Backward graphics

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Backward graphics

Post by CONNECT 1200 on Fri Oct 19, 2018 6:29 pm

So... A world of technomagic where a mobile phone can host a fully functioning artificial person (
possible spoiler:
p. 150: "(08:41)SecundaSonja: I'm the AI currently residing in Sonja's phone."
) is using text-only interfaces and has absolutely no video games*.

Why? Why?

_____________
* Not as we know them. The term is casually used here and there a few times but just as a synonym for computer-aided games in general. Hades' Realm definitely doesn't qualify.

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Re: Backward graphics

Post by CONNECT 1200 on Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:28 pm

One thing for sure, it is not a technical issue. You cannot have an artificial person without sufficient RAM or computing power. Low network bandwidth may make things tricky for massive multi-playing but not 4 on 4. Fast paced single player games were available for things like ZX Spectrum in early 1980s (make sure to read the specs. Yes, it says kilobytes. These were, like, 1024 bytes each.)

Actually, you don't even need graphics to write and play games. A CRT-based 80×24 text only terminal was enough to have fun. Fully text-based Hades-like games belong to a shady era of mainframes with teletype consoles — and yes, such games really existed in the timeline I'm coming from.

Our friends from the future (or should I say, 'a future'?) have much, much better end user systems capable of displaying graphic images (directly confirmed offscreen by Xeno and onscreen, if indirectly, by MrE who knows what a JPEG file is.)

There's no way in hell these babies couldn't run at least low-res single player first-person shooters.

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Re: Backward graphics

Post by Arbiter on Sun Oct 21, 2018 6:13 am

My best guess is basically that Unichat is the medium that Gods and others use to harness Gaiamagic and give themselves superpowers, and it’ll only work if everyone is using it. Like, we know that this chat client is capable of communicating between universes, timelines, and noospheres (whatever the fuck those are) and however it manages to do that, that’s an important piece of software to have to in order to access your arcane_powers.exe. Xeno’s shown abilities would be completely gone if Unichat wasn’t capable of multiversal communication, Pancake wouldn’t have access to any of his time travel pwnsultants, and Gods and his admins wouldn’t be able to do any of whatever it is they do. Unichat needs to continue to exist and not obsolesce in order to keep some very powerful parties (possibly including Gaia itself) from throwing a nigh-omnipotent temper tantrum, so that means any form of data the user can interact with that’s any more complex than ASCII art is a no-go. Forget video games, if something as advanced as an imageboard came out then Unichat as it currently exists would be abandoned overnight, and I imagine that with all the weird and likely supernatural code that it’s built on it would be almost impossible to substantially update it without breaking everything, which since Gaia’s involved, includes the fabric of reality. AIs, on the other hand, are useful and probably easy enough to support with GaiaOS, so that’s why Sonja’s phone can vote in elections but not open a gif.

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Re: Backward graphics

Post by CONNECT 1200 on Sun Oct 21, 2018 1:06 pm

Well, Unichat is not the only thing on the network. There's still DNS (p. 175), the Future Folks exchange links to web sites, security cameras send their feeds to security servers, etc., so Internet basically functions just fine, and people have at least some basic ability to see images on screen — otherwise, we'd probably hear at least a few words about printers breaking up or running out of juice or paper. That's absolutely enough to have at least some network games running. So, once again, there are no technical restrictions that would account for this dull text-only life.

Oh, and Unichat becoming pretty much the only chat software on the planet is a separate deep mystery. So far, no other protocol or client ever kicked everything else into oblivion. Not even Face[censored]book. Come to think of it, there still are fully functioning mailing lists out there, and e-mail is older than my beard. What's Unichat's all-times-unique killer feature for ordinary users, not Chess Club or Multiversal Hackers? Is there any hint we've been given that I'm missing here?

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Re: Backward graphics

Post by CONNECT 1200 on Mon Oct 22, 2018 4:22 am

I mean, we know Xeno (both as a character and the writer) needs Unichat, Gods and the gang need Unichat too, all right. It's a believable path from where we are "now" (late 2010s) to where Unichat rules the chat business unchallenged and online gaming is reduced to walls of text that I cannot find. Not from a regular end user's point of view, anyway.

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Re: Backward graphics

Post by CONNECT 1200 on Tue Oct 23, 2018 6:35 pm

All right, let's see where we land following the path described by MrE (p. 147).

Spoiler:
Should Russia suddenly become the biggest producer of computer components tomorrow, it would bring things back to somewhere around 1990s, between 80386 and Pentium in Intel reckoning. Both were able to run a kind of Unix, and GNU options used by Unichat commands sort of confirm that some free Unix-like OS is still around. Likely without the fancy graphical hardware, and having difficulties (like in 'possible but a royal PITA') running X11.

Consequence 1 is a very possible return of text-only terminals, AKA the Black Screen just because it would be much faster than a GUI. So far so good. Consequence 2, however, is that all free and opensource programs ever written for Unix would, with reasonable modifications, still compile and run. The upcoming Unichat would have to compete with a zillion of existing protocols and tools, known and tested, and win the race.

Is it possible at all? Well, protocols come and go, and things change all the time, but it's always a lottery, and that's not quite an option for Gods. He needed something that would guarantee Unichat's victory. Not Unichat being the best of them all, something a programming genius could come up with; it's almost never the best technology that wins (and we've been told that the 'underlying Etamnanki protocols are... pathological', p. 107.)

Surely, a few million timeline merges would do the trick, but it's cheating. Better ideas, anyone?

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Re: Backward graphics

Post by CONNECT 1200 on Tue Nov 06, 2018 6:02 am

So. So. So.

Suppose Gods didn't try to directly compete with IRC, SMS, e-mail and stuff. Suppose all he wanted was to pass as many messages as possible through Etamnanki.

Step 1: create an Etamnanki-based everything-to-everything gateway server*. So that people could e-mail to IRC chats, read IRC chats in their favourite Usenet client and so on.

Step 2: modify one (or a few) of the most popular chat clients to use the Etamnanki servers directly.

There, you've got Unichat.

Does this path make sense to anybody else here?

______________
* More or less exactly what TCP/IP did for pre-existing networks. And I assure you, TCP/IP is pathological enough.

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