If you remember from my Quantumn Theory and Game Design, I had been musing about applying the Copenhagen Interpretation vs. the Many Worlds Interpretation when it comes to designing game choices. Because, like the real world, while I can support a zillion options eventually the player makes a choice and the waveform collapses.
When designing a magic system fundamental questions in Quantum mechanics crop up whenever time travel of faster than light transport are allowed. And as unsatisfied as I was with the answers given by both the Copenhagen Interpretation and Many Worlds Interpretation, both lead to some horrendous possibilities once magic is allowed. Copenhagen is what gives rise to Schrödinger s Cat. Many Worlds gives you an infinite number of worlds ala Slider's or the Star Trek universe. From a storytelling perspective, they suck. From a game modeling perspective, they suck harder.
As it turns out, there is yet another interpretation of Quantum Mechanics called Quantum Bayesianism or QBism. In QBism, quantum states are interpreted by a agents. However, only the agents with a stake in the outcome can actually cause the waveform to collapse. And then, just for added mind screw, they can disagree about the outcome.
Why do we care what agents thing? Because of really strange stuff like:
While I can't speak about our own objective reality, for the purposes of the game I introduce the concept of a Quantum schism. Schisms are when two agents disagree on an outcome. Rather than create a separate branch of reality, they create a bubble of uncertainty around the event and themselves. The bubble collapses when either arguing agents finally agree on an outcome, or one of both cease to exist.
Of course, because agents can beget other agents, and some of that begetting can occur in mutually exclusive schisms, we get some effects of the many-worlds interpretation. At least until everyone who lives or dies as a result of the schism finally settle on a compatible state where the outcome of the event that causes the schism really doesn't matter anymore.
Death can be thought of as a conservation of energy function for the Universe itself. Wars, Pandemics, and other disasters can be thought of as a cleanup function for when reality gets a bit too complex to support. Dark ages that follow a natural tendency to remove the awareness that there ever was a schism to begin with. Religions that stress peace and harmony prevail over time because the people who practice that life style are far less likely to be involved in a schism. Warlike races will always collapse because violence is the ultimate tool for generating schisms.
Our world, and the world of Iliad-07 differ from a schism over whether George Washington survived the War of Independence. It has branched into a few other schisms, particularly in the way technology has developed. However, over time, history will stop branching. And little by little our two universes will start to collapse back into one reality.
The Vessels in their world are all named after Science Fiction authors in ours. I had given thought to making up fictitious analogy characters as stand-ins. But what if authors and philosophers can actually see into these other worlds, and their "fiction" is simply a travelogue.
To that end, I am starting to sprinkle events from other science fiction universes into the lore of Iliad-07. Major events from novels like 2001 and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress are historical events. The Discovery disaster is a real-life cautionary tale about working with Expert Systems. Uprisings on Lunar Colonies fit perfectly into a world where the Nazis and Soviets teamed up to conquer space.
In their world they read strange tales about massive heavier than air craft, and a society that is utterly dependent on automobiles. Where it took those backwards people until 1968 to reach the moon, and as of 2020 they have never explored further. Mainy down to the fact that in their hyper-Capitalist society the rewards for failure and stagnation are actually richer than the rewards for success.