• Announcements

    • khawk

      Download the Game Design and Indie Game Marketing Freebook   07/19/17

      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.

Lysander

Members
  • Content count

    91
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

134 Neutral

About Lysander

  • Rank
    Member
  1. Does anyone know where I can find some kind of template for RPG quest writing/design? I'm especially interested in how branching dialogue is handled.
  2. Unless this game is set 2000 years ago, don't use "ancient" (which is spelled wrong in your screenshots, by the way). Don't use "The Old West," either, because that's very generic. Change the SAU to the Pinkerton Detective Agency (google it). If you have a historical setting, it helps to have some connection to real history. Why is the President (of the US, I assume) giving out this assignment personally? Why do you say Allenwood is a county? Why not just make it an isolated town? It seems awkward as it is. So far, this seems pretty similar to Resident Evil 4. [Edited by - Lysander on July 27, 2005 5:04:56 PM]
  3. Quote:Original post by Horatius83 1) No sufficiently advanced (and large) civilization has wastelands. Large affluent populations require huge amounts of resources to support themselves, that means using every inch of land to support that population. What about, say, Death Valley? Are you envisioning cities covering every inch of non-arable land? Quote:Original post by Horatius83 One might argue that with Nanotech you can just synthesize it all, but remember that you can't make something out of nothing, you still need elements to assemble into more complex shapes. Is there some reason why the matter from waste products couldn't be re-arranged into useful objects? Quote:Original post by Horatius83 (So even in the future you can't turn lead into gold) We can do that now, it's just not cost-effective. Quote:Original post by Horatius83 2) The world has already seen two secularist cultural revolutions, one was an utter failure (Soviet Union) the other was an failure until they accepted capitalism (China), the fact is secularist thinking is not necessarily a sign of advanced civilization, "scientific thinking" can be just as stupid and contemptable as religious dogma. What about the Enlightement/Renaissance? I think most people would agree that that worked out pretty well. Also, "scientific thinking that is "as stupid and contemptable as religious dogma" isn't scientific at all; calling it that would simply be propaganda. Quote:Original post by Horatius83 (Look up phrenology, or eugenics if you don't believe me) Phrenology is not scientific. It doesn't use the scientific method. It's just astrology for heads. It's a mistake to group eugenics with phrenology; eugenics is simply selective breeding, which works fine, i.e. you can raise the occurence of certain traits in a population. Quote:Original post by Horatius83 3) I think the unification of different cultures is already happening, you notice that EVERYONE wears jeans, Japanese culture is increasingly on TV and movies,(Chiaki Kuriyama in Kill Bill vol I, yeowza!) and you can't cuss at Americans in spanish because they know what you're saying. I don't think a common culture would come out of a revolution, but though years of subversive things like clothes, TV, and the internet. So far, this seems to happen only to pop culture; deeper values (such as women's role in society) seem to be more intact, though perhaps a bit diluted...and of course, this may change rapidly.
  4. But humans are animals. Most people want to mate/eat/play...
  5. Quote:Original post by FridgeRaider Dont: -Things that you shouldn't do when wanting to create a story for your game. 1)The #1 thing that i cant stress enough to ppl is dont just sit down and try to think up a story in a day. The greatest stories ever written were molded in time and thats where the best results will come from. (To counter this please see Do: # 2) It depends on the length of the story. It's certainly possible to write a first draft of a short story in a day. Quote:Original post by FridgeRaider3)Dont ask anyone to help you on creating yuor story unless your absolutly positive that the person your working with thinks just like you. I disagree. You want to work with someone who shares a mostly-similar sense of aesthetics, but is still different. A good writing team is complementary, not redundant.
  6. The novelty will wear off quickly. I think we'll see some neat things in 5-10 years when it's no longer possible to increase graphical quality noticeably--leaps in sound, interactivity, AI, gameplay, etc. Quote:Original post by fyhuang why do TV screens @ 25 FPS and interlaced look so much smoother than PC screens @ 100 Hz? My guess is that you're farsighted. Or you need a better video card.
  7. Quote:Original post by lucky_monkey Quote:Original post by Lysander I'm sure they do have biochemical production of pheromones, but that's not the issue. I'm talking about the analysis, transmission, and synthesis of pheromones for distance communication.Synthesis is a synonym for production in this context. No, it's not. I'm using it the sense of synthetic, like synthetic fabric or synthetic insulin. We're talking about at artificial production. Quote:Original post by lucky_monkey Quote:Original post by Lysander Actually, speed is a big concern in computer science--algorith analysis is an important part.That's not what I said. I said that a neural network's speed is irrelevant to its operation, just as a computer's speed is irrelevant to its operation. The capability of any Turing-complete machine is the same as the capability of any other. I'm not talking about any other than what the machine is capable of, and speed has no effect on that. And I'm saying that speed absolutely is relevant in time-critical operations. If a machine doesn't complete the operation within the time alloted, then it can be said to have failed, regardless of whether or not it would work given more time. Quote:Original post by lucky_monkey Quote:Original post by Lysander It especially matters when your survival depends on the speed of the operation.Survival doesn't have to depend on communication if the individual is sufficiently able to defend themselves (and Wavinator posted earlier that this is the case here). That depends on several factors; we cannot really discuss it without more information. Quote:Original post by lucky_monkey Quote:Original post by Lysander The operation of neural networks is extremely complex, with feedback, back-propagation, and the like. A series of connected nodes is a better description of my conception of the system described. Anyone can correct me if I'm wrong.A neural network is a group of connected nodes. I didn't say group, I said series. Neural networks are not serial. Quote:Original post by lucky_monkey Anyway, you are talking about implementation not operation here. It doesn't matter. The point is that the operation of neural networks is unnecessarily complex for the given application. But speed wasn't even my point. I said that neurons are close together because I don't see it working over long distances, using gaseous pheromones as the medium--gases just don't work like that.
  8. Quote:Original post by lucky_monkey Why couldn't they have some form of (bio)chemical production mechanism for pheromones? I'm sure they do have biochemical production of pheromones, but that's not the issue. I'm talking about the analysis, transmission, and synthesis of pheromones for distance communication. Quote:Original post by lucky_monkey But if developing speech was hard why didn't we just give up? (why does the fact that it's technological make any difference, a tool is a tool) It make a difference because we didn't really develop speech anymore than we developed fingers--that as, it was not a conscious process, as it would be for technology. Quote:Original post by lucky_monkey A neural network's speed is irrelevant to its operation, just as a computer's speed is irrelevant to its operation. Actually, speed is a big concern in computer science--algorith analysis is an important part. It especially matters when your survival depends on the speed of the operation. Quote:Original post by lucky_monkey I'm not saying that this idea has no problems (neurons don't get on spaceships and go to the otehr side of the galaxy) but it's a good idea, especially given the parallels that can be drawn between these creatures and a neural network (with chemical potential replacing electric). The operation of neural networks is extremely complex, with feedback, back-propagation, and the like. A series of connected nodes is a better description of my conception of the system described. Anyone can correct me if I'm wrong.
  9. Quote:Original post by Thermodynamics I would say that it is safe to allow molecular messages to be understood. I'm sorry, I was unclear. I meant linguistically atomic, that is, indivisible, meaning that it's basically one idea/thought, like DANGER, but not like JACK IS COMING--not chemically atomic. Quote:Original post by ThermodynamicsThe molecule would remain cohesive and could be theoretically any size. That depends on the molecule. Some molecules, like acids, have their bonds broken in water, eg HCl + H2O = H3O+ + Cl-. Since this species is not aquatic, it's unlikely that every molecule they use for communication would be stable in solution. Quote:Original post by Thermodynamics Imagine pheremone the size of DNA. Yes, entire messages could be created on one molecule. Yes entire books could be created. Yes, the blueprint for an entire living being could be transmitted. Most large molecules are extremely fragile. Animals have constant DNA error-checking, and mistakes still get through sometimes, like cancer. The only way I can see this working is through some sort of envelope which protects the integrity of the message and would allow for easy extraction from the water. Quote:Original post by Thermodynamics About the tigers- Not too many trees worry about being eaten by tigers. Maybe they use there pheremones to *convince* would be predators that there is nothing tasty there. Possible, but I don't see that happening without sexual reproduction. Also, don't forget that evolution is an arms race. If the Ceticians develop what you describe, given enough time there will probably be some predator that will get around it. In fact, in a verdant biosphere, there would probably already be such a creature. And that still doesn't account for other types of dangers. Quote:Original post by Thermodynamics When it really comes down to it- as long as there is suspension of disbelief then you will captivate your crowd. Nitpicking some of these points, while academically pleasing, will not make a better game. If there are enough nits, they kill the cow. But most of these are far from nitpicking. They are the basis of the race. Also, audiences appreciate well-thought out stories--look at the longevity of the Dune series. [Edited by - Lysander on January 22, 2005 10:38:50 PM]
  10. Quote:Original post by lucky_monkey Quote:Original post by Lysander Can you elaborate on the water distribution system? It seems implausible.Implausible? Yes. The article you linked discusses chemical signals released into the species' ancestral environment--air for insects, water for marine life. It is my understanding that the Ceticians are land based. By what mechanism are the messages extracted from the water? This article is actually a good source on the shortcomings of this mechanism of transmission that I had in mind when I questioned the plausibility: Turbulent mixing results in the formation of large scale eddies that can themselves generate successively smaller eddies. This results in odour plumes that have been shown to be extremely heterogenous in nature (Moore and Atema, 1991). Away from the source, pheromone plumes are patchy rather than continuous streams. A message with a greater-than-atomic level of complexity would be completely garbled in the water. It might be ok for extremely simple messages like the animals in the article use--basically a mating call for some of them--or something like "DANGER," but otherwise it would be like if a telephone random switched sounds around. Quote:Original post by lucky_monkey Quote:Original post by Lysander Perhaps I overstated that a bit; what I meant was that it would be very difficult for a primitive society to get it working, and thus it would be unlikely that they progress past that point in that area. Are you saying that it was easy for humans to come up with speech? Absolutely not. We're discussing the development of technological transmission of communication, not natural. Quote:Original post by lucky_monkey Quote:Original post by Lysander It's relatively simple to convert sounds into electric signals and back again; as you say it basically just requires a membrane. It would require much more advanced technology to translate chemicals into electrical signals and even more advanced tech to translate it back and synthesize the required substances. Why? If the technology was chemically rather than mechanically based then how would there be a problem? At the point in their evolution where they develop electronics they would probably already have advanced knowledge of chemistry ( being more chemically focused than humans... ) What do you mean by chemically-based? Quote:Original post by lucky_monkey Quote:Original post by Lysander I don't follow...neurons are very, very close together. Neurons are based on the build-up of electrical potential at the dendrites. These beings could similarly be based on the build-up of certain chemicals (chemical potential rather than electronic) in the environment around them...it would (of course) be slower than a human brain, but no less effective. You'll have to explain further. It sounds like it would actually be quite a bit less effective. And speed is a factor. The human brain is in a completely closed, controlled environment. Quote:Original post by lucky_monkey Quote:Original post by Lysander There are numerous problems. For example, after I read a book, others can read the same copy. But if it were pheromones, it would be used up, and would require "reprinting." What's wrong with that? They don't think in terms of "books" do they? so they don't know what they're missing... It doesn't matter if they think it terms of books or not. The point is that it must be replenished. Quote:Original post by lucky_monkey (anyway: maybe they have developed some kind of gustatory/audible/visual/stimulus-based form of their language?) As nothing like that has been mentioned as far as I can see, I must assume they have not. [quote]Original post by lucky_monkey Quote:Original post by Lysander Any social species must be able to communicate in some way. It's axiomatic. It's also true that they can communicate...that's what we're discussing. The point was that the aliens don't have to be able to communicate with us. Oh, if this is the case, then the original wording was unclear; what he meant was "What in your world view says that the universe MUST make species able to communicate with other species?" I read it a different way. In this case, the answer to the question is nothing. That's one of my points--I don't think the Ceticians would be able to communicate with humans in any meaningful way. Quote:Original post by lucky_monkey Quote:Original post by Lysander Will this be in-game? I have a limited though above-average knowledge of quantum mechanics and this doesn't seem possible. That's not really a criticism; lots of good sci-fi uses shaky science. I just want to make sure you're aware. Apologies if the problem is mine. And "a species that has no emotions, no gender, can control time, communicates using chemicals, is capable of personality transfer, and is immortal" is? :) Yes, it's certainly possible in the sense that I don't know of anything that would prevent it; I know what Wheeler foam/quantum foam is, which is what makes me question above. Quote:Original post by lucky_monkey Remember when the world's leading scientists thought that the world was round? Do you mean flat, or are you being cute, since the world's not perfectly round? Quote:Original post by lucky_monkey and all that stuff about communication when a tiger is behind someone: these things can bend time It is my understanding that they acquired that ability long after they had evolved. Therefore it is not revelant.
  11. Quote:Original post by Wavinator Story-wise the name Cetician actually is related to whales and comes from a mistake. Terrans first encountered the Ceticians near Kappa and Tau Ceti, about 29 and 11 light years from Earth (respectively). Because of the long time it took to break the language barrier, the name the news media bestowed upon them, "Ceticians" stuck. I don't understand. How is it related to whales? While did they not call them "Cetians?" Quote:Original post by Wavinator Quote:Original post by Lysander I think this is a big problem. Pheromone communication would be very ineffective. Okay, I hear what you're saying but consider this: Effective by what measure? Surely there is no absolute measure other than physics. Consider that until the greater part of the last two centuries the vast majority of human beings lived very slow, sedate and inefficient lives. We were mostly hunters and gathers, then became farmers. In geologic time our notions of effectiveness pale. You seem to have misunderstood (or perhaps I'm not completely clear on the mechanisms of what you're describing). Human speech travels at the speed of sound, about 700mph. That is fast enough for ancestral applications, like "Hey, there's a tiger behind you!" In order for pheromone communication to be useful in a situation like that, it would have to travel pretty fast as well. It would require tremendous energy expenditure to repeatedly expel a gas at 50mph, let alone 700mph. Furthermore, speech is omnidirectional (though stronger in the middle 45 degrees than the rest). A jet of pheromones would be in only one direction. This means that a general alarm, eg "Tigers are coming!" would be very hard to pull off, unless there are multiple emitters, which would greatly increase the cost, or the organism spins, which Ceticians don't seem capable of. Additionally, it would be biochemically taxing to produce the quantities of pheromones required for a language at least as complex as English. And they would require huge storage bladders. Quote:Original post by Wavinator Quote:Original post by Lysander It wouldn't carry far Not sure I agree here. In fact, when you look at pollution studies its clear that factory outputs can carry downwind as much as 200 miles or more. No human voice can carry that far. If anything, they'd be subject to the kind of electromagnetic smog we're experiencing as we ramp up our telecommunications infrastructure. There could even be a time in Cetician history when they might have had a global "voice," depending on the natural decay rate of the compounds, of course. It's true that human voices don't carry that far. However, my point is, how useful would that be? If there is another individual 100 yards away from you and you send a jet of pheromones at it on even a moderately windy day, the wind would have blown it off course--and that's assuming there are no solid objects interdicting. If the message was, to continue the example, "There's a tiger behind you!" how useful is it if the person with the tiger behind them never gets the message, but someone 200 miles away does? And are the pheromones more or less dense than the planet's air? Quote:Original post by Wavinator Quote:Original post by Lysander wouldn't transmit through surfaces. To an extent, yes, if the surface is non-porous. But this would simply have been a problem for primitive Ceticians to overcome. I imagine they would have used water to carry pheremone messages throughout structures. In fact, early city-states could have been connected by wind relay stations and rivers. I'm talking about the normal surface matter of an M-class planet rocks and plants and such. Sound waves can go around or through them, but gases cannot, except by diffusion. Can you elaborate on the water distribution system? It seems implausible. Quote:Original post by Wavinator Quote:Original post by Lysander It would make electronic communication impossible. Why do you say that? The human voice is very poor for electronic communication, but we handled that first with a manually entered code that encoded messages (telegraph); then we switched to a membrane that did the same (phone). Why do you say that the human voice is very poor for electronic communication? Perhaps I overstated that a bit; what I meant was that it would be very difficult for a primitive society to get it working, and thus it would be unlikely that they progress past that point in that area. It's relatively simple to convert sounds into electric signals and back again; as you say it basically just requires a membrane. It would require much more advanced technology to translate chemicals into electrical signals and even more advanced tech to translate it back and synthesize the required substances. Quote:Original post by Wavinator I'm thinking that Ceticians would have actually developed a network of communication similar to the nerve cells in the human body, which are electrochemical. This would require a good understanding of ions and the ability to create some sort of ion pump, which nerve cells are, but they're naturals at chemistry by din of their makeup. I don't follow...neurons are very, very close together. Quote:Original post by Wavinator Quote:Original post by Lysander Pheromone libraries would be incredibly impractical. Actually, it would depend on how complex the language is at what materials they have that can absorb and hold pheremones, wouldn't it? There are numerous problems. For example, after I read a book, others can read the same copy. But if it were pheromones, it would be used up, and would require "reprinting." Quote:Original post by Wavinator Quote:Original post by Lysander It would probably also make them very, very hard to understand and communicate with for species that speak. Now let me challenge you strongly here: What in your world view says that the universe MUST make species able to communicate? I'm keenly interested in your thoughts here because I strongly suspect that a generation of Star Trek/Star Wars/Farscape etc. have numbed us to the idea of what alien means. I suspect we now thing alien means "human with funny nose" or "slimy bug-like thing to shoot." If that's the case, I'd like to offer a few alternatives to tweak people's very conservative view of what alien is. You've misunderstood me, I think, but I will address this and my original point below. Quote:Original post by Wavinator What in your world view says that the universe MUST make species able to communicate? Any social species must be able to communicate in some way. It's axiomatic. Now, then, what I was trying to get at: We communicate with each other with words. But under the words is culture and common experience. If I say, "I feel like I could fly," you know what I mean, right? You can translate each of those words into another system of communication, but to a species that could fly, it would be meaningless. Now, a harder one. "I'm in love." Love is a psychobiochemical phenomenon that exists to make sure we reproduce and protect our offspring. It is a result of evolution. How do you explain love to a species that has none? There is a famous story told by Albert Einstein that should help us illuminate: Without any hesitation Einstein rose to his feet and told a story. He said he was reminded of a walk he one day had with his blind friend. The day was hot and he turned to the blind friend and said, "I wish I had a glass of milk." "Glass," replied the blind friend, "I know what that is. But what do you mean by milk?" "Why, milk is a white fluid," explained Einstein. "Fluid, I know what that is," said the blind man. "But what is white?" "Oh, white is the color of a swan's feathers." "I know what feathers are, but what is a swan?" "A swan is a bird with a crooked neck." "Neck, I know what that is, but what do you mean by crooked?" At this point Einstein said he lost his patience. He seized his blind friend's arm and pulled it straight. "There, now your arm is straight," he said. Then he bent the blind friend's arm at the elbow. "Now it is crooked." "Ah," said the blind friend. "Now I know what milk is." We have a hard time communicating even with other humans from non-Western cultures, like the Japanese. Can you imagine trying to communicate with a species that has no emotions, no gender, can control time, communicates using chemicals, is capable of personality transfer, and is immortal? You'd have better luck explaining baseball to broccoli. Our minds are 100% the products of evolution, just like our bodies. Our perceptions and ideas are tainted. Alien intelligences would be likewise, but in completely different ways. You seem to be so concerned with making them physically different that you have neglected the consequential differences in their psychology. You're taking one aspect of the human psyche and exaggerating it--exactly what Gene Roddenbery did. Also, it seems like you're saying that all individuals are similar--is this purposeful, since they are genetically identical? Quote:Original post by Wavinator Quote:Original post by Lysander Quote:Original post by WavinatorHave a limited amount of regenerating energy that they can use to slow or accelerate time within a bubble I don't follow here. What kind of energy is this? Where does it come from? I have a hard time believing something like that could evolve. Yes, I would to. It didn't, the Ceticians were modified by a very technologically advanced species called the Fading Immortals. While the Ceticians did not have advanced technology beyond a pre-industrial level, they did have amazing minds and perception capabilities. The Fading Immortals used quantum mechanics to radically reengineer the Ceticians eons ago. I advise against this. The "ancient, incredibly-advanced, now-fading or vanished race" is quickly becoming a sci-fi cliche. And you didn't address my other questions. Quote: "Highly sought after" makes it sound like they're being enslaved--is that the case? They once were, but now because they've lived long enough to see empires crumble to dust, they're one of the wise elders of the cosmos. Quote:Original post by Wavinator Their sense cluster, now heavily modified, allows them to see possibilities in the quantum foam intuitively. Like a master billiards player that can anticipate trajectories of various balls on the table, Ceticians can "see" and hold configurations of matter and inject time-space distortions down at the quantum level. They're able to anticipate and use virtual particles as well as enforce shifts between particles and waves when it suits the structure they're trying to build. Not only does this allow them to preserve atomic configurations that should exist for only very short periods of time, they can rapidly speed up the half-life of undersirable compounds that are often toxic byproducts of such high energy manufacture. Will this be in-game? I have a limited though above-average knowledge of quantum mechanics and this doesn't seem possible. That's not really a criticism; lots of good sci-fi uses shaky science. I just want to make sure you're aware. Apologies if the problem is mine. Quote:Original post by Wavinator Quote:Original post by Lysander That would lead to a huge population problem. Yes, if the birthrate were incredibly high. Imagine if only a handful were born every few centuries. Yet if none are dying, on a very long timeline--as you seem to be dealing with--there will still be a very large population. Furthermore, such a species would not be evolutionarily viable; in the species' ancestral environment, there would be some type of predation or something with the same effect. Therefore they would have to reproduce fairly often, and would retain the instincts to do so, as we have, unless they are purposefully excised. Quote:Original post by Wavinator Eh, you're right, I'm using the wrong word. Here's how I saw this developing: Naturally, a Cetician fragments to give birth, a type of asexual reproduction common in creatures like flatworms. This would suggest an evolutionary environment where disease was relatively mild--a thin low pressure atmosphere might do it, as we find with plants and animals on earth that live in similar environments (high altitude, low heat). In competition, sexual reproduction would have lost out to asexual reproduction due to speed in a low-virulency environment. Virulency is not the only threat to species. Quote:Original post by Wavinator Quote:Original post by Lysander 2. Sexual reproduction is essential for evolutionarily viable species. I don't think this is proven, either in mathematical models or in considerations of entirely alien ecospheres. Asexual reproduction in the right environment is superior to sexual reproduction because all genetic material is passed on and you don't need to find a mate. But on our planet sex may have the upper hand in higher species due to its ability to pass on useful mutations which help to fight disease. It's not proven mathematically because we don't have the data required to do that. Asexual reproduction is great in a highly stable environment, but does not allow for fast adaptation or speciation. Evolution is very, very slow using only asexual reproduction (and that's saying something, given how slow it is anyway). Beneficial mutations cannot be put together and detrimental mutations cannot be bred out. The time required for a species such as the one you have designed to evolve with only asexual reproduction would be several times (again, no exact numbers are available) what it would be if they had some mechanism for trait transferal. Given the this is supposed to be a very old race, you'll either have to add some such mechanism, or increase the amount of engineering the species has undergone, meaning that either they once had genetic recombination and it has since been removed, or that their development was guided by outside agents, probably these Faded Immortals. Quote:Original post by Wavinator Quote:Original post by Lysander Why does this species need archaeologists? You probably asked this question because they're immortal? If so the answer correlates with the fact that they were slaves for eons in a relatively confined space. In their freedom they are naturally curious about other species and how they live. Their galaxy is littered with the ruins of other cultures, other unique perspectives that went extinct while they were in captivity. So they find themselves naturally curious, and the fact that they're pokey about the process means that although they've been around a long time, they've by no means exhausted the trillions of potential dig sites throughout the galaxy. You might want to use xeno-archaeologists in that case. Quote:Original post by Wavinator Quote:Original post by Lysander What's 3 or 4 centuries when you're immortal? Exactly. Or were you disagreeing with me here? I'm just not sure why this species would exert the energy and effort for such a relatively short time.
  12. Quote:Original post by Kuladus Or subliminal flash horrofic images on the screen, ala that game, whose name i forget ... where the guy can turn into a monster. It was The Suffering, and it was a terrible idea (at least the way it was implemented). It was annoying, not scary. In fact, the game is basically a catalog of what not to do in a horror game.
  13. It's incredibly difficult to get published in The New Yorker; you should try aiming a little lower to start.
  14. Nice revision. Quote:Original post by Rhaal The Portal of Orex In the early days of Lorium there existed a group of mages who were commissioned by the gods to ensure balance was maintained in the world. Known as the Sovereign Watch, this consul met within the great walls of the Citadel of Order located on Lorium’s northernmost continent. Is this story addressed to the player, or the player-character? Quote:Original post by RhaalThe Sovereign Watch was a small group, consisting of only six members. There were two followers from each of the three orders of magic. They adorned themselves with different colored robes as a presentment of which god they held allegiance to. There were two black-robed followers of Mora, two white-robed followers of the goddess Leena, and two grey-robed followers of Rhaal. The two followers of Rhaal were the leaders, Orex Naus and Aesric Malfar. You can delete the second sentence; it's redundant. It's more formal to say "...of the god to which they gave allegiance" or something similar. I think you want formal for this piece, no? Quote:Original post by Rhaal This group fought in many battles and had been involved in every major trial throughout the land. These tales can be found in other volumes of Lorium’s past. When Orex began to reach an age where his life trailed him more than it led him, he was met by a messenger from the gods. This happened late one night in his study. Shortly after extinguishing his candle, Orex noticed that the room hadn’t darkened. Rising from his chair and turning around he came face to face with his messenger. A radiant figure, in the form of a very tall man, stood before him with an ever-changing face. In a multitude of voices the messenger spoke. You don't need the "shortly." I like the ever-changing face. Quote:Original post by Rhaal “Orex, your many years of service have pleased the gods. You have led a just and proper life and shall not endure the struggle of mortal death. Seek out the great sage Sebryn, for he is the last of the Tal’Morai and he is your key.” Quote:Original post by Rhaal Just as quickly as he arrived so had the messenger left. Orex relayed the details of his encounter to the Sovereign Watch the next morning. He noticed a strange change in Aesric’s expression at these details, but he thought little of it. His plan was to leave as soon as darkness fell that evening. I would change "quickly" to "suddenly" and "relayed" to "related." Quote:Original post by Rhaal Putting all his faith in the gods, Orex traversed the world of Lorium through forest and river, desert and mountain, led only by his prayers. He never truly knew his course, and he was unaware of Aesric following close behind in the shadows. After three days of travel they both arrived at the Tower of Elusion, the home of the great sages. It seems odd to me that a powerful mage wouldn't know there was someone following him, especially another powerful mage. I don't like the name "Elusion." Quote:Original post by Rhaal Sebryn had been waiting for them as he also had an encounter with the messenger. He was given specific instructions on how to build a portal which would lead to the realm of the gods, and one that must be destroyed after its single intended use. As an additional precaution, the portal was enchanted with a complex locking scheme. Activation required an amulet Sebryn wore around his neck that was engraved with the Talmorish symbol for neutrality. After the amulet was inserted, one must commune with the gods through a Talmorish prayer. Since Sebryn was the last of the Tal’Morai, he was the only one with the power to open it. The "and" in the second sentence makes it sound like there are two portals. If Sebryn needed instructions, why wouldn't the gods just tell Orex how to build it and the words to say? Quote:Original post by Rhaal The evening he arrived, Sebryn led Orex up to a very small room in the top of the Tower of Elusion. Aesric managed to slip in behind them, unnoticed. There again, he's unnoticed. Quote:Original post by Rhaal In the center of this dark room stood Sebryn, Orex, and the portal. Still hiding in the shadows, Aesric waited in the corner for the opportune moment. Sebryn removed his amulet and walked towards the portal. Inserting it into the recessed area at the top of the portal, he began his prayer. A soft red glow began to fill the entire room. You're using "began" way too much. Try deleting some, ie "A soft red glow began to fill the entire room" becomes "A soft red glow filled the room." (You don't need "entire".) Quote:Original post by Rhaal With the illumination chasing away the shadows, Aesric was revealed. He began to make his move and stepped closer to the portal. Upon seeing this, Orex was taken aback. Sebryn had just finished his chant and the portal stood wide open. Everything suddenly made sense, and Orex now knew why Aesric’s expression had changed in their last meeting. Aesric wanted only one thing, and that was power. He planned to enter the portal and challenge the gods. "Began" again. Quote:Original post by Rhaal Alarmed for only a second, Orex was unable to react as Aesric lunged towards him with a dagger. Falling to the ground, Orex managed to evade the attack, but Sebryn had taken the blow in his stead. Standing up to make a move of his own, Orex began to recall the words of a dragon’s breath spell which would surely incinerate his opponent. The shock of this sudden betrayal must have still coursed through his body because he missed and the blast hit a rock next to Aesric which launched him much closer to the portal. However this stroke of luck did not extend to Aesric’s body. It was crushed by the fall and he would soon die. In one final desperate reach towards the open portal, Aesric’s life force left him and his arm fell limply to the ground. His soul, however, had successfully entered the portal. Suggestion: Surprised, Orex was unable to react as Aesric lunged towards him with a dagger. Falling to the ground, Orex managed to evade the attack, but Sebryn had taken the blow in his stead. Standing up to make a move of his own, Orex whispered the words of a Dragon’s Breath spell which would surely incinerate his opponent...but the shock of the betrayal must have affected his concentration, for his aim was not true. The blast scorched the rock wall next to Aesric and launched him towards the portal. But this was not the stroke of luck it seems--Aesric was mortally injured by the fall. He reached desperately towards his goal, but his wounds were too grave and the gap too great. His life force left him and his arm fell limply to the ground. His soul, however, had entered the portal. Why would a powerful wizard resort to stabbing? Quote:Original post by Rhaal Just as Orex had begun to get back up the room began to shake. He felt as if every brick were resonating with the gods’ anger. Not wanting their world to become corrupted, the gods had no choice but to change the destination of the portal. This had never been done with a portal already open and the sudden shift caused tremors of energy so great that eventually the entire Tower of Elusion fell, crushing Orex and giving him the natural death he never deserved. Get rid of the "begun." "Anger of the gods" sounds more grandiose than "gods' anger." I would change "world" to "realm" and delete "of energy" and "eventually." Quote:Original post by Rhaal Aesric was lost in a dark unknown world. His plan had failed and he had to find a way back into the normal living world of Lorium. He ventured through this dark realm in search of some way out. Everything seemed to be a reflection of Lorium, yet twisted and disheveled as if a great war had once taken place here. That would, however, require inhabitants of which he found none. I don't think "disheveled" is a strong enough word; to me that means a loosened tie and uncombed hair, not devastation. Try, "If there had been a war, it had killed every inhabitant, for he found none." Does Aesric have a physical body in this place? Quote:Original post by Rhaal At some point, Aesric had been traveling through the ruins of a small town when he noticed a small shack that was still standing. He approached it and noticed that it looked ancient, yet undamaged like the rest of the world around him. He entered. The inside was filled with cobwebs and dust. It appeared to be a study as the walls were lined with many books and there was a chair sitting next to a small table by the shack’s only window. It was what sat on the table, however, that caught Aesric’s eye. Delete "At some point." You used "small" twice in one sentence and three times in one paragraph. Change "...undamaged like the rest of the world..." to "undamaged unlike the rest of the world..." Quote:Original post by Rhaal On top of the table sat a crystal the size of his fist. Picking it up, Aesric could see that this was so much more than just a decoration. Through it, he could see the living world of Lorium and he soon mastered the crystal’s powers. While it would not act as a portal for his soul to travel through, he found a way to use it to manipulate someone into finding and opening the portal from the other side. Try "conduit" or "channel" instead of "portal" and remove "to travel through." Quote:Original post by Rhaal Many years later… Radulen Tyrr had always favored the dark arts but came from a family of honorable knights that disapproved of this. As a teen he had ventured off to start his own life. Early in his travels, Radulen had encountered a group of black mages that took him in and trained him in the dark arts. One evening, Radulen had been given some ronich plant by one of his fellow mages. He was told it would help him relax and bring him closer to Mora. From a dark realm beyond, Aesric was watching this whole scene through the crystal. Aesric fancied this young Radulen, and he had been watching him through the crystal for a long time. With the substance in his blood, Radulen’s mind became weak. This was the point at which Aesric had attained a firm grasp on his soul. "Fancied" indicates sexual attraction in some places. Quote:Original post by Rhaal From that point on, Aesric began to manipulate Radulen into seeking out the portal and a method for opening it. Anything in their way was the enemy – beginning with the group of mages Radulen was currently with. "The" portal? The same one? Try "...beginning with Radulen's current masters." I would be happy to explain the reasoning behind the changes if you wish. Have you read the Dark Tower series or the Jedi Academy trilogy? [Edited by - Lysander on October 25, 2004 4:48:37 AM]