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Wizardman468

What do you name your creations?

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Hi Spiderweb family,

I want to share with you my current Geneforge 4 party roster. I have:

  • Deryll the brave, adventurous, and burly warrior
  • Jakoby the handsome, powerful, and fearsome cryoa
  • Khur the valiant, honorable, and compassionate servile-soldier
  • Dorothy the cheerful, happy, and vicious roamer
  • Arthur the motivating, cute, and optimistic fyora!
  • More creatures to come in my updates...

What do you guys name your creatures and your player character? I'd like to hear them! I hope you enjoy my post as well any updates I'll make.

Also, here's a screenshot of my party(they're currently in the East Barrier Zone area), just so you know what they look like. Enjoy!ymWWNK.png

 

Best,

Andrew :)

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In GF I tend to play as a creationless Agent (with the 'very' occasional meat shield to distract foes for a turn or two).  In Avernum (& GF for the Agent), names tend to be the assorted main characters of a book I'm reading/movie or tv show I"m watching at the time I start the game.  Meaningless throw away names essentially

 

Although I do tend to play the assorted games as 'me' being the 1st listed character (regardless of the name) for whatever that's worth

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TriRodent,

That's so interesting! I never thought of that idea! Picking names from a television show you love watching, or a book that you're reading can really spice up your party and give them flair. Especially if certain names emit certain vibes or personality characteristics/flaws. That's my take on adding names from books/movies/TV shows, etc. Thanks so much for your post, TriRodent!

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I don’t know about you guys, but the names I came up with for my player character and creations were totally random. I wanted my party to be perhaps a player character with a creative imagination that comes up with cool and recognizable names for his or her creations. It never hurts to add some spark to your character’s or creations’ names by spelling them in a different way or even weirdly. I look forward to more name ideas everyone might have!

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I use "Swamp themed" names for my Vlish (thank GF3 for that) like "Miregas" etc. I name my drayks and drakons as fire-themed names like Magmaborn, Fireheart etc. 

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alhoon,

Those names are so creative and they really match the creations' abilities and nature! I feel like that's how I would name my creations, except I want to add personality and flair to my creations so I give them realistic names. However, the names you give your creations have a lot of flair to them, too! I enjoyed your post, alhoon! Thank you for sharing.

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I purged all of my saves at some point, but according to screenshots I had

  • a trio of Terror Vlish in G1 named Larry, Curly, and Moe
  • an Eyebeast in G3 named iBeast
  • a pair of Kyshakks in G4 named Radio Shock and Hz So Good (source: Space Quest IV)

If I used any actually clever or funny names, those are, sadly, lost to time.

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Thriceborn,

I second, IBeast is so clever, and funny at the same time. Hz So Good is a good fit for a Kyshakk! I also absolutely enjoy your Vlish trio!

 

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I name my two fyora's "Yharim and Yharon" one being a reference to Terraria's Calamity jungle dragon Yharon, and the other being a reference to Yharim, the tyrant ruler of Calamity. The fyora's eventually become Cryoas, then drayks, then drakons, then Ur-Drakons. It's kinda poetic how they start of as fire spitting lizards, to two colossal titans that wreck havoc upon everything that dares challenges them.

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I find it poetic that you see them as evolving when in truth they are killed, dismantled back to essence and you create the new version. 

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Hi Vinlie!

That’s awesome! I never thought about “evolving” my fyoras or any other creation for that matter. Yharon and Yharim are such interesting names. I haven’t played Terraria or the Calamity expansion either, so I don’t have too much background knowledge on those characters, but the way you named them is so cool. Thanks for sharing!

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3 hours ago, alhoon said:

I find it poetic that you see them as evolving when in truth they are killed, dismantled back to essence and you create the new version. 

 

Ah, but that’s a question of consciousness, alhoon. If you’re saying that the new creations are different from the old ones, that’s only one possible interpretation. There are others, as Vinlie demonstrates! As with many questions like these, the only way to know with any degree of confidence would be to be the creation itself – and that’s not very helpful from a scientific standpoint!
 

Consider a teleporter in Star Trek. Person A walks into Teleporter A. As described in the series, this teleporter completely destroys Person A. Their component parts are annihilated, converted into energy that is absorbed by the teleporter. Person A is very thoroughly dead. Meanwhile, somewhere else, Person B is created by Teleporter B. Person B is identical in every way to Person A, except that they are made out of completely different molecules, ones synthesised by Teleporter B. No physical component of Person B is the same as in Person A. And yet Person B walks out of the teleporter believing they are Person A, acting as Person A would, and having all the legal rights and statuses as Person A.
 

When Riker gets teleported somewhere, the Riker that emerges is a completely different Riker, in terms of the physical components. But, from the point of view of Riker and his society, he is the same person.
 

Likewise, consider yourself. No living part of your body from 10 years ago survives in you as you are now – all your cells have died and been replaced by new generations. In terms of living physical components, you share nothing with the alhoon of 10 years ago. But I imagine, from your perspective, that it seems as if you lived through all the intervening time, right? That you and the older you are the same in some way?
 

So, to get to the crux of this, consider someone in Geneforge absorbing a Fyora, and then creating an identical one sometime later. This is exactly the same scenario as the teleporter example, just phrased differently. It might look as if the Fyora died from the creator's perspective, but from the perspective of the Fyora, the creature has a continuous consciousness from the older to the newer version – regardless of time elapsing in-between.
 

Likewise, think of someone absorbing a Fyora, and then using an identical copy of its brain to create a Drakon (making only those little changes necessary for the new body to function – note, those changes are unlikely to impact personality or memory). Much like the last example, wouldn’t the creature still have a continuous consciousness throughout this – merely suddenly substituting one body for another one? If so, Vinlie’s ‘evolution’ comment is an entirely valid interpretation.
 

As for why this would happen, why would someone absorb a perfectly decent brain, only to create an entirely new one when they made a new creature? That sounds needlessly wasteful – and would probably be more tiring, requiring more effort. Wouldn’t it make more sense for them just to duplicate the pattern they already have in their memory? If so, the scenario I describe above should be common-place.
 

I’m saying this just to show that there are different interpretations of what’s happening here. Poetic or not, unless anyone here happens to be a Fyora communicating to us through a dimensional or interfictional rift, we’re unlikely to know for sure what it’s really like! :)

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When I was younger I would name them based on their skin tone or abilities(red,blue flamer,icy,acid) Now it's usually something based on how I think their temperament would be. My drayks and drakons are named something along the lines of danger, chaos, indomitable, etc

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I thought I was done playing Geneforge 4 dammit! Now I wanna play through it for the 100th time AGAIN

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Ess-Eschas said:

 

Likewise, think of someone absorbing a Fyora, and then using an identical copy of its brain to create a Drakon (making only those little changes necessary for the new body to function – note, those changes are unlikely to impact personality or memory). Much like the last example, wouldn’t the creature still have a continuous consciousness throughout this – merely suddenly substituting one body for another one? If so, Vinlie’s ‘evolution’ comment is an entirely valid interpretation.
 

As for why this would happen, why would someone absorb a perfectly decent brain, only to create an entirely new one when they made a new creature? That sounds needlessly wasteful – and would probably be more tiring, requiring more effort. Wouldn’t it make more sense for them just to duplicate the pattern they already have in their memory? If so, the scenario I describe above should be common-place.
 

I’m saying this just to show that there are different interpretations of what’s happening here. Poetic or not, unless anyone here happens to be a Fyora communicating to us through a dimensional or interfictional rift, we’re unlikely to know for sure what it’s really like! :)

 

I don't think that happens. When you absorb a Fyora, the Fyora is very much dead. When you "teleport" someone their feelings, memories, etc continue. Not so with the Drayk you make after the Fyora. 

In some way, when you give birth to a kid, it carries half of your genes. Not so with the Drayk that replaces the Fyora. 

This is not dismantling a car and using the parts to recreate a faithful copy. This is not even like dismantling a car and making a similar one using some of the parts. Actually, it is not even like dismantling a car and making another car of the same series. 
For Fyora to Cryora it is like dismantling a BMW series 3 and then making another BMW series 4 (without using parts). From Fyora to Drayk it is like dismantling a BMW series 3 and making a Mercedes of e class (without using any parts).

 

I.e. the Fyora ~> Cryoa are more like cousins than twins, let alone a copy like from a teleporter.  

 

You could first make Cryoa Yharim along with Fyora Yharim and then after a week, destroy Fyora Yharim to get the essence for a clawbug. 

Edited by alhoon

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I’m not sure you’ve entirely followed my logic here, alhoon. That’s no doubt my fault for not explaining myself well! I’m trying to argue that the constituent components of a creature are irrelevant – that what really matters is whether the brain remains the same. I’d argue that, in the situation I’m describing, this is highly likely.
 

Let’s see if I can couch it in your example. Consider a Rolls Royce engine, in a Rolls Royce car. Now, take that engine out and put it into a BMW, adapting the connections between the engine and the car when needed to make it run. Hey presto, you have a BMW that drives! But the engine is still a Rolls Royce engine. Whatever car you put the engine into, it’s still a Rolls Royce engine – even if the car looks like something else entirely. The identity of the engine, and its history of being in the previous car, has not changed.
 

Using that analogy, consider a Fyora. Someone absorbs the Fyora, and creates an identical version of the creature’s brain. By definition, that is the same brain, so the same experiences, memories and so on are carried along with it. What body the brain is in, or if it even has one at all, is irrelevant. The brain is the same.
 

In its current experience, that brain will remember a former life as a Fyora, and would act exactly as that Fyora would have done in its current situation. In that sense, it is the same person as the Fyora was. The brain is the same, so the person is the same, regardless of what body it finds itself in.
 

Why would a shaper recreate an old brain? Well, why would they not? When a creature is absorbed, all the complex information is woven back into the creator’s own structure. So why go to all the bother of creating a new, complicated, tricky organ when you have information about it immediately to hand? Wouldn’t a shaper just make a copy of what they already had available? In that sense, every brain a shaper creates would be a copy of the last creation they absorbed (or, I suppose, the first brain they learned how to create, before they had absorbed anything – which would presumably be harder than copying a pre-existing brain).
 

Using that approach, Cryoa Yharim and Fyora Yharim would start of having identical copies of the same mind, and thus being the same person. Of course, since they have different bodies, their experiences would quickly change the two of them, driving them apart. When you absorbed Cryoa Yharim, and made a Clawbug, that Clawbug would be the same person as Cryoa Yharim – but not the same person as Fyora Yharim, for that person has now taken a different path through different experiences. If you were then to create, say, a Servile, that Servile would also be the same person as Cryoa Yharim, at least at the time you absorbed them.
 

I hope that expresses my ideas a little more clearly! It’s hard to really talk about this without being a little confusing, since we’re not used to cloning ourselves in the real world just yet!

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I forgot to mention that in G3 as well as G4, I like to "rank up" my main character and any other traveling companions (Alwan or Greta) via renaming them different ranks of the army depending on what chapter of the game I am at. Army ranks do exist in the Geneforge universe so it's perfectly legitimate. For example, in G3, Greta would start off as "Private Greta" in Chapter 1 (I would call myself Lord at the beginning because you can't rename yourself in G3), and as I progressed through the chapters, she would go through several ranks in Corporal, Sergeant, Colonel, General, and Lady. In G4, the same principle applies, but this time, I could actually rename myself, not just my companions. I'd start off as "Private Vinny" and end up eventually at "General Vinny". It's a small thing, but I enjoy doing this because it makes me feel like I'm impacting the world by climbing the ranks in a subtle, but compelling way.

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Vinlie,

I find it so interesting that you rename your characters based on rank. Do you do the same thing with your creations? I like the name you gave for Greta in chapter 1 of G3, which was “Private Greta.” I don’t know about you, but renaming the characters can also give the game comical relief, so it’s not so serious all the time. 

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I haven't done the same thing with my creations but hey that might be something fun I can do in subsequent playthroughs :D

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10 hours ago, Ess-Eschas said:

 

Using that analogy, consider a Fyora. Someone absorbs the Fyora, and creates an identical version of the creature’s brain. By definition, that is the same brain, so the same experiences, memories and so on are carried along with it. What body the brain is in, or if it even has one at all, is irrelevant. The brain is the same.
 

I hope that expresses my ideas a little more clearly! It’s hard to really talk about this without being a little confusing, since we’re not used to cloning ourselves in the real world just yet!

 

Oh, I see... 

But I don't think a Shaper can recreate the same brain. Also, it is undeniable IMO that a Drayk has a different brain than a Drakon and cryoa. 
Now, if the Shaper can put the emotions, memories, training, feelings of the original in the new brain then yes, but is that even possible? I think not. 

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I believe it would take a very highly skilled shaper to create a fyora that is able to speak, thus the "evolution" to drayk would be mildly feasible. It is entirely plausible, because there is a battle alpha (gamma?) in Geneforge 3 in the snowy chapter that is able to speak fluent and intelligent sentences.

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I wouldn't call it an intelligent gamma, unless I  confuse it  with something else. 

Regardless, a fyora that is able to speak  is not the same as a drayk. Also, while a skilled shaper may, with effort, create a fyora that can speak (like that Ornk that could speak), I doubt that shaper could recreate memories, emotions etc in the new fyora. 

If that was possible, then they would simply create Drayks with emotions of strong loyalty and memories that made them loyal. I sincerely doubt it is feasible as nobody was able to shape-out  the need for independence or the greed of the Drayks. 

Simply put from what we have seen in the games, shaping a Creation with a set of memories is impossible, let alone an exact copy of emotions and memories from another Creation. 

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What if you didn't absorb the fyora's brain at all, and just replaced the body around it, reshaping the brain to suit the new body but otherwise retaining the memories and personality, rather than absorbing its whole brain and its mind and then recreating them?

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1 hour ago, The Almighty Doer of Stuff said:

What if you didn't absorb the fyora's brain at all, and just replaced the body around it, reshaping the brain to suit the new body but otherwise retaining the memories and personality, rather than absorbing its whole brain and its mind and then recreating them?

THat would be closer but... is it even possible? A Fyora probably experiences the world much different than a (much smarter) Drayk and a Drayk much different than a Drakon. They are different species. 

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It'd be like growing up. A baby experiences the world much differently than a teenager, and they both experience the world much differently from a mature adult. Massive changes occur in the brain through human developmental stages, so the newly-drayked cryoa would start with a cryoa brain, which would then adapt to life in its more advanced body and brain development capabilities.

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Ir’s so astonishing reading everyone’s posts! I get lost in the conversation about absorbing the rest of the creation and “keeping” the brain, then transferring it over to the more advanced, or developed creation. I have no doubt that it is possible, but it would take a prestigious, top-of-the-line shaper, in my opinion. Congrats to Ess for bringing this up! It should really be looked into, probably for future Geneforge remakes...

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4 hours ago, The Almighty Doer of Stuff said:

What if you didn't absorb the fyora's brain at all, and just replaced the body around it, reshaping the brain to suit the new body but otherwise retaining the memories and personality, rather than absorbing its whole brain and its mind and then recreating them?

 

That’s the idea! If you move a Fyora’s brain from its old body, and place it into the body of a Drakon, the result would be a Drakon that has the personality and memories of the original Fyora. In other words, that original Fyora and the new Drakon are the same person.
 

Exactly how you do that doesn’t matter. If you move the brain directly, or absorb it and recreate an identical copy, the result is the same. You have a new creation that is the same person as the old one. Note that I’m not talking about creating memories and emotions from scratch here – just copying a brain that exists already. Creating a brain is hard. Copying one is easy!
 

As for whether it is possible for a being to change from one creation type to another while maintaining its sense of self, it definitely is. The games themselves make this clear, and even provide direct examples!
 

In Geneforge 2, we learn how the very first Drakons were created. They weren’t shaped out of thin air, but were instead produced by working shaping skills on Drayks who were already alive. The very first Drakons were previously Drayks. We even get to meet one of these, although this might not be clear if you’ve not played Geneforge 1. In the first game, you meet the Cryodrayk Rhakkus, who lives on Sucia island. You meet him again in Geneforge 2 – where he is now a Drakon. He clearly remembers his experiences on Sucia island, since he talks about them to the player. Here is an example of a being that changed creation type, but maintained their sense of self!
 

It’s also a demonstration that Drayks and Drakons don’t have brains that are all that different. One of these creations is simply a modified version of the other. If that’s the case, perhaps this is a more general example of shaping practice? Perhaps all creations, or at least creations of the same type, share a broadly common internal structure, having brains that are largely similar to one another. If so, having a creation ‘evolve’ along the tiers of creations would potentially be quite feasible.
 

49 minutes ago, TM Paladin said:

I just want to congratulate Ess on finding a way to bring up Thomas Riker in a thread about creation names.  Impressed.


Yes! Someone got the reference! Hats off to you, Slarty :)

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Posted (edited)

Yeap, the first Drakons were Drayks that were geneforged to Drayks. In a way, Litalia in GF3 is not the same person as she was before the ton of canisters. Or the Bazrites, some of which went bonkers failing to adapt. Or the protagonist of GF4 that is Geneforged. 
Heck, the protagonist of GF5 lost his memories through the Geneforge and they have to be unlocked step by step. 

 

BUT
Those Drayks were never re-absorbed. Same with the Bazrites. Same with the GF4 or GF5 protagonist.
It is different to transmute the Fyora to a drayk, or to mutate yourself to get the ability to shoot fire or become smarter etc, and different to so perfectly copy the brain, as to copy the (whatever biochemical thing keeps the memories). 
So far in the games, the player doesn't have the ability to "improve" a Fyora to a Drayk, just to increase the Fyora's abilities through Shaping (Adding modifiers). Nor he or she can improve the Drayk to a Drakon. Drakons have the ability to mutate Drayks to Drakons, but not the PC. 
You can make a cryoa but you can't turn your Fyora to Cryora by paying a cost. 

 

Eass in GF2: It is very clear in GF2. Everyone tells you what the Drayks did. They even call them "Drayks" even if they are Drakons. In later GF games, they also tell you how the Drayks turned themselves to Drakons. They didn't SHAPE drakons, they mutated themselves to drakons. 
 I met him, talked with him and I killed him. Did I feel good for killing the boss of the Takers? Not really. But I was pro-awakened. I still am (Despite the Avatar, which is the Taker's flag from GF2)

Edited by alhoon

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But you didn't acknowledge the possibility of not reabsorbing the brain at all, and just putting it into a new body, alhoon.

 

As far as where the brain goes in-game, you are wearing clothes which are not accounted for with in-game mechanics. You can also hold onto the brain without it being an item or whatever, therefore.

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I think I agree with alhoon.

 

It's not hard to imagine what Ess is describing.  It's also technically not what the game mechanics or in-game descriptions say.  Maybe it's plausible that it could be done, and I certainly have no problem imagining that happening with a sequence of player creations for RP purposes... but that's very different from suggesting it is regularly possible in the game world itself.  There's nothing to indicate that.

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, TM Paladin said:

I think I agree with alhoon.

 

It's not hard to imagine what Ess is describing.  It's also technically not what the game mechanics or in-game descriptions say.  Maybe it's plausible that it could be done, and I certainly have no problem imagining that happening with a sequence of player creations for RP purposes... but that's very different from suggesting it is regularly possible in the game world itself.  There's nothing to indicate that.

 

Yeap. In GF5, with the smart Ornk (the quest I have not managed to do in three playthroughs but I read the scripts) we see that the Shapers are in the beginning of experimentation with "brain development". Lifecrafters botched it with the Gazers as we learn in GF4-5, to the point of being reluctant to use them. The servant minds the Shapers love to use are also very complex creations that the shapers cannot copy-paste so they make them long-lived as they are data-bases. If they could copy-paste brains, they would do so with Servant Minds, instead of sending us fixing them in nearly every GF game I have played. 
As such, we have strong indications that while "brain preservation" or "brain-copy" could be theoretically possible, it is not feasible at the state Shaping arts are at in the games. Perhaps with many Shapers researching that it could be possible in the future after years or decades of dedicated research, but we don't know that yet. 

 

What we do know is possible is to ... stick your conscience in a golem. Not the brain. Those demon thingies and Shades that are in some games. I have not done the Demon quest in GF2 but from the top of my mind, in GF5 there is a "Barred" place where this has happened (at the end of Astoria's chapter without giving many spoilers) + the "entity" in the prologue of GF5, where it zaps out from creation to creation. 

No brain transfer - pure magic. 

In GF3, Litalia leaves a copy of herself to troll the player here and there.  I think Khyrik does that too in some game. I think GF4. 

 

So, in short: Brain transplant hasn't happened, but illegally putting a soul in a golem with necromancy or undead shades or Shapers\Lifecrafters sending ephemeral copies of themselves to say stuff and troll people is totally possible. 
As such, I don't think the Shapers are in any great hurry to find ways to make brain transplants of creations. And it's not most Shapers would go that far for their Creations anyway. 
"The Creations are our Children" mantra is pure rubbish they tell themselves to feel better.  Down with the Hypocrites! All power to the Rebellion!  

Edited by alhoon

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14 hours ago, TM Paladin said:

It's not hard to imagine what Ess is describing.  It's also technically not what the game mechanics or in-game descriptions say.  Maybe it's plausible that it could be done, and I certainly have no problem imagining that happening with a sequence of player creations for RP purposes... but that's very different from suggesting it is regularly possible in the game world itself.  There's nothing to indicate that.


I think I perhaps overstated my argument in my last post! All I’m trying to do here is to argue for plausibility. I’m not trying to say anything concrete, or state that this is definitely what takes place in the game world to the exclusion of other ideas. The aim of my argument is simply to try and demonstrate that a Vinlie-style approach to the game – thinking of creations as evolving when they are absorbed and recreated as a new creature type – is possible within the confines of the game lore.
 

That’s why I included the example of the Drayk cum Drakon Rhakkus. This is one example taken from the games in which a creation changes from one creation type to another, all while maintaining their sense of self. Since that final state of a changed creation exists then, theoretically, it should be possible to shape that final state directly from essence – skipping out the improvement steps in-between. Now, there are many reasons why this might not be done in the game world. Perhaps it is so difficult as to be intractable, perhaps it would take too much time, or perhaps the magic-users in the world simply aren’t interested in the idea, or haven’t even thought about it. But it’s possible. That’s all I’m trying to argue!
 

You mention the game mechanics and in-game descriptions, Slarty. I’d be interested to see a counter-example against my idea, one that perhaps indicates that information about a creation is completely lost when it is absorbed, or that each new creation produced is always a blank slate.  I had a quick look in a few places, and the information I could find was vague on these points – perhaps deliberately. But I think it’s likely I’ve missed something obvious, all the more so given how common such an interpretation is, which is why I’m asking! You and others in this thread probably have a better grip on the world of Geneforge than I do; I know less about this series than some of the others Spiderweb has produced.
 

Just to clarify my nomenclature, alhoon, I use the term ‘shaping’ as a broad one covering every use of shaping magic. This includes someone improving a creation in any way. So, when Barzahl used his magic to alter Rhakkus continuously from Drayk to Drakon, I cover that by the term ‘shaping’. Note that this wasn’t done by Geneforge, but by Barzahl directly. Rhakkus built the Geneforge himself later on.
 

Let me briefly answer your comment on the Servant Minds. Copying a mind in that situation wouldn’t be helpful, so I don’t think your statement refutes the idea. If you copy a mind exactly, then you copy everything, including age and mental state. So, if a Servant Mind is not functioning well, then copying it won’t help you. You’ll just have produced another Servant Mind with the same problems; it won’t fix anything. Likewise, creating a younger, better functioning Servant Mind from a previous copy also won’t help all that much. Since you relate Servant Minds to databases, that would be equivalent to overwriting the entire contents of your malfunctioning database with a blank sheet, or at best a sheet with a few simple cells in it. You lose all the information the Servant Mind has acquired during its lifetime, which is hardly ideal. Why spend all that effort starting over from scratch, when you can just fix the bugs and get the database working again?
 

I’m tempted to turn your argument back on you. By your argument, since the Shapers also don’t shape a completely new Servant Mind in those situations, shaping itself is therefore impossible. That follows the same logic!

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Posted (edited)

Tangent: You could shape a better servant mind with superior memory function and recall speed, and then have the malfunctioning one relate everything it knows to the newer model, like upgrading a webserver to a better machine. That could be a good use for shaping a new, younger servant mind.

 

Although I suppose if you want to upgrade you can just shape better function into the old one. What is their typical lifespan, anyway?

Edited by The Almighty Doer of Stuff

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Ess-Eschas said:


All I’m trying to do here is to argue for plausibility. I’m not trying to say anything concrete, or state that this is definitely what takes place in the game world to the exclusion of other ideas. The aim of my argument is simply to try and demonstrate that a Vinlie-style approach to the game – thinking of creations as evolving when they are absorbed and recreated as a new creature type – is possible within the confines of the game lore.

 

I realize that friend, I am just idly making conversation here. 

 

  

2 hours ago, Ess-Eschas said:

or that each new creation produced is always a blank slate

 

Well, in the ending of GF4, the finale, we're told that. But I won't give spoilers. 

Edited by alhoon

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6 hours ago, alhoon said:

Well, in the ending of GF4, the finale, we're told that. But I won't give spoilers. 


But that’s why we have spoiler tabs!
 

I’m not sure what it is you’re referring to, though. Thinking about it offhand, I can’t think of anything in particular in the ending of Geneforge 4 that relates to this. However, I could be missing something obvious, or it’s possible that what you’re talking about might only occur in the endings you’ve experienced, and not in others. From what you’ve said, I suspect you might generally play different endings to me.

 

So do let me know what you’re hinting at!

 

8 hours ago, The Almighty Doer of Stuff said:

What is their typical lifespan, anyway?


I believe it varies, but there are indications that they can live for a very, very long time:

 

Spoiler

The Servant Minds on Sucia Island are still activate and, for the most part, functioning reasonably well in Geneforge 1. The Island had been abandoned for about 200 hundred years before the player arrives, and these Minds will have been active for some time before that. The indication is that Servant Minds can live for several centuries before they start having real problems. Their life span is probably a fair amount longer than 200 years.


 

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Directly shaping an existing creature, and moving a brain from one body to another, are two completely different things.  It doesn't matter what species labels you want to give either case before or after the change -- the changes themselves are completely different in character.

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Hey everyone!

I don’t want to get us off topic here. However, when I absorb my creations, I imagine their essence(and hence all their personality, intelligence, mindset) being sucked into the creator. Which means the creator has all the genetic information and he can choose what genetic info goes into his creations at will. If he wants an identical mind from a lower-tier creation to go into a higher-tier creation, sure. If it’s a matter of whether the “old” creation is gone forever, in this aspect, I don’t think so. The “old” creation is still very much alive, except its DNA is deeply embedded into the creator’s being. I don’t know if my thinking makes sense, but I just wanted to add a little personal perspective.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Ess-Eschas said:


But that’s why we have spoiler tabs!
 

 

Well, in the endings of GF4... 

Spoiler

The Unbound are created as "clean states" allowing Akhari Blaze to exert some control over them. After they became self-aware, the Unbound wreak havok. 
If you read the endings of GF4 it says more about it, how their minds are empty and impressionable allowing a very brief window to exert influence over them.

 

Edited by alhoon

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14 hours ago, Wizardman468 said:

I don’t want to get us off topic here. However, when I absorb my creations, I imagine their essence(and hence all their personality, intelligence, mindset) being sucked into the creator. Which means the creator has all the genetic information and he can choose what genetic info goes into his creations at will. If he wants an identical mind from a lower-tier creation to go into a higher-tier creation, sure. If it’s a matter of whether the “old” creation is gone forever, in this aspect, I don’t think so. The “old” creation is still very much alive, except its DNA is deeply embedded into the creator’s being. I don’t know if my thinking makes sense, but I just wanted to add a little personal perspective.

 

Don’t worry too much about getting off topic! One of the nice features of these boards is that topics can drift into different areas sometimes, encouraging conversation on thoughts and concepts that might not have been talked about otherwise. That’s a good thing! If anyone wants to continue the original discussion, they are of course perfectly entitled to – and multiple discussions can then take place within the same thread. (That’s one reason, incidentally, why we try to encourage users not to upload multiple consecutive posts in the same topic. It can snarl up complex conversations!)
 

When coming up with this concept, I was thinking along much the same lines, although I couched it in slightly different terms. When a Shaper absorbs a creation, every detail about that creation is absorbed back into the Shaper’s structure in some way. That includes every detail, including the distribution of neurons in the brain and their firing patterns, encoding the personality and memory of the creature, but also other things, such as the tiniest scars on their hide, and the food in their stomach. If this were not so, all that energy would need to go somewhere else, producing, say, a dead body, or a sudden large rise in air temperature – or at worst, a really big explosion.
 

All this information returns to the Shaper, and the physical system that is the Shaper is altered slightly by this. Because of this, in principle, the Shaper can examine their new state, isolate the alteration, and then reproduce the original pattern of absorbed energy in every detail. So, again in principle, by absorbing every aspect of a creation, the Shaper should be able to recreate the original creation exactly in every detail.
 

Now, it’s not quite that simple; it depends on a lot of properties of absorption which we don’t know about. For instance, if absorption is similar to throwing a bucket of water into a full bath, then there’s clearly a problem; recovering the original bucket of water from the mixed water would be more or less impossible. But if you add dye to the bucket, or if the water in the bucket is at a very different temperature from the bath water, things suddenly become much easier. On the other extreme, if absorption is like throwing a bag of marshmallows into some muesli, then there’s no problem at all. Getting the original bag of marshmallows back might be annoying, but it would be easy enough!
 

But the point remains. If none of the information about the original creation is lost, but returns to the Shaper, then in principle a Shaper can exactly reproduce that creation at a later date. It just might or might not be all that practical!

 

14 hours ago, TM Paladin said:

Directly shaping an existing creature, and moving a brain from one body to another, are two completely different things.  It doesn't matter what species labels you want to give either case before or after the change -- the changes themselves are completely different in character.


I won’t deny that’s true in the general case! However, there are circumstances in which the two processes produce results that are indistinguishable – and therefore, by the definition of indistinguishability, there can be no meaningful distinction between them for those cases. (As a caveat, I’m having a little trouble parsing your first five words. I’m going to assume what I think you mean, but let me apologise now if I’m misunderstanding you.)
 

Let me try to give you two examples. We take the Drayk Rhakkus, and ask for his permission to turn him into a Drakon. He agrees. We then, to ease the process, give him some anaesthetic to put him to sleep.
 

In the first example, in another room, we have the body of Drakon which has no brain. We remove Rhakkus’s brain and surgically implant it into this new body. Rhakkus was not informed of this body, and has no idea that it is there.
 

In the second example, Rhakkus’s creator is summoned. He absorbs Rhakkus completely. He then creates a new Drakon, but one which contains a copy of the brain of Drayk Rhakkus that he absorbed. If that’s conceptually a problem, then imagine taking a hyper-detailed scan of Rhakkus’s brain while he’s asleep, and giving it to the Shaper as an aide.
 

At the moment Rhakkus wakes up in his new body, is there any way for him to tell which series of events took place? If not then, from Rhakkus’s point of view, the two processes are indistinguishable. There is, therefore, no meaningful distinction between them from his point of view. This further implies that, in a more general sense, the two processes must have some things in common; they could not be made indistinguishable otherwise!
 

12 hours ago, alhoon said:

Well, in the endings of GF4... 

 

Spoiler

Ah, I’d missed that point! That’s a good example of exactly what I was looking for – the Unbound are indeed described as being created with minds that are ‘empty’, implying that they are a blank slate at the point of creation.
 

I would argue that this might not be a general comment about all creations, though. This merely describes the state of the Unbound creations. There’s a particular reason why the Unbound might have been created this way, to allow them to be marched into the Shaper provinces before they are let loose. In other words, I’m not sure if this is something specifically built into the Unbound by their creators; something entirely accidental, but peculiar to the Unbound themselves; or whether it’s a more general statement about all creations.


It’s definitely a good counter-example, but they might be less ambiguous ones out there!

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15 hours ago, TM Paladin said:

Directly shaping an existing creature, and moving a brain from one body to another, are two completely different things.  It doesn't matter what species labels you want to give either case before or after the change -- the changes themselves are completely different in character.

 

20 minutes ago, Ess-Eschas said:

I won’t deny that’s true in the general case! However, there are circumstances in which the two processes produce results that are indistinguishable – and therefore, by the definition of indistinguishability, there can be no meaningful distinction between them for those cases. (As a caveat, I’m having a little trouble parsing your first five words. I’m going to assume what I think you mean, but let me apologise now if I’m misunderstanding you.)

 

What.  Ess, this makes no sense.

 

Process A produces result X.

Process B also produces result X.

Therefore, according to you, we can't distinguish between process A and process B?

 

Never mind that the results at issue here are extremely distinguishable -- even if they weren't, the processes remain 100% distinguishable.

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Ess stated that the two processes are indistinguishable from the drayk/drakon's perspective, not as a whole. In both cases the drayk falls asleep and is a drakon when he wakes up. It doesn't necessarily matter to him what happened in the interrim, as long as the process was successful.

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7 hours ago, TM Paladin said:

Therefore, according to you, we can't distinguish between process A and process B?

 

ADoS gives a nice summary of my argument here. My aim is not to suggest that the two mechanisms are always indistinguishable, but merely that they are indistinguishable for this very specific case. That’s enough to be important, I think.
 

Using your language, the situation is perhaps better described by my giving you the result X, and then asking you which process I used to create it. There’s no way for you to know that so, for this specific case, A and B are indistinguishable.
 

Your objection to my previous analogy, as I understand it, was that the mechanisms I was comparing were so dissimilar as to be incomparable. As a counter to this, I have demonstrated that there is a situation in which – to the important party, the creation – they are not just similar, but so similar that the creation cannot actually distinguish between them. It just so happens that the case I provided is an example of exactly the sort of situation I’ve been arguing the case for in this thread!
 

In a more general sense, this indistinguishability implies some deeper level of connection between the two mechanisms – not necessarily much of an connection, but something nonetheless. For two mechanisms to be indistinguishable for a given situation, they can’t be entirely unrelated.
 

For an example of this, consider two functions A(x,y) and B(x,y) of two variables x and y. I define these as:
 

A(x,y) ≣ x+y
B(x,y) ≣ x*y
 

These are very different functions. However, it just so happens that they both give the same result if x = y = 2. For these values, the functions are indistinguishable:
 

A(2,2) = 2+2 = 4
B(2,2) = 2*2 = 4
 

But there’s a deeper connection for these particular values. The mathematical expressions 2+2 and 2*2 don’t just happen to give the same answer. They give the same answer because they are completely equivalent mathematically. 2*2 is a way of saying that you should add 2 to itself twice, which is exactly what is meant by 2+2. Even though these are different functions, there is a situation in which they are completely, and fundamentally, equivalent. Moreover, this indicates a more general level of similarity. After all, multiplication (at least of integers) can be expressed simply as another form of addition.
 

So, the two mechanisms I’ve been talking about can’t be entirely unrelated. Indeed, for exactly the sort of situation I’ve been arguing for, they at times can’t even be told apart. I would argue that provides some validity for comparing the two!

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18 hours ago, Ess-Eschas said:

Using your language, the situation is perhaps better described by my giving you the result X, and then asking you which process I used to create it. There’s no way for you to know that so, for this specific case, A and B are indistinguishable.

 

No.  For that specific case, the result of A and the result of B are indistinguishable.

 

This is not semantics.  This makes a big difference, because process A and process B may well either (1) entail other differences during the process that matter then if they aren't distinguishable later; and/or (2) produce other results which are meaningfully different, but which we aren't able to distinguish, because we can't see or aren't looking at those differences.

 

18 hours ago, Ess-Eschas said:

Your objection to my previous analogy, as I understand it, was that the mechanisms I was comparing were so dissimilar as to be incomparable. As a counter to this, I have demonstrated that there is a situation in which – to the important party, the creation – they are not just similar, but so similar that the creation cannot actually distinguish between them.

 

No.  You have not demonstrated that this situation exists, you have asserted without evidence that it exists.  Or if you prefer, you have spun speculative evidence out of thin air and are using it as proof.  Creating a clone of a creature -- not just its "tiny scrolls" but its actual brain, cognitive patterns developed through living and all -- is not something that was ever done or discussed nor was anything even remotely similar to that technologically/magically ever discussed.  So regardless of whether or not it's possible, we don't know that the results would be "indistinguishable."

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17 hours ago, Ess-Eschas said:

For an example of this, consider two functions A(x,y) and B(x,y) of two variables x and y. I define these as:
 

A(x,y) ≣ x+y
B(x,y) ≣ x*y
 

These are very different functions. However, it just so happens that they both give the same result if x = y = 2. For these values, the functions are indistinguishable:
 

A(2,2) = 2+2 = 4
B(2,2) = 2*2 = 4
 

But there’s a deeper connection for these particular values. The mathematical expressions 2+2 and 2*2 don’t just happen to give the same answer. They give the same answer because they are completely equivalent mathematically. 2*2 is a way of saying that you should add 2 to itself twice, which is exactly what is meant by 2+2. Even though these are different functions, there is a situation in which they are completely, and fundamentally, equivalent. Moreover, this indicates a more general level of similarity. After all, multiplication (at least of integers) can be expressed simply as another form of addition.

 

And this, Ess, I love you, and if I didn't know you better I'd seriously think you were trolling.

 

"mathematically equivalent" basically just means "have equal numerical value", right?  What makes them "mathetically equivalent" is the output of the function -- the function itself is irrelevant to that statement.  So again, when you use this as a metaphor for a process in the round, this is where you say two things are "indistinguishable" and again it's the output that is indistinguishable.

 

But you're jumping to your own conclusion here by using 4 and 4 in this metaphor.  4 and 4 are quite obviously not just similar or equivalent but in fact identical.  The very thing we're debating is whether the outputs of these imaginary shaping processes would be identical.  You've posited a scenario where they are visibly identical.  (That's explicitly your assertion, that if the results are indistinguishable the same things are happening.)  4 and 4 are more strictly identical than that.  This is subtle but misleading.

 

And "Moreover, this indicates a more general level of similarity."  You're saying here that if two processes have the same input and output, it "indicates" that they are similar.  That is total baloney.  You know very well that two entirely and completely different processes can overlap on one or more sets of IO pairs without that saying anything about generally applicable similarity.  If function B were instead (6-x)+(y*0) you'd get the same result -- the suggestion that there is an "indication" here is nonsense.

 

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If you want to stick to only six creations, you can have a free slot in your party to shape the more advanced creation first, roleplay you're putting the old brain in the new brainless body, then absorbing the old body, and have the same character as output, while avoiding the issue of the disappearance and then recreation of the character.

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7 hours ago, TM Paladin said:

So regardless of whether or not it's possible, we don't know that the results would be "indistinguishable."

 

I think part of the difficulty here is that we’re arguing from slightly different perspectives, perspectives that include slightly different, slightly contradictory terminology. I think that’s leading to a little confusion. So, let me try and cut through the confusion a little, try to explain my reasoning in a slightly different manner, and show why I’m arguing this way.
 

We’re arguing about what might happen to the mind when a creature is shaped. I’m trying to argue that a Shaper can copy a mind it has previously created, and you are saying they cannot.
 

To demonstrate my point, I pointed to a situation in the game itself, one in which Rhakkus effectively changed creation type through magical means. I used this as an analogy, saying that if a creature could maintain a sense of self through continuous shaping from point A to point B, then this sense of self could be maintained simply by skipping the intervening steps – absorbing point A, and using the energy to directly create point B.
 

You argued that the analogy was flawed, since the two mechanics were fundamentally different. Because of this, I altered the example slightly, producing an example in which the two theories produced identical results. You said that this new argument was still invalid, since comparing two very different mechanisms was meaningless, regardless of whether they produced identical results or not.
 

Hence my mathematical example. What I was trying to show here was that two very different mechanisms could nonetheless produce the same outcome under certain conditions, and that a comparison between them could yield interesting information about both of them. I wasn’t trying to say anything more general than that – and I certainly wasn’t trying to say that similar outcomes imply similar processes in general!
 

I’d like to answer your objections about my example, but I worry that’s losing sight of the bigger picture somewhat. This whole example of mine was designed to show by analogy that the theory I’m putting forward is physically possible. It could occur, and it could lead to situations that look like those in the games. I’m not trying to say how plausible or otherwise it might be – merely that it is allowed by the physical laws of the universe we’re talking about. I still think this example demonstrates that, but more on that in a moment!
 

So, a brief departure to mathematics! I’ll put this in a spoiler section, so it doesn’t snarl up the rest of the argument.
 

Spoiler

In symbolic mathematics, equality and equivalence have different definitions. Equality arises from the outputs of systems, while equivalence is a property of the systems themselves. Equality simply means that two things are the same. Equivalence means that they are the same by their fundamental definitions. So, in a sense, equivalence is a stronger form of equality. Two things don’t just happen to be the same, they’re the same because of how we define the rules of mathematics.
 

For example, 1+3 and 2*2 are equal, but they’re not equivalent. 2+2 and 2*2, however, are equivalent, because the operations are the same by definition. 2+2 means exactly the same thing as 2*2, it’s just written in a slightly different way. Likewise, 3*3 and 3^2 and 3+3+3 are equivalent. So, contrary to your statement, this is an example where the output and the functions are mathematically identical. That’s one reason why I chose this example. I’m not just saying that two very different systems can produce the same result, I’m saying that two such systems can, under certain circumstances, be fundamentally identical. Just because two mechanisms are very different doesn’t mean that they can’t share fantastic similarities.
 

On the broader point, I maintain that any mechanisms that produce identical results must have some form of similarity. It’s not a strong statement, only that similarity must exist on some level. For example, your newly proposed function B gives the same results as function A for the same inputs. But there’s also distinct similarity between the two functions. Both are linear with respect to x. On the grand scale of mathematics, that’s really similar.
 

As another example, consider this. The thirteenth digits of Euler’s Number and pi are the same: 9. But even the randomness behind these digits conceals a similarity – the random distribution of the digits in both numbers is the same! And even if they weren’t, they would still both be random processes, which is in itself a similarity.


By the way, as another aside, I put together a rather spurious ‘proof’ of my position based on metaphysics alone. It’s not an acceptable proof at all, given its basis, but it’s a fun little exercise nonetheless. So, for a bit of lighthearted building of castles in the sky:
 

Spoiler

There’s another way to interpret my Rhakkus comparison. This is based on entirely speculative metaphysics, metaphysics that a lot of people think quite rightly is dubious, so this isn’t a serious argument! I just include it as an entertaining diversion.
 

Let’s look at the situation from Rhakkus’s point of view, and employ a Wigner’s friend style model. By this, I mean a model of the world where the point of view of one particular observer is paramount. This observer’s point of view, their observations and measurements, collapses all quantum mechanical superpositions for this particular observer, and this observer alone, be they microscopic or macroscopic. The easiest way to describe that observer is as I, the one observer each of us is really distinctly aware of – but that's a little solipsistic, so I tend to avoid that particular terminology.
 

The classic example is that of Wigner’s friend themselves. Wigner’s friend performs a Schrödinger’s cat experiment in a physically isolated room. He then tells Wigner the result. If we take Wigner to be the important observer, then the world remains in a superposition of |happy friend, alive cat> and |sad friend, dead cat> up until the moment when Wigner hears the result. At that moment, from Wigner’s perspective, the combined wavefunction describing the friend and the experiment collapses, and one of the two outcomes takes place. Before that, because Wigner has no way of knowing the result of the experiment, both outcomes are indistinguishable for him and the world is in a superposition of those states – again, from Wigner’s perspective only.
 

So let’s look at my example from Rhakkus’s point of view. At the moment Rhakkus wakes up, the world is in a superposition of all possible, initially indistinguishable states (from his perspective) that could describe that moment. When he examines the situation, for example, by asking someone what happened, the actual events crystallise out of the superposition, and are set in stone. But the interesting nature of this is that the superposition involves all physically possible, initially indistinguishable explanations of the event. The resulting state that occurs could be any one of these, any of them, with certain associated probabilities.
 

Simply by demonstrating that my theory produces a state that is initially indistinguishable from a state which you accept can occur, and given that my theory doesn’t break any physical laws – which I don’t believe it does – under this model I have therefore proven that it can arise physically. This is simply by the merit that it’s part of a superposition state with another state you accept.
 

Of course, this all relies on a model which has shaky foundations, so it’s a poor proof! But it's fun to probe into the logic of ideas like these sometimes!


Anyway, back to the main point. Let’s see if we can’t disentangle this argument a little. Your main objection, as I understand it, is that there is no in-game basis for the theory I am trying to put forward. I have done my best by providing an analogy to in-game events, to demonstrate that my theory could produce similar outcomes, but that’s all so far!
 

However, I did ask you earlier to provide me with examples that demonstrate your interpretation, and I don’t think you’ve yet done so. At present, I don’t think either of us has really put forward a good piece of in-game evidence supporting their view. Given that your explanation of events is far, far more common than the one I’m putting forward, I’m sure there must be a strong basis for it – there must be a reason why this interpretation is the norm – but I can’t think of any example off-hand that provides a really strong case for it. If you are arguing that my theory is not supported by in-game evidence, at the moment your argument is in the same boat. So prove me wrong! I really do think I’m missing something obvious, which is why I’m asking!

Right now, alhoon’s gotten the closest with his Geneforge 4 example. I don’t think that example is a general one, but surely there are some others. So, can you provide me with one or more examples from the game text, mechanics or history where it’s made clear that information about creations is lost forever when they are absorbed, or that all new creations a Shaper makes are a blank slate in some way?
 

7 hours ago, TM Paladin said:

And this, Ess, I love you, and if I didn't know you better I'd seriously think you were trolling.


I’m totally expecting flowers in the post now. Just so you know, haha :)

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31 minutes ago, Ess-Eschas said:

However, I did ask you earlier to provide me with examples that demonstrate your interpretation, and I don’t think you’ve yet done so.

 

"'I don't invent,' Sherry reminded him.  Her voice was no less steady than his, but her expression--when I got hold of my senses enough to see it--was grave.  'I only recount.'  -- John Barth, Chimera

 

Or perhaps I ought to quote Hume here.  I'm not offering an interpretation, I'm challenging yours.  I don't think there's any dispute about what does and doesn't happen in the games.  I'm not suggesting it means something, I'm suggesting that there are more than a few leaps and bounds between what's in the games and what you are arguing.

 

37 minutes ago, Ess-Eschas said:

We’re arguing about what might happen to the mind when a creature is shaped. I’m trying to argue that a Shaper can copy a mind it has previously created, and you are saying they cannot.

 

Did you mean to say "absorbed" above?  The discussion was about recreating an existing mind, complete with all the cognitive pathways and memories and so on that it gained through experience and which were not shaped into being.

 

38 minutes ago, Ess-Eschas said:

You said that this new argument was still invalid, since comparing two very different mechanisms was meaningless, regardless of whether they produced identical results or not.

 

I don't know how in the world you think I was arguing this.  This is a ridiculous statement.  Of course you can compare mechanisms that are different!

 

What I argued was that you cannot declare two different processes indistinguishable simply because the outputs are indistinguishable.

 

41 minutes ago, Ess-Eschas said:

This whole example of mine was designed to show by analogy that the theory I’m putting forward is physically possible. It could occur, and it could lead to situations that look like those in the games. I’m not trying to say how plausible or otherwise it might be – merely that it is allowed by the physical laws of the universe we’re talking about. I still think this example demonstrates that, but more on that in a moment!

 

In this case you're arguing about something nobody else is.  The entire disagreement is exactly as alhoon put it: do we think a shaper can create an identical copy of an existing brain?  Nobody has argued "it's physically impossible to clone an individual brain" (as opposed to producing a new brain according to the same species blueprint) -- a brain is a physical object, that would be ridiculous, and you won't find that argument here.  We've argued that there is nothing in Geneforge to suggest that shapers can even come close to doing that.  As I wrote originally: "Maybe it's plausible that it could be done, and I certainly have no problem imagining that happening with a sequence of player creations for RP purposes... but that's very different from suggesting it is regularly possible in the game world itself."  This is a comment on plausibility within the established Geneforge lore about shaping, not anything about the laws of nature.

 

But is that what you've been arguing?  You wrote a few posts back: "The aim of my argument is simply to try and demonstrate that a Vinlie-style approach to the game – thinking of creations as evolving when they are absorbed and recreated as a new creature type – is possible within the confines of the game lore."  Where is the part about physical laws of the universe?  There is no real game lore about those, but there's plenty of game lore about what shaping can and can't do...

 

50 minutes ago, Ess-Eschas said:

On the broader point, I maintain that any mechanisms that produce identical results must have some form of similarity. It’s not a strong statement, only that similarity must exist on some level. For example, your newly proposed function B gives the same results as function A for the same inputs. But there’s also distinct similarity between the two functions. Both are linear with respect to x. On the grand scale of mathematics, that’s really similar.

 

Yes, and I can propose a new function B that isn't linear but maintains the same single IO pairing.  Anything you decide is a "fundamental similarity", I can propose a new function B that maintains the single IO pairing and lacks that "similarity."  Because there is in fact no requirement for two functions to share one IO pairing beyond the fact that they are both functions (b/c defined in the proposition) and both have that IO pairing.  Your argument here reduces to "Functions can have things in common."  That is not meaningful.

 

54 minutes ago, Ess-Eschas said:

I’m totally expecting flowers in the post now. Just so you know, haha :)

 

Ess, you're a very attractive Slith, and if I were single and you were less infuriating, I'd be happy to fork with our spears.

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