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New to OA, what's a good way to "get into it"?
Thoughts, comments, and hopefully helpful info and notions below...

(02-14-2019, 07:06 AM)jedidia Wrote: Hmmmm... Has the primer been reworked during the last year or so? I read through it the last time I tried getting into the setting, and I don't remember it quite so friendly. I browsed through it again just now, and it seems a lot more approachable than it felt back then. Meaning either it was reworked and somebody did a very good job, or the like 6 or so hours of reading in the last few days have resulted in the accumulation of enough information for it to suddenly make a lot more sense. If the first is the case, great. If the second is the case, it might be a hint that it might indeed not fully fulfill its purpose as entry-level reading.

It has been reworked actuallySmile We basically combined the old Illustrated Backstory with elements of the old Primer, the Glossary of Terms, and a number of stories from our fiction section, and added in a lot of extra images. The last part at the end, with the Table of Contents, is essentially what used to be the old Primer. But it's more of an extra for those who want to do a deeper dive into the elements of the setting all in one go instead of exploring the EG rather than a 'you must read this to get a handle on what's going on' kind of thing.

(02-14-2019, 07:06 AM)jedidia Wrote: I don't think it has to be fully narrative (as in the sense of being encapsulated in a story with an actual plot), but other than that, yes, that's pretty much what I mean.

Nifty! What I'm currently envisioning would be chunks of a 'story' - in this case a character visiting Sol system for the first time - intermixed with chunks of the EG entry about Sol System in 10,600 AT. I'm imagining the character is actually from a type of virch called a bottleworld that simulated a rather low tech world (no more advanced than our own, maybe less) and that that virch has recently been discovered and rescued by Sephirotic civilization. Being a sophtware entity, the character can technically 'teleport' at the speed of light from place to place in the solar system - but in between wants to experience the 'real world' by inhabiting a robot body (made to look and feel just like her own). As she visits each place, the reader experiences solar civilization through her eyes and then gets to read a portion of EG about Sol - as she does to learn about it more formally. I even have an idea for tying this to an existing story set in OA, but need to check on some things first. Some info could also probably be imparted in the narrative portions, but the bulk - at least about Solsys would be in the EG chunks.

Agreed that the entire current article on Solsys would likely be too long for something like this. But excerpts could be copied from it for the purpose. We could even do something clever with bulleted links to 'additional' information that the character wouldn't read (or usually wouldn't read) but which the actual reader could follow and read if they wished. Also agreed that starting with GAIA would be a most readers up frontBig Grin

(02-14-2019, 07:06 AM)jedidia Wrote: sticking with the "Sol in 10600AT" example, I would possibly start with some flavour text describing a sight that could be from earth, then emphasise that it isn't actually earth but venus, from there take a very short detour to why it's not earth and why earth is off-limits, using that as an excuse to very coarsely introduce Gaia and the concept of S+ beings/Gods without going too much into any specific history.

After that it might be good to continue with the current population of Sol, i.e. introducing and explaining the concept of clades, and going very briefly into the clades common in the Sol system.

This all sounds reasonable.

(02-14-2019, 07:06 AM)jedidia Wrote: The concept of clades is very important though. Not just what they are, but also what they are not. When you explain it in the primer, for example, it says pretty nicely what a clade is, but since there wasn't much references in my brain to fall back on, I had some pretty wrong assumptions about what that entails, because there's no explanation of what they are not. By now I'm fairly certain that clades do in no way imply an overarching identity or even organisational structure between members of a clade, while my first assumption of them was that they have some form of political cohesion, possibly even governments. Basically I assumed they were OA-speak for "factions", simply because that's what most other settings would do by default. So when a concept you introduce defies "literary traditions" associated with it, it would be very helpful to point that out.

At the most basic editorial level 'clades' (or 'races and clades') are OAs answer to the aliens found in most SF - 'humans with bumpy foreheads' are nearbaselines, tweaks, rianths, and splices. Less humanoid aliens are provolves and neogens. Machine aliens are vecs.

While there can be a certain degree of political cohesion and/or racial identity around the concept, particularly in the earlier parts of the timeline and/or the more remote/less central parts of colonized space, in the big population centers of the Current Era (which can populations in hundreds of trillions or more), concepts of race or species (as well as gender, sexual orientation, and substrate) are usually viewed in sort of the same way as we might view a particular item of clothing or hairstyle - technology makes all of these things changeable with trivial effort (for some things, it's as easy as thinking about it) and this state of affairs has been the norm for so long that the idea that it could have greater social significance doesn't even exist in most people's conceptual universe.

Anyway, agreed that races and clades are concepts the character/the reader should definitely be introduced to. There are a lot of different groups living in Sol System, so this should be easy enough to do.

(02-14-2019, 07:06 AM)jedidia Wrote: This chapter should also outline the fundamental forms of existence (embodied, sophtware, completely virtual vs. virtual presence (virch? still not sure what that means exactly), cyborgs and vecs (though I guess these fall under clades? see, confusion! Smile ), and potentially why vecs are not just considered AI.

Virch is shorthand for a virtual environment. Think of something like Second Life or World of Warcraft or some of the video games where you actually put on a VR headset. Now imagine the tech advanced to the point where the experience involves all of your senses to such a degree of detail that there is (in principle) no way for the user to tell they are in a virtual environment. Now imagine that you don't need any external hardware to enter such a place - instead you have an implant in your head that let's you enter it as easily as closing your eyes, thinking the appropriate 'web address' and opening them to find yourself there. Now imagine there are about 1e20 (that's a one followed by 20 zeros) such virchs available to visit across the civilized galaxy, with your particular home habitat having at least several billion to several trillion running on hardware sufficiently close to you to basically be 'instantly' accessible. That's a virch.

You can also use the same tech to access distant viewpoints in the 'ril' via local sensors and to operate 'remote bodies' at those points. Some bodies are robotic, others are just clouds of smart matter, depending.

'Virtual' is also a term used to describe some types of sophtware entities. It's a somewhat general term like 'person' rather than a definitive descriptor.

(02-14-2019, 07:06 AM)jedidia Wrote: Next, a short chapter on "architecture" might be nice to familiarise a new reader with all the crazy stuff he'll see very routinely. No great detail, just the rough outlines of structures commonly found in the solar system. For me personally this wasn't a problem as I feel mostly at home with all of that, but I imagine many people won't be.


(02-14-2019, 07:06 AM)jedidia Wrote: Then a chapter talking a bit more in-dept about Gaia, other S+ entities in Sol and the concept of singularity levels in general, and how the overall government of the system is organised (I still don't quite get that from my reading so far... there seems to be some loose form of central authority called the Solar Organisation, but I'm not quite sure what they do and are responsible for exactly yet...) If there isn't a central government, again mention that, because people will expect it and just slap the job on GAIA intuitively, as she's the most powerful thing around. This would also be a good point to introduce major factions that are active in Sol itself, and a little bit of how they relate to each other and what their interests are. Though it would arguably not be such a great point to introduce planetary governments, that should stay with the specific planets. I do remember at least one player that wasn't related to a planetary government, something like NoCoZo or somesuch, I guess I'll have to look it up again. I thought I read about more interest groups, but I'm not sure anymore. That's one of the problems when you are confronted with something important while actually reading about something different at the moment: You tend to forget.

All sounds like good stuff to cover.

The Solar Organization is a loose central authority, but each world and most habs has their own local government. The power and/or influence of the Solar Organization waxes and wanes across the centuries, as well as the topic under discussion. It's mostly a body for coordinating the various local governments on various things - but it can wield a significant 'big stick' if it needs to for some stuff.

(02-14-2019, 07:06 AM)jedidia Wrote: Once that's out of the way, I think it should be save going into the planets, and then in conclusion maybe a chapter on spaceflight. By what means and technologies people get around in the system as well as into and out of it, how hard or save that is, how common physical travel is at all, stuff like that that can lead one out into the wider setting.

Well, this post got way longer than intended. All just suggestions, pick anything you find helpful!

Also sounds good - Thanks!

I'm getting an idea of how something like this might be structured. I've got various other projects I need to get done first, and this would need way more planning (going to let it percolate in the meantime), but once I come up for air I may tackle this next. Or if someone else beats me to it, I'll weigh in with thoughts and ideas as they go along.


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RE: New to OA, what's a good way to "get into it"? - by Drashner1 - 02-14-2019, 03:02 PM

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