History Main / BlackBox

13th Apr '17 5:05:23 PM nombretomado
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* In ''SinsOfASolarEmpire'', the Advent field Phase Inhibitors stolen from the TEC, who use Phase Inhibitors captured from the Vasari. . . who ''also'' don't know how Phase Inhibitors work, and simply field copies of ones that ''they'' found.

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* In ''SinsOfASolarEmpire'', ''VideoGame/SinsOfASolarEmpire'', the Advent field Phase Inhibitors stolen from the TEC, who use Phase Inhibitors captured from the Vasari. . . who ''also'' don't know how Phase Inhibitors work, and simply field copies of ones that ''they'' found.
3rd Apr '17 12:15:48 AM Heckfire
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* This is pretty explicitly how gadget-type powers like battlesuits, ray guns, and even the sentient android hero Modular Man work in the ''Literature/WildCards'' universe, with the idea that most of them are secretly powered by the users' own "Ace" abilities. One case was even described where a suit of powered armor simply had ''drawings of circuitry'' instead of actual wiring inside it.
31st Mar '17 3:04:12 PM nombretomado
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* Most of the super-advanced technology in the ''OrionsArm'' universe is at least partly powered by transapientech. This is by definition designed by beings orders of magnitude smarter than ordinary folks. This is something of a subversion in that the inner workings are completely known, and probably published somewhere on the net, but the people using them ''can't'' understand them, since their brains aren't complex enough. It's sort of like trying to teach a small child nuclear physics in depth.

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* Most of the super-advanced technology in the ''OrionsArm'' ''WebOriginal/OrionsArm'' universe is at least partly powered by transapientech. This is by definition designed by beings orders of magnitude smarter than ordinary folks. This is something of a subversion in that the inner workings are completely known, and probably published somewhere on the net, but the people using them ''can't'' understand them, since their brains aren't complex enough. It's sort of like trying to teach a small child nuclear physics in depth.
24th Mar '17 10:19:31 AM marcoasalazarm
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* The titular ''TabletopGame/{{Numenera}}'' are mostly this, devices that for a number of reasons got enough RagnarokProofing to function thousands or even millions of years after having been created and the civilizations that made them fell... but not only are they so advanced that the setting treats them like magic, but they also didn't had ''enough'' RagnarokProofing to survive being used more than once after being unearthed--and because of said civilizations falling so long ago, the knowledge what they can do (let alone repair them) just doesn't exists anymore.



* ''VideoGame/{{Xenosaga}}'': KOS-MOS is an android built by Kevin Winnicot, but when she goes berserk and [[ThanatosGambit murders hims]] she has to be rebuilt. Unfortunately, the only way Kevin's successors are capable of creating another KOS-MOS is to simply repair and (attempt to) reprogram the same prototype unit that killed him because [[NoPlansNoPrototypeNoBackup he took the plans for her to his grave]]. As a result, the current KOS-MOS is treated like a faulty handgrenade which her development team is loathe to admit they have zero control over if push comes to shove. She's laden with black box parts and programs, each with unknown functions, which come online at [[BecauseDestinySaysSo seemingly random intervals]] (like her Gnosis-obliterating X-Buster ability), often to shocking effect. Series protagonist (and KOS-MOS co-creator) Shion is only able to figure most of them out enough to rebuild KOS-MOS a ''second'' time after gaining access to Kevin's original plans via a time paradox.

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* ''VideoGame/{{Xenosaga}}'': KOS-MOS is an android built by Kevin Winnicot, but when she goes berserk and [[ThanatosGambit murders hims]] she has to be rebuilt. Unfortunately, the only way Kevin's successors are capable of creating another KOS-MOS is to simply repair and (attempt to) reprogram the same prototype unit that killed him because [[NoPlansNoPrototypeNoBackup he took the plans for her to his grave]]. As a result, the current KOS-MOS is treated like a faulty handgrenade hand grenade which her development team is loathe to admit they have zero control over if push comes to shove. She's laden with black box parts and programs, each with unknown functions, which come online at [[BecauseDestinySaysSo seemingly random intervals]] (like her Gnosis-obliterating X-Buster ability), often to shocking effect. Series protagonist (and KOS-MOS co-creator) Shion is only able to figure most of them out enough to rebuild KOS-MOS a ''second'' time after gaining access to Kevin's original plans via a time paradox.
13th Mar '17 1:07:32 AM BattleMaster
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* A fair bit of LostTechnology in ''TabletopGame/BattleTech'' is considered black-box level of complexity, usable by the Inner Sphere but completely beyond their understanding in regards to ''how'' it worked due to [[ForeverWar 300 years of total war]] destroying means of production and conspiracies to assassinate scientists. This includes things like DropShip and [[FasterThanLightTravel Jumpship]] construction technology (described as fully automated and unable to be built), human myomer implantation (with horrific results if it fails for reasons unknown), and faster-than-light 'secret transmission' technology, which sends faxes across the stars. As the [[ApocalypseNot timeline has progressed, however]], there have been some gains in the understanding of such technology.

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* A fair bit of LostTechnology in ''TabletopGame/BattleTech'' is considered black-box level of complexity, usable by the Inner Sphere but completely beyond their understanding in regards to ''how'' it worked due to [[ForeverWar 300 years of total war]] destroying means of production and conspiracies to assassinate scientists. This includes things like DropShip and [[FasterThanLightTravel Jumpship]] construction technology (described as fully automated and unable to be built), human myomer implantation (with horrific results if it fails for reasons unknown), and faster-than-light 'secret transmission' technology, which sends faxes across the stars. One of the most famed in-universe black boxes was the New Avalon Valkyrie factory, a fully-automated facility that kept producing brand new, function Battlemechs for centuries after it was turned on: raw materials went in one end, Valkyries came out the other. The New Avalon Institute of Science wanted to try taking the factory apart to see if they could replicate it or switch it over to produce a more powerful Battlemech, but fears that they wouldn't be able to put it back together afterword kept them from doing so. As the [[ApocalypseNot timeline has progressed, however]], there have been some gains in the understanding of such technology.
1st Mar '17 11:12:38 AM ChronoLegion
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** The engineers also have to look in junkyards for intact components from the old program in order to try to figure out how they work.

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** The engineers also have to look in junkyards for intact components from the old program in order to try to figure out how they work. Basically, the plans might show a particular gauge being used, but the engineers have to know ''why'' it's there, since their job isn't to replicate the components, it's to design new ones using the old plans a jumping off point.
1st Mar '17 11:01:22 AM ChronoLegion
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* In ''Videogame/XCOM'' and its sequels and reboot, your scientists can research alien technologies and replicate them... But they don't really know how they work.

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* In ''Videogame/XCOM'' ''Videogame/{{XCOM}}'' and its sequels and reboot, your scientists can research alien technologies and replicate them... But they don't really know how they work. Slightly subverted in that they do, eventually, learn how to adapt the principles for other uses. For example, plasma weapons are the top-tier tech branch you can reverse-engineer from the aliens. The second game, however, mostly takes place underwater, where plasma wouldn't do you much good. Also, [[GreenRocks Elerium-115]] is rendered inert by seawater. Your scientists eventually learn to adapt the same magnetic coils used to contain plasma into MagneticWeapons that fire slugs at high speeds. Additionally, background material for ''Interceptor'' states that inert Elerium is actually quite useful as radiation shielding, which is why it's an integral component in humanity's first FTL drives.
1st Mar '17 10:52:35 AM ChronoLegion
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** The semi-canonical ExpansionPack ''Cataclysm'' has a fourth hyperspace core, whose capabilities are on par with the Progenitor Far Jumpers (except it was built a ''million years ago''), except that it came from another galaxy on an experimental exploration ship called the ''Naggarok''. Besides the extremely-advanced hyperdrive, the ship also has inertialess sublight drives (allowing the massive craft to zip around the battlefield faster than any fighter), extremely-precise long-range ion cannons (able to swat fighters like gnats), and a powerful Phase Disassembler Array that can convert even a dreadnought into energy in a matter of seconds (said energy can then be used to build cruise missiles). While the ship is destroyed in the FinalBattle of the game, the tech inside it likely fits this trope.
1st Mar '17 10:42:18 AM ChronoLegion
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** Then there's Precursor tech, which appears to lack any physical components at all and is rooted in ''sentience itself''. Unfortunately, most of it was destroyed when the Halo rings were fired.
1st Mar '17 10:34:01 AM ChronoLegion
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** In Lukyanenko's ''Literature/TheStarsAreColdToys'', the rat-like Alari outfit a human Buran shuttle with plasma engines for the mission. When the protagonist asks the shuttle's commander if it's possible to study and replicate this tech on Earth, the commander grimly replies that it is... in about a hundred years. At current human tech levels, all alien tech fits this trope. Despite this, even this addition is a strict violation of the Conclave's rule prohibiting Weaker races from sharing technology.
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.BlackBox