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Forum » SpaceEngine » Gameplay Discussions » NPC probes?
NPC probes?
IdgeliosDate: Friday, 20.02.2015, 03:36 | Message # 1
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This is a idea that branches off a idea i've posted earlier. The first thread was merged to the gameplay discussions main topic due to sharing any features discussed before. However, I haven't seen any threads on the part about the possibility of adding NPC probes. I've seen probe related suggestions and space engineer himself talk about probes. However I haven't seen discussion of the possibility of NPC probes, such as the hypothetical Von Neumann probes.

Due to the wide scope a subject like NPC probes can cover and their gameplay relation implications, i've placed this in the gameplay section. Not to mention. It's the kind of topic that likely have many different ways of approaching, and this thread could be the place to post different approaches to the concept of npc probes inhabiting the universe.

The reason for NPC probes comes in play due to the following reasons:

-A non-natural hazard when exploring would make exploration more interesting, even if said hazard is only territorial [PvP is for people who wanna go on a intergalactic chase through the cosmos].
-To add something that is found only regionally in some galaxies in high quantities.
-Makes the universe feel a bit more dynamic, even if the probes themselves are static.

There is a hypothetical form of machine known as a Von Neumann probe. Von Neumann probes are self-replicating probes that are capable of interstellar travel and carry out functions assigned to them. Von Neumann probes that are advanced enough might be deemed a form of life.

In a game, the interesting thing will be how diverse the probes can be made to be.

For the NPC probes may have 'cultures' that have similar behaviors and designs shared among each other in the regions they proliferate in. The cultures would vary heavily by their nature, for a probe culture may be specialized with the intent on gathering resources whom mine asteroids and bring the material to a mothership-type probe. Or it may be a probe culture that surveys worlds and may watch the player as well. Another probe culture may be of the berserker sort, the sort of probes who are armed and designed to kill off civilizations as they emerge. A player controlled ship they would be extremely hostile towards, trying to kill the player on sight. You also have the probes that seed life and collect it, where they are abnormally high amounts of worlds may have life.

Now, this is a rather crude conception of what NPC probes could be like, for I believe that there's no reason why there can't be some paradoxical form of berserker probe that also seeds worlds with life, perhaps only of their own brand of it.

The probe cultures would define the set of models used, the models likely being procedural in their design. A set of probes in their culture would take on specific models that are assigned roles to. For the sake of cimplicity, let's say there's two major roles that define the model used.



The mother ship probes would look similiar throughout the culture they are a part of.

The drones would be similiar, however depending on the culture their roles would be more specialized or be multi-functional, or unpredictable.

Due to the alien nature of the probes, it would be fallacious to assume the probes would in the whole of the universe all behave the same. Not to mention, by having them take different roles and behaviors they become as diverse as the universe around them.

How dynamic the probes should be I am not certain, but depending on the culture of probes [of which likely is beyond the scope of just the specializations I went over as examples] the region of space the probes exist in would be affected. For instance, asteroids would be mined more than normal, mining holes appear on some planets, there is anomalously more life than normal, or there is only microbes and floaters [if even that, berseker targeting of life-types may be quite varied in of themselves]. Perhaps in more extreme cases, some planets may show sign of irradiation or having their atmosphere violently stripped.

The probes in terms of how they behave in organization could vary as well, as some probe cultures may be nomadic, communal in their nature [being large probes with no mothership], highly centralized with ties to a local megastructure or decentralized with many mother ships and so on.

From a gameplay standpoint, the probes could range from being a ambience to being down right dangerous to you and NPCs you control, depending on the kind. For some probes may unwittingly be dangerous in that they might transform a world into something inhabitable [for us], mine a colonized planet or be the kind of probe that intentionally kills off complex life. The probes weapon-wise would likely not be anymore advanced than what the player can access, of which I am unsure. However, the majority of probes likely would be harmless and be simply ambience.

Capturing a probe might be possible, but I imagine the captured probe being used mostly for display at a museum or park, or personal space station. Mainly since it would be alien tech [in theory] which means how it is all wired probably would be rather different.

To summarize what I have just said:

In the universe, there could be regions of some galaxies where a culture or set of cultures of NPC probes have proliferated.

The nature of the probes varies from culture to culture, with some cultures being more specialized than others.

The probes in their region of space may affect the star systems they are in, for better or worse.

Edited by Idgelios - Friday, 20.02.2015, 04:54
SalvoDate: Sunday, 22.02.2015, 08:58 | Message # 2
Star Engineer
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Actually it would add "life" to the universe, and exploring would be way more interesting, but I'm afraid there would be the same number of combinations mixed together, more or less like Spore's creatures...

Anyway, Vladimir plans to implement this:
As long as SE is a scientifically accurate Universe simulator, then one day it will implement ALL space objects and phenomenon that are known to modern astronomy.

This sentence should definitely become the slogan of SE tongue

The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human ambition.

CPU: Intel Core i7 4770 GPU: ASUS Radeon R9 270 RAM: 8 GBs

(still don't know why everyone is doing this...)
IdgeliosDate: Friday, 27.02.2015, 16:32 | Message # 3
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Von Neumann probes aren't really something that is known observed phenomenon. They're hypothetical like megastructures since while we have made probes, interstellar travel capable self-replicating probes hat proliferate a galaxy while a likely possibility.

As for the designs of the probe models, I figure there probably may be some algorithmic way to make the model probe designs as opposed to a modular method like spore where the body parts were specifically defined and the bade model was a plato model which in practice severely limited creativity for me since you could've even make a aquatic creature or a true flying bird, or even a eusocial insectoid for that matter. Which is why even as a kid I found pencil and paper best for designing me aliens. In space engine, the probe models could be made using a procedural method like with the planets.

Edited by Idgelios - Friday, 27.02.2015, 16:36
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