Terrain worlds

For what's not in 'Top Priority Game Design'. Post your ideas, visions, suggestions for the game, rules, modifications, etc.

Moderators: Oberlus, Oberlus

Message
Author
User avatar
Krikkitone
Creative Contributor
Posts: 1508
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2003 6:52 pm

Re: Terrain worlds

#16 Post by Krikkitone » Thu May 15, 2008 2:26 pm

Well Titan would Not make sense as a Terran world because we (Humans with a Terran Homeworld) would have Incredible problems dealing with living there.... it might actually make sense as barren, or maybe just an "asteroid" on the outer system like Pluto.

Earth in different time periods would actually be at different positions on te EP wheel (unless we want a "Life status" of a planet where it isn't "green" unless it has full life status (early pre oxygen earth being a non full 'life status' terran world)

The only environment we know the exact composition of is a Terran one,.. the others grow less and certain

[and Should be, because these environments definitely are not Actual environments.. their descriptions fall into the strategy (9 balanced in a wheel) and fiction (understandable) part of the game rather than the science]

Realism not being as important as "sensibility"

Orioes
Space Krill
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 7:35 pm

Re: Terrain worlds

#17 Post by Orioes » Thu May 15, 2008 3:32 pm

Actually under my somewhat more generic definition of "Terran" ( a planet with a subtantial atmosphere, open oceans/lakes and notable landmasses) Titan does fit. It has an atmosphere of mostly nitrogen with a little methane and lakes of hydrocarbons. On the other hand I see barren as something more along the lines of Luna devoid of atmosphere or volatiles. If we are to use the Terran=Good for Humans definition of Terran we disqualify Earth threw most of its history as it would have at different points too much/little oxygen, too much CO2, too little ozone etc. Also if we use the "Terran=Like Earth" definition Titan qualifies both because A) It is theorized to be not unlike a colder primordial Earth and B) Assuming a Hydrocarbon based biology (not entirely beyond the realm of possibility especially in our space opera setting) the climate of Titan would be reminiscent of a slightly drier Earth.

Anyway back to your regularly scheduled postings. :)

Edit : Ack Nevermind I only noticed the the first Titan doesn't fit part of the post. I think my basic argument on Titan is that an entire planet type shouldn't be locked to a single period of planetary development of a single biochemistry and Terran is the closet slot where a Titan like world would fit in my mind.

User avatar
Krikkitone
Creative Contributor
Posts: 1508
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2003 6:52 pm

Re: Terrain worlds

#18 Post by Krikkitone » Fri May 16, 2008 2:47 am

The fact is
Terran = good for All terran hw dwellers (by Definition in this game)
Ocean= good for All ocean hw dwellers (by Definition in this game)
Tundra= good for All tundra hw dwellers (by Definition in this game)
Desert= good for All desert hw dwellers (by Definition in this game)
Barren= good for All barren hw dwellers (by Definition in this game)
Toxic= good for All toxic hw dwellers (by Definition in this game)
Inferno= good for All inferno hw dwellers (by Definition in this game)
Swamp= good for All swamp hw dwellers (by Definition in this game)
Radiated= good for All radiated hw dwellers (by Definition in this game)

That is what they mean
(and there are some additional definitions like
:for a Toxic HW dweller, Inferno>Ocean... etc.)

But all of the definitions are basically circular... However, the names provided give SOME idea what they are like, and the clearest one is Terran... as IRL we only have one known intelligent species, us.. and Terran is the way our hw is described, then Terran means: sufficiently like earth to be a good environment for humans. (in a fictional space opera sense, designed to make gameplay sensible)

User avatar
eleazar
Design & Graphics Lead Emeritus
Posts: 3858
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 7:09 pm
Location: USA — midwest

Re: Terrain worlds

#19 Post by eleazar » Fri May 16, 2008 4:40 am

Kricktone is right.
The purpose of classifying planets in our game is to indicate which planets are ideal places to live for which species.

Any other definition(s) are secondary, and will be ignored if they contradict the habitability-centered definition.

User avatar
Geoff the Medio
Programming, Design, Admin
Posts: 12482
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 1:33 am
Location: Munich

Re: Terrain worlds

#20 Post by Geoff the Medio » Fri May 16, 2008 5:06 am

Consider the perspective of humans: we live on a terran planet, so have lots of experience with the environmental conditions and make lots of distinctions between different subtypes, much like the urban legend of the many words for snow of eskimos. In contrast, we have little experience with tundra or toxic worlds, so perceive the surface as a uniform environment. A race that was comfortable on and experienced with another environment type would probably have the opposite view, however... They would complain that the silly terran planet type is all the same, and there's none of the interesting variation that the inferno type has.

User avatar
Tortanick
Creative Contributor
Posts: 576
Joined: Sat May 26, 2007 8:05 pm

Re: Terrain worlds

#21 Post by Tortanick » Fri May 16, 2008 5:33 am

Krikkitone wrote:But all of the definitions are basically circular... However, the names provided give SOME idea what they are like, and the clearest one is Terran
I disagree, mostly they are all equally clear on what they mean.


Geoff, that can't be right. Earth contains to pick two at random: swamps and deserts. If we are to assume that aliens think Terran worlds are all the same it means they can't tell those two apart. Despite the fact swamp and desert planets are on diffrent parts of the EP wheel.

M4lV
Space Squid
Posts: 89
Joined: Sat May 10, 2008 10:51 am

Re: Terrain worlds

#22 Post by M4lV » Fri May 16, 2008 1:40 pm

and what's with the vast siberian tundra?

I'd say terran includes a bit from all types except the radiated, barren, toxic and inferno planets. I'd include barren even in it because from my understanding a terran world needs a relatively large barren moon to be kept in a tight grip so life can develop under relatively stable conditions. I don't know how you handle moons in-game (I didn't look it up), but if there aren't mentioned anywhere then they belong to the planet in my eyes.

What I mean is that except those 4 special planets, the others don't need special description. It's in fact a "terran" world with just >80% or >95% of its surface covered with either ice or sand or water. It's a planet that has one special characteristic of a normal terran world, but that one nearly all over its surface.

Where again was the problem in this thread? ;) :lol:

User avatar
Geoff the Medio
Programming, Design, Admin
Posts: 12482
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 1:33 am
Location: Munich

Re: Terrain worlds

#23 Post by Geoff the Medio » Fri May 16, 2008 2:08 pm

Tortanick wrote:Earth contains to pick two at random: swamps and deserts. If we are to assume that aliens think Terran worlds are all the same it means they can't tell those two apart. Despite the fact swamp and desert planets are on diffrent parts of the EP wheel.
Earth has some hot sandy conditions in its most desert-like areas, which are similar to the most terran-like parts of a Desert planet on which humans could survive. A desert planet would also have much harsher / hotter / drier regions where humans couldn't really survive, which have no equivalent on Terran planets. Compare the habitable poles of Arrakis with the uninhabitable equatorial regions, which are still all considered fitting for a "Desert" planet.

Earth doesn't have "Swamp" in the sense of the planet environment. In the description in the design document, it's not just a planet covered with shallow stagnant water and lots of vegitation.

Orioes
Space Krill
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 7:35 pm

Re: Terrain worlds

#24 Post by Orioes » Fri May 16, 2008 2:45 pm

For abridged version see bullets at bottom.
Ah ok I think I understand and I am sorry if I ruffled feathers. I think my basic error is I tried to expand the definitions to something more generic as from a strict reading you basically have a bunch of Earth-likes (Terran,Desert,Swamp,Tundra,Ocean) and a bunch of Oddballs (Inferno,Radiated,Toxic,Barren). I saw this as a problem as you have one group that is relatively homogeneous (Earth-likes) and another group that is very heterogeneous (Oddballs). Two of which (Rad & Tox) are as much adjectives to describe the other 7 as planet types of their own. For example the Galilean moons could be defined as Radiated Inferno (Io) Radiated Tundra (Europa) and Radiated Barren (Ganymede & Callisto). Likewise both Venus and Titan could be defined as Toxic (because neither is naturally amicable to human life) yet they are quit different. Venus is more along the lines of Toxic Desert and Titan is something of a Toxic Terran (I know that doesn't make sense but offhand I have no term for a planet that is Toxic but has Earth like land-liquid proportions). I think both Tortanick's observation that Terran seems to be an oddity when compared to the other Earth-Likes and my observation (and attempted patch) that the Earth-Likes seem to be oddities when compared to the rest descend from the same problem. Half of the planets are largely reminiscent of different types of planets in the Solar system (Terran (Earth),Inferno (Io),Radiated (Mercury or the Galileans) Barren (Luna,asteroids,Pluto) Toxic(Venus possibly Titan)) and the other half are defined in terms of Earth's biomes (Desert,Swamp,Ocean,Tundra). Now the easiest way to fix this discongruity (other then ignoring it or pushing it down the road) is (in my estimation) to simply rename the types after the celestial body they are patterned after or are most like IE: Inferno becomes Ionian, Desert becomes Martian, Toxic becomes Venerian, Tundra becomes Europan etc. Ocean and Swamp present a problem as there is no planet that comes to mind as even metaphorically swamp or ocean like (unless you count the methane seas of Titan or the theoretical subsurface oceans of Ganymede or Callisto) but perhaps someone more creative then I will see a solution. Anyway thats my explanation/solution/whathaveyou I've meandered a bit so ill finish off with the Cliff Notes version.

1)I get that the environments are abstract concepts chosen largely for ease of game play and race differentiation. My comments are intended to decrease discongruities and try and make sense of things from a story and concepts standpoint not change the mechanics of the game.

2)I see a discongruity in the fact that approximately half of the types are based upon or representative of real celestial bodies (Terran,Inferno etc) and the other half are basically Earth at a point where a single biome predominates.

3)The simplest solution I can see (short of ignoring it) is to rename/define them in terms of the celestial bodies they are reminiscent of (Inferno/Io Tundra/Europa) as this will remove the “Its Earth but colder” or “Its Earth but drier” trains of thought as well as removing the “Why do we live in a universe of semi-Earths” problem/conundrum from future alien and story contemplations with little to no code changes.

If I don't track well or sound antagonistic I'm sorry thats not my intention. This is just a somewhat foreign means of communication to me. Finally if anyone can direct me towards something that I (with my fair worldbuilding/setting organization skills but complete lack of programming or artistic talent) can do to contribute I would be most grateful.

- Orioes

SowerCleaver
Space Squid
Posts: 54
Joined: Wed Oct 25, 2006 8:59 pm

Re: Terrain worlds

#25 Post by SowerCleaver » Fri May 16, 2008 5:15 pm

Agree 100% with Krikkitone. The 9 EP types are the most meaningful when understood in connection with the species living in them.

On the other hand, I think Tortanik's ire came from somewhat different direction. Let me see if I can create a good example to carry the point - if the humans and the sapient octopi discovered a planet that has, for all intent and purposes, the same condition as the Earth, shouldn't that planet count Excellent/Superb/Optimal (whatever habitability condition that is attributed to homeworlds) for both humans and octopi? How should we label such planet - Terran or Ocean?

I think Krikkitone's previous description of EP types sort of provide the correct answer -- Ocean planet should be less hospitable to Terran species, and vice versa. See below for explanation:

First, in the perspective of humans, Ocean world should not be "that" good to live in. Say the atmosphere of the Ocean world is not oxygen-based or non-existent. Humans will then have to build floating or submerged dome to live, unless they have genetically modified gill-lungs.

Second, in the perspective of octopi, Terran world should not be "that" good to live in either. This is a little bit harder, since we define the Ocean world as a world with a sea of water. Maybe we can say Terran oceans are too shallow, and octopi just cannot live without pressurized structure, or the salt-water see is more or less toxic to the octopi.

So, based on this example, the aforementioned Earth-like planet will be Terran, not Ocean.

M4lV
Space Squid
Posts: 89
Joined: Sat May 10, 2008 10:51 am

Re: Terrain worlds

#26 Post by M4lV » Fri May 16, 2008 5:32 pm

SowerCleaver wrote:Say the atmosphere of the Ocean world is not oxygen-based or non-existent.
As long as all ocean water consists of H²0 and not some other liquid, photosynthesis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photosynthesis) will always make the atmosphere have (enough) oxygen, probably way too much oxygen on a pure ocean world.

It's definitely always existent due to simple gasification of surface water.

SowerCleaver
Space Squid
Posts: 54
Joined: Wed Oct 25, 2006 8:59 pm

Re: Terrain worlds

#27 Post by SowerCleaver » Fri May 16, 2008 7:27 pm

M4lV wrote:
SowerCleaver wrote:Say the atmosphere of the Ocean world is not oxygen-based or non-existent.
As long as all ocean water consists of H²0 and not some other liquid, photosynthesis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photosynthesis) will always make the atmosphere have (enough) oxygen, probably way too much oxygen on a pure ocean world.

It's definitely always existent due to simple gasification of surface water.
Well, that's good to know, but I was discussing how to distinguish the two EPs in the game, not analyzing how "real" Ocean planets would work.

For purposes of penalizing humans, it may be sufficient to say Ocean planet has 0% or near 0% landmass.

User avatar
Tortanick
Creative Contributor
Posts: 576
Joined: Sat May 26, 2007 8:05 pm

Re: Terrain worlds

#28 Post by Tortanick » Fri May 16, 2008 7:39 pm

SowerCleaver wrote: On the other hand, I think Tortanik's ire came from somewhat different direction. Let me see if I can create a good example to carry the point - if the humans and the sapient octopi discovered a planet that has, for all intent and purposes, the same condition as the Earth, shouldn't that planet count Excellent/Superb/Optimal (whatever habitability condition that is attributed to homeworlds) for both humans and octopi? How should we label such planet - Terran or Ocean?
That works. But my real point was that Terran worlds are the odd one out among other worlds. Every world is an environment type, except Terran that is "like Earth" and contains about half the different environment types.

The actual Terran/Ocean thing was that Earth was mostly ocean so why isn't actually called an Ocean world (see several replies for possibility).
SowerCleaver wrote:I think Krikkitone's previous description of EP types sort of provide the correct answer -- Ocean planet should be less hospitable to Terran species, and vice versa. See below for explanation
Yep, but reading the rest of your post I think you overestimated it a bit: for a Terran species oceans are the next best choice of world to Terran. And for an Ocean species Terran is the next best choice of world.

SowerCleaver
Space Squid
Posts: 54
Joined: Wed Oct 25, 2006 8:59 pm

Re: Terrain worlds

#29 Post by SowerCleaver » Fri May 16, 2008 8:08 pm

Tortanick wrote:That works. But my real point was that Terran worlds are the odd one out among other worlds. Every world is an environment type, except Terran that is "like Earth".

The actual Terran/Ocean thing was that Earth was mostly ocean so why isn't actaully called an Ocean world (see several replies for possibility).
I now remember you are opposed to including humans into the "stock" species -- that explains why you want to merge Terran EP into Ocean EP! :) I want both Terran and Ocean EPs, so that I can play humans and octopi/fish/dolphins or whatever.
Tortanick wrote:Yep, but reading the rest of your post I think you overestimated it a bit: for a Terran species oceans are the next best choice of world to Terran. And for an Ocean species Terran is the next best choice of world.

Maybe, maybenot, since I thought the prevalent conditions in the "next best choice" planet should be harsher than, or at least as harsh as, extreme points of the "right" choice planet. For example, humans should have a hard time living in Ocean planet at least as much as when they try to live in Arctic or in the middle of Gobi desert.

I imagine Ocean planets will have temparature range pretty similar to Terran world, and obviously water will be abundant. Even if humans need to manufacture atmosphere or to construct floating platforms, it will be still a good choice to colonize, I think.

User avatar
Krikkitone
Creative Contributor
Posts: 1508
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2003 6:52 pm

Re: Terrain worlds

#30 Post by Krikkitone » Fri May 16, 2008 8:23 pm

One note... as for playing octopods/dolphins. The idea is that if you took the Dolphins/octopi on earth today and genetically modified them with sufficient intelligence and tool using capacity to become a space faring species, they would still prefer Terran to Ocean worlds..

the disadvantage with Ocean, Tundra, Desert, and Swamp is definitely that they also in common usage define areas of Earth.. but when applied to a planet EP... well Ocean EP dwellers would probably prefer the part of our planet that we called oceans, but they would still hate the composition of the water there.

As for Photosynthesis always making oxygen.. who says... the only thing that photosynthesis nees to do if we are talking about LBAWKI, is
1. get energy from light, the local star
2. take local materials and make them into life containing materials

Perhaps Nitrogen and water ar combined in photosynthesis and the waste product is Nitric acid (good for a Toxic environment)

Perhaps methane and carbon dioxide are combined and water is the waste product

perhaps life is solid state and siliates are the waste product

Now.. if I were going to go to NASA and propose looking for life, there is no way I would suggest looking on Barren planets with no atmosphere, babbling on about solid state life forms... but then I also wouldn't go to NASA and talk about looking for Starlanes.

The science gets mushed to make the game play right.

Post Reply