Self-Constructing Outpost: How to turn Eclipse Phase into an RTS.

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Self-Constructing Outpost: How to turn Eclipse Phase into an RTS.

Well, not quite an RTS, but close. Anyway, I asked myself, if you can take a Desktop CM through a gate, and if you had enough blueprints, couldn't you go from that to a colony? Sure, but that would take forever.

It goes a lot faster if you take an entire vehicle that turns into a one-stop nanofabrication shop. I thought back to playing Command & Conquer as a young'un, and then this idea was born.

I'll try to post it here, but it's wordy as heck and is best viewed as a Google Document, the way I wrote it. Please, feel free to comment - the google doc has anyone allowed to leave comments!

Greetings and salutations! This exosolar installation was constructed by for the use and well-being of all sapient creatures. Constructed entirely from open-source blueprints and almost entirely from local resources, this installation is here for the use of all, whether you need simply to stop over and replenish your supplies or wish to settle permanently. This installation’s presence constitutes a claim on this place by , who release the claim for the use of all, without restriction save that they not themselves impose restrictions on others who also require the use of this place.
~Repeating broadcast message.

Seed-Constructing Outpost


Concept
Originally conceived of as a means for gatecrashers to rapidly establish an outpost on exosolar worlds, the Seed Outpost came into its own as the brainchild of a team of Argonaut and Autonomist gatecrasher-engineers. It can be considered the ultimate outgrowth of the concept of the GEV and the Mobile Base put together, and used to begin a true settlement.

The SCO was designed and released into the open-source distribution channels of the Solar System and beyond with the best of intentions. Where those intentions lead is a question for those who behold them; obviously the Jovians and the Planetary Consortium will say that they lead straight to Hell. The premise is simple: Upon reaching a resource-rich gate destination which has a suitable environment and abundance of resources, the SCO may be deployed to construct a habitat. It isn’t perfect - it doesn’t handle truly exotic locales well, and without sapient oversight (which is highly recommended,) the AIs overseeing construction tend to be very conservative, as they lack genuine sapient problem-solving capability. Its usefulness in a microgravity environment is exceptionally limited, and the SCO has yet to be adapted to handle submarine environments with any real aplomb. Despite those limitations, they are exceedingly popular, as the destinations they are best at working in are those transhumans tend to be drawn to the most: Terrestrial planets with some kind of non-corrosive, non-superpressurized atmosphere.

The Argonauts who unveiled the SCO also posted a strong request: that those who use the SCO to establish exosolar habitats not deny the habitats they construct to others, especially others in need. In theory, as anyone should be able to use an SCO to carve a livable niche for themselves anywhere there are suitable materials, they should be easily able to lodge and provide for the traveller, the gatehopper, the wanderer, the lost, and the needy, up to and including equipping them with the seed of additional SCOs; the idea being to pay it forward.

In practice, the SCO is not significantly different from automated factories which every hypercorp and gatecrashing collective use to boot-strap a colony’s industrial base; the difference is in the fact that the Seed-Constructing Outpost begins from one vehicle, well within the reach and financial or reputation resources of a successful gatecrashing operation; and once established, an SCO can build the seeds of new SCOs, which any gatehoppers to come along can take with them.

Seed Construction Vehicle


Owing to its similarity to “Seed AI,” the chosen name for the SCV is often not used in favor of its acronym, a few backronyms from the acronym, or other names entirely: Self-Constructing Vehicle, Settlement Construction Vehicle, Mobile Construction Vehicle (MCV,) Mobile Construction Yard (MCY,) Gateway Outpost Vehicle (GOV,) Colony Construction Vehicle (CCV,) Outpost Construction Vehicle (OCV,) and innumerable other variations.

Normally, the SCV looks rather akin to an upscaled Mobile Base: a boxy vehicle with large, smart material tires, and a truck-like cab that’s cozy for two and homey for one. They aren’t typically equipped with metallic hydrogen rockets, but the smart material construction and its incredible innate nanofabrication facility is more than capable of adapting them, should it become necessary. It is also capable, should the need arise, of compressing down and stretching out to pass through a wormhole only large enough to permit an average metahuman, though doing so requires half an hour to compress and another half an hour to decompress and resume normal operations, and makes steering almost impossible.

Unlike the mobile base, however, the SCV does not unfold into a pre-packaged shelter which can be erected in two hours and moved into immediately. The Seed Construction Vehicle is navigated into an appropriate location: ideally somewhere with a perfectly flat grade and a subsurface strata which is rich in materials that may be used in construction. The SCV then inflates a dome around itself and begins cannibalizing itself to build the framework of a large, industrial nanofabrication structure, big enough to construct vehicles. This installation is nearly completely permanent and known as a Seed Construction Yard, and depending on the suitability of the location and local environs, can take anywhere from forty-eight hours to a solid week to complete, with the lower end only being possible if the site was prepared beforehand by heavy earthmoving equipment. It can be re-packed, if necessary, but at this essentially involves the SCY cannibalizing itself to build a new SCV, there will inevitably be losses in the amount of material available along the way. Unpacking and repacking twice is iffy - three times and you’ll probably wind up scrambling to find more materials to feed the next SCY you build.

The SCV is powered by heavy nuclear batteries borrowed from the Mobile Base, but the three-year operational duration is only sufficient for mobile operations: the nuclear batteries lack sufficient power output to power the industrial nanofabrication system constantly, and the regular batteries charging off them will be quickly depleted by full operations, slowing manufacturing to a crawl. The SCV has enough sensors and on-board running AIs to give an estimation of whether a site is a good one to establish a base, both in terms of locality and the entire planet. These tend to be very conservative, and SCVs have been successfully used in locations which the onboard AI gave a failing grade to, with a little transhuman cleverness and ingenuity. On the flip side, however, if the SCV tells you it can build an outpost somewhere, barring catastrophe that no amount of sensors can predict, it will be able to, even if you set it to automatic and crash through the gate to somewhere else.

Seed Construction Yard


Constructing a new outpost from an SCV isn’t a guaranteed thing, nor is it as simple as playing a real-time strategy game. It’s not entirely dissimilar, either. The SCY contains blueprints for some of the most powerful open-source construction, habitat planning, and related field AIs in existence. They are still hobbled, non-sapient AIs, and it is highly recommended that any construction being undertaken be done with transhuman supervision.

One starts out with the Seed Construction Yard. When fully erected, transhumans can live in the management section of the SCY, albeit in cramped conditions. It contains bunks for ten, nanofabrication and recycling facilities (obviously,) and two ego bridges. It’s not exactly the most comfortable of quarters, though; most who bring an SCY and plan to stay the duration typically also bring a Mobile Base to establish next to it to live in while the SCY is doing its thing. The SCY also contains a portable solarchive on virtually any subject imaginable, updated as of the last time the SCV was in contact with civilization.

The first step after unfolding the SCY, assuming they haven’t been done beforehand, is to launch a satnet-in-a-can, and scout missile, constructing them if need be. With the information available from the satnet, the SCY will be able to make better judgements and predictions about the site’s near-and-far prospects. It will also be able to begin calculating the potential sites to construct further buildings.

After initial mapping is complete, the first item on the agenda is usually to establish a steady power source, though of course, an actual transhuman overseer can override this, if for instance, they brought a fusion generator on a truck they intend to hook up to the SCY. Depending on the local conditions and the materials available, this can take the form of erecting solar panels, wind turbines, tidal harnesses, hydroelectric, geothermal, hydrocarbon or other fuel-based steam turbine generation, or fusion generators, though it is seldom fusion generators, unless those constructing the SCY brought the radioactives feedstock with them or the gate happened to be in close proximity to a vein of exposed uranium.

It isn’t perfect, of course. Some environments are simply so difficult to extract power from that an SCY cannot establish power generation; Corse, for instance, would be a nightmare environment to try to establish an SCY without some provision for power. If the AI tells you it cannot locate a viable and exploitable source of power capable of generating sufficient energy and you do not already have your own plan to provide power generation, pack up and leave.

Establishing power generation requires building basic automated construction equipment; while a swarm of nanobots unleashed into an environment are capable of doing the job, from that sort of start it would take forever. The SCY builds robots to level the grade install what foundations are required (if any,) to lay, elevate, or bury conduits as appropriate, and to shovel resources into its recycling center, again, as appropriate. This is typically a careful balancing act between the resources available (remaining feedstock and locally-sourced materials,) the power generation available (on full batteries the SCY can go for two days, maybe two and a half if life support is turned off, but when its batteries are wholly exhausted, it takes the nuclear batteries a week to recharge,) and time.

As mentioned previously, the automatic construction AI tend to be very conservative. They’re very bad at correcting failures, especially self-destructive failures, so they overbuild everything to ensure they don’t have any. Setting up solar arrays sufficient to power the industrial processes can be done automatically within the two-and-a-half days allowance for batteries without life support (counting solar arrays coming online early,) but anything else, from establishing a wind farm to a geothermal plant, will take at least three cycles of two and a half days of uptime followed by a week’s downtime to recharge. Anything involving radioactive materials will take at least four months to build in this manner, with or without transhuman intervention, so if you’re planning to use a fusion or fission generator (you lunatic, if you’re using a fission reactor,) you’d be best served to bring a pre-built reactor on a truck, with plenty of fuel at the stand-by.

Most SCOs that are going to fail, fail while attempting to get their power generation up. A less-than-ept user (one might say, inept,) might decide to erect an inappropriate power generation system to the environment, or might direct the construction units to build less conservatively, believing the environment to be more benign than it is. With transhumans to provide expertise and, if necessary, labor, however, an SCY can set up power generation in places that the AI will give a failing grade to. Once power generation is set-up and reliable, though, half the battle is won. The other half is resources.

Your average Terrestrial world is not made of abundant heavy metals simply lying around on the surface - and if it is, the environmental conditions probably exceed the parameters the SCO was designed for. While you can build superstructure out of very lightweight-but-strong materials feeding off your feedstock and use any old local material to feed the recycler enough to build walls and windows and the like (or just use three times as much as whatever to make walls you can be pretty sure won’t just fall down,) you’re going to need to start building resource extraction faculties.

Outpost Construction Trucks and Remote Construction Trucks


And other heavy construction equipment.
There are simple economies of scale at work when building an outpost. Robots and robotic armatures can certainly cover an SCYs hull in solar panels and build a solar farm in an adjacent or nearby adjacent area, but when you need to build a building down the road - particularly if there isn’t a road yet - you’re going to have an awfully slow time of things if you have the small, multipurpose robots that built the solar farm carry the materials overland. Fortunately, the SCY is equipped to build a number of heavier earthmovers, from graders and levelers to pressers, pavers, and more. Most of these essentially take the form of robotic, automated forms of heavy earthmoving equipment that was already extant in early 21st century, and which are still used in one form or another today on terrestrial worlds. Roads and wheeled vehicles remain the simplest way to establish a transit infrastructure faster than automated rovers rolling over natural terrain, and can often take the form of simply packing the local material into a hardened path, though paving vehicles using onboard recycling and nanofabrication systems to scoop up the local materials and convert it into a much harder and denser form is usually on the short agenda, as wheeled and tracked vehicles move much more quickly over concrete or some analogue of concrete than they do over even a packed regolith road, after all. And they don’t form ruts in concrete, at least not on any short timescale.

But that only covers the basic infrastructure - laying down roads and conduits is all well and good, but that alone does not a colony make. That’s where the OCT and RCT come in, depending on the distance from the SCY. An Outpost Construction Truck is basically an enormous flat-bed, multi-wheeled (eight or more wheels, depending on the local gravity) articulated lorry, with a crane and robot storage where a cabin would be. (Though it is possible to order a version which moves the crane behind the cabin and omits the robot storage, for transhuman-supervised-and-assisted construction.) The OCT is intended to convey a module which can be deployed at a prepared location (even if the robots it carries have to dismount and prepare the location while it waits,) be dropped off once the site is ready, and depart, leaving the robots and the payload to deploy a dome and construct the building or infrastructure it deployed. For very large constructions, multiple OCTs or multiple trips with multiple payloads may be required.

The OCT is intended for use in the SCY’s near environs, which can be anything from next door to down the road a few days’ travel. For anything further - things that must be built, but which are so far away that you shouldn’t count on getting the truck back any time soon, an RCT is usually deployed instead.

The RCT is a lot like the original SCV - a large truck designed to travel to a remote location, inflate a dome around itself and cannibalize itself to construct an installation. It takes a lot of resources to build an RCT, far more than to build an OCT once and use it to build forever afterwards, at least until it is no longer needed or some mishap results in it being broken. But the OCT has advantages in that it’s typically much larger and, like the original SCV, can build and unfold into an industrial unit with its own nanofabrication facilities. These are typically used to create remote locations to extract resources or harness conditions not available at the location the SCY is set up at, which is typically within eyesight of the Pandora Gate. Often this takes the form of a robotic mine-head for resource extraction, though sometimes it means tapping natural energy resources which are too remote to be part of the initial colony set-up but which are too rich to ignore, such as setting up a wind farm in a high craggy area, a geothermal site of rich potential but which requires significantly more effort to tap than capping a local geyser, or a brightly sunlit plane leeward of a mountain which is perfect for a super-sized solar farm sufficient to power industrial processes for quite some time. Once an SCY is deploying OCTs, the outpost is probably stable, though many either never get that far, or never determine a need to deploy a remote facility.

Outpost


Add it all up, and what does it sum up to? An outpost. Once power generation has gone beyond immediate urgency and the resources to create structures have been located and exploited, you have an outpost. Typically, this involves at least one dormitory structure capable of housing twelve transhumans in humanoid biomorphs in rooms with two bunks each (though alternate configurations are easily available,) a field laboratory, a biomedical structure with two healing vats, ego bridges, and other medical necessities, power generation sufficient to the task of supplying everything required and surplus to charge batteries, and everything a group of transhumans needs to live. Depending on the local conditions, the whims of those directing the SCO’s construction and the availability of resources, these structures can take the form of earth-sheltered structures with ramp and ladder access, trailer-like prefabricated units erected on stilts, contiguous, large building, or more, though the AIs responsible for suggesting construction options will as always be very conservative. If left to its own devices, or if rubber-stamped, the AI will build earth-sheltered structures (or structures tunneled into rock, if on rock,) unless flooding is a concern, in which case it will use stilts. All the structures it builds will be properly envirosealed buildings with airlocks, they will be made out of smart matter if at all possible, and will always be equipped with nanohives equipped to repair the structures and repel hostile nanoscale incursions. The hulls will be at least half again as thick as it calculates a requirement for, the windows transparent alumina or diamond and small, if extant at all (the AI will tend to prefer exterior flat-coat cameras with interior displays where it calculates a requirement for exterior visibility at all,) and the interiors somewhat cramped. The user can, of course, alter some or all of these parameters - telling the AI to build the dormitory structures for one person per room, to expand the floor-space to give more room, to use larger windows or use materials less sturdy than the AI called for (such as some form of silica glass,) etcetera. While the AI will give appraisals of the risk factors involved in altering its plans, it will not be all doom and gloom about everything - so that when it does give a gloomy risk appraisal about an alteration (such as using silica glass in lieu of diamond or transparant alumina windows,) it is heeded.

When an outpost is built to the point it no longer requires (or can replace) the SCV’s original nuclear batteries, the SCY can reconstruct the SCV in full and continue on. Some outposts are left like this - supervised only to the point that the AI can handle setting up a way-station outpost for future gate travellers, then the SCV is reconstructed and the gatecrashing group moves on. If this happens, or if the outpost is abandoned after some time of use, then the overseeing AIs will put the outpost into a dormant mode, for the least energy used. The environments in the pressurized buildings will be vacated, and the buildings themselves filled with inert gasses such as argon, while the human-tolerable atmosphere within is instead held in tanks. Feedstuck surplusses sufficient to continue construction at a later date will be accumulated, and then the resourcing operations will go into a similar energy-saving mode, filled with argon. The lights will be kept on, and if the gate opens again, the outpost will start up again, preparing to re-fill its buildings for transhuman habitation.

What can you do with it?


What does one do with an SCO? It’s not something one simply fires-and-forgets, usually, though some gatehopping groups will set an SCV on auto and then crash the gate again, intending to return in a few months to find a base-camp already settled. It even sometimes works.

Ideally, one sets up an SCO where they intend to build a colony, or at least a permanent research outpost. It’s sheer overkill for a temporary camp of any sort. A fully-constructed SCO has permanent living arrangements for at least a dozen transhumans and the ability to rapidly construct many more. It has motor pools, factories, resource extraction operations, and either has, or is readily capable of, bootstrapping to a full industrial base. This doesn’t happen overnight, though. With full availability of energy production and resources, it takes about a month to set up the outpost to the point that it is self-sufficiently maintaining living quarters, life-maintaining infrastructure, entertainment faculties, a motor pool, facilities for the maintenance and repair (or construction,) of synthmorphs, medical facilities, etcetera. These facilities and their build order can be reprioritized with transhuman oversight (a group all wearing synthmorphs probably places a very low priority on biomorph life support and living quarters, but wants to get that machine shop up ASAP,) but in theory, any Seed-Constructed Outpost in a good location should be capable of sustaining transhuman life indefinitely, and growing their endeavors. Building an outpost from an SCO, some would note derisively, is significantly slower than building one by sending resources through the gate from Sol - this is true, but it missed the point. If you have an SCV and a blue box, you can go anywhere connected to the gate network and of a suitable environment, and build. A Gatehopping group can easily use these to leave behind settlements that they or future gatehoppers can use to take rest, a collective of autonomists could depart the system with a small convoy of vehicles and set up a sprawling habitat, and even the Ultimates appreciate its self-sufficient nature, though they turn up their noses at the altruistic intentions behind its concept.

The SCV comes pre-loaded with, as previously mentioned, a massive SolArchive database, and open-source blueprints for just about everything one can imagine. The one thing is most definitely does not contain the blueprints for is a blue box, and the Solarchives it brings with it are likewise devoid of information pertaining to the Pandora Gates. While there’s nothing stopping gatecrashers who take an SCV along from installing those, it’s a really bad idea, for the same reasons first-in teams are prohibited from taking a blue box. They were equipped with, after much hand-wringing, blueprints for weapon systems, both small arms and heavy emplacements, as well as armored vehicles and combat synthmorphs. Ideally, these would not be necessary, but with the proliferation of exhumans, TITANs, unknown potential aliens, and the simple possibility of some hypercorporate or extropian strike group looking to lay an exclusive claim to a world where an SCO has already been established and inhabited, it was decided to equip it with a suitable library, as there would really be no stopping anyone of ill intent from simply uploading their own blueprints, and cracking any pre-programmed limitations.

Thus, it is possible to use an SCV to set up a walled military encampment, though no military AIs or programs have been provided - setting up automated defenses, at least, will require intent and expertise. Still, the notion behind it usually works - to set up an outpost which can be used by all in need, whether gatehoppers or gatecrashers finding themselves on a world already settled, expecting to find uncharted terrain and walking in to find the locals have already cooked them a hot meal.

Expected timeline


Only if everything goes just right!
Let’s say everything goes right: You get a planet with ready access to energy, either close to the local star, with abundant hydrocarbon lakes to tap, or whatever. You have ready access to suitable building materials and may even have cheated by bringing along a fusion generator on a truck and/or a flatbed full of extra feedstock.

Assuming ready availability of exploitable energy and materials, and that the default AI is left to conservatively manage the engineering projects in question according to default parameters, and that you have ten transhuman gatecrashers in relatively normal biomorphs (anything from flats to furies,) this is an ideal timeline to go from the SCV engaging its parking brake for the last time until you can officially call your outpost founded.

This timeline assumes that a group of at least ten transhuman gatecrashers in biomorphs are on-hand to provide labor. Even transhumans unskilled in the required arts of civic planning and engineering design are still able to follow instructions and give oversight with the appropriate libraries at their disposal. Without transhuman oversight, without adequate power, without adequate input materials, without everything going right, this timeline is going to be shot to hell and you could be looking at twice these times or more.

This is, in other words, a “Quick, Murphy isn’t looking!” timetable. When Murphy looks back, however, these timescales rapidly tend to revise upwards. But assuming nothing catastrophic happens, the AI and a good team of gatecrashers should be able to put the outpost up one way or another.

5 days: SCY constructed


Without heavy earthmoving equipment already on-site, there’s little a group of gatecrashers can do to speed the process of the SCV’s conversion into the SCY. They have little to do for about two days except stand by and watch as the SCV’s smart material chassis forms into rudimentary grades and levels to clear a site, then inflates a dome. This time would be well-spent either conducting whatever sort of surveys they came equipped to conduct (such as deploying a satnet-in-a-can and mapping rocket, conducting some scientific surveys of the planet, or else playing with the gate and probing new addresses.) When the dome is erected, however, the simple labor they are capable of providing will be able to speed construction by about two days. (Assuming eight hour work-days. If ten synthmorphs were to work around the clock, they could shave another day off this, but not more than that. A lot of this time is simply waiting for the SCV to nano-cannibalize itself into construction materials.)

At the end of this time, an SCY the size of a rather impressively large garage will have been constructed. It will largely resemble three quonset huts attached side-by-side, with the middle much larger than the other two.

7 days: solar power established.


With the aid of robotic labor constructed from feedstock by the SCY, solar power sufficient to take up the load of full industrial operations can be installed a half-day before the SCY’s vast banks of batteries deplete and need to be recharged by the nuclear batteries. These solar panels have been applied first to the roof of the SCY, and then built in an external field nearby. The conservative option is the tried-and-true field of solar panels, but if transhuman operators decide the local conditions can take it, advanced tree-type solar panels that maximize surface area exposed to sunlight can be deployed.

At this stage, the gatecrashers are living out of their GEV, mobile base, and/or in the SCY’s admin section.

14 days: Robot Pool constructed and resourcing established.


Assuming power was established without complications, the next week will be a balancing act of using the remaining resources to build more resource-gathering robots to gather more resources to build more robots. Assuming this went well, by the end of the week, the SCY should be operating a fleet of multi-purpose robots capable of constructing in the immediate vicinity and harvesting the resources which are immediately available. By this point, most of the non-exotic feedstock brought on the SCY should be exhausted, unless the gatecrashing group came with extra on another truck or two. Fortunately, the robots should be shoveling matter into the recyclers as fast as they can disassemble it into new feedstock, and so by the end of seven days, adequate resources will be available to begin expanding.

16 days: RCT deployed.


The hopeful timeline includes the construction and deployment of one RCT, which is expected to travel elsewhere to build a resource center.

18 days: OCT deployed.


With the construction of the first Outpost Construction Truck, construction can begin in earnest. The truck will roll out of the SCY with a payload module on its bed. Assuming that the AI has been given the go-ahead to build earth-sheltered structures, the robots will have been spending the last two days excavating sites to constructed within; these shallow pits are usually about as deep as an average splicer is tall. The OCT will crane the structure payload into the pits, and offload construction robots. in the pit, an inflatable dome will be expanded to shelter the construction area from the elements, and an installation will begin construction.

20 days: Packed roads established.


By this milestone, there will be the clear lay-out of the colony-to-come, consisting of packed roads of local dirt, regolith, or what-have-you. These roads will connect the nascent construction sites and the SCY.

22 days: Dormitories inhabitable.


More than merely a space to lay one’s head when tired, these dormitories are put together for the long-term occupation of transhumans, though if the AI is left to its own devices they will tend to be rather cramped. Each dorm room sleeps two, usually in bunk beds or a single, larger bed (if requested,) and contains two closets and footlockers for personal equipment, a table with two chairs, and is fully equipped with modern mesh amenities. They are typically arranged around a common area, which contains Makers for provisions, a few Desktop CMs, a table, and an extensive library of ways for gatecrashers to amuse themselves. Other amenities include a shower, which if water is available will hopefully be a water shower, otherwise it may simply involve standing in a swarm of cleaner nanites for a while. Underneath the floor, of course, will be the power and information infrastructure, while the tankage (if available) will be above, even if the the local conditions do not call for or require water as radiation shielding. Above this reinforced dome structure will be a mound of local materials, usually with a shallow ramp leading back up to surface level.

Another OCT has likely been built by this time, or possibly another RCT.

24 days: Biomedical facility active.


By now, the nascent outpost no longer has to rely upon the healing vats in the GEV/Crasher Truck they brought, assuming they brought one. (If they didn’t, they might have wanted to prioritize this ahead of the garage.) Erected with two healing vats, ego bridges, auto-medic units and bots, and a nanosurgery suite, this clinic-sized biomedical facility offers most of the faculty you could ask for from any outpost’s medical suite. It’s still a far cry from being a proper body bank or clone lab, but as long as you arrive with your brain intact and alive, it can put you back together. Any worse damage than that, and you’re probably getting sleeved in a synthmorph for a while.

26 days: Garage online.


Not only a space to store robots and vehicles, the garage is a full-service machine shop for all your mechanical engineering needs. It features ego bridges for handling synthmorphs, nanofabrication units the equal of those in the SCY, able to construct anything from small robots and synthmorphs up to large vehicles, and produce large, bulky pieces to be used to construct even larger structures on-site. Once the first garage is online and its feedstock being supplied, the industrial capacity of an outpost slightly more than doubles, as the garage does not have to incorporate the admin/life-support wing of the SCY, and is a somewhat larger facility.

28 days: Field laboratory constructed.


While a mobile lab can literally fit in your pocket and provides a level of information that most who know how to use it will find to be expediently useful in the field, early 21st-century laboratory experiments were capable of achieving more exacting results. Quite simply, the mobile lab tells you something is unusual; you need a proper laboratory to do any real Science to that something. It should surprise exactly no-one to learn that the Argonauts packed the Seed-Constructed Outpost with all the open-source scientific knowledge and information at their disposal; not merely libraries, but also in the form of blueprints for laboratory equipment and procedures.

The field lab is highly reconfigurable. In its default state, it essentially consists of a versatile chemistry lab, complete with beakers, bunsen burners, analysis equipment and all the rest - even Argonauts fall victim to the memetics of their profession, after all. The default state is not terribly useful, but a skilled scientist can still use it to run chemical experiments - or a layman can use it to get his feet wet with some educational programmes that he’d have a fairly hard time doing more damage to himself with than the biomedical facility can repair. Alternative defaults include an astronomy lab and an atmospheric/seismographics laboratory.

Where the field lab shines, though, is in its reconfigurability. Selecting from one of a number of pre-sets, it can be reconfigured robotically in under a day to perform more detailed, exacting scientific experiments in virtually any field imaginable, and a true Argonaut in command of the field lab can reconfigure it to perform experiments that nobody has procedures for because nobody’s done them before now.

30 days: Community center online.


The completion of construction of the first community center is usually the signal that says “this outpost is in a good spot and can stand the test of time.” The community center is an open-plan structure, either an earth-sheltered dome, a building on the surface, a structure erected on stilts, or what-have-you, that has no designated purpose. Some community centers are designated as meeting halls, with a large table and chairs for everyone furnished, along with makers to provide for group meals. Some are designated as leisure centers, with exercise machines, memory foam blob-chairs, display screens, simulspace entertainment pastimes, makers for snacks, and more. Some take the form of designated gymnasiums, with a sporting arena (basketball is popular in higher gravities, kickboxing is popular in lower ones,) exercise machines all around, showers, and the like. The uses that Scum and Anarchists put them up to are best left as an imagination exercise to the imaginer.

Alternate Environments[/h]
[h2]Aquatic


The SCO does not do well underwater, full stop. The best it can manage is shallow coastal waters, and even then it tends to build above the high tide line, sinking struts down into the water. In short, it could handle the Caribbean or Phillipines of Earth, or a similar exosolar environment, but the far more likely environment of full-ocean worlds, or near-full ocean worlds, will likely stymie it, even if they have an Earthlike environment and climate. Europa or Ceres is just not in the cards.

Non-Atmospheric


The SCO is perfectly capable of erecting structures suitable for a trace atmosphere, but unless the local environment happens to incorporate sufficient quantities of water ice trapped and prevented from sublimating somehow, you’re going to be relying on tanked air and water you brought in yourself, and if you didn’t bring enough, there’s nothing the SCO can do to generate air from nothing. This may not be a problem, however, if everyone is wearing a synthmorph or a biomorph which is fully tolerant of vacuum! Those who adopt the vacuum-tolerant lifestyle will argue that one can live a full and rich life without an atmosphere, especially if sleeved in a synthmorph which does not require any regular replenishment of chemical reservoirs alternative to those of normal human-derived life-cycles.

At the very least, however, most outposts constructed on non-atmospheric worlds and without sufficient provided atmosphere to maintain a livable atmosphere in their constructions are usually built in such a way that those who come upon them in their own vacsuits can replenish their reservoirs from a cache of supplies (that hopefully will not be emptied entirely when you find it,) and get some med-modules attached to their suits if need be; and of course, can nanofabricate vehicles or equipment if they need it. A GEV, crasher truck, or even a go-cycle will go a long way towards improving a lost gatehopper’s chances, even if it needs to fill up on atmosphere at another stop.

Microgravity


Establishing an outpost in microgravity has its own challenges, and its own benefits. It shares the challenges of a non-atmospheric environment, and if you didn’t emerge on an icy comet or asteroid, you’re not getting any atmosphere. The maximum amount of resources it can use is the size of the body the Pandora Gate is locate on: if it’s small, there’s not going to be much it can do. If it’s huge, though, the SCO is capable of tunneling in a beehive habitat. Reaction mass will likely be an issue, however, unless hydrogen is present in sufficient quantities to form into metallic hydrogen, so even if the body it emerges upon is in the vicinity of other bodies, harvesting them for resources may not be within the capabilities of the SCO.

High Gravity


The SCV is likely capable of operating in any gravity anyone who can ride in it is capable of operating in. However, it’s not going to have an easy time of it; assume that it can operate normally up to 2g, but add 20% to the time it needs to build anything per 0.2g above 1.2, as it is must build very sturdily. At anything above 2g, it will not be able to erect inflatable domes to provide a stable nanofabrication environment - this includes the dome required to construct the SCY from the SCV. It's not impossible to operate above 2g, but it's definitely pushing beyond the programmed parameters.

High Pressure


Whether aquatic, as on Europa, or atmospheric as like Venus, the SCO cannot be easily (if at all) deployed in environments of significant ambient pressure. It operates ideally in pressures of one atmosphere or less, preferably less, though it can operate relatively normally up to 3 atmospheres. Anything over 1.5 atmospheres, however, will greatly slow construction that relies on inflating domes to create stable nanofabrication environments, especially if the gravity approaches anything like 1g. At anything above 3 atmospheres, instead of inflating domes, rigid fabrication areas will have to be constructed, slowing the work down considerably - expect most operations to take twice as long.

Anything above 3 atmospheres, and you’re operating outside of the conditions the Argonauts designed the SCO for. They won’t guarantee that it won’t work, especially if someone clever and well-educated is running the system, but they won’t guarantee that it will work, either, not even if you have a fork of the entirety of the Argonauts engineering department running the show. Realistically, if the environment would be risky or dangerous to step out of your GEV in, don’t expect the SCO to work, and do expect an impressive implosion if you try to make it set up.

While you can build an SCV - or more likely, have it modify itself - with the Extreme Pressure Adaptation trait, this doesn’t mean that the SCY it’s intended to unfold into, or any of the designs it’s intended to produce, will have. Though this can be modified in on-the-fly, as it were, the engineering AI will be extremely conservative in doing so - you’re more likely to get bunkers than buildings, and you can forget keeping to the optimistic timetable. It will not even be able to construct the SCY in pressures above 5 atmospheres without unfolding part-way, constructing pressure-tolerant robots, and harvesting much more material.

Extreme Temperature


As with most modern technology, an SCV is more than capable of laughing in the face of arctic blasts that regularly imperiled the lives of human scientists and their equipment as late as the mid-21st century. Extreme cold is not an issue, as the SCV’s internal workings (especially its nuclear batteries) produce and circulate enough heat to keep the vehicle operating well above the temperature at which its smart material construction would begin to lock up. In short, you could drive an SCV onto the surface of Corse or Nótt and set up shop. Additional environmental measures will need to be taken in the construction of additional buildings, largely in the form of additional insulation and heating, but these are well within the capabilities of the SCV to handle.

Extremes of heat, on the other hand, are another matter entirely. Nanites are individually very, very minute - but they have an incredible surface-area to mass ratio. They tend to vaporize in instants if exposed to extreme heat. As a famous science-fiction author once put it, if you dump a pile of nanites on your kitchen counter, you can smack it with a hammer all day without doing more than negligible damage to the nanobots, but ruin your counter. If you take a hot pizza stone out of your oven and lay it atop the pile, you’ll sterilize it and only scorch your countertop. Consider the implications, then, of attempting to use smart materials - which are essentially materials with nanohives embedded within them - on a planetary body subject to extremes of heat.

In practical terms, an SCV (And GEV/Crasher Truck/Go-Cycle,) can withstand temperatures of up to about 200 degrees centigrade and keep working. You could push it up to 250 C, if you were desperate, but that definitely exceeds normal operating parameters. It is possible, as with all vehicles, to get an SCV built with the extreme heat modification to handle temperatures of up to 500 C, but deploying it anywhere such temperature protection is called for is, generally speaking, a bad idea. In short, you could deploy on one Mercury, but you’ll have to borrow it into the ground or else go to extreme measures to withstand the day-time sun. Venus is right out without extensive modifications, to the SCV, the SCY you intend to construct with it, the robots it uses, and all the buildings you intend to put up.

Pushing the Envelope


Building your ideal exosolar base.
So, you’ve explored the gate network, found an out-of-the-way planet with abundant minerals, no native wildlife to complicate matters (such complications are beyond the scope of this document, and likely up to the GM’s sadistic imagination,) a nice low gravity and thin atmosphere to make construction easy. You’ve followed the default construction program for a month and have a nice little base with power generation exceeding your usage, have a Seed Construction Yard, a nice dormitory, medical facility, machine shop, laboratory, and gymnasium of your own.

Now what? Well, that’s up to you. You can have your SCY build a new SCV, return your nuclear batteries to you, and head off back into the gate network, but perhaps you’d rather stay a while and build a nice home.

Largely, this is a matter between you and your GM, depending on how much base-building you want to do. If your GM has let you get this far, he probably has at least the outline of an adventure involving your nascent colony set up, whether it’s your Gate suddenly sprouting a couple of exhuman Juggernauts or a band of Ultimates who like everything about your colony except you.

Some baselines, however, can be useful. For instance, one can safely assume that relatively light, habitable structures, similar to the buildings described above in the example timeline, can be erected in four days, fully autonomously. (Transhuman oversight/labor can reduce this time, by as much as half, as the AIs will always be conservative in their operations.) Adverse conditions up to the maximum of what an SCO can be modified to withstand (think the surface of Mercury or Venus,) can greatly expand this time, easily quadrupling it or more. There’s a damn good reason the only people who live on the surface of venus are desperate indentures. Less-adverse but still adverse conditions can increase the time required by 20% up to double. You can safely assume that any habitable the AI recommends the plans to build will be at least as durable as a GEV; Armor 15, DUR 200. Larger buildings, with higher Durability ratings, take proportionally longer to construct - 1 day per 100 DUR is a good rule of thumb. Constructing a building’s seed takes about a day in the SCY or other industrial facility; the SCY can build one at a time, garages can build 2, even larger industrial centers could theoretically build more simultaneously. An SCT takes twice as long to build an OCT payload, but the SCT counts as two seeds, which is good since a building takes 1 seed per 400 DUR.

An SCO could certainly, for instance, devise a building as large and hardened as a Destroyer, but it would take at least five seeds, and 20 days to construct. Actually building a destroyer, on the other hand, requires a lot of resources and materials that most outposts won’t have easy access to. Save building your own space navy for when you have an industrial infrastructure and several colonies.

That’s probably all you need to know to get started and going nuts. Before you know it, you’re going to be building super-heavy walls with gun turrets and battlements and mortar batteries, exchanging mass driver and seeker barrages with exhumans and Ultimates and desperately trying to make more room for the wounded refugees streaming in from the gate network.

Or maybe you’ll just come across and SCO and take the opportunity to modify your GEV into an infantry fighting vehicle before moving on. Either way, have fun.

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thezombiekat thezombiekat's picture
very nicely done.

very nicely done.

one of my players had similar ideas. was thinking of starting out with just a crasher truck. that would take a long time to get established. everything has to be made in components that fit in a 1 foot cube.

i think i will steal this for use latter in my game. although i will strip out the weapon plans. the design teal wasn't included everything they thought would be useful, but they where a peaceful by nature, when others suggested it up later they just said 'plenty of spare memory, you want weapons ad them yourself'. that way my gatecrashing PCs will be able to come to a station under threat and be unable to build weapons (because aliens would have been much scarier if there where no guns)

ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
I wouldn't send it out

I wouldn't send it out completely without weapons, even if I was going more optimistic/peaceful than that. At the very least, I'd send it out with blueprints for small arms.

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TITAN TITAN's picture
Quick write-up

I kind of liked the idea of this mechanic and took an afternoon to write out a basic principle of how I think this system might work. The way I envision this is as a base building mechanic that plays up during downtime in between missions the PCs undertake during a campaign so they don't have to stick around for the long build times. You can find my quick write-up here. It's a rough draft and far from final. Comments are allowed for everyone, so go nuts.

It goes without saying that this mechanic is best suited for sandboxy campaigns. It might fit into an otherwise story driven campaign if you introduce a specific section of the adventure where the PCs have a bit of downtime and are preparing their base for some impending attack. They can't prevent it from happening so they must build up so as to be ready when it comes.

To help with visualization I would recommend using some form of map to help visualize the base. The PCs can choose where they want certain structures to go and what their base will look like. Having a personalized base creates a sense of personal attachment which I think many players would enjoy. This also presents a fun opportunity to have a BBEG stroll in and do some serious damage, making things personal. He attacked something they had a personal stake in creating, allowing for some good drama.

Of course no matter how this mechanic is implemented it will make for a very rigid and numbers-driven approach to base building. Not every group may take to this mechanic-heavy style of play.

ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
It reads like an RTS

It reads like an RTS instruction manual. I also don't like that it uses words like "can't" a lot - saying you can't construct a building that requires morphs without any morphs...

Why not? What, exactly is stopping me from putting the construction order in the queue and having the construction trucks go out and put that building up? Must I construct additional pylons before the AI will let me? And if so, wouldn't it be simpler for me to reprogram the AI?

And what's to stop me from starting construction of a building when I have insufficient labor? As long as I have at least somebody on it, progress should be made, at least slowly, right? And the more people you can throw at a manual project (like construction,) the faster it gets done, at least until the point where they're in each other's way.....

Still, I'm not opposed to the idea of a more formalized document on the topic of building your own habitat/base... Actually, that'd be a fairly nice EP sourcebook, just one all about habitats and construction and stuff. Wouldn't really fit with the setting assumption that everybody's a Firewall Sentinel, though.

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TITAN TITAN's picture
This was an attempt at

This was an attempt at formalizing some gameplay rules. To keep things clear I decided to rigidly outline what was and wasn't possible. Therefore there is a lot of emphasis on what isn't possible as well as on what is. Not all of your construction rules were taken into consideration while writing the document; special units such as your construction trucks have not yet been worked into a functional mechanic and might be exempt from some of the building rules.

I suppose it does read like a manual to an RTS, which is mainly due to the fact that these are only mechanics rules for formalizing base building. There's little to no fluff, and the fluff there is came mostly from your text. That, and it's heavily influenced by pre-existing RTS rules. Perhaps it's a little too dry and too complicated to easily integrate into EP.

I started by formalizing a number of resources needed to construct buildings and settled on labor as one of them. I also decided that, in order to keep things simple, you could not construct buildings if you did not possess the required resources. Worker bots can only work on one project at a time, so they while you could potentially "que" up buildings and have them finish one by one this would just come down to another list for the GM to keep.

Morph requirements are an operational requirement rather than a build requirement. So you can build the structure without the requirement; but you will need to supply those morphs in order to staff the facility and get it operational.

Rallan Rallan's picture
ShadowDragon8685 wrote:I

ShadowDragon8685 wrote:
I wouldn't send it out completely without weapons, even if I was going more optimistic/peaceful than that. At the very least, I'd send it out with blueprints for small arms.

You'll probably want the blueprints for something a bit beefier than small arms. The biggest threat to Gatecrasher settlements is other humans, and if other humans want to trash your joint they'll be loaded for bear.

ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
Rallan wrote:ShadowDragon8685

Rallan wrote:
ShadowDragon8685 wrote:
I wouldn't send it out completely without weapons, even if I was going more optimistic/peaceful than that. At the very least, I'd send it out with blueprints for small arms.

You'll probably want the blueprints for something a bit beefier than small arms. The biggest threat to Gatecrasher settlements is other humans, and if other humans want to trash your joint they'll be loaded for bear.

That's why in my version, the thing came loaded for bear with open-source blueprints for everything from stunners to heavy combat morphs and fixed-position emplaced artillery guns, the kind that can accelerate enough mass to wreck a column of power-armored infantry and the hostile gate facility they're marching through if you fire it through the near-side of the gate.

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thezombiekat thezombiekat's picture
given the limited control of

given the limited control of connectivity between gates the chance of any body arriving at your base from anywhere other than where you came from is low. i could easily see a group that wants to give up conflict taking absolutely no weapons with them.

that said my vision of the SCV lacking weapons was more related to it being intended to just build a base and manufacturing capability. and by default only containing plans for buildings of various purposes, mining, survey, communications equipment, ubiquitous technological items, (ectos spimes), and a handful of morph designs. it would be recommended that the user consider there mission parameters and ensure that they have any other plans they require such as larger aircraft, spacecraft, specialized morphs or weapons.

this narrows the focus of the project a little but makes it practical for the team designing the SCV to actually test (at least in simulation) every schematic they include rather than include a huge library of schematics that fall outside of there expertise and they have not ensured are ft for purpose.

ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
thezombiekat wrote:given the

thezombiekat wrote:
given the limited control of connectivity between gates the chance of any body arriving at your base from anywhere other than where you came from is low. i could easily see a group that wants to give up conflict taking absolutely no weapons with them.

You're kidding me, right? SOP if you lose contact with a far-side gate for more than a day is to call all the other gates (except the Discord gate because fuck Go-Nin and the Ultimates, you don't want them trying to connect to your stuff,) and see if they can connect, either from pre-existing numbers of by giving them y our library codes and hoping their gate somehow works out where you want to dial to - which has happened.

And there's lots of stories of folks heading out into the gate network and coming across signs of transhuman passage, or even finding exosolar gates that lead to known exosolar gates that started from a different gate than the one you went through.

Frankly, the chances of anywhere you are in the network being reachable from any of the other gates in Sol are statistically significant even on a one-gate basis - IE, that one of those other gates can connect directly. Add in the gate network and multiple hops, and they start to get above 50%.

So, sure, a "group that wanted to leave conflict behind them" might deliberately strip out the weapon blueprints. You know what I'd call them? Exhuman fodder. Or pushovers when some hypercorp discovers they're dialing into a planet where some idiot already set up a very nice base and they have literally no weapons with which to prevent said hypercorp from shoving through a dozen mercenaries and taking over at gunpoint. Or worse, maybe they'll come across some other species roaming the gate network.

So, yeah. They could do that. But that's stupid.

Quote:
That said my vision of the SCV lacking weapons was more related to it being intended to just build a base and manufacturing capability. And by default only containing plans for buildings of various purposes, mining, survey, communications equipment, ubiquitous technological items, (ectos spimes), and a handful of morph designs. It would be recommended that the user consider there mission parameters and ensure that they have any other plans they require such as larger aircraft, spacecraft, specialized morphs or weapons.

Why would you put a gun on the SCV itself? That's what the escorting GEVs/Crasher Trucks/Go-Cycles are for. The SCV is designed to find a place to park for the last time and turn into the construction yard.

But sending blueprints to make guns with it? Oh yeah, there's no reason not to. Remember, data storage is cheap, and you never know what you're gonna find out there.

Quote:
This narrows the focus of the project a little but makes it practical for the team designing the SCV to actually test (at least in simulation) every schematic they include rather than include a huge library of schematics that fall outside of there expertise and they have not ensured are fit for purpose.

Do you understand the words open-source? You take all the open-source blueprints you can get with you, everything from the things the team of geniuses who designed the SCV say are sure will work in a given set of environmental circumstances, to the blueprints for an open-source aquanaut morph, to the leaked blueprints for a Fafnir heavy combat morph. Do you understand that this kind of preparedness costs nothing - that's what open source means! It means data that's free for use, provided as-is.

Frankly, intentionally not taking along blueprints you can get your hands on is stupid. Because you never know when you're going to need that blueprint - you may never need it. But having a huge menu of blueprints you never use is so much, much more preferable to suddenly finding yourself in need of, say, blueprints for a harpoon gun and not having them because you decided it was outside the parameters of your intended destination.

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Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Not to mention the risk of a

Not to mention the risk of a dissident bring along his own gun drone blueprints and then fabbing a bunch of them so he finally gets to be Great Leader.

ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
Smokeskin wrote:Not to

Smokeskin wrote:
Not to mention the risk of a dissident bring along his own gun drone blueprints and then fabbing a bunch of them so he finally gets to be Great Leader.

That too. There's a reason the books illustrate that anarchist habs are well-armed habs. It's not because everybody is huddled up in his own tiny compartment hoarding guns and paranoidally afraid of his neighbors.

It's because all it takes is one guy going off the deep end and establishing a total monopoly on violence to establish a dictatorship. In an era of AI-driven attack drones, this guy doesn't even need to win a revolution or form a cult of personality or recruit a class of loyal warriors to do his oppressing for him on the promise that they'll be the ones doing the oppressing, not the ones being oppressed, to do that.

In traditional polities, this was - and is, in the PC and other sunward places - prevented by granting a monopoly on violence to a governmental organ and trusting it not to oppress, or at least accepting its level of oppression over that of the kind of guy who wants total individual power. On Titan, there is no total monopoly on violence, although the Titanian authorities, in sum total, possess a plurality of it. In Anarchist habs, the violence is crowd-sourced; if you get it into your head to become El Presidente, you have to deal with the fact that everybody and his grandmother is armed to the teeth and will not put up with that shit. (And his grandmother is sleeved in a Reaper, with a custom cookie-baking attachment. She will fry your ass with plasma, and then use the waste heat coming off your corpse to bake celebratory cookies for everybody. Seriously, don't fuck with her. She's scary.)

On an exosolar habitat, the violence is whatever you brought with you. If you're part of a PC-funded organization, the violence monopoly is probably vested in their company legbreakers, and you didn't get a choice in that. If it's an anarchist habitat, the violence is whatever you brought with you.

If you go full peace-and-love, we've-left-violence-behind and take literally no weapons or means to create weapons with you, then you are demonstrating a complete and total breakdown of practical sense, as you leave yourself completely at the mercy of anything that wanders by and has so much as a sidearm with them.* It could be exhuman or PC or Ultimates claimjumpers deciding that they have the right to take your stuff by virtue of superior firepower. It could be aliens who don't know what you are and are afraid of you, or who decide to learn about humanity by shooting the isolated members they found, grabbing all of your data cores and legging it back into the gate network. It could be local wildlife deciding it wants to chew your eyeballs out.

So, sure. There might be some idiots who do that - head off into the gate network with no weapons and having erased all the weapon blueprints from their nanofabrications archives. Their fate will serve as a cautionary tale to others.

I think it's worth pointing out that Eclipse Phase is a setting where bare, naked conflict-for-gain is back in vogue, even by the supposedly civilized powers. The PC slaughtered a whole tribe of suffi nomads to claim their Pandora gate. Go-Nin and their Ultimate mercs straight-up attacked and seized the Discord gate from the scientists and anarchists who found it. The PC has shamelessly attacked and seized exosolar outposts established by other entities in the past. Eclipse Phase is a wild existence, where people will attack you to take what you have, solely because they can do it and get away with it. The only people in Eclipse Phase who can actually survive by being pacifists are those whom others are ready to do violence on their behalf should it become necessary to do so.

*Well... Okay, maybe not, if a single guy shows up with a pistol and tries to take over, if nothing else, you can run him down with a construction truck. But still, that's piss-poor planning, if reasonable improvisation, on your part.

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Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
"Democracy is two wolves and

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what's for dinner. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." - Benjamin Franklin

I don't see EP as more oppressive or more ruled by violence than today. The main difference is that in EP, the power balance was recently disrupted and things haven't settled into an equilibrium yet, so a lot of the conflict is out in the open and ongoing. In today's world, most of us live in well established power structures and don't even notice the boot of the violence monopoly they're living under any more. We pay around 50% income tax here (after deductions, marginal tax is higher of course). If you thought that 45% was fair (hah!) and only paid that, men with guns would kidnap you for years, or kill you if you defended yourself. The lambs aren't well-armed today, but in EP they're trying to make a stand.

thezombiekat thezombiekat's picture
first Go-nin did not take

first Go-nin did not take discord gate from the anarchist scientists that found it. ex-humans did that. then Go-nin took the gate from the ex-humans.

i will accept that sensible people wont go out unarmed. and wont take a SCV without also taking weapon plans. i probably should not have raised the issue that people might as it is really a peripheral cause.

but the SCV itself is a remarkable design accomplishment, clearly the work of exceptionally rigorous design and testing. its core function of building a base uses hundreds of blueprints for vehicles, drones buildings and machinery that benefit from the rigorous quality standards of the SCV team. even those elements the team lifted from open source plans where by necessity evaluated for function in a wide range of environments carefully before the developing base was allowed to rely on them. any plans included in the standard package will be expected to be equally reliable.

by including a large library of open source plans you have not evaluated carefully you risk creating unrealistic expectations about there function based on there association with your exceptional quality work. and in time the reputation of the SCV could be adversely effected when the included plans fail to function as well as the rest of the package. an issue made worse by the extremely conservative on board AI and the moderately optimistic descriptions you expect to find on open source software.

for this reason i would expect the SCV as delivered to include only plans directly related to the construction of a base including buildings, furnishings, construction equipment. ubiquitous common use items such as ectos, flashlights, batteries. specialist equipment that every colony should have (medical facilities, re-sleaving facilities, transport vehicles and since this is an arganort project scientific laboratories). but for each of these functions only a few choices because the included plans have to measure up to the same exacting standards as the SCV itself and you cant practically evaluate and refine all the open source planes on the mesh.

so users will be encouraged to do there own locating and evaluation of other plans they will likely need. or to just take the separate project file "planes for everything" 'a collation of open source blue prints from around the mesh with ratings and comments from users' that creates no expectation of quality because it has no core function that was executed with such extreme competence.

on reflection there was another reason i was reluctant to include /all/ the blueprints. and for the same reason the exceptionally complete sole archive. part of the adventure of operating outside the solar system is that you are cut of. reliant on your planing and what you remembered to bring with you. if you have /all/ the blueprints (or even just the majority of open source blueprints) you are no longer limited by your isolation from the solar system any more than on a small habitat within the solar system.

ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
thezombiekat wrote:First Go

thezombiekat wrote:
First Go-nin did not take discord gate from the anarchist scientists that found it. Ex-humans did that. Then Go-nin took the gate from the ex-humans.

Please bone up on Eclipse Phase before you actually call someone else out on a factual error:

Eclipse Phase, Page 109 wrote:

The brief history of the gate is bloody. Go-nin Group troops violently wrested control of the gate from the Ilmarinen anarchists who discovered it. Titan and several anarchist and brinker groups both tried
to dislodge Go-nin, but these attempts failed, at great cost in lives and ships.

The Exhumans attacked in the span of time it took between Go-Nin blowing up the gate themselves and Go-Nin hiring the Ultimates to retake it for them. The hypercorps damn well will seize whatever they please from whomever has it if they can get away with it, and that's in Sol itself where the event was assuredly broadcast loudly and angrily. Exosolar? They'll roll in an armor column if they think the site you have is worth it - all the more reason to be heavily-armed.

Quote:
I will accept that sensible people wont go out unarmed. and wont take a SCV without also taking weapon plans. I probably should not have raised the issue that people might as it is really a peripheral cause.

"Space. The Final Frontier." You know what characterizes frontier life? Lawlessness, or at least law by the closest power who has the most guns. For every humble group of peaceful explorers who would gladly open their airlocks to a gatecrasher in need there's at least one hypercorp, one group of exhumans, one group of roving exsurgents, and one group of plain assholes who would gladly reward them for their hospitality by shooting them and taking what is theirs for their own.

Quote:
But the SCV itself is a remarkable design accomplishment, clearly the work of exceptionally rigorous design and testing. Its core function of building a base uses hundreds of blueprints for vehicles, drones buildings and machinery that benefit from the rigorous quality standards of the SCV team. Even those elements the team lifted from open source plans where by necessity evaluated for function in a wide range of environments carefully before the developing base was allowed to rely on them. Any plans included in the standard package will be expected to be equally reliable.

By whom? A simple red "We didn't make and haven't tested this blueprint, use your own fucking brain in deploying it" disclaimer on anything the team of scientists who made the SCV is all that's needed. And even then, the disclaimer isn't going to be for legal reasons, just to make the user aware of that fact.

Quote:
By including a large library of open source plans you have not evaluated carefully you risk creating unrealistic expectations about there function based on there association with your exceptional quality work. And in time the reputation of the SCV could be adversely effected when the included plans fail to function as well as the rest of the package. An issue made worse by the extremely conservative on board AI and the moderately optimistic descriptions you expect to find on open source software.

"Unrealistic expectations," "included plans," blah blah blah, law-speak, law-speak. You know who isn't worried about getting sued? Argonauts who include open-source blueprints in something designed to go to strange says.

And you know what else they can do? Select for designs that have been tested by others with good reputations, even if they aren't them. "The SCV team has not tested this blueprint for a mass driver artillery piece, but go ahead and check out the @-Rep/r-Rep/u-Rep/x-Rep of those who have included testimonials and those who actually did design it."

Frankly, when you're evaluating a weapon system, I'd expect an Ultimate merc to give a highly-critical review, so if it passes Ultimate muster, it's probably good hardware, and checking the x-Rep of those who have field experience with it in exosolar conditions will likely get you good data, too. And if it was engineered by someone with a good r-Rep, chances are the designer wasn't just some asshole playing around with the blueprints until he lucked upon a combination that managed to accelerate a chunk of metal fast enough to be called a weapon.

Quote:
For this reason i would expect the SCV as delivered to include only plans directly related to the construction of a base including buildings, furnishings, construction equipment. Ubiquitous common use items such as ectos, flashlights, batteries. Specialist equipment that every colony should have (medical facilities, resleeving facilities, transport vehicles and since this is an Argonaut project scientific laboratories). But for each of these functions only a few choices because the included plans have to measure up to the same exacting standards as the SCV itself and you cant practically evaluate and refine all the open source planes on the mesh.

The beauty of using open-source designs is that you don't have to be the one evaluating it, and the beauty of a free-wheeling, Rimward society is that the legal department isn't shutting down your desire to include things you haven't personally tested for fear of lawsuits. So, no, they aren't going to only include "Things that have been designed, tested, and evaluated by us," they're going to include things which have good provenance and things which might be useful or life-saving in a pinch, even if it might be of questionable provenance - though of course, such things will have a "we haven't tested this" disclaimer, probably with a "But we have tested [similar item], would that be helpful to you instead?" addendum as applicable.

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So users will be encouraged to do there own locating and evaluation of other plans they will likely need. Or to just take the separate project file "planes for everything" 'a collation of open source blue prints from around the mesh with ratings and comments from users' that creates no expectation of quality because it has no core function that was executed with such extreme competence.

Again, lawspeak, lawspeak, lawspeak. The lawyers are dead and gone. At least, insofar as the people expected to use an SCV, and when you're giving something to gatecrashers that you bill as the ultimate in one-stop shop for everything a gatecrasher could need. The idea being that you could roll an SCV into the gate room, hand it to a group of experienced gatecrashers who have all resleeved from backup with nothing but smart vacsuits, shuttle them to a nice resource-rich and safe location, and they'll be all right.

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On reflection there was another reason I was reluctant to include /all/ the blueprints. And for the same reason the exceptionally complete Solarchive. Part of the adventure of operating outside the solar system is that you are cut off. Reliant on your planing and what you remembered to bring with you. If you have /all/ the blueprints (or even just the majority of open source blueprints) you are no longer limited by your isolation from the solar system any more than on a small habitat within the solar system.

That's kind of the point. Objecting to those things is objecting to the entire premise of the SCV. The whole idea is that you can hand it to a group who say they're going gatehopping and if they wind up back in Sol it's entirely by accident, and they can go off and create multiple colonies if they are of a mind to do so. The idea is that if you find a nice, resource-rich place, you can shove an SCV or two or three through and a pile of transhumans they can set up and start construction without needing any further input or contact with Sol.

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thezombiekat thezombiekat's picture
ShadowDragon8685 wrote

ShadowDragon8685 wrote:
thezombiekat wrote:
First Go-nin did not take discord gate from the anarchist scientists that found it. Ex-humans did that. Then Go-nin took the gate from the ex-humans.

Please bone up on Eclipse Phase before you actually call someone else out on a factual error:

Eclipse Phase, Page 109 wrote:

The brief history of the gate is bloody. Go-nin Group troops violently wrested control of the gate from the Ilmarinen anarchists who discovered it. Titan and several anarchist and brinker groups both tried
to dislodge Go-nin, but these attempts failed, at great cost in lives and ships.

The Exhumans attacked in the span of time it took between Go-Nin blowing up the gate themselves and Go-Nin hiring the Ultimates to retake it for them. The hypercorps damn well will seize whatever they please from whomever has it if they can get away with it, and that's in Sol itself where the event was assuredly broadcast loudly and angrily. Exosolar? They'll roll in an armor column if they think the site you have is worth it - all the more reason to be heavily-armed.


interesting gate crashing p65 gives a different impression. guess we have another inconsistency in the game. well EP is still better than most in that regard.

as to all the stuff about law speak. i wasn't remotely worried about lawyers. if an angry user killed by an inappropriate use of an included open source blueprint goes to a lawyer then the warning he clicked past without reading means something. if the angry re-instanced user starts saying how my designs killed him my rep goes down and there isn't much i can do about it.

a lack of law means it is more important to not be perceived as a screw up because you cant just go to a court and prove it wasn't your fault.

ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
thezombiekat wrote:As to all

thezombiekat wrote:
As to all the stuff about law speak. I wasn't remotely worried about lawyers. If an angry user killed by an inappropriate use of an included open source blueprint goes to a lawyer then the warning he clicked past without reading means something. If the angry re-instanced user starts saying how my designs killed him my rep goes down and there isn't much I can do about it.

I think you misunderstand how reputation networks work.

Angry Idiot who used something inappropriately or which was labeled as "Not our stuff, included because it might be of some use to someone somewhere and somewhen, use at your own risk," and got killed because of it dies. Angry Idiot reinstances, because someone who did, in fact, know WTF they were doing recovered his stack.

Angry Idiot is capable of anonymously pinging your rep. That's all he can do - anonymously ping you. You won't even feel that, that's like 0.0001 of a rep point. If he posts an angry user review, however, his ping has more impact - maybe as much as 1 point - but other people can see it.

The other people then compare your rep score - and since you're an Argonaut who made the SCV, your r-Rep and x-Rep are both legendary - and compare the rep score of Angry Idiot, who, since he's an inept Gatecrasher who got himself killed with literally the finest gatecrashing tool known to transhumanity at his corner and decided to blame the toolmaker instead of himself or chance - and they proceed to deluge his rep score with angry dings for being an Angry Idiot, and bump your rep score again because they've just been reminded that the SCV exists. So that's your x-Rep covered, and Angry Idiot's own rep takes a nosedive for trying to get the general gatecrashing public angry at you over something stupid he did. Your r-Rep is also covered because Angry Idiot almost certainly doesn't have any standing whatsoever to ping or ding on RNA, especially as this is not related to research whatsoever.

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A lack of law means it is more important to not be perceived as a screw up because you cant just go to a court and prove it wasn't your fault.

Who's the screw-up here? The guy who invented the SCV and then added in a huge library of open-source blueprints along with the supporting data and testimonials of those who have used them and the disclaimer that you personally have not put it through any rigorous testing? Or the guy who chose a blueprint seemingly at random, hilariously misused it, and got himself killed, then tried to blame the guy who gave him free stuff? The guy who gave him all the tools he could possibly have needed.

Hint: It's not the guy who made the SCV whose rep takes a bath.

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thezombiekat thezombiekat's picture
your scenario certainly

your scenario certainly sounds nicer than mine. it dose however require one of 2 assumptions that the internet has shown to be untrue.

angry idiot is unlikely to state in his post "i used one of the unverified open source plans the SCV came loaded with and it go me killed. the SCV team is #$%^"

angry idiot is far more likely to say "i used SCV plans and it go me killed. the SCV team is #$%^". he may then go on to quote bad instructions from the open source plan in question and attribute them to the SCV team. he believes what he said because he clicked past the warnings without reading them.

so in order to realize that it was angry idiots own silly fault the reader of angry idiots post will have to do some actual research into what was built and who claimed what about it. people online are, taken as a large group, a reactionary lot who like to get behind a hard luck story and correct a perceived injustice. they also don't like doing work and fact checking is work.

it has happened many times in resent history that a single incorrect (or satirical) comment or story on a small time blog has been noticed, repeated and blown out of all proportion in more reputable publications resulting in many thousands of people believing something is worse than it is and leaving negative comments on social media. in most (but not all) cases this has had only short term economic effects because in the real world social media is non persistent (the comments still exist but almost nobody reads them or aggregates them into a rep score) in EP the effect of that brief storm of controversy is a permanent drop in your rep score that will remain even after the truth comes out because the truth is fare less sensational. those that hear about it will mostly retract there ding, but they wont be nearly as likely to spread the word effectively. so most that simply expressed there outrage and then forgot about it will never learn that there outrage was unfounded.

this is why when releasing something on the mesh you want to be careful not to associate it with something you don't control. when it comes to the rep impact of screwing up it is the perceived screw up that looses rep, the apparently successful loose more than the nobodies and the truth wont come close to correcting the damage done by a sensational falsehood.

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
I don't think the team that

I don't think the team that made the SCV would include a complete library of other people's stuff. I do think that an expedition using an SCV would themselves find and bring an extensive library of other people's stuff.

ORCACommander ORCACommander's picture
I really like this Idea as a

I really like this Idea as a old school rts fan and the fact it sounds very similar to something i keep an eye on:

http://opensourceecology.org/gvcs.php

http://opensourceecology.org/wiki/Global_Village_Construction_Set

As for the whole weapons Debate: Shut up about it. Dear god just DM your own game of it and make list of things that for what ever deus ex machina you want they can't get a hold of. The out gate coming under attack and forced evacuation before preparations are complete is the first of dozens one could think of.

Shrekgrinch Shrekgrinch's picture
This is very good!

Thanks, I liked this a lot. Could be used by science fiction authors, actually.

Xagroth Xagroth's picture
I think it is simpler and

I think it is simpler and more cost-effective in Gate time to grab a Solarchive, a nanohive, feedstock and energy batteries and be liberal with the little bugger's use...

Assuming tons of CHON, pods with exotic limbs able to do most things would be the go-to macro laborers, while most of the non-critical buildings will be made out of wood or rock, and depending on the amount of digging, possibly underground.

At the beginning, the metals found would go to production, be it in energy, pods, or other useful stuff (surveying equipment, probes, interface stuff...) a so on.

I also played the old-school Command and Conquer, but I'd say that the RTS you are thinking about is more Total Annihilation, or its spiritual successor Supreme Commander... and the more like what you talk about would be Minecraft XD