Thursday, April 16, 2009

Defining a motive

I am very much driven by the need to have a motive. This reflects strongly on my hobby projects and when I do things aimlessly the result tend to be reduced to a conceptual effort without value.

To do something about this I need to create a reason for putting up with an effort. For hobby projects there is a good lot of slack on the side of communication. There is no need for anyone except myself to really understand the motive. To make a different type of thing I will try document this incomprehensible process here, you might not be able to follow it well. But I'll try make it readable.

I need a motive for making some sci-fi music, for a larger scale hobby project which is a bit under the radar and hopefully will deserve proper mention later on. What are my options?

1 - Make something that I want to have for my own pleasure.
2 - Make something I think others will like.
3 - Make something for the fun of it.

Ok, so I pick the fun, thats #3 in the list.

So what is fun?

Fun is learning something by using skills which I can develop during the creative process. This is the reason for picking option 3.

If I were to go for #1 I know I will personally dislike the result until my highly picky ears are willing to accept the output on an emotional level. This will require something I expect to be close to an infinite number of iterations. SinceI am somewhat reluctant to invest the rest of my life in this hobby project I will abondon this option.

If I were to go for #2 I would expect to need to work so hard that I will never finish, if I aim at pleasing an external audience my probability of success is limited by my inability to measure my progress against a target audience so this one is out.

Going for #3 I'll start with identifying which skills I want to develop. Thats relatively easy. Production methodology, guitar playing, mixing, rigging, storytelling and some other random stuff not worthy of mention. I will conciously abandon the skills of designing up value, I'll move outside that concept by pretending that I dont care about it in this particular case. The work involved with design in this case would also not be within my means to execute.

Now I have the basic idea, so how to I create the motive from here?

Last piece I made defined pieces of a motive I will use and I'll call this an informal vision.

The informal vision

Setting: Sci-fi (Technology has made changes to the world and the idea is to use the context of the changes to present a message about something which may be more or less deeply hidden in a story or fantstic context. What the technology is will be part of the vision of the effort.)

Method: Roleplay (I'll pretend to be some entity within the context and define details of this entity partly during the development process starting up. This entity will be a band, which is a part of the technology in question.)

Background: A Story

The story in short:

A political party, The Network Party, created a new ideology based on mathematical proof of optimized average and total life value of all humans in the world. This was such a powerful ideology that the political party spread its rule to cover the world and save the planet earth from destruction by consumeralism and economic competition for resources. As the party gained strength it became obvious that mathematically proven principles are well managed by computers. This led to the ideology being implemented in code and thereby further optimized, the implementation was known as The Network of Organized Democracy, usually called The Network or "TN" as shortened by l33tspeeking people.

Humankind was now living an awesome life happily together and they decided to journey towards the stars. A few million years later humankind has spread across the vastness of space. To establish new colonies they sent robots which are connected to The Network. These robots spread propaganda for The Netowrk to alien worlds in preparation for the arrival of human tourists and adventurers.

The Network developed several series of propaganda robots, one of the successful brands travel through space in the form of musicians. They bring the glory of The Network through galaxies by playing songs which they modify iteratively towards fitting whichever alien species they encounter. They can also defend themselves if attacked, but they generally are peaceful. Humans can also purchase these robots directly from The Network by spending a decent lot of their consumption allowance on each robot.

Anyhow... the setting for the work in question is to create odd iterations of the robots propaganda music. This leaves me without any reason to worry about making anything which either attempts to sound real, natural or great. I can focus on the skills I think I can hone through the work.

The details is to roleplay the robots. And the robot band is known as:


Vocals: All 4 robots participate in singing

Guitar: Roxxor
Drums: Tricklock
Keyboard: Schmooth
Bass: Doppz

The first job in the process of creating the next song in their setlist is to define the sounds of Tricklock. This time I'll aim at the Make it Flawless principle, meaning that I'll spend a lot of effort on getting the drum sounds of Tricklock. I think Tricklock will get his own post before I am done with him. Now to setting up a whole lot of samples in the drum machine... time to start working.


  1. Vey interesting post!

    The ideology of TN resonates to some extent with the theories of utilitarianism. Since you've mentioned TN now and then, I thought I'd mention it to maybe give you food for additional texture. Check out Epicurus, Hume, or for an author not-yet-dead Peter Singer. I've been meaning to recommend his "How are we to live" for some time, regarding a number of things that have popped up in discussions.

    Regarding the rock band's programming. As the band (B) explores language to establish communication, the alien race (A) will in turn attempt to tune their own language to fit B. This will likely be an oscillating process that ultimately leads to the establishment of a crude, universal language.

    Can this be avoided?

    I'm thinking it can. When the oscillation has stopped, which should be a more or less measurable, the system knows that a feedback loop is in place. This should know be used to transmit crude concepts that aim to

    (I) Reinforce the positive feedback of having established the loop;
    (II) Relate new information about B's culture, in such a way that it's possible for A to incorporate this knowledge in their view of their own culture (Exploratory learning)

    Parallel to this process, B should probe for more advanced lingual structures, for two reasons:

    (I) Keep A interested in B by presenting challenges based on existing skills (it should include some aspects of what's already established) and with a clear goal: learning about more of B's concepts. This presupposes that B succeeds at getting A excited about their concepts.
    (II) Inching closer to make possible a sophisticated debate about TN's philosophy.

    All this would obviously fail if A's brain's chemical feedback system doesn't work according to the same logic as ours. Which is very likely it won't - although it's also likely it will. Going out on a limb, I'd speculate that the more a species is able to extract energy directly from their environment's strongest energy source (for us it'd be the sun, for others it could be geothermal), the less likely they'd respond the same way we do. For a number of reasons, but I think this comment is running too long.


  2. So we can use this type of reasoning to extend the story in this sci-fi embryo. Is not this a quite amusing little hobby?

  3. Definitely! Very naturalistic slash collaborative.