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  1. Seattleite
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    Seattleite Member

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    Creature brainstorming.

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Seattleite, Jan 24, 2013.

    I'm experimenting with a new writing format, writing an in-universe electronic magazine article and several IU blog posts responding to it. Unfortunately, the article and responses require a bit of detail I haven't been able to include in the setting thusfar. Specifically, it requires more non-sapient creatures because the article is about the tribal life of technologically repressed citizens on an alien planet and creatures enter into it frequently. I am drawing a blank on creature designs right now (normally, I'm pretty damned good at this, but right now it just isn't working) and hope somebody might be able to help me. The setting information (which is of critical importance, as it is somewhat limiting in the kind of creatures that can be present) is in my first (and as the this moment, only) blog post here. It tells you a fair bit about the setting, the people in the setting and even gives a few examples of non-sapient creatures within said setting if that will help.
     
  2. Junipergins
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    Junipergins New Member

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    Biology 101: Sex. It's only ever about sex.

    I really like this idea. It's like you've created a wikiverse for a story that doesnt exist yet.

    I read through your link. It seems like you have have a pretty interesting sapient main species developed. The Simini are very human-like with more emphasis on our unsavory qualities. Also they have more nipples. If you want to add to the list of non-sapient species, then I would recommend you start with describing how they reproduce. Physical features, abilities, behaviours, social structure, society... all just silly details that go into answering the most fundamental question in life: "How do I crank out some grandkids?" (not kids...grandkids. An organism's success is measured in its ability to produce offspring which can also produce offspring).

    I'd recommend you research other forms of reproduction. The species you've described all reproduce sexually, but there are so many other more interesting ways:
    Asexual Reproduction, Allogamy (common in plants), Autogamy (hermaphroditic organisms), Same sex reproduction, etc. Look up different ways smaller living organisms, reproduce (snails and slime molds are way cool). Also consider the non-animal/non-sentient life forms that exist out there.

    Hope that helps get the wheels turning. Keep it sexy!
     
  3. Seattleite
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    Seattleite Member

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    Thank you, captain obvious.

    I kinda like doing that. But the article is from the non-copyrighted equivalent of National Geographic, so do not expect wiki-neutrality.

    Really? They're pretty much the centre of the fictional universe (not just Canabi, all of Terraverse) but I never really liked them. They serve their purpose, but they really aren't fun to write because the ethical extremes for them are so mild.

    From social, political, religious and economic standpoints they fit that fairly well. The simini and their nations started as a parody of human civilization. They've changed a lot since then, but traces of that still remains.

    Of all the details, you picked..? Okay. Moving on.

    I've got a format and I'm stickin' to it. And I've got plenty of reproductive data on them already.

    Sex is the practical one. Internal fertilization in particular.

    Has issues with gene corruption, and is too vulnerable to infection. Generally, asexual creatures have tiny lifespans and are not very interesting.

    And there's a reason it's not common in animals.

    Has issues with gene corruption, and complex hermaphroditic organisms are extremely likely to develop inbreeding depressions. Overall, not an especially practical form of reproduction. It also sickens sexually-reproducing organisms to see or think about, so the simini have exterminated all hermaphroditic organisms on the planet of large enough size to unintentionally observe. (Simini do that kind of thing a lot. They place little value in non-simini lives and practically none in non-sapient lives.)

    Actually, already have that on a few planets. Wanted to keep it off of this one because it's extremely rare in reality and it's already present elsewhere. Perene doesn't have enough diversity to expect rare forms of reproduction to show at all, so it won't.

    Probably sticking to sex. It's more practical and leads to more interesting behaviour in sentient (and even non-sentient) organisms than any other form of reproduction.

    Really, I'm still drawing a blank. I'm hoping for creature designs (at least partial ones and vague ideas) not general comments on the setting and alternate reproductive methods. I don't mind, but it's not what I'm looking for.
     
  4. Junipergins
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    Junipergins New Member

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    Okay...You made me feel like I should apologize. But then, that wouldn't make any sense.

    You requested someone to help you brainstorm ideas. I took the time to read through everything you had written and initiate the conversation. What I wrote was brief and I kept it light, but that's just how I like to write, so sorry if the nipples comment rubbed yours the wrong way. I provided some specific ideas for what might help you get the ball rolling. I made an honest attempt to give you some ideas that would have helped me create new creatures, with a sincere hope that you would find it helpful.

    It doesn't bother me that you are for some odd reason critiqueing my attempts to support you. Neither does the general negativity. What bothers me is the only "thank you" you bothered to insert was suffixed by a sarcastic "captain obvious" joke (ps: You're welcome).

    I don't know what sort of feedback you are expecting, but hopefully someone brighter than me knows exactly what you're looking for and how to present it to your exact tastes. I'm not that girl.
     
  5. Seattleite
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    I am reasonably certain you are misreading my comments.

    No, I thought it was funny that you chose that as the detail to point out. It was amusing, I assumed you chose that detail for comedic effect and played along. Do I have to write "LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL" every time I joke about something? Because I'm never going to do that.

    I get that, it's just not quite what I was looking for.

    I am not critiqueing you. I had already thought of these things and decided not to use them. I was explaining why, because if I just said "no, I don't think I'm going to use any of those" there's about a 90% chance you'd respond with "why."

    This was not a negative response. You are inserting negativity into expository statements. Wether one line set you off and polluted the entire thing for you or you're projecting your mood onto my words, I don't know. But either way I don't like it.

    The key word is "joke." See also "take a." It was an obvious statement, and I made a joke about it. Anybody else would have done the same, it's nothing against you, calm down.

    All I'm looking for is an idea. A creature idea, even a partial one, can be made into something that fits the setting. More importantly, I can use creature ideas to connect other creatures to each other and help come up with more. Something that carries importance to other species present, which could only be through the food chain, would be the thing that broke my writer's block. Prey for rnujoq, predators for r'mibj, competing scavengers, things I can fit into place with the creatures already present. If my question wasn't specific enough, I apologize, but that's what I really need.
     
  6. jedellion
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    jedellion Member

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    I have to admit seattleite, I was starting a response when I read your feedback to junipergins and it did come as being pretty harsh and ungrateful. Maybe it's my British sense of manners, but I believe that thanking someone for taking the time to read, absorb and feedback is pretty important. Especially if you want to encourage others to do the same.

    I also think that applying general rules in a fictional setting can sometimes be counter productive. What you are essentially doing is writing science fiction. I used to attend a lot of conventions, before the days they started charging you to breathe the air a star might have breathed. I used to love some of the creature workshop panels. they took the exact opposite approach you are using. They take some fundamental change and then run with it. What of there were no trees, what if water only existed underground? what if.. etc etc... environment drives evolution. reproduction gives the vessel for evolution.

    Okay, so allogamy using no intrusive sex has some issues.
    Question: How could nature solve that problem without resorting to insertion of the spermatozoa directly?
    Question: assuming this, how would mating rituals change, what behaviours would alter?
    Question: Is heterosis permissible to create hybridisation? In which case you could look at some kind of cast system, regional variation.

    These sorts of questions are the spark that springboards new ideas.

    That said, if you want to stick to boring old boy-girl intercourse, that's fair enough. But it might have been wiser to express in a more positive way.

    regards

    Jed.
     
  7. Seattleite
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    Seattleite Member

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    Pardon, but my manners are social awareness are terrible. The former is the result of the latter, and the latter is an issue I have found no amount of effort will yield progress on. You're trying to teach a pig to sing.

    Works when developing new settings. Doesn't work when adding on developed settings. Especially since "can this creature share space with the simini" is the defining factor of survival within this setting. The setting itself can't change because of new additions, you need to find creatures that fit into it as it is. It's more likely to work if you find the basic groundrules for what the simini will live alongside and what they will exterminate. It's also best to use simple, practical designs rather than more complex or exotic ones within said setting because there are no isolated communities on the continents and not enough islands to matter. (And even on the islands, the prime directive of "stay the hell away from the water" compresses the communities anyway. So those islands develop Perene syndrome anyway, with one apex predator that is omnivorous and possibly cannibalistic competing with itself for resources and turning speciation into a form of warfare and thus they'd be evolved to fight themselves and similar species more than hunt for prey.

    The issue is that once locomotion enters the equation, directly depositing the spermatozoa is the most effective solution. And thus amongst multiple competing methods it will be the victor. It's also the most likely to yield sentient and later sapient life. That doesn't mean it has to be the only method used by a given species, but it will always be the primary.

    Well, mating would be largely conventional, with the other methods used when it isn't an option. A culture revolving around intercourse, with another option available for those who can't manage it would function largely the same, but with less pressure to mate.

    It's likely this would result in a significant inbreeding depression, as indirect reproduction attempts cannot be targeted and the closer another organism lives the more likely it is to recieve the spermatozoa. It's most likely that only those who immediately depart from their community will be able to avoid this, and they will not feel compelled to do so because it is both safer and more reliable to stay where they are, even if the long-term rewards are lesser.

    The issue is that most of the time, it'll tract right back to sex or something very similar. I've used similar formats before and come up with a lot of crazy reproductive systems that you will find in use in two of my other settings within this universe. The issue is that they succeeded in those settings because of the unusual environment they were placed in. This setting wouldn't allow them to develop. No large, isolated communities and no conditions making them more practical than conventional reproduction, and worse the simini are here and their presence precludes the natural development of new, complex life. It's all about practicality here. And it's the practical choice on the surface of Perene. (And honestly, there are few circumstances where it isn't.) I do have other settings where the strange stuff goes, where it can succeed. (Imitative reproduction, for instance, is a unique system found on Eo.) This just isn't one of them.

    There's a reason "boring, but practical" is a thing. The most common solution tends to be that way for a reason: it's the best. If a new solution comes along that works better, it will replace it given time and an opportunity to do so. Sex has never been supplanted because it is simply the best thing found so far for the purposes of reproduction. Others cannot develop from it because offspring developing other systems are markedly less successful and will reproduce less and less as a result. It'd be like expecting other senses to develop to replace eyesight or hearing, it can't happen because light and sound are the most effective. At least in that case, other senses can develop as secondaries.

    The point is moot anyway. This is setting where the dominant species has been an apex predator so long its evolution has been based on its readiness and ability to slaughter its ancestors more than its ability to acquire resources or reproduce, and got that way because their acestors developed the skills and motivation to remove all other factors from the equation, which usually amounts to exterminating species that pose a threat, or comes close to posing a threat, or might post a threat at some later unspecified point in time. If something is introduced the simini won't take kindly to, and that includes anything too strange, (there's a reason all simini languages in all of recorded history have had a word for "abomination") the simini will poison it, blast it and/or perforate it until it stops moving, cut it apart with sharp pieces of metal, burn it and use its ashes to fertilize their crops. (Sometimes they might skip straight to steps two or three, but the end result is the same.) This means keeping ideas simple. This is why I'm drawing a blank. I do better thinking up creatures with unique, special abilities. Those can't exist within this setting, and I'm having a hard time expanding it because of that. I'm hoping for somebody who can make an interesting creature that fits the criteria of "small, simple and unoffensive the the stab-happy populace" because I'm having a hard time.
     
  8. Keremcan Tarhan
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    Keremcan Tarhan New Member

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    You aren't going to get much help if you are that aggressive to people who want to help you. You are the one requesting help, but from your comments, it feels as if you expect people to be grateful to you because you are letting them help you, the high and mighty Seattleite! And don't run behind the cover of excuses like "my social awareness is terrible" and "you are trying to teach a pig to sing" . No pig is expected to sing but humans are expected to have some kind of manners.
     
  9. Seattleite
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    Seattleite Member

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    I am doing no such thing, and there is nothing to support your point of view. But thanks for insulting me though, that's exactly what I need.
     
  10. tcol4417
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    tcol4417 Member

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    He didn't insult you and there's nothing to support that accusation.

    On the other hand, there is no way to respond to someone's input with "thank you captain obvious" without it being interpreted negatively. Your humourous intentions are besides the point: You gave a facetious response to an honest attempt to help. The fact that you went back to edit your post specifically to do this exacerbates the slight. Telling the offended party to "take a joke" in defense of such blatantly inconsiderate action makes this worse by attempting to minimise the offence caused: It's little better than telling someone you've hurt to shut up and get over it.

    Additionally, your point-by-point rejection of input from others without significant expression of thanks is a "negative" response, more or less definitively. This negativity isn't a fabrication or misinterpretation, it's a natural conclusion based on your conduct. I shouldn't have to highlight every instance for you, given that no-one else seems to have trouble recognising this. While I'm sure you did this without any malicious intent, you may be unaware of the following: Flat out rejecting advice given in good faith with no perceivable gratitude is exceptionally rude. Claiming that the perceived rudeness is in fact the fault of the offended party without attempting to reconcile the misunderstanding or apologise compounds the offence.

    Terrible manners and social awareness are not an excuse for terrible social behaviour. If you aren't equipped to communicate in a respectable and considerate fashion using a public medium then you can't realistically expect a positive outcome because no-one in a steady state of mind is willing to grant you the time and energy to help you if all they can expect in return is passive aggression. Even members who have only just joined the forum have the good sense to ask for help, remain silent while the responses pile up and then end with a simple "thank you" post, irrespective of how relevant the feedback actually was.

    No-one who has read the above posts is going to want to help you. I'm only posting this because you seem genuinely ignorant of why your responses have been negatively received. Please keep this in mind the next time you expect people to provide assistance.
     
  11. Keremcan Tarhan
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    Keremcan Tarhan New Member

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    There are at least 3 people who commented to support my point of view and I'm sure there are a lot more who did not take the time to write a reply. My intention was not to insult you but after seeing that you have been this negative and inconsiderate to some one who taken the time to help you, my subconsciousness may have hidden that feeling behind my words.

    And the worst is , even after this many people have told you that you have been rude and inconsiderate, you still claim that there was nothing wrong with your attitude. Have you ever seen someone who doesn't know how to play the piano, playing on a piano concerto? No? Just like that, don't try to request help or engage in social behaviour if you do not know how.
     
  12. Seattleite
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    Seattleite Member

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    Yes, there is. And it is blatantly obvious. There are three insults within his comment, two of which are contained in one sentence.

    If that is not an insult, nothing is. If you still believe he did not insult me, and intentionally at that because there is no way anybody with a prefrontal lobe, functioning or otherwise, could have formed an insult like that accidentally, than you are purposefully ignorant and I have no desire to speak with you further. That said, I'm not certain that's the case with you because, unlike the others present, I understand that text is devoid of proper context and important non-verbal information upon communication is based and any claim to discerning motivation or acquiring additional information beyond what they wish to communicate is incredulous at best. So why don't all the blind men in this room (myself included) stop describing each other.

    It's a joke. If you don't take it seriously, it can't hurt you. Even if you do, it's really more you hurting yourself. Grow a sense of humour and some thicker skin, or life is going to be a lot more miserable than it has to be.

    No, it is not. I explained exactly what I was doing and why, and I was civil. Even after the misunderstanding (and you do have to keep in mind that misunderstandings are inevitable in text conversations, anyone who says otherwise is lying through their teeth) I maintained at least some semblance of civility until Tarhan openly insulted me three times in one comment. Even then, my response was by far more mild than the comment it was directed at. Quit blindly siding with the majority's opinion and look at what I have actually said.

    I am not apologizing when I have done nothing wrong. Apologies are strictly for situations where you have actually commited some offense, intentional or otherwise, they are not for situations where others have misinterpreted your actions as an offense. You have the latter here, not the former.

    There is no aggression, passive or otherwise, in my statements. The only negative emotions expressed so far have been dissapointment and dismissal. You, the reader, are projecting the rest. And the only reason you, specifically, are doing so is because others have done so and you are looking at it based on their negative responses. And so will the next commenter, the one after them, and the one after them. They, in turn, only did so because the first responder did. In her case, I believe she took offense to a simple joke made at the beginning and let it poison her view of the rest of the post. (And as I said, take a joke. It'll only hurt you if you want it to.)

    I know exactly why it is being negatively recieved, you do not. You seem ignorant of the basic rules of perception in text forums, which include the fact that the simple lack of means to communicate emotion make it so any slight tilt on behalf of the reader changes the tone of the entire post, and that any interpretation posed in responses will provide said slight tilt and force the opinion of every reader afterwards who isn't reading the response cynically from the start, keeping their mind open once the mood has been set or reserving their judgement completely.

    The only valid point you have made in your diatribe was that I forgot, double emphasis on "forgot," to express thanks. That was my fault, and for that I apologize, but I have done nothing else wrong. (Even then, "wrong" isn't the right word for it.) I'd ask if people would stop derailing my thread, but I know at this point it's hopeless and all that's going to happen is every single comment from here on out is going to be completely off topic as long as this digression remains. So the thread has died because the posters insisted on talking about a miscommunication within it rather than anything related to the actual topic. Fine. I'll work it out on my own and hope the next time I try something like this the readers don't take offense to the tiniest discourtesy, project derision onto exposition from there on out and act like I'm the bad guy because they got upset over imaginary slights. I doubt it, all things considered, but hope springs eternal.
     
  13. tcol4417
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    tcol4417 Member

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    I can only assume that you're referring to the "high and mighty" part, which isn't an insult, it's a detraction based on your behaviour and a rather justified one: It references your uniform and uncompromising rejection of the very assistance you asked for and an inability to demonstrate common courtesy both with regards to gratitude and misconduct. Contrary to what you profess to believe, an apology should not only be made when it is obligatory. Sometimes it's just a matter of politeness.

    Your haste to blame others for misinterpretation and presumption is interesting, given that I never once attempted to describe you (except when quoting your self-description), contrary to your accusation. For someone so aware of the relative leanness of a purely text-based medium (as explored by R. Daft and R. Lengel, 1984), you've taken very few measures to actually counteract the obvious and predictable misunderstandings that have arisen.

    The employment of that age-old elementary-school defence, "it was only a joke" does you no credit. You've been quick to take offense at the "insults" aimed at you, demonstrating remarkably little capacity for entertaining the notion that maybe - maybe - they were said in jest. It's hypocritical to expect others to laugh off your own derisive comments while reacting with hostility to theirs. "High and mighty" is not an insult, while insinuations regarding prefrontal lobes and the lack thereof are.

    This isn't about siding with the majority, so please don't presume to know my motivations - I've seen beleaguered members of these forums deserving of support more than a few times. This is about the resolving the clear disparity between what is believed to be courteous behaviour when publicly asking for favours. Nothing said to you has constituted any greater insult than the "misunderstandings" that have occurred as a result of what you have and have neglected to say. It is not up to you to determine whether you have breached social etiquette, that's rather the point of it being social etiquette. If it were, then it would also not be up to you to say whether an insult is an insult - it would be up to the person saying it, whom you have not asked for clarification on the matter, demonstrating further hypocrisy.

    Asking for assistance, then summarily dismissing the input of others is rude. Period. If someone asked you for help, then responded to your suggestion with "There's a reason I haven't already tried that already. Okay, moving on." it would constitute an act of ungrateful arrogance. Whether you intended to be ungrateful or arrogant is besides the point - it is a rude way to behave and that's the end of it.

    Your personal presumptions are proving to be problematic: Again, you assume I am saying these things because of how others have reacted. Your behaviour was inappropriate from the first line of your response. Your intention to say it as a joke is immaterial. It is a phrase used with derisive intent: Facetious. Disrespectful. Improper. In poor taste. Rude. When you make a joke that no-one else finds amusing, that qualifies as doing something wrong. You don't churlishly defend yourself, and you definitely don't blame everyone else by demanding that they grow a sense of humour. There's a large number of jokes based on racism, rape and infanticide out there and it's funny (actually funny, based on associative irony), but their proponents use rather the same defence as you: It'll only hurt if you want it to. You have no business telling "jokes" if Captain of the Obvious is the length and breadth of your wit.

    Don't pretend you're the only person who has studied language and communication - though I doubt you have, given your inept handling of this little mess. The basest of minds would have recognised that an apology at any time earlier than, well, now could have sufficiently eased tensions such that the thread could have continued. Your immediate defensive reaction and utter refusal to even entertain the slightest possibility that you could accept maybe a modicum of responsibility for the misunderstanding is what brought this thread so low. I really shouldn't have to explain why exclusively blaming others while trying to paint yourself out as the unjustly persecuted victim taking the moral high road only exacerbates the perception of arrogance.

    Unfortunately, yours is a common mentality. The notion that your behaviours are not subject to any public expectation, that misunderstandings are only ever the fault of others and that while everyone should be immune to offense from you, you yourself are extremely sensitive to the "insults" of others is a widespread malaise among the callous, the childish and the insecure. This isn't meant as an insult: I'm merely pointing out that clear and repeated patterns of behaviour that you have demonstrated are correlated with the possession of a particularly juvenile mindset.

    I'm sure in this instance that they are not related.
     
  14. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Guys, can we calm this thread down? If things get any more south I will have to close the thread. Name calling is not really welcome here.
     
  15. Seattleite
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    Seattleite Member

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    I have stopped responding to them and I will not mention or respond to any mention of the digression. If this digression cannot be stricken entirely, (which is ideal, as the digression is a detriment to the thread and a disservice to all who read it) that is all I can do.
     
  16. Dante Dases
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    Dante Dases Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thread closed. If we can't have people participating in discussions in a civil manner, we're not going to indulge people in their petty bickering.
     
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