I've been working on a prototype of an age (or actually two) for the last few weeks. Since this age is primary not about graphics, music or art in general yet but focuses on the technical aspect, I didn't place this thread in the Builders/Showcase forum. In case this was a bad decision: Mods, please move it away.
Since I don't feel that screenshots+text is the right medium to communicate what this age is about, I created a technical demonstration video and a IC-style development diary.
So here you go - my Tahwah diary. (You don't have to read it, you can also skip directly to the video.)
- Tahwah diary Show Spoiler
Found a new age. It’s somewhat… special. I should start making some notes. From what I found out, the age was called “Tahwah”. It’s a bit dark here; I’ll have to bring a larger flashlight next time.
Okay, what do we have here? The room where I linked in: We have a closed door. And a device to insert the KI. That should probably open the door. Inserting the KI there doesn’t have any effect yet though. Maybe it needs some kind of update. Can’t find anything else here besides some pipes and a broken ceiling light.
Finally the main light is working now, but I didn’t make much progress on the KI. However, I found some old records about this age. They were safely locked away deep down in a room in the Guild Hall. After reading them I understand why they were kept so safe.
It appears that this age was a secret project of a small group of D’ni (amongst them: Book Makers, Ink Makers, Writers, Maintainers, Engineers but also some others). From what I’ve read they wanted to create an age that automates the process of age creation to some extend. Automation of Writing! No wonder that they wanted to keep that secret.
The project was started some years before the Fall. The records indicate that they made quite some progress. I wonder if they were ever able to create a working linking book in this age…
I opened the door! Had to modify my KI a bit, adding some kind of access level setting. Anyway… behind the door there’s a hallway which leads to another room just like the one where I linked in. There are also two round chambers that can be reached by the hallway. All rooms contain some kind of technical equipment in more or less bad condition. Especially the stuff in the right chamber seems to be heavily broken. The left chamber looks a bit more promising. The room at the end of the hallway seems to rely on the two chambers in terms of technology (I’ll therefore call it the “main room”), so it makes sense to start in the two chambers first.
Making some good progress both in understanding the technical bits and the history of this age.
History first: It seems that right before the Fall there was a high demand for simple “enjoyment” ages, just like the “Eder”s. The Writers seemed to have tested a system which allowed them to simplify the writing process a lot. Some high-skilled writers developed a “template” system which made it possible for a less-skilled writer to simply copy a large part of the template and then fill in the customizable parts. This template system allowed them to write such “simple” ages at a pretty high speed. (More difficult ages still needed a lot of time and work though.)
The small group I mentioned earlier wanted to go one step further and let machines do that work. Fearing a possible huge opposition of the D’ni society towards their project they decided to keep it secret – at least for the beginning.
Now that’s what I call a conspiracy!
About the technical details: The device in the left room was used to create the shape of the landscape, i.e. valleys, highlands etc. Originally it also seemed to be responsible for the materials of the landscape (i.e. grass, stone, water) but that component either was never completed or is too heavily broken. I don’t think that I’ll get this one running anywhere soon. The landscape shape component seems to need only some minor tweaks though… I’ll try to fix this one first.
I didn’t really look at the devices in the right room yet, but they look VERY broken. I’ll try to find a way to completely disconnect them from the system for now… don’t want them to cause any trouble anywhere else.
Yes! I made the left device work. It seems to be a simple “Windows Paint”-like interface when using the “basic” mode. Funny – completely different civilizations, but still the same solutions for common problems. The device creates a set of data which contains an array of height information and transfers it to a large storage device in the main room. The storage device seems to be quite similar to the Nexus lattice in terms of technology. After disconnecting the right chamber devices from main room some status lights lit up there. I guess that’s a good sign.
It looks like I’m at the end of my skills now. In THEORY everything should work now. (Well, if you take “everything” as “the most basic features”.) The last thing that needs to be done is making the big machine in the main room (which appears to be some kind of book printer) to actually dispense a book. I’m not completely sure how to proceed now.
I asked Diafero for help. He was happy to support me – and his tips were really helpful! With his help I actually managed to print my first book… but unfortunately the linking image stayed black. Fortunately Diafero said that he thinks he knows what needs to be done. He just needs some additional resources from Old Wolle (one of his friends). Hopefully Old Wolle agrees.
Old Wolle agreed! He gave his okay to Diafero and will provide the necessary resources. Making this age actually work doesn’t seem to be so far away anymore. I’m pretty sure that Diafero and I should get it running by Monday or Tuesday.
Didn’t have the time to continue writing this in the last few days. There was a lot of work to do. Diafero contributed his knowledge and thanks to Old Wolle’s resources we actually created a first linking book! The devices in the age actually work!
Diafero’s KI caused some problems at the beginning (he couldn’t use the landscape shape device) but I was able to fix that pretty quickly.
When Old Wolle joined us in Tahwah the first time, he experienced similar (yet different) problems. At first I didn’t really know what the problem was but after Mucol had exactly the same problem (side note: I invited him along with another friend called Mr. Clock as well) I finally found the source of the problem and was able to fix it. Not sure if Diafero’s KI will still work after this fix though. Gotta test that later.
Ah, and Mr. Clock provided his expertise in technical D’ni archeology and started some measurements on the wall and floor surfaces. I’m already curious what he’ll find there.
Got more devices working… like one of the screens in the left chambers yesterday evening. Was a bit difficult at first but once I figured out what to do, it wasn’t that hard anymore.
Since I’d like to invite more people in the next few days, I blocked the entrance to the right chamber for now. Don’t want to bring anybody in danger when stumbling into the electronic stuff there. I think I’ll bring my video camera tonight.
My camera didn’t work last time. Should have charged the the batteries first… anyway, Mucol and I went to Tahwah again and recorded a small video. It’s 10 minutes past midnight here now and I’m still working on the video material. Hopefully I’ll be able to put it online somewhere in an hour or so.
And here's my video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rk-IumNn1Q
For technical backgrounds and a list of credits, see this post: viewtopic.php?p=41773#p41773