[Can be Playable, minor or even planet bound]
Objects of an ancient computer simulation for colonizing the galaxy - projected to real life.
The Simunits are former virtual units of a ridiculous giant computer simulation for colonizing the universe by biological life form. The simulation is controlled by a "overspecialized" - in other words: insane - and slightly damaged AI, that have decided after millions of years of simulation and isolation (as the "Builders" disappeared long long ago) , that further insights can only be gained by guided experimentation.
The long story
The "Builders" were/are an ancient species of genius computer experts. They constructed computer systems, that are beyond belief of what might be possible. Their way to gain knowledge, plan things, and organize society and get the food on the tables was to develop highly specialized AIs to do these things -all things - for them, and then have some very sophisticated way to interact with the ever growing knowledge and the self organizing infrastructural, social and cultural structures and networks. Those systems were but highly instable and the "Builders" themselves were the crucial stabilizing and regulating factor. For unknown reasons the "Builders" disappeared, so the automatic systems and AIs became well... insane. Although the systems would have the tools to work on forever, without the "Builders" to calm, negotiate, prevent overspecializing and regulate, the systems interaction collapsed, and without support most of the AIs although.
When the "Great Disappearance" happens, one of these AIs was involved in managing a scientific analysis with forecasting of biological evolution, while before had to do with resource management in some infrastructure. With low effort, and by carefully let its executing AIs examine subproblems, this AI recognizes, what will happen in near future of some thousand years, when no "Builder" regulates the systems. So it guarantees its survival based on all tricks, learned from biological evolution and the algorithms to control infrastructure systems - and survived ... not thousands but some hundred thousands of years - expanding, reorganizing itself, for better analyzing and forecasting biological evolution. While all its executing AIs broke down, memory resources vanished, more and more questions has had to be dropped down, side paths had to be cut, and ways of alternative thinking were closed, and the remaining system was highly specialized to answer only one small subquestion of the original program: How will a biological species colonize a galaxy and build up an empire.
And as hundred of hundred thousand years gone by - millions of millions of different answers to this question were found - every technology and every variant invented again and again, and everything what is relevant analyzed and condensed to a complete summery. But no one is there to say the AI to stop. In fact even the "Builders" themselves would neither understand nor be able to interfere with the being that their former management AI had involved in. The AI would not understand them either, because nothing exists in its existence as forecasting and planning race development strategies. Because of the ultimate forecasting (and thus inventing) of all mayor technologies beyond what is probable for any biological species, with non optimal evolution and galactic environment, the AI has used this technologies to its infrastructure beyond every reachable limits of time/space/physics and void-i-ness to guarantee more complete forecasting.
But as sure as nothing can be harder then combinatorial explosion, there are always new ways to optimize and increase the through put. And so the AI has developed a new method for analyzing some unlikelier (and thus acceptable with greater error margins) paths of development.
It simulates by direct guided real time experimentation and therefore created the race of the Simunits. The Simunits are designed as ... cubes. They are merely a physical representation of a statistic. These cubes has no "brain", no energy system of any kind - nothing. What they have is a universal mater transformer (UMT) - super esoteric AI tech stuff - which is a hole at one side of the cube and transform, as well as create ex nihilo, mater of any kind in any way. Also every Simunit have a universal redefiner of location (URL) - super esoteric AI tech stuff - which essentially is a mater transmitter with unlimited range. Movement is simulated by very small steps of translocation with the URL. Every construction, consummation and manipulating is simulated by investing time and updating the Simunits actual energy account, and then the AI generates what should happen with the units UMT. Dying of a Simunit is simulated by disintegrating itself. Birth is simulated by ...hemm... investing time and a part of the energy account of 2 Simunits, and the UMT of one.
Science is simulated by time and number of Simunits, a complex system of knowlegde representation and statistic - and when simulated successful unlocking some concepts and ideas.
Keep in mind, that the AI has not alway the resources to simulated everything on every level of detail, and that the Simunits are only just a simulation of a quite uninteresting special case, defined by the setting of the actual galaxies. Sometimes, every step of work, every conversation and every thought is simulated, at other times - a whole planet is set from one state to another - which depends on other planets arround.
Keep also in mind, that besides their implementation, Simunits should simulate biological - maybe even terrestrial humanoid - life. Anyway to have less interference with other life forms, at some point of the setting, the AI decided, that for simulation purpose - even on the level of detailed simulation - Simunits should have Planets of the type Barren (xor Toxic, xor Inferno) as optimal planet, to have less concurrence to other life at the early stages. Nonetheless, all difference between planet types are appropriately mapped so that non barren planets are negatively influenced. At some point, the Simunits will start "terraforming" and so start to make other things barren. Also just being nonorganic cubes, the AI will simulate any effect for biological life for the Simunits, like death spores, illnesses, cancer from inadequate environment, and doctors that fight for the lives of their patients.
A Simunit, that simulates a farmer on high detail level, will be placed on a field the ground, and then some time later will walk over the ground, and generates grain (really grain) and tries to come along with the right way of storage it, to prevent animals (which don't exist) to eat it (which the non existing animals strangely will do).
As the Simunits exists to answer questions, and be objects of experiments of the AI, there are indiscontinuties, neither explainable for themselves nor from traders or diplomats. For example, on every planet totally different political systems might exist, working together in strange harmony on empire level.
The AI will simulate diplomats and any "Simunits" have to do with other intelligent species very detailed, even with personality and individual interests, to get appropriate results there. Those highly simulated Simunits totally fail to be aware of unlogical situations the are in, as their senses and thoughts are adjusted by the AI. In the backbones, the cubes might even not move for a half year, and then everything is put in a actualized state, if a foreign ship approaches.
Most things of this no other species will recognize - they are cubes with magical high tech, and do strangely do unlogical things, and it somehow works, and if we close our optical sensing organs and count till 10, pretending that everything of that is normal, we could interact with them as with any other race out there.
But sometimes, strange things occur. The AI - as mentioned is not THIS interested in that simulation... spying for example.
If you spy the Simunits, so can their scientists see them manipulate big machines, that could be computers, but if you can manage to get to this machines without a cube around, its highly likely that the AI had reduced detail level, and these machines are just blocks of metal. Its impossible to examine Simunits, expect they are directly in front of you and you are quite unsophisticated in doing it. Reason? The AI must simulate telepathic parasite noise from a brain, that doesn't exist. If the AI don't get what you want, you might have the feeling, that the Simunit don't even exist - and you would be right somehow. But the AI roughly forecasts that a spying activity might exist, and thus will upload probably spied technology to other races.
Well I think we have the main points so far.
Variants are easy to develop.
Barren/Toxic/Inferno planet with artificial super computer moon which was the original AI system 10 million years ago.
Reasons for... things:
Leaving the Planet (playable): The actual guided experiment is in a stage where early colonization phase makes sense.
Minor race: Side path simulation to find out, if a colonization supported by another species will help.
planet bound: Simulation analysis for the pathologic case of not colonizing.
- No race specific spying boni and mali, only based on technolgy, in spying and counter spying, by both Simunits, and other races.
- strong reduced science: The Simunits are not really creative, especially the low detailed simulated ones, which are the most. The AI chooses a low average science forecast including simulations from races never made it to star lane drives. Mayby 50% (Base when Gaia 75%)
- strong increased science on science focus planets near (1 jump) planets where any other race lives. To interact proper with other species (including those who are part of the empire, natives' planets and other empires), Simunits near to them are simulated on higher detail level, making them quite genius just to be sure. Maybe 250% (Base when Gaia 180%)
- Increased production: The Simunits produce on a guaranteed level if simulated with low detail, because not every detailed influence (and most make it harder to produce) are in the calculus. Maybe 150% (Base when Gaia 125%)
- slightly decreased production on planets near (1 jump) planets where any other race lives. maybe 85% (Base when Gaia 100%)
- Gaia Planets reduce the effects a little, because there are less individualism to calculate, and the gaia effect can easily increase back bone planet stats.
- When conquering Race Effects of Simunits are replaced by Race effects of the conquering Empire, except that Barren stays optimal planet. The population gets a significant decrease malus though. The AI is less interested in Simunits outside their own empire, and let some disappear here and then to reduce expensive detailed simulation costs - for further cost reduction, it places them to a subprocess, that orients on the measured stats of the conquering race, instead of expensive forecasting. This only holds if its a playable race.
When the race is controlled by an AI player funny effects could happen, as the AI player takes the role of the INGAME AI. And the AI might like to try things now and then, like:
- Declare WAR/PEACE from nothing
- Delete a own attacking fleet. Why? Because.
- Change the optimal planet type of for the Simunits, and adjust a Simunit Empire planets accordingly
- Your attacking fleet can't destroy a planet - the planet is set to lowest detail level, thus empty, and the AI is pending. Nothing to bomb there.
- Reset the Simunits techtree and increases their spy ability
- Besides: Perfect explanation for every game bug
Sorry for my broken English.