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Price of Blood [Worm fanfic]

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Ack, Nov 30, 2016.

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  1. doomlord9

    doomlord9 Experienced.

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    Not as a sudden understanding, but as giving her higher processing power to understand the basic physics that allow them to work.

    Tinkertech isn't magic. The entites only have it to distribute because another race already made the tech. Tinker shards simply give out the end process without giving the understanding of the forces that allow it to function, understand that and Tinkertech becomes perfectly understandable.

    It won't be easy regardless, but with enough processing power and motivation she can make progress in that direction. It could be as little as working out what the coating on her armor is and with a few books on chemistry theory and she begins to understand something that was entirely out of her reach before. It doesn't even need to be tinkertech, simply having her understand an advanced chemical process within a few days when normally it's an entire course of chemistry would point them in that direction.
     
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  2. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    If Tinkertech could be understood with extra brainpower, Alexandria would have a Tinker rating.

    Tinkers (IMO) actually adjust reality in their vicinity so that the kludged-together BS actually works to do stuff it should never be able to do. The regular 'maintenance' is no such thing; fiddling with it lets them re-establish the altered physics that lets it keep working.
     
  3. SwiftRosenthal

    SwiftRosenthal Well worn.

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    Dragon does. IIRC, she had a Tinker rating before she actually triggered.
     
  4. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    No, she was credited with inventing containment foam, and creating the Birdcage. She may have been considered to be a Tinker, but the people giving her that rating didn't know about her creator.

    WB was a little hazy on dates (he admits this himself) but confoam doesn't necessarily need to be a Tinkertech creation, just a very complex molecule (which Richter's AIs could have designed, and Dragon presented to the PRT).

    Before she triggered, she had no powers. After she triggered, Saint needed a boost from Teacher to keep up with her programming changes.

    The only Tinker whose creations can be studied and replicated by engineers is Masasume. All other Tinkertech is impossible to understand if you're not a Tinker.

    Canon says that, over and over and over again.

    Bug control will never give Taylor a Tinker rating.
     
  5. RoninSword

    RoninSword Sky God

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    My understanding is that even Masumunes things is only because the items she mass produces arent too far ahead of everyday engineering as well.
    Confom i have always thought was just a complex bit of chemical engineering, not tinkertech.
     
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  6. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Masasume is specifically a Tinker who actually produces advanced tech, that's not so advanced that she needs to cheat with the materials and energies produced in order to make it work. (This means she wouldn't need to 'maintain' each and every bit of Tinkertech, because reality isn't being warped around it).
     
  7. edale

    edale Versed in the lewd.

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    Spidersilk cloth and chitin armor plates. Especially the Spidersilk cloth.

    Easily worthy of Tinker 1 or 2.
     
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  8. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Only in that nobody else can produce the armour.

    She's not a 'classic' Tinker, in that her stuff needs maintaining, or that it actually breaks the laws of physics. Or most especially, that she can understand other Tinker tech.
     
  9. doomlord9

    doomlord9 Experienced.

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    This is where it's wrong. Tinkertech doesn't break truly the laws of physics, it only breaks the laws of physics as we understand them which is, simply put, flat out wrong. Even today we know this, we simply don't know what the right answers are and are working with our least wrong answers that are the most consistant we can find.

    That's important and helped me figure out how to put what I meant by my idea into context.

    Tinkertech is simply advanced tech that operates on a more complete understanding of the forces of the universe than we have at the moment. Tinkers are giving blueprints and knowledge on how to construct it without being giving any understanding of how or why it works, and are giving maintenance instructions in the same way.

    Even our tech IRL works just like that. Any machine or device will only run for a limited amount of time without maintenance before it begins to break down. The difference is that the knowledge required to repair and restore the machine to operating condition are widely known. If we took a modern CPU from a completely normal smartphone back to the age of vacuum tubes, it would be considered Tinkertech and they would likely get at best a week of use out of it before they burn it out because they simply don't understand how and why it works nor how to operate it to the best effect.

    Taylor discovering she can acquire extra brainpower to rapidly process and analyze data would eventually allow this if she focused on it.

    It's not simply having the processing power available, it's a matter of application. Alexandria focuses on the soft sciences, politics and social sciences where the results can and will change minute to minute depending on the mood of the people involved, all the things needed to keep a shadowy conspiracy running behind the scenes.

    Tinkertech runs on hard science, pure numbers and repeatable data. Tinkers may not understand why it works the way it does, but they can make it do the same thing every time by putting in the same variables into the same devices.

    That is what Taylor can advance to. Not simply discovering she has extra processing power and then a couple days later she is making power armor, but instead discovering she can acquire extra processing power and deciding to use it to learn and understand the sciences, and then once she has the majority of the current understood model of reality that we have, she can then use the processing power to advance the knowledge to a more complete state.

    Would she be able to understand Tinkertech? Eventually, after a few years, a few billion dedicated brainbugs giving her more processing power than networking together every last CPU ever made and then overclocking them, and using them to advance the known set of knowledge we have a dozen tiers, earning her hundreds of science awards and making not only herself far better than a meer Tinker but in fact making everyone who is capable of understanding what she discovered able to understand, maintain, and even create what was until then known as Tinkertech and is now simply cutting edge advanced tech.

    If she doesn't focus on it? Then it will simply never happen.

    Mind you, it could easily fit the narrative that she is a Tinker who Tiggered from the Swarm, in that they would imply her Tinker focus is based upon making tech that will put a Swarm to a constructive use, like say processing and advancing scientific knowledge.
     
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  10. edale

    edale Versed in the lewd.

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    This assumption being false is why your whole theory breaks down.

    Shards intentionally blackbox Tinkertech, it's not just from hyper-advanced science principles.

    Also Leet completely disproves that repeatable data bit.
     
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  11. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Except that making it requires the Tinker to do shit that would have engineers (and anyone else who uses logic and not weird shit) tearing their hair out to make it work. And no matter how closely they try to replicate what he did, it doesn't fucking work.

    Because there's exactly one Tinker whose specialty is "Tinkertech that can be retro-engineered and mass-produced".

    To quote Wildbow:

    It literally does not matter how much extra borrowed brainpower you throw at Tinkertech. If that brainpower isn't connected to an actual Tinker shard, all you'll get is "I can see what it does. How is beyond me."

    Otherwise, Alexandria (who is a Thinker due to her shard, which makes her smarter than basically anyone on the planet) and Tattletale (who can intuit basically any fact, given the most minuscule of data) and Contessa (who can Path to any victory) would be routinely building Tinkertech.

    They aren't.

    Because they can't.

    The only reason Dragon can is because that is literally what her Thinker specialty is. Yes, if you're not a Tinker, you literally need a Thinker power with the exact specialty to understand and replicate Tinkertech in order to do that shit. Otherwise, forget it.

    Canon has said this, over and over. Please cease with the 'but what if's. They are invalid.
     
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  12. edale

    edale Versed in the lewd.

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    I thought the only Thinker element Alexandria had to her power was an eidetic and/or photographic memory (yes, there is actually a difference)? Her name being a reference to the Library of Alexandria from that aspect of her power.
     
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  13. RoninSword

    RoninSword Sky God

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    Alexandria has a perfect memory. She has used this ability to learn to cold read people superhumanly well. Combined with likely being able to go over her memories to pick out details she may have overlooked at the time, its more like her thinker power itself is minor, but can be used much more than one would imagine.
     
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  14. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    She's also able to think much more clearly.

     
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  15. Valint

    Valint Know what you're doing yet?

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    Not going to bother wading into the rest of this discussion, but this part seems completely wrong to me.

    The entire point of Tinkers is to allow shards to explore technologies and abilities from other species. Your idea that Tinkers are just playing make-believe, that it's all just props backed up by a reality-warping field, makes that nonsensical.
    ... and sure, there probably are parahumans that are classified as Tinkers that are just reality-warpers. Gallant pretended to be a Tinker; it's entirely possible that there are other parahumans that honestly think they are (if, for example, Myrddin convinced himself he needed to use props, maybe he'd get classified as one).

    But, when we talk about parahumans of the "I can make technology using principles that Earth science doesn't know about" variety, I think it's pretty clear that it is actually technology they're making, not just props for their powers.

    I would think that the reason why tinkertech is difficult-to-impossible to copy is that most Tinkers come with secondary sensory Thinker powers as part of the package, e.g., their power tells them they need to rub the metal sphere three times before installing it, which is an essential part of the process today based on minor fluctuations in the Earth's magnetic field, but would cause everything to blow up if you tried that next week.
    Tinkertech isn't magic. It's just that it expresses as essentially an art rather than a science, so duplicating it is like trying to copy your grandmother's recipe, without understanding that her "you add a pinch of this" depends on her precise analysis of the freshness of the other ingredients, and with the pressure that if you don't get the goulash just right, it might blow up and take out your house.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019 at 6:13 PM
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  16. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Except that if Leet tries to make the same thing twice, it fails. In fact, the closer he makes one thing to something he's already invented, the more likely it is to fail. If he makes one thing, and then makes it again, exactly the same way, the second one fails, every time.

    They are making things that literally can not work given the materials they're using, and the level of tech they're using to make them. If Leet tries to make the same thing a second time, the reality-warping field fails to form, or forms and then drops in such a way that the device fails explosively.

    The key evidence for this is the fact that despite Tinkertech having been around for decades, the only one who has ever successfully retro-engineered someone else's Tinkertech and perfectly recreated it is Dragon, because she literally has a Thinker power specifically set up to allow her to understand 'how that bit of Tinkertech works'. No engineer, no scientist, nobody who's not a cape has ever managed to copy the principles behind any Tinkertech (except that one Tinker whose power was specifically to make Tinkertech that could be mass-produced).

    Tinkertech is basically made possible (IMO) by a short-ranged long-duration Shaker effect, different with every Tinker, that lets mundane parts act as though they were produced by super-science 500 years in advance of ours. "Maintaining" the Tinkertech merely refreshes the Shaker effect.

    Canon agrees with me. It doesn't agree with you.

    Also, to paraphrase Wildbow: no amount of poking or prodding by engineers will ever allow them to figure out Tinkertech. Not 'maybe, with enough time'. Word of God is a flat 'no'.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019 at 9:18 PM
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  17. Valint

    Valint Know what you're doing yet?

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    ... okay. Did you not read what I just quoted?

    Here's more for you not to read, I guess.
    ... and some more...
    Leet's shard is fucking with him. So, when he makes something once, it helps him out, letting him know that he needs to tap the item three times because that creates the precise vibration needed for metal that exact temperature, and then wait exactly 10 seconds before installing the power source because of the magnetic fields that day.

    And then, the second time he tries to make something, it shuts up, and lets him do exactly the same thing... but it doesn't work this time, because the variables are all different.

    This is just straight Ack fanon.

    I'm saying--and repeatedly quoting Wildbow to say--that the shard participates during the manufacture, but there's zero in canon about tinkertech just being a prop and every Tinker being a secret Shaker.

    Okay? Wasn't arguing this part, just the Shaker effect you pulled out of nowhere.
     
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  18. Prince Charon

    Prince Charon Just zis guy, you know?

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    I'm sure I've seen quotes where the Shaker effect is strongly implied (in fact, the WoG could itself be said to imply it, because if it's impossible for mundane science to ever reverse engineer Tinkertech, then either there are components that mundane science is literally unable to detect at all, ever; there's a Shaker effect involved; or the brains of said mundane scientists are being messed with to prevent reverse-engineering). It's possible that those (other) quotes are fanon, but they might not be. Also, something more people on the internet should consider: It is quite possible for two people to read exactly the same text, and interpret it in opposing but equally valid ways.
     
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  19. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Well, given that no amount of study by engineers will let them retro-engineer Tinkertech (also Word of God) the shard has to be adding something over and above insights into how to build it just right.

    It takes a genius to build something for the first time ever. In the normal run of things, it doesn't require a genius to figure out how it was built to work that way. It just requires someone with a knowledge of engineering and the patience to keep looking until things make sense.

    Except that canonically,

    1) it does actually require you to have powers to even figure out how to incorporate ideas from someone else's Tinkertech into yours, and
    2) you need a specifically focused Thinker power to recreate the original Tinkertech for your own use. (Or a specific Tinker power to mass-produce it).

    Also, 3) most Tinkers are working with mundane materials to create their designs.

    If powers are the only way to create it, understand it and recreate it, if you can get effects that should be impossible with the materials you're using, then there's only one logical explanation.

    The powers that are letting you create it are cheating.

    They're adding something that lingers after the device is completed. Something that bridges the gap between what you've used and what you're trying to achieve. Something that can't be detected, analysed or synthesised in any of the undoubtedly dozens of secret government research facilities that would've sprung up the first time any government got their hands on some Tinkertech. (Because being able to recreate that shit? They'd throw money at you).

    That's my explanation. It fits all the facts (including the fact that only the Tinker can maintain his own gear) and ties in to the facts that a) Shaker powers exist and b) Tinkering is a power, not a skill.
     
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  20. edale

    edale Versed in the lewd.

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    TinkerTech is highly advanced technology that can't be copied because it's missing several key pieces.
    Ack fanon? Strange, it's proven by your own Wildbow quote:
    Think of it this way:
    You're a Tinker, you build the most amazing TinkerTech computer ever. It can handle 10^999999 operations per second, while running just as many processes parallel.

    Now from Wildbow's quote, one of a few things is happening here:

    A: You've built the computer entirely without a CPU. Where is that CPU? In the Shard itself, connected through dimensional shenanigans.

    B: You have a bunch of components suspended in a liquid mixture, that don't seem to be connected to each other in any way. Again, Shard uses dimensional shenanigans to make those connections so the tech works. Possibly even with a key component actually split into the circuitry of several of the other components, so there's no way to tell it even exists.

    C: Well, you get the idea, something else fixed by dimensional shenanigans.
     
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  21. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    All of that. Also, Wildbow talks about how components only work because they're assembled at the right time and place for the earth's magnetic field to align specific molecules, et cetera, et cetera.

    Except that this is pure, unadulterated bullshit.

    I can believe that things like that will happen, and may do what he says ... but only if the mechanism as built by a layman would nearly work anyway. If there's no conceivable arrangement of parts that would allow the device to function without the Tinker taking a hand and assembling it just so, if a highly competent engineer couldn't nearly make it work, then no conceivable confluence of just-barely-detectable cosmic forces is going to complete the job and allow it to actually function.

    Or to put it another way, once you remove the spark plugs from an engine, no amount of hitting it with a hammer will make it work. A Tinker, on the other hand, will bash it just right here and there, and the fuckin' thing will actually start.
     
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