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re: Rought Outline of Arche's Megaman story video on youtube

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Dunno if there is an ongoing discussion going in regards to the topics touched upon in that video, but I didn't see here, so maybe we should start one?

I have some questions for Arch himself and just some idle musings to share with you.

XXX

But first, I'd like to relay huge kudos to Arche (or should I start calling you Lorerunner now?). The part about how WWII's consequences for US could be used as a simple but elegant solution to a number of questions and as a base for characters' outlook and motivations is nothing short of awesome, IMHO.

Not to say there are no other great things to be had in the story idea you outline there, but one thing at a time.

XXX

Namely, with that premise established, there is both a believable in-universe lead-in for the people in this setting to both have developed the infrastructure and technology base required for mass-scale production of robots designed to tackle a wide variety of tasks of wildly different nature (thus both the huge variety of the simple utilitarian bots hijacked to kill everything we see in the games and numerous attempts at a humanoid form, IMHO)

and

a clear, concise and readily understandable for the reader commonly shared motivation to build more of these and strive to improve them.

From what I've seen of games, movies, books, etc, this kind of simple but steady foundation is... usually lacking.

'Who cares, there are killer robots that shoot lazorz and stuff, why sweat the details, man,' one could say. And... there is not much I could answer to that, especially since I find myself thinking something along the same lines at times.

I do think that at least minimally developed foundation of such basics can only benefit all other elements though. For any Jump'nShoot-iness to happen, there's gotta be a conflict, right? Some kind of confilct of interests, or some motive for someone to dick somebody over of a purely personal, emotional nature, etc, etc.

Doesn't having solid ground below one's feet, so to speak, make it much easier to work on characters, setting, story and the various way they interact with each other instead of starting off in a complete vacuum?

I don't have enough wits and knowledge base to do such things anywhere near the level Arch does, but I certainly enjoy seeing the results of this kind of work. Very Happy

XXX

Closer to the actual topic, it is not difficult to imagine some pressing reasons for the humans of the setting to try to develop androids.

Spoiler:
I don't think I need to list all the various applications for non-humanoid forms they could make use of in such circumstances.

Imagine, for example, that you need to dig up a bombed out city block if only just to clear out the rabble and dump it somewhere else. There are no trained monkeys / rats / whatever to check if there is any unexploded munitions or gas leak build ups ready to blow or breached live wires lying in wait to elctrocute somebody to death, etc, etc on hand because of the prolonged total war that just happened.

(Hell, maybe the monkey species suitable for the job don't exist anymore!)

What you do have however, is a bunch of resources and production capability to make lots and lots of disposable specialist robots to do the job for you without needless risk to human lives (which are, now that humanity got itself perilously close to extinction, suddenly valuable again).

Arche probably has it all covered, but just to help myself get my thoughts in order I'll list the vectors via witch humanity could conceivably arrive at mass-produced androids that immediately jump out at me anyways:

- Medical research.

Spoiler:
Things like prosthetic limbs and synthetic organs as short-term demands aimed at prolonging the population's lifespan and work capacity from the physical side and research into human nervous system and psyche to help alleviate the worst consequences of the extremely widespread PTSD?

If 20XX society could make enough headway on these, couldn't the fruits of this research segue into creation of androids, AI and AI housed in androids?

Long-term consequences of all those ecosystems going down the drain? Good old and exciting new deseases eager to have a go at humanity after the huge and prolonged lapse of medical care? These are perhaps more relevant to next point.

- Proxy bodies.

Spoiler:
Closely related to the above in a number of ways, but still kind of different.

The world is bombed out, choked with tons upon tons of rubble, dust, toxic chemicals and maybe other such fun things as harmful radiation, biological weaponry, etc, etc. Someone needs to get out and get a lot of stuff done, and quick.

Most things that can't be hoisted off on autonomous bots will probably be handled by either robots on remote control or people in fully sealed enviromental suits (which may or may not require to be worn with the help of a powered exoskeleton).

But there are still tasks that, ideally, are better handled by something else than a remote-controlled sapper robot capable of transmitting human voice.

Emergency rescue and medical assistance would be improved if the one working directly with the patient could come off as (at least) a human in full chemical protection via their body language and mannerisms.

Law enforcement could benefit from a human-looking unit capable of both projecting a calm disarming demeanor with its face expressions as well as all of the above and reacting swiftly and decisively without hesitation on account of potential loss of limb and life in case attempts at de-escalation did not succeed even in environments that don't require an isolated air supply.

Preferably, also capable of more or less reliable less-than-lethal takedown and subjugation of human targets at both melee and at range.

It would be even better if any hints of stress, anxiousness and bias towards specific gender, ethnicity, religion, social status, etc, etc on operator's part could be detected and filtered out before they reach the unit in the field.

Better yet, minimizing human factor by removing the human operator with its quickly and wildly wavering health and emotional states out of the chain would be perfect. Now if only those eggheads could crack how those leaps of intuition of experienced operatives worked...

XXX

Seems kind of shaky now that I typed it out, but it kind of could serve as both the basis of both the motivation and know-how in-universe, maybe.

XXX

So, actual questions:

1). In Megaman 1 all the robot masters are, if I undertsand it correctly, hijacked non-combat models wrecking havoc with whatever they have at their disposal (including the vast amounts of worker bots that are controlled by them directly) and Rock himself is hastily refitted into a combat role as well.

(Although the total success of this venture in such apparently short time makes me wonder if Light had the procedure ready for some time by that point just in case even in the canon version. Talk about properly paranoid.)

I'm less sure of what to say on all other installments without resorting to the 'that's just the art style they went with' explanation though.

I wouldn't call most of Wily's robot masters human-like, but that's still much more humanoid than I think he would need.

(I somehow doubt he saw much need for all the deliberately humanizing features law enforcement and military peacekeeper models would likely be designed with; feel free to correct me if I'm worng though.)

So... Wily branched off of what he was familiar with and what already existing stockpiles and production lines could provide him with?

Infiltration? His robots being able to come off as a much more benign and much less Wily creation that they actually were until it was too late?

What about Rock? If he was so precious to Light (in canon and at least in the beginning, for the purposes of your story), why didn't he get some kind of spider-mecha/tankette combat body, tachikoma-style, to use for these extremely hazardous missions and get transferred out of back to his old one once they were over?

Was the transfer procedure too long either by itself or required adaptation time for Rock to get used to the new body to use in an emergency?

Is there some kind of hardware architecture limitation that precludes transferring Rock's AI outside of his original body safely?

2). In case of X and Zero, how would you choose to have their supposed superiority in combat shown in the narrative and/or gameplay mechanics if you were to write a story or quest?

In the MMX (and maybe MMZ) games (IMHO, at least), Zero comes across as something of a powerhouse, if kind of limited in his arsenal and prone to, arguably, suicidal tactics. Not that he necessarily needs anything else though; he comes with increased health, dash, double power shot already equipped and operational, with his nifty sabre as a bonus, if I remember the cutscenes and playable sections from MMX 1-3 right.

X, in player's hands, can kick no less booty, but still needs some parts from Light's capsules and some health upgrades before he can bring his game on the level and start his boss-ripping rampage in earnest.

Both of them, however, have enough durability, mobility and firepower advantage on enemy mooks to utterly annihilate them en masse. And can rip out their energy sources to replenish their own tanks.

Spoiler:
Which, I assume, power some kind reactive armor against direct energy weaponry; that headcanon doesn't work against, say, enemy flamethrowers, but that's the best I could think of besides 'emergency repair nanobots' stockpile'.

EDIT:
Just looked up MMX 1 intro sequence on youtube, and there is a canon mention of 'reactive armor' in there. I have absolutely no idea about what it could be doing in the endoskeleton part of the body, however.

Ah, well if I've already started talking about a reactive armor system designed to stop direct energy weapon blasts, I don't think I can complain. Very Happy

And, if given a good enough player, do the same with bosses.

Why? How?

When it comes to mooks, said mooks being either non-combat robots in the first place or being, supposedly, really mass-produced, coupled with, from what I can understand, a yet another world-wide collapse of some kind that happened while X and Zero laid inactive in their respective coffins, it is not too much of a stretch to have them annihilate hordes and hordes of said mooks.

(I imagine the power balance against mooks as something like shooting a WWII era tank with a modern anti-tank weaponry - no chance of surviving a direct hit).

But what about bosses? Both Zero and X, if the gameplay is to be adhered to, can read enemy attack patterns, are quick enough and powerful enough to make use of it and can eat a hit (or ten) if they don't manage to dodge.

I think that all 21XX era reploids being based off what Dr. Cain could glean from X's architecture could be extrapolated into them being inferior when it comes to, say quickly devising a solution for a problem they were never faced with before. I'm not so sure about everything else though.

How would you handle this?

Perhaps more importantly, how you would choose to express differences in approach between Wily and Light to making the bestest combat android they could beyond 'X can rip out bosses' weaponry and integrate it into himself, Zero's got some Maverick virus shoved into him instead'?

If Wily wanted Zero to kill everything, does Zero even has to have a face?

Or, if his mission is to spread the Maverick virus as widely as possible, why Zero has to be a combat powerhouse? Wouldn't making him an infiltrator, capable of blending in amongst the human populace make more sense?

I am now imagining Zero being a colony of nanomachines with abilities akin to that of T-1000. That's kind of terrifying.

EDIT: there is at least one recurring enemy mini-boss in canon that fits that idea already (which I forgot about), but it doesn't seem to have anything with the plot in any way, from what I've seen.

XXX

Ugh, that's one half-formed mess (and a typo in the thread title Sad). Still, wanted to share it with you folks.

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So I hope this actually answers said questions since said questions were... difficult to decipher, but here goes.

1: Rock's very capacity for adaptability was not based in software, per say, any more than ours is. By which I mean, while it is theoretically possible for all the knowledge and intellect of the human brain to enter another form, we have literally not even the beginnings of understanding of how to do so. Ergo we require our actual brain to be what we are. So if Rock were human, the options would be outfitting him with lots of tools, or transplanting his brain into a cyber body. The former relies on infiltration, cunning, and intelligent use of tools which the human mind is uniquely suited towards. The latter is loud, expensive, vulnerable to individual attack, difficult to accomplish, and also never done before, leaving its viability in question. Given the time frame, Light (and yes he had a backup plan in mind, this man lived through WWIII after all) decided that a singular Hunter (a concept the story goes over many times) would be far more effective at repulsing an army than a form of mass force. Or to put this another way, I've talked before about two types of applied power; grand and personal. To use comics to explain, Nightcrawler has no grand power at all, if you sent him to destroy a city he can't just wipe away swaths of it. But he is very good at personal power, and could take down an individual (quietly, too) much easier. Thus Light's thinking here is twofold; someone with the skills of a Hunter would be more personally powerful and as such more likely to succeed at the raw overwhelming power that Wily's army represents, by never engaging more than a bit of it at a time, and two; the skills of a Hunter have a higher chance of ensuring minimal collateral damage.

2: My reasoning behind X and Zero being way beyond everyone else boils down to two elements. First, their minds, and second, their bodys' adaptability. Both are a result of the brilliant minds that made both, and a recurring theme in my narrative of the Megaman series is that no one has ever, ever, been better at this than Light and Wily, and every brilliant scientist after them is standing in their shadow. (This also appeals to my long standing enjoyment of the 'gets weaker as time goes on' style of storytelling I've talked about many times). So both individuals literally think quicker and can use their tools in the Hunter format (see above) to out-think and out-fight much stronger or more powerful enemies. This same thing applies more or less equally to their bodies; both are designed to be highly adaptive in their own unique ways. X's can be upgraded and modified, literally on the fly, to accommodate new data for parts, enemy powers, etc. such that Light would have his ultimate enforcer capable of ensuring his will across the ages. Zero can be repaired and rebuilt from virtually nothing, his entire program and body designed to constantly keep back ups of each other such that if even a small bit of him survives, the whole can be remade, ensuring that humanity would never be free of this plague Wily had unleashed on them. And incidentally, ignoring the fact that Zero was a total human conversion, his face served one important purpose; it was the final irony for Wily, that a robot who looks so human would be the end of humanity, showing them how far they'd fallen.


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Thank you for wading through all of that! I've tried to explain myself more comprehensively but only ended up cluttering the whole thing instead. Embarassed

XXX

I didn't consider the Hunter angle at all, now that I think about it. Which seems silly in retrospect. I am not sure if 'Hunter' is the right word to describe the blend of - if I understood you right - saboteur and assassin deployed as an asymmetrical answer to the threat, though.

XXX

I must confess that I've spent more time pondering the 'program sneeze' analogy that was brought up in the stream chat than I probably should have.

There is that phrase about sufficiently advanced technology being indistinguishable from magic and the fact that all of Wily's and Light's creations that survived all the way to the 21XX era were capable of self-improvement without any more input from their creators, but... I found it a bit grating that the Maverick virus could do whatever the games' plot wanted it to do, ending up at what seemed like downright reality-warping levels of power.

Or, at least, that was the impression I've got.

What do you think the limitations of the Maverick virus were? (I think there should've been some if everybody didn't die during the events of MMX 1.)

How Mavericks can cooperate with each other at all? Sigma's forces seemed to present a united front in canon, but shouldn't they just descend into free-for-all, given how the effects of the virus on reploids are described?

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One has to understand, first, that not all Mavericks were infected with the virus. Second, the virus was always going to be linked back to its source, which after Zero's defeat at the hands of Sigma was Sigma himself, effectively creating the new form of it; the Sigma Virus. The Sigma Virus was what artificially created the unified front, since anyone infected by it would ultimately be a slave to the virus' will, which arguably included Sigma himself (though at this point in time it could be argued there is no Sigma any more). As for the virus warping reality, the games' own interpretations of this is they were just sufficiently altering their surroundings to create literally energy-based realities. MY interpretation always included Phazon in the mix to help explain how such reality-bending power could be done by a program.


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Your opinion on including teleporter technology(-ies)?

Obviously, the consequences of both Wily and Light being teleported are an important part of what happens in the story, but... How should I put this?

Every time a story introduces reliable teleportation I find myself asking why the characters, say, don't just teleport a bomb in the big bad's house (or get bombed this way themselves). I've seen some games do interesting stuff with it instead of just using teleportation as a convinient method to bring enemies on and off the screen - FTL is a good example, I think - but that, from what I've seen at least, is the exception, not the rule. And it, in my opinion, gets harder in text-only stories.

Laying down some rules in advance on what can or cannot be done with it probably helps though.

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I lay down pretty clearly why Rock doesn't just teleport directly where he's going... because he literally can't. The teleporter requires very exact coordinates of where it's going and if you don't know exactly where a Robot Master or otherwise is it's pretty hard to beam right into his room, and even that is ignoring the concept of teleport shielding which is a pretty long-standing feature of the Megaman series' continuity.


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In your cannon does Zero die at the end of Zero 4?

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Since I made room for the MMZ series, no. Though in my head canon he DOES go into stasis as, well, makes sense at the end of MMX5.


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