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People swallow this guff because, first and foremost, they are afraid. The original fiction was clear in that the faction leaders have uniquely strong personalities that would have greatly appealed to the handful of colonists to wake into a living nightmare.
As a practical matter in past simulations, factions have also tended to press colonists with certain skill sets, meaning that every faction includes larger numbers of individuals who range from apathetic to antagonistic.
It is also quite probable that a good half of the faction leaders would have liquidated deviants at the earliest opportunity, both to forestall challenges and reduce resource burdens.
gives us the idea of a colony organized as an academic faculty, always in danger of the deadlock of committees, the hardening of protections for researchers who eschew colony-building for "brain work," and a civil war over the role of ethics. It combines the absurdities of the modern American campus, with its bloated support staff, venal administrators, and coddled students, and the horrors of the British public school system, with its tolerance of abuse and love of petty officialdom.
"Paean to SMAC" points out that the Peacekeepers and the Conclave (Believers) are, interestingly enough, "backward-looking," in that they try to recapture a way of life that they believe existed in an idealized past, rather than build something out of whole cloth.
I don't buy that. Space travel is not for the faint of heart. The Unity was surely not populated by a pile of lazy American consumers, fretting and wringing their hands about the end of the world. Most of them were probably as tough minded about surviving as the faction leaders themselves. It may depend on the selection process used to decide who would crew the Unity, but I seriously doubt it would have been one of these "mass public" crewings like some recent sci-fi movies. One about the world flooding and the Chinese getting these Arks done comes to mind.
I don't believe in the idea of the apathetic crew member, at all. In a world holocaust situation such as humanity was experiencing, apathetic people are going to quickly be dead. They lie down and take the first nuke blast, for instance. They succumb to plagues. They don't build bunkers or snipe from the hills. They become victims because they don't have a will to live.
There is no clear metric for whether liquidating talented people helps or hurts a regime. A leader may get away with it, a leader may not.
That actually doesn't make any sense as a new survival colony. Nor do the Morganites make any sense, for the same reason. They both depend on a level of societal infrastructure and scale-up bloat, that simply can't exist for a long time after Planetfall.
With The Believers, no argument. You can't be thinking terribly hard, if you put your faith into books that are a few thousand years old, that were written by many people, for multiple purposes. And then pretending there was some big Plan and accuracy about the whole thing, as opposed to an ongoing cultural process that ultimately arrives at the (still proliferating!) texts we see today. A litmus of one's ignorance of history, and of indoctrination methods.
With the UN Peacekeepers, I don't agree. They are seeking continuity in human notions of decency and law. To call them backwards, is like calling present day Americans backwards for thinking The First Amendment and other features of the US Constitution are worth something. Or that the traditions of British Common Law are backwards, even given current understanding of case law.
Take the Unity, for instance. Let’s leave aside the Chiron Interstellar Probe for now, which at least makes a successful planetfall. They’re waking up in pitch black darkness, in a metal canister, half-submerged in liquid. Many of them are choking on poisonous fumes. It’s a struggle to strike the emergency release. They emerge blind, puking, and naked, in the company of strangers. The warning klaxons are blaring, but main systems, including non-emergency lighting, are down.Many never wake up. A large number are killed as they attempt to escape, either overcome by the hostile environment or slaughtered by infiltrators and those who are already out of cold sleep. Anybody who survives is conscious that they have no way of knowing what is actually happening, who is in charge, or who they should trust. The ship is dying. The mission is doomed. There is shooting.
No, The Unity was not populated by lazy American consumers, but the kind of survivor that you described was unlikely to have had the opportunity, much less the wherewithal, to obtain the education that qualifies one to join such a mission. Sure, there would have been intense, years-long training, sequestered from the unfolding apocalypse of Earth’s demise, and yes, it would have included emergency training, but it’s no stretch to believe that many would readily adhere to dominant personalities.
Quote from: bvanevery I don't believe in the idea of the apathetic crew member, at all. In a world holocaust situation such as humanity was experiencing, apathetic people are going to quickly be dead. They lie down and take the first nuke blast, for instance. They succumb to plagues. They don't build bunkers or snipe from the hills. They become victims because they don't have a will to live.The crews disperse into factions only after the missions arrive.
Quote from: bvanevery There is no clear metric for whether liquidating talented people helps or hurts a regime. A leader may get away with it, a leader may not. Few faction leaders probably worry about this. The temptation to rid themselves of supernumerary mouths and potential upstarts at a time when both their power and resources are severely limited will probably prove too great.
Miriam’s followers believe that there has been a Second Coming.
Quote from: banevery With the UN Peacekeepers, I don't agree. They are seeking continuity in human notions of decency and law. To call them backwards, is like calling present day Americans backwards for thinking The First Amendment and other features of the US Constitution are worth something. Or that the traditions of British Common Law are backwards, even given current understanding of case law. They are promoting a tradition few of them will actually remember, and rarely in its “pure” form, prior to the various calamities that preceded the Unity mission.
The game doesn't portray this level of detail about the Unity breakup. The opening cutscene of SMAC shows 7 escape pods neatly and simultaneously separating from the Unity. That's a political agreement, a crisis of unity, not everyone running around like chickens with their heads cut off. The factions on the ship have agreed that they're going it alone. Nobody dies on atmosperic entry either.
Aunty Entity: Do you know who I was? Nobody. Except on the day after, I was still alive. This nobody had a chance to be somebody. - Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)You don't actually know how anyone is going to respond to the real thing. There's a TV show on right now about a bunch of civilian goofs who have volunteered for Special Forces training. They're not going to get any tangible reward from it like a military commission. They just want to see if they can make it through the training. Most people can't, and it doesn't matter what they thought of themselves before they tried. Some people can. Which ones those are, isn't predictable. Like quantum physics you know someone will make it though.You are positing a model of leadership and obedience that doesn't have to be valid in this scenario at all. The game makes 7 archetypes because that works for personifying a narrative and having actual gaming opponents. From a simulationist standpoint, it simply ain't gotta be so. But who's going to write a 100 survivor zombie apocalypse in space game? People film that kind of thing for TV because they can get a couple dozen actors to do character bits for the unfolding simulation.
No, the opening cutscene says, very explicitly, that they factionalize and separate in space. If anyone else said otherwise, like the novels, they got it wrong. How can you believe what you just said? Everyone would have to have crashed at the same landing site. On Planetfall, Hive minders can't walk across oceans to Morganite luxury complexes. I've contemplated writing a game where everyone crashes in 1 place, builds a 1st base, then the factional splits happen. But that's not SMAC.
Sure they won't worry about it. But it doesn't mean they're going to survive and prosper for having done it. They may very well cut their nose to spite their face. Let's say your best biologist has a conscience and you put a pickaxe through her head. Next thing you know your colony is hit by a plague. Gee where was your biologist? You might all be dead. Similarly if you kill the 1 farmer bright enough to know how to grow the food. Or the 1 soldier who knows anything about tactical defense and recon.Over the long haul of 150 years, this played out in the real life empire of China. In 1435 the maritime eunuchs were doing a mercantile expansionist thing, like the Europeans did 80 years later. They sent 400..600 foot treasure boats (claimed; may have been smaller) as far as what's now Mozambique. But land based agrarian Confucians thought trade was evil and had a civil war with them. The Confucians won, gutted the navy in the process, and banned trade and travel for 150 years. The expansionist initative passed irretrievably to the Europeans. This is the primary reason most of us are not eating more rice.
What a bunch of rubes! Usually the promise is it will happen. Anyone getting sold a river that it did happen, clearly didn't read the Bible as to what the results were supposed to be."It will happen, and it will happen in our lifetimes. Jesus Power isn't just the future, Jesus Power is now."Wow with a fiction like that, you'd have to seriously deal with the issue of apostasy. That's more denominationally bizarre than what even the Mormons believe. It would be an interesting fiction though, the process of casting new mythologies for the encountered reality.
Hey I don't remember signing The Declaration of Independence. I don't remember fighting the US Civil War, but I do check out the battlefields with my dog, 'cuz it's something we can both enjoy. I don't remember WW II or Auschwitz. Learning about and supporting events beyond one's lifetime, is not a remarkable human activity.
The “neat” separation of the escape pods from the Unity depicted in the opening cut-scene is not indicative of an absence of violence aboard the ship itself.
At some point, they either keep their head down and do the job they are assigned, or they sign on with a faction and begin taking orders.
Possibly there were entire colony pods filled with people who had no discernable allegiance, but these would be unlikely to survive long on their own after Planetfall.
The whole point of the bruhaha aboard Unity is that there is a scramble to obtain enough resources (humans, robots, equipment, food, and water) to “make a go of it” once on the ground.
The idea is that the Biblical cannon has grown a bit by the time Unity leaves Earth.
No, but you remember the experience of a reliable system of law and order, of participation in communities with national or global footprints, of access to multiple sources of information and opinion, etc. Many of the people aboard Unity would not have experienced that sort of thing except for a short period of time. Their commitment to liberal-democratic norms would be substantially weaker than yours or mine.
Actually for the most part it is. It means all factions agreed to launch simultaneously. If they were struggling for power like it was their first deathmatch, pods would be exploding, or sabotaged to remain locked on the Unity as it burns up on entry. Pods would be leaving at different times. Simultaneous release shows a high degree of coordination between faction leaders, which indicates a relative absence of violence. Sure there may have been a corridor skirmish here and there, but they are not warring with each other. They have neutral relationships when they get to Planet's surface. They are not holding grudges.The tone of the opening cutscene is also fairly calm. The narration is calm. You can argue that they got it wrong, and that their included piece of written fiction doesn't agree with it. In case of a conflict, what does one regard as canon? Regardless of canon, the player is shown and told the circumstances. So I am inclined to go with that. Now Earth, on the other hand, is definitely a madhouse.
Or they go zombie apocalypse, as has been covered by a half dozen TV shows by now. Kill anyone who gets near you. Trust is rather difficult in a survival scenario. Leadership positions are not stable; in SMAC, that is a fiction for the sake of the wargame.
Guess you don't have a lot of in you, if you think you need that much overhead to survive. Nobody drops with Formers either. Most factions figure out how to do that later.
Ain't Biblical canon as we know it. When Jesus comes, you are either UP or DOWN.Throwing out basic tenets of Christianity takes explaining. At least to Christians playing your game, who actually care. I'm atheist, I don't care as much. I do say it's bad science fiction. Not credible that Christians would believe The Rapture has come and they were left behind. You are a very, very bad person if Jesus leaves you behind.
How do you suppose everyone learned all the science and technology and running a ship stuff, except by a stable educational system? You don't build interstellar vessels by having everyone on Earth running around like chickens with their heads cut off in a zombie apocalypse.There was most certainly a degree of law and order, to pull such an engineering feat off. Even if it was marital law. Democratic? Maybe, maybe not. Soviet or Chinese models of society, could have put a ship in space. A United Nations effort implies democracy exists to some degree though.
That said, one of those pods explodes immediately, and it’s not clear why.
I don’t think the tone of narration is indicative of the level of violence, high or low.
In my simulation, the challenges for a “sole survivor” would be greatly exacerbated by the fact that some groups already exhibit tight coordination, giving them a potent quantitative advantage (on top of an already fearsome qualitative advantage).
Given the fact that no follow-on missions were planned, it is also improbable that the Unity would have been equipped with the equivalent of single- or low-occupancy life pods.
Yes, there is bulk survival equipment, but it requires many hands. It wouldn’t be a simple matter of erecting a solar shelter, then a rain catchment, and opening an MRE every three days.
On a world where the atmosphere is poisonous for humans, overhead is essential.Long-term use of encounter suits is possible only with a significant infrastructure already in place. We’re talking about facilities that are on par with those we saw in Martian. Remember that while Matt Damon was able to survive, he certainly didn’t build the base camp on his own.
In other words, believers read into the mystery and project a set of expectations impervious to empirical evidence.In a post-apocalyptic environment, a great many people might be convinced that their mere survival confirms that they are among the Elect.
Depending on their level of technology, they might be gulled be petty “miracles” that you or I would explain with resort to science.
Most likely, they would simply accept that the Rapture didn’t happen quite as they had anticipated. Biblical Literalism faces many problems already.
Deciding that the Second Coming would be followed by a Third wouldn’t all that hard.
However, in this case, Miriam argues that the Rapture is made manifest in the completion of Unity: the entire crew is among the Elect, believer or not, and it is the responsibility of the Conclave to bring the wayward sheep back into the fold as a prelude to some Heavenly reward.
Remember, too, that there are multiple examples of doomsday cults, including Christian cults, prophesying doomsday, living through it, and revising their beliefs to protect their preexisting worldviews.
Some people will have been literally raised in compounds for the purpose of crewing the ship. There’s an insidious quality to that, isn’t there?
I've never gotten into this level of detail before, about what's going on. Looking at the ship, it's octagonal. So 1 pod has to blow up, for there to be 7 factions landing. Is this the source of the scattered Unity supply pods? It's an interesting "catch" though, that someone making the video ensured that only 7 pods would reach the surface.
Just get Rambo a mate.
You ever heard of spacing people? Like, the 99 other people in your way?
Simply because you don't want your fiction to repeat "The Martian" (2015)? I think what you're really saying, is that you as an author don't want 1 person to make it. You want Groupthink scenarios, so you devise and ensure them. Which is an authorial choice, not a simulation.
I've always had trouble with the scales of colonization depicted in SMAC, or the Civ games for that matter. I think scale is deliberately ignored most of the time. 10 colonists, 100, 1000? The game is deliberately never clear, so that it can be a game, with rules, and art assets.
So more than 1 guy with a rucksack, less than an army. I don't know what we're arguing about exactly. I suspect a difference of personality styles regarding "the possible".
Which means they didn't read the Bible, and nobody that we would recognize as a mainstream Christian religion today, taught them the Bible. This is not Heaven. They were not Raptured. You are talking about a brand new religion that has only the most superficial trappings of previous Christianity, i.e. "Jesus was involved". I find it hard to believe that most people with current Christian indoctrination could swallow it. So what happened to them? All wiped out in an apocalypse? Leaving only charlatans to make up new guff and bamboozle the stupid?
Do they scale? Do they get tasked with Ministerial positions on a United Nations project? Do they get to make the Democratic social engineering choice when they reach Planet and eventually learn Ethical Calculus? Miriam doesn't "ship" as a freak. But she is devout and she ain't gonna give that up.
The total 100% cult leader is Yang. I'm actually confused how he got on this project. Let's pick on him for a bit!
Including Christians in a UN mission is hardly a brain fart. But this guy?? What did he contribute, why is he there? Other than to be an interesting voice about humanity's future in the game.
I don't buy that because I think it's our Earth that goes kablooey. Our global warming. Our societal time period: listen to the opening cutscene, the thing launches in 2016. We aren't "factory chicken farming" people to do space programs, and I can't think of any societal evolution where we would be.
Why do you put so much stock in factory chicken farming as a survival plan anyways? Who's to say that such people can perform when it comes to the real thing? c.f. "Soldier" (1998) "Shoulda made 'em smart." Although... that's arguing degrees of chicken farming.The thematic issue we're arguing about is the proposition, "People are Drones". I'm not, so... I don't tend to buy it.
Apart from the simulation, I don't see how one individual, or even a small group of individuals, could survive making a go of it without first being associated with a much larger operation. The air is toxic, the water non-potable, and the environment decidedly hostile? (I even added predatory wildlife in addition to the Mindworms.)
I could see people reaching the surface in those kinds of numbers (say, a dozen or so) and realizing that they can go on for a while, but not indefinitely. They'd need to join a colony or rely on raiding and scavenging. I can't see many such groups getting lucky often enough, especially during the early years following Planetfall, to make it work.
Religious belief is in large part a product of discrete time and place, even though it relies on foundational teachings from previous eras. A world that has endured multiple apocalyptic scenarios, including nuclear war, civil wars, famine, and disease outbreaks, may be open to the idea that Rapture means something more than being literally "disappeared."
I also look at the very existence of the Unity, when considering the implications of a dying Earth, to be spiritually significant. When it's a countdown to total destruction, selection for the mission will seem like a miracle to many people. In my fiction, I deal with this by describing how early manifests for the expedition were leaked, leading to assassinations and rioting.
Practically speaking, if The Unity is as massive as I think, it would have taken decades to build -- meaning that some modules would be operating on technology that was already obsolete by the time later crew members were even born.
The crew -- and I am thinking that there were tens of thousands --
Per his bio, Yang clearly manipulated those tasked to evaluate his suitability for the mission.
In 2016, we are both far more advanced (e.g., drones) and yet less advanced (e.g., cold sleep) than the Unity. I revised the launch dates and decided that the missions wouldn't be occurring anytime soon.
Look at historical and current space programs.
I think SMAC hand waved away all concerns about human technological development and capabilities, because it wanted to mostly skin Civ II techs and play mechanics and put them into space. It's not actually rational to posit that humans can get to Alpha Centauri in their neat spaceship, yet are fairly helpless and incapable on the ground, until a lot of time passes. Humans are made incapable because you're playing Earth history reskinned in space.For instance: anyone getting ahold of any kind of fission reactor for civilian purposes, could suitcase nuke any base. Delivery systems for such a nuke, would not be difficult to construct. If you've got a terraformer, you've got a crawler that can move into an enemy base and blow it up.In other words SMAC tech if you stare at it is f#%$#$ dumb. It works when you do not stare at it, when you allow yourself to be swept up in the narrative. Mapping the Human Genome, really?? We did that in real life not long after SMAC was released. What the heck does it have to do with recycling? Ever heard of a sawdust toilet? They just wanted to stick Civ II's Granaries somewhere early in the game.Since in a hard sci-fi sense I don't accept SMAC's take on technology at all, I think it's perfectly reasonable to consider more individuated, decentralized technologies for managing one's environment. I think these sorts of things would also be developed on a failing Earth. Colonizing Antarctica, solving moisture problems in Sub-Saharan Africa, and living on the oceans, are all things easier to achieve than making it to Alpha Centauri. The main thing that has stopped me from writing a game about all this stuff taking place on Earth, is the amount of complexity and historical continuity people would expect from it. There are some advantages to positing an alien planet that has almost no fauna, just fungus growing all over it.
They could screw a lot. You know we come with the equipment to do that, right? Social mores for a "repopulation society" might look kinda tawdry compared to a lot of people's current standards. Have a biologist check for likelyhood of birth defects and call it good. Very much a Planned social engineering choice.
They'd have to burn all those Bibles lying around. You know that book has survived in various forms for ~2000 years, right? With many revisions... but basically the same stories, more or less. And times were not pleasant in much of human history. Having faith when the world throws evil at you, is a large part of Christian identity.
Who actually is primarily interested in trashing Christian theology as we currently know it? Secularists, Muslims, maybe some neo-Pagans. Really don't buy that Christians invest a bunch of time rewriting their stuff. Their stuff worked for 2000 years and the world sucked bad for them plenty of times.
The spaceship shown in the cutscenes doesn't look remotely that damn big to me. You get a lot of shots of what a "Unity landing pod" looks like in early base illustrations. They're not huge, maybe 3 stories tall at most. Very human scale. Not that different from technology shown in the recent movie The Martian. I think a faction could actually be about 50..100 people.
I accept China putting forward "their man". China's important, even moreso now than they were when SMAC was written. What I don't get, is why Yang would thrive within the Communist Party apparatus. It's not impossible, but it's a hell of a story, how this guy managed to wheedle his way into this.
Since SMAC was written, we've had SpaceX. "It has to be big, only a Government can do it" seems to be an underlying assumption of both SMAC and your fictions derived from SMAC. Armies of experts....
Following the Choose path, it was possible for a faction to gradually breed the equivalent of Mentats.
It wasn’t a question of birthrates or genetics at all, but purely a calculation based on availability of food, water, and shelter.
Planet's atmosphere, though a gasping death to humans and most animals, is paradise for Earth plants. The high nitrate content of the soil and the rich yellow sunlight bring an abundant harvest wherever adjustments can be made for the unusual soil conditions. Lady Deirdre Skye, "A Comparative Biology of Planet"
I don’t think that small groups would survive very long because they would be vulnerable to predators and unable to venture far from their supply dumps lest they run out of consumables.
They wouldn’t need to abandon existing teaching; just bolt on to it. (They wouldn’t need to do anything, actually. I just happen to think it unlikely that most world religions would survive the kinds of calamities it would take to truly doom Earth without experiencing radical change in their attitudes along the way.)
The game wants us to believe that Yang thrived because he is both cunning and patient: he can ape (and thus toe) the party line (no pun intended), efficiently execute tasks assigned to him, and scares the daylights out of even the Secret Police. He’s the kind of rare person who leaders determine that they would rather not deal with, but cannot do without.Keeping with the story, Yang might well have been the power behind the Golden Emperor. He could also have concluded that it is not, in fact, better to rule in Hell than roll the dice in Heaven.
There was still a lot of work to be done on the Technology Tree when we abandoned the simulation. I most enjoyed adding various doctrines, such as Doctrine: Offense, Doctrine: Defense, and Doctrine: Insurgency. There was also an attempt, as I mentioned earlier, to distinguish Terran life sciences from those focused on the Chiron biome. I added things like Centauri Aquaculture.
Food not a prob. Plenty of sea water, and interstellar colonizers can handle desalination. Shelter... no trickier than The Martian. Or colonizing Mars.
And I totally disagree with you, because for the people who lived through various historical disasters, the end of their world as they knew it was exactly that for them. Lots of people in Europe died of plagues; you think Christianity went anywhere? The Holocaust happened; has Christianity vaporized? I used to think "big disasters" were some kind of disproof of the existence of God. Then eventually I realized that Christianity, from its very beginning, was a doctrine predicated on the suffering of its followers. It has plenty of social program about how to regard suffering, long as you swallow the basic bull@#$ of the thing. Don't need new bull@##$, the old bull@#$ already works. Has worked, will continue to work, for anyone with a weak enough mind and/or social indoctrination to accept those kinds of explanations.
Seems like if he's that talented, he'd become the Hitler, the Stalin, or the Mao. I really don't see why he would be 2nd to anyone. At least in time; sounds almost exactly like Stalin's actual origin story.
for the simple reason that he could not possibly sustain the charade of being royalty himself.
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