Shivans and such

#1
So.

Why do the Shivans want to wipe out everyone? (xenocidal "holy war"? remnant van neumann/self-replicating machines from some previous war?)
Why did they blow up Capella? ("bridge building"? to get back home to "shivantown"?)
How come they had beams and flak guns in FS2, but not in FS1?
Why did they capture Bosch and what did they do with him?
Why did they wait so long (32 years) to send reinforcements after the Lucifer was destroyed?
Why did they wait so long to wipe out the Ancients?
How long have they been at it?
What were those Comm Nodes for, anyway?

Re: Shivans and such

#2
Why do the Shivans want to wipe out everyone? (xenocidal "holy war"? remnant van neumann/self-replicating machines from some previous war?)
I don't want that answered, really. I think it limits the options of the storyteller, and it should remain forever ambiguous.
Why did they blow up Capella? ("bridge building"? to get back home to "shivantown"?)
I expect there was actually more than one reason, but the only one that seems really sure was cutting the link between known Shivan areas and GTVA space.
How come they had beams and flak guns in FS2, but not in FS1?
This one is one I used to answer by saying they're not the same Shivans, but that got axed specifically by :v:'s head writer, so damnation and hellfire. We'll fall back on the other explanation later.
Why did they capture Bosch and what did they do with him?
He talked to them. They thought he might actually be Shivan. They were quite upset when he turned out not to be.
Why did they wait so long (32 years) to send reinforcements after the Lucifer was destroyed?
There was no 32-year wait for reinforcements. The jump node topography of it all means that the survivors of the Lucifer fleet haven't yet gotten home. The Lucifer fleet was a Shivan expeditionary patrol fleet on its scheduled sweep. The tech could be either a deliberate defense to prevent an isolated fleet from being overwhelmed and giving away all the Shivan's technological secrets or simply a reflection of the length of their patrol sweeps. The Knossos cuts out the middleman and gives you direct access to the Shivan homeland.
Why did they wait so long to wipe out the Ancients?
Vagaries of patrol sweeps and/or direct contact with Shivan holdings. Arguably the Shivans only began regular sweeps of this area of space as a response to contact with the Ancients.
How long have they been at it?
Unknown, possibly unknowable. We'd probably have to ask, and they're not going to tell if we do.
What were those Comm Nodes for, anyway?


I don't know!
IAR
A Numbered Existence
In The Service
Monsters
SAMAS

Re: Shivans and such

#4
Quoted ngtm1r because a lot of my answers are/would be the same
Why do the Shivans want to wipe out everyone? (xenocidal "holy war"? remnant van neumann/self-replicating machines from some previous war?)
I don't want that answered, really. I think it limits the options of the storyteller, and it should remain forever ambiguous.
Maybe the shivans are just cosmic dicks, of course. Most people don't think twice about killing an ant nest when it's near their home...
Why did they blow up Capella? ("bridge building"? to get back home to "shivantown"?)
I expect there was actually more than one reason, but the only one that seems really sure was cutting the link between known Shivan areas and GTVA space.
There's a strong hint, IIRC, that it's to build a new jumpnode (which does beg the question - what about all the other nodes that don't show evidence of the same process? Or have the Shivans evolved to just create their own jump networks and live entirely in nebulas, environments where no competing lifeform can emerge?)

Or maybe they pen in species like in a zoo; when someone like the ancients gets uppity and 'escapes' (i.e. using a knossos), the zookeepers remove them.

I kind of liked the idea that it was a form of cautery, that the Shivans were already occupied with fighting a losing war elsewhere and decided it was the least costly option. I think Reciprocity went with that angle; Lost Souls went with a rather dodgy concept that it was some massive, subspace-level experiment where the cumulative effect of two specific real-world novas would close some other subspace-wedgie (which was massively screwed up when they lost their synchronizing comms node relays).
How come they had beams and flak guns in FS2, but not in FS1?
This one is one I used to answer by saying they're not the same Shivans, but that got axed specifically by :v:'s head writer, so damnation and hellfire. We'll fall back on the other explanation later.
Another one is perhaps lack of appropriate power sources, if they are tied into the nebula in some manner; like the GTVAs problems with the Prometheus.

That wouldn't necessarily answer how the GTVA powered their beams, or flak, though. Hmm.

Another possibility - leftovers from the Ancient-Shivan war.

Or, quasi-civillian fleet. Maybe they have the sort of culture where there are indeed civillians, and those civillians are less important to preserve than the military (or even that it was simply an attempted training excercise - wipe out some primitives, get a promotion).
Why did they capture Bosch and what did they do with him?
He talked to them. They thought he might actually be Shivan. They were quite upset when he turned out not to be.
I always liked the comparison to 'how would you react to an ant that talked back'.
Why did they wait so long (32 years) to send reinforcements after the Lucifer was destroyed?
There was no 32-year wait for reinforcements. The jump node topography of it all means that the survivors of the Lucifer fleet haven't yet gotten home. The Lucifer fleet was a Shivan expeditionary patrol fleet on its scheduled sweep. The tech could be either a deliberate defense to prevent an isolated fleet from being overwhelmed and giving away all the Shivan's technological secrets or simply a reflection of the length of their patrol sweeps. The Knossos cuts out the middleman and gives you direct access to the Shivan homeland.
The Lucifer fleet could also just be the vanguard of a very long migrationary fleet, I think. So it's not reinforcements, it is literally the Shivans returning and wondering what happened to their scouting party.
Why did they wait so long to wipe out the Ancients?
Vagaries of patrol sweeps and/or direct contact with Shivan holdings. Arguably the Shivans only began regular sweeps of this area of space as a response to contact with the Ancients.
Did they actually wait that long?

The presumption seems to be that subspace use and/or interstellar conflict was what set the Shivans off; and that the Shivans took long enough to respond that the Ancients had a vast empire. But the boundaries might not be so simple - or it may have been them burrowing into Shivan space with the Knossos that caused the war. At that time they may have reacted very quickly.
How long have they been at it?
Unknown, possibly unknowable. We'd probably have to ask, and they're not going to tell if we do.
Pick a number long enough to sound awesome and short enough to sound plausible....
What were those Comm Nodes for, anyway?


I don't know!
Comms! (seriously, why not? they may be a very, very long way from home)

Re: Shivans and such

#5
Maybe the shivans are just cosmic dicks, of course. Most people don't think twice about killing an ant nest when it's near their home...
I don't really see that, because it's obvious that these are warships, and they are waging war...and taking losses. Even if you treat the Shivans as a massive hive mind and the losses are tiny, it still doesn't work; how often do the ants attack the exterminator, much less hurt him? At the very least, we're a larger and more aggressive form of life than that; snakes perhaps.

Actually that sounds like a really neat premise. The Shivans are lashing out in atavistic fear of humanoid life.
The Lucifer fleet could also just be the vanguard of a very long migrationary fleet, I think. So it's not reinforcements, it is literally the Shivans returning and wondering what happened to their scouting party.
The problem with that is the Shivan attacks originate from very different points. If they were a vanguard, or a scouting party, then why isn't the main fleet entering the field from the same direction, following a scouted and secured path?
IAR
A Numbered Existence
In The Service
Monsters
SAMAS

Re: Shivans and such

#6
Maybe the shivans are just cosmic dicks, of course. Most people don't think twice about killing an ant nest when it's near their home...
I don't really see that, because it's obvious that these are warships, and they are waging war...and taking losses. Even if you treat the Shivans as a massive hive mind and the losses are tiny, it still doesn't work; how often do the ants attack the exterminator, much less hurt him? At the very least, we're a larger and more aggressive form of life than that; snakes perhaps.

Actually that sounds like a really neat premise. The Shivans are lashing out in atavistic fear of humanoid life.
Well... it's sort of an alice through the looking glass thing perhaps - you could argue that the Shivans don't have 'warships' per se, that in the environment they evolved in all life is/was hostile and belligerent, so from their perspective it wouldn't be unexpected for the 'ants' to have defenses and losses would be anticipated. I mean ants, to be clear, as in terms of relative 'importance' rather than impact. Maybe even wasps (for some reason, Capella brings to mind the old wasp-next extermination trick of just bricking up the enterance).
The Lucifer fleet could also just be the vanguard of a very long migrationary fleet, I think. So it's not reinforcements, it is literally the Shivans returning and wondering what happened to their scouting party.
The problem with that is the Shivan attacks originate from very different points. If they were a vanguard, or a scouting party, then why isn't the main fleet entering the field from the same direction, following a scouted and secured path?
Well, er, yeah. That did strike me as the main problem.

But there are some slightly dodgy things I can think of;
- the collapse of the Sol node had some reciprocal damaging effects on the nodes the FS1 fleet used (given the nebulous definition of how subspace works, this is probably the most supportable)
- the Lucifer and its attendant fleet could take alternative paths due to some basic technological difference (with the lack of beam or flak weaponry tying in to this in an extremely tenuous manner)
- they did take the same direction; at some point the Knossos (knossi?) was opened. Perhaps the GTI shut it down, and the details were lost during the Silent Threat rebellion.
- the main fleet would have used the same approach, but reopening the knossos gave them both a shortcut and a signal to move in that direction
- the same direction isn't considered scouted and secure, because the FS1 fleet hasn't reported it as such (admittedly raises the question why take path B...)

Or something. I'm not suggesting this would be the canon explanation, though; just that IMO it's a pretty neat representation of the scale of the Shivan fleet if it can legitimately take decades to fully cross through a region of space.

Re: Shivans and such

#7
I like to think of the Shivans as being part of something much bigger than what we're presented with ingame. After all, we know that the Ancients alone encountered multiple senitent species - that, to me, suggests that intelligent, technological life is pretty common in the FS universe. Possibly there are species out there that coexist with the Shivans, maybe nit peacefully, but at least safely, in some kind of perpetual stalemate.

I imagine the Shivans as being some kind of cosmic test - a complex one, and they probably didn't start out that way but that's what they've become. Figure out how to survive against the Shivans, and you enter the greater galactic community. Note "survive" as opposed to "defeat" - you might beatt hem militarily, but you might also hide from them (either by getting off the subspace network or some other way), run from them (convert your civ into some kind of mobile diaspora) or some other creative way. Frankly, there's no evidence for this in either game, but it does colour my perceptions of the Shivans a little.

So, in that context, I guess my answers would be along these lines:
Why do the Shivans want to wipe out everyone? (xenocidal "holy war"? remnant van neumann/self-replicating machines from some previous war?)
I don't think they're pure van neumann machines - particularly in FS1, they seemed to have more complex motivations that that - the infamous trap mission (Shell game was it?), for example, but we know they've been doing this for a long time - almost certainly much longer than the 8000 years we know about. This presents a quandry - frankly, if they were truly xenocidal, they could have been far more efficient at wiping out life in an 8000 year period - a few carefully selected stars would wipe out life over a 20+ LY radius - slow, if you want to kill everything in the galaxy, but faster than shooting them all one by one with beams.

In fact, as far as we know, the Shivans only target technological situations, and high tech ones at that. They left the Vasudans alone, despite the fact that they were a well established society (2000 years into Khonsu's dynasty at that point) of sentient beings when the Ancients (and therefore, the Shivans) were in the area. Why leave them alive? It would have been a simple matter to glass Vasuda prime when they took out the ancients, so, if you're truly xenocidal - why wait? There has to be some sort of trigger - something that a species does which gets the Shivans attention, which implies a degree of complexity to their motivations. I see two possibilities for the trigger - either by using subspace, or starting wars in space - either of them could be the cause or possibly both - the Shivans may be worried about the potential for node collapse if you bring your wars into their node netowrk?
Why did they blow up Capella? ("bridge building"? to get back home to "shivantown"?)
Frankly, Capella remains my biggest... not problem, but certainly mystery. The whole Shivantown idea seems... well, it certainly makes sense, and there's some pretty cool potential for storytelling if you elaborate on it, but... I dunno, it just doesn't satisfy me 100%. I think that the Shvans were portrayed very differently in FS1 and 2. For the FS2 Shivans, I can accept the "Shivantown" idea, even if I don't like it...but for the FS1 guys... hmm...

I guess the big problem I can see is the presence of the Gamma Drac nebula right next door (well, almost). Obviously, GD might be natural, but I just think that the combination of Nebula, then event which creates one is meant to lead us down the path of "The Shivans created the GD nebula". If they did make that nebula, wouldn't there already be a node to Shivantown, somewhere? Of course, it could have been a natural event... I have to go with "I don't know" on this one, interview notwithstanding.
How come they had beams and flak guns in FS2, but not in FS1?
I think they were different types of Shivans. The Lucifer fleet was a "scouting party" - a patrol fleet - cops, basically, IMO. They patrol space, looking for people who break the rules.

Anyway, the Sath fleet, by comparison, are the TRG. They're the guys who come in when things get too heavy for the beat cops, and you need some heavy weapons, although that doesn't explain Capella. Even more than the differences in weapons, though, the FS1 and 2 Shivans seemed very different - the FS2 guys seem much more van neumann-ey, for example. In fact, I wonder if the story writer changed between FS1 and 2? The stuff in the interview fits very well with FS2, not so much with FS1.

Personally, I suspect that while they are the same species as one another, they may be different castes or races or something. This would explain differences in weapons, as well as behaviour and (possibly) motivations.
Why did they capture Bosch and what did they do with him?
I have no problem with the interview explanation for this. I quite like the idea of Bosch being undone by hubris, kinda. All his grand plans hinged on speaking to the Shivans, and then he finally runs all the blockades, evades the GTVA, gets into the nebula and then... he gets ripped apart by angry shivans. :D
Why did they wait so long (32 years) to send reinforcements after the Lucifer was destroyed?
Maybe they didn't know something had gone wrong until the Lucy fleet failed to make it back to "Shivantown" after some pre-assigned patrol or scouting route in some 50 odd year cycle? Or maybe the Shivans just work on a vastly different timescale than we do, and 32 years was just how long it took to respond? Maybe they were growing/building the Saths in that time (although personally, I don't like that idea... again, it really just doesn't sit right, the Saths should be old).

Again, personal view here (and leaving aside the obvious answer of the plot needing time for the GTVA to recover and develop technologically in order to make the second game sufficiently unique and fun :)), I suspect that the 32 years was some kind of programed response. If the Shivans were on a scouting or patrol trip, we have to assume that it was on some kind of long period - they'd been here 8000 years ago, then an unknown number of times between then and now, looking for people whome they needed to wipe out. I personally think that there are multiple Lucy fleets on massive, long term scouting paths, 40 or 50 year voyages - when one doesnlt come back, the Shivans initiate a response.
Why did they wait so long to wipe out the Ancients?
Well, we have no timeline for the Ancients. The FS1 cutscenes seem to suggest a link between subspace and the shivans, i.e. entering subspace caused the Shivans to come for them, but it also seems that the Shivans took awghile for the Terrans (at least 14 years of subspace use, probably more, since I doubt the TV War started as soon as the GTA pked their head ou of Sol). Plus the Vasudans were supposedly out even longer thant Terrans. Again, I think it's the combination of war and subspace which attracts the Shivans, and there's a lag time of at least a couple of decades (possibly related to how long it takes for a Lucifer fleet to find you?)
How long have they been at it?
Long enough that their behaviour has become predictable enough to be a test (although that's based on nothing more than my own theories). I think that the general consensus is that they've been at it a long time, possibly into the millions of years (although I tend to think less grandly that that - if I had to throw a number on it, I'd go with 25000, maybe 50 as an upper limit, although again there is zero evidence for this one way or the other, except that the entire galaxy hasn't been in some way "Shivanified", which I would expect for million year scale timelines.
What were those Comm Nodes for, anyway?
Honestly, I don't thiink they had any deep story purpose. When you're FREDding, I know how difficult it is to come up with stuff to keep the player occupied during exosition missions. You can't give him too much combat on what was meant to be a stealth mission, so you need another distraction. Enter the commnode - a very odd-looking, very non-specific prop that behaves unusually enough (the centre crystal) to keep Alpha 1's attention while -[V] tell their story.

There are lots of ways they could be worked in at some deeper evel, but honestly, I think anywhere [V] went with them would have been after the fact. I honestly think the only thing they were for was to give the player something very slightly original to do in those few minutes they're on screen.



Will respond to some other people later.
TI - Coming in 2011 - Promise!
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"Everyone has to wear clothes, and if you don't, you get arrested!" - Mr. T

Re: Shivans and such

#8
I like to think of the Shivans as being part of something much bigger than what we're presented with ingame. After all, we know that the Ancients alone encountered multiple senitent species - that, to me, suggests that intelligent, technological life is pretty common in the FS universe. Possibly there are species out there that coexist with the Shivans, maybe nit peacefully, but at least safely, in some kind of perpetual stalemate.
The interesting thing I always found in the ancients monologues was that they described subjugating other species rather than simply exterminating; which I always thought left an interesting notion that the Vasudans were a former slave race (rather than, for example, some sort of lost-colony style remnant).

Re: Shivans and such

#9
The interesting thing I always found in the ancients monologues was that they described subjugating other species rather than simply exterminating; which I always thought left an interesting notion that the Vasudans were a former slave race (rather than, for example, some sort of lost-colony style remnant).
Yeah, I do like that idea as well. The Ancients disappeared 8,000 years ago; the Emperor's throne is stated to have lasted 10,000 years, so there's some space for overlap. Perhaps the Ancients helped develop their culture and maybe even set up the throne. Ancient influence is also very heavily implied in the FSRefBible as being the source for the Hammer of Light's philosophy (that is, the Shivans being a cyclic destructive force).

Re: Shivans and such

#10
I was thinking someone would make a topic about our Shivan convo in the Shoutbox after Hunter said to. Here I go:
Why do the Shivans want to wipe out everyone? (xenocidal "holy war"? remnant van neumann/self-replicating machines from some previous war?)
So they can't become powerful enough to pose a true threat, and if they can use subspace, they have the potential to become a real threat. Also, so they can look for stars to blow up without interference or some species attacking them while their juggernauts are in position. Also to prevent other species from following them back to their major systems through newly created jump nodes through space.
Why did they blow up Capella? ("bridge building"? to get back home to "shivantown"?)
Probably what the lead writer suggested about making more nodes to Shivantown. Maybe galactic and inter-galactic shortcuts. I guess since the supernovas would collapse nodes leading out of those systems, then either the Shivans can travel through these collapsed nodes since their ships are said to be able to travel through unstable nodes, probably the same thing as a collapsed node, or they created dead ends from their home system to these newly created nebulae. I would like to believe in the former and not the latter assumption I made. So they have no need to create Knossos-like objects since their ships' subspace drives can work like built-in Knossos devices keeping their ships stable while they jump through those nodes.
How come they had beams and flak guns in FS2, but not in FS1?
A scouting party doesn't need to have the best weaponry out there since scouting is its main purpose, but since the Shivans had good weaponry on their scout ships, especially the Lucifer, that just means their main fleets are much better. The scouting force isn't expecting to encounter anything that it can't handle and they felt it was sufficient to wipe out species that aren't as powerful, and with the level of subspace activity they measured from afar coming from T/V space, they felt that if they were infact detecting subspace activity from ships and not natural phenomenon, that a scouting fleet was enough to remove the species. The Shivans get more serious in FS2 and bring in their better ships and a portion of a major fleet, but their primary objective is to blow up that star. They will probably come back sometime in the future to finish off the T and V.
Why did they wait so long to wipe out the Ancients?
Because they detected increased subspace activity in T/V space, and that was what triggered them to investigate, and find another star to supernova while they were at it. Perhaps the areas of space that have suitable stars for them to blow up are also famous for having biological life. After all, Capella looks like our sun, at least in FS2. I guess it could work like this: if they detect increased subspace activity in a region of space, there is likely biological life, and where there is biological life, there are stars that are suitable for blowing up.

Edit: oh, you mean why the Ancients were able to advance and spread their territory for much longer than the T/V before encountering the Shivans. Maybe Aldo answered that one accurately.
How long have they been at it?
Remember the lead writer saying that his intention was that the Shiavns have been at it for millons of years? That's good enough for me. This would also reinforce the BP's team about the theory of how the Shivans may have millions of Sathani. That's more than enough time to make that many, but I don't want to think they have that many.
Last edited by gary on Fri Apr 29, 2011 10:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Shivans and such

#12
The interesting thing I always found in the ancients monologues was that they described subjugating other species rather than simply exterminating; which I always thought left an interesting notion that the Vasudans were a former slave race (rather than, for example, some sort of lost-colony style remnant).
Yeah, I do like that idea as well. The Ancients disappeared 8,000 years ago; the Emperor's throne is stated to have lasted 10,000 years, so there's some space for overlap. Perhaps the Ancients helped develop their culture and maybe even set up the throne. Ancient influence is also very heavily implied in the FSRefBible as being the source for the Hammer of Light's philosophy (that is, the Shivans being a cyclic destructive force).
Yeah, the 10,000 year dynasty always stuck in my mind as being interesting in that regard. And it would make sense, as monarchy is a very good way of getting loyalty (flicks BBC news on and off); a small overseer caste of Ancients could have survived the fall, or even left during the great retreat, and been replaced with a similar cadre of loyal Vasudans. Fast forward a few generations and you have a hereditary Vasudan leadership. Of course, it's just as possible the Ancients subverted an existing monarchy (for example, having one-of-their own as a joint monarch under threat of annihilation).

The one main strike against it may be that it seems slightly more complex and convoluted than them just being post-technological-regression Ancients (or separatist pacifist Ancients, who left the empire millennia before its fall). Normally Occam's razor applies strongly to these things, especially when the story is a combination of skippable briefings and in-mission chatter.

Re: Shivans and such

#13
The problem I've always had with either explanation is that the Vasudans are too close to Altair (which was supposedly a capital world or something similar) to simply have been missed, and the Shivans have never seemed the type who'd bother distinguishing opponents very much and we know they're fond of scorched earth. Unless Vasuda Prime was a nature preserve or there was otherwise no evidence of there being any Ancients in residence, I simply can't see it working out.

I think when they dropped by Vasuda, there wasn't anyone interesting. Nature preserve, giant anthropology experiment, something with no discernible presence. The Vasudans and Ancients existed at the same time, but they were not really related.

I also think they got away with this because the Shivans are basically reactionary, but that's another subject...
IAR
A Numbered Existence
In The Service
Monsters
SAMAS

Re: Shivans and such

#14
The problem I've always had with either explanation is that the Vasudans are too close to Altair (which was supposedly a capital world or something similar) to simply have been missed, and the Shivans have never seemed the type who'd bother distinguishing opponents very much and we know they're fond of scorched earth. Unless Vasuda Prime was a nature preserve or there was otherwise no evidence of there being any Ancients in residence, I simply can't see it working out.

I think when they dropped by Vasuda, there wasn't anyone interesting. Nature preserve, giant anthropology experiment, something with no discernible presence. The Vasudans and Ancients existed at the same time, but they were not really related.

I also think they got away with this because the Shivans are basically reactionary, but that's another subject...
It's not impossible there were no observable signs of Ancients - or specifically ancient technology - on Vasuda though. If it was purely a slave-harvest world, then there may have only been a skeleton force present by the time the conflict reached there.

Perhaps they (Ancients) had left in the great pullback or went into hiding (in either case removing their telltale electromagnetic (or whatever) signature) There's never been any indication of Shivans going anything other than orbital, or that they target non-space capable races, so it may be that you can abandon technology and simply hide.

Or maybe the Vasudans simply formed a cargo-cult based on brief contact with the Ancients (exploratory ship arriving, ship crashing during the actual war....etc).

Or... they're Golgafrinchans.

Re: Shivans and such

#15
Speaking of Shivans and stuff, I've finished the mission 'Proving Grounds' a couple days ago and I'm waiting for that new Sathanas to be released before I play the series of missions where the Sathanas appears (3 more missions), since Rga Noris is giving hints that it might be released anywhere between now and a few days from now. But since in life, things usually don't go as planned, I wonder if I should even wait and I should just assume it will still be awhile and play it in the mission simulator when it is released. Yeah imagine 'dive dive dive' with that monster coming at you. :evil: Even scarier if/when FSO supports 3D, like in 3D TVs.
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