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Author Topic: Fortress Roundable feedback on 'The Centaur Problem'  (Read 3969 times)

FantasticDorf

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Fortress Roundable feedback on 'The Centaur Problem'
« on: January 12, 2020, 06:42:12 pm »

It was very interesting to hear both of you speak recently so soon the podcast which was a nice lift to my evening.

In many ways its difficult to come up with anything comprehensive on the fly, but i believe there might be a way to reference the way that the body parts interact with the alphabetical system used for marking reactions in order to get towards a solution of sticking two creatures together without a full conversion.

Here's a enclosed mock up, done so for size of a hybrid_variation_default.txt

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

The kind of idea is that A is the dominant, over B, which via the creature variation the lower half of the centaur fills in the blank spaces with conversions such as the addition of legs or actively replacing features. It may seem similar to a creature variation, but that's largely deliberate and the actual creature procured will be unique and retain the features of each.

A more narrow animal-person hybrid variation could be imagined up without infringing particularly upon creating a new body type for purpose or within a more specialised scope.
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TheyreAllGullyDorfs

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Re: Fortress Roundable feedback on 'The Centaur Problem'
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2020, 01:51:43 pm »

How would you handle vital organs though? Centaurs have two sets of rib cages, do they have four lungs? Two digestive tracts? If one gets hit in the heart where is the bolt, in the human torso or the horse chest? Centaurs are hard.
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FantasticDorf

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Re: Fortress Roundable feedback on 'The Centaur Problem'
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2020, 05:18:48 pm »

How would you handle vital organs though? Centaurs have two sets of rib cages, do they have four lungs? Two digestive tracts? If one gets hit in the heart where is the bolt, in the human torso or the horse chest? Centaurs are hard.

Good question, but id solve it just the same to have it still tied to if its not eliminated from either or replaced, put both in. I didn't provide a full example, but it would most probably take a heart away and have the secondary body re-establish it. Organs should follow the target bodyplan for wherever it might lie once defined.

The organs aren't that special on their own until they're made to be, maybe some creature literally has brass lungs. In which case the ordering would be important or contribute to the unique result.
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JesterHell696

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Re: Fortress Roundable feedback on 'The Centaur Problem'
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2020, 02:35:54 am »

How would you handle vital organs though? Centaurs have two sets of rib cages, do they have four lungs? Two digestive tracts? If one gets hit in the heart where is the bolt, in the human torso or the horse chest? Centaurs are hard.

I think I read somewhere once that centaurs would have to have a second heart to be able to pump blood throughout its body, let me check.

Quote from: Dr. Dr. H.C. Reinhard V. Putz of Germany’s Ludwig Maximilian University Munich Institute of Anatomy
  • The centaur likely boasted both a primary and secondary heart to pump blood through its hybrid system. All the more reason that the old centaur looks so defeated: he can suffer from two simultaneous broken hearts.
  • Within two torsos, the creature also boasts two synchronized diaphragms.
  • Even within its equine lower half, the creature would require a human stomach to digest it’s omnivore’s diet of human food.
  • While it should come as no surprise to many, the male centaur boasts only a single pair of horsey reproductive glands and a penis “likewise developed according to equine anatomical standards.”

https://www.improbable.com/airchives/paperair/volume12/v12i5/centaur-12-5.pdf

About as close to a "correct" answer as is possible for the subject.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2020, 04:49:20 am by JesterHell696 »
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SixOfSpades

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Re: Fortress Roundable feedback on 'The Centaur Problem'
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2020, 02:49:46 am »

I think I read somewhere once that centaurs would have to have a second heart to be able to pump blood throughout its body, let me check.
Would they have to have a second heart? No, they would not. Elephants don't, whales don't, and even giraffes (whose hearts must work the hardest to overcome gravity) don't. So there's no reason to believe that a centaur "must".

Quote
Even within its equine lower half, the creature would require a human stomach to digest it’s omnivore’s diet of human food.
Equally important to note is that there is no way a human's pathetically weak jaws & teeth could possibly chew up enough grass to feed a normal horse's herbivorous metabolism. Both sides, human and equine, would almost have to be omnivorous.


But discussing centaur anatomy is actually rather fruitless, until a more pressing issue is settled first: How did centaurs come to be? Did they evolve naturally, the same as all the other "normal" creatures? Where they deliberately made by an intelligent being (most likely a god or wizard) intentionally combining the forms of man with horse? Or did they begin as a normal human, cursed with horse parts (or vice versa)? Only after the origin question is settled can we make informed guesses as to their internal makeup.
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voliol

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Re: Fortress Roundable feedback on 'The Centaur Problem'
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2020, 06:00:57 am »

@SixOfSpades E.g. centaur origins will probably be decided on the fly by the myth-generator, instead of having a set one. Do you reckon the centaur raws should be created on the fly as well, with different mythgen outcomes giving different centaur definitions?

DF creatures already don’t follow all laws of physics and plausible biology, for the sake of it being a fantasy generator. If they were to, more than just the centaurs break. All giant insects should suffocate from their trachea not working at that scales. Other giant creatures (including most megabeasts and semi-megas) should collapse from their own mass. Goblins and elves couldn’t be biologically immortal, and goblins should need to eat. Etc. Etc.
It is fine for centaurs to graze, should it be a consequence of tag merging. Even if they have a ”natural” origin. It is not like a 6-limbed mammal would fit well into the tree of life anyhow.


@FantasticDwarf What I don’t quite get about your raws, is how they ensure the ”horse” upper body connects to the ”human” lower body. It seems to me the ”human” upper body connect’s directly to the ”horse” lower body, which would make for a very short centaur indeed.

JesterHell696

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Re: Fortress Roundable feedback on 'The Centaur Problem'
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2020, 06:18:53 am »

Would they have to have a second heart? No, they would not. Elephants don't, whales don't, and even giraffes (whose hearts must work the hardest to overcome gravity) don't. So there's no reason to believe that a centaur "must".

Like I said "I think I read" not just I think, which I then looked up and quoted, where it says "likely had two hearts" not must so this sentence is pointless as it was refuted in my own post, didn't think I would need to point that out.

Equally important to note is that there is no way a human's pathetically weak jaws & teeth could possibly chew up enough grass to feed a normal horse's herbivorous metabolism. Both sides, human and equine, would almost have to be omnivorous.

I'm quoting a professor of anatomy that did this a hypothetical and just copied some bits because I'm not quoting the whole damn thing, it why I posted a link to his hypothetical so if you wanted more detail you could look for yourself.

But discussing centaur anatomy is actually rather fruitless, until a more pressing issue is settled first: How did centaurs come to be? Did they evolve naturally, the same as all the other "normal" creatures? Where they deliberately made by an intelligent being (most likely a god or wizard) intentionally combining the forms of man with horse? Or did they begin as a normal human, cursed with horse parts (or vice versa)? Only after the origin question is settled can we make informed guesses as to their internal makeup.

But since that question can never be answer because they don't actually exist its all about making an assumption as to which and working from there.

The first page of the link I posted seems to show that the professor assumed the mythical origins as true.

Quote from: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Dr. H.C. Reinhard V. Putz Institute of Anatomy, Ludwig Maximilian University Munich/Germany
Historical Background
As we know from the ancient Greeks, the Centaurs are the offspring of the ill-fated relationship of Ixion, the king of the
Thessalian Lapithes, and a cloud with the features of Hera, the wife of Zeus. At the wedding of Perithoos, king of the
Lapithes, the drunken Centaurs sought to ravish the Lapithes’ wives. In the ensuing battle (the Centauromachy), they
were driven from Thessalia to the Peloponnese. Quite understandably, Centaurs and Lapithes became mortal enemies on
that day.

Because centaur don't actually exist no truly correct answer exists, but I think I'll accept the hypothetical anatomy proposed by a professor of the subject of anatomy because its good enough for me and IMHO it as close to correct as possible, none of my post was about how to make procedural "centaurs" work, just how classic centaurs would hypothetically work.


I think your interactions with GoblinCookie might have soured you a bit because it seems like you just skimmed my post for things to critique, mostly because of that initial sentence.
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Pillbo

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Re: Fortress Roundable feedback on 'The Centaur Problem'
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2020, 10:45:08 pm »

I don't really have a good understanding of what "the centaur problem" really is, but I've heard reference to it.  Is it just that Toady is can't decide where to put all the organs and other anatomical details?  I know it's not impossible because it's in mods and with all the things he's pulled off sticking most of a horse to most of a person should be within his abilities.  If it's just anatomy it seems like the answer is kind of unimportant like it is with animal people.

Or is it doable but not worth the trouble of solving a bunch of other small problems that would arise, like horses in pants?
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Ziusudra

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Re: Fortress Roundable feedback on 'The Centaur Problem'
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2020, 11:11:39 pm »

It's not about centaurs specifically - it's about procedurally combining parts of creatures to create new ones. Centaurs are just a familiar example.

The real Another question is what happens if none of the parts have a brain or a heart.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2020, 11:16:36 pm by Ziusudra »
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SixOfSpades

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Re: Fortress Roundable feedback on 'The Centaur Problem'
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2020, 01:25:10 pm »

. . . it seems like you just skimmed my post for things to critique, mostly because of that initial sentence.
[VerySeriousFace]Well, surely you should all KNOW that it is my DUTY to see that the hypothetical anatomy of a mythical creature, unofficially modded into an indie fantasy game, absolutely MUST be treated with all POSSIBLE gravitas and solemnity.[/VerySeriousFace]  :P

But really, if I was sandbagging anything, JesterHell, it was the idea that there's only one plausible way to build a centaur. Not to demean the credentials or perspicacity of Dr. H.C. Reinhard V. Putz, but he doesn't seem to have spent much consideration on alternative physical makeups. Sure, a two-full-torso model could certainly work fine (not least for the insurance of carrying redundant systems, a rarity even in DF), but the author's focus on but one possible solution seems to be begging the question. It's still a very good jumping-off point, though.


Do you reckon the centaur raws should be created on the fly as well, with different mythgen outcomes giving different centaur definitions?
Now there's a sexy idea. We could set up raws for several variations of centaur (not to mention the vast numbers of other possible creatures), and use mythgen events to determine which one(s) get activated.

Quote
DF creatures already don’t follow all laws of physics and plausible biology, for the sake of it being a fantasy generator. If they were to, more than just the centaurs break.
True, but at the same time, one of DF's hallmarks is how it makes the fantastic realistic. That's why I support tweaking creatures, even the tried-and-true fantasy staples, to be better in accordance with actual physics & biology. Go ahead & give dragons a tail membrane that stretches out to their hind legs, because large bodies with only a single pair of wings cannot maintain level flight without some kind of stabilizer. Etc. Sure, DF creatures ignore biological limits now, but so MUCH of the game is in the "good-enough-for-now phase" that lungless giant insects blend right in. But as time goes on, I'm hoping that will change. If I/we can aid or speed that change, so much the better.
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Pillbo

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Re: Fortress Roundable feedback on 'The Centaur Problem'
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2020, 01:35:52 pm »

Another question is what happens if none of the parts have a brain or a heart.

Abort and restart like the WG does with worlds that don't meet necessary criteria?
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Ziusudra

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Re: Fortress Roundable feedback on 'The Centaur Problem'
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2020, 02:47:26 pm »

What else is required? Lungs? Grasp? Stance?

Lungs bring to mind another question. What about parts from creatures that live in different environments? A creature that ends up with gills can't live on land. Fins are likewise problematic. If a part is from a fire immune creature does the whole gain that trait?

What about materials? Could you have a body made of bronze but head and limbs made of flesh? Does a bronze body have a heart? What does it pump?

Another question is size. Random or based on the size(s) of the creatures the parts are from? Based on the head, the stance, or an average?
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Pillbo

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Re: Fortress Roundable feedback on 'The Centaur Problem'
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2020, 04:46:52 pm »

I think the answer to most is 'however you want'. If it's for sentient land-based creatures Toady could make a list of required body parts, needs, and rules for possible combinations and materials so that it can still live and behave how he wants it to. If a procgen creature doesn't meet those rules they restart or just add the missing piece like lungs to the organ list. Right now you don't get Werefish that suffocate on land, or FBs that are half Metal and half Flesh.  Werebeasts already deal with body resizing, FBs already deal with random materials and body parts, both won't combine incompatible environments.

Or maybe the creature starts with a list of necessary parts for what you're trying to make then generate the body around that list. I think after creating a couple hundred sentient beings in the game Toady has a pretty good idea what he considers required and under what conditions. Probably lungs or gills, brain or [NO_THOUGHT_CENTER_FOR_MOVEMENT], heart or no blood, etc.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2020, 01:29:03 am by Pillbo »
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SixOfSpades

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Re: Fortress Roundable feedback on 'The Centaur Problem'
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2020, 01:38:42 pm »

It is not like a 6-limbed mammal would fit well into the tree of life anyhow.
There's nothing magical about tetrapods, that's just the way Earth vertebrates happened to go. In (most) fantasy settings, dragons are 6-limbed, and people are okay with that.

With that said, analagous to the Centaur problem is the Horseman problem: Suppose DF included Horse men, right alongside the Tiger men, Axolotl men, etc. No reason why not, right? And if so, what precisely would be the difference between a Horse man & a Centaur? The number of limbs, probably, but do the differences end there?


Equally important to note is that there is no way a human's pathetically weak jaws & teeth could possibly chew up enough grass to feed a normal horse's herbivorous metabolism. Both sides, human and equine, would almost have to be omnivorous.
I forgot that centaurs would almost certainly be able to use tools to process their food before chewing it, much as humans do now. In other words, LOTS of finely minced Longland grass salads.
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IndigoFenix

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Re: Fortress Roundable feedback on 'The Centaur Problem'
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2020, 08:28:23 am »

Even among mythological mix-and-match critters, centaurs are a particularly weird example. I think we should consider the possibility of mixing species without taking centaurs into account.
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