Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > Transhuman Space

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 12-14-2019, 11:48 PM   #1
DAT
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Idaho Falls, Idaho
Default Reboot THS

How would you “Reboot” THS to update it for the unexpected technology changes in the last 17+ years since it was first published?

Would you redo the Mar “greening”, for being too optimistic?

If the Martian exiles didn’t go to the belt, would you see it or out system habitats come into being later, or at all?

What other things would you consider changing?

Would you change the big powers?

How does your vision of 2100 look different than David Pulver’s vision in the original THS settings?
DAT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2019, 09:49 AM   #2
Fred Brackin
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Re: Reboot THS

Quote:
Originally Posted by DAT View Post
How would you “Reboot” THS to update it for the unexpected technology changes in the last 17+ years since it was first published?
There are some obvious things and few of them are the tech moving faster than previously assumed.

For example, VII glasses anticipated the Google glass but those were much less than a fantastic success. There may have been a basic misreading of what many people wanted to use the Internet for.

We're probably behind on genetic manipulation. 4e's revised TL system is more conservative on this too. The Felicia and Herakles genotypes that were achievable at TL10 in 3e have TL11 and even 12 features now as just a couple of examples.

Then there are places where tech and politics intersect such as China's commitment to space which does not seem to have gone beyond a few press releases in our timeline.

On the other hand you can join the Elon Musk cult of personality if you want to and extrapolate things from his press releases instead. He does have more launches to back them up than the Chinese ever came up with. He just doesn't have quite as many of those as he has press releases.

An update of the beginning date of play from 2100 to 2120 would be the minimum but going to 2200 might be safer and not age so quickly or badly.
__________________
Fred Brackin
Fred Brackin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2019, 11:03 AM   #3
NineDaysDead
 
NineDaysDead's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Default Re: Reboot THS

Ultra-tech (page 8) provides a variety of TL progressions:
Code:
TL  Accelerated  Fast  Medium  Slow  Retarded
9   2020         2025  2030    2040  2050
10  2050         2075  2120    2200  2500
11  2100         2200  2500    3000  7000
12  2200         2600  4000    8000  20000
It seems unlikely that we're going to hit TL9 in 17 days time, so we're probably not on the Accelerated path. Fast might still be reasonable so changing the start date to 2200 might be reasonable, meaning the setting is on the cusp of TL11, with very mature TL10.
__________________
Ebaying:
NineDaysDead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2019, 11:14 AM   #4
vicky_molokh
GURPS FAQ Keeper
 
vicky_molokh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Kyïv, Ukraine
Default Re: Reboot THS

Quote:
Originally Posted by DAT View Post
How would you “Reboot” THS to update it for the unexpected technology changes in the last 17+ years since it was first published?
First of all, I would urge to have the temperance required to resist the temptation of constantly chasing the latest trend and re-extrapolating it. This is the kind of thing that makes settings get dates tatood on their foreheads.

Instead, admit that THS is a divergent timeline, let go of presentism, and put in a blatant divergence point somewhere between 1960s (like Prey 2017 did) and 2000 (nice round date).

Quote:
Originally Posted by DAT View Post
Would you redo the Mar “greening”, for being too optimistic?
Yes, it's been one of the most vulnerable weakpoints in the otherwise radical hard-sci-ness of THS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DAT View Post
If the Martian exiles didn’t go to the belt, would you see it or out system habitats come into being later, or at all?

What other things would you consider changing?
Make the setting live up to its name. Make it more transhuman and more space. I find it really embarrassing that a setting named Transhuman Space is underwhelming compared to its spiritual descendant both in the transhuman and the space segment, despite the descendant being in recovery after an apocalypse and THS having the solid foundation to bootstrap itself into . . . space.

Aside from putting more persons and bodies into space, this should involve further blurring the line between man and machine, possibly finally inventing nanite rewrites of biobrains, and making better safer space drives (barely-viable THS HEDM engine, I'm looking at you).

Quote:
Originally Posted by DAT View Post
Would you change the big powers?
Make Duncanites, Gypsy Angels, martian terraformers, and possibly some other space factions into great powers. Preferably rewrite Clarke-1 into yet another great power, and make its incompatibility with the EU more blatant and its values more alien. Generally make it so that the great powers are playing tug of war over space and not just over the old blue rock (see above).

Quote:
Originally Posted by DAT View Post
How does your vision of 2100 look different than David Pulver’s vision in the original THS settings?
I'd say more that I'd want to steer THS back to the kind of brave radicalness that it seems to be losing as years go by (both due to radical HSF stuff not being added to newer books, and due to already-published radical stuff being retconned away by newer books [Bioroid Bazaar, I'm looking at you]).
__________________
Vicky 'Molokh', GURPS FAQ and uFAQ Keeper
The Eye of Eclipse Phase. A Discord server focusing on Roleplaying, Sci-Fi, Transhumanism, and discussion of other assorted topics, from tech to boardgames, from politics to philosophy.
vicky_molokh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2019, 05:35 PM   #5
RogerBW
 
RogerBW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: near London, UK
Default Re: Reboot THS

Quote:
Originally Posted by DAT View Post
What other things would you consider changing?
Perhaps oddly, one of the things I find most dated is the armguns. They were very briefly being proposed as the Wave of the Future, but as far as I can see it came down to a couple of enthusiastic press releases. Just as to me H. Beam Piper's work is more dated by the universality of cocktail hour (600 years in the future, but only 40 years old when Piper was writing it) than it is by company structures that have been around for rather longer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
Instead, admit that THS is a divergent timeline, let go of presentism, and put in a blatant divergence point somewhere between 1960s (like Prey 2017 did) and 2000 (nice round date).
This is a bit tricky, though, because judging by reported sales figures the moment you label an SF setting as "we can't get there from the present day" it loses its appeal for an awful lot of people. (Forumites, clearly, are not a representative sample of the market.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
Make the setting live up to its name. Make it more transhuman and more space. I find it really embarrassing that a setting named Transhuman Space is underwhelming compared to its spiritual descendant both in the transhuman and the space segment, despite the descendant being in recovery after an apocalypse and THS having the solid foundation to bootstrap itself into . . . space.
Here I very much agree. Though part of the problem is that Fifth Wave and Cities on the Edge are good books that one wants to use!

I don't like the Eclipse Phase approach of taking away Earth. But I think that a more modern approach to the game design (one that starts with "you are X who do Y") could put the focus squarely on not-Earth.
RogerBW is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2019, 06:54 PM   #6
Fred Brackin
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Re: Reboot THS

Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerBW View Post

This is a bit tricky, though, because judging by reported sales figures the moment you label an SF setting as "we can't get there from the present day" it loses its appeal for an awful lot of people. h.
If transhuman fiction was as colorful and perhaps what we could call as "intuitive" as steampunk you might could do it. However the Victorian Era has already become a fantasyland and it's one that many people see the appeal of.

Transhumanism by contrast is either bland (call it "nanovanilla") or some sort of not-very-mass-appeal taste ("trans-sushi"). The nanovanilla parts make sense mostly but don't necessarily lead to a path of adventure (Of course we want to make ourselves immune to to disease and lead a life of leisure forever"). The trans-sushi doesn't look very appealing to many people ("Why exactly did I have my brain run through a cuisinart to create a computer program in my image?").

The comment about "You are X and you do Y" looks very much on target. D&D has a default adventure, cyberpunk has one too and Traveller has a couple but Transhuman Space? Not so much.
__________________
Fred Brackin
Fred Brackin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-2019, 01:25 PM   #7
whswhs
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default Re: Reboot THS

I like Transhuman Space a lot; I've run two campaigns in it and would run a third if I had the players (my old player population is 80 miles away and will be much further in a few months). But it did take me time to figure out a "you are X who do Y" for the setting.

On the other hand, I don't think that's necessarily a defect in a setting. Some settings only support one type of campaign; but others support multiple types of campaign. And the latter are richer. As sort of a limiting case, the ultimate in richly detailed settings, the real world, can support comedy, tragedy, romance, action/adventure, intrigue, horror, mystery, crime drama, caper, workplace drama, and a lot of other genres; "you are X" could be plastic surgeons or spies or rich tourists or many other things.

On the gripping hand, I think Transhuman Space is a classic—but I don't find replicating a classic in the present world where things have moved on a straightforward task. Part of what makes it a classic is its wealth of detail, but a lot of that detail no longer is sustainable. Trying to reboot it would be like trying to modernize Dr. Moreau without the vivisection, when we now know about immunology and brain function at a level Wells didn't. You could do a creative reinvention, but i think such reinventions work better if they allude to the original rather than trying to reproduce it item by item.
__________________
Bill Stoddard

A human being should know how to live fast, die young, and leave a beautiful corpse. Specialization is for insects.
whswhs is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-2019, 03:31 PM   #8
Prince Charon
 
Prince Charon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Default Re: Reboot THS

Quote:
Originally Posted by NineDaysDead View Post
Ultra-tech (page 8) provides a variety of TL progressions:
Code:
TL  Accelerated  Fast  Medium  Slow  Retarded
9   2020         2025  2030    2040  2050
10  2050         2075  2120    2200  2500
11  2100         2200  2500    3000  7000
12  2200         2600  4000    8000  20000
It seems unlikely that we're going to hit TL9 in 17 days time, so we're probably not on the Accelerated path. Fast might still be reasonable so changing the start date to 2200 might be reasonable, meaning the setting is on the cusp of TL11, with very mature TL10.
To be fair to David Pulver and Kenneth Peters, the start of a tech level isn't when you have all the major technologies of that level, but rather when some of the key techs are on the market, IIRC (e.g TL6, which starts in 1880, before the invention of the diesel engine in the 1890s). I could see that being true before the end of 2020 or 2021... though I admit that 2025 or 2030 does seem more likely. I'd say that it's something that we'll only be sure of in hindsight.
__________________
Warning, I have the Distractible and Imaginative quirks in real life.

"The more corrupt a government, the more it legislates."
-- Tacitus

Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 1/01/2020: August, 2014 has been posted.
Prince Charon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-18-2019, 04:21 AM   #9
RogerBW
 
RogerBW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: near London, UK
Default Re: Reboot THS

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
I like Transhuman Space a lot; I've run two campaigns in it and would run a third if I had the players (my old player population is 80 miles away and will be much further in a few months). But it did take me time to figure out a "you are X who do Y" for the setting.

On the other hand, I don't think that's necessarily a defect in a setting. Some settings only support one type of campaign; but others support multiple types of campaign. And the latter are richer.
That's a tricky one. Most GURPS settings from the 3e days aim for this (I'm thinking of the traditional "Campaigns" chapter which might have anywhere from paragraphs to a page on each campaign type), and clearly some material is useful in multiple campaigns, but the more diverse the world the less of the material you can use for your specific campaign. My Vacuum Cleaners game got very little use from Deep Beyond, none at all from Under Pressure or In the Well, some from Fifth Wave and Broken Dreams…

The other problem is that it's more preparatory work for the GM to convert that page of campaign outline into a GURPS campaign than to say "OK, this is an Airship Pirates game, everything in the book is available".

For TS in particular, there are some specific restrictions: no stealthy spacecraft and near-universal surveillance make games about uncovering secrets difficult because it's hard plausibly to say "you have this information and can put it together, but for some reason the rest of the world doesn't or can't".
RogerBW is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-18-2019, 10:49 AM   #10
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Berkeley, CA
Default Re: Reboot THS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prince Charon View Post
I'd say that it's something that we'll only be sure of in hindsight.
TL divisions aren't obvious in hindsight either, because TLs aren't really how technology works.
__________________
My GURPS site and Blog.
Anthony is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:44 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.