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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 11:45 pm 
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Hello,

I haven't seen many of the forum topics here, but I'm guessing that the Animals have been talked about a lot. So I wanted to put this topic here to get a little discussion started as to what they are. I also wanted to present some of my ideas on them.

To begin,
I think that the best way to represent the Animals is not to have them be a colorful, mix-matched, and alien force, but instead to have them be mostly our familiar animals from nowadays (bears, wolves, boars, eagles, bugs, massive earth elementals, and others) mixed with the elite xeno animals and a very small number of pack leader animals. This would let us players have a better connection to the Animal faction, but also give it a taste of science fiction.

The Pack Leaders:
From inspiration from older topics, I like the idea that the controlling beast is not an
insectoid overseer, not a bi-pedal ape creature, but more of a wolf-like beast. I see it as it being around 3-4 feet high and 5-6 feet long. It would look rather like a wolf with tannish fur, stretched out and given a more oval head.

The looks aren't so important, but the form of control is.
I think that the Pack Leader should have a number of ways to control its followers:

1. Pheromone Glands: This is its front line of defense; the creature has a number of endodermic glands loaded with a battery of complicated pheromones. These can actually be used for a number of things: communicating with other members of the species, marking territory, and most importantly: dominating the willpower of sub-sentient beings.

2. Dual Vocal Chambers: just like the Liar Bird ([url](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VktLOr4M46U/[url]) the Pack Leader can imitate any sound it hears. This is used to control many of its animals; using the barks, hoots, whistles, and roars of creatures to scare the others into submission and into action.

3. Direct Connection: The Pack Leader has two spiked tentacles, located behind its jaw. They may spring out and jab other animals, releasing a plethora of neural sedatives, muscle relaxants, and what we call “truth serum”, sodium pentothal. This causes the creature to lose all will to resist and submit to the Pack Leader. These tentacles are only used in more extreme circumstances, as it leaves the Pack Leader vulnerable to attack as it commands the creature(s).

A little long, but I think they have a little shot at being good. :)

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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 1:09 am 
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I very much like the thought on Dual Vocal Chords. In another topic there was some discussion on the use of Dark Matter in communication:

saltinerunner45 wrote:
as for why, perhaps the animals absorb a virus that uses DP. if we look at plant cells you will see chloroplast, which allow plants to undergo photosynthesis. it is believed that millions of years ago, a bigger single celled organism, "ate" or absorbed the chloroplast, and they became one cell. a similar thing can be found in animals. we have a mitochondria, which more or less works as a powerplant. perhaps these animals gain a "mitochondria", when they were exposed to the virus for whatever reason most of the animals were able to incorporate it into themselves. because the virus is concerned with self preservation (as all organisms are at a primitive level) they automatically use energy found within their host to nullify or at least lessen the effects of DP on them.
we could go one step farther and say that the virus works in a similar manner to the microbe in The Andromeda Strain and say that it can communicate with others of its kind across small distances. if this were the case, we could explain the resistance to DP and their communication in one fell swoop.


The discussion was how to make Animals viable in this shooting environment - possible thoughts were giving them a resistance to Dark Matter.

But as you can see it was another way of communicating as well.

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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 5:33 am 
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I know the animals have a large following already so I think Im going to disagree with a lot of people here but I've never liked the idea of the animals subjugating earths species, this to me seems far too heavy on the Fiction part of Science Fiction and not enough of the Science part. I don't understand how an animal (even an alien one) could evolve to have such advanced abilities of what is basicly mind control let alone it being able to affect all earths animals which vary drasticly in their physiology and would be massively different to any animal these alien animals have ever encountered.

I prefer the idea of the animals faction to be a collection of alien animals with slightly higher intelligence than what is generally found in earth species. A very light touch when it comes to this subjugating earths species for example a squad of alien dog-like creatures may have a wolf or two in their pack. This keeps it realistic to what could happen, wolves arent going to follow orders to attack something by pheromones however if they were raised in a pack of these alien creatures they would think themselves one of the pack.


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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 12:54 pm 
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I have stayed out of the conversation in the latest "Animal topics". This is mostly because I think the faction history and details have been handed off to more capable hands (i.e. the professional writers Matt mentioned). That said, I think this is on the right track, but everything reverts to a need of the controller species having to modify it's subjects somehow.

Even if we assume that the species have L-amino acids and D-sugars like earth life, the pattern of evolution may be very different, resulting in different metabolic and signal transduction pathways. Hence, pheromones are very unlikely to work unless the organism in question can cause a change in these pathways. This does not even approach the fact that the DNA transcription and RNA translation pathways may be radically different or not even use an RNA intermediate as we know it (although I believe the fiction clearly states that alien species will have DNA as the information carrying molecule), resulting in null results that might work on the "animals" home planet.

On sounds: a lyre bird or parrot can perform this feat, but it may be hazardous to try and attach meaning to these sounds. In addition sounds have alot of meaning to humans, but they are more limited in their meaning for other terrestrial mammals. The language of animals (as far as I know) has far more in the way of non-vocal cues, and of course has far less communicable complexity (Bee dances perhaps being an exception). Also it requires a certain anatomy to communicate some of these non-vocal cues.

How the writers are going to deal with all this is unknown to me. The other biology and molecular biology people here figured out a few ways to get past this, but it would have to bypass the whole "natural" feel and involve a slew of alien fauna or designed fauna (well assuming Kingdom Animalia would be the only subset of species utilized).

I do very much look forward to the lore that will be coming out. However I will be one of the first to nit-pick it. If science is what is wanted, then that is what should be there, not half-baked fluff that "magically" explains it all.


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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 11:39 pm 
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overall that's a big thing to consider in this "Animal" faction is how will Dark Matter work for them in any possible way? i do support the idea of animals actually being animals but then how will they use grenades? etc etc they will totally lose out on those fun functions of the game so they will become a weaker faction to play...so ultimately we need to know some better thoughts as to how Matt wants the animals to work and look and behave and etc like that...I do remember in Matt's videos he mentions that the animals were part of the tereforming process so how were they part of it? and thus how will they find a use for them self on the battle field and their essential survival?


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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 1:20 pm 
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i think that any animal would respond to reward-based training
no matter how alien.

if it eats, then it likes treats.
almost all creatures respond positively to sugars or salts.
the command creatures could very well have salt and sugar licks on their bodies.

if it has a sense of self preservation than it can be dominated.
creatures respond to larger creatures telling them what to do.
i believe the creature should be taller than the creatures that it dominates
and possess a powerful 'voice' and gripping tentacles.

creatures will develop relationships that are not based on chemical compatibility
if there is a need to or a tangible advantage to be gained by doing so.
if the command creatures can provide food, simple medical care (thorns plucked from paws level) and protection from predators/ humans/ vivisectionists,
then animals will hang around with them to gain those benefits.

humans domesticated animals without pheromones, without mind-control,
without much in the way of science.
they did it with kindness, care, repetition, food, protection, clever hands
and personality.
personality goes a long way :)

give me my alien command creatures, i beg of you...


ps. dark matter. i don't know if animals should have it,
it is really advanced science, like, really advanced.
i can't see it being part of their world.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 5:10 pm 
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I just had the most hilarious image ever thanks to the "sugar/salt licks" idea. It goes something like...
(-image of a pack of overjoyed street dogs crowding around a command creature, licking it's skin while wagging their tails, effectively trapping the command creature and leaving it to look really frustrated as he's being continuously licked-)

That aside...I really don't see how dark matter or dark potential energy would work with the animal faction at all. As aforementioned, it's difficult enough to do anything with it using cutting edge technology.
As dark potential abilities go, I think the animal faction should be given some sort of different concept to base their special abilities off. Perhaps some kind of biological phenomenon present in them all, capable of fueling certain biological defense mechanisms/weapons. Like a chemical they could produce that would cause some of their species to explode violently on death, or would serve as a projectile for others, or could perhaps be used to cover an area in flames with a breath attack.
Just a thought. After all, these guys will need something to allow them to stand up to all that shooting and dark potential power.


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