Stellaris Dev Diary #188: Necroid Characters & the Art process

Stellaris Dev Diary #188: Necroid Characters & the Art process

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Orphalesion

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Sonar, just off the top of my head. Bats and whales have eyes, but they don't do much at night or in the dark depths of the ocean.
But there's a difference between augmenting your vision with sonar and not having vision at all. How would a species that only relies on sonar know what a picture looks like or how would they create and operate information technology and use it to get to space? Plus there's the role the evolution of vision (even in cases where it diminished again later) played in the development of the brain in all cases of higher intelligence on our planet.
I mean I can imagine it to be technically possible that they'd develop a system of record keeping and information technology solely based on touch and sound recordings but in almost all environment it would put them at a disadvantage to species that have vision.
Also considering how often vision has arisen on Earth life and how even micro-animals can at least distinguish between light and dark, I have trouble imagining a scenario where a whole evolutionary tree of life evolves from single celled organisms to intelligent life without ever producing visions.

Maybe some case where a extreme form of environment caused sight to atrophy in the immediate ancestors of an intelligent species (which is, for example, what I assume happened to the species in my avatar), but then again, they will have a harder time getting from simple tools to space ships.
 
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grommile

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Sonar, just off the top of my head. Bats and whales have eyes, but they don't do much at night or in the dark depths of the ocean.
I can't see a sonar-using species being able to cope with industrial warfare, so all sonar-users would have to be assumed to be uplifts.
 
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Methone

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I can't see a sonar-using species being able to cope with industrial warfare, so all sonar-users would have to be assumed to be uplifts.
You're assuming that sonar-using species would not be able to make instruments to pick up light. The reverse, after all, is very true.
How would a species that only relies on sonar know what a picture looks like or how would they create and operate information technology and use it to get to space?
I can think of a great many ways - see the above - and it takes very, very little imagination at all.
lus there's the role the evolution of vision (even in cases where it diminished again later) played in the development of the brain in all cases of higher intelligence on our planet.
Come on. "It happened this way on Earth, so it has to happen that way for all aliens." is a terrible argument.
but in almost all environment it would put them at a disadvantage to species that have vision.
In almost all environments that we are used to.
Also considering how often vision has arisen on Earth life and how even micro-animals can at least distinguish between light and dark, I have trouble imagining a scenario where a whole evolutionary tree of life evolves from single celled organisms to intelligent life without ever producing visions.
Given the lifeforms that exist at the bottom of the ocean and such, I have absolutely ZERO trouble imagining it. All your arguments just point more to your lack of imagination than any insurmountable problems a non-sighted species would have.
 
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grommile

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You're assuming that sonar-using species would not be able to make instruments to pick up light.
I think it's perfectly reasonable to assume that in the absence of "uplift"/"enlightenment"-type interventions, a sonar-using, functionally blind species would face grave difficulties – much greater even than the ones we faced, with three-channel colour vision, an angular resolution of one arc minute, and an audible frequency range of nine octaves – in making the necessary advances in the sciences of chemistry and electromagnetism to be able to make the tools to make the tools to make such a device.
 
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Primarch Victus

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Sonar, just off the top of my head. Bats and whales have eyes, but they don't do much at night or in the dark depths of the ocean.
Sonar would not be that useful in front of a computer screen...

There are a variety of evolutionary adaptations, known and otherwise, that creatures could use in place of senses.

Additionally, just because we do not see how a culture or creature could function as they do does not necessarily mean that they can't exist. They might just be beyond our understanding in some way.
Unfortunately, my suspension of disbelief don't goes that far to me to buy such pathetic excuse ("their senses are beyond our understanding"). I mean, that looks like the kind of (DATE EXPUNGED) that we could expect from some writers in 40s/50s or from a really, really amateur writer...
 
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Primarch Victus

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Come on. "It happened this way on Earth, so it has to happen that way for all aliens." is a terrible argument.
No, it isn't a terrible argument -- it's a logical argument. The simple fact we only know life here on Earth did not means that the same rules in our world don't apply elsewhere. And honestly, I prefer an ordered universe, where the same rules are followed everywhere over an universe where things like eyeless aliens, shapeshifting aliens made of goo or undead aliens (real undead aliens, not undead look alikes) are possible. Remember that not everyone has a high suspension of disbelief like you.

That said, I would like to share with you this video:
 
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DomerPyle

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I disagree. The Universe is a big place. so while some species may evolve like it does on Earth, other planets may work differently.
 
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Methone

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I think it's perfectly reasonable to assume that in the absence of "uplift"/"enlightenment"-type interventions, a sonar-using, functionally blind species would face grave difficulties – much greater even than the ones we faced, with three-channel colour vision, an angular resolution of one arc minute, and an audible frequency range of nine octaves – in making the necessary advances in the sciences of chemistry and electromagnetism to be able to make the tools to make the tools to make such a device.
Of course they'd have a harder time of it than us. But that's not what I'm arguing against. What I'm arguing against is "It literally can't be done, there's no way, they'd have to be uplifted."
Sonar would not be that useful in front of a computer screen...
Yes, so they very obviously wouldn't use computer screens. I can very easily picture them making some kind of surface made of pins that jut out or go in varying amounts.
No, it isn't a terrible argument -- it's a logical argument
Saying that does not make it so.
The simple fact we only know life here on Earth did not means that the same rules in our world don't apply elsewhere.
Do not straw-man me. The argument is not "They would follow different laws of physics." The argument is "The challenges of not having eyesight are far from insurmountable." So far from insurmountable, that I've been giving ways that they could be surmounted. Only to be met with "No no, I'm right because physics is the same everywhere and I like an ordered universe as opposed to SOME people."
 
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Primarch Victus

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I disagree. The Universe is a big place. so while some species may evolve like it does on Earth, other planets may work differently.
Sorry pal, but I still prefer to believe that life everywhere -- and more important, intelligent life -- will evolve following the same set of rules found here on Earth. Why? because it makes far more sense than the stupid idea of "each world have its own set of rules". In other words, having no vision would be an insurmountable obstacle to the evolution of intelligence. And there is nothing you can say to change my mind about that! NOTHING!
 
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Methone

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In other words, having no vision would be an insurmountable obstacle to the evolution of intelligence
I have literally shown multiple examples of why that is wrong.
And there is nothing you can say to change my mind about that! NOTHING!
Ah. So you're admitting and even being proud of being a closed-minded anthropocentrist. Caps lock proud, even. Well... okay.
 
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Orphalesion

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I can think of a great many ways - see the above - and it takes very, very little imagination at all.
All you suggested was that they'd invent some sort of machinery that can interpret light for them, you still haven't explained how they operate those machines with their sonar sense.
And not that I admitted that there could be a species that operates its machinery by touch and voice recordings. But again that would need a whole biosphere on a planet to arise that never, ever in its whole evolutionary history develops sight. Were, somehow, sight/light perception is not an advantage. And on a terrestrial planet I find that very, very unlikely. Unless it happened as a result of vision being lost (for whatever reason) after it already evolved.


Come on. "It happened this way on Earth, so it has to happen that way for all aliens." is a terrible argument.
Not really. The fundamental stresses of evolution would be the same on every planet. In every environment that in any way resembles a terrestrial planet, light perception/vision would be an advantage. Really on any planet at all that's illuminated by a nearby star light perception/vision would be an advantage.
Also: note that I wasn't saying all life has to resemble terrestrial species (they will anyway, because I've yet to see an "alien" alien that doesn't resemble a terrestrial creature, not even Wayne Barlowe quite managed that) just that some elements (some form of symmetry and some form of light perception, along with as many ways of exploiting the other conventional senses as they can manage) are very likely to find. I'd also count phototropic organism among the things you are almost certain to find but that's beside the point.
Also also I was pointing out that vision/light perception has arisen many times in Earth's history, because it is such a basic thing.
In almost all environments that we are used to.
The inhabitable planets in Stellaris all resemble environments we are used to. What are we talking here? A planet with such a thick cloud cover that sunlight never reaches it? A rouge planet with a biosphere that is kept alive by geothermal vents? In that case heat perception would be advantage, which could function very similar to conventional vision. It'd basically be vision in the infrared spectrum. Pretty sure that's the kind of vision the aliens in Expedition employ.
I'd even say in a hypothetical eco-system that is so deep underground that it's kept alive by the heat of magma veins this type of heat perception would be more advantageous to have than not.

Given the lifeforms that exist at the bottom of the ocean and such, I have absolutely ZERO trouble imagining it. All your arguments just point more to your lack of imagination than any insurmountable problems a non-sighted species would have.
Yeah and you know the abyssal layer of the ocean is a very unlikely place for a technologically advanced species to arise. And even there you have animals that can see. Anglerfish and things like that.
 
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Knotz

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The idea of convergent evolution is predicated on the idea that intelligent life needs a ludicrously specific set of circumstances, and it's confidently asserted, with it's sample size of one.
 
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Fulgrymm

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This is an inherent property of any game that is about filling up an empty map with gameplay objects that require individual processing.

You can design to mitigate it, but you cannot prevent it.
Strangely this isn't as much a problem for SEIV, I've never experienced the slowdown I get with SEV. I wonder if this is because pathfinding around a square grid is simpler to process than for a hex circle?
 
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LWE

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Strangely this isn't as much a problem for SEIV, I've never experienced the slowdown I get with SEV. I wonder if this is because pathfinding around a square grid is simpler to process than for a hex circle?
Definitely not, there’s no reason why pathfinding algorithms for one would be more intensive than the other. I think it’s simply lack of attention paid to optimization, similar to Stellaris checking all planet pops each day for every vacant job before the team improved performance somewhat.
 
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Primarch Victus

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I have literally shown multiple examples of why that is wrong.

Ah. So you're admitting and even being proud of being a closed-minded anthropocentrist. Caps lock proud, even. Well... okay.
Your "examples" are pathetic. An ordered universe, where life evolved following the same set of rules everywhere still makes far more sense than a "free for all" universe with different set of rules for each planet. Intelligent life using vision still makes more sense than things like eyeless aliens, shapeshifting blobs of matter able to magically turn themselves into objects and people or intelligent life that is 100% aquatic building starships and using technology.
 
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Gundabadguy

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Sonar would not be that useful in front of a computer screen...
That is a very limited way of seeing what aliens could be like. They could use speakers instead of computer screens.
 
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Olterin

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Your "examples" are pathetic. An ordered universe, where life evolved following the same set of rules everywhere still makes far more sense than a "free for all" universe with different set of rules for each planet. Intelligent life using vision still makes more sense than things like eyeless aliens, shapeshifting blobs of matter able to magically turn themselves into objects and people or intelligent life that is 100% aquatic building starships and using technology.
Alright, this is going way off-topic but I'll bite, once. It makes sense that life evolves using the same set of rules everywhere, sure. But what are those rules? Complex self-replicating molecules that store data on how to build a set of even more complex molecules working as a united machine is about the only underpinning principle. Life doesn't even, strictly speaking, have to be carbon-based everywhere (though it is the most convenient element for it in a far wider range of settings than the others). But that aside... ask yourself why it makes sense for intelligent life to use vision than not. Can this be replaced by some other means? What do you define as "vision"? Narrowest definition of "vision" as in, "human-visible band of EM spectrum of light", no, that is most definitely too specific, intelligent life can evolve without that - the range of the spectrum might be different, greater even, depending on the spectrum produced by the local star. Not being able to perceive EM waves at all, now that is a far more difficult (and most likely insurmountable) hurdle, since it is one of the fundamental ways of information transmission in this universe.

Now, do note, that that "at all" there includes being able to sense heat via your skin (as a human example). I'll agree that it is a problem if that is the case and life most likely cannot evolve without that capability since the chemical reactions necessary to sustain life require a certain range of temperatures. So that one is a given. Next up, the ability to wield tools - if you're unable to render an image of the environment surrounding you, at all, then this one goes out the window. So there must be some mechanism covering that - it doesn't have to be "visible EM light", but it will be "vision" - this can be sonar, thermal, insert-wacky-way-of-rendering-environment-with-tentacle-touches, whatever. But this one is necessary. In fact, humans have two senses of "vision" by this broad use of the word: sight and hearing (edit: an if I think about it, touch goes in here too). Also this paragraph covers that appendages of some sort that enable the manipulation of tools are basically a given as well (if psionics are a thing, then perhaps, probably even, as a stage in evolution before the species in question reaches the ability to manipulate things with their mind exclusively).

However, it is entirely possible for intelligent species that rival or exceed human intelligence to evolve in an aquatic environment, for example. Why? Because there's nothing stopping it from happening - such species would not have any roadblocks towards the usage of tools. It would be best described as living in a far denser "atmosphere" that has another layer on top of it before there is vacuum. Zero issues with that. Rockets can be launched underwater, no issues there either. One issue that arises, then, is that an aquatic species would have a significant hurdle in utilizing electricity - but this can be overcome with sufficient ingenuity.
 
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grommile

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One issue that arises, then, is that an aquatic species would have a significant hurdle in utilizing electricity - but this can be overcome with sufficient ingenuity.
An aquatic species could perfectly well be smarter than us. They'd have to be much smarter than us – or amphibious, or air-breathing floater-divers like whales – to develop an electrical civilization; the hurdles in developing an electrical civilization underwater are far more fundamental than "you are surrounded by an electrically conductive medium", because they strike to the heart of developing a metallurgical civilization.
 
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MrFreake_PDX

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Obviously nobody really knows if any other intelligent life exists and what conditions it needs to develop, so all these things are just assertions, guesses and ideas.

The trick, I think with a species that used "sonar" vision as opposed to "EM light" vision, is having a small to medium sized population in a set of circumstances where there are evolutionary pressures towards becoming smarter for long enough to actually develop sentience, but removed from enough threat that their "disadvantage" doesn't get them all eaten.

Once a species like our "sonar dudes" develop sentience, they can then move out into the world with a huge advantage over the other presapient species on the planet.
 
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Primarch Victus

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That is a very limited way of seeing what aliens could be like. They could use speakers instead of computer screens.
Speakers would be completely useless for the creation of 3D images like the used in certain scientific activities, friend. Stop dreaming. If there is intellignet life out there, they will have eyes -- and those eyes will probably be equal or better than ours.

Alright, this is going way off-topic but I'll bite, once. It makes sense that life evolves using the same set of rules everywhere, sure. But what are those rules? Complex self-replicating molecules that store data on how to build a set of even more complex molecules working as a united machine is about the only underpinning principle. Life doesn't even, strictly speaking, have to be carbon-based everywhere (though it is the most convenient element for it in a far wider range of settings than the others). But that aside... ask yourself why it makes sense for intelligent life to use vision than not. Can this be replaced by some other means? What do you define as "vision"? Narrowest definition of "vision" as in, "human-visible band of EM spectrum of light", no, that is most definitely too specific, intelligent life can evolve without that - the range of the spectrum might be different, greater even, depending on the spectrum produced by the local star. Not being able to perceive EM waves at all, now that is a far more difficult (and most likely insurmountable) hurdle, since it is one of the fundamental ways of information transmission in this universe.

Now, do note, that that "at all" there includes being able to sense heat via your skin (as a human example). I'll agree that it is a problem if that is the case and life most likely cannot evolve without that capability since the chemical reactions necessary to sustain life require a certain range of temperatures. So that one is a given. Next up, the ability to wield tools - if you're unable to render an image of the environment surrounding you, at all, then this one goes out the window. So there must be some mechanism covering that - it doesn't have to be "visible EM light", but it will be "vision" - this can be sonar, thermal, insert-wacky-way-of-rendering-environment-with-tentacle-touches, whatever. But this one is necessary. In fact, humans have two senses of "vision" by this broad use of the word: sight and hearing (edit: an if I think about it, touch goes in here too). Also this paragraph covers that appendages of some sort that enable the manipulation of tools are basically a given as well (if psionics are a thing, then perhaps, probably even, as a stage in evolution before the species in question reaches the ability to manipulate things with their mind exclusively).

However, it is entirely possible for intelligent species that rival or exceed human intelligence to evolve in an aquatic environment, for example. Why? Because there's nothing stopping it from happening - such species would not have any roadblocks towards the usage of tools. It would be best described as living in a far denser "atmosphere" that has another layer on top of it before there is vacuum. Zero issues with that. Rockets can be launched underwater, no issues there either. One issue that arises, then, is that an aquatic species would have a significant hurdle in utilizing electricity - but this can be overcome with sufficient ingenuity.
An aquatic species could perfectly well be smarter than us. They'd have to be much smarter than us – or amphibious, or air-breathing floater-divers like whales – to develop an electrical civilization; the hurdles in developing an electrical civilization underwater are far more fundamental than "you are surrounded by an electrically conductive medium", because they strike to the heart of developing a metallurgical civilization.
Yes, and you need of both electricity and metallurgy to develop technology.
 
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