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46  Inherit the Earth Forums / General Inherit the Earth Forum / Re: Come here for quality (free!) ITE maps! Help u thru the hard spots! on: October 05, 2007, 11:45:33 PM
The program: well, what I'd use would be Paint Shop Pro, but only because I've been working in it for years. The ideal would probably be a vector editor like Inkscape (which is free). The GIMP is also free, but it's for masochists only.

The method: what I'd do would be to follow your proposed method initially. But when you reach a dead end, don't go back to the beginning immediately. As you're making your rough map, indicate clearly if a passage continues on. Then when you reach a dead end, go to the nearest unmapped passage and explore it. Only when you've mapped a whole section or if you get lost, should you reload. Otherwise you'll be covering the same ground unnecessarily.

Resource extractor: if it were possible, then yeah, that would be great. But, at the very most I'd expect a 'table' with the interconnectivity of sections: it may be hard to understand... so it looks like the hard way is the easy way. Wink

If it wern't for that stupid idea of having the maze rotate, this would be a ezy-pezy little job.
I thought the point was to make it hard to solve?  rolleyes
47  Inherit the Earth Forums / Inherit the Earth Comic Strip Forum / Re: The story itself on: October 05, 2007, 03:53:54 AM
Oh ja, them. . . but since there is also a reference to unmorphed foxes in the cartoon, I take it that all Morph (sub?)species have unmorphed equivalents? (But not every unmorphed animal species necessarily has a Morph equivalent.)

Or am I extrapolating too far now - are there some Morph kinds that no longer possess unmorphed variants?

Before I do things like some of the Star Wars Expanded Universe writers, who go off on a tangent and write stuff that contradicts canon facts...
48  Inherit the Earth Forums / General Inherit the Earth Forum / Re: Come here for quality (free!) ITE maps! Help u thru the hard spots! on: October 05, 2007, 12:41:39 AM
If you're doing the Dog Castle maze, you may have to 'explode' the map into different layers, perhaps of different colours. I'll see if I can make some time next weekend to map a maze or so. I've got them all on paper, but in my own shorthand, so they probably wouldn't make sense to any moderately sane person. Also there are still a few discrepancies in my map of the Dog Castle that I'll have to iron out, mainly in the vicinity of that loop near the jail cell.

For interest's sake, what program are you planning to use instead of Paint?
49  Inherit the Earth Forums / General Inherit the Earth Forum / Re: Come here for quality (free!) ITE maps! Help u thru the hard spots! on: October 04, 2007, 12:40:49 PM
Those are quite good, and accurate from what I remember.

To make the angles between corridors π/2 radians (or 90 degrees for those of us who still use degrees rolleyes ), you should consider doing the maps with lines vertically and horizontally, then rotating π/4 rad to the left afterwards. In some programs, you can snap lines to π/4 rad increments. However, if you're using Paint,... don't use Paint.  cheesy

Also, try outlining important areas instead of circling them. That will make the maps look more accurate and less sketchy. Save as a PNG if possible to minimize compression artifacts. It's all just a question of visual impact.

And now, the 3D Dog Castle maze... (thunder and lightning, enter 3 witches)
50  Inherit the Earth Forums / General Inherit the Earth Forum / Re: Inherit the earth 2 ? on: October 04, 2007, 12:10:46 PM
Trinkt nich so viel Caffee

Nicht für Kinder ist der Türkentrank
Schwächt die Nerven, macht dich blass und krank

Sei doch kein Muselmann
Der ihn nicht lassen kann!

Translation: switch to decaf.

No ag, just kidding Smiley
51  Inherit the Earth Forums / Inherit the Earth Comic Strip Forum / Re: The story itself on: October 04, 2007, 05:28:33 AM
Remember that the poodle in the Dog Castle is wearing furs... when Rhene asks her if they're Morph skins, the poodle says that it's from unmorphed "fox creatures". So it does look like there are unmorphed animals (perhaps even the majority of animals are unmorphed, but as they're not characters and/or don't contribute to the plot, they get left out). That makes ecological sense, seeing as the Morph don't seem to prey on other Morph (unlike one webcomic I could mention).
52  Inherit the Earth Forums / Fan Art & Fiction / Re: Fan Fiction about why/how humans created morphs... on: September 30, 2007, 11:10:13 PM
How Orwellian! smiley Nice touch, I think a dystopian wartime element would give it some edge. This will also resolve the slavery issue, while keeping the UN involved (have to say something about them!).

I tried halfheartedly to suggest a military connection by having the fat man refer to 'brass hats', but he didn't actually appeal to the young man's patriotism. Now this will give the young man a better motivation than crass materialism. I'll be glad to eliminate that from the character.

May take awhile since the next semester's just started, but I'll hopefully write the 'war version' within a fortnight.
53  Inherit the Earth Forums / Fan Art & Fiction / Re: Fan Fiction about why/how humans created morphs... on: September 30, 2007, 08:23:11 AM
Thanks for the continued response! Makes me feel appreciated  smiley

My main problem is with the average length of sentences. You have to read as slow as I do, else you''ll miss something important. But every time I try to lengthen sentences, the story becomes bulky and loses the suspense I'm trying to keep up. Also it feels as if I'm searching too far for synonyms to avoid repeating myself, when in fact a repetition could be a better alternative.

And I'm a bit disappointed in the way the young man's 'internal struggle' came out, especially at the point where he thinks that he's helping to create a race of slaves. He's seeing too far beyond the immediate problem, which is, 'I'm about to be subjected to an experimental procedure and I don't know what's going to happen to me.' But I don't feel the narration should introduce the slave idea, especially since I'd have to leave the UN out of the story then Wink so what should I do?
54  Inherit the Earth Forums / Inherit the Earth Comic Strip Forum / Re: New comic on: September 28, 2007, 04:55:49 AM
I believe in common webcomic parlance, the most fitting answer to that would be:

<see image below. Translation: "I am speechless...">
55  Inherit the Earth Forums / General Inherit the Earth Forum / Re: Need Help Please on: September 27, 2007, 11:00:27 AM
Ja, what was it? Tav never sent me the file, preferred to wait for 'tech support' first... so what are the official findings? Wink
56  Inherit the Earth Forums / General Inherit the Earth Forum / Re: Mapmaking on: September 27, 2007, 10:41:33 AM
Well even with a map I had Rif chasing his own tail for hours Smiley
57  Inherit the Earth Forums / Inherit the Earth Comic Strip Forum / Re: New comic on: September 26, 2007, 09:39:27 PM
What - ? He actually has a good reason for going all lone wolf on us?

Rats, now I can't even be peeved at him anymore!  cheesy

'His sextant'... come to think of it, he knows how to use it. And yet, he didn't know what it was when it was still in the box...

So maybe he does have reasonable motives. But I still wouldn't trust him as far as I can see him. Which isn't very far, since I'm short sighted Wink
58  Inherit the Earth Forums / Inherit the Earth Comic Strip Forum / New comic on: September 26, 2007, 11:03:56 AM
Oh no, oh no, oh no... what is that stupid puppy doing this time?! Just when we all thought he was growing a conscience... what a tweegat jakkals Sandy is! He had better have a very very good excuse for this...
59  Inherit the Earth Forums / Fan Art & Fiction / Re: Fan Fiction about why/how humans created morphs... on: September 26, 2007, 08:25:36 AM
Thanks, I'm glad the idea doesn't sound crazy/scary/evil to everybody. I've been getting some weird looks from people who read this off my computer. Maybe it's the blood... Wink

Anyone smell something burning?
Now that you mention it... oh no, the microwave pizza!
60  Inherit the Earth Forums / Fan Art & Fiction / Fan Fiction about why/how humans created morphs... on: September 26, 2007, 02:23:51 AM
This bit of fan fiction came about because I wondered why Humans would want to create Morphs. It didn't strike me as being characteristic human behaviour, creating races just for the heck of it, when most of human history is tainted by racial/cultural conflict. So I decided that, barring some fundamental changes in the human psyche, there had to be some ulterior motive.

Another problem I had was that the human technology - except for creating the Morphs - in the game and the strip is more or less at present-day standards. So how could we create sapient animals? Given that we know so little about genetic engineering as applied to biology in general, and mental activity in particular. I have my own theory about this ... (maniacal laughter, maniacal laughter). Anyway, here it is, I hope I don't freak anybody out ... it may be a bit disturbing at first sight ...

Sorry about the formatting, on my screen @ 1280x1024 it looks decidedly strange...


The Sale

'That's right, sonny-boy,' the fat man said, paternally almost. 'Just drop your sign on that dotted line.'

The stylus he gave the young man was almost too heavy for its size, a small thin object in the style of an ink pen. The young man scanned through the document in the table. It was the one he had seen before, but this time he'd sign it.

He didn't remember why he'd balked at the last minute on the previous occasion, but this time he went through with it.

As soon as he'd appended his moniker to the document, the table in front of him went blank. Saved to storage, display no longer required.

Proper procedure.

But then - an unorthodox addition. From a previously unnoticed recess in the table before him crawled a small white finger. He glanced quizzically at his benefactor.

'Oh, that. Yes.'

The table's tiny new appendage was extruded even further from its surface. Small, white - ceramic.

'That,' said the fat man, shifting comfortably in his chair, 'is a gene sampler. I'm afraid I'll need you to accommodate me on this one. Company policy.'

The young man looked at the sampler like a canine cat-hater regarding a jaguar. 'That wasn't in the contract,' he said.

The other nodded sympathetically. 'Brass-hat bastards - they won't let your contract go through if you don't give 'em a gene sample to back them up. Anything to avoid a lah soot - y'know?'

'I know,' said the young man, reluctantly extending his hand. He placed his thumb on the tip of the sampler.

In and out, like a snake's tongue. When he jerked his finger from the sampler, the needle was gone. The sampler itself withdrew into the table slowly. A satisfied cobra.

'Sorry about that, son,' said the fat man, sincerely. 'I really thought they'd've told you.'

When they left the room, the table was pristine, but in its small library it held a freshly drawn drop of blood.

The facility was Antarctic white, the scientists anonymous in operating theatres of frosted glass. Nobody walked in the corridors except the young man and his host.

They came to a waiting room, a generic affair with chairs too perfect to be comfortable. A rough, dark blue carpet adhered to the floor, so new that visitors would subconsciously begin searching for wear.

'We're waiting here,' the fat man announced, and stopped. He declined to sit down, and so the young man stood, too.

After an eternal instant, a door in the far wall opened to reveal a small room filled with mirrors.

'The lift. This is where we part ways.'

The young man stepped into the lift with some trepidation. Before he was whisked away, he thought he heard the fat man say, 'Good luck, sonny-boy. Good luck to you.'

As he stepped from the lift, he noticed the chill. This was no longer a corridor, but an operating theatre. A countdown in a frosted-glass window discreetly announced that he'd have to wait less than an hour.

'Anyone there?' he asked.

The room's artificial personality responded by casting black words on a white wall. 'Responding. Do you wish to activate vocal communication?'

'I want to ask you a few things.'

The room mulled over this. 'Should this unit respond in text, or by voice?'

'Text please. I can read aloud.'

There were fifty minutes left.

'Affirmative,' the room replied stiffly.

Imagination. One word of text carries no emotion.

Does it?

'Tell me again why I'm agreeing to this. I want to feel that it's a worthy cause.'

'Emotion-regulating pills are available on request.'

'Don't be clever. Do as you're told.'

'Should the remark "don't be clever" be interpreted in an internally-sufficient or global context?'

'Forget it. Just tell me about the process.'

'The process of mental profiling is at present experimental. |'

'Don't remind me.'

'<Affirmative.> The process of mental profiling is. It entails a Molecular-Level Resolution (MLR) physical brain scan, as well as various indicator queries, to create a profile of the target mind. Every precaution is taken to prevent personal information, such as PIN or Social Security numbers, from being transferred. Your contract indicates that you have agreed to this company's privacy policy.

'No anaesthesia of the subject is required, and no relevant physical apparatus will be in contact with the subject during the procedure.

'The purpose, in this particular instance, is to create a "mind" for a genetically altered life-form.'

'Elaborate. On this life-form.'

'The life-form in question is intended to replace machinery in Antarctic and orbital refineries. In its present form it is resistant to very low temperatures. This was achieved by deriving it from an Arctic fox. To allow it to grasp tools and control terminals, it possesses hands at the extremities of its forepaws. The expected useful life-span of this animal is sixty-five years. In stature it greatly resembles a human being to allow for parallel implementation with human personnel.

'However, as it is derived from a non-sapient creature, all its mental capacity is currently devoted to internal maintenance and normally subconscious physical processes. To all intents and purposes, it is "brain dead". To allow this prototype to function as required, a mental imprint from a sapient mind will be superimposed on its native mental processes. This is the relevance of the current procedure, which will commence in forty-five minutes.'

I'm helping to create a race of slaves, the young man thought. But at least it pays well.

A thought occurred to him. Aloud, he asked, 'Why was a male of less than twenty-two years required to be the source of this mental profile? Why me?'

'The prototype life-form is male, and artificially aged to twenty years of age. This was necessary so that its physical strength would commence at near-peak values. In addition, your overall profile is compatible with the subject's physical brain architecture. The source must conform to this general profile so as to prevent a conflict.'

Forty minutes. He had to ask.

'Will the prototype be sapient? A slave, I mean?'

'According to theoretical predictions, the prototype will be able to understand basic instructions. However, as per the guidelines of UNWHO Amendment 97 (2035), subsection 5. a), it cannot be classified as sapient. Therefore, it cannot be classified as a slave.'

Well, that was a relief.

When fifteen minutes were left, the young man spoke again.

'Can I see the prototype?'

'Unfortunately, this is not permissible.'

Five minutes.

'Can I pull out now?'

'The contract has been signed. Sceptical re-evaluation during this period is a normal psychological phenomenon. Regulators are available to the subject without a prescription.'

'No thanks.'

It pays well, the young man thought again, and sat down in a chair which had emerged from the far wall.

He watched the countdown. At the last second he resisted an impulse to jump up. Without hearing a sound, he sensed a click like the discharging of electricity pass through the chair.

That was all.

He looked at the countdown. '00m00s00ms <Success>,' it reported.

The young man got up and left. He was now fifteen thousand units richer.

         ...and yet...

He watched the countdown. At the last second he resisted an impulse to jump up. Without hearing a sound, he sensed a click like the discharging of electricity pass through the chair.

The world became a rainbow, two-dimensional but solid. Always changing, but eternal.

Whorls like those in knotted wood appeared in the rainbow. They followed a pattern, and the young man watched in detached interest. As they solidified, they acquired depth. Dimension.

A flash like a lightning bolt passing through a windowpane broke the illusion. The arctic waste lay before him. His life flashed past before his eyes - but it wasn't the life of the young man.

The fox was dead. Belatedly, its new mind felt a twinge of pity.

The next day I argued with a devil. But in one hand it held a contract, and in the other it held a red test-tube, a drop of blood.

'The sale is made, sonny-boy,' the devil said with counterfeit empathy.

My soul was no longer my own.


So yes, slightly weird I'm afraid. Please let me know what you think...
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