugs or similar.


Also I think the food, different Tribes of seedlings compete after, is not oxygen but something that is in the cores of the asteroids.

Evolution is fun, isn't it?  :D


Alex

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2009, 04:12:00 PM »
(A more precise animation of the "planting of tree" is needed though. Like seedling gather on the surface of the asteroid and mate/mutate into tree.)
We've got some severely awesome plans for this :)

wogan

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2009, 10:00:14 PM »
"Self replicating machine" and "living organism" are the same thing.

Not quite. Organisms replicate, but generally it's sexual replication. Asexual replication (like mitosis) creates two identical copies from a single cell. So unless if you grow and divide down the middle every few months, producing two identical copies of yourself, you're not really self-replicating ;)

totally

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2009, 02:01:16 AM »
"Self replicating machine" and "living organism" are the same thing.

Not quite. Organisms replicate, but generally it's sexual replication. Asexual replication (like mitosis) creates two identical copies from a single cell. So unless if you grow and divide down the middle every few months, producing two identical copies of yourself, you're not really self-replicating ;)

True. Seedlings are very complex multicelled organisms which live in tribes, or colonies (which would indicate a very complex central nervous system), such complexity is never found in self-replicating organisms (two sexes are needed to sustain development). It could very well be that a tree itself is a female part of dyson.  So in a way the term "self-replicating" doesn't apply here. And it doesn't matter how you replicate :) It is simply "replicating", but "self-replicating" sounds cooler :D

Rudolf

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2009, 03:13:46 AM »
The self replication reference comes from the fact that the Seedlings and Dyson trees are artificial lifeforms. In the area of artificial life Self replication (and potentially "species" propagation) is a very important test to determine if true artificial life has been achieved.
The ability to independently reproduce and replicate enough biological data to creeate offspring being key here. For Dyson I just imagined a way this had been done successfully :-) (There are aspects of nanotechnology gone out of control in there as wel, partly inspired by some cyberpunk I read and partially by an old Philip Dick story about artificial entities locked in an endless war, and maintainig this status quo through mechanical self replication.

Yes I am a bit of a g33k ;-)

wogan

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2009, 03:40:50 AM »
Geek? Lol, aren't we all.

It's just that there is a clearly-defined line between "self-replication" and "replication". If your trees, for instance, grew and split (at the root level), they would be self-replicating. Or if the seedlings swelled and split, that would also be self-replicating.

But planting a tree isn't true self-replication, and the trees don't really "mine", which was the point I originally made ;)

crazeh.monkeh

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2009, 03:51:53 AM »
It does seem like the trees shouldn't really be considered "Self replicating"... they are more just reproducing, because they mutate and pick up some traits from their environment.

It is sort of like the trees are an alternate part of the seedlings life cycle. Like in how some species of amphibian spontaneously change gender in order to reproduce when they are under extreme stress, the Dyson seedlings bond together into a more complex tree structure in order to reproduce.

I'm sure I can find a better comparison than the frog species, but whatever. It's good enough.

totally

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2009, 04:17:59 AM »
It does seem like the trees shouldn't really be considered "Self replicating"... they are more just reproducing, because they mutate and pick up some traits from their environment.

It is sort of like the trees are an alternate part of the seedlings life cycle. Like in how some species of amphibian spontaneously change gender in order to reproduce when they are under extreme stress, the Dyson seedlings bond together into a more complex tree structure in order to reproduce.


I'm sure I can find a better comparison than the frog species, but whatever. It's good enough.

Yeah, fully agree. Slugs and some frogs have the ability to change their sexes. Dyson tree is the mining/replicating part of the spieces (female), while seedlings are males.

wogan

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2009, 04:33:18 AM »
Dyson tree is the mining/replicating part of the spieces (female), while seedlings are males.

Like queen ants? A queen ant settles in, is fertilized once by a male, and constantly produces offspring. Except that Dyson seedlings should be considered asexual - so a bunch of seedlings mutate into a plant, which then produces more seedlings. Slapping male/female stickers onto any design complicates it :-\

totally

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2009, 04:51:00 AM »
Dyson tree is the mining/replicating part of the spieces (female), while seedlings are males.

Like queen ants? A queen ant settles in, is fertilized once by a male, and constantly produces offspring. Except that Dyson seedlings should be considered asexual - so a bunch of seedlings mutate into a plant, which then produces more seedlings. Slapping male/female stickers onto any design complicates it :-\

When 15 seedlings gather in one spot to mate one of the males turns female (mutates into starter root), while the other 14 compete over who will pass their genes to the next generation. All of the 14 pass some ammount of energy (which they got from the mother tree) which is needed for the female to grow the root and start the mutation. All 14 die after mating because they have no energy left. The tree root succesfully reaches the core energy and starts producing seedlings and so on... Or something like that.

crazeh.monkeh

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2009, 04:54:52 AM »
well I wasn't really saying that they are male/female, just that it isn't true asexual reproduction. In true asexual reproduction all offspring are exact clones of the parent. There is no room for any mutation to occur. However with a Dyson tree, Every seedling is not identical. The way I see it is that the seedling are sort of reproducing sexually with the asteroid. The child of the seedlings and the asteroid is the Dyson tree, which then undergoes true asexual reproduction to produce the seedlings. I say true asexual reproduction, but I'm not positive that it is... all of the offspring are identical to one another, but not to the parent. I know there is a good natural example of this, but I can't remember what it is... Off to the google!!!

wogan

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2009, 04:55:50 AM »
When 15 seedlings gather in one spot to mate one of the males turns female (mutates into starter root), while the other 14 compete over who will pass their genes to the next generation. All of the 14 pass some ammount of energy (which they got from the mother tree) which is needed for the female to grow the root and start the mutation. All 14 die after mating because they have no energy left. The tree root succesfully reaches the core energy and starts producing seedlings and so on... Or something like that.

Or, alternately, you just combine their masses into a single asexual plant. There's no need to complicate the irrelevent theory behind that any further :)

wogan

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #19 on: February 16, 2009, 04:57:20 AM »
However with a Dyson tree, Every seedling is not identical.

Actually they are. There are differences in the properties of the asteroids, but on any given asteroid, all Dyson seedlings produced there will be exactly the same.

crazeh.monkeh

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #20 on: February 16, 2009, 04:59:10 AM »
yeah, on a given asteroid, but it's not universal. that is why I was saying the trees are asexual, but not the seedlings.

wogan

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #21 on: February 16, 2009, 05:04:37 AM »
yeah, on a given asteroid, but it's not universal. that is why I was saying the trees are asexual, but not the seedlings.

But the seedlings don't influence what the trees will grow - the composition of the asteroid does (please tell me you knew that). If the seedlings contained any genetic code at all, then if you planted a new tree with a mixed bunch of seedlings, you'd get different offspring than if you planted a tree with only one type of seedling.


crazeh.monkeh

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #22 on: February 16, 2009, 05:09:03 AM »
oops. Lol.
I really thought I included something about that in my paragraph up there, but I didn't.

It is sort of like the seedlings stimulate (sexual) the reproduction of the asteroid, which sprouts a tree (asexual), which then buds seedlings (asexual). So it is sort of a chain of asexual reproduction kicked off by sexual reproduction, but not really true sexual reproduction, as there is no exchange of genetic materials.

totally

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #23 on: February 16, 2009, 05:14:28 AM »
Quote from: Wogan May
Or, alternately, you just combine their masses into a single asexual plant. There's no need to complicate the irrelevent theory behind that any further :)

Which one is more complicated: different factions of the same race compete over territory by sending huge fleets of robots to change the condition of the asteroids in order to colonize them or just one simple spieces which has evolved somewhere.    :D

Quote from: crazeh.monkeh
yeah, on a given asteroid, but it's not universal. that is why I was saying the trees are asexual, but not the seedlings.
I don't know, asteroids are more close to food/resources, they are kinda passive to mate with.



Lol, I'd like to see where it is going to develope from here :)

crazeh.monkeh

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #24 on: February 16, 2009, 05:58:06 AM »
Lol. Well if they have no genetic material how are you explaining the seedlings having their traits?

wogan

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #25 on: February 16, 2009, 06:25:03 AM »
Lol. Well if they have no genetic material how are you explaining the seedlings having their traits?

How much DNA does your computer have?

crazeh.monkeh

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #26 on: February 16, 2009, 06:29:54 AM »
ummm... none? Lol. My computer doesn't have plants growing out of it, though, and if it did they wouldn't be like, cyber plants, or anything weird like that.

wogan

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #27 on: February 16, 2009, 07:20:52 AM »
My point is that you don't need DNA for every single thing you create/set loose. If Dyson trees are mechanized (which they'll probably have to be), then the seedlings wouldn't carry any genetic code - just instructions on how to create the base for a new tree.

Pretty much the same way a computer virus contains the instructions to make more of itself, without actually having any DNA.

crazeh.monkeh

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #28 on: February 16, 2009, 07:33:15 AM »
ok. I gotcha now.

So this is how I am reading what you are saying, please let me know, how far off I am.

You have the original colony, lets all say with well rounded equal stats. The seedlings scout the asteroid, find out what kind of resources it has, and then chooses the best way to spend those resources in the three stat areas. 15 of them then reconfigure themselves into a Dyson tree that absorbs the resources and produces new seedlings to best utilize the asteroids resources. Then those seedlings navigate to a different planet, scout the resources, plant a new tree, and start production there.

I know you didn't really mention resources or anything, but I figured that would be the easiest way to explain the stats of the seedlings being generated because of the asteroid.

So is that close to what you were imagining? Because I was going down the organic route, myself... Probably because the original meaning of a dyson tree was to produce oxygen in order to support colonies... I never read the thing about mars converting water to oxygen, so I had just always assumed that they worked like regular trees work on earth, they take some element/compound in the atmosphere (presumably not co2) and use that to produce their energy releasing oxygen as a gas.

wogan

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #29 on: February 16, 2009, 11:13:25 AM »
Not quite.

Trees don't actually produce oxygen - they simply recycle CO2 in the air, using the C for growth and releasing the O2.

Dyson trees would probably have to dig into asteroids to find water, and convert the H2O there into O2. However, the game does deviate from this rather ... substantially, lol.

The composition of the asteroids influences the stats of the seedlings produced, and there isn't really any other science needed to explain that, I think. But apart from the base stats, I was thinking the oxygen could be gathered and used as a resource, probably to upgrade trees/seedlings. Enhancing the base stats of an asteroid? Very out of the box.

Dyson's main strength is that it's so simple, and it'd be preferable if that simplicity would be maintained.

Rudolf

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #30 on: February 16, 2009, 06:26:59 PM »
You have the original colony, lets all say with well rounded equal stats. The seedlings scout the asteroid, find out what kind of resources it has, and then chooses the best way to spend those resources in the three stat areas. 15 of them then reconfigure themselves into a Dyson tree that absorbs the resources and produces new seedlings to best utilize the asteroids resources. Then those seedlings navigate to a different planet, scout the resources, plant a new tree, and start production there.

I know you didn't really mention resources or anything, but I figured that would be the easiest way to explain the stats of the seedlings being generated because of the asteroid.

This is pretty much how the game works now. The original design has explicit resources in the asteroid, minerals, water, and metal alloys, and this is what causes the seedling diversity across the different asteroids. The tree roots in the original design would actually burrow to pockets of resources, which explains their wiggly trajectory. The resulting paths were to function as playable "dungeons" the player could enter and explore. Due to the original competition time limits however we dropped this idea but the trees still act accordingly. :-)

crazeh.monkeh

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #31 on: February 17, 2009, 05:13:53 AM »
so they are like... semi-organic robots? lol

Or are they just powered by the minerals, water, and metal alloys?

and if they are powered by those which ones were originally intended to power which attributes?

wogan

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #32 on: February 17, 2009, 03:31:17 PM »
so they are like... semi-organic robots? lol

Or are they just powered by the minerals, water, and metal alloys?

and if they are powered by those which ones were originally intended to power which attributes?

Well, my idea was to make them completely robotic. Nanotechnology designed to emulate trees and seedlings, which is the only viable way a human scientific breakthrough would be able to create a Dyson Tree. They'd either be powered by sunlight or oxygen, but it looks like oxygen/water would be the first available minerals to these trees and seedlings.

axussriddare

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #33 on: March 22, 2009, 06:57:02 PM »
Here comes MR know-it-all!

I'm getting rather spooked by your usage of the word "mutate". The proper word would be metamorphosis or simply "change". Mutate implies a change in DNA (or equalivent).

Quote from: Wogan May
My point is that you don't need DNA for every single thing you create/set loose. If Dyson trees are mechanized (which they'll probably have to be), then the seedlings wouldn't carry any genetic code - just instructions on how to create the base for a new tree.
Why would they have to be machines? A organic creature could theoretically function in vacuum, as long as it can get energy to move and reproduce. A Dyson tree  would gather energy, possibly from a sun or the asteroid core, and reproduce by creating seedlings.

This is my theory about how a Dyson tree would work:

First we assume we have a tree on an asteroid. It grows out a couple of seedlings, and at some point there are enough seedlings (say, 15) to grow another tree. One of the seedlings undergo a metamorphosis and turns into a "seed". The others work as food for the "seed" until it can reach the core and produce its own food. Then the process is repeated. Finally a tree mutates to send a seedling to a different asteroid. That is a beneficial mutation, and that species can spread much faster than it would by spreading to passing asteroids. That breed might be the one you control in the game. Then there is the question of intelligence. A single seedling could be rather dumb, but these are obviously colony-building life-forms, and they might have a "collective mind" that is relatively intelligent (a single ant is really dumb, but a whole colony is much smarter). Or perhaps the trees are intelligent, and control the colony.

As for sexes, there is no need to divide everything into "male" and "female". There are types of fungus with hundreds of sexes, and surely reproduction can be accomplished with only one sex (hermaphroditism).

wogan

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #34 on: March 23, 2009, 04:29:55 AM »
Quote
mu·ta·tion
n.
1.  The act or process of being altered or changed.
2. An alteration or change, as in nature, form, or quality.

There is mutation outside of genetics. To mutate is to change, that's all. And it's a lot easier to type than metamorphosis.

You should check back to my previous posts in this thread. The attributes of dyson seedlings and attack spores is determined by the composition/stats of the asteroid - so there is no need for a genetic structure. Genes ensure that attributes for complex life forms are passed on despite radical changes in environmental conditions - plus, Dyson seedlings are hardly complex life forms: They don't metabolise, they don't respirate or reproduce.

Why should they be mechanised? Plants grow thanks to four primary inputs: Water, to transport materials. Sunlight, to provide energy, Carbon Dioxide, from which carbon (and hence cellulose) is synthesised, and nitrates from the soil. On an airless asteroid, you'll satisfy everything except the need for CO2. You probably couldn't mine it, either: asteroids are more likely to be composed of metals and silicates, possibly frozen water too, but very little carbon.

Producing a plant based on a silicate compound might be possible, but it would be far easier to mine and use existing ores in the asteroid - something that sunlight-powered machines would be able to do, and eventually build seedling factories out of.

Also:
Well, my idea was to make them completely robotic. Nanotechnology designed to emulate trees and seedlings, which is the only viable way a human scientific breakthrough would be able to create a Dyson Tree.

A thing with intelligence - you're underestimating the power of distributed intelligence. The only time a need arises to have an intelligent overseer is when the body has to achieve something against and beyond the calls of the current circumstances. Since Dyson seedlings only need to seed, spread and fight, and all of these functions can be triggered by environmental conditions, there's no need for a centalised intelligence.

axussriddare

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #35 on: March 24, 2009, 03:21:43 AM »
In my model (or whatever you would call it) the seedlings are just a stage, that then becomes the tree. To create a tree it needs a way to give the tree all the knowledge it should have. The tree DOES reproduce after all. What are the seedlings otherwise? A larval ant carries the DNA instructions needed for a full-grown queen, but those genes are not active at that stage. If a robot is to construct a factory, it also needs the information that the factory is to use to build robots.

All known organisms on earth (and some viruses) have DNA. Even the smallest, single-cell organisms. And a Dyson is extremely complicated in comparison. It needs to be capable of flight (that is probably very complicated in vacuum), fighting (with lasers?), finding enemies to fight (suggesting some kind of eyes or other light-sensitive organ), discerning friend from foe, deciding when to "plant", reproducing and so on. A single-cell organism needs to eat and reproduce. Simple. Well, not that simple, but still.

There is also the fact that Dysons seem to be capable of strategic thinking (sure, the AI is pretty dumb, but not intentionally). That certainly implies intelligence, or a VERY complicated system of instincts. And what sounds more likely?

Also, you just seem to assume that a plant can't run on just sunlight and minerals. This is alien life we are talking about here. Why should it be so limited? Is there any limit in the laws of physics?

totally

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #36 on: March 24, 2009, 08:19:13 AM »
Hi guys,
hm, this thread is still active? :)

From players perspective, which of the options creates more motivation and helps to associate with making emotional connection? (Making the game more exiting and fun to play)

1) nano-robots
2) organic species
3) other


I'd go with organic, but that is just my opinion.
Dyson species appears to be a mix of insect colony mentality and tribe mentality (leaderless and with a leader). In this case a female tree is the leader capable of judging the situation and giving orders to dysons. One mission ends with words something like "you serve the mother tree well" which indicates that a complex relationship between a dyson and a tree is present. Every dyson wants to become a tree (and every dyson has the potential of becoming a tree) and rule the surroundings but few dysons actually achieve this goal. So there is also competition inside colony.


Now what would be really interesting (I mean REALLY interesting) to implement is the possibility of a rogue trees. One central tree is the commander (grows bigger, more hitpoints and so on) while the others are being commanded. Commanders tree's dysons presence dictates how well other trees obey commander tree inside colony. For example if you had 0 commander trees dysons present of one asteroid, that tree might also become an commander tree and start a colony, becoming an enemy. So there would be all kind of competition: inside a colony (master tree vs slave tree), colonies vs colonies (master tree vs master tree), dysons vs dyson (1 from 15 become a tree), dysons vs trees (renegade dyson groups if left unchecked?) and so on. Easiest mode would be master tree vs master trees, hardest would be a rogue dyson group escaping from a master tree dominance and starting own colony and you play as a dyson...

Now THAT would be EXTREMELY interesting to play.



*waiting for the next version*
« Last Edit: March 25, 2009, 03:03:12 AM by totally »

axussriddare

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #37 on: March 26, 2009, 11:48:35 PM »
Here is my new, somewhat revised and greatly improved version of my "theory":

First new thing is the seedling anatomy. I realize that the quality is comparable to cow dung, but blame it on my choice of drawing program (MS Paint). I hope it is interesting enough to take your attention from the low quality though:

The seedlings fly through space using a form of combustion engine, for which the fuel is created from water and various gasses (the oxygen is taken from the water). A lot of the energy is received by solar power, but the propulsion is combustion-based. The idea for this was partially stolen from Alien planet (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_extraterrestrial_life_in_Alien_Planet#S).

The seedling is covered by a chitin-like material. A hole is quickly filled by the body fluids that contain some cells and fluids capable of repairing holes. The firing (yes, I noticed my spelling mistake on the picture) is done by a yet to be described process (perhaps we should leave it at that, in order to avoid technobabble) in the organ behind the "nose". The "nose" targets the shot and also contains certain sensory organs.

The seedlings have three senses: balance (to know what's down and what's up), smell (to find certain gasses) and sight (probably needed to detect enemies in space). They communicate with pheromones (or an equalivent) and visually. If a seedling runs out of resources, it dies.

When seedling is ready to become a tree, it signals to the others that it needs help. When enough have gathered, they "merge" by lining up and running nose-first into each others (the first one into the ground). The final seedling survives and becomes a tree. It feeds from the others to do so. The trees produce a lot of the gasses needed by the seedlings, and take up the remains that they need for themselves.

Well, what do you think?

wogan

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #38 on: March 27, 2009, 07:03:11 AM »
This is alien life we are talking about here. Why should it be so limited? Is there any limit in the laws of physics?

I'll be honest here. I am so, so tired of the SF cliche that it always has to be some far-off superior alien race that comes up with the weird and exciting stuff. Why can't the human race, for once, come up with something like this? Honestly, it was a human scientist that came up with the idea, we have the technology to implement it, why do we have to resign it to the aliens?

Seedlings don't need to carry a lot of data to produce trees - especially since the trees have no real influence on the seedlings produced. That influence is carried by the composition of the asteroid. All the seedlings need to be able to do is plant a factory - and if the data is fragmented across many (say, 15) seedlings, you don't need to give them much memory at all.

The ant argument is invalid, because it contains genetics capable of producing different offspring - something which seedlings don't need to be able to do.

Run down to your local library, pick up "Prey" by the now late Michael Crichton. It'll explain a lot of the backtheory I'm applying here. And don't worry - it's fiction. Doesn't bite :)

wogan

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #39 on: March 27, 2009, 07:13:51 AM »
In this case a female tree is the leader capable of judging the situation and giving orders to dysons. One mission ends with words something like "you serve the mother tree well" which indicates that a complex relationship between a dyson and a tree is present.

They're seedlings, not dysons, btw. I find it easier to refer to things by their name ;)

The main objective of an ant colony is to survive, as it is for a bee colony and a termite colony. The main objective of a Dyson seedling colony is to spread - so don't you think they'll do things differently?

It makes no sense to have competition of any sort between your seedlings, as it will slow them down and make them a less effective force. It also makes no sense to invest a significant amount of intelligence into any one seedling, since all it does is move, shoot and breed. Termites, for instance, have to play offensive, defensive, have to construct incredibly complex dwellings, tend to a queen, etc. Bees build and maintain hives. Ants grow gardens. Dyson seedlings don't have to do any of these things.

Well, what do you think?

I think you're over-complicating it, lol. Also, bear in mind that the resources harvested from an asteroid will mostly be silica, nickel, iron, and maybe the odd patch of ice. It's difficult to construct a chitin-based seedling from that - chitin is a polysaccharide, requiring carbon, oxygen and nitrates to produce (and you only have 1 of 3 there).

A ferrous drone with a quartz laser, powered by sunlight/oxygen? That's something more likely to be produced from the raw materials offered by an asteroid.

totally

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #40 on: March 27, 2009, 11:03:05 AM »
Quote from: Wogan May
The main objective of an ant colony is to survive, as it is for a bee colony and a termite colony. The main objective of a Dyson seedling colony is to spread - so don't you think they'll do things differently?

If you think that objectives end there, you are mistaken. To survive and gain control over surroundings is more accurate summary of objectives. The objective of a dyson tree is to gain control over asteroids. Because other trees have the same objectives there is also objective to neutralize other dyson trees. Conflict of interest.


Quote from: Wogan May
It makes no sense to have competition of any sort between your seedlings, as it will slow them down and make them a less effective force. It also makes no sense to invest a significant amount of intelligence into any one seedling, since all it does is move, shoot and breed. Termites, for instance, have to play offensive, defensive, have to construct incredibly complex dwellings, tend to a queen, etc. Bees build and maintain hives. Ants grow gardens. Dyson seedlings don't have to do any of these things.

There is lots and lots of competition inside species which makes it stronger as a whole. Competition to mate, competiton over food, competition over control and so on. The reason ants are so ineffective is because there is no centralized leadership, queen is just a copying machine (in other words there is no competition over control). And every ant cannot become a queen. However dyson spieces is more efficient because every seedling can become a tree, and that is very important. So a seedling wants to become a tree.

I don't really see dysons as tools, because their behavior resembles more an independent spieces (alpha predator) than a vacuum cleaner. Also it lowers the motivation to care about them if they are just tools (atleast for me).

 


totally

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #41 on: March 27, 2009, 11:21:09 AM »
Nice drawing axussriddare.

There was much debate about the source of energy that gives life to the species. I think it is cores that gives food to the dysons, Wogan thinks that it is solar (if I remember correctly). The original concept of developers was (again if I remember correctly) that cores are the sources of energy, but they probably changed it.


edit: Also don't listen to Wogan who thinks that he knows components of asteroids  ;) The word "asteroid" here is used to describe the round things on which trees live, they could very well be in alternative universe whith different minerals than our own.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2009, 11:25:20 AM by totally »

Rudolf

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #42 on: March 27, 2009, 02:13:21 PM »
This is alien life we are talking about here. Why should it be so limited? Is there any limit in the laws of physics?

I'll be honest here. I am so, so tired of the SF cliche that it always has to be some far-off superior alien race that comes up with the weird and exciting stuff. Why can't the human race, for once, come up with something like this? Honestly, it was a human scientist that came up with the idea, we have the technology to implement it, why do we have to resign it to the aliens?

Seedlings don't need to carry a lot of data to produce trees - especially since the trees have no real influence on the seedlings produced. That influence is carried by the composition of the asteroid. All the seedlings need to be able to do is plant a factory - and if the data is fragmented across many (say, 15) seedlings, you don't need to give them much memory at all.

The ant argument is invalid, because it contains genetics capable of producing different offspring - something which seedlings don't need to be able to do.

Run down to your local library, pick up "Prey" by the now late Michael Crichton. It'll explain a lot of the backtheory I'm applying here. And don't worry - it's fiction. Doesn't bite :)

We are still at GDC so this is going to be a short message,but I need to say something about this post and the forum in general.
First, this post (and the whole discussion in this thread) is one of the most awesome ones I can ever imagine seeing in response to a game we are developing. It is so awesome that words fail me and I am tempted to resort to interpretive dance. :-)

Second, you guys/gals on this forum absolutely rock. The only reason we are not more active on this board than we are now is because we are so incredibly busy due to the escalating popularity of Dyson and our development goals we want to meet in order to make the final game is good as we can.

Thank you all. We will tell all about GDC when we come back in a few days and have recovered a bit. At the moment we are still talking to tons of people at the booth.

axussriddare

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #43 on: March 27, 2009, 08:11:50 PM »
Seedlings don't need to carry a lot of data to produce trees - especially since the trees have no real influence on the seedlings produced. That influence is carried by the composition of the asteroid. All the seedlings need to be able to do is plant a factory - and if the data is fragmented across many (say, 15) seedlings, you don't need to give them much memory at all.

You would then need to have 15 sexes, one for each type, all acting in the mating. It would simply not be necessary to make things so complicated. If every seedling carries the instructions needed then there is no need for that.

Well, what do you think?

I think you're over-complicating it, lol. Also, bear in mind that the resources harvested from an asteroid will mostly be silica, nickel, iron, and maybe the odd patch of ice. It's difficult to construct a chitin-based seedling from that - chitin is a polysaccharide, requiring carbon, oxygen and nitrates to produce (and you only have 1 of 3 there).

A ferrous drone with a quartz laser, powered by sunlight/oxygen? That's something more likely to be produced from the raw materials offered by an asteroid.
Hey, it's my own theory, right? I personally don't think that it is complicated enough yet.
The seedling is covered by a chitin-like material.
I said "chitin-like material" not "chitin". It is similar in shape and function, not in composition. These don't even need to be carbon-based life-forms (though I imagine that it would be the best).

Now, I wish to revise my theory further (got some better ideas). Sadly I cannot stay with the game "lore" any longer, since I really can't find a realistic reason to why fifteen seedlings would be needed. I'll stay near the way it works in the game though. I'm only modifying the last part (about turning into a tree).

There are four "sexes" among the seedlings. There are two "female" sexes, regular and defensive, and two "male", regular and defenders. The male is your ordinary seedling (see the picture). Both females are three times larger than the males. They cannot "shoot" with their nose, instead it is used to burrow into the ground and start "planting". Behind it there is a large "root" instead of the firing processing organ. They also have an additional, smaller, propelling organ near the base of their wings. That is turned the opposite direction and used to slow down when "landing". The seed organs are larger (in proportion to the rest of the body), and work fundamentally different.

When mating, the female calls for males to "seed" her. They release their seeds onto the female (a process that is fatal to them). The female collects them with her collection organs. After that she "lands" and plants herself. Her body becomes the base of the tree. The two sexes each form a different type. The regular females form a regular Dyson tree, and the defensive females form defensive trees.

The trees produce a lot of the gasses needed by the seedlings, and take up the remains that they need for themselves. Regular Dyson trees produce all female seedling types and the regular males. The defensive trees produce defensive male seedlings.

Defensive males have an even more primitive "brain" than the regular males. They sit on their trees until given the signal to attack. They find a target and follow it until they ram into it. They have much larger fuel processing organs than the other males, and have three small "wings". These wings contain "fuel". When they ram into a target, they shoot their wings into it and then start an explosion, usually destroying both. A defensive male cannot land, and it destroys itself if it can't find enemies. That way the other males and the females can take up the gasses and materials for their own use.

I might give you some pictures of the other sexes later.

wogan

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #44 on: March 29, 2009, 10:07:57 PM »
You would then need to have 15 sexes, one for each type, all acting in the mating.

15 sexes? Types? Lol, I have no idea how you jumped to that conclusion. Imagine the design for a tree's root took up the equivalent of 15Mb of memory. Would you rather invest in 15 15Mb cores (1 in each seedling), or 15 1Mb cores (1 in each seedling), and then simply select the correct 15 seedlings at planting time? That's distributed intelligence (or in this case, information).

Hey, it's my own theory, right? I personally don't think that it is complicated enough yet.

Heheh, to each his own :)

I said "chitin-like material" not "chitin". It is similar in shape and function, not in composition. These don't even need to be carbon-based life-forms (though I imagine that it would be the best).

You can't have carbon-based lifeforms in a carbon-void environment. I know, we take it for granted here on Earth, but we're dealing with ferrous/silicate asteroids here.

Now, I wish to revise my theory further (got some better ideas). Sadly I cannot stay with the game "lore" any longer, since I really can't find a realistic reason to why fifteen seedlings would be needed.

Because if the seedlings were composed, at their core, of nanobots (or micromachines), they could be reconfigured at planting time into a root generator, cannibalizing themselves as they go. And it would most likely take the mass of 15 seedlings to start the process.

I might give you some pictures of the other sexes later.

No pr0n D:

I still can't quite grasp why Dyson seedlings have to be living organisms. Living organisms require inordinate amounts of energy, are prone to decay, genetic degradation, chemical/hormonal imbalances, even disease. And if you're trying to oxygenate (or even mine) an asteroid belt, the last thing you'd want is for your tools to go completely haywire in 3 generations.

If you think that objectives end there, you are mistaken. To survive and gain control over surroundings is more accurate summary of objectives. The objective of a dyson tree is to gain control over asteroids. Because other trees have the same objectives there is also objective to neutralize other dyson trees. Conflict of interest.

Ants don't actively seek to spread and cover more terrain - if they did, they'd be a bigger problem than what they currently are. And yes, of course there's conflict - conflict between different races/clans/tribes/owners, not internal conflict between seedlings/trees of the same kin.

And the only reason there'd be conflict between different tribes of the same seedlings would be defined in a game plot device, not as a function of their design and purpose. Just as the divides in human culture are defined by religious beliefs and geography.

There is lots and lots of competition inside species which makes it stronger as a whole.

Based on what evidence? The human race has been competing with itself for the last 3'000 years - and look what its done to us, our moralities, beliefs, relationships, and even the planet itself. Gaza, Rwanda, WWII, anyone? Have we become a stronger race for it? I don't think so. And no, building bigger bombs doesn't make you stronger, it just makes you more liable to do something really stupid.

I know you're invoking natural selection here - the idea that the strong survive by getting rid of the weak. What evolutionists fail to realise is that even the "weak" species play fundamental roles. Earthworms, for instance, aren't particularly strong, and would lose in just about any fight - but without them, our soils wouldn't be nearly as fertile as what they are.

Just remember that the purpose of the theory of natural selection was to explain how the current species spread came to be. In Dyson, we already know exactly how the species is to behave, the environment it will act in, how it will need to respond to stimuli, and how it will reproduce and spread. Introducing further competiton at this point is insanity - all it will do is promote counter-productive individualism, which (as I'm sure you've learned when you need 400+ seedlings to take an asteroid) will severely hamper your efforts.

edit: Also don't listen to Wogan who thinks that he knows components of asteroids  ;) The word "asteroid" here is used to describe the round things on which trees live, they could very well be in alternative universe whith different minerals than our own.

Still with the alternate-universe thing? I honestly can't see why it has to be that way - we have plenty of asteroids in our own universe already. Just because they're represented with circles in the game doesn't mean that they're circles in real life :) Plus, it was a scientist in this universe that proposed the idea, and an author in this universe who proposed the technology.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2009, 10:13:41 PM by Wogan May »

axussriddare

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #45 on: March 29, 2009, 10:51:56 PM »
Now, I wish to revise my theory further (got some better ideas). Sadly I cannot stay with the game "lore" any longer, since I really can't find a realistic reason to why fifteen seedlings would be needed.
Because if the seedlings were composed, at their core, of nanobots (or micromachines), they could be reconfigured at planting time into a root generator, cannibalizing themselves as they go. And it would most likely take the mass of 15 seedlings to start the process.
But there you are again! In MY theory, the Dysons are organic! They are an alien species evolved in an unknown environment (an asteroid belt or a now-broken planet). Please stop hacking away at me with criticism that isn't even aimed correctly. This is getting rather tiresome.

wogan

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #46 on: March 30, 2009, 02:41:12 AM »
I was just offering an explanation as to why 15 seedlings would be required to seed a tree, that's all. No need to start spitting fire.

totally

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #47 on: March 30, 2009, 12:10:10 PM »
Quote from: Wogan May
Quote from: totally
There is lots and lots of competition inside species which makes it stronger as a whole.

Based on what evidence? The human race has been competing with itself for the last 3'000 years - and look what its done to us, our moralities, beliefs, relationships, and even the planet itself. Gaza, Rwanda, WWII, anyone? Have we become a stronger race for it? I don't think so. And no, building bigger bombs doesn't make you stronger, it just makes you more liable to do something really stupid.

I'll give you an example about competition inside spicies: there is one attractive girl, and you and I go after her. To deny that this kind of competition doesn't make the spices stronger is kinda naive (and I'll get the girl ;) Those examples you mentioned are more of a tribe vs tribe, or system vs system. And, yes, bigger bombs make you stronger, there is no way around it.



Quote from: Wogan May
I know you're invoking natural selection here - the idea that the strong survive by getting rid of the weak. What evolutionists fail to realise is that even the "weak" species play fundamental roles. Earthworms, for instance, aren't particularly strong, and would lose in just about any fight - but without them, our soils wouldn't be nearly as fertile as what they are.

Just remember that the purpose of the theory of natural selection was to explain how the current species spread came to be. In Dyson, we already know exactly how the species is to behave, the environment it will act in, how it will need to respond to stimuli, and how it will reproduce and spread. Introducing further competiton at this point is insanity - all it will do is promote counter-productive individualism, which (as I'm sure you've learned when you need 400+ seedlings to take an asteroid) will severely hamper your efforts.


Hm, who said that evolution is about survival of the strongest? "The strong survive by getting rid of the weak"? No, the strong survive by controling the weak. Major difference. Wolves don't get rid of all the rabbits. They simply eat them. Why? Because they can. The wolf has more control over the rabbit, than a rabbit has over wolf.



Quote from: Wogan May
edit: Also don't listen to Wogan who thinks that he knows components of asteroids  ;) The word "asteroid" here is used to describe the round things on which trees live, they could very well be in alternative universe whith different minerals than our own.

Still with the alternate-universe thing? I honestly can't see why it has to be that way - we have plenty of asteroids in our own universe already. Just because they're represented with circles in the game doesn't mean that they're circles in real life :) Plus, it was a scientist in this universe that proposed the idea, and an author in this universe who proposed the technology.


This is not about who is right or wrong, but which one would be more interesting to play. You are forgetting that this is all in context of a game. I say that playing as a tribe vs tribe will be more interesting that playing as you suggested. The platfrom is ready and it introduces huge ammount of possibilities to expand the gameplay in the future, like hero dysons, rogue trees, friendly tribes, neutral spicies, food chain and so on.


PS: please split your posts, its getting harder to answer them if you put all the stuff in one post.

totally

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #48 on: March 30, 2009, 02:00:17 PM »
Also the implementation of competition inside dyson species was just a thought, it would require 10 times more programming than is implemented now. Just an interesting concept for a gameplay, nothing more.

The advantages of an organic gameplay scenario are obvious (thoughts for future versions):

--scenario based on a plot
--alliances and friendly tribes

more threats and weapons:
--hero dysons
--different species (parasite insects that attack trees and drink sap...)
--natural and weaponized diseases
--more specialized trees


These are just ideas, after all, devs decide what they are going to do next ;) I just think that organic scenario leaves more room for future development and expansion.

wogan

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #49 on: March 31, 2009, 03:06:19 AM »
I'll give you an example about competition inside spicies: there is one attractive girl, and you and I go after her. To deny that this kind of competition doesn't make the spices stronger is kinda naive (and I'll get the girl ;) [...] And, yes, bigger bombs make you stronger, there is no way around it.

I wouldn't "go after" any girl, because I understand how my actions might create a negative influence that would end up doing more harm than good. Call me naive if it makes you feel more comfortable :)

The US has the biggest bombs. They also have the most failed economy in the world. Are you sure you want to stick with your view on this?

Hm, who said that evolution is about survival of the strongest? "The strong survive by getting rid of the weak"? No, the strong survive by controling the weak. Major difference. Wolves don't get rid of all the rabbits. They simply eat them. Why? Because they can. The wolf has more control over the rabbit, than a rabbit has over wolf.

When you eat a rabbit, it dies. Believe it or not. Maybe in your universe, they're immortal zombie ghosts that can recreate their bodies from sunlight and Chemical X, but in the real world, things die when eaten. The only system of "control" in nature is aggressive dominance - and competing species are killed off. EG: The dodo bird.

This is not about who is right or wrong, but which one would be more interesting to play.

I know - I never said that having any of this in our universe would be better, but it would certainly break the cliche that the interesting stuff happens in alternate universes and alien races. Any wonder Darwinia's been such a hit?
« Last Edit: March 31, 2009, 03:46:05 AM by Wogan »

Candlejack

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #50 on: March 31, 2009, 07:05:56 AM »
All Dyson seedlings on one team are genetically the same. The trees they grew from use resources from the asteroid in the most efficient way possible, which causes them to be physically different.

totally

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #51 on: March 31, 2009, 10:19:31 AM »
Quote from: Wogan
I wouldn't "go after" any girl, because I understand how my actions might create a negative influence that would end up doing more harm than good. Call me naive if it makes you feel more comfortable :)
Well, good luck with that mindset.

Quote from: Wogan
The US has the biggest bombs. They also have the most failed economy in the world. Are you sure you want to stick with your view on this?
Yes, because things you mentioned are not connected. US isn't one homogeneous group with similar interests. I'll just leave it that way.


Quote from: Wogan
When you eat a rabbit, it dies. Believe it or not. Maybe in your universe, they're immortal zombie ghosts that can recreate their bodies from sunlight and Chemical X, but in the real world, things die when eaten. The only system of "control" in nature is aggressive dominance - and competing species are killed off. EG: The dodo bird.
By that logic all the things I eat would be extinct by now. Predator and a prey don't really compete, predator simply eats the prey (there was really no competition between the chicken I just ate and me). Now different tribes (packs/groups) of predators do compete with each other. So your example is way off base.


Quote from: Wogan
I know - I never said that having any of this in our universe would be better, but it would certainly break the cliche that the interesting stuff happens in alternate universes and alien races. Any wonder Darwinia's been such a hit?
The topic here is not about this universe vs alternative but about the ways the game could be made better. In other words how different elements of gameplay could be added seamlessly into game universe at later stages of development. So a dev guys could read this and say, hey I like this idea, let's incorporate that into the game, and it would be congruent with everything else.

(Yeah, I know that there is no guarantee that things mentioned here would end up in the final game, it is just fun experimenting with different ideas  ;D )


wogan

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #52 on: March 31, 2009, 05:09:58 PM »
All Dyson seedlings on one team are genetically the same. The trees they grew from use resources from the asteroid in the most efficient way possible, which causes them to be physically different.

Yup. I've been trying to tell them that for 4 pages now :(

wogan

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #53 on: March 31, 2009, 05:13:52 PM »
Now different tribes (packs/groups) of predators do compete with each other. So your example is way off base.

Did you even read what I wrote? I agreed with you on the point that there is inter-tribal competition. Just no inner-tribal competition.

The topic here is not about this universe vs alternative but about the ways the game could be made better.

Did you even read what I wrote? I reiterated the point that the this-universe idea breaks a cliche, but it is by no means "better" than an alternate-universe setting.

totally

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #54 on: March 31, 2009, 07:57:19 PM »
I agreed with you on the point that there is inter-tribal competition. Just no inner-tribal competition.

Whoa. I just found one who doesn't know about inner tribal competition. Tribal leader is the only one who passes he's genes in a tribe to the next generation (say a lion pack for example or a gorilla tribe). Tribal leader is the only one who is able to mate and he is the one who shares food and so on, and that position is extremelly advantages. A lion sometimes kills his opponents kids if there is a major shift in power realtions. Dyson tribe may look like an ant colony but every seedling is able to become a tree and pass genes to the next generation. So? Every seedling thus wants to become a tree and if that requires killing the tree... you get the idea.

(But there is no way to implement this currently because it would require 10 times more programming and UI features. I am yet to find a game that does that properly. Imagine an SCV from Starcraft wanting to become a starfleet commander, and a game design that allows this.)

Quote from: Wogan May
I reiterated the point that the this-universe idea breaks a cliche, but it is by no means "better" than an alternate-universe setting.

It's all about game feature and long term goals for development and whether they are congruent with the rest of the story. Breaking of cliche would be a game that would fully implement a complex inner and outer tribal realtions even on a small scale. I referred to the tools vs organic discussion.

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #55 on: April 01, 2009, 05:05:43 AM »
Seedlings are like computers and trees are like super computers. A tree needs the processing power of 15 seedlings in order to run. I assume it gets the "program" used to operate from another tree through some sort of wireless transmission.

wogan

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #56 on: April 01, 2009, 06:03:27 AM »
... you get the idea.

I do, actually - you're trying to superimpose an earthly tribal system on what you call an alien race from an alternate universe. I somehow doubt they'd behave a single bit like us.

I assume it gets the "program" used to operate from another tree through some sort of wireless transmission.

Or just from latent memory within the seedling itself. I mentioned distributed information somewhere in this thread - same idea. However, wireless linkage would be handy for co-ordination, etc...

totally

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #57 on: April 01, 2009, 11:27:23 PM »
I do, actually - you're trying to superimpose an earthly tribal system on what you call an alien race from an alternate universe. I somehow doubt they'd behave a single bit like us.

If they wouldn't behave like us, then the game would be extremelly boring. Again, this is all in a context of a game and players experience. (And it is pretty hard for me to imagine a life form or life cycle that is not based on some sort of control or a fight.)

If you think of dysons as tools like computers, it cuts off implementation into the game design of such wonderful inter-species interactions as amensalism, commensalism, inquilinism, mutualism, predation, parasitism and symbiosis. (Example usage: predation - organisms that are higher in a food chain than dysons, spawned randomly in the beginning of the game, attack and eat lonely dysons, flee when attacked in large groups and so on.) Defence seedlings would the type of seedlings that specialize in autothysis (suicidal altruism) etc etc. And the best part is that if you implement these into any game in any order, they will be mutually congruent with ech other.

Simply put, the more game play mimics real world the more exciting for a player that is.

So anybody has more ideas how to bring more depth to the game play?

wogan

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #58 on: April 03, 2009, 03:50:26 AM »
Simply put, the more game play mimics real world the more exciting for a player that is.

Really? Ok, pick any FPS game. Then pick three more. Heck, think of them all - if you can play one, you can play the genre. Same goes for TBS, RTS, any genre you care to mention.

Just about every new game that's released follows "real-world" guidelines (like NFS, for instance. Or CS:S). And every one of them is same crap, different wrapper. Even those like Warcraft or Starcraft follow mostly-set rules in the RTS and RPG genres, and guess what? If you can play War I, you can play Wars II-III+ any expansion they release in the future.

Plus one for playability, minus one for originality. Which is why Uplink was such a hit - as was DEFCON, and Darwinia. Because they flipped everything we thought we know about gaming on its head, and introduced something completely new.

Try them out, if you haven't already, and you'll see what I mean:

http://www.introversion.co.uk/defcon/
http://www.introversion.co.uk/darwinia/

If Dyson turns into yet another RTS with the same RBA pattern, following everything we know about RTS/RPG games thus far, it'll really lose the edge of originality it has right now. And that would suck.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2009, 03:58:14 AM by Wogan »

SnukJam

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #59 on: April 04, 2009, 02:42:32 AM »
:o This is rare, due to their usual caustic nature ... but I actually agree with Wogan's last message. :o

Dyson has potential ... let's keep pointing in new and uncharted directions. :)


totally

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #60 on: April 04, 2009, 02:43:44 AM »
I love it when Wogan quotes one sentence and then goes from that, ignoring the rest of the post and the thread :) I will try to control myself and not quote Wogan, but it is getting hard, especially after words like "real world guidelines" :)

I will try to explain what I ment by the real world. In the context of the thread getting more "real" means expanding options of the game design. Simply put: real world -- no rules, game -- lots of rules. Real world -- lots of options, game play -- very limited  options. Real world -- great ammount of relations, game -- small ammount of relations. And so on.

Players want a game with minimum ammount of rules and maximum ammount of options. So when a game comes that expands those limits considerably, it becomes successful.

How it all ties to Dyson: if you have, for example, two species that you want to put in the game and you remove all rules, all interactions will be based on power relations and there will be limited ammount of types of interactions. Some of the major ones are mentioned in my last post. It is actually quite funny, when you make unlimited ammount of options available, there will be limited types of relationships.

wogan

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #61 on: April 04, 2009, 07:07:57 AM »
@totally I only quote relevant parts. You were the one that moaned about my posts being too long:

PS: please split your posts, its getting harder to answer them if you put all the stuff in one post.

Don't you think it's a wee bit condescending to automatically assume what the whole world wants in terms of a game? Personally, I don't care if the options are vast or limited - I want an entertaining game that's not like any games I've played before. EG: http://www.sophiehoulden.com/games/ramuhshmoo/

So far, all your suggestions have been following a very clearly defined opinion: Make Dyson more like other RTS games. The point I'm trying to make is that it's strength lies in it not being like other RTS games, and I'd love it if it stayed that way.

That includes everything from tactics to gameplay to backstory, technology, visuals, the lot. Maybe you don't like the way Dyson's turning out, but that's only your opinion - and there are many others with differing opinions.

wogan

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #62 on: April 04, 2009, 07:09:49 AM »
:o This is rare, due to their usual caustic nature ... but I actually agree with Wogan's last message. :o

"caustic"? lol. I guess we all see things differently. I'm just getting a little head-banging-on-wall-y from iterating the same points over and over again.

totally

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #63 on: April 04, 2009, 07:35:37 AM »
So far, all your suggestions have been following a very clearly defined opinion: Make Dyson more like other RTS games.

What? Lol, if you know some RTS that simulates a full ecosystem (or atleast tries to) then please tell me the name, I would love to try it.

Maybe you don't like the way Dyson's turning out, but that's only your opinion - and there are many others with differing opinions.

Yes, I don't like Dyson and I eat kittens for breakfast :) Dude, don't put words in my mouth. These are all suggestions how to get more depth into gameplay, nothing more.

Rudolf

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #64 on: April 04, 2009, 08:26:21 AM »
Ok guys, we have a great forum here, and we love you all equally, so lets calm down, breathe deeply, shake hands, and keep things friendly ok?  ;D Internet forums ALWAYS make things sound more adverserial than they really are so lets keep a positive attitude about each other's posts.

Thanks guys.



 

wogan

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #65 on: April 04, 2009, 08:59:02 AM »
Haha, yeah, we're 5 pages in. Time to call it, I think.

ryandaniels

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #66 on: April 05, 2009, 08:30:14 AM »
lol

DeathByNukes

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Re: Von Neumann machines, and oxygen
« Reply #67 on: October 16, 2009, 06:09:58 PM »
There's no need to start assuming that anything complicated and intelligent must be based on some sort of life-form and it's definitely a bad idea to think of it in terms of Earth-based life. Words like "gender", "DNA", and "species" have no relation to this.

All of the seedlings have the same exact design, just different loyalties. This is evidenced by the fact that it's possible to conquer an asteroid and take over the existing Dyson trees and developing seedlings without destroying them. For the people that can only think in terms of genetics, the shape of the seedlings would be like a phenotypic trait, not a genotypic one. The argument about reproduction competition between seedlings of the same loyalty is void as they are all identical. In this situation, any mutation at all would have negative consequences; the machines are pre-built for optimal functionality. Genes and genetic selection do not apply here.

If they wouldn't behave like us, then the game would be extremelly boring. Again, this is all in a context of a game and players experience. (And it is pretty hard for me to imagine a life form or life cycle that is not based on some sort of control or a fight.)

If you think of dysons as tools like computers, it cuts off implementation into the game design of such wonderful inter-species interactions as amensalism, commensalism, inquilinism, mutualism, predation, parasitism and symbiosis. (Example usage: predation - organisms that are higher in a food chain than dysons, spawned randomly in the beginning of the game, attack and eat lonely dysons, flee when attacked in large groups and so on.) Defence seedlings would the type of seedlings that specialize in autothysis (suicidal altruism) etc etc. And the best part is that if you implement these into any game in any order, they will be mutually congruent with ech other.

Simply put, the more game play mimics real world the more exciting for a player that is.

So anybody has more ideas how to bring more depth to the game play?
You don't need evolution-based life for complexity. Saying that thinking in terms of a mechanical construct limits the design is silly. Think about it for a moment. Where will this game's simulations be run? On the computer.
Building a predator-like machine would be theoretically even easier than building a dyson; it doesn't have to be able to mine asteroids and make trees, just consume seedlings.
How does explaining defensive trees as altruistic change anything about their behavior? That's what they are and what they are made to do. You're just explaining the same thing in different terms.

Also, while computers may not have some of the interesting flaws that life does, they have their own flaws which could result in other interesting mechanics.

For example: Build a launchable radio jammer that temporarily disrupts an asteroid's communication with the master. All seedlings within range would be unable to recieve orders and would be unable to tell friend from foe so they would not attack any invaders. This would last until the jammer runs out of power and shuts down or, optionally, the seedlings will automatically attack any jammers they see.

Another example: Hacking. Capture a seedling without destroying it and steal its faction's public key code. This would allow you to tap all of their communications to get their asteroid discovery maps and see orders being dispatched for a limited time. If you have enough trees/seedlings (computational power), you might be able to crack the private key, which may allow you to send false orders, cause some to self-destruct, or even take over the entire faction.

Keep in mind that this game is a visual abstraction of the conceptual replicating miner machines. The factory's appearance as a tree doesn't necessarily mean it's actually that shape and certainly doesn't mean that it's biological. There can be more complicated things going on behind the scenes that are not displayed because they're not relevant and don't affect the gameplay.