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12 March 2009 @ 04:32 pm
the true Last Remnant  
I don't know how many of you follow gaming news. Recently, a game was released called "Last Remnant." This post has nothing at all to do with that game beyond the name.

When I first heard about it, I could not find any screenshots or media about the game. It left me blue-skying about what could be involved, dreaming in the end of what I would imagine a satisfying "Last Remnant" to be.

Imagine for a moment what it would be like to wake from cryogenic stasis. You are a space Marine, assigned alongside legions of your brothers and sisters to a remote, secret world. You have been sent deep into the Black to train and prepare against the unimaginable: the fall of the Terran Empire. Should this apocalypse of civilization someday threaten all of Known Space, your legion will be uniquely suited to lead the military against whatever threatens humankind, arising internally or external to society. You would be the bulwark against which the tide would break. An entire planet at your disposal, covered in caches of materiel, and an entire stellar system interdicted and stricken from the records.

You and your legion would be transported in cryostasis by automated ships, a dark fleet on a scale to colonize and inhabit the world in one great move. On arrival, the AIs of the fleet would prep the planet, building bases, bunkers, storage facilities, barracks, everything you would need, and would reawaken you.

Only... as you awaken, something is clearly wrong. Not all of the Marines have been restored from cryosleep. Something happened during transit or on arrival, something that caused the AIs to do everything except wake you or your comrades. The planet would be ready, the machinery of war would sit waiting in storage, but they took an extra step: they created cryostorage facilities, massive banks of stasis tubes, lining the dark hallways of bunkers deep in the planet, rank after rank of Marines waiting for release.

And that's where the story would begin. You and the other players would each represent one Marine, waking from cryosleep, into an unknown situation. Why didn't the AIs wake you? Why did they build cryostorage when that wasn't part of the original plan? Why are Marines waking at random intervals rather than all being brought back online together? (Outside the simulation, the answer to this would be that a Marine "wakes" from cryostatis each time a new player enters the game.) Why aren't the AIs responding, leaving you with only dumb computers? All the data you left with would be found to be intact, but you must manually access everything via dumb terminals wired into the planetary mainframes. What year is it? What is the status of your mission? Your legion had orders to maintain communications silence unless called upon, to passively monitor transmissions, to listen but not respond until ordered. What do you do?

Now, to really represent the game the right way, all players would awaken without memory of their actual lives. To call this "immersive" is a grand understatement. My intention for this is that you would live and die as this Marine, that you would enter the game knowing that your real life was about to go on hold for the duration of your life as a Marine. Obviously, this isn't something we have the technology to do in reality right now. It would only happen if humankind or at the very least the players could be totally virtualized, if we could simulate reality to a degree indistinguishable from "real" reality. Assuming that there were other life forms in the galaxy in which the Marines wake, those would either have to be players or simulated intelligences themselves, more likely SIs or AIs than living players. One civilization? Several? Hundreds? One living world? Thousands? Only the beginning setup would be scripted; everything after the beginning of the game would proceed in real time, as real events with real consequences.

I don't have the wherewithal to write this as fiction. I wouldn't want to, anyway; I want to see it played out by sentient beings. Let people apply to play, build their characters, choose the people they would be when they wake with no memory of another life. Implant the skills they'd need, or let them bring only what they can actually bring to the table.

Then... watch. Sit back and observe. Let a universe spin out, recorded for posterity.

Some theoretical physicists say that this is either happening now in some parallel reality or that we ourselves are in just such a simulated reality. Interesting thoughts, but purely academic compared to the thrill of being able to experience setting this up and watching it play out; distinctly unsatisfying as just a theory.

Ah well. It's a thought for another life.
Current Mood: unsatisfied