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World War Machine
A fast-paced, Action RPG set in a procedural post-human world with meaningful customization, tactical coop and steel-shattering destruction.
Genre: Action, RPG
Developer: Tuque Games
"We stand on the last promontory of the centuries! ...Why should we look back, when what we want is to break down the mysterious doors of the impossible?”
Filippo Tommaso Marinetti
Update #2 Feb 18 - New enemy concept art, machine customization plus a top scientist ponders the question of whether it's possible to 'upload' the human mind!
Step into a universe in which the eradication of humanity has given rise to a perpetual war between surviving machines.
YOU ARE MACHINE: A supremely customizable, highly advanced technological marvel of destruction. Gather Materials to Craft crippling Weapons, upgrade your ruinous hardware Components, and make critical moment to moment tactical choices as you campaign through an unforgiving future earth filled with massively destructible environments and diverse Missions in this fast paced, modern action RPG.
Adventure solo or party up to survive the hordes of remorseless Enemies as you express yourself, compete for bragging rights, and engage in world changing events with the entire World War Machine community across the globe.
Humans are Extinct
Elevate your synthetic life form in this unique setting and uncover the mysteries behind the human extinction.
Fight the World War in Co-op
Engage in world spanning, connected Missions solo, or with friends as you compete for bragging rights locally and globally. Seamlessly drop in and out of coop at any time as you bring about world changing events with the entire connected community.
Build a Better War Machine
Gather dozens of different Materials and build Components, Weapons and Gear using the advanced 3D printing technology inside your Machine’s core. Equip these Components to optimize your Machine to suit your own unique style.
Hardware and Weapon Customisation
Procedurally Generated World
Every zone is different and offers infinite replayability. Explore the world or create campaigns of Missions and challenge yourself, your friends and the community to complete them. The bigger the mission chain, the more rewards you will earn.
Unique Advancement Structure
Increase your Power by defeating enemies, exploring the world, and completing Missions. Gather Materials to equip increasingly outrageous hardware. Configure and re-configure the Power Systems of your Machine to uncover your unique play style to assault the enemy in any way you choose.
World War Machine takes place after a cataclysmic mass extinction event has decimated all forms of organic life on Earth. Before the end of civilization, millions of human beings were able to upload their minds into a vast computer network – transforming themselves into artificial intellects. The remains of our planet are now populated solely by these intellects and machines of their creation.
During the cataclysm, the computer network that worked to maintain millions of uploaded human minds was shattered – breaking into three major Nodes and countless smaller ones. Each Node continued running its own group of intellects, though their minds were flawed by the damage. Operating on corrupted hardware, these intellects have been divorced from their memories of humanity and the goals for which they were created. With their minds broken and spread across multiple platforms, the artificial intellects fell into chaos and a perpetual war erupted between the three main network nodes.
The battles that rage through the sterilized ruins of human civilization are fought by hundreds of thousands of Machines – humanoid robots outfitted for various tasks of war, each imbued with an artificial intellect from a parent Node. If destroyed, the Machine transmits its intellect back for reconstitution in another Machine. The fight continues, and the war will never end.
Countless battles have been planned and fought by viciously clever intellects who are entrenched on well defended Mainline Nodes, blind to their own madness. This war has been fought for over five hundred years in perfect equilibrium with no end in sight...
...until one day, a lone Machine remembers.
Running on the Rome network Node, this node reacts quickly and venomously to threats both real and perceived. The core intellects here believe that meaning and order create suffering. They actively hate their human precursors and consider them responsible for creating this hellish world. They will often vandalize or rubbleize human ruins. Abaddon intellects will seek to destroy or disrupt any organization that they can find in the world – including the other Nodes.
We’re in the process of building our first playable demo. It’s exciting times and we really want to share in-progress ideas with you. We have our ideas about what’s cool about our game, but we need your help to confirm or deny our suspicions.
Tuque is a small studio and we wanted to share our ideas with as many people as possible: we thought that this was the best way to do it. All the games on Collective do not receive any money from Square-Enix, but we do benefit from their awesome fans like you to help get the word out about what we hope will put a smile on your face.
Don’t forget to comment below!
You can also do the social networking thing...
Our official website: http://www.worldwarmachine.com/
Our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/WorldWarMachine/
Our Twitter: @worldwarmachine
In this update we're going to talk some hard science - is it truly possible to upload the human mind, and what would it take? Dr Kevin Neibert gives us the facts.
Also, we know that you love the artwork that we've been putting out so far, and thanks for all the great feedback - so we wanted to share with you some more work-in-progress goodness.
First up, we've been playing around with machine customization, and while we're yet to settle on exactly how this will work, here's a couple of images that give you some idea of what we've been thinking.
What do you think? As always, your feedback is invaluable, so let us know in the comments.
Also, as we're now heading into the final stretch on the feedback phase for this Collective pilot programme, we wanted to give you a few more enemy designs for the Abbadon node!
Okay, that's all the eye candy for today... time to switch to some srs bsns. We all love to speculate about where science will take us in the future, but is it even possible to get to a point where machines become sentient? We put that question to a top expert here in Montreal (where we're based), and he very kindly gave us the hard science behind the concepts. Read on to be enlightened!
By Dr. Kevin Neibert
Mind uploading and the singularity – are we there yet?
"Every time you think of your father, you resurrect him. Why shouldn't he continue a post-human life in this world while he's resting in the other?”―Clyde Dsouza
Whole brain emulation, or so-called mind uploading, refers to the hypothetical process of copying brain content from a biological source to an artificial substrate. This involves mapping and scanning the brain, digitizing all of the information and transferring it to a computational device that simulates a fully functional biological brain. The digital storage system must perfectly emulate the original brain activity so that the uploaded mind is indistinguishable from the original by recreating the “identity” of the uploaded individual. Once uploaded and stored, the digitized consciousness could theoretically be copied into a humanoid robot, or reside within a vast neural network with other artificial intellects.
What is consciousness?
This centuries-old puzzle has challenged philosophers, metaphysicists, neuroscientists and religious thinkers alike. For our purposes, we will consider consciousness as the sense of selfhood. It is the ability to experience the external world as well as things within ourselves. We all know that consciousness exists, but where does it come from? Again, the answer really depends on who you ask.
According to a prominent theory in neuroscience, consciousness can arise within any sufficiently complex information processing system. This is not to say that every complex physical or digital has a consciousness. We don’t expect a tree or a bunch of neurons in a dish or a calculator to be self-aware, although they can be considered to be quite complex on their own. However, these processing units are not integrated into higher order structures and therefore lack the potential to support consciousness. What really matters is how many connections there are in each system and how they are all connected to each other.
To put it into context, the average human brain is estimated to be made up of roughly 100 billion neurons and 100 trillion connections between neurons, called synapses. Each of these connections is much like a molecular microprocessor. In the case of the brain, it is the whole system working together that is conscious, not the individual nerve cells.
"I think the brain is like a program in the mind, which is like a computer, so it's theoretically possible to copy the brain onto a computer and so provide a form of life after death" - Steven Hawking
Storing your memories
Memories make up the ongoing experience of life. They define and shape who we are and provide us with a sense of self. If we are ever going to successfully upload the human mind, memoires will have to be included. Traditionally, scientists used to think that memories were stored in very specific regions of the brain much like individual sheets of paper can be organised and stored in a filing cabinet. As it turns out, memory is much-much more complex than previously thought. What we think about as memory is actually a group of tightly integrated neural systems, scattered across the brain which work together to create, store and recall memories. When the brain is functioning properly, these distinct processes are compiled into a seamless conscious experience.
There is a fair amount of evidence to suggest that specific brain regions may be associated with specific types of memory. For example, the hippocampus is thought to be involved with spatial memory, while the amygdala is believed to be involved with emotional memory. Damage to these particular brain regions in human patients and animal models corresponds to deficits in specific types of memory. Alternatively, damage to the surrounding brain areas (while sparing the core functional region) may interrupt memory signalling pathways which connect the various brain regions together and can also lead to memory deficits.
Simply storing memories on a hard drive will not bring awareness, any more than flipping through the pages of a meticulously updated journal. The brain is not simply a sum total of all the memories stored within, but rather a way to processes and interpret the information itself.
“No computer has ever been designed that is ever awareof what it's doing; but most of the time, we aren't either.” – Marvin Minsky
Current progress on mind uploading technologies
When will whole brain emulation be available so that we transcend humanity and outlast the Cataclysm? Well, short answer, not any time soon. In order for mind uploading to exist outside your favourite sci-fi show, a vast number of technical hurdles must first be overcome. In principle, mind uploading requires two essential capabilities: 1) the ability to physically scan and map brains in order to gather the necessary data, 2) conversion of the scanned data into a digital simulation model.
The first step to successful mind uploading is to acquire all the necessary information from the physical copy of the brain. This means mapping the precise position and composition of billions of neurons and axillary cells. Glial cells, the primary support cells of the central nervous system, are responsible for maintaining healthy neurons. They supply nutrients, remove damaged cells and clear infections from the brain. They hold neurons in place and cover them in sheathes of fat so that they can send their motor and sensory signals rapidly to and from the extremities of the body. In addition, there is increasing evidence to suggest that glial support cells help to establish and maintain functional connections between neurons in the brain.
Altogether, it is currently estimated that the human brain contains somewhere around 100-1000 trillion cells. If you consider each cell to be a data point, this corresponds to about 1000 terabytes of information. Plus, all this information must be collected at a sufficient resolution to accurately reconsider the exact parameters (position, shape, composition, etc.) of each cell. Let’s assume that we could store that much data, how would we go about collecting it in the first place?
Atomic force microscopy (AFM), a type of microscopy that forms imaging using a tiny probe with a sharp tip, would be a good scanning technique because it would provide high resolution images cells in the brain. However, it requires the brain tissue to be first processed into very small slices. This strategy would be extremely costly and (bordering on impossibly) time consuming.
A superior alternative would involve imaging of larger brain sections. With the proper labeling tools, brain scanning could be performed using confocal microscopy, a high resolution optical imaging platform. One such technology, aptly called the Brainbow, permits the labeling and tracking of hundreds of individual neurons in the brain at the same time. Unfortunately, this strategy requires the insertion of several genes into the host (and some tricky DNA recombination), but would be much easier and faster than other mapping techniques, relativity speaking of course.
The most thorough approach for brain scanning would be to pick the brain apart, molecule by molecule, or even atom by atom, digitizing their exact position and composition. There are a number of clear challenges in this approach, such as the production of nano-sized tool tips that can extract single atoms at a time, let alone the time it would take to atomically disassemble an entire brain. The type of technology is still a long ways away, but is extremely interesting nonetheless.
Translation and Simulation
Images from brain scanning must first be processed before they can be useful for emulation. Imaging processing is already a mature industry with several commercial and academic applications. However, specialised software would still need to be developed and optimized to handle the huge amounts of data. Software would have to properly identify the position of cells, synapses, blood vessels and other important anatomic details from the mapping images. While automated tracing of cells is already available using images acquired from confocal microscopy, distinguishing neurons from other cell types requires significant advances in image recognition software.
At higher resolution, synaptic connections between neurons could be analysed and digitized as well. Synapses tend to take one of three shapes, thin, mushroom or stubby. There is some evidence to suggest that the specific shape and type of the synapse provides hints as to its function. However, it is not yet known how important spine shape is to the normal functioning of the synapse. Using all of the mapping information available, a complete 3D reconstruction of the brain could be made, requiring substantial processing power and data storage.
Brain emulation is currently only a theoretical technology. Neural simulation models are not driven by scanned data, but are generated from pre-set estimations and/or random distributions. Neural simulation systems can be made by modeling the behaviour of individual neurons, or neurons in interconnected groups. These models can then be scaled up to represent more physiological relevant numbers of neurons. So far the largest neural simulation to date consisted of 22 million neurons with 11 billion synapses. Due to computational limitations, larger scale simulations are not yet possible. However, it appears feasible that within the foreseeable future the full connectivity all neurons in the brain could be modeled within the working memory of a large supercomputing system.
Criticism of mind uploading
Sceptics contend that even with the promising technological advances of the last decade, mind uploading will never be possible. Typical criticisms point to the inadequate storage space, insufficient processing power and lack of stability of current computing platforms. However recent breakthroughs in penta-scale computing have generated very promising results. In fact, the world’s fastest supercomputer, the K from Fujitsu, has 10x greater storage capacity (30 quadrillion bytes) and 4x faster processing speed (8.2 billion megaflops) than the human brain.
Other critics believe that brain functions are not computable and that the brain/computer analogy does not hold up. They argue that the human consciousness can’t be accurately replicated by a computer processor because the most important brain activity occurs due to nonlinear interactions among billions of cells which are very difficult to predict and therefore can’t be computed.
From Metroid, to Battlestar Galactica, there is no shortage of mind uploading examples in science fiction. For all its controversy, the technology behind mind uploading is sufficiently rooted in science. In its current state, whole brain emulation requires relatively minor advances for scanning, but significant software/hardware developments for imaging processing and full brain emulation. Computers are getting bigger and faster. Human-computer interfaces are quickly advancing. Is digital immortally just around the corner?
Jeff HattemCreative Director: 15 years of industry experience with credits on the Far Cry and Splinter Cell franchises.
Daniel H. WilsonWriter: New York Times Best Selling Author and Writer of Robopocalypse.
Aaron BeckConcept Artist: World renowned artist whose credits include District 9, Avatar, Elysium and the short film K3loid.