Scientific Assumptions and Mechanics Rewrite

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Scientific Assumptions and Mechanics Rewrite

Postby Locke Tannen » Fri Jun 16, 2017 12:02 pm

Hey guys: I have been working on my own theoretical mechanical devices that work within the game world for a long time, and this has given me a little bit of experience in the kinds of things that would be needed in a mechanical system to make it balanced/controllable and have a logical/reasonable progression without tying people using the system behind a dynamic where they don't have any reasonable assumptions to work of when building stuff.

The things you guys did for alchemy are perfect. I can’t tell you how much this entire system is perfectly built to give players attainable assumptions that give them a basis for further experimentation and research that still gives the player agency to do what they want with the system in a way that isn't just “i ask staff to give me a potion and have x amount of skill”. It allows us to do creative science that makes our ingenuity matter and well... makes us feel like scientists.

This is possible because in alchemy there are different alchemical and magical interactions that need to be tested and discovered to affect the desired result or outcome. It’s only possible though, because the assumptions we have through research we can RELY on. Without having reliable assumptions, it's impossible to innovate based on those assumptions.

Mechanics, however, is a very different beast. It isn't like alchemy at all, because all the assumptions that drive the development of mechanical science and engineering are conceptual. There are basic assumptions made about different forces interacting with each other and how they work, which allows greater and more complicated innovation to exploit the ways those forces work.

An understanding of potential energy/mechanical energy, for example is all that is needed to make pretty much any kind of machine, as long as you have a power source that can create energy and a way to translate that energy into a useful form, be it mechanical, thermal, chemical or magnetic.

This is why I think that if you want to create a mechanical system that works in a way that gives players workable assumptions, I think it would be useful to have discoverable concepts the same way alchemy has discoverable properties.

Thermodynamics, mechanical energy conversion, magnetism, etc... these kind of basic physics concepts are really the only discoverable properties I feel can be barred behind research without making the system needlessly gated.

Since all mechanics and engineering rely on the basic laws of physics, it's really hard to know what kinds of IG assumptions we can rely on. Does my character know how heated water makes steam? Does he know that mechanical energy can be transferred from physical work? What laws of physics are generally known by someone with given mechanical skill that can drive their innovation process? Without the basic laws of physics being understood no mechanical assumptions can be made, and the system becomes difficult to navigate. I just wanted to express these points from a player perspective as someone who is really excited about being able to innovate IG and wants that innovation to make sense within the game world without working from necessary OOG assumptions on how physics work.

Any clarification on how scientific assumptions ought to work in the world of terres rising would be helpful to clarify.
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Locke Tannen
 
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