Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Advancement of the Machines

Thoughts about plots involving time travel have been on my mind again lately. I read a series of three articles on the subject from a blog over at Campaign Mastery starting with When Inspiration Is Not Enough: Time Travel in RPGs, Part 1. The first is the best from the writer's perspective. The second would be useful for plotting conflicts and their results in role-playing games. The last is pointed pretty directly at physicists and physics fans and may leave you lost. I can hardly approach the topic of time travel without referencing the Terminator franchise. It is definitely my go to time travel storyline. There is one factor regarding Judgment Day--when Skynet nukes the world--which has been expressed in a few ways, but I would have liked to seen in more direct and deeper ways. Every time Judgement day is pushed back technology advances.

In the real world, between the Terminator movies, there was a lot of advancement in the field of computers and software. There was a fairish bit of improvement in robotics too--especially between the first and second movie for the robotics. Every time the intrepid heroes push back the date of the end of the current world they make the fight against the machines in the aftermath that much harder. The starkest representation of this is the difference between Arnold's T800 and the T1000. There isn't a lot of tactical advancement in Skynet's approach to thwart John Connor in the movies either. It was a welcome addition that The Sara Connor Chronicles had the luxury of looking at a broader Skynet battle plan to weaken the entire resistance. There are still yet other avenues of attack that Skynet could make use of anywhere in the timeline before T3's end.

This paragraph here contains spoilers if for some reason you haven't seen all of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines or The Sara Connor Chronicles. Skynet from the future creates a computer virus that the military uses the current Skynet to try and stop. I'm not entirely sure of the full intent of this tactic but there is a clear leapfrogging of the wait time for Skynet to become aware and it immediately sets off its murderous rampage. In the Chronicles TV series Skynet sends Terminators back in time for a number of purposes from killing the parents of resistance leaders, to plans set in motion to ensure the creation of itself, to stockpiling materials to kick start production of T800s. This is a good start, but I would like to have seen more, deeper plots and conflicts. The question is how can I delve into such a plot of my own, and bring originality not to mention avoid lawsuits.

Mood: mechanical.
Music: Zero Signal by Fear Factory and Mr. Self Destruct by Nine Inch Nails.

Fear Factory: Demanufacture
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Nine Inch Nails: Downward Spiral
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