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#1 Order of the Hammer Bureaucrat

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 01:55 PM

It has come to my mind that some people including myself would rather see consistent science fiction explanations to and occurances of technology, society, and history thereof, instead of something provisional at the whim of every FM maker. I propose to conduct a long-term in-depth discussion among those interested in the nature of things met in the thief-universe to set some standards along which FM makers might then choose to comply to make consistent FMs.

For example; does the 'city' have electricity or not? there is no wiring in early missions because it's implied, because it's always inside the stone walls? it appears in T2 missions. The light fixtures have antennae - does that mean they receive electrical power through the air like Tesla propositioned instead of by wires? The only applications of electricity as far as visible is motors (mostly elevators) and lighting (incandescent) (what kind of filament? carbon paste or tungsten?) Can we assume they have the same fundamental chemical elements as we do? same physics laws? I thought it would be neat if their universe actually fully functioned according to Aristotelean physics. Electricity means probably they have heat engines to generate it or some kind of generators getting from "quantum fluctuations of the void" as Tesla proposed and as hundreds of crank inventors claim today (google zero point). In our universe electricity discovered and studied in very great detail by Faraday way way before it was used. it remained a scientific curiosity for a very long time, then Edison decided to electrically light NY (of course london got it first), and prices of oil and lighting gas fell.
Can we assume that instead of their planet being a rock around a fusion plasma ball in space, it is actually surrounded by the crystalline spheres influencing events and being led by the primal force?

I'll post some lecture notes up to today from the history of technlogy course I'm taking. It's a bunch of mS word docs in zip, so a little inconvenient for some of you i'm sure.

#2 greebo

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 02:08 PM

I assume you already found that? http://www.thirdfilm...?title=Universe

Just to avoid discussing things that already have settled...

#3 Nyarlathotep

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 03:04 PM

Huh. I always assumed that the street lamps were carbon-button lamps, rather than incandescent.

#4 Order of the Hammer Bureaucrat

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 05:11 PM

posted on my site: individual.utoronto.ca/vnick/lectures.zip

#5 Order of the Hammer Bureaucrat

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 05:37 PM

I have been on that wiki before.

Gas lamps are the most common form of lighting in the city

Isn't it interesting to guess as to where the gas comes from? Steel mills? is it a byproduct of coking or is it specifically produced? Use of electricity - we can guess that they didn't have a Faraday or an opportunity to study it like the scientific academies of the 17th-18th centuries provided, but learned to use it empirically from practice and precursors. How much soot-forming hydrocarbons (illuminants does the gas contain? is it ethylene which is primarily responsible for the brightness?) In our universe the mantle (containing rare earth elements) was invented rather late, almost when gas lights disappeared. maybe it wasn't so in there? maybe it was?

How much should be known about the places around the city? the country? is it the most industrialized? one of many similar countries? So let's say the steam engine was invented a long time ago in this world, but it lacks the political and economical environments to create people like Watt, Otto, etc. The hammerites would rather use them and think about theology than the engines, so we can say thermodynamics wasn't and will not be invented?

It would be perfectly fine if nobody joins this conversation, and I gradually during my free time elaborate, connect all logically and cohesively, and perhaps add to the wiki.

Isn't it even interesting to know the percent of carbon in the steel girder the thief is sneaking on, whether the ore contained lots of P or S or even Mn or Ni? Martensite? perlite? We see they routinely have couldrons of molten metal. iron? copper? couldrons made out of what?

#6 ascottk

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 06:03 PM

As people said before: we're working on a toolset so getting the mod to work with a lot custom content is the main priority. Personally though, I think a fully developed Dark Mod universe may influence where the mod is going. Speaking of which, I've been thinking about this a lot so here's a few starting ideas:

Since the Thief universe is an alternate reality, suppose this universe branched off from our own. Some unknown person in our universe is famous in the Thief universe & he heavily influenced technology. The Hammers were created & the Catholic church ended up being unknown. Some people did not like the heavy fists of the Hammers so the Pagans became stronger.

So where did the Dark Mod universe branch off? Maybe this same famous person in Thief was not so famous in TDM but the same ideas influenced inventors in TDM. Thus the Inventors Guild and the Builders were created, & the opposition, the pagans, became strong.

This is only the tip of the iceberg of this universe so these ideas are kind of weak.

#7 Order of the Hammer Bureaucrat

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 07:11 PM

I was sitting down to do a process flow diagram, read dilbert for a bit where branson was mentioned, read about him, then the richest man in england, and he hosted his daughter's most expensive wedding in history at this place: http://upload.wikime..._le_Vicomte.jpg
(pretty nice picture)

#8 Springheel

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 07:29 PM

You should be clear about what you're trying to do before launching into this. Are you talking about the Thief universe? Your use of the term "Hammerites" and "Precursors" suggests you are, and if so, there is very little connection between that and The Dark Mod universe.

If you're planning on opening discussions about The Dark Mod universe, that's fine, but I think that might be rather difficult for non-team members to discuss in an informed manner. The information on the Wiki is just the bare bones information that we've more or less agreed upon as a team. We haven't discussed it further because frankly, those discussions tend to wind up in arguments between people with entirely different visions, and it distracts from the actual work of getting things done.

Additionally, the more you put a setting like this under the microscope, the more you find things that simply don't make sense. It's like those boards where they try to draw diagrams to explain how the Enterprise works in scientific terms. Fantasy settings are like art--you enjoy it most by stepping back and taking it all in, not zooming in on one centimeter at a time.

Isn't it even interesting to know the percent of carbon in the steel girder the thief is sneaking on, whether the ore contained lots of P or S or even Mn or Ni? Martensite? perlite?


Um...no?
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#9 Crispy

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 09:57 PM

Um...no?

:laugh:

Personally I'm not one to deconstruct fantasy worlds. I prefer to sit back and admire the whole. Still, if you want to invent your own worlds by picking apart components of the Thief or Dark Mod universes and constructing from there, go ahead. Just be aware that every FM author will probably have their own conflicting vision, so don't expect anyone to fall in line with your vision.
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#10 Komag

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 11:58 PM

It seems to me that they have regular electricity, but it's just VERY expensive and rare, because maybe they are short on good conductor materials or something, so that only the richest banks and manses have anything set up.
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#11 Ishtvan

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 01:43 AM

It's a fun mental excercise to try and justify all the science of the setting, but I wouldn't expect any FM authors to restrict themselves based on those explanations. :)

#12 Gildoran

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 02:33 AM

As long as we're describing our own fantasy histories, I think I'll describe mine: (note that this is NOT official TDM history, just my own crazed ramblings)

What if long ago, The City was part of a larger continent-wide empire... Probably as a southern trade-port city at the very edge of the empire. Then during the alignment of planets or some such, a doomsday cult succeeded in performing some sort of catastrophic ritual. Plagues spread throughout the land, the dead rose to unlife and even darker, more powerful abominations came to inhabit the wilderness between towns and cities. Armies were overwhelmed, farms were left unprotected, famine struck and the empire collapsed. However, the epicenter for all this was at the heart of the empire, and the larger cities at the very fringes were just barely successful in keeping control over their own lands.

Fast forward a millennium, and The City is "flourishing" (well, ignoring the prevalence of abject poverty ;))... It's sprawling with new smoke stacks popping up everywhere, and little organized resistance to the Builders exists within the bounds of the city. There's plenty of high-class merchants and banks and museums and such. Outside the city is far more wild and unsafe due to pagans, but they also keep the nearby forests clear of any undead, inadvertently shielding the city from the full impact of the horrors that lurk to the north. To the distant north lie numerous ruins, still filled with untold riches and lost knowledge, for the dead roam the wilderness and the area is too treacherous for most treasure hunters... not that they don't try. Locally, in The City, the land is still "tainted" so the dead often reanimate, but people have built countermeasures... Cemetery gates aren't for decoration, and sarcophagi have heavy stone lids for a reason. Except during plagues, the city is under control.

What does this mean in terms of what the player experiences? In old books there might be occasional vague references to the Old Kingdom or the Great Catastrophy or some such. But more usually it could provide an easy excuse to have as many tomb-exploring maps as mansion robbing ones, and it allows any random cave or catacombs to be haunted, should the mapper choose that. Perhaps there could even be a campaign about another doomsday ritual on the millennial anniversary of the catastrophy.

#13 Komag

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 03:28 AM

It's a bit undead heavy, but sounds really cool and draws me in! If that was the sort of thing you included as the background to your FM in the readme, I would be more in the mood to play the mission and experience this world you've painted.
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#14 Fidcal

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 03:45 AM

One thing I would like to see in Dark Mod is a calendar system so logs, diaries, other references, can refer to meaningful dates in a consistent way. I don't know of any such for Thief 2 so in my FM I just used numbers eg, 233/25 and made my numbers consistent as I could throughout. I did invent the odd month name. But if month and day names are invented then thought as to year length, months in a year, etc etc and this also brings up how many hours in a day what sort of clock. I have no preference but it would be nice to have a reference.

Springheel: To what extent is the Dark Mod universe defined in the resources: textures, objects, AI, provided as compared to the 'official map/story campaign'? As I recall it was said the materials would be made available first and the official map (what is the right term for that!) later. So will mission developers have enough to work with as far as sticking to a central theme to begin with? Will the player character and the Dark Mod Universe be defined in the materials provided at the start, in an info file as well as by the resources?

#15 Crispy

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 04:42 AM

That's pretty neat, Gildoran, I like it. :)

A basic calendar system isn't a bad idea. I don't know about naming months (that always strikes me as either boring or corny), but certainly establishing key questions like "how many Xs in a Y" and "round about what year is in the City in" would make sense. Of course FMs could be set in any year, but it would be useful to have a guideline as to what ranges of year numbers to use.

Personally I'd go with a simplified version of our own system, just for convenience. 12 months a year, 30 days a month, 360 days a year, 24 hours a day, 60 minutes an hour, 60 seconds a minute.

Perhaps it could be a Builder invention, in the sense that "year 0" marks a particular significant event in the Builder religion. Seems like the kind of organising that they'd be partial to, and that you'd need a central authority to enforce. It also mirrors the real world in that Christianity had a lot to do with the Western calendar.
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#16 Fidcal

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 06:04 AM

Yes, names might by corny but mainly if used in an excessive 'look at me I'm using month names' kinda way. But now and again it's useful, maybe critical, to refer to the odd name so perhaps it's a good idea to establish them. The same is true of weekdays. 'The shipment was on Thursday' implies the god Thor is known in the Dark Mod universe. Maybe he is so I'm happy with our Earth weekday names but best consider it now.

Month names might be derived from the seasons and weather : buds, greenleaves, harvest, ice, snow so they would obviously direct the player to the time of year context even if not everyone memorises every detail.

Season names might be left as Spring, Summer, Autumn (or Fall), Winter as to me they 'feel' like common nouns not derived from any historic or Earthly culture reference I recall. If we want to get poetic then maybe Greenwake, Something, Leaffall, Whitesleep but such could be used by subcultures like pagans (are they called pagans in DM?)

I'm not too bothered about any of this but can't see any downside to defining them or (declaring them not defined) all at the start.

I'm happy with the duration terms you mentioned. It can be inferred that the Dark Mod world is on an Earth-like planet because the action clearly indicates earth like gravity, hence most probably one in of a similar size and orbit and rotation to Earth (though in a fantasy perhaps anything goes.)

#17 New Horizon

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 10:29 AM

This calendar stuff sounds a bit too RPG'ish for my tastes.

#18 OrbWeaver

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 10:35 AM

'The shipment was on Thursday' implies the god Thor is known in the Dark Mod universe.


That reminds me of the Lord of the Rings, where Gandalf says to Frodo "It is October the 24th" or something similar. I wasn't aware the Romans existed in Middle Earth, so where did the name "October" come from?

#19 Komag

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 10:45 AM

Well, everyone's speaking English as well, even all the aliens in Star Trek and such, but it's just one of those things you have to ignore and look past
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#20 Springheel

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 11:03 AM

Springheel: To what extent is the Dark Mod universe defined in the resources: textures, objects, AI, provided as compared to the 'official map/story campaign'? As I recall it was said the materials would be made available first and the official map (what is the right term for that!) later. So will mission developers have enough to work with as far as sticking to a central theme to begin with? Will the player character and the Dark Mod Universe be defined in the materials provided at the start, in an info file as well as by the resources?


It is our intention to provide a basic framework for an "Official" TDM setting. However, we DON'T want to try and answer every possible question or map every square inch of the known world, for two reasons.

1. It would be a tremendous amount of work, and the chances of us all agreeing enough to come up with answers to the nitty-gritty questions would be slim. Already on the team there are those that want magic to be almost non-existant, and those that want magic to be commonplace. Same with electricity, undead, etc. You should have seen the endless debate over something as trivial as the main character's name. :)

2. The more definitive answers we provide, the less freedom FM authors have to tell their own stories. What if I want to create a city district where there's a big crater in the middle, caused decades ago by something falling from the sky? If we've already mapped the "Official" city, then there wouldn't be anywhere left to put such a thing.

Our intention is to provide a basic framework of information, but to leave a lot of things open for interpretation, and for FM authors to fill in with their own ideas. Some things, like the basic organization of the Builder Church, or the names of major characters, will be provided, but we aren't going to start mapping out every district. The wiki will have a lot of the information needed to make missions that are consistant with the TDM universe, and I have considered the idea of making an illustrated PDF "WorldBook" as well.
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#21 Gildoran

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 11:58 AM

That reminds me of the Lord of the Rings, where Gandalf says to Frodo "It is October the 24th" or something similar. I wasn't aware the Romans existed in Middle Earth, so where did the name "October" come from?

Tolkien covered that - he pretty much said that the Red Book (the fictitious ancient manuscript containing the LOTR) was written in a different language (Westron) and he was just translating it into English or sometimes analogous languages as part of the storytelling. For example, Rohirric, which was related to Westron, got translated into Old English. Often hobbit words were translated into Old English too. In the Appendices, he covered the various time systems and names of months in great (and boring) detail, but during the story always translated dates into English equivalents.

In the case of October, the hobbits call it Winterfilth, though even this is a translation based on Old English (winter-fylleth or "winter fall").

Some info about Middle Earth calendars
Some info about languages and translations of LOTR

Yes, I used to be an LOTR geek. ;)

#22 Vadrosaul

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 01:05 PM

Well, everyone's speaking English as well, even all the aliens in Star Trek and such, but it's just one of those things you have to ignore and look past

The Universal Translator does most of the work, it is contained within most comm badges, so when not on a ship you can still use it. When someone would be in a situation where they had no tech, then it reverts to poetic license, but that was quite rare.
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#23 Gildoran

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 01:12 PM

The above reminded me of another idea I had wanted to see. It was a complete immersion breaker for me to be able to read precursor manuscripts in T1; the manuscripts' modern language clashed strikingly with the age of the ruins apparent from their Egyptian architecture. I figure it'd be interesting if in TDM, the writings in ancient ruins resembled Welsh or Old English or Germanic languages. Something close enough to English for the player to guess at the meaning, yet different enough to make full, unambiguous comprehension impossible. The downside is that it would disadvantage non-native speakers... such a shame since it could really lend to the atmosphere.

#24 greebo

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 02:09 PM

I always imagined that this was because of the extensive Keeper education Garrett received in his child-hood, which made him some sort of a polymath.

#25 Springheel

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 03:13 PM

The Universal Translator does most of the work, it is contained within most comm badges, so when not on a ship you can still use it. When someone would be in a situation where they had no tech, then it reverts to poetic license, but that was quite rare.


What a joke that was. Supposedly this device can instantly translate brand new languages into completely fluent english, complete with tone of voice, subtext, and humour intact. Not only that, but somehow it worked in reverse, so english-speaking starfleet officers could board alien ships in disguise and be able to communicate without raising any suspicion whatsoever. :rolleyes:
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