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I've been caught in the gravity well! + some questions!!!
Hi There! Welcome to OA! Smile

Just to kick this off, please feel free to join in on any discussions that grab your interest or to start new ones if you are so inclined.

Also, please don't be shy about asking questions, although we generally suggest checking out the EG (the wiki) first to see what might be there already. This mainly applies after you've been here a while and have a better handle on the setting, the EG, and what we're generally on about here. You're questions below are more than fine. Smile

The forum is mostly focused on the ongoing worldbuilding and development of the OA setting and project, although we certainly don't mind casual chit-chat either. There's also an OA Discord that a good number of us also take part in from time to time, although the discord format doesn't really lend itself to worldbuilding, we've found although some folks like to at least initially kick ideas around there before bringing them here for serious development. There are also channels there for general non-OA discussions.

Ok - moving on to the rest of your post...

(01-28-2023, 06:36 AM)Radio Ren Wrote: So I spent the better part of the past two days furiously clicking through the wiki. Haven't done that since my younger days, like middle school/high school, when I'd get lost on Wookieepedia or the LOTR wiki and other such sites (I'm almost 30 years old now). 

Ah, I love of the smell of archive panic in the morning! It smells like - progress. Cool

Somewhat more seriously, back in the day it was not uncommon for new members to spend as much as 2-3 weeks of being sleep deprived while getting lost inside the EG. I'm not sure if that still goes on and folks don't mention it or its just become more rare. But glad you're having fun and I hope you continue to do so. Just be sure to properly hydrate and pack snacks. Tongue

(01-28-2023, 06:36 AM)Radio Ren Wrote: As fascinating as this universe is, I also find it absurd in the sense that, when I picture it, something like Futurama comes to mind.

Am I alone on this?

I wouldn't personally characterize it that way (although others here might), but over the years (I've been part of OA since about 2001), I've come to believe that OA feeling really weird and discomfiting probably means we're doing something right. Consider the scale of the OA timeline and how someone from 10,000 years ago might view the world we live in today. I imagine we would probably seem very strange to them as well.

Note that OA is a hard SF project that seeks to imagine a plausible potential future based on a series of starting premises (OA Canon), but does not claim to be a crystal ball predicting how the future WILL be.

(01-28-2023, 06:36 AM)Radio Ren Wrote: I mean, essentially, baseline humans are rare, and much more common is a seemingly infinite diversity of clades, cyborgs, ais, virtual beings, etc. So, in other words, pure chaos from an aesthetic point of view. Given that post-scarcity is rare, at least as you get closer to the center of Terragen space, it would also seem as if these quadrillions of beings exist largely in a bread and circuses environment... 

I mean, struggle is a thing of the past in most well-civilized areas, so wouldn't they all be entertaining themselves entirely with games and pleasurable diversions? And this is why something like the image of Futurama comes to mind... Beings get bored, and therefore don absurd virtual/physical forms, and seek out activities to entertain themselves. Maybe I'm wrong about that, but that's kind of my general picture of society somewhere within the Inner Sphere. 

In a philosophical vein, this sounds like a version that new members tend to come to a lot which might be summed up as:

'If people aren't forced to work just to survive won't life cease to have meaning?'

To which the answer in OA might be 'Why would you believe that? Is devoting a third of your life to (usually) building someone else's dream really the best or only way to give your life meaning?'

In a more practical (in setting) sense - the answer to this question is: The people of OA do strive and do work very hard when they want to - but they do it when they want to, not because general everyday life forces them to (and they play a lot and very hard when they want to too). There are still goals and striving and danger (and horror - including things that would make Cthulhu back up a step and maybe throw up in his mouth a little), but much of it is of a type and kind that is very different from our lived real life (RL in OA parlance btw) experience btw.

A big source of striving is seeking to breach a Singularity barrier and become a transapient. Within the different major empires of the Civilized Galaxy it is a basic civil right to be allowed to do this. So everybody has the potential to become a superhuman - or even something that a lot of people would consider a god - if they are willing to put in the work. But there are others as well.

(01-28-2023, 06:36 AM)Radio Ren Wrote: I do have some questions though, and I'm a bit rusty on my "why it does or doesn't work in hard science fiction," so please go easy on me. 
 1. So quantum entanglement doesn't really allow for FTL communication, hence why it's not used in OA. But from what I understand, most of Terragen space is linked up by wormholes anyways, and although it took relativistic times to get the wormholes towed into place, once they are there, there is seemingly FTL travel possible (yes I know not real FTL).  My question here is, does the "internet" work using these wormholes as well? Could someone on a planet hundreds of lightyears away from someone else communicate in a reasonable amount of time since the information would be relayed using light through wormholes? And if so, how much time are we looking at? Let's say I'm on Earth and want to send a video message to someone in a system 500 light-years away. How long would it take them to get my message if it was being relayed through the most efficient wormhole path there? A few hours or days?

There are actually multiple types of wormholes in OA - LINK

The two main kinds are comm-gates and transit gates. Both have different properties and the answer to your question depends on which type of gate is used. Comm-gates form the basis of the Godweb, and the part of that that human level minds can use is called the Known Net. Transit gates are used for some info traffic, but mostly for moving bulk matter (ships etc.) around. The collection of all transit gates is called the Wormhole Nexus. The Nexus usually works by having a single WH in a system, which links to a Relay containing 100 WHs (so 99 other places including other Relays). See HERE for an explanation of that.

The Nexus connects about 10 million stars or other locations while the Known Net connects about 10x that much (but there is some overlap between the two). Which sounds like a huge amount until you realize there are a billion star systems in Terragen space.

Transit gates have to be placed far from stars and other significant masses (including other wormholes) and for various reasons it takes light about 4 days to travel thru one. Transit gates usually span relatively short distances (tens of light-years at most) so sending a signal 500 ly would involve multiple transits, each needing 4 days, plus probably that time again (at least) to get from one wormhole mouth to the next. All this adds up pretty fast so it could take weeks or months for your message to make the trip.

OTOH, comm-gates have much different requirements and limits and can be placed inside star systems and grouped much more closely together (you could put a whole Relay's worth of comm-gates inside the orbit of the Moon - or inside a volume the size of the Earth in principle - without causing issues. If you're using comm-gates your same signal could cross that 500 ly in a few seconds at most and a fraction of a second in many cases. But overall wormholes are rare and even if you're in a system with a comm-gate it make be light-seconds to light-hours away.

(01-28-2023, 06:36 AM)Radio Ren Wrote: 2. I still don't understand the creator's point-of-view on why there aren't "FTL" Alcubierre drive-based warp ships, especially since exotic matter does seem to exist in the universe and allows wormholes to be stabilized and kept open. I think I read somewhere that they said a warp ship would end up having everything within it vaporized to due to the effects of generating the warpfield, but I never encountered such a POV when exploring the feasibility of warp drives based on Alcubierre's design elsewhere. So I guess the question is, is it true? Also, I guess there are warp ships in OA, but they travel subluminally. Are these void ships the same things that appear as a lensing effect to outside observers an example of this technology? 

Two reasons -

1) FTL warp drives do problematic things to causality and we don't allow time travel in OA.

2) There actually has been a RL paper published about warp drives that argues that they would be limited to STL speeds because as the ship reaches the speed of light, virtual particle creation inside the warp bubble will ramp up to such a degree that the ship (and warp bubble) will be destroyed. It's used as one of the sources for OA's warp drive design. You can find a list of references, including that one IIRC at the end of the article on these drives HERE. I think its either reference 3 or 6, but it's been a while so don't quote me that. Tongue

Void ships are probably the same thing as whatever is causing the lensing effect - but in setting Terragens don't absolutely know for sure. Wink

(01-28-2023, 06:36 AM)Radio Ren Wrote: 3. I'm a little confused on their Toposophic Filter explanation. On the one hand, they make it sound like alien life is rare, and yet on the other, several intelligent species and garden worlds have been discovered. So I'm having a hard time understanding what their picture of alien life in the galaxy is.  I guess what they are trying to say is that Terragen has not as of yet encountered an alien civilization that has expanded as much and reached the same level of tech as themselves, even though they have confirmed the existence of such species in the past that are no longer around. And the reason being, maybe once they become advanced enough, the last "transcendence" either annihilates them or takes them beyond the understanding of... S6 I believe it? Is my understanding of this correct? But as far as I can tell, nothing in OA precludes the existence of other Terragen-type civilizations in the Milky, just that we haven't contacted them yet, due to relativistic reasons. But nothing precludes eventually discovering the border of a current Terragen-type civilization as the Terragen sphere continues its slow, relativistic creep across the galaxy, right? 

Terragens have detected and even received messages from other civilizations in this and other galaxies that are of comparable scope and power to themselves - LINK[/u] and [u]LINK

These are all far enough away that Terragens haven't directly encountered them yet - for the most part. Some of them make Terragens look like something you'd find in a small tide pool.

However, they've also found lots of evidence of past civs that just seemingly vanished one day for now apparent reason and life and intelligent life in the setting as a whole is really quite rare when you consider the sheer number of stars and galaxies. Hence the theory of the Great Toposophic Filter, which yes theorizes that a lot of civs either ascend into something undetectable or die in the attempt or are destroyed/removed in some fashion relating to some kind of higher toposophic event or entity.

The Fermi Paradox is still a thing even in Y11k, although the theorized reasons for it have changed a good bit.

(01-28-2023, 06:36 AM)Radio Ren Wrote: 4. Next up, my question pertains to immortality and inequality. Is it the case that society closer to the center of Terragen space is post-scarcity and post-death? Can beings rejuvenate/repair themselves endlessly? And is your standard material inequality eradicated, leaving behind only status-seeking within these post-scarce societies? It's also my understanding that towards the wild frontiers of Terragen space death and old-school inequalities may persist. But as they become more developed, they fade into the background. I mean, it sounds a lot like OA is really an "everything goes" sort of universe in terms of the kinds of societies and situations that might exist.

Pretty much anywhere that chooses to be post-scarcity and post-death can do so with trivial effort. Places where death and scarcity still exist are that way because they (or the ancestors that set them up) choose to be that way. There are a few exceptions where someone (usually a transapient) has chosen to set up and maintain such a place without the population's consent, but this is often seen as a great crime and is a good way to find oneself on the receiving end of a good ass-kicking by something at or beyond your Singularity level.

Societies that set themselves up with scarcity and death usually do so well out on the frontier to avoid the wider Terragen civ - but that civ is constantly expanding and more often than not explorers and missionaries will eventually show up and upset the applecart unless they deliberately choose not to due to non-interference policies. See HERE for a story about this kind of thing.

(01-28-2023, 06:36 AM)Radio Ren Wrote: 5. My last questions pertain to military combat in the current period of OA. If I understand correctly, your standard sci-fi "battleship + carrier + fighter squadron" type thing definitely isn't happening, as most engagements take place between mostly autonomous machines/ai/drones that are fighting each other at minimum light-seconds apart, and of course, no baseline human being could compete in such an environment. Or is it that aesthetically, there is still that kind of combat happening, but it's just happening at greater and greater distances due to the ais, etc. having the capability to actually conduct combat at that range? It's interesting though that in the wikis pertaining to weapons, one still reads about mechs, tanks, and even "infantry." So is it that the old forms of combat exist still, but are now instead fought by cyborgs, ais, vecs, etc., with baseline/near baseline humans entirely gone from the combat theaters? And I guess my final question is, is there any way baseline/near baseline humans could contend with higher levels militarily, or would they basically have to develop the same types of weapons/ais/etc that those levels use to even stand a chance?

This element of the setting has evolved a good bit from the early days but the EG hasn't fully caught up yet. Lots of tribal knowledge vs what's in writing (sorry - everything OA does is via volunteer labor and there's always more to do than time and people to do it).

In a nutshell any 'serious' combat is entirely automated as you describe with a few exceptions where extremely augmented 'special forces' type teams are employed in niche applications for reason that may be obscure and only really known to the transapient overseeing them. More 'traditional' forms of combat may exist in places that have deliberately limited their tech level or as part of ritualized combat or for fun (LINK)

As far as baselines/nearbaselines humans contending with higher levels militarily just by their own efforts - short answer is Nope. Even baselines/nearbaselines in the setting routinely deploy (equivalent to one of us carrying a personal handgun or pepper spray) security or combat bots that are so much more capable than a human soldier that it would be an 'ant/boot' situation. LINK

In a nutshell - if you see one of these, you can be virtually certain is has already targeted you (it probably targeted you when you were kilometers away) and if it decides to end you, you will be dead before your nervous system has time to register that fact. It will not stump around like a Terminator nor did it go to the Stormtrooper Shooting Academy and quickly glancing around a tree or hiding in the bushes will be about as effective as doing a dance routine while singing at the top of your lungs in the middle of a field. It will not stop to make clever banter or monologue. It will move like greased lightning and it virtually never misses. It does not need its user to tell it to act. It does not feel fear or mercy or pity or compassion and it will do whatever it necessary to complete its mission/protect its user.

And against even the least transapient - it is nothing more than an ant under the dinosaur killer meteor at ground zero. It gets progressively worse from there.

It's basically impossible for a lower S-level to beat a higher one except in extreme and very specific circumstances. And humans and such are the lowest S-level sophonts around.

(01-28-2023, 06:36 AM)Radio Ren Wrote: The interesting thing is that it sounds like what we think of as "human" is pretty much... well... gone in the OA universe. And when that clicked with me, I felt a strange emptiness inside - like depressingly empty, like I had to think of my cats and my girlfriend in order to bring me back to life kind of depressing lol. 

The idea that because technology marches on we eventually make ourselves "obsolete" is... a jarring one. It's also one of the most refreshing ideas in fiction - that although there is this "Terragen" civilization that traces its origin to humanity and Earth, it doesn't resemble anything like old Humanity, it's just a weird Futurama-aesthetic-scramble of various types of beings all.... partaking with one another... struggling to find meaning in a world where death, at least in the most civilized regions, is largely eradicated. And it's an unsettling idea I think to a lot of humans, especially today, who imagine that 10,000 years from now it will still be human beings "calling the shots." If OA is even remotely accurate, we basically birth our AI gods and from that point on, the relevance and importance of the baseline human is a thing of the past, perhaps only a curiosity to those interested in history. Is my understanding of that correct? 

Pretty much yes - but it's more complicated than that. The baseline humans that are still around are mostly baselines because they choose to be and they are nearly extinct because their children (and sometimes themselves) keep deciding to become something else (something better). That may be just becoming a near-baseline - or it may be becoming a god (if you're willing to put in the work and can live with the risks). Most people go thru a lot of intermediate steps over hundreds of thousands of years before even starting to take the first steps on the 'become a god' journey - but the option is there. Terragen civ and the OA future are all about options (options, options, so MANY options).

Yeesh, this is why I got sucked in. 

(01-28-2023, 06:36 AM)Radio Ren Wrote: I wonder if I'm alone in the feeling that the stuff that tries to be the hardest science fiction ends up being the most strange, exotic, and absurd. Like even more so than Star Wars or anything like that. 

A case in point is the Queen of Pain hell world that exists. Apparently, that's a thing in OA. And it's explained via godtech level nanotech stuff, and relativity isn't broken, and yet... there it is... something equivalent to the worst hell imaginable. 

And so I find myself wondering if the old Hindus weren't incorrect. With all these hell worlds, utopia spheres, etc. running around in OA... it really seems like given the inexorable procession of time, the Milky Way becomes the strangest of places... Millions, maybe billions of worlds, quadrillions (or orders of magnitudes higher) numbers of beings, expressing infinite diversity. 

Such a thought is fascinating, if not a little terrifying, don't you think?

I think you'll find a fair number of people here who will agree with you on the above to one degree or another. At least the fascinating part. I'm less sure about the terrifying part - but then again I've been here a long time and have been drinking the OA Kool Aid for all that time. Angel

Hope this helps and once again - Welcome to OA!!

Introverts of the World - Unite! Separately....In our own homes.

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RE: I've been caught in the gravity well! + some questions!!! - by Drashner1 - 01-28-2023, 09:33 AM

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