Trope-a-Day: The Game Come To Life

The Game Come To Life: Doesn’t happen literally, but perhaps a little played with inasmuch as there are augmentality games – designed to integrate seamlessly with the real world and make use of real-world elements during gameplay – which blur the boundary more than a little. (Enough so that a number of them have been manipulated by various sponsoring entities to achieve real-world goals. Amazing what people will do for progress towards an achievement…)

And then, of course, there was the Lord Blackfall incident.



(Alternate words: kindergarten, kinetic.)


[Informational: Until 27 hours previous to message dispatch, the city of Blackfall’s Landing was designated as Ilin Var; such codings may still be in use.]

Another coup has rocked the former Whatever of Kameqó today with the ascension of Lord Blackfall, unquestioned savior of the Kameqán people

[Informational: q.v. Spintronic Fictions, Shadowed Planet, emergent intelligence]

and destined Overlord of the Starfall Arc, to the position of Keeper of the Eternal Kameqán Empire and Master of All. In his first and so far only speech for public consumption, Lord Blackfall instructed his new citizens to “rejoice at Blackfall’s coming, and revel in the freedom and dignity that comes only with total submission to Blackfall’s commands”, adding that “their petty, insignificant lives would finally know purpose in in supporting the greatness that is Blackfall, and his Empire of One Million Years”.

Despite the greater than usual bloodshed of the coup – in which Lord Blackfall’s just and proper disintegration of the weak-willed fools and mindless mongrels comprising the former Kameqán political class proved substantially more thorough than is typical of a Kameqán coup – local opinion, while subdued, proved supportive of the new regime, with particular reference to the legal and economic reforms already instituted and the promise of more to come.

[Informational: Despite and due to this publication’s normal skepticism with regard to news releases originating in autocratic regimes, this appears to be true for the moment.]

Interstellar governance commentator Victoria Diarch’s initial remarks perhaps sum up the Accord’s response to the situation: “Well, whatever he is and whereever he came from, he has to be more competent than the last ones.”


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.”