First, a question for everyone who reads this post: I’m just curious, how many people here have ever played Dwarf Fortress?
I ask that because, considering the theme of the game–of saving the actual human species, from extinction, and also, considering the shere scale of the game’s historical background; I think that it could be really interesting—and even take the game down a unique road–if there were some kind of mechanics, by which you could help to manage your soldiers’ psychological health, and that of the people living at your base, as a whole—and then, make it a goal of the game, to try to keep humanity as “intact”, both psychologically, as well as culturally, and also as a healthy, living, flourishing, species; as possible.
Whatever criteria you want to set, to determine not just if there are still any human life-forms out there, at the end of the game, but if they’re any better off than Paleolithic cave-men, or not.
Because, we’re more than just life-forms. We’re a shared history, a shared mess of cultures and genes and knowledge and desires and ideas and successes, art and food and music, tragedies, legends, mythologies, wars fought, won, lost, and every experience, over the last…12,000 years? 16,000? Longer than that?
This game itself says longer!
So, how about incorporating a little of that–a sense of preserving peoples’ well-being, and our knowledge, our culture, and who we are, into the game? Specifically, into our Phoenix bases, as something that is VITAL to defend—not for the sake of our physical survival, but, for the survival of what it is, that makes us worth saving, as a species, in the first place?
Ok, and this is the point where this suggestion kind of expands:
So, instead of our current missions of just going out and finding guns and ammo and better technology, how about making the rescue of things like physical books, and works of art, music CDs, caches of old-world foods, museums, artifacts, all kinds of things; a real priority?
The main question I want to ask here (and it’s a BIG one!) is: What makes us, US? What makes us (modern) humans? What’s important to us, as a species, beyond our most basic of necessities; and why are we important, and unique; and, what is worth risking resources for, in order to give us the chance to go on, doing more than just surviving?
How about a mission, to go out and “rescue” the Liberty Bell? or the fossilized skeletons of 10 famous dinosaurs? Or, to collect five famous cars, from around the world? Or, to somehow secure and preserve five famous buildings, that are in Enemy territory, starting with the Hagia Sophia, and ending with the Sydney Opera-house? Or, to somehow secure/preserve/rescue the Statue of Liberty?
I mean, how would you accomplish missions like that? And, what would it feel like, to run over a Crab-Man, with a Porche 911, or a Bugatti Royale, or one of those VW busses, from the '60’s?
There could be missions to collect or secure even odder things, like collections of stamps, coins, wine-cellars, or the Paris catacombs.
Maybe there are even big museums still out there, like the Louvre, that you can collect artifacts from? How do you secure places like that? How do you transport all those fragile artifacts and works of art? And, maybe the Enemy wants to “loot” all of the collected genetic information that’s contained in the Smithsonian, and you have to try to stop them—How?
How about something like the Holocaust Museum? Or one of the Guillotine blades used during the Reign of Terror? or artifacts from the African slave-trade, or from the attempted genocides (to name a few) of the Native Americans, the Cambodian intellectual-class, and the Australian Aborigines? Isn’t it important for us, as a species, to also preserve the worst parts of our human history and nature, as well as the best?
You could also have lots of missions to go out and collect rare genetic information, from plants and animals that are at-risk of extinction. I mean, what if we had a mission, to go out and rescue the last herd of wild horses, or an on-going mission, to rescue enough dogs and wolves, from all over the world, to preserve the canine species? Or cats, or rats, or honey-bees, or ducks, or butterflies? Or to rescue and secure a wild bird sanctuary, or an illegal collection of exotic pets? A collection of roses, fruits, orchids, spice and herb plants, trees… on and on.
Maybe even locate and somehow rescue a pod of dolphins that has somehow survived? After all, according to the game, “only” 87 percent of all ocean life has already been compromised. How much of what’s remaining can still be saved?
If we’re ever to take the war to the Enemy, and “take the oceans back”, in some manner, then missions of this kind might be really important, someday, beyond their immediate significance, of preserving original species from Earth’s oceans.
Aside from any game goals, though, we’re also talking about possibly preserving the last examples of animal and plant species–even kingdoms–that have been a major part of our human culture, for thousands of years, apart from the value they would also have, in terms of medicines, foods, and sheer bio-diversity.
Who would we be, as a species, without the existence of dogs, cats, bears, foxes, salmon, tigers, reindeer, snakes, rabbits, sharks, gorillas, chickens, oysters, whales, owls, pigs, frogs, shrimps, penguins, crabs, and a hundred other species? We define ourselves, in so many ways, by comparison to animals, and by animal characteristics.
Who would we be—and who would we become, without them?
Maybe there could be ways for us to secure examples of Earth’s current biomes, before they’re completely erradicated, and replaced? Or, at least to guard the people who are out collecting genetic information, before it’s forever corrupted and lost—and before the Enemy can use that information, against us.
And, once you’ve completed these kinds of missions, what does that mean, in game-terms?
Does rescuing Michaelangelo’s David, or Mohammed Ali’s gloves, or Chuck Berry’s guitar, or a dozen living mangrove trees, or a collection of live cheese-cultures from around the world, or an 18 foot long (living) Nile crocodile, or Yuri Gagarin’s Vostok 1 capsule, or Lee Harvey Oswald’s rifle, or a Tibetan prayer-wheel, or an aquarium full of rare tropical fish and living corals from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, or the letter that Jack the Ripper wrote to Scotland Yard, or one of Masamune’s katanas, or the complete collection of figurines and music from the Disney ‘It’s a small world, after all’ attraction, or the very last bottle of Dom Perignon in the world; have to mean anything, in concrete gameplay terms?
Are these the kinds of accomplishments that need a score attached to them?
On the other hand, completing these sorts of missions can still be reflected in the game, in satisfying ways, and it would be fun to have some kind of evidence of that, reflected in our bases, or maybe, in more concrete terms, in the will-power of our soldiers, as a reflection of them being able to experience concrete reasons for why they ought to fight?