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Back in the day, I wrote quite a bit on the background fluff of Vast Worlds, specifically how the technology would work and the practical upshots thereof. However, that was about four… *checks document age* actually no, about one and a half years ago, but when Vast Worlds was supposed to be a setting for a video game. Don’t ask me who I thought would make such a thing, a friend and I spent many evenings discussing (okay, me telling him) how things would work.

Now I’ve put a lot more thought into the science, reengineered the physics from the ground up more than once, and thrown in a few technologies that made sense at the time, not to mention there are one or two that are there for no good reason other than they always have been. Actually, there are one or two of those I should address, not least the plasma weaponry which I may have to relegate from bolt gun to flamethrower.

Anyway, before I get to distracted I’ll retell a little of the history of the Vast Worlds techs.

The majority of the revolutionary technologies in Vast Worlds are derived in no small way from the Derelict. In fact, most of them are direct lifts from the derelict, with the only appreciable changes being scale, and in some cases material. It is a source of constant bafflement that the technologies work at all when scaled up by about a factor of five thousand or so, but has no one has any idea how they work, no one really asks questions. Actually, that’s not true, a great many people ask question, none of them have gotten answers yet and it generally assumed that the Derelict makers were so far advanced they were using a understanding of to which we have no reference. Kind of like giving the Greeks a fusion reactor and seeing what they make of it. They won’t even grasp the fundamental principals; let alone what it is supposed to do or how to build their own.

Vast Worlds humans are a little luckier, as while the invention is complicated, the mechanical functioning of the machines is actually rather simple. Threads of nanoscale fibres run through the panels[1] and these appear to resonate if a sufficient current is passed through them. Depending on the thread density, composition, and the sheer amount of wattage you pump through them, you get a variety of different effects. At least, you are theorised to get a variety of different effects, the actual complexity of the panels, and the difference a single thread out of alignment can make, means that, while that there have many attempts to try something other than the alignments found on the derelict, they haven’t yet produced anything more useful than finely engineered scrap metal.


[1] All the Derelict technologies that haven’t been classed as military secrets tend to function with these fibres; most of the others were mainly manufacturing tips rather than anything really exciting, so I’m not going to mention them here.

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