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News: Paul & Fred have reached a settlement with Stardock!

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1  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: Earth as a 1g spacecraft, and change of time perception with age. on: January 21, 2013, 11:59:27 am
I have a problem with understanding the relationship between time dilation in special relativity and general relativity. In special relativity time dilation is usually related to speed ( at light speed there is infinite time dilation ). In general relativity time dilation is usually related to gravity, but gravity is not equivalent to speed. Gravity is equivalent to acceleration. In special relativity time dilation increases with time in an accelerating trajectory. In general relativity time dilation does not seem to increase with time in a gravitational field.
2  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Earth as a 1g spacecraft, and change of time perception with age. on: January 20, 2013, 08:07:34 pm
We humans continuously experience a gravitational pull of 1g towards the center of the earth. The gravitational pull we experience from earth is equal to the pull we would feel in a spaceship continuously accelerating 9.81 m/s2. A person born on such a spaceship would have traveled to the nearest star by the age of 4, traveled to the center of the galaxy by the age of 20, traveled to the Andromeda galaxy by the age of 28, and to the edge of the known universe by the age of 40. The person would be able to travel these astonishing distances in such short amounts of time because of relativistic time dilation on the spacecraft.

The earth isn't necessarily a spacecraft continuously accelerating at 1g, but our perception of time seems to change with age. As we grow older we feel that less time passes in a day than we did when we were younger. Is it possible that the change in time perception with age is related to the 1g gravitational field we continuously are exposed to?
3  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth? on: March 09, 2012, 11:47:50 pm
I am watching this documentary series called Through the Wormhole ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1513168/ ).  Episode 6 season 1 ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1669753/ ) and episode 10 season 2 ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1931230/ ) are about alien life. Morgan Freeman is the narrator of the series, and I would highly recommend it.
4  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Project 6014 – Ur-Quan Masters mod on: February 23, 2012, 12:04:39 am
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But our subject was the Chmmr and their supposed "vengeful" behaviour. Problem with that is: why do you think that the Chmmr = Chenjesu? How much we know about the Chmmr? Chenjesu and Mmrnmhrm artificially merged into one species. They were introduced only superficially, as endgame musclepower. Their carefully planned transformation was interrupted by the Captain. 4 years have passed since that interruption. Other factors about difference in behaviour unknown (and possibly spoiler).

From the behaviour of the Chmmr in Star Control 2 they remind me a lot about Data from Star Trek - Next generation. Such a race should make all decisions solely based upon logic and reason ( not based upon any emotions ). I also think that the Arilou and the Orz are much better suited for being villains than the Chmmr. I actually doubt that the Orz germinated into androsynth space just to help the commander in his fight against the Ur-Quan. Seems almost implicit that they have some other agenda ( like germinating into the captain and the other species ). I would assume that a battle between the  agenda of the Arilou VS the agenda of the Orz would be the natural contextual background of a Star Control 2 sequel ( kinda like the Vorlons VS the Shadows in Babylon 5 ). As for the Chmmr, it might be interesting to see them infected with a virus which makes them evil ( possibly given to them by the Mycon ). Kinda like Data's evil twin brother Lore in Star Trek - The next generation. Evil behaviour can be completely logical and reasonable. An example would be murdering people with genetic disorders and low IQ in order to improve the genes of mankind.
5  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: Why hasn't there been made more games like Star Control 2? on: February 22, 2012, 11:29:58 pm
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Genre-wise, I really didn't see much space adventure games since Star Control, especially not recently. Note that when I say "adventure game", it doesn't include "role-playing games" as I consider the latter as a different category, which originates from pen and paper role-playing. If you ask me what game is Star Control related with, I'd say The Day of the Tentacle or The Book of Unwritten Tales (I'd dare to say L. A. Noire too): conversational options and puzzle solving are the basis, with combat and resource gathering tasks as secondary features. These are investigative games: you have to use your power of observation, listen to what characters have to say, keep count on your clues, and use your wits/imagination in combining items.

I kinda agree. I tried to play mass effect 2, but found it too action-oriented for my taste. I do however think that some of the best games are hybrids between role-playing and adventure. Star control 2 certainly had some role-playing aspects ( like improvement of the precursor service vehicle ). Another adventure / role-playing hybrid I liked a lot as a child was quest for glory. I also think the elder scrolls series has become more and more adventure-like, and that is probably the main reason why I liked Skyrim much more than the older elder scrolls games.
6  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth? on: January 26, 2012, 01:01:32 am
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How do we know life on other planets will even remotely resemble life on Earth? Yes, we have some fairly concrete guesses on how life developed on one planet out of those 50 billion in the Milky Way alone, what makes us think that any of our knowledge will even be applicable to life on other planets?

We don't know all the possible ways life can develop, but we do know that life can develop the way it did here on Earth. It will be incredibly interesting to have a microbial specimen from another planet. Will it have its genetic code stored in DNA or in some other polymer? Will it use the same amino acids as life on earth, and have proteins made of amino acids? Will it have a cell membrane made of phospholipids?  A microbial specimen from another planet would most likely revolutionize our understanding of cell biology.
7  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth? on: January 25, 2012, 11:57:39 pm
But we do know a bit....

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Scientists have estimated the first cosmic census of planets in our galaxy and the numbers are astronomical: at least 50 billion planets in the Milky Way.

At least 500 million of those planets are in the not-too-hot, not-too-cold zone where life could exist. The numbers were extrapolated from the early results of NASA's planet-hunting Kepler telescope.
http://apnews.excite.com/article/20110219/D9LG45NO0.html

We also know quite a bit about abiogenesis, and the vast majority of bioscientists believe that life originated spontaneously from simpler molecules on Earth. They also believe that life will develop on other planets with liquid water in a similar fashion.
8  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth? on: January 25, 2012, 10:59:02 pm
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In particular, natural selection, the mechanism for evolution, the only process we know of that can possibly produce complex life (short of artificial means), does not guarantee or even encourage intelligent life. Assuming, then, that intelligent life is going to be common in places where life exists is an extraordinary claim.

Well.. even though there are many bacteria and single celled eukaryotes that in many ways are much more successful than humans, especially when it comes to their ability to survive in harsh conditions, life on earth has been evolving greater and greater complexity. This is mostly because life of increased complexity can find and exploit new niches.  We can therefore assume that life on other planets also have the tendency to evolve greater and greater complexity to fill and exploit new niches.
9  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth? on: January 25, 2012, 10:22:17 pm
"Maybe the reason we haven't found any life at all, anywhere, except for on Earth, is because we haven't looked hard enough, but it seems more likely that life is just a rare occurance."

It is not necessarily that easy to find microbial life. Sure, photosynthetic life can be found due to oxygen accumulation in the atmosphere, but there were chemoautotropic microorganisms here on earth long before the first phototrophs. If there are such chemoautotropic microorganisms on Mars for example, they are probably just on specific locations where there is liquid water, not everywhere. In order for there to be life as we know it there must be liquid water, and there is not a lot of liquid water on the other planets in this solar system. There might however be some on Mars and on Jupiter's moon Europa, but probably a lot of it on other planets in other solar systems. Recently we have found lots of new planets that have approximately the right temperature for liquid water to exist ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habitable_zone#Recent_breakthroughs:_Super-Earths_and_Earth-sized_planets ).



There are probably millions of planets like Kepler 22b in our galaxy. I think most bioscientists would find it very strange if none of those planets have any microbial life.
10  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth? on: January 24, 2012, 10:11:13 pm
"If you're talking about making your species stupid so they become normal wild animals, no. There is nothing about less intelligent animals that makes them survive longer. "

Well.. that is not what I was talking about. I was talking about freezing zygotes, not making a species less intelligent. All organisms that are alive will have mutations occurring in their genome, and those mutations don't necessarily need to be beneficial. If a species was to be alive for millions of years the genome would change significantly. If however a zygote is frozen down for millions of years the changes in the genome would be negligible.

"Considering we haven't found any life anywhere except for Earth, not even single-celled organisms, it's pretty safe to conclude that life is an extremely rare occurrence in the universe"

No it is not.... The other planets in this solar system are not particularly environmental friendly for biological life, and lots of scientists believe that there might be microbial life on Mars and Jupiter's moon called Europa. In other solar systems there are planets that are approximately the same size as earth and have approximately the same average temperature. On such a planet the likelihood for microbial life would be far higher than for either on Mars or on Europa.
11  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth? on: January 24, 2012, 09:25:42 pm
Well... programming a computer to be that intelligent is something nobody has been able to achive yet, and which has proved to be much more difficult than what science fiction writers believed in the 60's. We have the means to create a nuclear holocaust right now, and has had it since the 50's. I also however doubt that there will be a nuclear holocaust, as even politicians should be able to understand that a global nuclear war is suicide for everyone. Genetically engineered viruses might be the greatest threat to mankind right now. Such a virus could be created by a single crazy bioscientist, and can have the potential to do huge amounts of damage. I doubt however that either a nuclear war or genetically engineered viruses will be able to wipe out ALL of mankind. There will always be survivors. Such events might however cause a collapse of the global infrastructue and put us hundreds of years back in time. Even the depletion of non-renewable resources might cause a collapse of the global infrastrure and put us hundres of years back in time.
12  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth? on: January 24, 2012, 11:07:17 am
"But considering the age of the universe, the likelyhood that thier civilization is in existence at the same time period as our own seems unlikely."

Well.... it all depends on what usually happens to species that manage to  acquire advanced technologies. Do they use biological tools to enhance themselves into even more advanced species, or do they destroy themselves in nuclear holocausts? I cannot say for sure what is the more likely outcome for our species. If a technologically advanced species wants to stay alive for a long period of time, it probably goes into a more suspended state. The idea of the Precursors going into suspension as the Ortogs in Star Control 3 is not so bad, not because there is a species feeding on higher intelligence, but because a species will increase its odds for long time survival by going into suspension. Of course it would be much smarter to merely freeze zygotes rather than to live as Ortogs, and have machines like the Daktaklakpak germinate the zygotes every now and then. Animals like the Ortogs have a high mutation rate, and therefore wouldn't serve very well as a suspension vehicle.
13  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Do you believe that aliens are monitoring earth? on: January 23, 2012, 02:06:47 am
We are currently finding more and more earth-sized exoplanets that are in the habitable zone. The bioscientific consensus is also that life should rise spontaneously wherever the circumstances are right. If this is the case, then there should be millions of planets with biological life in this galaxy. The presence of oxygen in the atmosphere of a planet strongly indicates that there is biological life on the planet, as diatomic oxygen is an extremely reactive gas which most likely will disappear from any planet that doesn't have a continuous reemission of oxygen into the atmosphere from a process like photosynthesis. It is also possible to detect the presence of oxygen in the atmosphere of an exoplanet from here, as oxygen has a unique absorption spectrum which will show on any light that passes through the atmosphere of the exoplanet. So, my guess is that we soon will find earth- sized exoplanets in the habitable zone with oxygen in the atmosphere. But if that is the case then intelligent lifeforms on other exoplanets should also be able to detect oxygen in our atmosphere. Our planet has had oxygen in the atmosphere for approximately 2.4 billion years, and I would assume that any intelligent species that might have risen in our galaxy during the last 2.4 billion years must have scanned the galaxy for planets with oxygen in the atmosphere.....
14  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Why hasn't there been made more games like Star Control 2? on: January 22, 2012, 01:46:09 pm
When I think of my favourite computer games from the 90's, there were the medieval fantasy role playing games like quest for glory, ultima, daggerfall, and so on. Developers have continued to increase the quality of this genre. Skyrim is better than oblivion, oblivion is better than morrowind, and morrowind is better than daggerfall. So the best medieval fantasy role playing games of all time might be the recently developed Drakensang: The river of time ( 2010 ) and Skyrim (2011).

When it comes to the Star Control genre however, there hasn't been made any serious improvements since Star Control 2 came in the early 90's. So Star Control 2 still stands as the best game of all time for this sci-fi star-travelling role-playing genre. I don't think this is just because Star Control 2 was a great game, I also think it is because there has been made very few serious attempts to make games like Star Control 2....
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