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[?] Technology?

#1 User is offline   Erasmos Icon

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 05:56 PM

I'm still trying to get a feel of what is and isn't in Elysia and I'm having a hard time.
At first I thought it was kind of medieval but I've since seen a few things that broke my misconception.

I could have swore that I saw trains mentioned somewhere. In addition, one of Emma's characters has a cell phone.

Can you explain what kinds of things are and aren't in the world?
I've heard the word "steampunk" thrown around but, the best understanding of the world I can muster is perfectly summed up in this expression: o______O ?

I saw this:

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Elysia's version of a cell or mobile phone, basic Crystal-Operated Mobile Communication Devices (COMs for short) have been around for a couple of decades and offer telephone and text communication. Standard COMs have touchscreen interfaces to use their various features. More expensive units also access the CORWW for instant messaging, email, and chat. Some newer units have video communication capabilities.


But where would the signals emanate from? One of my friends mentioned that there would need to be signal towers, and even, orbiting satellites, which infers space rockets, and even perhaps space travel.
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#2 User is offline   Xanth Icon

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 07:03 PM

Any technology in existence in Elysia is based on crystals, which act as both the power source and the transmitters. Admittedly, we haven't gone into great depths on the whys and wherefores, but different crystals do different things. Crystal singers "tune" kallia crystals to transmit and receive the signals for such tech. I've tried to keep things simplified in terms of what they do because I'm no scientist or electrician and don't pretend to understand how mobile phones or computers work in real life. The crystals section of the Technology page gives some idea of the some of the other things they can do.

The basic rule for Elysian tech is that it should be clean and naturally sourced crystals instead of fossil fuels or batteries, shevrocks instead of gas/oil lamps or open fires (which is why Elysian homes don't have chimneys), that sort of thing. Tech is also limited so that pollutive things like trains and cars (which spew out toxic fumes) don't work, while COMs and HoPs (which are powered and programmed by/on crystals), do. I have been looking for ways to introduce things like a long-distance magnetic monorail or crystal-powered airships, but so far they just haven't quite fit the setting with things the way they are, and haven't come up with any solid plot ideas for introducing them.

"Steampunk" is really the wrong word for EF because of all that, since tech isn't steam-based. "Crystalpunk" might be more appropriate it's just the idea of anachronistic sub-genres meshing together to create something utterly unique. EF's not strictly medieval, or strictly modern/futuristic (which is traditionally where crystal tech comes from), so it's hard to peg it as any one genre. For that reason, we tend to discuss ideas as they come up and determine if they work in this setting or not, rather than saying from the get-go that "no, airships don't fit" or "yes, your character can have brain implants".

One thing I will say regarding technology is that many Elysians are technophobes or pseudo-Luddites. The longer-lived of the races especially tend to find it difficult to adapt to changes like that (Zephyr Cairbre is a wonderful example of a Dracovarian struggling with technology that didn't exist fifty years ago and that are essentially just a blip on his 1200 year radar.) However, younger characters, or more adaptable characters (like Kiel), might be perfectly happy to embrace new developments like COMs since they make cross-continent communication much easier. :)
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#3 User is offline   Erasmos Icon

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 10:16 PM

Crystals contd.
Okay, and since crystals are solar powered, any area of the realm that is rainy or continuously gloomy will probably not be technologically saavy because there is no sun to sustain it.
It would also apply to rainy/snowy/cloudy seasons like winter.

Crystals and computers

According to this :

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Information Crystals...Many crystals can hold varying amounts of data so these are used instead of memory chips and discs. The act of transmitting information can degrade the crystals after only one or two scans, depending on the crystal's original quality, but they can be made to last longer by having them re-cut. Good-quality crystals usually last longer, and can store a great deal of information.


Computers become impractical and possibly even impossible. But at the very least, very, very expensive. I'll show you why.
Remember, I don't mean to pick on you - I'm a computer scientist so this is what I do. And, computers were specifically designed so that the average person doesn't have to think about this, or even realize it exists.

Consider an extremely simple program that calculates all the prime numbers from 0 to 15. Remember, this is simple. Cryptography (eg, secure data like passwords) is much, much harder. (Also, a "register" is simply a storage "slot" in memory - hey, computers gotta put stuff somewhere, it can't just float around in mid-air) In MIPS ( a low level computer language), the program looks like this:

(Find all primes from 0 to 15)
READS    WRITES   INSTRUCTION
1           1              ADDI R2 R0 15    (read register 0 and add 15 to it and store it in register 2)
1           1              ADDI R1 R0 1      (read register 0 and add 1 to it and store it in register 1)
0           0             loop1:                 ( just a label, eg, bookmark or placeholder)
1           1             ADDI R1 R1 1       (read register 1 and add 1 to it and store it in register 1)
2           1             ADD R3 R1 R0      (read register 1 and register 0 and store it in register 0 )
0           0             loop2:                 ( just a label, eg, bookmark or placeholder)
2           1            ADD R3 R3 R1       (read register 3 and register 1 and store it in register 3 )
2           1            SLT R4 R2 R3	      (read register 2 and if it is less than reigster 3, store 1 in register 4, otherwise store 0 in register 4 )
2           0            BNE R4 R0 done    (read register 0 and register 4 and jump to 'done' if they aren't equal )
2           1            SLL R5 R3 2          (shift register 3's value by 2 and place it in register 5. What's shift? A nasty binary, eg 0s and 1s, mathematical operation you don't want to ever deal with. )
0           0            J loop2                (jump to loop 2)
1           1            SW R0 0(R5)        (store register 5's address in register 0 )
0           0            done:                  (just a label, eg, bookmark or placeholder)
2           0            BNE R4 R0 done    (read register 0 and register 4 and jump to 'done' if they aren't equal )
2           0            BNE R1 R2 loop1    (read register 1 and register 2 and jump to 'loop 1' if they aren't equal )
0           0           NOP                      (don't do anything, delay)
0           0           BREAK                  (stop the program)
0           0           NOP                     (don't do anything)


Okay? So what?
Well, that program has 26 reads and writes in it - not counting the looping it will do!
Not counting the reads and writes it takes to store the program and then read each instruction to itself.
Not counting stack pushes and pops (eg, remembering what it was doing before it jumped to something else)
And with the loops estimated in, we're at probably 200 reads and writes.

You can bet your butt that doing things like storing phone numbers, searching for a phone number will take a lot of operations. Hundreds, for a tiny address book and millions for a large contact address book. And for holograms? To calculate and hold all that information? TRILLIANS. Graphics is extremely math intensive, which means a lot of numbers being calculated, stored, and then displayed. In fact, I think quadrillions is a better estimate.

My point is, that I think you've underpowered your memory crystals (aka, you're trying to run Crysis on an Atari memory card). As they stand now, a simple adding calculator that adds numbers would cost an entire dynasty's fortune - simply because of the bottle neck of memory crystals that can only be read/written X number of times.

Computers have become impractical, if not impossible.

Using these information crystals as disks, like floppy disks or a USB flash thumb drive is just fine.
Using it as a computer memory chip? You're going to be spending exorbitant amounts of money for menial tasks, eg, your computers are basically all far, far less advanced than the Eniac (the very first computer that took up an ENTIRE ROOM). Displaying holograms with this kind of computer memory? I think not.

Sewage: health hazard inaccuracy
Also, I ran across this and found it alarming, I think if you added "the contents can be processed and used (as fertilizer again)", it would be okay.

Quote

Rural areas are another story, of course. Here, there are no tunnels so sewage is usually handled on a house-by-house basis where it's normally dumped into an underground storage tank from the main pipes. When the tank is full, the contents can be used (as fertiliser again)

This kind of fertilization is called Night Soil (aka humanure) and makes for an extremely low average population age - it's risky, very risky. A woman died 48 hours after eating some dirt in a garden fertilized this way.

Anyways, my point is that raw feeces and urine can be used- but never raw, they need to be processed (more about humanure in agriculture) .

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... to illustrate the need to compost humanure, rather than to try to use it raw for agricultural purposes. When the composting process is side-stepped and pathogenic waste is issued into the environment, various diseases and worms can infect the population living in the contaminated area. This fact has been widely documented.


Question: What's the process for getting Wiki pages up?
Should one ask for medals and then they pages are approved? Wait for you to see them? Contact you after each submission.... ?

Long post is long
I'm sure I wore you out but I kind of like to really immerse myself in this world, it has a lot of depth. Please don't feel like I'm saying "NO, I WANT TO HAVE LAZER-SHOOTING-PLANET-EATING-FLYING-SPACE-SHARKS RIGHT NOW!" .... but I wanted to point out a tragic flaw in the sewage system and computing area. They're easily fixable things, too. : P
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#4 User is offline   Xanth Icon

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 06:06 PM

I'll cover the easy stuff first. XD

For submissions, if you're asking how to actually submit a page to the wiki, there's some information here that will help. Basically, for things that don't require approval, you can just go ahead and create the page. Once completed (you can save drafts until your article is finished), you can hit publish. For pages that do require approval (like creatures, plants, etc), you'll need to save as a draft and then PM me with the link so I can review it for you. I normally check for new content/updates at least once a week regardless, but it's usually best to give me a heads-up so I can get on it right away. :)

If you're asking how to claim achievements from the Prize Shop for wiki submissions, it's the same as any other achievement. I can be very forgetful and some members prefer to "stock up" achievements to claim in bulk so I don't do them automatically (unless it actually says "automatic" in the blurb). For things like wiki submissions, you will have to post the claim form in the Prize Shop claims thread (once the page has been published).



I will say that for things like the sewage and crystals, these are areas that aren't fully developed yet or detailed. For that reason, wording tends to be vague in places (like my saying "used" instead of "processed and used" for the sewage), especially in areas where I'm not entirely familiar with real-world versions but want to get something up before I've had chance to research more. So, basically, there's probably quite a bit of information like this that needs exploring further. :)

For sewage, I was thinking that Nymphs/Zanaryans would be the process, even in rural areas, but haven't had a chance to explore that idea further. It might be too much work for them, and the Purifiers are meant to be fairly rare and city-bound. Wanderer Nyads, maybe. I have to wonder how this stuff was processed back in the Middle Ages, too. :? But in rural Elysia, I'm willing to go with a decreased life expectancy as a result: It's already more dangerous out there, and it stands to reason that without healers at hand, health problems will run rampant. I'd be interested to see what we can come up with. :)



Crystals... Ah, you caught me with my pants down. *cough* Computers are one of the most confusing things in existence for me, though by "scans" I didn't necessarily mean the entirety of the processes involved in reading a disc, more just how many times you could stick a crystal in and use it. <_< And the degradation wouldn't be huge, just like the depreciation on a car or something. Even so, "one or two scans" seems a bit on the useless side so I'll look at expanding their ability or something. HoP©s are meant to be expensive and luxuries, but no more than having a taroch, while COMs are, again, on the expensive side but still permitting frequent, daily use. Maybe it would be better for data crystals to have unlimited use but to counter that with difficulty to procure/"tune" instead.
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