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Developer Explains Clone/Transhumanist RPG

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the gamers-don't-like-words-that-big dept.

Role Playing (Games) 41

destinyland writes "How much would you use technology to change yourself if humanity faced extinction? In this interview, the two creators behind Eclipse Phase explain their bizarre role-playing game, which 'expands the transhuman conversation.' All the characters can be identical clones, and when you switch bodies, it affects your core characteristics while damaging your sanity. But its spookiest concept is close to reality today: the idea of universal surveillance in which 'everything is networked and equipped with sensors and all meshed together.'"

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OK... (3, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#29239965)

I'd say that, at least initially, one of the things we wanted to do was attempt to engage with a lot of the issues that you see coming up on transhumanist websites, amongst transhumanist listserves, when transhumanists get together and discuss these things

This game actually sounds neat, but in my experience "attempting to engage with a lot of the issues you see on transhumanist websites" is a lot like trying to hold a conversation with a 9/11 Truther or Intelligent Design proponent - I'd rather have root canal surgery.

Re:OK... (2, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#29240045)

like trying to hold a conversation with a 9/11 Truther or Intelligent Design proponent - I'd rather have root canal surgery.

That's only because you're afraid of the truth, which is that some supernatural entity, that sure may be the God of Abraham but might not be too, caused a special task force of the U.S. government to appear to evolve into a man-machine combination that exceeds the capabilities of both in order to plot the destruction of the Twin Towers!

Re:OK... (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 5 years ago | (#29244037)

Consider this as an amusing game scenario, "You're resting in a bed, at a Hospice Home [hospicenet.org] . Your Heart is dieing, 5 of your Major Arteries are clogged up. The amount of time before your Heart stops, or you split an Artery can be measured in Mayfly years." The only rule is, "You can't win if you're dead."

And to just add some contemporary spice to the game setting, Your are surrounded by a group of smiling Chinese Business Men [latimes.com] , they joke and talk about their future. What's even more amusing is that next to your bed is President Bush Jr., being told that his third Stem Cell Grown Replacement Heart will be ready in 7 hours, the smiling nurse says that a nice Iron Horse Wine has arrived and would complement his Smoked Sockeye Salmon nicely.

Re:OK... (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#29240121)

And the root canal takes a whole lot less time than listening to them trot out "The Borg" swoon again for the 47th time.

Re:OK... (5, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#29240701)

This game actually sounds neat, but in my experience "attempting to engage with a lot of the issues you see on transhumanist websites" is a lot like trying to hold a conversation with a 9/11 Truther or Intelligent Design proponent - I'd rather have root canal surgery.

But by getting a root canal, you would be using science and technology to improve your physical characteristics and in a small way you'd be affirming that suffering tooth pain is unnecessary and undesirable. [wikipedia.org] So basically you're transhuman if you do, transhuman if you don't. Or maybe that was just a convoluted way of saying "Less talk more transhumanism."

Maybe you should have said "attempting to engage with a lot of the issues you see on transhumanist websites... I'd rather die a slow painful death from a tooth abscess."

(Kidding, at least I started off that way, then I probably just overthought it.)

Re:OK... (2, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#29240807)

But by getting a root canal, you would be using science and technology to improve your physical characteristics and in a small way you'd be affirming that suffering tooth pain is unnecessary and undesirable.

Which is specifically why I chose that example. Root canals work. I'm not going to argue the philosophy or politics of it, when I can just get it done.

Re:OK... (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 5 years ago | (#29241449)

This game actually sounds neat, but in my experience "attempting to engage with a lot of the issues you see on transhumanist websites" is a lot like trying to hold a conversation with a 9/11 Truther or Intelligent Design proponent - I'd rather have root canal surgery.

Is that better or worse than arguing with a dining room table?

Re:OK... (1)

Loko Draucarn (398556) | more than 5 years ago | (#29261923)

It's most assuredly better than arguing with a writing-desk. All mine wants to do is whine about people comparing it to a raven.

What's hard about the melting point of steel? (1)

leftie (667677) | more than 5 years ago | (#29255597)

Find out the melting point of the type of structural steel used to build skyscrapers.

Then find out the temperature range jet fuel burns.

Steel cannot be structurally altered by any burning petroleum product.

There's a reason oil companies build oil derricks and offshore oil platforms out of the same kind of structural steel skyscrapers are framed. If an oil/gas well catches fire, the oil derrick or offshore oil platform will not take major damage.

Do you think Shell Oil would build offshore oil/gas platforms out of structural steel if burning oil/natural gas could melt that platform?

Re:OK... (1)

flonker (526111) | more than 5 years ago | (#29262273)

It's not the root canal that's the painful bit, it's the infection and inflammation that tells you that you need a root canal that's the painful bit.

Pic from TFA (2, Funny)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#29240013)

This [hplusmagazine.com] . Must I deduce that 'transhumanism' is like furry fandom except with robots instead of felines?

Re:Pic from TFA (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29240101)

If it's any consolation, there are, in fact, transhumanist furries. Of course, they don't call themselves that...

Re:Pic from TFA (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29240119)

I was thinking more along the lines of the Omar [wikipedia.org] from Deus Ex : Invisible War

What a pity.. (3, Informative)

Nareth (1580251) | more than 5 years ago | (#29240029)

As I was reading, I was thinking what an innovative and interesting game this would make, one thing the mmorpg market hasn't seen yet. ...And then, much to my distress, I realize it's a pen-and-paper game.

Seconded! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29240041)

I was wondering how they were producing media to handle the infinite variations of players possible from such a broad ranging base. Then wondering WTF the screenshots were, and why they had such mellow concept art.

Then I get further down and 'Ohhhh it's one of THOSE. If I had the friends to play those I probably wouldn't be spending my spare time reading slashdot or playing grind-style MMOs' :D

Totally disappointing.

Also didn't GURPs do transhumanism like a decade ago? What do these guys bring new to the table, other than a less convoluted stat system? (And WTF do people waste money on stat systems anyhow, when have the campaign booklets say 'Lie about the die rolls to make sure they go down this path.' Hell we were doing that in the 4th grade, without RPGs :D

Re:What a pity.. (3, Insightful)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 5 years ago | (#29241503)

I don't know why anyone would be disappointed to learn this. Pen and paper isn't worse, it's a different medium. It's a far richer medium, as well, with fewer restrictions on what can be done. If you want to have a social experiment, pen/paper or live-action are really a better experience for the participants than an mmorpg is.

Re:What a pity.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29242057)

The reason we are disappointed is that pen-and-paper games actually require us to go outside and find people to play. Some of us can't be bothered and would rather have an MMORPG. Sure someone could set up a server and a UI to play it online, but that sounds suspiciously like work.

Re:What a pity.. (2, Insightful)

julesh (229690) | more than 5 years ago | (#29244817)

I don't know why anyone would be disappointed to learn this. Pen and paper isn't worse, it's a different medium

I think the point GP was trying to make is that there's no shortage of innovative and different pen & paper games, but an almost total dearth of them in the MMO market.

Re:What a pity.. (1)

RubberChainsaw (669667) | more than 5 years ago | (#29246097)

I think the point GP was trying to make is that there's no shortage of innovative and different pen & paper games, but an almost total dearth of them in the MMO market.

Thats because the MMO in MMORPG basically means "lowest common denominator." Plenty of Pen-and-Paper RPGs have wonderfully innovative mechanics and environments, but they are limited to a small niche. MMOs, by their nature, struggle to be inclusive of as many people as possible. They contain only the very basics of RPG gameplay.

Re:What a pity.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29241817)

I would have LOVED and MMORPG with this theme... I got the game as a pdf just to read it. Its imagination fuel for me, a novel if you will. I will probably never play it (since I have no friends that like this sort of thing) but its still worth 15USD just to get the pdf. The problem with the people making MMORPGs are that they spend all their time "balancing" PvP and very little time making a fun game. PvP should not be the main focus of a RPG game IMHO, it should be in there as a way to resolve conflicts and add "spice" kinda like it was in UO untill they messed the game up with the Fel/Tram fiasco.

me too (1)

kikito (971480) | more than 5 years ago | (#29243303)

sick of elves and barbarians, not wanting to enter EVE.

Re:What a pity.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29269537)

So, what you're saying is that you don't want to use your imagination, you just want someone to make all the pretty graphics and throw a half-assed story at you.

That is why you are our slaves. We tell you what to think and what to do, and you do all our work for us.

Could be on my shopping list (2)

norttipertti (167435) | more than 5 years ago | (#29240037)

Game seems quite interesting. Somehow a bastard child of good old Paranoia and Scalzi's Shadow Brigades comes to mind.
I guess I have to give it a whirl at some point.

Re:Could be on my shopping list (2, Funny)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 5 years ago | (#29240307)

I'd love to see a serious take on a computer-based implementation of Paranoia. Probably too unforgiving for a MMO to give it any chance. But as a Fallout-style single player game, it would rock - perhaps with a cooperative small-scale multiplayer option, so you can play with some "trusted" non-idiots, whom you can stab in the back, er... report to friend computer... in style. You would like it too, wouldn't you? Or are you a commie? Or even a mutant?

Re:Could be on my shopping list (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29248251)

Probably too unforgiving for a MMO to give it any chance.

Oh, no. Perfect for an MMO.

Although the GM was a key factor, what made Paranoia fun wasn't the rules or the campaign, it was the unpredictability of the other human players. It's not about the mission - most the Paranoia missions are cookie-cutter FedEx quests - it's about the interactions between the grudge-carrying, backstabbing, drama-whoring human players.

In a single-player game, you don't get that unscripted interaction. In an MMO, you get it in spades. Indeed, it's all there really is to an MMO. Guild politics, etc.

EVE Online isn't a WoW-killer, but it's basically Paranoia Online, without The Computer and without the humor.

This sounds a lot like Paranoia to me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29240049)

I could be wrong. I would never doubt anything the Computer had told me.

Re:This sounds a lot like Paranoia to me. (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 5 years ago | (#29246083)

I could be wrong. I would never doubt anything the Computer had told me.

I think this is more like Paranoia would be if you _were_ the Computer. And there were *other* Computers trying to achieve the opposite of your goals.

Strangelove (2, Funny)

mindbrane (1548037) | more than 5 years ago | (#29240051)

>"How much would you use technology to change yourself if humanity faced extinction?"

Well, if I could be even reasonably certain I could kill 'em all, then, really there's no limit I wouldn't go beyond.

And it's licensed under creative commons. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29240057)

It looks like the developer has licensed the game under Creative Commons as well, and are seeding their own torrent of the rulebook. ENWorld thread here: http://www.enworld.org/forum/general-rpg-discussion/264237-eclipse-phase-legal-torrent-creative-commons.html [enworld.org]

What? (2, Funny)

plague911 (1292006) | more than 5 years ago | (#29240099)

"transhumanism" I do not understand and nor do I care to. However for some reason I feel as if this game will involve fighting hordes of Tom Cruises and a John Travolta every now and then. The idea of this dose slightly intrigue me.

Re:What? (2, Funny)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#29240219)

However for some reason I feel as if this game will involve fighting hordes of Tom Cruises and a John Travolta every now and then.

And then, Xenu sues you for copyright infringement and you seek exile in Canada.

Here we go again... (1)

MacTaranis (792055) | more than 5 years ago | (#29240785)

Paranoia meets furies. Nothing to see here move along.

my answer? (0)

tedr2 (1502807) | more than 5 years ago | (#29241195)

"How much would you use technology to change yourself if humanity faced extinction?" I feel that what is essentially "me" is the decision making engine/logic/automata with its associated memory of past events which is it's knowledge base.If i am garanteed that this will remain largly unaltered, then i would feel free to move out of my "biological body" to any medium. I confess that a lot of our pleasure circuit is linked to our biological body so i would miss those..but if it was a matter of survival, well, you have to be alive to have sex right?

Re:my answer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29241387)

All pleasure and pain is ultimately created by your brain, so if your mind survives I'm sure you could still stimulate it to provide pleasure like sex. Reality is perception, so if you create your own little "Matrix" of hot nymphomaniacs, then that sex will be just as good as the "real" biological function...possibly even better.

Greetings, Friend Citizen! What is your clearance? (3, Informative)

E-Sabbath (42104) | more than 5 years ago | (#29241993)

Hm. Multiple clones. Universal surveilance. Questioning what it means to be alive and human in a world that values neither.
I've been playing this for years! Except it was a bit more brightly colored. And had more Bouncy Bubble Beverage. (It's the Mandatory Thing, you know.)

I'm so far behind the cutting edge I'm in front of it, apparently. Well...

Friend Computer, how may I serve the Complex today?

Re:Greetings, Friend Citizen! What is your clearan (1)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 5 years ago | (#29243571)

"The Computer is your friend! The Computer is always right. The Computer is infallible. Those who challenge the Computer must be exterminated immediately"

[A blue pill pops out of dispenser]

"Please consume the red pill before you, and describe what happens"

Re:Greetings, Friend Citizen! What is your clearan (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29248349)

"The Computer is your friend! The Computer is always right. The Computer is infallible. Those who challenge the Computer must be exterminated immediately"

[A blue pill pops out of dispenser]

"Please consume the red pill before you, and describe what happens"

"Friend Computer! This is Troubleshooter ANONCOW-R-D, reporting a that commie pinko mutant traitors have sabotaged your pill dispenser, as it has just dispensed a pill that is far above my clearance level. As the dispensed pill is also above the clearance of my team leader, PHRO-G-MAN, I cannot entrust him with it, and I have therefore shot him on the spot!"

~ZOT!~

"As acting team leader, I now request permission from Friend Computer to use my laser to dispose of both the uncleared pill and effect repairs on the sabotaged pill dispenser, both of which remain the property of The Computer and which must be repaired/damaged (as if there's a difference!) without due authorization."

~the smoke has now cleared
where Phro-G-Man's clone once stood
a warm boot remains~

Re:Greetings, Friend Citizen! What is your clearan (1)

AP31R0N (723649) | about 5 years ago | (#29301511)

The one time a played that game we had to do the old interview scene. "What would you do if...". One of the questions was "What would you do if the Computer committed treason?". I asked the computer if it was treasonous to suggest that the computer COULD commit treason. It said yes, so i killed the high ranking guy giving the test. From then on the computer loved me.

Great game.

Transhuman Space, anybody? (2, Interesting)

socha23 (1137849) | more than 5 years ago | (#29244629)

So, it's sort of like Transhuman Space [sjgames.com] ?

Those books a pretty good read even if you don't plan on playing the game. And yes, you can play as an uplift or AI too.

I was an alpha playtester (1)

QuantumFTL (197300) | more than 5 years ago | (#29248663)

I enjoyed playtesting a (very unfinished) version of this system last summer with a local gaming group. I'm under NDA so I cannot say much, but I would recommend that anyone serious about science fiction RPGs check this out when it's released. If nothing else, you won't find the experience boring.
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