History Main / BlackBox

10th Nov '17 12:15:46 PM MurrayTheBlue
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* ''Series/Caprica'' has one in foe form of New Cap City. In effect, it is a virtual reality MMORPG located on their version of the Dark Net. It is an enormous city that doesn't seem to end, and nearly everything is trying to kill you. Most people use it like GTA, while teenagers use it to engage in orgies and drug use without harm, although a few are devoted to unlocking its mysteries. The one rule to play is that you only get one life, and are immediately and permanently locked out if you die. It's origins, and the reasons for its existence, are a complete mystery to everyone. Even the creator of the V-World technology has no idea who built it or why. The hardcore gamers all insist that there must be some reason or point to it, and are obsessed with the idea of "beating" the game, even though it doesn't seem to work that way. Eventually the point is rendered moot when the protagonist reshapes the whole world into a forest fantasy kingdom full of dragons. Really.

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* ''Series/Caprica'' ''Series/{{Caprica}}'' has one in foe form of New Cap City. In effect, it is a virtual reality MMORPG located on their version of the Dark Net. It is an enormous city that doesn't seem to end, and nearly everything is trying to kill you. Most people use it like GTA, while teenagers use it to engage in orgies and drug use without harm, although a few are devoted to unlocking its mysteries. The one rule to play is that you only get one life, and are immediately and permanently locked out if you die. It's Its origins, and the reasons for its existence, are a complete mystery to everyone. Even the creator of the V-World technology has no idea who built it or why. The hardcore gamers all insist that there must be some reason or point to it, and are obsessed with the idea of "beating" the game, even though it doesn't seem to work that way. Eventually the point is rendered moot when the protagonist reshapes the whole world into a forest fantasy kingdom full of dragons. Really.
10th Nov '17 12:14:36 PM MurrayTheBlue
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* ''Series/Caprica'' has one in foe form of New Cap City. In effect, it is a virtual reality MMORPG located on their version of the Dark Net. It is an enormous city that doesn't seem to end, and nearly everything is trying to kill you. Most people use it like GTA, while teenagers use it to engage in orgies and drug use without harm, although a few are devoted to unlocking its mysteries. The one rule to play is that you only get one life, and are immediately and permanently locked out if you die. It's origins, and the reasons for its existence, are a complete mystery to everyone. Even the creator of the V-World technology has no idea who built it or why. The hardcore gamers all insist that there must be some reason or point to it, and are obsessed with the idea of "beating" the game, even though it doesn't seem to work that way. Eventually the point is rendered moot when the protagonist reshapes the whole world into a forest fantasy kingdom full of dragons. Really.
26th Oct '17 7:25:51 PM FordPrefect
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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.

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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 have ''enough'' RagnarokProofing to survive being used more than once after being unearthed--and because of said civilizations falling so long ago, the full knowledge of what they can do (let alone how to repair them) just doesn't exists exist anymore.
11th Oct '17 11:22:40 PM bfunc
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** In a sort of meta-example, divine magic (the sort of magic used by Cleric spells) in Eberron works on a "clap your hands if you believe" basis. Unlike in other settings, even high level Clerics cannot communicate directly with their gods; when they try to do so, at best they get an entity that claims to be a high-level servant of the god rather than the god itself. The setting is ''extremely'' coy with respect to whether or not any gods actually exist, and if so, ''which ones''. Even the beings reached with, say, a ''Commune'' spell will, if pressed, hang a lampshade on this, saying of ''course'' they haven't ''personally'' seen or talked to the gods, but they ''must'' exist, because praying to them works, doesn't it? Divine magic works even for the Clerics of one particular cult who ''know for a fact'' that their god does not exist (yet), because they're working on ''building'' it.
11th Oct '17 10:52:26 PM bfunc
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This is surprisingly common in RealLife, particularly in programming, where the programmer is the only one who really understands how what they've built works (and sometimes, not even ''them''[[note]]For an analogy, solve a complex math problem without writing down anything but formulas and equations, and try making sense of it a couple weeks later.[[/note]]). Especially in high-level languages, where the programmer can for example tell the computer to replace all occurrences of "cake" with "apple" in a text, and doesn't have to worry about how the system does it - s/he gets a changed text back and that's that. This also happens in pharmacology, where it might be discovered that a drug has a positive effect on people with a certain illness but when it's first used doctors and scientists don't understand why.

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This is surprisingly common in RealLife, particularly in programming, where the programmer is the only one who really understands how what they've built works (and sometimes, not even ''them''[[note]]For an analogy, solve ''them''[[note]]Even a complex math problem without writing down "simple" (no graphics, purely command-line and input file driven and with the only output being more text files) scientific application that does anything but formulas actually useful can easily exceed ten thousand lines of code in a high-level language and equations, and try making sense is probably the result of the work of multiple people, none of whom knows ''every'' detail of the parts they didn't write. And even if a single dedicated programmer wrote the whole thing personally, it's virtually certain that at least some of it a couple weeks later.uses infrastructure in the form of library routines or system calls that were not written by the same programmer.[[/note]]). Especially in high-level languages, where the programmer can for example tell the computer to replace all occurrences of "cake" with "apple" in a text, and doesn't have to worry about how the system does it - s/he gets a changed text back and that's that. This also happens in pharmacology, where it might be discovered that a drug has a positive effect on people with a certain illness but when it's first used doctors and scientists don't understand why.
5th Oct '17 6:50:34 PM Malady
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* [[ZigZagged Played with]] through the [[PortalNetwork gates]] of the ''[[VideoGame/{{X}} X-Universe]]''. While operation is terribly easy -- push a spaceship in one gate, and it'll pop out the other gate in the pair a few seconds later, no matter how far away -- no one in the [[FiveRaces central interstellar trade system]] understands anything but the lies-to-children version of how they work. While there are a few scientists capable of repairing damaged gates, no one even thinks about trying replication or reconfiguration, and the irregular outages or changes in the system caused by [[AbusivePrecursors meddling precursors]] is treated like mystery or even legend where it's not just a natural risk of the gates. The species that actually made the system in the first place not only consider it [[TheWorldIsNotReady outside of the range of understanding of the normal races]], they think [[KardashevScale it's impossible for a species to understand without getting a few points higher on the Kardashev scale]]. [[SubvertedTrope Then]] the Terran [[HumansAreSpecial humans get involved]], and not only get the theory down and create a new gate on their own, but also create a Jumpdrive that's a ''separate'' Black Box to everyone else in the setting; when the test ship (the ''Xperimental Shuttle'') gets dumped in the X-Universe by a BlindJump in ''Videogame/XBeyondTheFrontier'', nobody can repair it; not even the pilot after he establishes a MegaCorp solely to repair it to [[YouCantGoHomeAgain get back home]]. The ship can be re-acquired thirty years later in ''X3: Terran Conflict'', where it's still unknowable and impossible to reverse engineer; presumably, the now [[LostColony reconnected Earth State]] isn't helping the player to reproduce it.

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* [[ZigZagged Played with]] through the [[PortalNetwork gates]] of the ''[[VideoGame/{{X}} X-Universe]]''. While operation is terribly easy -- push a spaceship in one gate, and it'll pop out the other gate in the pair a few seconds later, no matter how far away -- no one in the [[FiveRaces central interstellar trade system]] understands anything but the lies-to-children version of how they work. While there are a few scientists capable of repairing damaged gates, no one even thinks about trying replication or reconfiguration, and the irregular outages or changes in the system caused by [[AbusivePrecursors meddling precursors]] is treated like mystery or even legend where it's not just a natural risk of the gates. The species that actually made the system in the first place not only consider it [[TheWorldIsNotReady outside of the range of understanding of the normal races]], they think [[KardashevScale [[JustForFun/AbusingTheKardashevScaleForFunAndProfit it's impossible for a species to understand without getting a few points higher on the Kardashev scale]]. [[SubvertedTrope Then]] the Terran [[HumansAreSpecial humans get involved]], and not only get the theory down and create a new gate on their own, but also create a Jumpdrive that's a ''separate'' Black Box to everyone else in the setting; when the test ship (the ''Xperimental Shuttle'') gets dumped in the X-Universe by a BlindJump in ''Videogame/XBeyondTheFrontier'', nobody can repair it; not even the pilot after he establishes a MegaCorp solely to repair it to [[YouCantGoHomeAgain get back home]]. The ship can be re-acquired thirty years later in ''X3: Terran Conflict'', where it's still unknowable and impossible to reverse engineer; presumably, the now [[LostColony reconnected Earth State]] isn't helping the player to reproduce it.
27th Sep '17 7:58:54 PM Abodos
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** The PED suit from Metroid Prime 3 contains a "black box" that allows the user to boost their power with Phazon, though how the corruption is contained is not explicitly stated. Samus's black box breaks early in the game.

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** The PED suit from Metroid Prime 3 ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime3Corruption'' contains a "black box" that allows the user to boost their power with Phazon, though how the corruption is contained is not explicitly stated. Samus's black box breaks early in the game.
24th Sep '17 9:12:25 AM nombretomado
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** A nonhuman example would be the Blackstone Fortresses of the [[BattlefleetGothic Gothic Sector]], a sextet of ancient space stations left behind by an extinct alien race. The [=AdMech=] were able to patch into the stations' power systems and hook up their own weapons and life-support, but nobody was sure of the things' function... until [[GalacticConqueror Abaddon the Despoiler]] showed up with some artifacts of his own and fully activated the Blackstone Fortresses, deploying guns that tore holes in space-time and could make suns go nova. [[spoiler:They were created by the Eldar's forge gods as a means to harness Warp-energy to destroy the C'tans.]]

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** A nonhuman example would be the Blackstone Fortresses of the [[BattlefleetGothic [[TabletopGame/BattlefleetGothic Gothic Sector]], a sextet of ancient space stations left behind by an extinct alien race. The [=AdMech=] were able to patch into the stations' power systems and hook up their own weapons and life-support, but nobody was sure of the things' function... until [[GalacticConqueror Abaddon the Despoiler]] showed up with some artifacts of his own and fully activated the Blackstone Fortresses, deploying guns that tore holes in space-time and could make suns go nova. [[spoiler:They were created by the Eldar's forge gods as a means to harness Warp-energy to destroy the C'tans.]]
12th Sep '17 4:43:00 AM MrInitialMan
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** Some colleges have tried to avert this by offering courses in [=COBOL=].
29th Aug '17 6:07:15 PM GrammarNavi
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*** While never utilized in the show, that idea is one of the first uses Humanity finds for all the extra Staff Weapons in the Fan-Fic series '{{XSGCOM}}', among other things...

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*** While never utilized in the show, that idea is one of the first uses Humanity finds for all the extra Staff Weapons in the Fan-Fic series '{{XSGCOM}}', 'Fanfic/{{XSGCOM}}', among other things...
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