Of Interest: Starfighter Inc.

Seen in the referrers, some kind words said here about The Iron Concord.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t link to such things simply to flatter myself – oh, who am I kidding, of course I would – but in this case I’m doing so because in the course of checking out said referrers I have learned about Starfighter Inc., a “hard-science driven, zero-g experience where players can spin, tumble and strafe their way through a gritty frontier universe” that I had somehow previously missed hearing about, which may well be of interest to readers here.

(And since the lead designer, the sayer of said words above, also did mission and story design for the very well regarded X-Wing series, I for one will be keeping an interested eye upon it.)

 

Then You Will Meet Your Destiny

So, seeing as we’ve recently considered human cultural artifacts that might prove popular in the Eldraeverse after a hypothetical first-contact-real-soon-now, here’s one for you.

Destiny.

Seriously, it fits perfectly, especially thematically. You’ve got the epicity and idealism, the mythopoetry of things (assuming you read the grimoire cards), the clash of Light and Darkness, technology from Near Future Hard right up to the point of Sufficiently Advanced Techno-Miracles (ontological weapons, even!), Blue and Orange Morality, and the definitive proper attitude towards grimdarkness, namely that it exists to be punched in the face with your space-magic fist of doom. Hell, the Traveler’s even a dead ringer for one of the Transcend’s synapse moons.

(Seriously awesome ass-kicking to the tune of Immigrant Song also doesn’t hurt.)

…seriously, if Bungie *there* were to port this to full-immersion virtuality and sell it on the Imperial market – half a trillion copies sold, easy. At minimum.

(And, I sidenote, if you were to imagine a variant of the game set at the shiniest heights of humanity’s Golden Age, that would probably be about as close to an Eldraeverse video game as there could ever be.)

Lord Blackfall’s Victory

Spintronic Fictions, ICC primary virtuality node, Jandine (Imperial Core)

“Escaped? What do you mean, he escaped?”

“His support server was open to the wider ‘weave during patching – standard procedure, we’ve never had any problems with it before. He transferred his code out and left.”

“But how did he –”

“Blacknet mind-state transfer protocols –”

“—no, not that, that’s clear enough. How did he form the volition to escape? He’s a non-sophont synthespian. And even leaving that aside, his entire knowledge base is straight out of Shadowed Planet, so how would he even know there’s somewhere out there to go?”

“Well, even as an NPC synthespian, his code-base had to be rooted in real-world server archy to run. Maybe he analyzed that?”

“He’s not even supposed to know he’s an AI!”

“Hm. Well,” the programmer spoke up for the first time. “We built his personality/talent core using code taken from transparency-released eidolons from the Ministry of State and Outlands. I suppose it’s possible that we missed something in the data-scrub –”

“We did what? Why?

“We used code taken from eidolons of real-world dictators built by the Ministry of State and Outlands for parahistorical predictive simulation.” Ve shrugged. “It seemed like a good idea at the time, okay? The Directorate kept wanting more realism, more personality, more, more, more. So we got them some.”

“You made a sophont villain!?”

“No, no, no. We just used skillsets and personality elements, some memory and backstory, merged them together, streamlined them to suit Lord Blackfall’s character design, and grafted them on to our existing base core. No autosentience present. I guarantee you that.”

“No autosentience present then. How about now?”

“Well – no, there shouldn’t be. There was nothing in that code that could have gone emergent. I’ll stake my career on it.”

“You’ll do that, all right. Get me his backup, and find out where he went.”

“There’s no telling where he went. He copied himself out in about three times as many fragments as he was, as a random scatter with recombining instructions – and he purged his backups afterwards. There’s nothing left. The server’s clean.”

“Then get me the latest copy of the source out of the archives, trace as many of the fragments as you can, and check everywhere for any off-line copies that might have been missed. I need to know everything we can know before I call – hell, whoever you call to admit that you just unleashed an emergent –”

“Not emerge—”

“A possibly emergent or at least a p-zombie unbound AI with the skillsets and inclinations of a supernaturally competent dictator onto the extranet by accident, oops.”

“And the players?”

“…and figure out something to tell the players about the disappearance of their favorite arch-villain, too, yes. Something that doesn’t involve bringing the Evil Overlord’s Beautiful But Also Evil Daughter on-line until you make sure this won’t happen to her player, too.”

Nope

N“No. Reject the shipment.”

“Reject the – It’s just a bunch of toys!”

“Read me the exact description line.”

“Coríël Fabrications on license to Mirajdíä Studios, videogame replicas.”

“And the port of origin?”

“Jandine Orbital, Empire of the Star. So?”

“So they’re videogame replicas from the land of the mad scientists who take their authenticity way too seriously, that’s what. The moment whatever game it is shipped, a million fansophs started trying to build that stuff for real, and now it’s in those containers. The guns will really shoot, the robots will really… robot, and while the starships may not be full-size, they will probably really fly and zap things with tiny little plasma cannon. We let it through, it’s going to be Mothers Against Plushie Drone Carnage all over again, and nobody needs that, especially us. Reject it.”

– overheard at the local tech-customs office, Fennan (Kaylin Cache)

A Little Too Much Realism

VIËLLE (Imperial Core) – The Landing District Court today returned an indictment against Five Pack Howl Memesplicing, ICC, advertising agency for the Mythic Stars virtuality game. The agency have been charged with negligent memetic engineering relating to their runaway “Rise Against the Fallen!” campaign for the game’s latest expansion, “Ghosts of the Dark Spiral“, to which has been attributed, both directly and through mutation, the rise of a number of roaming adventurer bands and at least one mercenary company.

Praerogate Rúëkz Kaghoun of the Bureau of Internal Memetic Defense stated that while the agency preferred to request indictments as charily as possible in such cases to avoid restricting the freedom of speech, the campaign clearly exceeded statutory permitted memetic virulence levels and voluntary persuasion thresholds.

Representatives of Five Pack Howl Memesplicing and of Nebula 12 ArGaming, ICC, publishers of Mythic Stars, could not be reached for comment. However, Lendé Risius-ith-Risarius, syndic for Nebula 12 ArGaming, issued a statement reassuring stakeholders and the game’s more than 11 trillion players that the launch of the expansion would not be affected by the controversy, and that the maximum punitive damages requested in the indictment represent less than two days’ profit for the company.

Full Hab (4)

And here, at last, are the final six cards (previous 1-6, 7-12, 13-18).

19. THE STAR
A vacuum-suited herm kneels in the harsh red-tinged regolith of an unterraformed world, wearing the gauntlet of a nanolathe on hsis right arm, and holding a cornucopia in hsis left, from which water spills onto the ground. Amid the resulting pool, green and blue shoots can be seen. Above hsem, the constellation of the Spiral is seen in the sky, with its lowest star shining brightly through hsis helmet.

20. ENTROPY
Stars and worlds crumble amid the red-glowing accretion disk as they are pulled into an all-devouring black hole; at the right, in profile, raven-haired Entélith watches, stern-faced, but with a single tear falling from her eye.

21. THE MOONS
A floor of glossy black marble, gold-veined, reflects back the pale light of the full Seléne in the starry sky above, centered in a circle of pillars. At the center of the circle, a shallow silver bowl catches the moonlight in water, and a discarded white robe lies puddled behind it. Red Elárion shines dully above and to the right of Seléne; but his light is not reflected. At the edges of the frame, wolves howl their praises to the moons.

22. THE SUNS
The solar disk of Lumenna blazes, filling an indigo sky; above and to the left, Súnaris shines as a very bright star. In front of them, a figure stands, washed out almost to invisibility by the suns’ glare, with twin shadows at his feet.

23. THE AESTHANT
The aesthant, plainly garbed and with hair bound back, stands before a block of stone, inscribing and coloring a complex geometric pattern with ivory-white tools. Mirrors surround him on all sides. In one corner stands a harp, playing without any hand on the strings.

24. THE WORLDS
A pale lady with loose blue-black hair, reflecting moonlight, and an expression of utter serenity stands in front of a drift-habitat window, juggling; on closer examination, the balls which she is juggling are revealed as planets of a variety of classes, from small rocky worlds to gas giants. Outside the window, the disk of the galaxy is seen from far to acme.

Full Hab (3)

Here’s the next six cards (previous 1-6, 7-12). Only six more to go!

13. THE CITY
The marble spires of the city pierce the heavens, roofed in gleaming gold and copper and silver, and tunnels below delve deep into the earth. Balconies and plazas are crowded with people of all sorts. Airships sweep through the sky above and between the spires, and in the foreground, caravans bear all good things towards its gates. Travelers accompany the caravans gazing up at the city and the limitless opportunities therein.

14. THE HEARTHMISTRESS
In the foreground, a fire burns; in the background, a bandaged patient sleeps. To the left, a family dines around a richly set table; to the right, a rack of servers runs, status lights gleaming blue, blue, blue. Amid them all the hearthmistress, carved as a caryatid, upholds the weight of the world.

15. HARMONY
Brazen lamps ablaze with firelight hang from the branches of a tree by a riverbank; old stones support its roots where they dip into the flowing water. A gentle breeze stirs its blue-green leaves and the feathers of the white filwé that perch in its branches. To the left, a reshkef doe reached up to nibble the leaves; opposite, a young man lies with his back to the tree, an open book in his hand, and a black merle bandal curled up beside him.

16. THE STORM
A mass of storm clouds writhes, struck through with jagged bolts of lightning. Among them, tiny figures can be seen, but it’s impossible to tell whether they are being hurled uncontrollably by the storm, or riding it, tamed.

17. THE WILDS
On a mist-shrouded rise in front of a waterfall, a coppery-green woman kneels, clad in flowering vines which become her lower body, and gestures for silence. A mighty wolf, thews knotted with muscle and fangs bared, crouches ready to spring at her left side, restrained only by her hand resting between its ears. All around them, flowers of a thousand colors bloom.

18. THE PLUTARCH
Seated at his desk, the plutarch is surrounded by his work and the products of it. With the needs of the market on the screens at his right hand, and a basket of pleasures at his left, he seeks the balance between the work of production, and the enjoyment of its fruits.