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a very rough cut of the chat on virtue tonight about how the magic system may possibly worked.
Foxboy: One of the side effects of the Event is a jumpstart of Earth's leylines.
Foxboy: Tied to "teh intarwebs"
Horned Dragon: Night!
valles: With several thousand people to choose from, many of them likely happy to help a bit and others qualified to do the testing -themselves-, I doubt that that would be neccessary.
Sweno: new interweb meme: open source magic
valles: Ayup.
Silhouette.: Internet tied to ley lines.... Be very very scared.... I can see a whole subset of Digimon-themed monsters and Tamers making an appearance. It fits their concept design.
valles: Makes sense.
Foxboy: It also means tha ttech and magic villains have common targets
Silhouette.: It also means you have a LOT of monsters in combat being assisted by 8-15 year old children.
Foxboy: Well, not quite.
Foxboy: I want Magic in setting to be kinda hard to do.
Foxboy: If oyu're not a magic-origin Virtue
Foxboy: In other words, you have to be a Hacker and not a script kiddie
valles: ENIAC era programming, not modern.
Silhouette.: Once you tie magic to the information age, you'll have things like computer magic. See Glen Cook's series for examples.
Foxboy: Oh, no doubt.
Foxboy: BUT
Silhouette.: And by the way, Cook suggests that once you have computer magic, the idea of a system crash takes on a whole new level of meaning.
Foxboy: There's a lot more analog-digital compatibility.
valles: That is, creating a spell requires writing the goddamn magical 'machine code' by hand. High level programming languages? Not for a -long- while.
Foxboy: And the more responsible mages will work to restore the OLD leylines if possible
Sweno: considering it would not be a well established system, and a new influence on earth, I could definetly by a good 5-10 years of 'bumbling around in the dark' before some core theories are hashed out
Silhouette.: First question: How freely available are the magical resources? How fast does something evolving int hat medium run into limits on its growth or available resources?
Foxboy: Hm. hadn't really thought about it more than "possible new supers later? Why not. Use MAgic with leyline analogous to the web
Foxboy: At the moment... consider someone with 1980s dialup trying to get google
Sweno: (only my opinions) rare, and very quickly without outside knowledge
valles: Virus type programs -miiiiiiight- be a problem.
Silhouette.: thing is, if it's free enough, computer magic created by hackers will start having the kind of thing that is actually mentioned in the Digimon storyline.
valles: Not familiar with that setting.
Silhouette.: Early code starts to find useful resources and begins to self-evolve. Eventually, they learn to combine and adapt, and grow.
Silhouette.: The monster makers build a game and think that's all it is. Meanwhile, some of their old code, and some of the new code has combined to create something altogether different and *intelligent*.
Silhouette.: And some of it finds a way to cross over.
Foxboy: Well, demons and fae need to come from SOMEWHERE
valles: No more than a real computer's software is self-evolving, I think.
Silhouette.: But in a magic environment that adds the necessary advantage you can't get in a computer. Magic can make random "cheat code" changes in the universal ground state. Computers can't.
Silhouette.: So you can eventually get random code floating in the ether that just happens to be mutated into something more intelligent. Once that happens, the effect spreads.
Silhouette.: Humans are ignorant of what's happening, so by the time you get emergences, it's too late.
Sweno: I could see that 50 years down the line, when there are well known APIs for magic, but anytime in the scope of what we are dealing with, no so much
valles: -Would- they be ignorant, though?
Silhouette.: Not so hard actually. Each magic compiler will be unique at first. But not necessarily, either.
Foxboy: True. But also...
Silhouette.: Once they begin to understand the basic components of magic, they can begin coding compilers. Once that happens, they act as a force multiplier.
valles: If we can predict it from outside, certainly someone in-setting, with so much more motivation, can draw the same conclusions.
Foxboy: Magic doesn't ahve the Digital/Analog disparity.
Foxboy: or have to have.
Silhouette.: And don't forget, it's human nature to kludge something on and make it work. So they'd quickly throw in a C# compiler with an adapter, and only later realize that it's dangerous as hell.
Foxboy: Let's say we have existing "languages" to work magic.
Foxboy: Say the occult section of a bookstore becomes a lot more useful.
valles: Any sort of modern compiler is -immensely- complex, IIUC.
Silhouette.: These languages would start out difficult. Like Eniac and so on. But it would adapt faster than the computer age, *because* we have the computer age as an example to learn from.
Foxboy: Point
Foxboy: [and thois is SO getting chatlogged]
Sweno: unless you think that magic would respond to 1s and 0s on a hard disk prople would have to hack to geather their own interfaces
valles: Hee. ^_^
Silhouette.: Hehe. [Image: smile.gif]
Foxboy: hopping alt-tab to paste
Silhouette.: No, it's not like that. Magic would have a compiler language that would look like your video card just barfed on the screen (taken from Cook's book). But it would still function, and require learning a new language, like learning a new version of C
Sweno: people would be wireing up the equivalent of the old refrigerator sized vacume tube powered, behemoths just to do a scrying spell
Silhouette.: But any self-styled "hacker" who gets a copy would start doing viruses, trojans, spyware, crap like that.
Sweno: just what the world needs, magic spam
Silhouette.: Heck, anyone with a real axe to grind might start coding attack programs meant to kill enemy political leaders.
valles: Potential limiting factor: Mana/prana/whatever-you-wanna-call the working material. These spells would need it just like a real comp needs an electrical current....
Silhouette.: All it takes is a virus-corrupted attack program, and suddenly you have a "demon" on the loose that no-one understands, and is totally unpredictable.
valles: ...and bets it's a limited supply?
valles: Because it's totally batshit insane. ^_^
Foxboy: Yupyup
valles: [Hi, Acyl! How's Obsolete doin'? ^_^]
Silhouette.: If the available resources are too low, there would never be random evolution because you run out of developmental resources too fast. But that also means the magic would be too weak to be more than window dressing.
Foxboy: Also... the first hacker that does this? Doesn't realize his BODY is the vital component ofr the spell he just coded.
Foxboy: This is why I was saying LEY LINES
Sweno: and we would then get mages being realy pissed off at the hackers for wasting all of new yorks mana for a week with their experiments
valles: Another factor:
Silhouette.: For the hacker who does it because he's a teenager and it's a dumb stunt? He wouldn't know, and it would be too late. It would happen anyway.
valles: ...yeah.
Foxboy: Source of power not source code.
valles: These magihackers aren't working in a vacuum.
Foxboy: Main reason I tied it to the internet is a side effect of the loopy physics that caused eh event
Skye Valentine: You should've had them made by Virtual Adepts.
Silhouette.: No, but just like hackers today release an estimated 400 viruses and spyware each month, we're not catching them and stopping them right now, so I doubt we'd be any more successful with the magihackers.
valles: They're splashing around, learning to swim in water that's already got sharks (trained magic-using Virtues) of its own.
Foxboy: Point.
Foxboy: Nogi's kunoichi will have vialbe targets.
valles: How many programs work right on the first try?
Foxboy: And something to do other than housework
Silhouette.: Some of them will undoubtedly get taken out. But like defining a new medium, the magihackers will first have to learn how to shroud their activities. the successful ones (and there will be many) will keep going.
Foxboy: Hm. Can we say that they're trying to find exploits in a newly-upgraded version of Windows?
valles: The ease or difficulty of shrouding a buffer overrunning spell can be set arbitrarily according to the desires of the authores?
Silhouette.: ultimately, the defense forces amount to a few thousand, while the hackers could number int he millions. They'll think of things that when you decode their source material and study it you'll be astounded at how incredible some of these ideas are.
Silhouette.: That's basically how it works now.
Silhouette.: Some of the best people in the antispyware and antivirus industries are former hackers.
valles: Not all of our 'hack hunters' are heroes, you know?
Silhouette.: Oh sure, you'll be either taking their stuff, or "recruiting" them or killing them outright.
Sweno: yup yup yup
Silhouette.: But the point is, after the initial shock of learning how to swim in the water, those who go on will teach others, and it will get somewhat *easier* for the hacker community to adapt to the new medium.
valles: Combine that with serious legal repercussions - they -are- fooling around with the equivalent of weapons-grade fissionables -
valles: - _and_ the consequences of screwing up -your- -own- -personal- -reality-
Foxboy: Also... we may be able to limit the skript kiddies if we say that non-virtues require more than just a box of index cart notes to WORK magic at all
valles: ...the fatality rate would be intimidating.
Silhouette.: Hell, that's easy. Take a basketball sized sphere of water and put it in a forcefield and compress it to a pinpoint. REsult? Instant Fusion Bomb. Yield depends on how much water you use. Simple.
Foxboy: But this IS the underpinnings of out "Circle of Freakshow" native villain group for VIIOR
valles: Which wouldn't be enough on its own, of course. But every little bet helps, no?
Sweno: the script kiddie aspect wouldn't be an issue until there are prebuilt tools for magitech, and that is a ways off
Silhouette.: But all you need is the fusion bomb spell and a teleport spell, and suddenly a terrorist group can nuke the White House from wherever they are with total impunity.
valles: ...sudden thought.
Silhouette.: And these kinds of people don't *need* the finished tools. Just something that's "good enough".
Foxboy: Well, our Supers need threats to face.
valles: What if disrupting a spell is orders of magnitude simpler than executing one?
Sweno: I could buy that
valles: Like, a spell with a physical effect requires complexity and precision.
Foxboy: Easy. Magic doesn't work NEAR as fast as computers do
Silhouette.: Consider the concept of magic granting intelligence to sufficiently complex code. Similar to how some games say you can't mind control a Player controlled AI, does this make them immune to disruption?
valles: A spell to disrupt another spell doesn't have to be any more complex than a sledgehammer. ^_^
Silhouette.: But intelligent creatures can fight back intelligently, even when being attacked with a sledgehammer.
valles: If they get that far.
valles: And even then, that's seperate from terrorists and hackertwits.
Silhouette.: True. But as I said earlier, all a terrorist cell cares about is that the nerd hacker whose strung out on drugs can make his teleporting ball of compressed water go where they want.
Foxboy: Ah the drugs. *evil grin* How fortuitous that magic seems to love poetic justice. *i hope*
valles: Ayup. But, is the specific spell that makes it teleport itself alive?
Silhouette.: Take the Iraq Invasion for instance. Every now and then, a major political figure goes to Iraq to make a political statement. What if they get nuked by the water-nuke... The political fallout would be immense.
Silhouette.: The assumption is that where living AI's are concerned, the intelligence can't be simply disrupted with your standard Dispel Magic. Their *powers* might be disrupted, but they can't be killed by simply pressing the delete key.
Foxboy: ...
Foxboy: ...
Foxboy: You sure you don't want to write the Government for us Sil?
Silhouette.: And if they've naturally evolved into something considerably more advanced than you've seen the last time you saw them, the dispel might not stop their powers, either.
valles: Living AIs? Not for antoher century or two, I think.
Silhouette.: Again, you're ignoring the mutability factor in a magic/technomagic cross, where there's viruses, spam, trojans, rogue programs, and stupid hackers galore.
valles: Local magi-life is just getting around to inventing the eukaryotic cell.
Silhouette.: You'd have intelligent programs a lot faster than you think, because local magi-life isn't doing it alone. We're the stupid humans who meddle where we shouldn't and let it all loose.
Silhouette.: And don't forget the A-Life researchers... They'd *deliberately* do it, just to prove they could!
valles: They've been trying.
Silhouette.: Yes, but add a magic element, and the ability to use the universal cheat codes... Much more effective, and probably very much not controllable.
Foxboy: Fortunately... since this is *magic* as long as it's consitent internally we don't need to bother with *logic* [Image: happy.gif]
Foxboy: But your points are appreciated
Silhouette.: Logic can be applied to magic, at least on a meta-scale. It has to actually. It's a lot harder to create a magic-filled universe than a non-magic universe because you ahve to invent the laws of physics before you write the story.
Silhouette.: there's nothing worse than a story that has no internal consistency. As I discovered in a game I ran a long time ago.
valles: I suspect that you vastly underestimate the competitiveness of the human animal compared to semirandom new forms.
Silhouette.: I'd not taken notes in about a dozen sessions, and I made a decision that directly contradicted something I'd said earlier.
Silhouette.: So one of the players takes a model Enterprise, orbits my head with it and in a Scotty voice says, "Captain! It's one big contradiction!"
Silhouette.: Needless to say, I've made sure my internal physical laws make sense from that point onward. [Image: smile.gif]
valles: Personally embarrassing, but as long as he's having fun....
Sweno: my current objection to any kind of self sustaining magic AI is a lack of power, and I don't see the nessisary refinements for energy collection happening any time soon.
Sweno: (as I see it) any suffiently powerfull spell would run out of gas before it could do anything
Silhouette.: What it comes down to is whether or not you can accept that a magic-based computer-magic AI requires an existing computer chip to operat on, or if it can exist through willpower and the universe itself as its operating environment.
Sweno: 1 vote for needing custom hardware to run on
Foxboy: Hm. Any limiting factor is good as far as that goes.
Sweno: unless you want to have 15 guys chanting in shifts
Silhouette.: With those kinds of resources, it's processing capability is as infinite as ours are. Not absolute, but *we* don't run out of resources on a given day that badly.
valles: Assuming that the hardware is free of crud and has been getting its proper maintenance cycles, anyway.
Silhouette.: Also, remember something that was said by Malcolm in the first Jurassic Park. "Nature finds a way."
valles: Applies just as much or more to us as it does to a virus.
Sweno: but look at the nessisary infustructure that it takes to maintain 1st world lifestyles, it's massive
Silhouette.: Once you add magic, and create a magic that can be compiled and run by a machine, you introduce the potential for independent magic AI's
Silhouette.: Or even just rogue viruses existing at the meta level which don't require solid-state components to function.
Foxboy: Can we say that reality is by and large self-corredcting?
Silhouette.: Spiritualists would hate you. You've taken the relatively natural Dreamtime, and added viruses, trojans, and email spam...
Silhouette.: Reality IS self-correcting. But not necessarily in our favor.
Sweno: oh, i'm all for magic ai's, but we are talking about orders of magintude difference in storage and processing capacity...
valles: Even assuming a fairly high percentage of 'evolutionary lessions' transfer during its creation...
Sweno: COG (the best thing we have to self learning AI currently) needs to allocate 2 terabytes a every 3 days (last I heard) to it's database
Silhouette.: The thing about being able to compile magic, is that you start creating addressable arrays and memory locations that don't physically exist as a way of amplifying your machine's performance capacity.
Silhouette.: Essentially you're using a small piece of the universe as extra, addressable RAM and CPU.
valles: Question.
Foxboy: I'd like to think that even with Digital magic...
Sweno: and I don't see that happeing with the current level of magitech
Silhouette.: Once that starts, it's a short step to putting the whole mainframe in a "virtual" array that exists only in the plenum. And from there, to magic AIs with no physical limitations.
valles: When did we decide that that was possible?
Silhouette.: Someone mentioned it, and I was having fun poking holes in all the ways that could explode in your face. [Image: smile.gif]
Silhouette.: Besides, the Digimon Tamers series had a very scary potential AI idea that might happen if you could do this. And it would be frigheningly dedicated and effective.
Foxboy: By this point VIIOR may have made contact with a Canon CoHverse
Sweno: my main arguing point is that in order to have any sort of reproducable effect (magic expansions to cpu/memory/whatever) there needs to be hardware driving it
valles: ...a totally new life form is still starting several million iterations short of the kind of testing humans have undergone.
Silhouette.: The idea they had in Tamers doens't require a really advanced AI. Just the ability to function without the need for physical hardware.
Silhouette.: And it's even a very simple program.
Foxboy: And... how long would it take someone to DO the computerized magic versus openoing occult book sections and trying all the spells there?
Foxboy: If it works... from the book...
Silhouette.: The first magics done this way would be hacked by experts trying to explore the boundaries. Very dangerous stuff, probably very unstable compilers.
Foxboy: A lot of the existing occult books seem to have safeties built in to their "languages" as it were
Silhouette.: probably hacked-together pieces of different languages, to create a compiler language that they personally like.
valles: Ending in splat marks on the walls.
Silhouette.: That would happen, yes. But some would survive and learn.
Silhouette.: Heh. Imagine Microsoft getting a working compiler. Imagine Windows for Metamagic....
Foxboy: You're also assuming that the mindset for computer work would not need to be changed for magical work
Foxboy: Bite your tongue!
valles: Variables.
Silhouette.: If it's radically different from programming software, then the computer model doesn't work. But programming isn't about thinking mathematically. That's always the first mistake people make.
Silhouette.: To program, you have to be able to think LOGICALLY.
valles: Existing computer programs don't, honestly, have to deal with that many.
Foxboy: We don't need Bill Gates as Ollivander
Silhouette.: And logical thinking would be necessary to unravel the basic primitives of the magic system.
Silhouette.: Then you code it like Object Oriented programming, in modules that can be mixed and matched as necessary.
Foxboy: oog
Silhouette.: The common magic user doesn't need to know how the modules work, just what their output is. Then they string modules together to cast spells.
Foxboy: @_@
Foxboy: You loved the Wiz Zumwalt books didn't you? [Image: happy.gif]
Silhouette.: And to make it safer, the modules are programmed in a Unix-based compiler system, so the modules are even security locked to keep people out.
Silhouette.: I loved them. [Image: smile.gif]
valles: It shows. ^_^
Foxboy: I ca ntell.
Silhouette.: Thanks. [Image: smile.gif]
Silhouette.: But the Tamers show did it one step better, actually.
valles: Anyway, what I'm saying is that I think that there's a good to excellent chance that...
Foxboy: Not a fan of Digimon
valles: ...rather than needing a few hundred working elements to start useful testing...
Silhouette.: Heh. simple idea. The monster makers had a program that erased early test programs that exceeded their allotted space.
Silhouette.: It got out and evolved too. So eventually it crosses over to the Human world, and promptly decides HUMANS have evolved beyond their allotted space...
Foxboy: Ah. Robot Dawn/Skynet
Silhouette.: It's a very simple and dedicated program, with all the resources of the magic world it's absorbed in 15 years to use as it sees fit.
valles: ...you need more, proportional to whatever the arbitrary complexity we-the-authors assign the universe.
valles: I think a couple hundred thousand sounds about right.
Silhouette.: The key event is if you can write a code that allows you to assign some of the variables, processing space, etc, to a "virtual" location in the universe.
Silhouette.: If you can do that, resources become a meaningless concept.
valles: ....I -know- I never suggested virtual resources.
Silhouette.: Yeah, but these days, with IBM and Mikeyshaft coming out with Virtualization, which allows multiple OS'es to be run concurrently on a single box... it will be thought of FAST by the development houses.
Foxboy: Heck... I think I was suggesting the internet as a source of power for traditional magic...
valles: 'What was -that-?'
valles: 'Myspace.'
Foxboy: But this HAS been fascinating reading
valles: Not, however, by my vote, the kind of story VIIOR should be.
Foxboy: Sec gotta reprt gold farmer
Silhouette.: Oh, I agree. But I was concerned that by introducing computer-compiled magic, you'd be opening the door to a whole new level of human (and other) existence than you thought of.
Silhouette.: It might all be much more trouble than it's worth.
valles: My thought would be more along the line of...
valles: Magic involves manipulating reality by associating bits of it with symbols, right?
Skye Valentine: Depending on your system
Silhouette.: With you so far...
valles: Programs are symbols.
Silhouette.: And that's the danger.
Skye Valentine: Not necessarily
Skye Valentine: Keep in mind
Skye Valentine: Mage and other direct will-to-spell stuff...
Silhouette.: Programs are symbols that we agree on. What if we don't agree on what the program means?
Sweno: i would argue with the assumption that programs are symbols
Silhouette.: Also, a lot of magic systems assume the symbology is just convenient mental aids for patterns of thought. So you could chant in Latin or English, or Binary. But it's what's in your head that matters.
Sweno: programs are abstractions of machine code that is compiled to run on very specificly desiged hardware
valles: A way of phrasing/interpreting/symbolizing 'Do it THUS' for a given value of 'thus'...
valles: ...precisely enough and in a way that a mechanical idiot can interpret.
Silhouette.: The reason Cook did his magic books the way he did is because a lot of spells in modern gaming are shown to behave like programs: Predictable results every time.
Silhouette.: So that implies they're just programs being run by stupid low-education mages. And that the smarter ones know how to code new spells.
Silhouette.: That would imply that magic can be coded, if you know how. And the rest follows from that.
Silhouette.: One of the AD&D books was interesting because the character is ascending to a higher level, and as she casts a sleep spell, she mentally realizes the instruction in the spell to toss the sand was never spoken. She does it anyway, but it isn't needed.
Sweno: but code is run on something, and I would argue that it's not your amd / ati chipset
Skye Valentine: Raistlin Majere in Brothers IN Arms has a similar experience
Silhouette.: So that suggests that the verbal and physical components are normally just aids for less-well educated people.
Skye Valentine: A mage named Horkin - a War Wizard who never passed his test - demonstrates the ability to cast spells without the components
Skye Valentine: And he said "I realized, the magic don't control me, I control it."
valles: Actively.
Silhouette.: So then magic is all about patterns of thought, which allows someone with a special tie to certain forces around him to direct and manipulate them.
Silhouette.: Or as a friend of mine puts it: Magic is the cheat codes for the universe.
valles: Consider the idea that casting a 'program symbolised spell'
valles: Is not hitting the go button.
Skye Valentine: I would strongly disagree
valles: It's writing the damn thing in the first place.
Skye Valentine: If you want to use programs as magic, you need to go look at the Virtual Web 2.0 and Virtual Adepts sourcebooks from WoD-Terry
"Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." - Antoine de Saint Exupery
"Luge strategy? Lie flat and try not to die." - Carmen Boyle (Olympic Luge Gold Medal winner - 1996)
Mary Sue's theme music
"so listen up boy, or pornography starring your mother will be the second worst thing to happen to you today"
TF2: Spy
my own take away of from this, these are my own interpretations and ideas.
1) people who aren't inherently magical (those not affected by the incident, and those without magical origins) will have a very hard time for accessing/working with magic.
1a) anyone can access magic, it just hard
1b) those with magic origins are working off a pre-existing internal magic system, use that as a boost to work with the local system.
2) Magic is not free, it costs something to use/run. whether this is component costs, or mana, it doesn't matter.
2a) The expression of magic on an automated level will require new hardware (hacked together in a very inefficient system at first). 1's and 0's on a disk are not enough, you need to manipulate something in the physical world to create magic.
more to follow after sleep.-Terry
"Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." - Antoine de Saint Exupery
"Luge strategy? Lie flat and try not to die." - Carmen Boyle (Olympic Luge Gold Medal winner - 1996)
Mary Sue's theme music
"so listen up boy, or pornography starring your mother will be the second worst thing to happen to you today"
TF2: Spy