Once a species reach the middle of their space faring era, could they possibly contact a lowly species?
But it could only be a species who are aware of their surroundings, have primitive or sophisticated technology, and that are not space faring outside their solar system.
Contacting a species could require the use of mathematics, science, probes, telepathic, or even physical. If sending a probe to a lowly sapient, you would have to put images of your sapients planet and technology. The contacted sapient could essentially be ‘uplifted’, to a more progressive race.
Mathematics are likely the best choice, as the ‘exosapiens’ wouldn’t understand your writing. But a primitive species may not have mathematics yet, so in this case, shapes are the best policy, or maybe even images.
I don’t believe the use of monoliths should be used, but directly contacting them, and progressively teaching them sounds more fun than just ‘watch it happen’, like that EA game did.
I would imagine contact is possible, but not meaningful contact. It’s comparable to the current situation on Earth. We can’t even meaningfully communicate with most animals on Earth, who share our DNA!
Communication is usually limited to an understanding. E.g. cows: I give you food and shelter, you give me milk.
The only reason to communicate with animals on Earth is to make them do things we need them to do for us. Most animals are so far beneath us that we can’t find any decent use for them though. I imagine it would be the same with aliens. We’d study them, sure, but not much communication would be possible, or useful.
I don’t think you’ll have to worry about us adding a “magical monolith” to the game that just uplifts something on the planet it is placed on.
The late game in Thrive is inspired by scifi and thus I think we will have other species that make inventions and can also be spacefaring. So sharing technology that they haven’t discovered and vice versa would be beneficial. Of course the player could also land on planets where there isn’t intelligent life and there communication would be more limited as the species on that planet couldn’t comprehend abstract things required for establishing a means of communication.
So I take it that the space age will be similar to what’s been done by most sci-fi games
I don’t mind it, I enjoy plenty of them. I was just hopen Thrive would go that bit further. In my opinion, what could be really interesting, is added the realistic aspects of evolution. Namely being outrageously outclassed by massively intelligent life, or dwarfing other species in a similar fashion.
Seeing intelligences far beyond what we could imagine, who would not at all be interested in our species, have a great effect on the galaxy would be awesome (as in the original meaning of the word). Effects which we can discover much later in the game.
Spore toyed a bit with the center of the galaxy being some kind of god-like creature. It was interesting due to the mystery, and then you get there… it was a bit disappointing for me. The thing is, most games give you a big reveal and show you everything. It would be much more interesting to keep the mystery going.
You know it is some kind of intelligent life, but not to what extent they evolved, what they would look like, or what they do to spend their days. You only know that tiny little part you just uncovered. And you know that your species might one day evolve to that level too.
Well I’m rambling on a bit here, but I would love to see the communication issues more fleshed out than by inventing a ‘universal translator’. It just doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t require massive resources, just a creative solution. Which is exactly what makes indie games so great.
PS: No criticism, just suggestions , I love you guys! Keep up the good work! I’ll be lurking in the shadows, nodding in approval most of the time. Until I come to post my ramblings
An universal translator isn’t really possible realistically so I think we will have the player need to learn to communicate with each alien species separately. Like in stellar you need to research each species you encounter before diplomacy is available, but we could go a bit more in depth.
I think personally, for the space stage, what we should do first is probably something like stellaris etc where all the species hit the space stage at the same time. The galaxy is young and no one has an empire yet and everyone starts spreading out and there is a race for domination, classic 4x style. That would be a good foundation.
However I think later we should add the possibility of evolving when the galaxy is old. So it would be a bit more like Crusader Kings 2 and you get a warp drive only to discover you are surrounded by a massive, autocratic, star empire. What do you do? Swear loyalty? Try to quickly make alliances to secure your position? Convert the their religion? I think it could make for an interesting situation.
Moreover there could be a lot of old technology scattered around that has been forgotten. So yeah you could discover Dyson spheres which just power giant computer simulations, or planet sized creatures, or giant space stations lying abandoned (like the citadel in Mass Effect) or ring worlds and things like that. We can basically trot out all the classic sci fi tropes.
I feel like these ideas are all nice, especially with my love for all the Paradox grand strategy gems
All the several different scenarios could be interesting. Starting in a young galaxy as one of the first civilizations, starting in an equal galaxy (like stellaris) where everyone just reaches space. Perhaps with some ancient civs around. Or starting in an ancient galaxy as a newcomer among superpowers who may or may not be decadent.
Stellaris is definitely a good source to get your ideas from
I’m a fan of the “Alien Suns” model, where aliens have multiple languages too, so you would need to develop translators for their main languages, though breaking the initial language barrier is the greatest step.
Hopefully the game won’t parse alien transmissions in the style of “English as She Is Spoke,” except for cases where broken grammar is intentional, ie: when establishing contact. If you want to establish contact, it’s best when both parties can at least attempt to work together to decode each other’s language.
If you aren’t a Blorg-hugging dirtman, then translating aliens does have a strategic use. If you can understand transmissions of a hostile entity, then you can predict their movements.
If you don’t want to cleanse the galaxy of xeno scum, then you should probably also invest in diplomacy. Mutual understanding has caused much less disaster than “I’m having tremendous problems with my lifestyle,” or “Belgium.” I would panic if my everyday words meant something foul in an alien tongue.
So onto the actual act of gathering information on alien speech, I’ve found a handy video on it from Isaac Arthur.