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Jumping *Peppers*
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Re: Kohr-Ah and Slylandro Probes
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2007, 10:40:23 pm »

What I don't understand is why killing the Sylandro would help. I mean, it's not like the probes would magically shut down once their masters were destroyed...

But yeah, probes win because of sheer numbers. Unless the Kzer-Za are smart enough to capture one and figure out where it came from/how they work, which I doubt.
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Re: Kohr-Ah and Slylandro Probes
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2007, 10:54:27 pm »

While the probe plauge would be a huge pain, I think the Korh-ah might be up to it. After all, they tend to travel
in groups, while he probes (as far as I know) always fly solo.
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Re: Kohr-Ah and Slylandro Probes
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2007, 06:53:32 am »

Logically, the probes would not only fly solo, but also stay as far away from each other as possible, so as to avoid duplicating observations (as well as avoiding competing with each other for resources).

So, wandering packs of Marauders wouldn't be in any great danger from the probes, since they'd tend to meet them one at a time.  However, I don't think they'd ever be able to wipe them out--not with geometric progression and a solid head start.  They'd probably only be able to destroy the probes at a constant rate, and I'm betting that by that point the probes would outnumber the Kohr-Ah's ships rather severely.  Also, remember that they would have to get EVERY probe, or else it starts all over again.  Some of them probably got quite far.

The solution of the destruct code only works--or at least, presumably works--because the number of "fixed" probes going around transmitting the sequence to other codes should be growing at about the same rate as their reproduction, only with a time lag.  They'll be coming back to report in droves, and the Slylandro will probably keep reprogramming them to seek out other probes and transmit the sequence.

I'd like to note that the probe's own projections seem to show a decrease in the increase in rate* of population growth, though: if it thinks there are 583 probes currently and there will be 14,784 one Drahnasa from now, that would mean it expects them to increase by a factor of about 25 per Drahnasa.  But if you look at the next four Drahnasa, its estimate of probe population is only 45,786,412, not the expected 14,784*25*25*25*25, which would be 5,775,000,000.  It could be taking into account diminishing resources, but it doesn't seem like that should matter at that point (after all, they're probably going off in different directions) so I think that means that there's some kind of limiting factor built into them--that an individual probe will stop replicating after 100, or something (and maybe a second-generation probe would stop replicating after 95, and a third-generation one after 90...).

That's STILL a lot of probes, but maybe at some point they do stop replicating (or the increase in population is approximately linear--that might come first), and then it's possible to eliminate all of them.

*I think.  The rate of growth is still increasing, because in the first Drahnasa you've got an increase of tens of thousands and over the next four there's an increase of tens of millions.  It seems like it's possible the actual decrease, at this point, could be after you take a few more derivatives, though.  Who's looked at this in more detail?
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Spektrowski
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Re: Kohr-Ah and Slylandro Probes
« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2007, 09:42:34 am »

Another thing is what should be the replication rate to make exactly 583 probes at any point? 583 is 53*11, and those two numbers are its only divisors. So maybe the "projections" the Probe makes are just some random numbers?
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Re: Kohr-Ah and Slylandro Probes
« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2007, 10:24:24 am »

I think there's two ways you can go with this.
Either the projection is sophisticated and takes into account 1)probes being destroyed, sucked into black holes or whatever and 2)uneven rates of replication: a probe doesn't replicate "every n days, no matter what," but instead replicates when it has enough materials.  So it might be something like (making up numbers without trying to make them fit here) "1 in 8 probes will have an average lifespan of 324 days; 1/5 of probes will manage to replicate once every 11 days; 1/3 will replicate once every 9.5 days; blah blah blah".

OR, to go the other direction, it could just be a very crude estimate.  If it knows that the population should double every time period t, and that it's been 9.18735 t since the start of the mission, it might just go, 2^9.18735 is about 583, so there should be about 583 probes by now.  Since the probes aren't replicating at a fixed rate, but as they gather material, you aren't going to have some kind of "0:01:59 - 32 probes.  0:02:00 - 64 probes, as the previous 32 all finish replicating at once" situation, so it's probably a reasonable estimate (assuming they got the "population doubles every time period t" part right in the first place).

But the key here is that it's behaving a lot like the population of a biological species (a biological species with an unlimited food supply at this point, and few predators, and that reproduces asexually and one "child" at a time), and you can definitely end up with messy numbers of them.
Or you could say it's behaving like radioactive decay (...if it happened in reverse).  You don't go right from 2 kg to 1 kg as soon as the half-life is up.  It's decaying the whole time, in bits, and you can calculate how much there will be after 1.2545 of its half-life.
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Re: Kohr-Ah and Slylandro Probes
« Reply #20 on: January 18, 2007, 10:34:27 am »

By the way, about "going solo and far away from each other"... I once met TWO probes orbiting Groombridge I, the Rainbow World. Another thing is that they were separate from each other rather than combined in a group Cheesy
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Re: Kohr-Ah and Slylandro Probes
« Reply #21 on: January 18, 2007, 10:49:30 am »

By the way, about "going solo and far away from each other"... I once met TWO probes orbiting Groombridge I, the Rainbow World. Another thing is that they were separate from each other rather than combined in a group Cheesy

Ha, neat!  So--whatever method they use to try to avoid each other/avoid doing the same areas isn't perfect.  Or, it was interesting enough that one of them called another over somehow so there would be more data on that particular interesting thing.

That supports the "not attacking together" idea, though--even when they're in the same system, you encounter them separately.  (And, in fact, it's impossible to encounter more than one probe at a time, not just very improbable.)
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Re: Kohr-Ah and Slylandro Probes
« Reply #22 on: January 18, 2007, 10:55:02 am »

Another possibility is that the Probe had just recently replicated, and the second one just didn't leave yet. Though we never see the Probes actually replicating in the game, at least as far as I know Smiley
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Re: Kohr-Ah and Slylandro Probes
« Reply #23 on: January 18, 2007, 12:45:40 pm »

Note that the probes are programmed to return home after 10 replications.

And I'd suspect that it would often happen that after a successful replication, one probe would try to break down the other again for components.
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Re: Kohr-Ah and Slylandro Probes
« Reply #24 on: January 18, 2007, 01:09:02 pm »

Another Probe isn't an "unknown" ship, so this might be a rare case.
Hm... if a Probe would actually return home after ten replications, then there should be a whole mess of Probes in a Slylandro system around 2157-2158, unless the Slylandro would reload the exploration program for each Probe. I don't think the Slylandro get probes self-destructed upon return Cheesy
Maybe, it's possible to implement it in the game in some way - like, if you go to Slylandro for the first time at 2155-early 2156, there won't be any probes in Beta Corvi system, in later 2156 there'd be two or three, and after 2156 the number would gradually increase, ending up with a completely swarmed system in 2158-2159, so to at least get to Slylandro homeworld and get the destruction code, you'd have to kill several Probes?
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Re: Kohr-Ah and Slylandro Probes
« Reply #25 on: January 18, 2007, 04:35:25 pm »

There is also the possibility that the Korh-ah could figure out the
self-destruct code for the probes. They may be single-minded, but
I don't think they're stupid. They'd probably change tatics for something
like this.

It's a shame you can't buy a probe from the Traders. Imagine having a
probe of your own. It's shiny, it's easy to program, what more
could you want?
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Jumping *Peppers*
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Re: Kohr-Ah and Slylandro Probes
« Reply #26 on: January 18, 2007, 06:29:07 pm »

Oh, the probes return home after a while? That changes things. All the Kohr-Ah have to do is bide their time until most of the probes return home, and then nuke Beta Corvi from orbit...

Barring that, the Sylandro would probably figure out their probes are running wild eventully, and tranmit the self-destruct code themselves.
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Quote from: Arne, on the origin of the Mycon
Maybe a precursor were just like "Hey I built this mushroom thing, it can traavel between plaaanets!" and the others were like "Yaaaay!" and then they all deliriously clapped their hands and giggled like little schoolgirls.
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Re: Kohr-Ah and Slylandro Probes
« Reply #27 on: January 18, 2007, 07:25:55 pm »

So if most Probes would gather back at Beta Corvi, one good Sa-Matra shot would wipe out the majority of their population Cheesy
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Re: Kohr-Ah and Slylandro Probes
« Reply #28 on: January 19, 2007, 07:20:31 am »

Well, we already knew the probes return home eventually, although it's useful to know it's after "ten replications" instead of the more vague "when its data banks are full" or whatever.

I'm guessing the Melnorme would have programmed in a specific behavior for a probe encountering another probe, and there's two (to me) logical choices: 1)ignore 2)contact it and arrange to go in different directions to avoid going over the same area and recording the same data, which is a waste.  Otherwise (in the non-glitch situation, anyway), you end up with one of these situations--probably the first time a probe replicates and then catches sight of its "child": 1)They try to break each other down for materials, 2)They treat each other as alien ships, possibly ending up talking to each other forever (since the behavior continues until interrupted, I don't think either one would break off communications), 3)They end up recording data about each other.  3) is the least undesirable, but it's still pretty useless.
Since we don't see anything about this in the program (if it exists, it would have to be like the defensive capability--somewhere else, and separate from the bit we do see), we don't know whether it would be overridden by the 999 replication priority.  I suspect it's not overridden, since otherwise it seems like nearly every time a probe replicated, they'd try to break each other down.  They're constantly rotating, so they'd probably sense each other immediately.

It could also be that a new probe has to get a certain distance from its parent probe before it starts behaving "normally" and looking for objects to study/communicate with/break down and that the parent probe ignores everything for a certain amount of time after replicating.  This would, in most cases, make sure they didn't encounter each other immediately.

I also made an Excel spreadsheet to show what happens if the probes stop after ten replications vs. what happens if they replicated forever, and the difference isn't enough to account for the severely reduced rate we see in the projections (it shows 512 at time 9, 16,336 at time 14, 66,519,728 at time 26, and 16,962,383,680 at time 34(which I'm taking as the closest thing to five years/Drahnasa away)).  It's downloadable here as a .xls.  Also available as a tab-delineated text file with numbers and a tab-delineated text file with formulas.
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