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The Hobbit in General
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #100
This discussion seems to me to be circling around an unarticulated paradox about influence and compulsion.

I can see no sharp distinction between influence and compulsion, but only an issue of degree. If someone ties me to a tree they constrain my whole body; if they say 'Hello!' they compel a small amount of my attention. Perhaps only a few synapses are involved, and for a brief span, but while I'm reacting to the greeting, some of my synapses are jumping to the command of another mind. As an intrusion, that's pretty extreme in degree; but it's also very tiny in scale.

A sufficiently great degree and scale of compulsion is obviously horrible. But to be protected entirely from even the smallest external compulsions would be a fate worse than death, because it would mean being isolated from all external stimuli whatever. Somewhere between is a line, however fuzzy, between good stimulus and bad compulsion. But where is it, and why?

What makes a sound track fall on one side of the line, and a punchline fall on the other? The answer is surely not just a neuron count. But what is it?

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Cooking in Geneforge 4: Rebellion
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #2
Betting steak is bold when charred lump is the 3:2 favorite. Unless your pack includes a fryoa with the AI turned off.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Geneforge 5 - May Update in Geneforge 4: Rebellion
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #38
Two-for-one on Battle Alphas is a very interesting idea, but I think it would be too difficult to implement. If you don't go past the limit of 7 creations, it's the same as just dropping the essence cost for Alphas. If you do, then a swarm of 14 Battle Alphas would be cool, but really tedious to control directly in every battle. And if you left them with AI turned on, the results would probably be disastrous, unless Jeff put a huge amount of effort into AI for effective swarms.

I think Battle creations really only need a lot of beefing up. They should be very tough, very fast, and do huge melee damage.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
The Hobbit in General
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #77
An old friend of mine once wrote a long English paper about Frodo's relationships with Sam and Gollum on the way to Mount Doom. He struck upon the idea that these relationships mirror conflicts within Frodo himself: that there is are in effect Gollum and Sam parts of Frodo, and that Frodo's internal struggles both affect the relationships among the three actual characters, and are in turn affected by them. And while the idea had never occurred to me before, once he pointed it out it seemed pretty compelling.

Frodo is kind of erratic. You can put it all down to the Ring, but his psychology is still pretty opaque. The notion that it is mirrored in the scenes we do see, with Sam and Gollum, opens a window on it. What you see through it makes sense of Frodo's odd attitudes and behavior.

So there can be a lot more psychological depth in LOTR than one might imagine, whether it was really put there deliberately by Tolkien, or just happened as indirect consequences of the kind of story he was telling. This sort of thing doesn't come across in a movie very well. But I agree the films did a fine job of complementing the books, translating them into a different medium about as well as could be done.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Geneforge 5 - May Update in Geneforge 4: Rebellion
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #26
War Tralls are so wimpy, that any coolness they might have is badly undermined for me. Wingbolts eat War Tralls; Gazers inhale them. And even if Tralls were beefed up a lot, chucking rocks just seems lame to me. It's good that the top battle creations finally have a ranged attack, but the rocks don't even look big, or anything, in-game. If War Tralls could throw rocks but also swing giant axes in melee, for scarily huge damage, that might be cool.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
The Sucia Archives in Geneforge Series
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #40
Uh, people. There's this thin line, you know, between mocking his paranoia and justifying it.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Geneforge 5 - Possible Sects in Geneforge 4: Rebellion
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #14
Oh, I doubt they'll really be reluctant. Even if they were at first, after six canisters the clarity will come. But I wouldn't be surprised if some of their dimmer subordinates were kept in the dark about this. So the player's first contact with what I think of as the ultra faction may well be with strict canister-free purists.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Geneforge 5 - Possible Sects in Geneforge 4: Rebellion
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #8
I think that Barzites in this sense, ultra-Shapers, are a sure bet for G5. It's the obvious counterpart faction to the Drakon wing of the Rebellion. It made sense for this faction to be absent from G4 and G3. Since the Shapers were either winning or not yet alerted to danger, there was no pressure on them to resort to non-traditional means of resistance. But the ending texts to G4 already indicate that, when pushed hard by the Unbound, the Shapers do relax their rules and resort to extreme measures. So I'm pretty sure the Shaper ultras will be a G5 faction.

They may not be openly all-out for canisters, at least not at first. There are many Shaper taboos, and the ones against self-shaping will probably not be the first to be abandoned. But I doubt anyone will have to push too far into the back rooms to find the canister stashes.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Geneforge 5 - May Update in Geneforge 4: Rebellion
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #12
All details so far really sound great. Multiple factions will be good, and a chance to play with the big boys — including the Shaper Council at last — without having them dwindle into insignificance.

An option to get truly geneforged up to world domination would still be cool! Perhaps it should somehow be very difficult.

I would also really love it if, while we're talking about how the player manages to play a decisive role in a world full of generals and heroes, somehow the reason for the PC's rapid ascent is finally given. Maybe the first prehistoric geneforge experiments, by the original proto-Shapers of Sucia, injected a rare gene into the Shaper line, which makes the odd Shaper apprentice gain power rapidly under stress. And then maybe the G4 geneforge induced the same effect.

It would also be nice to have the opportunity to bring moderate rebels and Shapers together in a way that explicitly invokes the memory of the Awakened. That would bring the series full circle.

I really like the notion that the Shaper Council is cracking under the strain. This plays perfectly into the suspicion, built up throughout the games, that the Shapers aren't nearly as strong in character as they like to make out.

Finally, the top tier battle creation really ought to be replaced. Demote War Tralls to missile-throwing battle gamma NPC monsters. Bring in a big, tough, fast, lethally poisonous arachnid with a slowing web attack. And crazy like a Gazer. The Giant Lunatic Unfriendly Talking Spider. Ya!

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Geneforge 5 - Possible Sects in Geneforge 4: Rebellion
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #6
I don't see the powerful Drakons as particularly devoted to Drakonkind. It is just that they respect only power, and rightly consider that non-Drakons generally don't make the cut. But I can definitely see a sect in which a few heavily canistered humans or serviles co-exist with Drakons.

The question is whether ET's beloved Barzite faction will appear somewhere here. Will the canister-mad humans ally with the Drakons against all orthodox Shapers and lesser beings, or with lesser humans against all creations and orthodox Shapers? Obviously the only real goal for any true Barzite-type is to put themselves alone above everything else in the universe. But which way will they do it?

Perhaps the point is really that Barzites simply are not, in fact, a faction. They are individuals out for themselves alone, and their only use for others is as tools. In Drypeak, Barzahl was really the only Barzite, and within the small pond of the Drypeak mountains, his tools counted as a faction. At this stage of the war there may be many Barzites, but there are many more and greater other powers playing than there were in Drypeak. A lone Barzite's army will not at this stage constitute a faction to compare with Ghaldring's entire race of Drakons, or the Shaper Council's empire.

So in G5 I would guess that lone Barzites will only appear, if at all, as sub-factional NPCs somewhere in the range between Phariton and Monarch. But both Rebel factions, and perhaps even a more radical Shaper faction, will probably include Barzite-minded individuals looking to use the faction for their own ends.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Deathmatch Tournament - Round Three in General
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #8
Saunders and Jewels will agree that this deathmatch thing is horrid nonsense, and sit down and have a nice motherly cup of tea together. Eventually Jewels will take a sip of the poisoned tea.

Alex leads the charge of the stick figures. Salmon comes on with a lot of jumping fish. When the opposing armies clash, the heat of battle fuses them into millions of fishsticks. Both fighters are buried, but Salmon's years of training enable him to eat his way out before succumbing to the horror of Death by Fishstick.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Deathmatch Tournament -- Round Two, Part Two in General
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #96
Squashed by a Salmon! At least it wasn't quite death by fishstick.

I now endorse Salmon to go all the way and win this thing. Fry those next three opponents in porter batter!

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
The Oscars! (for Mad Scientists) in General
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #16
Well, they already added a Nobel (Memorial) Prize for Economics.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
I need your recommendation! in General
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #2
I guess the point of this kind of account is just to make other people search for and find their product. Instead of broadcasting your ads, you politely and indirectly ask netizens to go and look for it themselves.

Funny thing is, I think I'd much rather have this than see a garish blinking add beside my Dilbert comic. So up with spambots?

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
The Hobbit in General
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #46
Funny how that is. I was just looking again through a book I gave up on a while ago, a history of classical physics by some apparently famous Oxford professor. It's a topic that really interests me, but for some reason this book just seemed terribly poorly written, to the point that it was painful to keep reading. It was too packed with frivolous bantering asides, like some kind of Mystery Science Theater version of a proper book. But the main topic between all the casual interruptions was completely serious, so the whole thing was just really tedious.

But it finally occurred to me now that this book is simply a transcribed lecture series, with no more editing than whatever might have been needed to render it into grammatical sentences and reasonable paragraphs. A quick and dirty way to publish your lectures, and the result was indeed a lousy book. But the lectures were probably fantastic! I can almost hear someone with good stage presence holding an audience rapt for hours, with exactly these same words that I can barely keep reading for a few minutes. The guy should really have made an audiobook.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Gender and RPGs in General
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #65
Let him that hath understanding count the number of the yeast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is three hundred and thirty and five.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
New Beta Online Store + Discount On Newer Games in General
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #8
The original Nethergate was made with rare 9-bit bytes, which you can't get anymore today.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Gender and RPGs in General
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #61
Biologists have good excuses for heating things. The only plausible use physicists have for microwave ovens is nuking food, and granting agencies believe in keeping you hungry.

What everyone thinks about is how to fund the big lab espresso machine. There's no hope of getting one of those on ordinary funding, but occasionally a senior scientist will get some grant with unusually low supervision, and then the dream at last becomes real.

Except that at the ETH in Zurich the university is entirely happy to pay for espresso machines and a continuing supply of beans. That's your secret Swiss banking fees at work.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
The Oscars! (for Mad Scientists) in General
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #1
Best supporting Igor.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Wow in General
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #9
How interesting about Elaine and Jimmy, though. Will their relationship have a future after they discover that in real life Jimmy is female, and Elaine is male?

Actually I guess it will be more of a dealbreaker that Jimmy is really seven years old, and Elaine is a neutered Dachshund.

Or maybe that will be what makes it work.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Wow in General
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #7
It's not an in-joke; it's one person's gimmick. Member 335 changes his PDN every day, but always has the same style of signature. One other person has quoted one of his signature lines in their own signature, the one about trying to be a deivore. Occasionally other people imitate the gimmick. Otherwise, though, any post that ends with '— Alorael, who ...' is from the same member, Alorael. He's been around a long time, he's a moderator, he has the highest post-count around.

The in-jokes are that Alorael is addicted to skribbane, is either a septuagenarian Eskimo or a transvestite Korean businessman, and enjoys recreational sniping of pedestrians. It's not clear those are the in-jokes Alorael would have chosen for himself, but you play the hand you're dealt.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Gender and RPGs in General
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #47
Originally stated by Margot Asquith, when Jean Harlow mispronounced her name:
quote:
The 't' in Margot is silent, as in Harlow.
Well, anyway. The random encounter with harlots table was classic, all right. As a 14-year-old DM I had actually read enough old books to recognize all or most of the various synonyms, but didn't really know what to make of the subtle distinctions between a tart and a trollop. I can't say I'm much further ahead on this even now. That table was a thesaurus with percentages, and wouldn't have been much use even if you were seriously trying to put prostitution into your campaign. The developers of Grand Theft Dragon will have to look elsewhere.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
What have you been reading recently? in General
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #81
I've never liked books in which the only real plot complication is characters who desperately need some sense slapped into them. No doubt our own lives would seem the same way from an omniscient viewpoint, but that doesn't make the books any less annoying.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
I don't want to be a woman! in Geneforge 4: Rebellion
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #20
Except that those kind of tactics are suited to the missing sixth class, with strong magic and moderate creations, not to the Shock Trooper. With Aura of Flames or Mass Madness you can shock and awe. With a Reaper Baton or a Puresteel Blade you can pique and annoy.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Geneforge 5 - March Update in Geneforge 4: Rebellion
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #92
No, the left vlish tentacle is only for gloves and rings.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00

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