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Game proposal: The Gripping Hand...

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Anonymous
December 10, 2004 7:12:46 AM

Archived from groups: comp.games.development.design,comp.games.development.industry,comp.games.development.programming.misc,comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.space-sim,comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

DISCLAIMERS: My apologies for the heavy cross-post and semi-appropriate
email addresses. There don't seem to be many groups that I have access
to that are devoted entirely to game development, so I posted to those
that seemed at least partially related to this topic, and some of the
game companies included don't list email links that would be appropriate
for this. Note that this is not a solicitation - this proposal would
include no profit for myself other than the chance to play the game. I
just want to see it developed.

I will also point out that, blanket-post notwithstanding, I am an
experienced Usenet user (from way back in Gopher days), and while I will
be more than happy to answer questions regarding this proposal and/or
elaborate on the ideas therein, I will not respond to petty, off-topic
attacks on my methods, delivery, ideas, etc.


Okay, enough of that. Here's the proposal:

I recently finished reading a pair of novels by Larry Niven and Jerry
Pournelle (both leading sci-fi authors) that I believe would make a
fantastic game (probably multi-player, possibly massively MP) involving
civilization building, war, and politics. The books are called _The Mote
in God's Eye_ and _The Gripping Hand_, and they deal with man's first
discovery of sentient life beyond our own.

The discovered race, which we dub "The Moties" because of their
astrological place of origin, is just about as alien to our species as
one could get. From a physical standpoint they are only similar in that
they have two legs and two eyes - their anatomies are otherwise totally
unlike our own. In fact the Moties themselves are separated into several
sub-species that serve vastly different purposes in their society and
therefore tend to have different "configurations", but generally they
are built like so:

- One side has a very heavy, extremely strong arm (i.e., "the gripping
hand") used for lifting, bracing, etc.
- The other side has two or more very small, very fast arms that are
generally used for building and repairing things. They are aligned
vertically and get longer as they go down so that they remain mobile
even when bent at the elbows (in other words, they seldom get in each
other's way).
- The back/waist is braced not with a spine but with a complex
ball-joint that allows Moties to spin and bend in ways that humans
can't.
- No neck - their head is embedded at the top of their torso.

I am unfortunately unable to locate any actual Motie artwork on the Web,
but I understand the UK printing of _The Gripping Hand_ contains Motie
illustrations.

The primary classes of Moties are:
- Engineers: The first class (if memory serves) that man is introduced
to. This class lives for making things better and cares about little
else. They can streamline and improve virtually anything (anything
invented by man, anyway) with lightning speed.
- Masters: This is the "thinking" class that rules over all the others.
Like the other classes, they are focused only on one task - the
well-being of their "family", and they will do literally anything to
promote their own success.
- Negotiators: This class was created relatively recently in Motie
history. They are the diplomatic representatives of their masters and
are brilliant at their craft. They even speak a different language to
one another so that masters, who are far too demanding to make
compromises, can be in the same room and not have to speak to one
another.
- Warriors: Pretty obvious - these are the minions that are ready to
fight to the death should negotiations between families fail. They are
incredibly fast, incredibly strong and far more dangerous than any man.
- Brownies: This is the human-coined term for the rat-like class that
often accompanies engineers in their work. Although they are nearly as
deft at modification as engineers, they are far less mentally developed
and are generally considered expendable, also because they multiply like
rabbits.

There are a few other classes but their roles are less integral to the
story (and the proposed game) than these five.

The hitch to the Motie society (*** SPOILER ALERT *** This is a crucial
plot point) is that they *must* reproduce or they die - they are
biologically unable to make use of any sort of contraception. And as a
species they are locked into a relatively small area of space and do not
have the technology to expand beyond their system. The unfortunate
result of these two problems is that their populations grow and grow
until their resources are maxed out, and system-wide wars ensue that
generally decimate all of Motie civilization. The few left standing are
eventually able to return to their previous level of technology with the
help of their "libraries" - giant historical/technological vaults that
are maintained and fiercely guarded by a much rarer class (one that
doesn't reproduce at all) called Librarians. This constant
development/destruction pattern is referred to as the Cycles. Moties
consider these problems to be unsolvable, and any Motie that starts to
wonder about solutions to them is dubbed a "Crazy Eddie" and usually
whisked away before they can influence anyone else. Ultimately these
problems are alleviated with the help of mankind, which is fortunate
since the Motie civilization threatens to destroy mankind when they
finally do break free from their confines.

In any case, the rationale behind this game concept should be fairly
obvious at this point. I don't think there exist any games that employ
an environment quite like this. Star Wars Pit Droids and Lemmings are
somewhat similar, but those games are much more limited in scope than
what I'm envisioning. This would probably be a combination of that type
of game and the Civilization genre and could really be as complex as
you're prepared to make it (Motie-human relations would introduce
entirely different levels of game play). I figure the players would be
masters themselves and start out with a lowly family of one engineer and
one negotiator. If the game ends up being solo+MP then technology would
probably start out very early during one of the cycles and progress
rapidly, allowing you to absorb the technologies of other families and
develop your own. If after the cycle has ended your family remains
alive, you win. I'm not sure how well the concept would work in an MMP
environment, but it's probably possible. It would be interesting to have
an MMP game that works in cycles like that, so that there's ultimately
one winner. But I digress...

II realize that embarking on a project like this is a huge undertaking,
but I figure it can't hurt to put the idea out there. No doubt Niven and
Pournelle would expect some sort of royalties for the use of their
concepts, but I don't imagine the fees would be unreasonable. Feel free
to contact me with any questions/comments. Thanks for your time.

More Mote series info:
http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/The%20Mote%20...'s%20Eye

_____________________
w h i t g u r l e y
whitgurley@R-E-M-O-V-E-T-H-I-Shotmail.com

More about : game proposal gripping hand

Anonymous
December 10, 2004 7:50:50 AM

Archived from groups: comp.games.development.design,comp.games.development.industry,comp.games.development.programming.misc,comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.space-sim,comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

In article <1102652947.837338.35060@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com>,
"StepNRazor" <hurdjg@hotmail.com> wrote:

> Hi
>
> You might find some people here, http://sourceforge.net/index.php ,
> that would want to work on yopur project. <snip>
>
> Also try the game "Masters of Orion II" ,(MOO II)...<snip>
> Hope either or both helps.
> Joe

Thanks for the tips, Joe - I'll post my proposal to Sourceforge as well.
I know that the MoO games are revered by a lot of gamers, but I've never
played them myself. I'll try to do that soon.

_____________________
w h i t g u r l e y
whit_news1 ---at--- angledend.com
Anonymous
December 10, 2004 2:06:37 PM

Archived from groups: comp.games.development.design,comp.games.development.industry,comp.games.development.programming.misc,comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.space-sim,comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

In article <not_an_address-03E37B.20124509122004@netnews.comcast.net>,
not_an_address@no_domain.com says...

> II realize that embarking on a project like this is a huge undertaking,
> but I figure it can't hurt to put the idea out there. No doubt Niven and
> Pournelle would expect some sort of royalties for the use of their
> concepts, but I don't imagine the fees would be unreasonable. Feel free
> to contact me with any questions/comments. Thanks for your time.

I think the general concept of a civilisation suffering from such by-
the-numbers genetic determinism lends itself to a computer strategy game
- it's hard to see great benefits in cloning Niven and Pournelle's
unlikely species and paying them a licence fee.

In truth a lot of games like this DO exist - constructing units with
different useful powers, and expanding to control the map. Civilisation
is a good example. I don't really see anything very different in the
'Motie' concept, not as a single-player game anyway.

- Gerry Quinn
Related resources
Anonymous
December 10, 2004 3:41:48 PM

Archived from groups: comp.games.development.design,comp.games.development.industry,comp.games.development.programming.misc,comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.space-sim,comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

On Fri, 10 Dec 2004 04:12:46 GMT, Whit Gurley
<not_an_address@no_domain.com> wrote:

>DISCLAIMERS: My apologies for the heavy cross-post and semi-appropriate
>email addresses. There don't seem to be many groups that I have access
>to that are devoted entirely to game development, so I posted to those
>that seemed at least partially related to this topic, and some of the
>game companies included don't list email links that would be appropriate
>for this. Note that this is not a solicitation - this proposal would
>include no profit for myself other than the chance to play the game. I
>just want to see it developed.
>
>I will also point out that, blanket-post notwithstanding, I am an
>experienced Usenet user (from way back in Gopher days), and while I will
>be more than happy to answer questions regarding this proposal and/or
>elaborate on the ideas therein, I will not respond to petty, off-topic
>attacks on my methods, delivery, ideas, etc.
>
>
>Okay, enough of that. Here's the proposal:
>
>I recently finished reading a pair of novels by Larry Niven and Jerry
>Pournelle (both leading sci-fi authors) that I believe would make a
>fantastic game (probably multi-player, possibly massively MP) involving
>civilization building, war, and politics. The books are called _The Mote
>in God's Eye_ and _The Gripping Hand_, and they deal with man's first
>discovery of sentient life beyond our own.

A game about a race somewhat like the Moties could work out. Trying
to do it exactly runs into issues related to any book-based game, but
also in this case, there are only a few high-power leaders you can
effectively play. Everyone else isn't a mover or shaker, and isn't
likely to become so. As an RPG, that might not matter, as playing an
interesting role is more important than having power or control over
anything significant.


>
>II realize that embarking on a project like this is a huge undertaking,
>but I figure it can't hurt to put the idea out there. No doubt Niven and
>Pournelle would expect some sort of royalties for the use of their
>concepts, but I don't imagine the fees would be unreasonable. Feel free
>to contact me with any questions/comments. Thanks for your time.

I know that Niven has licensed some of his works for games already,
and someone may have the license for this series. The human side of
it is a Pournelle creation, the Moties shared (the only books in the
series with Niven involve the Moties). I *do* think that it wouldn't
be easy to get a license to do a game which is based on the books, but
not closely. Authors don't like to see their works mangled by others.
So the price tag might be much more than just money -- it would mean a
commitment by the authors to monitor, and perhaps even approve
developments.


Very much of whatever game is created would have to be well
researched in order to model the creator's intent, and their own
background data. Maps, technologies, abilities, politics, and
especially, characters, all would need painstaking effort in order to
get even a weak emulation of the story in a game.


From a game design standpoint, that is a pain too. It is ever so
much easier to design the game elements to drive the game system, not
to fit some outside background.

Making up a different game about a species with finite resources and
a serious dieback problem could be fun. The various specialist
subspecies can work well enough -- most games have some sort of
special units.

The political complexities of alliances and owernership would make
for a good game, as long as the system handles it well. By the Moties
rules, war is much like a game, the loser, upon accepting surrender,
becomes entirely loyal to the winner. Makes it much easier to cope
with human player gamesmanship, where actions are taken simply to win,
if the species itself runs things that way.


--
*-__Jeffery Jones__________| *Starfire* |____________________-*
** Muskego WI Access Channel 14/25 <http://www.execpc.com/~jeffsj/mach7/&gt;
*Starfire Design Studio* <http://www.starfiredesign.com/&gt;
Anonymous
December 10, 2004 3:41:49 PM

Archived from groups: comp.games.development.design,comp.games.development.industry,comp.games.development.programming.misc,comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.space-sim,comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

Jeffery S. Jones wrote:

> I know that Niven has licensed some of his works for games already,
> and someone may have the license for this series. The human side of
> it is a Pournelle creation, the Moties shared (the only books in the
> series with Niven involve the Moties). I *do* think that it wouldn't
> be easy to get a license to do a game which is based on the books, but
> not closely.

Indeed. In the past Niven has been very picky about licensing his works
for other media, and it's quite likely that someone without a proven
track record and just a vague idea, even if Niven thought it was very
good, would be flatly refused a license.

--
Erik Max Francis && max@alcyone.com && http://www.alcyone.com/max/
San Jose, CA, USA && 37 20 N 121 53 W && AIM erikmaxfrancis
Defeat is a school in which truth always grows strong.
-- Henry Ward Beecher
Anonymous
December 10, 2004 8:52:13 PM

Archived from groups: comp.games.development.design,comp.games.development.industry,comp.games.development.programming.misc,comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.space-sim,comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

You're embarrassing yourself in so many ways. Such a game is now less
likely to be made because of your efforts. I'm not kidding.

Whit Gurley <not_an_address@no_domain.com> wrote:
>DISCLAIMERS: My apologies for the heavy cross-post and semi-appropriate
>email addresses. There don't seem to be many groups that I have access
>to that are devoted entirely to game development, so I posted to those
>that seemed at least partially related to this topic, and some of the
>game companies included don't list email links that would be appropriate
>for this. Note that this is not a solicitation - this proposal would
>include no profit for myself other than the chance to play the game. I
>just want to see it developed.
>
>I will also point out that, blanket-post notwithstanding, I am an
>experienced Usenet user (from way back in Gopher days), and while I will
>be more than happy to answer questions regarding this proposal and/or
>elaborate on the ideas therein, I will not respond to petty, off-topic
>attacks on my methods, delivery, ideas, etc.
>
>
>Okay, enough of that. Here's the proposal:
>
>I recently finished reading a pair of novels by Larry Niven and Jerry
>Pournelle (both leading sci-fi authors) that I believe would make a
>fantastic game (probably multi-player, possibly massively MP) involving
>civilization building, war, and politics. The books are called _The Mote
>in God's Eye_ and _The Gripping Hand_, and they deal with man's first
>discovery of sentient life beyond our own.
>
>The discovered race, which we dub "The Moties" because of their
>astrological place of origin, is just about as alien to our species as
>one could get. From a physical standpoint they are only similar in that
>they have two legs and two eyes - their anatomies are otherwise totally
>unlike our own. In fact the Moties themselves are separated into several
>sub-species that serve vastly different purposes in their society and
>therefore tend to have different "configurations", but generally they
>are built like so:
>
>- One side has a very heavy, extremely strong arm (i.e., "the gripping
>hand") used for lifting, bracing, etc.
>- The other side has two or more very small, very fast arms that are
>generally used for building and repairing things. They are aligned
>vertically and get longer as they go down so that they remain mobile
>even when bent at the elbows (in other words, they seldom get in each
>other's way).
>- The back/waist is braced not with a spine but with a complex
>ball-joint that allows Moties to spin and bend in ways that humans
>can't.
>- No neck - their head is embedded at the top of their torso.
>
>I am unfortunately unable to locate any actual Motie artwork on the Web,
>but I understand the UK printing of _The Gripping Hand_ contains Motie
>illustrations.
>
>The primary classes of Moties are:
>- Engineers: The first class (if memory serves) that man is introduced
>to. This class lives for making things better and cares about little
>else. They can streamline and improve virtually anything (anything
>invented by man, anyway) with lightning speed.
>- Masters: This is the "thinking" class that rules over all the others.
>Like the other classes, they are focused only on one task - the
>well-being of their "family", and they will do literally anything to
>promote their own success.
>- Negotiators: This class was created relatively recently in Motie
>history. They are the diplomatic representatives of their masters and
>are brilliant at their craft. They even speak a different language to
>one another so that masters, who are far too demanding to make
>compromises, can be in the same room and not have to speak to one
>another.
>- Warriors: Pretty obvious - these are the minions that are ready to
>fight to the death should negotiations between families fail. They are
>incredibly fast, incredibly strong and far more dangerous than any man.
>- Brownies: This is the human-coined term for the rat-like class that
>often accompanies engineers in their work. Although they are nearly as
>deft at modification as engineers, they are far less mentally developed
>and are generally considered expendable, also because they multiply like
>rabbits.
>
>There are a few other classes but their roles are less integral to the
>story (and the proposed game) than these five.
>
>The hitch to the Motie society (*** SPOILER ALERT *** This is a crucial
>plot point) is that they *must* reproduce or they die - they are
>biologically unable to make use of any sort of contraception. And as a
>species they are locked into a relatively small area of space and do not
>have the technology to expand beyond their system. The unfortunate
>result of these two problems is that their populations grow and grow
>until their resources are maxed out, and system-wide wars ensue that
>generally decimate all of Motie civilization. The few left standing are
>eventually able to return to their previous level of technology with the
>help of their "libraries" - giant historical/technological vaults that
>are maintained and fiercely guarded by a much rarer class (one that
>doesn't reproduce at all) called Librarians. This constant
>development/destruction pattern is referred to as the Cycles. Moties
>consider these problems to be unsolvable, and any Motie that starts to
>wonder about solutions to them is dubbed a "Crazy Eddie" and usually
>whisked away before they can influence anyone else. Ultimately these
>problems are alleviated with the help of mankind, which is fortunate
>since the Motie civilization threatens to destroy mankind when they
>finally do break free from their confines.
>
>In any case, the rationale behind this game concept should be fairly
>obvious at this point. I don't think there exist any games that employ
>an environment quite like this. Star Wars Pit Droids and Lemmings are
>somewhat similar, but those games are much more limited in scope than
>what I'm envisioning. This would probably be a combination of that type
>of game and the Civilization genre and could really be as complex as
>you're prepared to make it (Motie-human relations would introduce
>entirely different levels of game play). I figure the players would be
>masters themselves and start out with a lowly family of one engineer and
>one negotiator. If the game ends up being solo+MP then technology would
>probably start out very early during one of the cycles and progress
>rapidly, allowing you to absorb the technologies of other families and
>develop your own. If after the cycle has ended your family remains
>alive, you win. I'm not sure how well the concept would work in an MMP
>environment, but it's probably possible. It would be interesting to have
>an MMP game that works in cycles like that, so that there's ultimately
>one winner. But I digress...
>
>II realize that embarking on a project like this is a huge undertaking,
>but I figure it can't hurt to put the idea out there. No doubt Niven and
>Pournelle would expect some sort of royalties for the use of their
>concepts, but I don't imagine the fees would be unreasonable. Feel free
>to contact me with any questions/comments. Thanks for your time.
>
>More Mote series info:
>http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/The%20Mote%20...'s%20Eye
>
>_____________________
>w h i t g u r l e y
>whitgurley@R-E-M-O-V-E-T-H-I-Shotmail.com
Anonymous
December 10, 2004 8:52:45 PM

Archived from groups: comp.games.development.design,comp.games.development.industry,comp.games.development.programming.misc,comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.space-sim,comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

Whit Gurley <not_an_address@no_domain.com> wrote:
>In article <1102652947.837338.35060@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com>,
> "StepNRazor" <hurdjg@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
>> Hi
>>
>> You might find some people here, http://sourceforge.net/index.php ,
>> that would want to work on yopur project. <snip>
>>
>> Also try the game "Masters of Orion II" ,(MOO II)...<snip>
>> Hope either or both helps.
>> Joe
>
>Thanks for the tips, Joe - I'll post my proposal to Sourceforge as well.
>I know that the MoO games are revered by a lot of gamers, but I've never
>played them myself. I'll try to do that soon.

Oh god it just gets funnier hahahahahahahahaha.
Anonymous
December 10, 2004 11:49:24 PM

Archived from groups: comp.games.development.design,comp.games.development.industry,comp.games.development.programming.misc,comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.space-sim,comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

In article <gcidnRNIIIy-mifcRVn-gw@speakeasy.net>,
Erik Max Francis <max@alcyone.com> wrote:

> Indeed. In the past Niven has been very picky about licensing his works
> for other media, and it's quite likely that someone without a proven
> track record and just a vague idea, even if Niven thought it was very
> good, would be flatly refused a license.

That makes sense, but I think you'd have to be an accomplished,
well-funded game company to take on a project of this magnitude anyway.

It's a shame that more of the really good literary concepts don't make
it into other media, and that the few that do often fail miserably ("I,
Robot" and "Timeline" come to mind). It's a difficult proposition, I
guess - the authors prefer not to go there unless they can be certain
the end result will be worthy of the book, and the studios/developers
aren't going to take on a project if they're not sure it will have mass
appeal.

_____________________
w h i t g u r l e y
whit_news1 ---at--- angledend.com
Anonymous
December 11, 2004 5:40:37 PM

Archived from groups: comp.games.development.design,comp.games.development.industry,comp.games.development.programming.misc,comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.space-sim,comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

Jeffery S. Jones wrote:
> On Fri, 10 Dec 2004 04:12:46 GMT, Whit Gurley
> <not_an_address@no_domain.com> wrote:
>> II realize that embarking on a project like this is a huge
>> undertaking, but I figure it can't hurt to put the idea out there.
>> No doubt Niven and Pournelle would expect some sort of royalties for
>> the use of their concepts, but I don't imagine the fees would be
>> unreasonable. Feel free to contact me with any questions/comments.
>> Thanks for your time.
>
> I know that Niven has licensed some of his works for games already,
> and someone may have the license for this series. The human side of
> it is a Pournelle creation, the Moties shared (the only books in the
> series with Niven involve the Moties). I *do* think that it wouldn't
> be easy to get a license to do a game which is based on the books, but
> not closely. Authors don't like to see their works mangled by others.
> So the price tag might be much more than just money -- it would mean a
> commitment by the authors to monitor, and perhaps even approve
> developments.

Quite so. And I expect that it wouldn't be as simple as just writing to say
that you have a hoopy idea and can you borrow their universe? Larry Niven
has written about experiences that he's had with *really bad* fan-fiction
using his stuff (Kzin definitely do not rish with humans in the K&S style),
and I believe his blanket answer is a HELL NO involving nails and lawyers.
That's not to say that a serious proposal couldn't get an okay, but it would
probably mean opening discussions on an agent-to-agent level.

I think Whit would be better to distill the basic ideas into a game. Then,
when it's presentable, decide if (a) trying to shoehorn it into the Empire
and Motie universe is good for the game play, (b) if the effort, cost and
changes required to make a professional agreement with Niven and Pournelle
is balanced by the boost that the tie-in would give the game sales.

Meanwhile, don't use the names and certainly not the artwork. Do a game and
add "Inspired by .." in the credits when it's done.

--
Ron Sharp.
Anonymous
December 19, 2004 6:16:45 PM

Archived from groups: comp.games.development.design,comp.games.development.industry,comp.games.development.programming.misc,comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.space-sim,comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

Bateau wrote:
> You're embarrassing yourself in so many ways. Such a game is now less
> likely to be made because of your efforts. I'm not kidding.
>
> Whit Gurley <not_an_address@no_domain.com> wrote:
>
>>DISCLAIMERS: My apologies for the heavy cross-post and semi-appropriate
>>email addresses. There don't seem to be many groups that I have access
>>to that are devoted entirely to game development, so I posted to those
>>that seemed at least partially related to this topic, and some of the
>>game companies included don't list email links that would be appropriate
>>for this. Note that this is not a solicitation - this proposal would
>>include no profit for myself other than the chance to play the game. I
>>just want to see it developed.
>>
>>I will also point out that, blanket-post notwithstanding, I am an
>>experienced Usenet user (from way back in Gopher days), and while I will
>>be more than happy to answer questions regarding this proposal and/or
>>elaborate on the ideas therein, I will not respond to petty, off-topic
>>attacks on my methods, delivery, ideas, etc.
>>
>>
>>Okay, enough of that. Here's the proposal:
>>
>>I recently finished reading a pair of novels by Larry Niven and Jerry
>>Pournelle (both leading sci-fi authors) that I believe would make a
>>fantastic game (probably multi-player, possibly massively MP) involving
>>civilization building, war, and politics. The books are called _The Mote
>>in God's Eye_ and _The Gripping Hand_, and they deal with man's first
>>discovery of sentient life beyond our own.
>>
>>The discovered race, which we dub "The Moties" because of their
>>astrological place of origin, is just about as alien to our species as
>>one could get. From a physical standpoint they are only similar in that
>>they have two legs and two eyes - their anatomies are otherwise totally
>>unlike our own. In fact the Moties themselves are separated into several
>>sub-species that serve vastly different purposes in their society and
>>therefore tend to have different "configurations", but generally they
>>are built like so:
>>
>>- One side has a very heavy, extremely strong arm (i.e., "the gripping
>>hand") used for lifting, bracing, etc.
>>- The other side has two or more very small, very fast arms that are
>>generally used for building and repairing things. They are aligned
>>vertically and get longer as they go down so that they remain mobile
>>even when bent at the elbows (in other words, they seldom get in each
>>other's way).
>>- The back/waist is braced not with a spine but with a complex
>>ball-joint that allows Moties to spin and bend in ways that humans
>>can't.
>>- No neck - their head is embedded at the top of their torso.
>>
>>I am unfortunately unable to locate any actual Motie artwork on the Web,
>>but I understand the UK printing of _The Gripping Hand_ contains Motie
>>illustrations.
>>
>>The primary classes of Moties are:
>>- Engineers: The first class (if memory serves) that man is introduced
>>to. This class lives for making things better and cares about little
>>else. They can streamline and improve virtually anything (anything
>>invented by man, anyway) with lightning speed.
>>- Masters: This is the "thinking" class that rules over all the others.
>>Like the other classes, they are focused only on one task - the
>>well-being of their "family", and they will do literally anything to
>>promote their own success.
>>- Negotiators: This class was created relatively recently in Motie
>>history. They are the diplomatic representatives of their masters and
>>are brilliant at their craft. They even speak a different language to
>>one another so that masters, who are far too demanding to make
>>compromises, can be in the same room and not have to speak to one
>>another.
>>- Warriors: Pretty obvious - these are the minions that are ready to
>>fight to the death should negotiations between families fail. They are
>>incredibly fast, incredibly strong and far more dangerous than any man.
>>- Brownies: This is the human-coined term for the rat-like class that
>>often accompanies engineers in their work. Although they are nearly as
>>deft at modification as engineers, they are far less mentally developed
>>and are generally considered expendable, also because they multiply like
>>rabbits.
>>
>>There are a few other classes but their roles are less integral to the
>>story (and the proposed game) than these five.
>>
>>The hitch to the Motie society (*** SPOILER ALERT *** This is a crucial
>>plot point) is that they *must* reproduce or they die - they are
>>biologically unable to make use of any sort of contraception. And as a
>>species they are locked into a relatively small area of space and do not
>>have the technology to expand beyond their system. The unfortunate
>>result of these two problems is that their populations grow and grow
>>until their resources are maxed out, and system-wide wars ensue that
>>generally decimate all of Motie civilization. The few left standing are
>>eventually able to return to their previous level of technology with the
>>help of their "libraries" - giant historical/technological vaults that
>>are maintained and fiercely guarded by a much rarer class (one that
>>doesn't reproduce at all) called Librarians. This constant
>>development/destruction pattern is referred to as the Cycles. Moties
>>consider these problems to be unsolvable, and any Motie that starts to
>>wonder about solutions to them is dubbed a "Crazy Eddie" and usually
>>whisked away before they can influence anyone else. Ultimately these
>>problems are alleviated with the help of mankind, which is fortunate
>>since the Motie civilization threatens to destroy mankind when they
>>finally do break free from their confines.
>>
>>In any case, the rationale behind this game concept should be fairly
>>obvious at this point. I don't think there exist any games that employ
>>an environment quite like this. Star Wars Pit Droids and Lemmings are
>>somewhat similar, but those games are much more limited in scope than
>>what I'm envisioning. This would probably be a combination of that type
>>of game and the Civilization genre and could really be as complex as
>>you're prepared to make it (Motie-human relations would introduce
>>entirely different levels of game play). I figure the players would be
>>masters themselves and start out with a lowly family of one engineer and
>>one negotiator. If the game ends up being solo+MP then technology would
>>probably start out very early during one of the cycles and progress
>>rapidly, allowing you to absorb the technologies of other families and
>>develop your own. If after the cycle has ended your family remains
>>alive, you win. I'm not sure how well the concept would work in an MMP
>>environment, but it's probably possible. It would be interesting to have
>>an MMP game that works in cycles like that, so that there's ultimately
>>one winner. But I digress...
>>
>>II realize that embarking on a project like this is a huge undertaking,
>>but I figure it can't hurt to put the idea out there. No doubt Niven and
>>Pournelle would expect some sort of royalties for the use of their
>>concepts, but I don't imagine the fees would be unreasonable. Feel free
>>to contact me with any questions/comments. Thanks for your time.
>>
>>More Mote series info:
>>http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/The%20Mote%20...'s%20Eye
>>
>>_____________________
>>w h i t g u r l e y
>>whitgurley@R-E-M-O-V-E-T-H-I-Shotmail.com
>
>

He's right, any company that might consider this would be worried about
you suing them for intellectual theft. This specific idea has already
been suggested by the editors of PC Power Play btw.
Anonymous
December 20, 2004 2:04:19 AM

Archived from groups: comp.games.development.design,comp.games.development.industry,comp.games.development.programming.misc,comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.space-sim,comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic (More info?)

Rastilin <rastilin@hotmail.com> wrote:
>Bateau wrote:
>> You're embarrassing yourself in so many ways. Such a game is now less
>> likely to be made because of your efforts. I'm not kidding.
>>
>> Whit Gurley <not_an_address@no_domain.com> wrote:
>>
>>>DISCLAIMERS: My apologies for the heavy cross-post and semi-appropriate
>>>email addresses. There don't seem to be many groups that I have access
>>>to that are devoted entirely to game development, so I posted to those
>>>that seemed at least partially related to this topic, and some of the
>>>game companies included don't list email links that would be appropriate
>>>for this. Note that this is not a solicitation - this proposal would
>>>include no profit for myself other than the chance to play the game. I
>>>just want to see it developed.
>>>
>>>I will also point out that, blanket-post notwithstanding, I am an
>>>experienced Usenet user (from way back in Gopher days), and while I will
>>>be more than happy to answer questions regarding this proposal and/or
>>>elaborate on the ideas therein, I will not respond to petty, off-topic
>>>attacks on my methods, delivery, ideas, etc.
>>>
>>>
>>>Okay, enough of that. Here's the proposal:
>>>
>>>I recently finished reading a pair of novels by Larry Niven and Jerry
>>>Pournelle (both leading sci-fi authors) that I believe would make a
>>>fantastic game (probably multi-player, possibly massively MP) involving
>>>civilization building, war, and politics. The books are called _The Mote
>>>in God's Eye_ and _The Gripping Hand_, and they deal with man's first
>>>discovery of sentient life beyond our own.
>>>
>>>The discovered race, which we dub "The Moties" because of their
>>>astrological place of origin, is just about as alien to our species as
>>>one could get. From a physical standpoint they are only similar in that
>>>they have two legs and two eyes - their anatomies are otherwise totally
>>>unlike our own. In fact the Moties themselves are separated into several
>>>sub-species that serve vastly different purposes in their society and
>>>therefore tend to have different "configurations", but generally they
>>>are built like so:
>>>
>>>- One side has a very heavy, extremely strong arm (i.e., "the gripping
>>>hand") used for lifting, bracing, etc.
>>>- The other side has two or more very small, very fast arms that are
>>>generally used for building and repairing things. They are aligned
>>>vertically and get longer as they go down so that they remain mobile
>>>even when bent at the elbows (in other words, they seldom get in each
>>>other's way).
>>>- The back/waist is braced not with a spine but with a complex
>>>ball-joint that allows Moties to spin and bend in ways that humans
>>>can't.
>>>- No neck - their head is embedded at the top of their torso.
>>>
>>>I am unfortunately unable to locate any actual Motie artwork on the Web,
>>>but I understand the UK printing of _The Gripping Hand_ contains Motie
>>>illustrations.
>>>
>>>The primary classes of Moties are:
>>>- Engineers: The first class (if memory serves) that man is introduced
>>>to. This class lives for making things better and cares about little
>>>else. They can streamline and improve virtually anything (anything
>>>invented by man, anyway) with lightning speed.
>>>- Masters: This is the "thinking" class that rules over all the others.
>>>Like the other classes, they are focused only on one task - the
>>>well-being of their "family", and they will do literally anything to
>>>promote their own success.
>>>- Negotiators: This class was created relatively recently in Motie
>>>history. They are the diplomatic representatives of their masters and
>>>are brilliant at their craft. They even speak a different language to
>>>one another so that masters, who are far too demanding to make
>>>compromises, can be in the same room and not have to speak to one
>>>another.
>>>- Warriors: Pretty obvious - these are the minions that are ready to
>>>fight to the death should negotiations between families fail. They are
>>>incredibly fast, incredibly strong and far more dangerous than any man.
>>>- Brownies: This is the human-coined term for the rat-like class that
>>>often accompanies engineers in their work. Although they are nearly as
>>>deft at modification as engineers, they are far less mentally developed
>>>and are generally considered expendable, also because they multiply like
>>>rabbits.
>>>
>>>There are a few other classes but their roles are less integral to the
>>>story (and the proposed game) than these five.
>>>
>>>The hitch to the Motie society (*** SPOILER ALERT *** This is a crucial
>>>plot point) is that they *must* reproduce or they die - they are
>>>biologically unable to make use of any sort of contraception. And as a
>>>species they are locked into a relatively small area of space and do not
>>>have the technology to expand beyond their system. The unfortunate
>>>result of these two problems is that their populations grow and grow
>>>until their resources are maxed out, and system-wide wars ensue that
>>>generally decimate all of Motie civilization. The few left standing are
>>>eventually able to return to their previous level of technology with the
>>>help of their "libraries" - giant historical/technological vaults that
>>>are maintained and fiercely guarded by a much rarer class (one that
>>>doesn't reproduce at all) called Librarians. This constant
>>>development/destruction pattern is referred to as the Cycles. Moties
>>>consider these problems to be unsolvable, and any Motie that starts to
>>>wonder about solutions to them is dubbed a "Crazy Eddie" and usually
>>>whisked away before they can influence anyone else. Ultimately these
>>>problems are alleviated with the help of mankind, which is fortunate
>>>since the Motie civilization threatens to destroy mankind when they
>>>finally do break free from their confines.
>>>
>>>In any case, the rationale behind this game concept should be fairly
>>>obvious at this point. I don't think there exist any games that employ
>>>an environment quite like this. Star Wars Pit Droids and Lemmings are
>>>somewhat similar, but those games are much more limited in scope than
>>>what I'm envisioning. This would probably be a combination of that type
>>>of game and the Civilization genre and could really be as complex as
>>>you're prepared to make it (Motie-human relations would introduce
>>>entirely different levels of game play). I figure the players would be
>>>masters themselves and start out with a lowly family of one engineer and
>>>one negotiator. If the game ends up being solo+MP then technology would
>>>probably start out very early during one of the cycles and progress
>>>rapidly, allowing you to absorb the technologies of other families and
>>>develop your own. If after the cycle has ended your family remains
>>>alive, you win. I'm not sure how well the concept would work in an MMP
>>>environment, but it's probably possible. It would be interesting to have
>>>an MMP game that works in cycles like that, so that there's ultimately
>>>one winner. But I digress...
>>>
>>>II realize that embarking on a project like this is a huge undertaking,
>>>but I figure it can't hurt to put the idea out there. No doubt Niven and
>>>Pournelle would expect some sort of royalties for the use of their
>>>concepts, but I don't imagine the fees would be unreasonable. Feel free
>>>to contact me with any questions/comments. Thanks for your time.
>>>
>>>More Mote series info:
>>>http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/The%20Mote%20...'s%20Eye
>>>
>>>_____________________
>>>w h i t g u r l e y
>>>whitgurley@R-E-M-O-V-E-T-H-I-Shotmail.com
>>
>>
>
>He's right, any company that might consider this would be worried about
>you suing them for intellectual theft. This specific idea has already
>been suggested by the editors of PC Power Play btw.

I was thinking that they wouldn't want to get involved with such a
clubie.
!