Keeping up with the science?

The past, present and future of Earth are colliding as mysterious anomalies open up everywhere. Your mission: keep prehistoric monsters in check, preserve the timeline, and uncover the secrets behind the anomalies. Learn more at our website: http://www.cubicle7.co.uk/our-games/primeval/

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DavetheLost
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Keeping up with the science?

Post by DavetheLost » Fri Oct 11, 2013 2:06 pm

How currently scientifically accurate are your Primeval games? By which I mean are your dinosaurs feathered or not? How closely do you track new taxonomic discoveries and changes? What about theories of behavior?

I have found several blogs taking Primeval to task for "inaccuracies" in their portrayal of dinosaurs. Do these inaccuracies bother you? Do you roll with the currently scientifically correct interpretation or with the portrayal on screen? How do you even decide which among divergent scientific opinions to follow?

An example of this would be the "raptors", Velociraptor, Deinonychus, et al. In your games are they feathered or scaled? If they are feathered, to what degree?

Does your T. rex have bristles, down or feathers as some hypothesize it should?

Beran
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Re: Keeping up with the science?

Post by Beran » Fri Oct 11, 2013 5:19 pm

If I were running a game I would try to keep up with the most professionally supported ideas on the appearance and behavior of the creatures in question. As to complete scientific accuracy...well, you have to tell an interesting story. Just look at the ep with the giant centipede. In reality it ate bark and leaves...boring. So, the writers made it venomous and really pissed off that it wasn't home anymore...interesting. For example I am a follower of Bakker so my T-Rex would be an apex predator, not some smelly scavenger like Horner would suggest.

Ultimately Primeval is science fiction...heavy on the fiction. Those critics really need to get a life.

DavetheLost
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Re: Keeping up with the science?

Post by DavetheLost » Fri Oct 11, 2013 6:11 pm

I agree whole heartedly with your comment about the critics needing to get a life. I definitely look at Primeval, King Kong, Godzilla and Jurassic Park as essentially being monst movies, not science lessons. The creatures in them are inspired by science, but are not recreations of scientific discovery.

I just read the novel "Safari World" on my Kindle. It is a sort of time travel big game hunt novel. One of the things bathe author keeps mentioning is how much "current" knowledge about the dinosaurs turned out to be wrong, usually with unpleasant consequences for the characters.

I like T. rex as an apex predator, I like feathered raptors, and I like the idea of dinosaurs living in social groups. There is a trackway that suggests a hunting pack of Allosaurus, now that is a scary thought....

It is fiction and I am not going to rewrite all my game notes every time a new dinosaur is discovered or a new theory is published.

Beran
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Re: Keeping up with the science?

Post by Beran » Fri Oct 11, 2013 6:16 pm

Having a female T-Rex in our world rampaging around because it can't find its brood brings a certain character to the 'role." That is for sure. Nothing like having to deal with 4 tons of maternal instinct.;)

rulandor
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Re: Keeping up with the science?

Post by rulandor » Fri Oct 11, 2013 6:43 pm

And that would be a small one! If the Wikipedia is right, the maternal instinct you mention could easily weigh in at close to seven metric tons! :)

And, by the way, is the distinction between apex predator and scavenger really so clear cut in reality? As far as I remember my facts, lions, e. g., are not above stealing their meal from a poor leopard. That's what made the latter one learn to climb trees! Bad news for a mugging lion ...

Beran
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Re: Keeping up with the science?

Post by Beran » Fri Oct 11, 2013 8:29 pm

In a borad sense, no. A Great White Shark is an apex predator and it won't pass up a free meal from a passing whale carcus. Most predators won't pass up a free meal like that...hunting is dangerous work after all. What I was referring to was the two competing theories about the T-rex. Bakker is of of the opinion t-rex was an active hunter and Horner is of the opinion that the Rex used its imposing size to scare off other predators and steal their kills or just plain scavenge what's left over from a fresh kill. I'm in the bakker camp.

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JohnK
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Re: Keeping up with the science?

Post by JohnK » Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:26 pm

Hullo, DavetheLost,
DavetheLost wrote:How currently scientifically accurate are your Primeval games? By which I mean are your dinosaurs feathered or not? How closely do you track new taxonomic discoveries and changes? What about theories of behavior?
I would have to say that I try to keep my Primeval games scientifically accurate, in terms of the creatures and beasties, but am not a stickler for it if the beastie in question leads to a better story if it's not "totally accurate".

Given the fact that palaeontology isn't an absolutely exact science and the number of fossils discovered is but a pin prick in the overall number likely out there, I think it's a matter of how much science you want to deal with and how much accuracy you want to portray in your games.

That said, as an amateur palaeontologist, I do try to keep abreast of things for the most part, but whether they affect how I run my Primeval games, well... :)
DavetheLost wrote: I have found several blogs taking Primeval to task for "inaccuracies" in their portrayal of dinosaurs. Do these inaccuracies bother you? Do you roll with the currently scientifically correct interpretation or with the portrayal on screen? How do you even decide which among divergent scientific opinions to follow?
The inaccuracies don't bother me per se, so much as the different theories out there offer such different takes on beasties. A good example of this was and is the debate over certain dinosaurs falling into various clades and the like, and the feathered verus not feathered debate. The Primeval tv series did a damn fine job of keeping things accurate, but made certain exceptions (such as the Arthropleurids of the S1, E2 business being so big and poisonous). You can't let scientific accuracy get in the way of good storytelling, necessarily, but...
"You have no idea how revealing dung can be." - Stephen Hart (He tastes the pteranodon dung.) "That's just not right." - Captain Tom Ryan (Primeval Ep 1.5)

JohnK
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JohnK
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Re: Keeping up with the science?

Post by JohnK » Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:32 pm

Hullo, DavetheLost,
DavetheLost wrote:I agree whole heartedly with your comment about the critics needing to get a life. I definitely look at Primeval, King Kong, Godzilla and Jurassic Park as essentially being monst movies, not science lessons. The creatures in them are inspired by science, but are not recreations of scientific discovery.
To be honest, I don't think of most of the sources you've mentioned being as realistic in style and feel of creatures as Primeval is/was. A good example is the distinct horrific look and feel for Dilophosaurus from the Jurassic Park movie. The real creature was definitely not as dangerous as movie version, but for the sake of the movie...
DavetheLost wrote: I just read the novel "Safari World" on my Kindle. It is a sort of time travel big game hunt novel. One of the things bathe author keeps mentioning is how much "current" knowledge about the dinosaurs turned out to be wrong, usually with unpleasant consequences for the characters.
I really hate when authors do this. The thing with palaeontology is that theories are supplanted by new theories all the time, as various physical evidence mounts and is discovered in new fossil remains.

I think the way to run Primeval as a game is to use however much realistic science you want to in the game, and go from there. Having done up a whack load of the creatures found in the Companion and having all sorts of others statted up (including dilophosaurus), I know how I'm doing it and how I'd like to see it being done.

'Nuff said. :)
"You have no idea how revealing dung can be." - Stephen Hart (He tastes the pteranodon dung.) "That's just not right." - Captain Tom Ryan (Primeval Ep 1.5)

JohnK
e-mail: johnk100@sympatico.ca
blog: http://jkahane.livejournal.com

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JohnK
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Re: Keeping up with the science?

Post by JohnK » Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:34 pm

Hullo, Beran,
Beran wrote:Having a female T-Rex in our world rampaging around because it can't find its brood brings a certain character to the 'role." That is for sure. Nothing like having to deal with 4 tons of maternal instinct.;)
LOL! Ain't it the truth!

And don't forget the more passive herbivore, Maisaura, when it comes to maternal instinct. :)
"You have no idea how revealing dung can be." - Stephen Hart (He tastes the pteranodon dung.) "That's just not right." - Captain Tom Ryan (Primeval Ep 1.5)

JohnK
e-mail: johnk100@sympatico.ca
blog: http://jkahane.livejournal.com

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JohnK
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Re: Keeping up with the science?

Post by JohnK » Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:35 pm

Hullo, Rulandor,
rulandor wrote: And, by the way, is the distinction between apex predator and scavenger really so clear cut in reality? As far as I remember my facts, lions, e. g., are not above stealing their meal from a poor leopard. That's what made the latter one learn to climb trees! Bad news for a mugging lion ...
Frankly, no, the distinction between T. rex being apex predator or scavenger isn't as clear cut as some would like it to be, but such is life in the field of palaeontology. :) And I know which one I'd rather the creature be... :)
"You have no idea how revealing dung can be." - Stephen Hart (He tastes the pteranodon dung.) "That's just not right." - Captain Tom Ryan (Primeval Ep 1.5)

JohnK
e-mail: johnk100@sympatico.ca
blog: http://jkahane.livejournal.com

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