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AfterHistory

(or equivalent unique title; "AfterMath" may already be taken :)
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Synopsis of Game Play:
1. Prepare for End of Civilization
2. Survive End of Civilization
3. Rebuild Civilization. Try to do it Right this time!

Details:
There is a class of strategy game involved with the development of Civilization, including research, resource gathering, exploration, growth, and, of course, conflict. There are a lot of imitators of the original "Civilization" game (including its own sequels). I am suggesting here a VERY significant variation of that theme.

Our present REAL Civilization is in trouble. Population keeps growing faster than resource-production. Intolerance of the ways of others causes civil strife in many places, and threatens many more. Resources themselves are frequently limited in quantity (like petroleum), and are inexoribly being used up. Any place that suffers an extended breakdown of flow-of-resources (power blackout) is a place only a few days away from famine and epidemic. Greed has factions squabbling over pieces of the existing pie, rather than working together to create all-new pies (fusion power). Wimps in political office lack the backbone to end the squabbling; their own advisors are often chiefs among the greedy squabblers. If this goes on...then WE will be History.

But as each chapter of History closes, another opens. We are so widespread that there will probably almost always be survivors. Can a giant meteor really make humanity extinct? The dinosaurs didn't have nuclear-fission power, greenhouses, and artificial lighting. WE can grow food even if the Sun is blocked by atmospheric dust for five years. Not enough food for everyone, of course, but enough to ensure that some will survive.

In this proposed Game, a large number of End Of Civilization scenarios are possible. World War III, terrorist-spread Ebola, magnitude-10 earthquakes all around the Pacific Rim Ring of Fire (sometime you should look up the percentage of Gross World Product that originates there), planetary icecaps melting, supervolcano, Ice Age, etc. Each offers only a few clues to the Player, who has the initial goal of preparing to survive that particular End. Then, of course, arrives the challenge of actually surviving the End, with epidemics, bands of marauders, rogue generals with tactical nukes, and lots of other possibilities. Finally, the REAL test comes along: Picking Up The Pieces.

This Game is actually intended to be educational as well as challenging. The more people who play it, the more who will know something about the mess we are currently in, and who might ACT to prevent any of those End-Scenarios. Should an actual End occur, the more people there will be, who have prepared and will survive and who know what to do afterwards.

For example, are there currently any psychological tests designed to determine "degree of trustworthiness"? The Game can have them, and by the time an End occurs, we may actually have them. Survivors who save such Tests will have a better chance than those who don't. Then there is "hoarding", which in bad times is a bad thing to do, but in good times it is called "being prepared". To what degree can either a Game player or a real-life survivalist properly prepare for an extended time of turmoil? Knowing what to stock-up is critical for success at either. And little things are likely to be overlooked in the collecting of everybody-knows-you-need-that like bullets; what will you be using for toilet paper after a year or three? Can you get a new (or old!) factory running in that time? What about soap?

When the Game settles down for the long haul, you have the problem of many things to do and not many hands to do it. Your success may depend on how many marauders you can peacefully get on your side! You also are confronted with one of the biggest dilemmas of all, that current Civilization faces: mined-out mines, empty oil and gas wells, denuded forests, multiply-decimated fisheries, etc. And there will be new problems like cities full of diseased corpses....

It's not hopeless. We have learned enough to know that with sufficient Energy to play with, and Matter to manipulate, anything that has been built can be re-built. Did your preparations include saving that knowledge? The needed Matter is distributed across the landscape in the form of dead automobiles and empty buildings (steel, copper, aluminum, etc). The needed Energy is something you definitely have to prepare in advance for. Small-scale hydropower, windmills, banks of solar cells, for example. Note that only a week or two ago as I write this, the U.S. Dept. of Energy has decided to do another formal investigation into Cold Fusion, because sufficient evidence HAS accumulated that something really is going on in those experiments. By the time the End comes along, the Game can certainly let you include some Cold Fusion power cells in your preparations. And maybe we will have them for real, too. But the point to that is, the AfterHistory must have SOME kind of steady minimal power, so that it can bootstrap itself to greater things.

The social structure in the Game is of course also something that can be started afresh, athough to find out how such things might really work out will probably require a Massive MultiPlayer On Line version of the game. For example, you could choose Benevolent Dictatorship, known Historically to be among the best governments for the common people, except for the problems of ensuring the benevolence of the Dictator, and assassination attempts by would-be non-benevolent dictators. You could choose Golden Rule Anarchy, where you can do anything you want, and the price is to suffer anything you dish out to others. You could choose Nudism1984, where NOBODY has ANY secrets from anybody else. You can even experiment with ways to ensure that any Authority is held Responsible for its actions -- because if you have that, then you might not need anything else for good government. Feel free to make suggestions in the annotations!

So, have fun! Learn! Involve others! Be prepared! And just maybe it all can be prevented. Future History is Science Fiction, and SF is good at the job of providing advance warning of "If This Goes On..." trends, so that such trends of Reality have in the past been kept from going as far as has been described in Fiction.

Vernon, May 20 2004

Somewhat related http://www.halfbake...ague_20Of_20Nations
[theircompetitor, Oct 04 2004]

Oil Production Curve http://wwwistp.murd...scoverandprodn.html
DrCurry needs to become more informed. Decades ago it was observed that every oil FIELD undergos a common pattern of development, peak production, and declining production. This curve ALSO applies to the world as a whole giant oil field, and the peak years are approximately NOW. [Vernon, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Something that might be useful in the AfterHistory http://www.halfbake...20(and_20Isosorter)
Now all we need is sufficient energy to power it! [Vernon, Oct 04 2004]

Another useful item http://www.halfbake...om/idea/Calculators
Once things get going, these things might be worth many times their weight in you-name-it. [Vernon, Oct 04 2004]

No Fertilizer Available? http://www.halfbake...s_20and_20Factories
It's the Real Thing... [Vernon, Oct 04 2004]

Knowledge is Power, as we know. http://www.halfbake...20Teflon*_20Archive
Not in production yet, of course. But there's still time.... [Vernon, Oct 04 2004]

Cold Fusion? http://www.lenr-can...ataYanewenergya.pdf
An example of a recent experiment. ARE they making this stuff up? Perhaps in their effort to try to EXPLAIN what they observe, they are making something up - but what about those observations?. [Vernon, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

President of Turkmenistan http://news.bbc.co....pacific/3607467.stm
outlawing gold teeth [sartep, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

[link]






       "Population keeps growing faster than resource-production." - not when I last looked.
DrCurry, May 20 2004
  

       [DrCurry], you must not have been looking at the global picture. Oil production, for example, is now at or very near its final possible peak, so it CANNOT really grow more, to match population growth. And the oceans really are being fished-out faster than the fish can reproduce. So that resource is certainly not growing, even though our ability to extract from the sea's existing stocks may grow for a little while longer....
Vernon, May 20 2004
  

       When my scrolling finger got tired, I knew who the author was.......
normzone, May 20 2004
  

       Call it “A Canticle for Vernon”.
ldischler, May 20 2004
  

       Vernon: as has been widely noted, we have had fifty years supply of oil left in the ground for more than the last fifty years. The doomsdayers overlook the fact that more oil is discovered every year, and every year more ways are found to extract more of the known reserves. Now, it is obvious that there is a finite amount of oil in the ground, so we will run out sooner or later, just as the Sun will eventually make the Earth uninhabitable. But we will likely figure out how to create oil from household waste long before then. (It's been done in the lab already.)
DrCurry, May 20 2004
  

       So kinda like Civilization meets Fallout: Tactics, right?
Letsbuildafort, May 20 2004
  

       //But we will likely figure out how to create oil from household waste long before then.// Ha! An optomist. Where do you think your household waste comes from, anyway? I think you're confusing scientists with magicians.
Worldgineer, May 20 2004
  

       I read the whole thing ! (a [Vernon] first) (+)
neilp, May 20 2004
  

       (+) I imagine that seeds would be a valuable commodity.
There is an undiscovered cave system with its own Artesian fed waterfall out there somewhere calling my name I just know it.
  

       I like the premise, but can't get past it really being just another "Civilization" game. Does it really matter if you're starting out from caves or bunkers? However you begin, you still need to make your way in the world...
phoenix, May 20 2004
  

       Just because a theory X works in a simulation game built specifically to promote theory X doesn't mean that one can depend on it in reality. This isn't teaching anything, this isn't science or discourse, it's just propaganda.
jutta, May 20 2004
  

       //Now, it is obvious that there is a finite amount of oil in the ground//   

       DrCurry, I agree with your overall sentiment though I'm not sure that the above statement is true in any meaningful way.   

       Not to mention coal.
theircompetitor, May 20 2004
  

       //enevolent Dictatorship, known Historically to be among the best governments//   

       Like the kind that outlaws gold teeth? +
sartep, May 21 2004
  

       [phoenix], you have something of a point, but there are some significant differences. For example, you can't be sure that your weaponry will be superior to that of the barbarians. And until SOME kind of large-scale energy source comes along, there are likely to be very few consumer luxuries. Also, it is possible that there will be a large backlash against any technology that is blatantly polluting. This means that very careful analysis of "appropriate" technologies will be needed.   

       In case you didn't know:
First-Generation technology is a gadget that just barely works.
Second-Generation technology is a very complicated version of the gadget that works very well (but is also accompanied by side-effects such as pollution)
Third-Generation technology is a fairly simple version of the gadget that works very well (and cleanly). This often means employing very precise manufacturing, special materials, and oddball physical principles.
  

       Currently our Civilization is largely built upon Second Generation technology, with gradual conversions here and there to Third-Generation stuff. It would be best if in the AfterHistory ONLY Third Generation techology was allowed -- but we can easily understand just how difficult and long-term such a scenario would be. People are likely too greedy and impatient to accept it, for one thing. Unless some really big and helpful breakthrough comes along, like nanotechnology.   

       [jutta], I do know that preparations in the real world have to be based on what is available in the real world. But the most important "preparation" of all would be preventing any AfterHistory Game-scenario from becoming real. Here is a hypothetical example:   

       Suppose the servers that support the HalfBakery were located in Southern California (I know nothing about the actual location). We KNOW that that region is due for a major devastating earthquake in the not-too-distant future. WHEN that quake happens, will the site -- not to mention the BakesPerson -- survive? How badly would members of the site want to help prevent that tiny piece of the overall disaster? Donations to move it elsewhere? I would donate! Would any such effort actually do any good (relocation occurs)? Maybe not -- but if there is no effort at all, then most certainly no such good could happen.   

       And so it is on the large scale, where large numbers of people need to be given a reason to act sooner than later, to help lessen or prevent human causes behind various possible Endings. If a popular Game helps save Civilization as we know it, then creating it will have been worth it. No matter how propagandistic that -- or the Game -- sounds.
Vernon, May 21 2004
  

       [sartep], I'm not sure of whom you are referring. I think that a couple of reasonably benevolent dictators were Franco of Spain and Ataturk of Turkey. Possibly Castro of Cuba qualifies, too. Did they all have Secret Police? Probably. Did they make vast numbers of enemies in the general population? No, and certainly not like did Hussein of Iraq or Amin of Uganda or Marcos of the Phillipines or (endless list). So the first ones I mentioned must have done something right (that lasted for decades of stable government), and that "something" likely fits under the umbrella of "benevolence".
Vernon, May 21 2004
  

       // I agree with your overall sentiment though I'm not sure that the above statement is true in any meaningful way.//   

       Ummm... how exactly? Oil is being formed all the time but since it takes millions of years to form, if we keep using it at the rate we are, supply is going to outstrip demand at some point. [Dr C] is right that we have found more efficient ways of extracting what is there, but still, sooner or later, we're going to run out. Same goes for coal.
hazel, May 21 2004
  

       by the time I got to the third paragraph I was worried that civilisation would end by the time i'd finish reading. if only I had played a computer game that would have prepared me for such an event..hmmm..
etherman, May 21 2004
  

       Eh, this may be longer than most halfbakery posts, but it isn't really all that hard to read through, is it?   

       I think it's a good idea. It has enough variables and exciting conflicts to make a fun game. It may be difficult to develop, but if implemented well, I believe it can be a big hit.
Aerythes, May 21 2004
  

       Douglas Adams made this point in the hitch hikers guide to the galaxy where he made Authur dent a sandwich man on an prehistoric level planet.   

       Just because i drive a car doesn't mean i can build one, repair it all myself. You would need to ensure the correct skills are availiable, in fact that could be a factor in the game, you have scientists and technicians that you must keep alive inorder to be able to work from a pre devastation level. loose the wrong ones or too many and you are in the dark ages.   

       (+) first Vernon idea i read in full and think i understood.
engineer1, May 25 2004
  

       Folks, it has occurred to me that if we can prevent possible Ends of Civilization in the real world, then the Game should offer that possibility, too. Doing such might be more difficult than surviving and picking up the pieces, but that kind of victory might be all the more satisfying! (not to mention all-the-more educational!)
Vernon, May 27 2004
  

       I'm convinced that I would not want to survive the apocolypse after reading this.
Wayne Scotting, Mar 29 2011
  
      
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