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Pharmaceuticals

#1
I did a quick search and couldn't find anything remotely similar. This isn't a big or complicated suggestion, and I'm not particularly invested in it either.

In 3D Cockpit view?, CutterJohn posted the following interpretation of how the player would gain feedback about his surroundings while inside his vessel:
CutterJohn wrote:The only cockpit I'd like to see is one that doesn't forget this is the future. It is maddening when sci fi can't even equal todays tech. You climb into a small cabin onboard the ship, strap into the pilots chair, and a visor lowers. It blinks on, giving you a multispectrum composite view gathered from the myriad sensors on your hull. And thats a low tech cockpit. High tech would involve you jacking in matrix style, literally becoming one with the ship. Higher tech than that would require players accepting that they are no longer a human in the game, and rather just an AI of one sort or another. I think it would be fun, but most players seem to want to be han solo or something.
The last one - that the player is just a program uploaded onto the ship's computer - is probably the most realistic prediction of how humanity will travel between the stars in the distant future once mind uploading is cracked and if we somehow fail to destroy ourselves before the end of the century.

I'd like to roll with the middle one, though - that the player's CNS is integrated with the ship's systems. This explains the third-person view of the vessel as there being many tiny camera drones around the ship through which the player can see. He controls everything through thought, and information is routed directly to and from his brain - visual data from sensors is fed through to his visual cortex, impacts on the shield and hull trigger nerve clusters in his sematosensory cortex, neural impulses from his motor cortex and frontal cortex are routed away from the rest of his body and instead interpreted as commands to be carried out by the ship. That's how EVE Online does it.

Like EVE Online, I'm wondering whether there's the possibility of being able to manufacture drugs and other chemical substances that can have an effect on the player's physiology and hence also on the behaviour and characteristics of the vessel. You can take drugs that might increase or decrease the player's perception of the passage of time (causing time dilation-like effects), you can have drugs that increase his pain threshold, effectively improving shield tolerances, you can have drugs that relax the player and help him manage the harmonics of his reactors, producing greater power output.

In terms of gameplay mechanics, drugs would be consumables stored within the cargohold of a vessel that produce enduring "buffs" and possibly "debuffs" for various characteristics of the player's vessel. Both the positive and negative effects would attenuate with the passage of time.

There's also be the matter of legality, with many types of drugs being illegal in certain regions of space, tying their transport along into the smuggling mechanic.

I'm not overly attached to the idea, but I'd thought I'd throw it out there just in case any of you want to take this anywhere.

Edit: This of course can be tied in with the infinite-variety crafting system proposed in Additional Thoughts on Research and Production where an agent can combine different simpler chemical compounds in different ways to produce drugs with different types of effects, magnitude of those effects and durations of those effects.
Last edited by ThymineC on Tue Jan 07, 2014 3:56 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Pharmaceuticals

#2
Hmm. You could have your whole crew at "high" level.

I don't think this is the right genre but it would allow Josh to go nuts with colours and shaders.

This could be your cockpit view!
(that's probably a space station in the upper right)

Image
There is no "I" in Tea. That would be gross.
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Re: Pharmaceuticals

#3
Gazz wrote:Hmm. You could have your whole crew at "high" level.

I don't think this is the right genre but it would allow Josh to go nuts with colours and shaders. =)
Two good points. I forgot that crew could actually exist within LT in a more...existent way than in EVE Online. It touches upon the realms of ridiculousness, but maybe you could make your crew take drugs as well. Which makes me wonder - if you're interfacing with all of the ship systems, what does the crew do? Just maintains everything while letting you make all the active changes?

And yeah, Graphics Josh could have fun with this.
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Re: Pharmaceuticals

#4
in some relation:

if "you" are just a bunch of data running in your ships processor, that would bring some interesting implications:
  • every ship you own is "you"
    you dont have to hire additional personnel that wants to get paid as the extra personnel is just another instance of your mind, running in the local processor.
  • the ship the player is controlling is just the current focus of attention, so if you want to change ship, you just do, over any distances.
    as you just move your attention and not something physical.
    tactical view is just moving your center of attention out of the ship and into the abstract sensor space.
    so its "you" being out there, and not just some camera
  • as long as one of your possesings still exist, you continue to live, as (at least a part) of you is still in this other ship
  • this makes an justification of automation aids get available when you own more and more ships.
    you now have the processing power to run multiple instances of your consciousness and not fragmenting to multiple personality disorder.
    the more processing power, the more "you", the more automation and convenience features
this goes straight into metascience and philosophy and for sure has more implications than i thought of
(also it points out that i should not read so much Neal Asher anymore, as his "Polity" series deal heavily with this from time to time)
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Re: Pharmaceuticals

#7
Cornflakes_91 wrote:
ThymineC wrote:
Cornflakes_91 wrote:as long as one of your possesings still exist, you continue to live, as (at least a part) of you is still in this other ship
Did you mean processors?
Possesings, something that belongs to you
Oh, you mean possessions. I think that if the player is a program, he'd cease to exist if the processors or data storage got destroyed.
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Re: Pharmaceuticals

#9
A 'slow time' drug would be pretty cool, I think. However, I have a hard time thinking up any other drug that would significantly affect your performance. Granted, it can just be arbitrary bonuses, but I find those boring. Snort some Space Weed, get +10% rof. Meh.
ThymineC wrote: The last one - that the player is just a program uploaded onto the ship's computer - is probably the most realistic prediction of how humanity will travel between the stars in the distant future once mind uploading is cracked and if we somehow fail to destroy ourselves before the end of the century.
You should read 'Accelerando' sometime. The protagonist uploads a version of herself and a few others to fly to another star in a light sail ship. The ship is the size of a coke can.

However, that wasn't what I was suggesting, exactly... I find there is a strange sort of oversight in space games, and sci fi in general.. It is always about humans, and you always play as a human. Heck, there isn't a picture of a human to be found anywhere around here, yet everyone just assumed outright that of course a cockpit is necessary, because how else could I see out of the ship? The concept that you had no other eyes than those the ship possessed wasn't even a possibility. So, the idea was you might just be an AI. Not an uploaded human, a completely artificial creation. A Mind from The Culture. A Xenon. Frost from Zelazny's 'For a breath I tarry'. Legion from Mass Effect. A Rogue Drone from EVE.

I feel it would be interesting to explore the existence and motivations of such an entity, as it is probably more alien to us than anything we might encounter in the stars. What motivates an entity with no evolutionary baggage, no drive to procreate, no mortality, no real material needs?
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Re: Pharmaceuticals

#10
I was having an interesting discussion with Josh last night. I was mulling it over later that night and got an idea out of it - what if there could be some commodity that (temporarily or permanently) affected the personality traits of agents? For instance, nootropics could be used to increase the intelligence of NPCs, which would be practically implemented by allocating more CPU cycles to them to "think". Other types of pharmaceuticals could be used to affect their personalities in other ways. This assumes that NPCs are organic entities - if they're computer programs, then "subroutines" could fulfil the same functional role, like with the artificial lifeforms in Star Trek (Data, Lore, The Doctor).

This raises an interesting problem: if the NPCs and player should be treated equally, what happens when a player consumes these commodities? A person's "personality" right now is currently simply abstracted from the actions they take in-game, but the system would need to be modified to accomodate for the implementation of this one. Instead, the components of the player's personality would have to have actual in-game importance (apart from just affecting how other NPCs may interact with you) in a kind of RPG fashion. For instance, doing research related activity would cause you to gain a high "intelligence" component to your abstracted in-game personality. What could then happen is that having a high in-game intelligence would make research proceed faster (for instance), leading to a sort of positive feedback loop. This could be adjusted to give diminishing returns, so it wouldn't unbalance the game. Then when the player consumes nootropics, it could temporarily boost their intelligence, allowing them to perform research faster (and perform better in other areas of gameplay that are related to in-game intelligence). The same mechanic would apply to other personality components.
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Re: Pharmaceuticals

#12
McDuff wrote:The player isn't performing research though. Their research lab, staffed with robots or smart NPCs, is researching for them.
That's a good point. Research was a poor example. Still, if NPCs are able to consume personality-altering commodities, then the player should be able to as well, and there should be some gameplay effects associated with this. :think:
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Re: Pharmaceuticals

#13
The player isn't performing research though. Their research lab, staffed with robots or smart NPCs, is researching for them.
Hang on! Player = AI, remember? NPCs shouldn't be able to be in a lab, if the player can't be.
In space, no one will hear you scream. #262626
I've never played a space sim. Ever.
Vos estis tan limes.
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Re: Pharmaceuticals

#14
Behemoth wrote:
The player isn't performing research though. Their research lab, staffed with robots or smart NPCs, is researching for them.
Hang on! Player = AI, remember? NPCs shouldn't be able to be in a lab, if the player can't be.
the abstracted NPC's who sit in your lab and do number crunching.
i bet you'd enjoy sitting in front of your PC typing into Scilab, performing calculations /sarcasm
:P
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Re: Pharmaceuticals

#15
Behemoth wrote:
The player isn't performing research though. Their research lab, staffed with robots or smart NPCs, is researching for them.
Hang on! Player = AI, remember? NPCs shouldn't be able to be in a lab, if the player can't be.
Well, this comes back to a point raised earlier: NPCs are able to operate as crew on your vessel (that's confirmed), but should the player be able to operate as a crew member on another vessel? What would that entail, exactly? I mean, let's say there was such a role as "engine specialist", whose job is to keep engines running at peak efficiency. It'd all be well and good to have an NPC engine specialist serve aboard your vessel, but if the player served as engine specialist aboard another vessel, what gameplay would be involved? They couldn't fly the ship, as that's the pilot's job.

Same argument with research labs.

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