If you are supporting Decipher SciFi on our Patreonby Fri, December 21 2018 will get to see your name for a character in our new show! It’s Decipher RPG, a video show and podcast where we’ll get up to some scifi hijinks. And the world will need characters. And the characters will need spacesuits or something. But also they’ll need names. And it could be yours!
Burt the Masticating robot? Josh the Weenus Collector? [Your Name] the human of precisely average strength? You get the idea.
For a taste of our RPG play skills (or lack thereof), look to our Mirror one-off (Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3).
It gets a bit weird! And we have a bit of a time summarizing it.
Adventure stories. Social allegory. The power of science fiction in particular to force you to reframe your perception by believably breaking your assumptions. HG Wells and Moreau. Science fiction tropes and the subversion thereof. Christopher is bad at human things.
Languages, dialect, and speaking to your audience. “Not having to think about it.”
Mass media vs indie communities. The lowest common denominator. Kevin Kelly’s 1000 True Fans.
A lament for the concentration on cow’s milk. Mare milk. Fermented milk products from cows and horses.
Creepy body horror. Fingers in holes. This is kinda hot.
The video game industry
Gaming in film. Brainscan. The video game bubble. E.T. The Video Game landfill debacle. AAA Game budgets before people took the industry seriously. AAA Auteur creators of the past. Auteur creators in indie games now.
Wooden cannons! Wow! Harvesting ammunition from people’s mouths. Bio-based squirt guns as a reasonable alternative. Blood-squirting lizards.
Biological computing: mechanical, electrical, and chemical. Quantum supremacy. Nipple interfaces and umbilicals.
Neural interface placements. Spinal connections and how to interact with the sensory loop. Bodily orifice security defenses. Sphincters vs meatuses.
But how do we tell what is real anyway!? The power of storytelling, even when you know it’s not real. Railroading. Milgram experiment the game.
War Stories by Ars Technica: YouTube
GDC Classic Game Postmortems: YouTube
Keeping the peace when independent operations can make their own giant robots. Staying somewhat prepared for returning existential threats.
Stowing expensive purpose-built machinery. Aircraft graveyards. The economics of storing and securing out-of-production technology for later use.
Avoiding trouble with the square-cube law by building smaller robots. Boston Dynamics and the inevitable impression of the coming robot apocalypse. Parkour Atlas. Robot kumite.
Securing mobile war machines. EMPs. Resistance to signal-jamming. Broad attack surfaces.
Brain in a jar
IRL progress towards a brain in a jar: human brain organoids implanted on a mouse brain. Sensory apparatus and feeling pain. Getting (ethically) hairy.
Rare earth elements
Actually: not so rare! But a pain in the ass to extract. The Japanese rare earth ocean-bottom treasure trove and how it will be difficult to access. Mining rare earth elements from spaaaaaaaace and how we probably need a new colloquial name for these materials. Underwater volcanoes.
Jaeger blood rocket fuel
Magical Jaeger blood rocker fuel. Gravity gun space race. Keeping Earth as a farm for kaiju blood, fueling our expansion into the entire solar system. Throwing rocks at things for fun and profit.
Glowing blood and possible alien infections. Human sensitivity to positive and negative g-forces. Trying to push more blood to your head for mental superpowers.
And impromptu deorbiting. How to crash a probe into mars (by accident).
Chinese space stations, then and now. Station entrance and exit procedures. Finally the Star Trek balloon analogy comes in handy! Decompression sickness/the bends during EVA. Portable life support systems. Sokol and ACES, and their insufficiency for extra-vehicular activities.
…in spaaaaaace. Carbon dioxide. Water. Super soakers. Fire emergency procedures.
Past designs and modern designs. Future EVA suit developments. Constrictive suits directly against the skin rather than creating an atmosphere around the body: the biosuit. The NASA Z Suit that looks like Buzz Lightyear, and operating EVA suits at the same pressure as your space station.
Soyuz reentry angles. Heat shielding. Trying to point in a particular direction.
The complete obviousness that heavy compound weight lifting is the major solution to muscle and bone loss in space. Bro do you even lift? Vacuum-based space squat rack.
Naive vs machine-intelligent image enhancement. “Photorealistic hallucination” and honest technical names. Reconsidering the absurdity of fictional image enhancement in the age of clever neural nets. Creative, artistic “enhancement” vs rigor.
Well, breaking your spinal chord sure seems to suck. Spinal breaks and the autonomic nervous system. Bodily control via brain-machine interface.
Extension of human functionality by implanted technology! Increasing neural communication speed, or shortening signal distance. Gun arms. Gun arms! Vocal device command by subvocalization.
The AI “box test”
Self-serving artificial intelligence. Yudkowsky’s AI box test. Callback to Ex Machina. Additional stipulations. The true power of a goon with a wrench. How easy are humans to fool? Very.