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Author Topic: what is the metachron dialogue?  (Read 6360 times)
Novus
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Re: what is the metachron dialogue?
« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2007, 12:28:51 pm »

No, because the real probability is 0% (or extremely small) until February 2159, and 99.99% in February 2159. It doesn't increase gradually.

Sure it does, though it is probably a more abrupt transition than the one it actually takes. The Metachron, presumably, should start to rapidly darken immediately after the Kohr-Ah win the Doctrinal Conflict (because that would be when the Kohr-Ah begin actively searching out targets for cleansing, which presumably includes the Melnorme). The fact that it does darken much more gradually seems to indicate what a number of people have said already, that the Metachron accurately predicts its demise only if no action is taken.
There are a few things to note here:
  • The probability of destruction in the near future (e.g. "this month") may change rapidly like Valaggar says, but longer-term probabilities (e.g. "this decade") change more slowly.
  • The Metachron (probably) isn't omniscient, so it's just estimating probabilities. It's unclear what it's basing its estimates on, but my guess is that it's gathering information on large-scale death and destruction and politics (not hard to do if you're an eavesdropping device on a Melnorme Trader vessel!) and using this to estimate ("Current threats to Melnorme Traders: only the Kohr-Ah. Estimated Kohr-Ah presence in the sector: (increasing function of time, based on Kohr-Ah success in Doctrinal War). Estimated chance of discovery and destruction by Kohr-Ah: (increasing function of time). Chance of surviving the next 10 years, assuming we stay on a Melnorme Trader ship and risks to Traders develop as estimated: (not very good)."). These estimates rely heavily on guesses on what the Kohr-Ah are going to do if they win their war, but it doesn't take Precursor technology to predict that (with or without the Sa-Matra), a large rampaging fleet of Kohr-Ah is bad news for everyone.
  • The darkening of the Metachron doesn't need to be linear to the destruction probability estimate; in fact, to be useful as a warning system, it should darken noticeably for, say, 5 % chances of destruction. This also improves the Metachron's chances of existing, as its chances of surviving a millennium at 5 % chance of getting blown up in the next 10 years are pretty bad (less than 1 % at a quick estimate).
And that's just assuming the Metachron does what we're told it does. For all we know, it could just be measuring how afraid people around it are that they're going to die. Smiley
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Re: what is the metachron dialogue?
« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2007, 02:29:03 pm »

This would make the MetaChron a simple calculator device.
While the simpler (and naturally encountered) Tzo Crystals are able to predict things by vibrating? (see quote:
Your arrival was predicted by our Tzo crystal's vibrations.
We already know why you are here and what you need from us; however
etiquette requires that we act as though we are ignorant of your desires.
)

For the MetaChron to be so unique as Greenish says (we Melnorme have found many strange and interesting alien artifacts.
One of these devices is the MetaChron, a kind of trans-time alarm system.
) it has to be even more special than Tzo Crystals.

Of course you could argue that the ways through it gathers information are the special, mysterious part of the MetaChron... but then it's a bit too powerful. The Melnorme would then find a way to extract all information it gathers, for sure, since they're so keen on Precursor technology.
And they have "a thousand secret sources in space and time", not just one.
Plus, they won't reveal them to you for anything but a charge which would bring our species in debt for centuries.

Also, it is a "trans-time alarm system". This would indeed mean that it actually gathers information for the future.
And "But if we are proceeding along a timeline which will eventually result in the destruction of the MetaChron
the unit slowly darkens. Presumably, it will be destroyed at the same time as it turns completely black.
"
You see - just what I said with the timeline.
Also, why would it predict the exact date (February 2159) if it just estimates the probability?
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Novus
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Re: what is the metachron dialogue?
« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2007, 08:13:05 am »

Also, why would it predict the exact date (February 2159) if it just estimates the probability?
Wasn't that something the Melnorme extrapolated from the rate of darkening, anyway?
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Re: what is the metachron dialogue?
« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2007, 02:36:38 pm »

Quote from: Novus
Wasn't that something the Melnorme extrapolated from the rate of darkening, anyway?
Yes it was. They said that the MetaChron will turn completely black on February 2159, which is just the exact date.
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Zeep-Eeep
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Re: what is the metachron dialogue?
« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2007, 07:00:51 pm »

However, you can retreat from the fight with Greenish and apologize. And after a while, you'll learn about the MetaChron.
So this is not a valid argument.

No, it is a valid argument because if you attacked Greenish and retreated then the device
is still intact. So when he gets around to telling you about it, you didn't destroy it.

Also, you're making the assumption that if you attack and kill Greenish, then the Metachron
didn't work. But what if Greenish hadn't gotten around to figuring out how it worked yet?
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Re: what is the metachron dialogue?
« Reply #20 on: March 28, 2007, 07:25:28 pm »

I said that, if you kill Greenish, it means that the MetaChron didn't even exist. Never ever in the game's universe.

If, instead, you retreat from the fight and apologize, it means that the MetaChron didn't predict anything because you weren't going to destroy it. (if you kill Greenish, then the MetaChron was, instead, at another Melnorme Trader, the one who'll tell you about the MetaChron)

Yes, it may be that Greenish hasn't yet figured to use the device, of course.
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Elvish Pillager
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Re: what is the metachron dialogue?
« Reply #21 on: March 28, 2007, 08:16:58 pm »

Maybe if you kill Greenish, the MetaChron flies out into space instead of being destroyed.
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Re: what is the metachron dialogue?
« Reply #22 on: March 28, 2007, 10:31:42 pm »

I said that, if you kill Greenish, it means that the MetaChron didn't even exist. Never ever in the game's universe.

It may have existed, but they didn't know what its function was. Or, as you said,
might be with another trader.
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Re: what is the metachron dialogue?
« Reply #23 on: March 29, 2007, 09:00:30 am »

Quote from: Novus
Wasn't that something the Melnorme extrapolated from the rate of darkening, anyway?
Yes it was. They said that the MetaChron will turn completely black on February 2159, which is just the exact date.
Actually, the Melnorme refer to the "early part of the year 2159"; they want to leave in January/February. In any case, all that means is that the MetaChron is predicting the Kohr-Ah victory (in a few years' time) with an accuracy on the order of a month. I find it reasonably plausible that the MetaChron could work that out from, say, data on the distribution (and destruction rate) of Ur-Quan ships (something the Melnorme are sure to have access to).
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Re: what is the metachron dialogue?
« Reply #24 on: March 29, 2007, 12:08:51 pm »

As I said, the probability explanation doesn't work - why then will the MetaChron be destroyed only when it turns completely black (probability_of_destruction=100%)?
Why wouldn't it be destroyed sooner, for example?

Rather, it is a bit outside of time, so all the MetaChron's moments of existence are known to the named artifact. So it knows the time of its destruction and gradually darkens, its darkest color (black) indicating its demise.
This only applies if the MetaChron stays in the same place. So the explanation would be simple.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2007, 12:35:11 pm by Valaggar » Logged
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Re: what is the metachron dialogue?
« Reply #25 on: March 29, 2007, 03:18:01 pm »

As I said, the probability explanation doesn't work - why then will the MetaChron be destroyed only when it turns completely black (probability_of_destruction=100%)?
Why wouldn't it be destroyed sooner, for example?
If it can detect its impending short-term destruction (as in noticing that the ship it is on being shot at!), its probability estimate of destruction within the prediction window will instantly shoot up, converging on 100 % when it is sure of its destruction. Conversely, in most scenarios I can think of in which it is not going to be destroyed within the next hour or so, there are pretty good chances of avoiding that fate, that the probability is noticeably less than 100 %.

Quote
Rather, it is a bit outside of time, so all the MetaChron's moments of existence are known to the named artifact. So it knows the time of its destruction and gradually darkens, its darkest color (black) indicating its demise.
This only applies if the MetaChron stays in the same place. So the explanation would be simple.
It knows its time of destruction under what set of assumptions/future circumstances? Obviously not the "real" future, or it wouldn't darken like that in a timeline where Zelnick will stop the Kohr-Ah. The "same place" part is a bit problematic, too, considering that Melnorme tend to move around quite a bit (although "in the same general region of space" might be good enough). I don't know whether that explanation is any simpler, and it certainly assumes a lot about what you can do with *time* (although, considering some other stuff hinted at by both Orz and Arilou, that could fit right into the UQM universe).
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Re: what is the metachron dialogue?
« Reply #26 on: March 29, 2007, 03:32:22 pm »

Quote from: Novus
If it can detect its impending short-term destruction (as in noticing that the ship it is on being shot at!), its probability estimate of destruction within the prediction window will instantly shoot up, converging on 100 % when it is sure of its destruction. Conversely, in most scenarios I can think of in which it is not going to be destroyed within the next hour or so, there are pretty good chances of avoiding that fate, that the probability is noticeably less than 100 %.
But in the MetaChron case the shown probability increases gradually, however the device is destroyed only near 100%. When there are good chances that it's destroyed at around 50-70%.

Quote from: Novus
It knows its time of destruction under what set of assumptions/future circumstances? Obviously not the "real" future, or it wouldn't darken like that in a timeline where Zelnick will stop the Kohr-Ah. The "same place" part is a bit problematic, too, considering that Melnorme tend to move around quite a bit (although "in the same general region of space" might be good enough). I don't know whether that explanation is any simpler, and it certainly assumes a lot about what you can do with *time* (although, considering some other stuff hinted at by both Orz and Arilou, that could fit right into the UQM universe).
Ah, now I remember why I used that multiple timelines hypothesis.
At least of that we can be sure (if we don't follow the probability explanation): you can change the timeline - presumably, anyone can, by a drastic intervention. Something exceptional.
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Re: what is the metachron dialogue?
« Reply #27 on: March 29, 2007, 05:33:40 pm »

I figured it darkened to converge to black on the time it would have been destroyed had it malfunctioned and remained white.
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Re: what is the metachron dialogue?
« Reply #28 on: March 29, 2007, 06:19:30 pm »

I figured it darkened to converge to black on the time it would have been destroyed had it malfunctioned and remained white.
That could work: have it display its time-to-death in an alternate timeline forking from the current one but with the difference that the MetaChron is white (in other words, how long does it take for the user to get himself and the MetaChron blown up if he thinks that can't happen to him?). That works: if the Melnorme rely on the MetaChron to keep them out of trouble, they'd probably hang around our part of space despite the Kohr-Ah victory and get nailed by a passing Marauder in February 2159 or so (give or take a month).

That also elegantly explains 3DO SC2/UQM: it reflects a timeline created by the MetaChron in which the Melnorme don't get a warning and therefore see no need to warn Zelnick. For every time PC SC2 is played, a corresponding game of 3DO SC2 or UQM has to be played. Well, I think we have enough timelines to put the MetaChron back in now (not that temporal order really matters; after all PC SC2 used the MetaChron before 3DO SC2 produced the requisite alternate timelines).

However, I see a small problem with this theory: how come the alternate timeline involved always seems to have the Kohr-Ah death march in 2159, considering that Zelnick (if he survives that long) usually sics the Utwig and Supox on the Kohr-Ah setting them back a year? The only explanation I can think of is that in the majority of timelines, Zelnick dies before that...
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Re: what is the metachron dialogue?
« Reply #29 on: March 29, 2007, 11:45:32 pm »

Maybe if you send the Supox and Utwig to fight the Ur-Quan, the
device slows its darkening, or lightens a bit, but you never hear about it
from the traders?
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