Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Grid

This morning while driving to work, I queued up the Tron soundtrack and it got me thinking...

What is the world of Tron if not a pseudo-technological spirit world? Like the spirit world, seemingly inanimate things are personified based on symbolic meaning. Thus, you have computer programs that appear as humans dressed in neon jumpsuits.

Imagine these as characters: Oracle, Google, Deep Blue, Pong, Zork, Lotus, Acrobat, The Gimp, Eliza, Watson. Regardless of the intended purpose of a real-world piece of software, it's animate analog on the Grid would have a social life and would have at least a rudimentary capability to fight it out in the arena.

Additionally, you have ready-made monsters and hazards in the form of viruses and malware.

I imagine that hardware is represented by a fixed location and that you would need trains or tubes to travel down wires. Perhaps you'd use limited-range aircraft to travel between wireless hotspots?

Yes, this is all very similar to Cyberspace, which was done to death in the Cyberpunk of 80's and 90's. But it's also a bit different. Yes, it looks technological and futuristic. But it is decidedly *not* scientific. It's not even pseudo-scientific. It's spiritual and could plug in seamlessly into Gurps Cabal or Mage game.

Aesthetics/Physical Laws
  • There is no sunlight
  • Nothing erodes (though things can be damaged or suffer bit-rot)
  • Older programs have lower resolution (but only as far back as the original Tron)
  • Weapons and gear must fit the Tron aesthetic (you don't see guns in Tron)
  • Programs carry data disks that can be used as weapons, ID cards, and as an interface to reprogramming.
  • Programs require a kind of energy "juice" (the only form of sustenance). 
  • When anything breaks, it shatters like glass.
  • Objects can rez in or de-rez (I'm specifically thinking of personal vehicles here).

Users (or Programmers) can descend into the world as avatars. They are, in effect and actuality, gods.

And like the recent Tron movie, *other things* may come in from the outside. Connected to a magical cosmology, these could be faeries, angels, demons, the human dead, or even Lovecraftian entities. Similarly, it should be possible to access other spiritual realms from within the Grid.

Adventures would most likely involve the machinations of Users, walking avatars, intrusions from elsewhere, and ambitious programs trying to ascend into the real world.


fictivefantasies said...

I watched Tron: Legacy and reflected: "Huh. iMatrix."

If the Matrix was built on a Mac, it might look like Tron!

Trey said...

Of course, you could get a little more "mystical" with this: what if the Tron world were the "outer" world. The wider realm of experience in which our world was just another program running?

Then you could get all sorts of Cabal shenanigans in there.

pavo6503 said...

Didn't the tanks in the first TRON have guns/cannons? In the latest TRON, the aircraft had some kind of machine gun and I think some of the guys attacking the disco had guns too.

Risus Monkey said...

@fictive: great observation! With Jeff Bridges as Steve Jobs.

@Trey: That flip the user thing but perhaps in a good way. :)

@pavo: Now that you mention it, I think you are right. At least the new movie did have guns on the flyers. Still, you never saw guns as personal weapons.

fictivefantasies said...

Just think of the fun you could have with common error messages.

"When I'm done with you, you'll be 404. B**ch NOT FOUND."

"You are about to have a disk error."

"How about you reset your system before we have to do a system recovery."

"Whoah, whoah, back up--you better tell me again, this time I've gotta be in SAFE MODE."

"Boot up. Let's ride."

Or, "I'm gonna reboot you, over and over (with these big boots), until you load up what I wanna hear."

Also, experience could be handled as patches and upgrades.

I came out with a home-brew Matrix game between the first and second movies. That was fun.

Human's Folly said...

I almost ran Tron in GURPS. But, then, I didn't. On another note, I love the TRON soundtrack. Daft Punk is quite the group.

Risus Monkey said...

@Folly: after I saw the movie for the first time I immediately went home and bought the sountrack on iTunes. It was that good.