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Decrepit Dakkanaut




UK

 Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:
The Van Saar STC Database, and it’s damage actually plays really nicely into the whole Dark Age of Technology.

See, whatever caused humanity to lose STC technology was a horrific blow.

For an unspecified period, but likely thousands of years, Man as a species could rely more or less entirely on the STC. This would’ve lead to complacency, and an ever decreasing actual understanding of technology.

This writ especially large when you consider the more advanced ones did it all for you. No assembly require, just tell the machine what you need, and it pops out the other end, completely complete in every way, including your choice of colour and interior upholstery.

The result is a total technological collapse, and very likely as we saw on Terra, wars kicking off over whatever vestiges and knowledge remained.

That’s where the wider Imperium is now, and the Van Saar are no different. Their STC allows them to produce superior technologies - but it hasn’t actually granted them genuine knowledge, just a facility.

The radiation leak could be as simple as needing to bolt some shielding plates in place properly. Perhaps some tubing needs replacing. They absolutely know there’s a problem, but they singularly lack the knowledge of how to actually repair it. And given how valuable it is as things stand, there’s a strong likelihood any repairs are forbidden, in case you make it worse. Hence we see them working around it by trying to counteracts it affects on the body.

Consider modern day motor vehicles. Many repairs are actually fairly easy to achieve, once you know what’s broken, and either how to patch it up or replace the part. For that, we can either buy books such as a Haynes Manual (I don’t think those are uniquely British?), or take it to a garage where someone suitably qualified can diagnose, remove and repair. Now….remove the garages and Haynes Manuals. How many relatively simple fixes are beyond our capability?

You might still retain parts shops (here, the STC itself, which must surely be capable of producing replacement parts of itself). But with no way of know what actually needs repairing, or how all those bits and bobs interact, that’s a lot of simple fixes going unfixed due to a lack of actual knowledge.

Basically, knowing how to work a machine is absolutely not the same as knowing how that machine actually works.



Expanding on this line of thinking with modern examples and cars - a lot of modern cars and machines are actually also really hard to repair as well. There was an early phase where things were fairly easy to repair because they were in part made to be repaired and replaced. Today we've a shift in design ethos toward production units being made as a whole and then bolted together into the final machine, with access for repair being less important. We often don't repair parts we replace parts.
Electronics are even more aggressive in making designs that are nearly impossible to get into without breaking them unless you know the correct way and have proprietary tools to gain entry.

So it might well be that computer design and a lack of need to make things repairable (or at least easily repairable) also contributes to issues within the Imperium. It's not just that science is more of a religion; it might well be that some complex technologies can't be opened up without breaking what makes them work. Making copying and understanding them almost mythical. If you break it it remains broken even when you put it back together as best you can. Couple that ethos and approach to design into the 40K setting, add in generations of religious doctrine alongside science and you've got a ripe situation for a lot of high technology that you can't easily replicate, repair or understand at a fundamental level.

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The paradigm could be that there is a certain level of overall societal advancement and free exchange of information in order to progress and maintain a certain level of technology, and the 40K Imperium just does not have that. Put a modern nuclear physicist back in the Bronze Age and they won't be able to reproduce a nuclear power plant for you. They would probably be too occupied with the daily struggle for survival, and might fail to pass on their knowledge since it would abstract and useless for daily survival. The necessary engineering knowledge and materials would also be absent. I would argue the same holds true for the STC in the 40K era.

The odd progressive here and there is not enough to reinvent the STC or understand it enough to repair it. It might also be as others have suggested, the STC was designed for replacement parts rather than actual repair of broken damage. The damage I think is also likely more than just physical as the designs produced by the Van Saar STC are more radioactive the more powerful they are. Trying to fix it may involve diving deep into its systems, and that might really mess up the whole thing so the Van Saar don't risk it.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/08/23 04:25:24


 
   
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cody.d. wrote:
An Ork made STC would be fun to see. Probably just a building sized block of metal with a funnel for scrap metal on one side and a chute on the other that spits out whatever you want.

Pretty much thing the grinder from borderlands pre-sequal. Junk goes in, a randomized weapon comes out. The question is, would it be properly an automated machine or just a mekboy brain plugged into a bunch of gubbins.


Well, Mekboyz are, after a fashion, STC’s unto themselves. Or at least a loosely comparable equivalent.

Particularly when you consider what the Rogue Trader rulebook has to say about the intent behind the STC was. It’s a very interesting quote to me because it also sets out the immediate problem with them as a convenience.

Rogue Trader wrote:…the store of knowledge brought with them from Earth enabled them to maintain a high technological base without a technological society


Just an extract from the full passage, and emphasis is of course mine.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/08/23 08:34:27


 
   
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Decrepit Dakkanaut




UK

It's a common trope in settling the stars that early colonies would end up with a lower level of tech as they establish themselves and would then steadily tech-up as they advanced and grew. Of course with the backing of a major power behind them the tech-up phase would not just be local knowledge increasing (new generations being educated) but also the bringing in of experts from outside.

Certainly if your civilization then hit a huge point of collapse for a time many of those colonies would not tech-up. They'd have huge machines like air purifies that they might have local on-hand understanding of to maintain (but not build/replicate); but they'd have access to machines and equipment produced off-world that they couldn't replicate on world.

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cody.d. wrote:
An Ork made STC would be fun to see. Probably just a building sized block of metal with a funnel for scrap metal on one side and a chute on the other that spits out whatever you want.

Pretty much thing the grinder from borderlands pre-sequal. Junk goes in, a randomized weapon comes out. The question is, would it be properly an automated machine or just a mekboy brain plugged into a bunch of gubbins.


As someone else said Orks seem to be living STCs depending on a given Orks vocation. Maybe the first human STC had a big Krork mekboy brain in the middle using their ability to spontaneously invent tech to create blue prints
   
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I guess the most direct and Eurocentric historical comparison would be post-Roman occupation Britain/Europe.

The Romans brought their skills and technology with them, and when they withdrew it seems they left their goodies behind, but took the knowledge with them.

Some remained in use into the early Viking era. But many other buildings were used as a source of pre-quarried stone by the natives.

There’s a village near my Dad, which is being used for the new Indiana Jones film, that’s on the site of Trimontium, an as yet largely unexcavated Roman Fort, and an important one for their occupation of what was to become Scotland.

When you walk around it, you can find not only stones from Melrose Abbey, but stones from the Roman buildings. If memory serves, it’s believed the Roman Buildings were cannibalised to help build the Abbey, only to be cannibalised yet again following its destruction during various wars between England and Scotland.

We also see this, after a fashion, in the Diggas of GorkaMorka.

They’re a particularly interesting case study for likely pre-Imperial collapse survivors. Their technology kinda exists, but there’s absolutely zero understanding. Indeed it wasn’t until they encountered Orks that they realised certain items were weapons beyond being usable as clubs.

Of course Diggas are or were Imperial Citizens, so it’s not a direct comparison.

But for a juxtaposition they do work.

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mrFickle wrote:


As someone else said Orks seem to be living STCs depending on a given Orks vocation.



im not up to date on current ork lore, but for a while, that was more or less the canon explanation: Mekboyz basically had the plans hard-coded into the genetic structure, they just knew that if you assembled this part and that part and then screwed in this, etc, etc you'd get a shoota. they couldn't actaully explain it to anyone, just that they threw stuff together in this way, and it worked, and they didnt want to do it another way because they just knew it wouldnt work. While every item constructed by the meks was a unique creation, they all tended to follow broadly similar lines because of both the limits of physical reality, and the genetic coding (hence why you can have identifiable classes of ork vehicle, every bike might have a slightly or even widly different combination of power plant, transmission, wheels, traks, etc, but overall they all had fairly similar performance, same with fighta-bombas, truks, etc).


like i said, im not up to date on my ork lore, this might have been retconned, but for a while ork mekboyz really were "living STCs"
   
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They still are, as they’re described as just putting stuff together that feels right, without really stopping to think about what it is they’re building.

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So I guess the imperium must have a lot of STC devices or blue prints, we see the kit they squeeze out for the table top games but the STC must be providing other tech that contributes to all parts of the imperiums society like space travel, food production and so on.

Do we therefore assume that they do not have any STCs capable of producing men of iron or they have a way of controlling the STCs they wasn’t mastered before the MOI revolt?
   
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Even if they had one that could make Men of Iron they'd not use it/destroy it. Men of Iron - thinking machines, robots - go against the whole ethos and religion of the Imperium.

They go to insane lengths to avoid using computing machines and to hide the ones they do use.

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The Imperium has some STC Machines/Blueprints. Not everything requires one and that's where a lot of generic stuff will come from. You wouldn't need an STC to make a spade or Hab Block, for example.
   
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 Overread wrote:
Even if they had one that could make Men of Iron they'd not use it/destroy it. Men of Iron - thinking machines, robots - go against the whole ethos and religion of the Imperium.

They go to insane lengths to avoid using computing machines and to hide the ones they do use.


I chatted about that earlier in the thread.

In short, I proposed that the Adeptus Mechanicus may not necessarily know where a Battle Automata ends, and a Man of Iron begins. There’s a reasonable chance they don’t really know what a Men of Iron even looks like. The same goes for where a Machine Spirit (the most advanced of which can already act with some level of autonomy) crosses the line into Abominable Intelligence.

Hence any recovered, completely intact STC Database would need to be assessed over an exceptional period of time. The designs looked over one by one, examined, studied, eventually produced. And that’s still assuming the original problem lay with the product and not the production facility itself.

You know, let’s stop and actually consider what it is the Ad Mech fear. We often shorthand it to AI and Artificial Intelligence. But in-setting, it’s Abominable Intelligence. The risk there for us as the observer is it just see it as a superstitious name for AI as we currently comprehend it.

Perhaps that’s entirely correct, and the Ad Mechs name for it is a sign of their level of ignorance. That in itself is a big, big problem for them, and feeds back to my suggestion that they only know to fear it, but not what it is they actually fear.

If it’s wrong? What exactly is Abominable Intelligence compared to AI (again we see limited AI in certain Machine Spirits). Is it perhaps the involvement of warp entities? Could it have stemmed from including recovered Necron or other Xenos tech into a design? And it needn’t be a currently known Xenos species. Not only did the Great Crusade annihilate more than a few species, given mankind’s power during the Golden Age, it could be one long rendered extinct.

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Abominable Intelligence seems to be a machine that is indistinguishable from a human mind.
So while a Machine Spirit might be able to fire guns or move a tank, it can't think for itself beyond simple tasks like "Kill" or "Retreat".
An Abominable Intelligence, like the one seen in Death of Integrity (a very good book, little boring but gets there in the end) is capable of emotions and free-thinking. A Techpriest might say a Machine Spirit has been angered but it would be more like a sophisticated error message, whereas the A.I. found in the novel experiences rage, hatred, fear, sadness, and friendship with its captain. Since an A.I. is essentially a sentient being it can be readily corrupted by any number of forces such as Chaos or Necrons.

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I posit that the way humans in 40k behave, any non-human intelligence will turn hostile against them sooner or later.
   
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On angering Machine Spirits, I wonder how much of that is Priestly shorthand to help get even the most primitive of Imperial Citizens to not mistreat their equipment, and maintain proper maintenance.

Consider how we adults offer super simplified explanations to kids - enough to get them on side, without boring or baffling them.

The incantations could well be there to deliberately slow the maintenance down, and focus the person on the task at hand. Again that’s not massively dissimilar to say, teaching a kid a song to sing, and to wash their hands until they’ve finished singing it.

Which in turn rather challenges some of my assumptions as to the actual level of ignorance among the Ad Mech.

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 Gert wrote:
The Imperium has some STC Machines/Blueprints. Not everything requires one and that's where a lot of generic stuff will come from. You wouldn't need an STC to make a spade or Hab Block, for example.


I agree not everything needs an STC but I bet lots of things are created by STC. Hab Blocks, as you said, probably to come from STC, that way any old pleb can build accommodation for people in a new settlement.

   
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Well, there are absolutely STC Hab Blocks. But, that doesn’t mean all Hab Blocks are therefore products of STC designs.

Indeed, it’s entirely possible that whilst Colonists would start off using STC habitats, once things were better established, local designs would stand alongside them.

Certainly building an abode is relatively simple, compared to producing more complex mechanisms.

It likely would’ve varied depending on the world being settled. Death Worlds? FFS trust the STC! Earth like worlds with similar natural resources? Yeah once you have your initial settlement, you don’t need the STC


Automatically Appended Next Post:
Slight tangent? A timely video from Townsends on the YouTube’s.




The STC is, in a sense, the ultimate manifestation of shared knowledge. And they were also the end of sharing knowledge, because the source was, theoretically, eternal.

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I think the hab blocks would depend on what exactly you are building.

Initial colonisation - probably STC

Free standing houses or small blocks of flats once well established - as likely not STC

Massive skyscrapers, arcologies or the foundations of what would become hive cities - almost certainly STC. When you’re building on that sort of scale, particularly taken to 40k’s mind boggling levels, you’re going to want the certified designs and interoperability that STC gives you.
Yeah you could design your own to fit, but why would you when STC works out everything for you and you know it’ll be compatible with everything else?
   
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Wouldn’t it be heresy to believe that you could improve on an STC design? If the STC provides habitats then surely that the best design humans can create, according to dogma. STC blueprints aren’t just useful they a religious gospel
   
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Lord Zarkov wrote:
I think the hab blocks would depend on what exactly you are building.

Initial colonisation - probably STC

Free standing houses or small blocks of flats once well established - as likely not STC

Massive skyscrapers, arcologies or the foundations of what would become hive cities - almost certainly STC. When you’re building on that sort of scale, particularly taken to 40k’s mind boggling levels, you’re going to want the certified designs and interoperability that STC gives you.
Yeah you could design your own to fit, but why would you when STC works out everything for you and you know it’ll be compatible with everything else?

Just because something is a blueprint doesn't mean it's an STC though.
Architects still exist in 40k and as we all know the Imperium loves its fancy buildings.
   
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mrFickle wrote:
Wouldn’t it be heresy to believe that you could improve on an STC design? If the STC provides habitats then surely that the best design humans can create, according to dogma. STC blueprints aren’t just useful they a religious gospel


In M41 yes, though the wealthy seem to commission loads of weird and wonderful architecture that may or not be fully STC (though most are probably at least STC skeleton and fittings with non-STC outer finish and flourishes).

At the time STCs were still being produced however they were presumably just very helpful rather than holy scripture.
   
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Remember the Imperium has a LOT of rules - most of them get broken if you have enough income or are hidden away enough to not catch the attention of passing officials.


It's also clear that the Imperium is willing to adapt to superior technology. It might be more correct to say that the way the Imperiums rules operate regarding technology is in part built on a culture of ignorance, religion and fear.

They FEAR superior technology development. They fear it so much that there's a whole religion built around the only people who are supposed to advance it.
They keep it locked away - separate from society. Society is supposed ot maintain itself in almost a state of stasis - where its safe.

The Imperium is afraid of what technology can bring them and considering that it was advances in technology that brought about such things as the uprising of the Men of Iron and the whole issue with Chaos - then its not a bad thing to consider that the Imperium as a whole got burned by advancing tech and now seeks to avoid advance and where it must, it will be kicking and screaming to do it.

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 Gert wrote:
Lord Zarkov wrote:
I think the hab blocks would depend on what exactly you are building.

Initial colonisation - probably STC

Free standing houses or small blocks of flats once well established - as likely not STC

Massive skyscrapers, arcologies or the foundations of what would become hive cities - almost certainly STC. When you’re building on that sort of scale, particularly taken to 40k’s mind boggling levels, you’re going to want the certified designs and interoperability that STC gives you.
Yeah you could design your own to fit, but why would you when STC works out everything for you and you know it’ll be compatible with everything else?

Just because something is a blueprint doesn't mean it's an STC though.
Architects still exist in 40k and as we all know the Imperium loves its fancy buildings.


For the fancy stuff yeah, there’s likely to be a lot of independent design, whether it’s just designing interesting ways to fit STC components together, or full on non-STC structures (though probably still incorporating many STC components since you’d want it to connect to everything else).

On the other end of the scale, stuff scratch built by gangs or in shanty towns etc are clearly not going to be built to STC blueprints, though again they’ll likely have a significant amount of salvaged STC pattern components for anything beyond basic building materials.

For generic worker hab block 1234ABC though, you’d just get your STC template out and build it and it’s many thousand fellows to the basic design because again, why would you not when you’re building on that scale?
   
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Lord Zarkov wrote:
I think the hab blocks would depend on what exactly you are building.

Initial colonisation - probably STC

Free standing houses or small blocks of flats once well established - as likely not STC

Massive skyscrapers, arcologies or the foundations of what would become hive cities - almost certainly STC. When you’re building on that sort of scale, particularly taken to 40k’s mind boggling levels, you’re going to want the certified designs and interoperability that STC gives you.
Yeah you could design your own to fit, but why would you when STC works out everything for you and you know it’ll be compatible with everything else?


I wouldn’t be quite so hasty here.

The Imperium itself has existed for 10,000 years, give or take. Sure, they’re adverse to new developments, but we can look back at what our species was building in a similar time span.

Building sturdy structures is kinda hard wired into us. Who knows how much trial and error went into that? Consider that those building and being horribly squished to death by a collapse end up all dead in the face until they’re not alive anymore.

So it would seem even skyscrapers, which we can build today with our relatively, by comparison, tools and technology are quite easily built in 40K.

Indeed, the existence of multiple Hive Worlds would seem to confirm that. Granted, their bottom most levels are indeed quite likely STC based. But the rest has been built time and time again, layer upon layer.

Their shape is particularly telling - if we consider that it seems entirely possible an STC could provide a how-to which would do away with the traditional “wide base, skinny pinnacle” design.

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 Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:
Lord Zarkov wrote:
I think the hab blocks would depend on what exactly you are building.

Initial colonisation - probably STC

Free standing houses or small blocks of flats once well established - as likely not STC

Massive skyscrapers, arcologies or the foundations of what would become hive cities - almost certainly STC. When you’re building on that sort of scale, particularly taken to 40k’s mind boggling levels, you’re going to want the certified designs and interoperability that STC gives you.
Yeah you could design your own to fit, but why would you when STC works out everything for you and you know it’ll be compatible with everything else?


I wouldn’t be quite so hasty here.

The Imperium itself has existed for 10,000 years, give or take. Sure, they’re adverse to new developments, but we can look back at what our species was building in a similar time span.

Building sturdy structures is kinda hard wired into us. Who knows how much trial and error went into that? Consider that those building and being horribly squished to death by a collapse end up all dead in the face until they’re not alive anymore.

So it would seem even skyscrapers, which we can build today with our relatively, by comparison, tools and technology are quite easily built in 40K.

Indeed, the existence of multiple Hive Worlds would seem to confirm that. Granted, their bottom most levels are indeed quite likely STC based. But the rest has been built time and time again, layer upon layer.

Their shape is particularly telling - if we consider that it seems entirely possible an STC could provide a how-to which would do away with the traditional “wide base, skinny pinnacle” design.


I’d take the opposite lesson from hives tbh. Those things are mind bogglingly and impractically huge and yet not only do they (mostly) not collapse under their own weight but its myriad of systems somehow manage to mostly connect and talk to each other fairly well despite being built in some cases millennia apart (something we struggle with over mere decades).

Yeah they won’t just get out a blueprint for a complete hive, but all the structural components would be STC (at least on initial installation) and things like the core heat sink would definitely be. The whole point of the construct is that it is standard interchangeable building blocks that you can fit together and reuse reliably. That you would not use it building something that vast seems nuts.
   
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Well, proper Hives, i.e. not just big cities, are actually archeotech. The Imperium can build huge cities but IIRC can't build proper Hives.
   
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 Gert wrote:
Well, proper Hives, i.e. not just big cities, are actually archeotech. The Imperium can build huge cities but IIRC can't build proper Hives.


Not from scratch I don’t think, but they definitely still add new bits to the top in Necromunda that have to interface with the rest of the hive. They also manage to keep fixing Armageddon’s hives.
   
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Well, that would be the point. I can fix a car or put a spoiler on it (hypothetically) but I certainly couldn't build one. It's the same thing for the Imperium but with Hives.

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 Gert wrote:
Well, proper Hives, i.e. not just big cities, are actually archeotech. The Imperium can build huge cities but IIRC can't build proper Hives.


Really, that’s very interesting, so the hives on necromunda might predate the great crusade and could be from Golden age?
   
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They might lack some of the tech for the core structural elements, but they certainly keep building the components for a Hive. Necromunda highlights how the underhive is basically bits of the upper hive that collapse and get pushed "down". The middle and lower regions are basically a slow construction conveyor belt. Factories, biodomes, habitats and all eventually wear out and crumble at the base into the mess of the underhive.


It might be that the Imperium can build a Hive City; they just can't build a stable one that won't crumble or break or forever need repair work to remain viable.

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