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Pre-ChaNES: Into the Void

Discussion in 'Never Ending Stories' started by Chandrasekhar, Dec 16, 2007.

  1. erez87

    erez87 Lord of Random

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    I would LOVE to play an alien species. Maybe even one that I'll make myself? What is the reason 2052 humans go in space?


    About aliens as long as physically they are not humanoids (2 legs, 2 hands, 2 eyes etc...) they could be well needed in a space NES.
     
  2. das

    das Regeneration In Process

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    I figure it's just a result of gradual technological development combined with some political urgencies leading to the escalation of a new space race. ;)

    Still, some aliens on a later stage may be nice. BUT: they must be extremely well-implemented, as otherwise this could ruin the NES. And, indeed, non-humanoid.
     
  3. Chandrasekhar

    Chandrasekhar Determined

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    Well, cases could be made for bipedal movement allowing upright posture, for binocular vision being superior, et cetera, so they shouldn't be entirely ruled out. Of course, if someone hypothetically gets to design an alien species, that wouldn't be an excuse to let them be lazy. ;) Just don't count on being in that sort of position, though. If I did include aliens, it would only be at a much later stage in the game... Possibly even after a second set of BT turns.

    As to why 2053 is such a critical date for humanity's journey to the stars, that's... top secret. :mischief:

    Edit: X-post with das.
     
  4. Haseri

    Haseri Emperor

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    Well, if there is, I'll let the more experienced forumite be it. One should be enough.
     
  5. erez87

    erez87 Lord of Random

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    Bipedal movement can make you upright, but whats good in that? Elephants walk on four and are very handy and smart.
    Binocular vision superior to what and where? I don't see humans running away from Lions, I do see Gazelles doing it.
    Nothing human is superior or perfect or close to it. Aliens would be very Alien. (Look at some aliens I made up in the ideas thread.)
     
  6. Chandrasekhar

    Chandrasekhar Determined

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    Elephants are incapable of using tools, and thus they're probably incapable of building a civilization. Tool use is the main benefit of being bipedal, at least in this context.
    As far as I know, binocular vision also applies to gazelles. :mischief: If you're referring to the bovine tendency to have eyes on the sides of the head, I suppose I could see an alien with that setup too... but that would still be a rather humanoid look on a bipedal creature's head.

    Binocular vision is what gives us depth perception. Take a cycloptic creature, and it would have a very tough time telling how far away something was, which could be disastrous from an evolutionary perspective. And would a creature need more than two eyes? In most cases, no. And even if so, the layout of a creature's eyes has little to do with how "humanoid" it looks. It's the bipedal posture that we really identify with.
    From some sketchy memories of your sketches, I recall that you used tentacles instead of hands in at least one instance. Yes, that's the most obvious alternative to hands that I can see for tool manipulation, but it has its limits as well.

    If nothing about humans was superior, then humanity wouldn't have built civilization. It takes more than just "raw intelligence" to make a being civilized, and natural selection in that regard is nothing like a random process. Yes, other lifebearing planets have conditions dissimilar to those of Earth... They could be low g, aquatic, high atmospheric pressure, low atmospheric pressure, very hot, very cold, very dry, or any number of other variations. In some cases this could result in a very different sort of being gaining intelligence, but it might be that diverging from an ideal condition would simply result in no civilization at all.
     
  7. das

    das Regeneration In Process

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    Ah, but do they have opposable thumbs? Thought so. ;)

    How many eyes do gazelles have again? Three or four? :p

    I am quite proud of my binocular vision, but I'm afraid I still don't see a coherent argument here. Objectively speaking humans really are the best. Admittedly, they are the best for Earth specifically; alien species that evolved in different environments but still acquired sapience will of course be very different. The problem is telling in what environments such life might reasonably evolve.

    EDIT: Another cross-post! :lol:

    EDIT EDIT: Having actually read Chandrasekhar's post, I must say that the similarities are a bit disturbing.
     
  8. Chandrasekhar

    Chandrasekhar Determined

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    Great minds think alike. ;)
     
  9. Frozen In Ice

    Frozen In Ice Emperor

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    Also lurking with interest.
     
  10. erez87

    erez87 Lord of Random

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    lol. Oh ok sorry, yes gazelle's has two eyes, but they do not see in 3D. I thought you meant the 3D part.

    Well spiders has hundreds of eyes, I see them surviving well... And there are many animals without eyes. And may I remind you humans did not evolve to be upright so they could use tools better. They did much much earlier than tool using.
    And actually standing upright brought several major problems, like giving birth being a very hard business, thats probably the main problem in being upright, baby-death rate is very high, also mothers death rate.


    Elephants are very capable of tool using. Their trunk is superior to the human hand in almost anything. It's more delicate and more powerful, depending on need.

    And yeah I do tentacles because it's easier to evolve and mostly cause I suck at drawing proper hands. But I do see tentacles as better than hands, much more flexible.

    Anyway this debate can take years... All I agree to is that human centrism is bad for imagination!
     
  11. North King

    North King blech

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    I'm also up for being your aliens when they come around. :p I guess I shall take China.
     
  12. Chandrasekhar

    Chandrasekhar Determined

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    Admittedly, humanity's excellent depth perception has more to do with our arboreal origins than anything, and it doesn't make civilized life especially easy. But a human with eyes on the sides of his head would still be a humanoid.
    Well, of course. The upright posture was probably for seeing over the tall grass or somesuch when humanity's ancestors came down from the trees, but we're looking at its effects. It just so happened to let them use tools with their dexterous hands, which let them make tools, which led to society as we know it. Civilization came from tools, which came from usable hands, which came from upright posture.
    Oh, I wasn't aware that our ancestors were too stupid to lay down to give birth. I suppose they'd just walk along while they were pregnant until, oops, the baby dropped out and hit its head on a rock. Oh well. :mischief:

    The fact that we have bipedal posture clearly demonstrates that it was an excellent strategy. It doesn't have much to do with birthing mortality rates, as far as I can see - You're probably thinking of the larger cranium that accompanied our larger brains, which does pose a problem.
    More delicate and powerful? :confused: Not as far as I know. A trunk can do some basic grasping of small objects, I suppose, but it's inferior all around when you look at the hands' toolmaking function... Especially when you consider that each elephant has only one trunk. An elephant is about as likely to make tools as a snake is.
    Then you're ignoring the basic differences between the two systems. You're imagining a squiggly line of ridiculous strength that can wrap around any object at any angle and do anything with it. That's an ideal tentacle, but I there's no way such a system could come about through evolution.
    This debate was over before it began. The vast majority of changes from the humanoid design are either evolutionarily unfeasible or carry massive disadvantages of their own. If you refuse to look at how a design could come into place, or how effective such a design would be in a pre-civilized world, then you might as well be playing Mad Libs - but with random body parts instead of words.

    Edit: Hey, I'm magically becoming Symphony D. right before your eyes! Just add conflict... :p
     
  13. Chandrasekhar

    Chandrasekhar Determined

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    Great, now aliens in my NES are an established fact. :p Oh well, I may include them, or I may not include them, but either way, I'll probably just tell you all that it'll be "a few more turns" before they can be implemented. ;)
     
  14. Demetrias

    Demetrias Emperor

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    If you wish to read some scifi books with well developed psychologically different aliens. Read C.J. Cherryh. Her books have mainly humanoid life forms but the different psychological patterns to her books make them far more interesting then average aliens. Also the Uplift saga by David Brin has a multitude of different alien body types. From a pyramid shaped symbiotic organism to one that has tricycle wheels(adapted for purely space habitation) to gigantic jelly fish like hydrogen based life forms.
     
  15. Chandrasekhar

    Chandrasekhar Determined

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    I, too, think that different psychological patterns could be the really fascinating part about aliens. After all, once a lifeform reaches such a high level of technological progress, the body really just becomes a means of transporting the mind around. We take so many of our mammalian emotions and tendencies for granted, and it could be interesting to explore the psychology of a lifeform with a very different evolutionary history. Of course, a lot more leeway could be allowed here for creativity, too - While the limits of a physical body are pretty well understood, the mind is much more mysterious.

    But of course that's all looking way down the road. ;) Since we seem to be getting to a time where our players are all active at once, hopefully we can get further towards reaching a historical consensus for this NES.
     
  16. Fuschia

    Fuschia A Little Odd

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    I'm going to have to disagree slightly with a few pro-human fanatics...

    Evolution, if you believe in it, is a very random process. Mutations and such, along with various natural disasters, climate changes, etc., make it so that the outcome of the human race was not inevitable. There could just as easily have been intelligent birds, for they are the most advanced group of animals structurally. There are other ways to use tools beyond opposable thumbs (trunks, tentacles, even jaws if the race develops its tools correctly). Just because human beings happened to evolve does not mean they are the best suited for the environment, nor does it mean that other intelligent species could have evolved in their place within the same environment.

    Rather sorry about the rant, Chandrasekhar, but I found it necessary to inject my opinion. Still lurking around if you ever allow other humans. And, unlike everyone else it seems, I'd rather not have aliens...
     
  17. Lord_Iggy

    Lord_Iggy Tsesk'ihe

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    Life can't be hydrogen based. Hydrogen-based molecules cannot become as large as Carbon or Silicon-based molecules.

    As for live birth, the shape of upright human hips makes childbirth very difficult, because of the way the baby must pass through. There's a lot of complex/painful/dangerous twisting involved. There was an interesting national geographic article on it a little while ago.

    And I disagree about the necessity of being humanoid. Picture a centauroid lifeform, with excellent manipulators AND quick transport. Perhaps like what would happen if the Falcirices from NESLife had evolved sentience. They have four legs, two weapon limbs, and two tiny manipulator limbs.

    Anything which can manipulate objects well and use a powerful brain has the capacity to form a civilization.
     
  18. Demetrias

    Demetrias Emperor

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    Lord Iggy I can't remember if it was Hydrogen based or just Hydrogen breathing but think of the Jellyfish things from Master of Orion 3 and thats what the creatures in this book were like. The book was written first.
     
  19. Lord_Iggy

    Lord_Iggy Tsesk'ihe

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    Hydrogen-respiring, Carbon-based.

    Like we are Oxygen-respiring, Carbon-based.

    Although I'm trying to see how something could respire Hydrogen. There wouldn't be any sugars involved.
     
  20. Chandrasekhar

    Chandrasekhar Determined

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    I think the crux of the matter comes down to toolmaking. Plainly the whales are fairly intelligent, and there are other creatures on Earth that might be able to form a civilization, given the chance... But it's those incremental advantages that tools provide that create civilization, and so we must look at physical charactaristics very carefully.

    And my view on the matter is such that I just can't see very many structures other than the hand being viable. A system of tentacles might do the job, yes, but what land-based creature has tentacles of the requisite number and quality of tentacles to even approach the a handlike structure's usefulness? Even considering the randomness of genetic mutation, what sort of environment could select for this trait and still be friendly to civilization?
    Oh, don't worry about it. :) Nothing like a healthy debate to get the mind working. In fact, I'm not a big fan of adding aliens either, but it should be considered, and thus debated as well.

    However, I'm worried that further debate in this thread might derail the NES history creation process, so I'd suggest that we move further debate on this subject into the While We Wait thread.
     

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