Topic: Official Seed background story:

All of it (including naming guide at the end) :



1000 years ago, unmanned Seed ships left Earth carrying cryocoolers with DNA codes, sperms and eggs. The goal: To colonize distant planets. One ship arrived at Beta Hyi, 24.4 light years from Earth and started the terraforming process. But something went wrong.

Today, the colony is crammed inside a giant tower. Humans have been hatched way before scheduled time and is struggling to find out just what to do.

Go to first part: Journey to the stars


Journey to the stars
The building and launching of the seed ships.

Having successfully colonized the Moon and Mars, Earth was looking further away for the purpose of spreading humanity wide across the universe. The recent development of ram scoop propulsion made the bold vision possible.

During the course of several years five huge spaceships were built. Each a kilometre long and filled with machines needed for terraforming a suitable planet into a habitable environment for humans. To act as shields against meteors and other hazards, giant icebergs were mounted on the front of the ships.

The humans themselves were not to populate the ships. Instead DNA codes, sperms and eggs were carried along in cryocoolers leaving it to the TAU computers aboard to hatch the colonists at the right time.

TAU was also to contain any relevant Earthly knowledge. This proved to trigger a long and heated debate about what to store in the database. At the end it was decided to make the colonies idealistic societies based on community and co-operation.

After searching the universe for several years, the first suitable planet was spotted near the star Beta Hyi 24.4 light years from the Sun. Probes indicated that the planet had an atmosphere, water and living micro organisms. It was to be the destination of the first seed ship.

A giant leap towards a glorious future was taken.

...proceed to A perfect planet


A perfect planet
The landing and the uncooperative environment.

After travelling for 250 years the seed ship arrived at the planet in the Beta Hyi system.

To kick off the terraforming process the remains of the protective iceberg was slammed into the surface of the planet. In the crater TAU constructed a tower to house the terraforming machinery, and everything seemed to go according to plan.

Soon however, the weather on the planet started to worsen. In the beginning it was just a matter of frequent showers and windy weather, but during the following years it gradually became more devastating. Maybe the iceberg ramming had changed the planet a bit too much.

90 years after landing on the planet, the storms and hurricanes jeopardized the tower and the entire colony project. TAU determined to build a new tower further south and deep down in a canyon.

The old tower was stripped down and the ruins left as a reminder of the fragility of the project.

...proceed to The human factor


The human factor
Hatching of the first living beings and the naming of the planet.

As years went by TAU tried to keep the environmental hazards at bay around the new tower. After another 550 years, now 900 years since the seed ship left Earth, it was clear, that something extraordinary was needed, if the colony project should have any hope of surviving.

As a last resort TAU hatched 100 humans from the floatbeds. They were speed-grown and speed-trained in every known aspect of planetary engineering and all were full of enthusiasm and ideas.

The colonists named their new home planet Da Vinci in honour of human ingenuity. However, the ingenuity soon resulted in ideas and projects working counter to one another. The half-measures ended up causing even more disturbance in the planet ecological system.

Microbes and bacteria began infecting the tower, and the first colonist fell victim to the alien environment. The culprit was believed to be an unchecked mutation of a terrestrial bacteria released into the environment.

And more casualties were to come.

...proceed to The downward spiral


The downward spiral
Disaster upon disaster striking the colony.

Over the course of 30 years several disasters hit the colony tower.

It began with an enormous flash flood thundering down through the canyon and ramming the tower flooding the lower levels. It turned out that a black alga designed to raise overall temperatures through greenhouse effect unexpectedly had climbed a huge glacier to the east and managed to melt it. As the alga spread, flash floods became an annual event, and warning systems had to be constructed and put in place.

A few years later a storm-of-the-century slammed a huge rock into the tower top taking it almost clean off. The tower dropped almost a kilometre in height, and many colonists as well as valuable space and machinery were lost. It was feared that the incident caused substantial internal damage to TAU, soon to be indicated by an epoch-making event in the colony history.

Large clusters of floatbeds suddenly began growing humans at a rapid pace. It took some time before the colonists became aware of it, and it stirred controversy amongst them.

Everybody feared the consequences of a massive increase in population, and many argued that the process should be stopped. In the end a majority decided that human life were to be saved at all cost, and everything else was dropped in order to up the life support capacity.

In the span of two years almost 40,000 people was added to the population of a tower, which was never meant to be inhabited by humans. Resources were soon placed under an even more chronic strain.

The incalculable consequences led a small group of colonists to do the unthinkable. They ventured into the heart of the machine and started flushing floatbeds. The idealistic peaceful society suddenly had to deal with killings.

The perpetrators were soon called murderers. As a punishment they were all equipped with blockers, a program in their 'link that keeps designated doors, tubes, machines and tools from working for them. Facing a life as social outcasts some ended up taking their own lives.

...proceed to A final blow

A final blow
A superstorm all but leaves the tower incapacitated.

With the colony struggling to cope with its new population levels, Da Vinci had one more surprise up its sleeve, one that would leave the colony severely crippled and slowly sinking towards the bottom.

In L1020, a vicious collection of supercharged storm cells unexpectedly left its southern track and went straight for the kill. Off the chart windspeeds built up in the canyon systems surrounding the colony tower, driving thundering walls of water into the shaking sides of the defenseless structure for days.

This time not only the protective barrier broke. Hissing torrents of water penetrated the fusion core below the tower, causing an emergency shutdown. Moments later an unexplained power spike tore through the tower like a single clap of thunder, instantly severing all communication between the two inhabited areas in the tower and leaving vast damages in its tracks. For hours chaos reigned in the resulting blackouts, until the reactor crawled back online.

Meanwhile, TAU reacted strongly to the attack on its central power source. In an emergency attempt to relocate resources, chimbots flooded hardpoint areas to scrap factory machines.

Years of careful work and planning was undone in hours, with nobody able to stop it. In the same span of time, the huge terraforming machinery came to a grinding halt for the first time in Da Vincian history.

...proceed to Aftermath


Tallying the damages.

Getting back in the ring after the storm was a tough one. Communications were down, critical systems hung between life and death and damage reports kept pouring in. Many people were trapped in lifts and tubes for days before being located and hauled back down into safety.

Others were not so lucky. For weeks bodies kept turning up, drowned in the downside floodings, crushed to death by falling debris, electrocuted while doing emergency repairs. Most people died with their tools in their hands.

Making any coordinated efforts at securing the tower was next to impossible - something kept interfering with the transponder communication networks. While local transponder units were fixed pretty easily, reconnecting the entire network proved somewhat harder.

And with the transportation hubs between the two clusters downed, neither help nor information could travel the one way or the other. Each cluster was in the dark about the fate of the other.

Worse yet, the spike had sent the swarm AIs reeling as uncontrolled surges burst through TAU's systems like wildfire, causing local burnouts and meltdowns. The central databases shattered like glass and information somehow became dissociated from itself. Terabytes of data was lost in the blink of an eye, scattered in thousands of disconnected and rogue processes.

...proceed to Living on an island


Living on an island
The situation and challenges at game launch.

In the Habitat, the cluster least affected by damages, the focus is on restoration, recovering and reestablishing. Access to many areas such as
the recreational steambaths and heavy duty machinery must be recovered, and scores of machines have to be rebuilt to get much needed tools and gear back. Once control over the Habitat has been restored, attention can turn to helping the bottom cluster which got hit far worse.

But every effort struggles under the brutal change from 'linked society to data-scrounging information paupers. Even the most basic knowledge and technology must be dug out from the wreckage of TAU's scattered processes.

Whole libraries have been lost along with precious blueprints, personal notes and colony history. History has been cut at the root, struck down by an all-encompassing amnesia as even the most recent of pasts has become an archaeological endeavour.

The old enemy within is back to haunt the colony as well. For a short while stark necessity forced all to work as one. But as chaos and
confusion slowly turns into routine and control, old squibbles and icy fights over who gets what and what should be done are cropping up again.
Ambition seems undamaged.

TAU's runaway breeding programme remains unaffected. Fresh colonists keep popping out of floatbeds each day in the floatbed chambers of the Habitat, and though there are speculations as to how the power spike might have affected those in speed-growth development, every newcomer is a potential asset to replace lost friends and dead specialists.

The planet itself has been oddly gentle since the storm, throwing nothing worse than dull months of sleet and slush at the battered tower. The colony has yet to figure out the reason behind the weather changes and the mammoth storm, though rumors pointing at the still partially disconnected terraforming machinery abound.

Much has been lost, and the choices the colony faces are even tougher than before. What should be recovered? What should be repaired? What should be abandoned? Should day to day survival and rebuilding put overall progress in the backseat?

Should attempts be made to reconnect the two clusters? Should terraforming be restarted or resources saved for reconstruction?
And what of the powerplay and dirty politics festering under the surface of helpful cooperation?

Colony survival is hanging in the balance. Only time can tell what way it's gonna go. What will YOU do about it?

...see the Timeline overview


Timeline overview
'L' refers to 'launch', numbers refer to years after the Terra launch.

    * L0: A handful of Seed ships launched from Earth. One sets course for a promising planet discovered near the Beta Hyi star.

    * L150: Contact to Earth lost en route. Despite it, Da Vinci seed ship continues according to plan.

    * L200: Arrival in the Beta Hyi system. Leftover iceberg from ramscoop drive method slammed into planet surface to kick off terraforming.

    * L220: Planetfall. A first tower to house the terraforming machinery is built in the iceberg crater

    * L300: TAU abandons first tower due to environmental issues and builds a second one further south and deep down in the canyons.

    * L900: The first humans on Da Vinci created to deal with terraforming troubles. The Habitat is constructed.

    * L930: The first human killed by vicious infection. Uncontrolled cross-breeding and experiments might have turned native microbes into a threat.

    * L930: Construction of Sava's Garden begins.

    * L960: A small second generation of humans created to aid in terraforming effort.

    * L960: The Dambuster. Flash floods become annual events.

    * L968: Access point system implemented as "... a temporary measure".

    * L1000: Huge rock tears off top of colony tower. Great plate installed to seal off access to the core.

    * L1002: A third, unwanted generation of 40.000 people added by rogue computer processes.

    * L1002: Radical group tries to nip population increase in the bud by flushing floatbeds. They are widely condemned as murderers.

    * L1010: Construction of a second cluster, the Dug-Out, begins.

    * L1020: Extreme storm hits tower, severing contact between clusters and severely damaging the tower computer. Massive loss of life, equipment and knowledge.

    * L1020: NOW - a few months after the storm.



Da Vincians are speed-grown from embryo to fully functional adulthood in the span of two years, in the same floatbed that they will use the rest of their life for nourishment, getting rid of waste, decontamination, and sleeping.

During the growth period the skills, knowledge, and personality of each person are developed and coaxed forth by a complex range of stimuations, sessions, and dream sequences.

Go to first part: Being Speedgrown


Being Speedgrown
Local system time reads 04:12 when yet another cluster in the TAU primary breeding module lights up with a newly generated ID. Autonomous construction units obey, rapidly going through the initial assembly of yet another floatbed.

In hours it will be hauled through service tunnels into the tower core to await embryonic injection. No human decision is involved. To some people, being forced to simply watch the process happen means more lost resources, and yet another human to take care of and make space for.

The floatbeds are constructed and stored deep inside the tower, in the Core. Here life begins. Once the floatbed is in place status lights turn on, sperm meets egg, and a new human starts growing, immersed in highly nourishing liquid. Within months the basic shape of the body is done, organs are in place, and muscles and nerve system start jittering and jerking from electrical stimulations.

Everybody experiences the growth phase slightly differently. For some it consists of a series of images, for some there are only sounds or smells. Some experience complex emotional landscapes instead of visuals. Many recall hearing subtle whispering that went on and on. Some report an eerily pleasant memory of fingers gently touching the folds of their brain.

Some have lucid memories of becoming. Some only retain vague dreamlike images or sensations. Few remember nothing at all.

Read on: Working in the Womb


Working in the Womb
You are floating in pleasant murky light. The voice is back, whispering inside your head. Making images flare in front of your never-opened eyes. Your mouth quirk in pleasure. You like playing.

"If you add the Foyken Constant and divide by X you get the Florian Sequence. The Florian Sequence is vital for the selection of proper enzyme-F modifiers. Picture the numbers floating in front of you. Now, add the constant and see what happens."

The brain receives the most care right from the start since there is so much to learn and know. Education phase starts early, just a few months into the growth process. It is accomplished by direct stimulation of the brain making the developing Da Vincian solve tasks, crack problems, do tests, and go through simulations.

The TAU modules run on parallel tracks feeding the brain with knowledge while simultaneously rushing the fledgling personality forward into a pre-adult state. After a few months a Da Vinican already has a strong sense of self, and after 6 months he or she has passed beyond basic school topics.

The closer to hatching, the steeper the curve. At the time of hatching a colonist will possess the equivalent of several PhDs in various fields, and will have worked in-vitro with solving complex issues from the waking world outside.

Read on: Wrong track


Wrong track
You have come to associate the heavy feeling in your head with sleepiness, that you need to let go for a bit, and just drift. But images flash inside your mind. Storm clouds building. Cyclone front fifteen clicks to the east. Your thumb finds your mouth, a pure reflex, oddly comforting.

"This is Fischer, weather report, planetfall +640. Humidity is up, corealis force is increasing. Nitrogen levels are too high. I don't know why, but they are. And we're experiencing oxygen lag again."

The voices of people ahead of you, working outside to rescue the colony. You must get out there, quickly. You must help solving the issue. But something is wrong, Confusion flickers on the surface of your cortex. Fischer is no longer active. Fischer is dead. Why is he filing reports?

Da Vincians are raised on the wrong data. Every one of them is brought up to believe there are a few hundred people out there, that they will be among the first selected few. This is caused by an older rogue module, the one that hatched the first hundred colonists. Old weather reports, random database extractions, and old training simulations infiltrate and pollute newer and more up to date material.

This results in confusion and disorientation when people are finally released into a vastly different reality. While the terraforming is certainly still off track, the colony is facing a host of other more pressing problems which new colonists are less than prepared for.

Read on: Being You, Being Human


Being You, Being Human
She is sitting across from you again, on the floor. You know girl is a person like you though you are not really sure what girl connects to. Girl is staring at you. She is hostile. You cannot escape. Anger floods your system. It builds, flows into your hands, makes your fists curl up. It is unbearable.

You punch girl in the face, watch her crumble and lie still. Then agony strikes your head. The punch burns between your eyes, making your mouth water with a salty taste. "You are experiencing a ghosted neural image. This is girl's pain. You caused this. This is how she feels when you hit her." The voice is soothing, but shadows of displeasure simmer at its edges. You are terrified.

During all stages of the growing period Da Vincians go through a complex series of emotional experiences designed to build a strong sense of ethics. The purpose is to create well-rounded, socialized, and capable humans, and the founding principle is to teach people to know themselves.

To accept the basic human nature with all its flaws and strengths. To teach them to think beyond themselves, to experience empathy and compassion. To teach them non-violent and non-destructive ways of expressing their needs, urges, fears, emotions, and desires.

When a Da Vincian is released for the first time he or she will know war, violence, aggression, and anger. But also compassion, love, cooperation, and forgiveness – and what comes of both sides of the human spectrum. The process is not viewed as brainwashing, but rather as an attempt to cover all angles. The choice of how to behave lies with the person itself.

During this phase Da Vincians are also made aware of the origins of the colony, where it comes from, that there is a link back to Earth. But the presentation is done with a heavy slant on belonging on Da Vinci. This is designed to create strong ties to the colony and lessen interest in Earth, but also creates resentment and tendencies of isolationism in some.

Read on: Being Born


Being Born
The face is back, a sensation floating in your mind connected to PERSON and CONCERNED. You instinctively query the database but come up empty. Need identifier.

"Hi, I am Vincent. I am a peopleworker. I know your name is Venia, and that you chose it because you liked the Roman civilization entry. TAU tells me you're an IFNJ. So am I. Anyway, when you are released I'll be waiting to meet you. I'm here to help.

It's 6 hours to your release, and, uh, I'm waiting out here. I know TAU ran the pre-release tutorial so you should be, uh, prepared. Your beta wave count makes me think you are anxious still. Don't be. It's, uh, going to be different than you think, but you are not alone."

Reactions to being released from the floatbed for the first time differ. Some are lucky enough to have somebody – perhaps a peopleworker – waiting for them when they come sliding out of the floatbed for the first time. Some find themselves on their own, either because TAU is remarkably inaccurate about release times, or because nobody could find the time.

Everybody has to cope with changes in temperature, coughing up liquids to breathe air for the first time, and having to use their body in a non-fluid environment. For some it is no worse than just waking up slowly. For some it is like stepping through thin glass and suddenly being there, feeling everything as opposed to dreaming about feeling it. Many report feeling cold, weak, lost, and turned upside down for a short period.

The majority also experience a swift transition from order to chaos. Nothing is as crisp and well planned as the training period with TAU. Reality is messy, problematic, difficult, unstructured, and confusing.

TAU does not take into account the current state of the colony when training new people. While people outside can relay messages to those in-growth, consensus is to not mention the discrepancies. There are concerns about what will happen if people in development get conflicting input.

Read on: After


Gordon spends the first 10 minutes of his waking life retching liquid and gasping for breath like a stranded fish. He knows something is wrong from the moment he opens his eyes. People rush past, apparently unconcerned with this momentous and utterly confusing moment in his life.

When he finally finds his way to the recreational area he sits in the grass for hours, staring into space. Slowly realizing that nothing is what he expected. Unable to decide on a course of action. How long Kena has been standing there in front of him, he doesn't know. But she simply smiles, sits down, and just stays there with him until he starts talking.

Weeks later when they are crunching project data together on the ring account, she admits he looked like an easy catch for a new supporter. He feels less hurt than he should. It's a good ring and they take care of him.

After the initial shock of release most Da Vincians tend to find their own niche in the community, and hook up with a ring. They gain friends, tap into the social networks, and quickly learn the value of knowing somebody who knows somebody.

Some latch on to the bigger picture, and get involved with the terraforming and overpopulation issues. Some sink down into daily life and start losing sight of the long-term goals. Some start bending the rules and toying with people around them.

The floatbed stays personal property, the closest thing a Da Vincian comes to having their own quarters. When tired, hungry, seriously hurt, or in need of further speed-training, they return to the floatbed, gulp down the liquid, and fall back into the semi-awake trancelike state they spent their first two years in.

Read on: Issues


Hayle makes people around her worry, though she rarely notices it. There is nothing obviously wrong with her, but something is unsettling about the way she smiles, the way she holds herself, the way she likes to walk close to the rails in the canyon and stare for hours into the murky abyss below without a word.

Everybody agrees Hayle is a top notch engineer, that she is one of those people that buys the colony time by coaxing more months out of aging machinery. But there's something about her...

It is a rarely discussed but commonly accepted fact that not all makings go well. The personality modules are not free of bugs, and the process itself places the human mind and body under great strain.

Glitches and inconsistencies occur, especially in the personality development processes. Isolated pockets of the divided swarm agents have been known to act up, sometimes causing confusion, sometimes creating minor personality flaws.


Life on Da Vinci

What's it like on Da Vinci? What are the thoughts, hopes and daily life like for the colonists? What do they think of Earth, the colony and each other?

Go to first part: The Mission


The mission
Stalked by responsibility

The seed ships were an ambitious project literally thrown into the wind. They might succeed, they might fail, but it was important to send them no matter what, to attempt to spread humanity further than just the Sol system.

Earth hoped the colonies would in time "call home" when they were able to, and that trade and communication might then be established, but the criteria for seed ship success was healthy, thriving, independent colonies scattered all over the near Universe.

The plan called for each ship to settle down on its destination planet, start terraforming and in time create people. Once a colony was well underway and had the resources for it, it should launch a seed ship of its own aimed at the next suitable planet to be found. This would make the spreading easier, though not necessarily quicker.

On Da Vinci, the plan seems to be more off track for each passing day, but the mission still plays a big part in colony life. Mission with capital 'M'. Everybody is there for a very specific reason, and it is hard to forget even when soaked in hot water and relaxing drugs.

The mission is why most colonists work like crazy, why everything seems to be about tools and theorems and discoveries, and why society has not gotten around to stopping for a moment and considering what is going on.

Even before a colonist is "born", they know about the original terraforming plans and how it was meant to be. What role they can play. How it can be done. Their minds are methodically filled with theories, plans, theses and speculations.

But everybody gets the same shock once they are released into the harsh reality of colony life. The malfunctioning swarm AIs are following the wrong curriculum during speed-growth, much to the chagrin of the colony. They are preparing new colonists for a world where things are still on the right track.

People deal with the situation in different ways, but most colonists manage to land on their feet and get cracking. New problems, same goal, slight change of plans.


In between worlds
How to relate to a distant planet Earth.

It can be a difficult thing, knowing you are designed and meant to perform a mission. While many colonists think of Earth as where everything came from, a growing number tend to downplay or even dispute Earth's relevance in the colony's future.

Most of Da Vinci's population do not even think of themselves as "colonists". After all, everybody was born there. Nobody has seen Earth, except in video clips in the databases. It's an abstract concept, a fairy tale, a historic fact.

The cradle of humanity is far away, and your home is right here. Not that it is easy to feel welcome on the increasingly aggressive planet, but it is still your planet, and most people feel they belong there.


Enemy within
What happens when there are too many dreams and ambitions.

The designers back on Earth programmed TAU to seed the colonists with an urge to perform well, to stand out, and to break the limits. That ambition plays a part in many colony feats and tragedies.

Most colonists want to crack the problems. Get the mission well underway. Get things up and running. Get over that top, and preferably in their own lifetime. But the road keeps getting longer, and problems stack.

It sometimes seems easier to get a bit of glory and luxury right now. There are also those who have grown tired of the constant pressure or stopped caring.

Many colonists hunger after being in the one project group that pushed terraforming back on track, that got society back on track, or that made stuff work. Many want to carve out a niche for themselves, be somebody special, or be the one people seek out for help.

Ambition often gets in the way of co-operation and communication, and it is hard to stand out in a crowd of people just as skilled, ambitious and trained as you. Unless you turn to less savoury means.


Chronic strain
What to do when ressources are limited.

The colony runs on projects, and projects are fuelled by resources and access to the right machines. But the aging colony can in no way keep up with the demand for more, and new machinery is hard to build when the existing ones suck up spare parts and components like a dry sponge.

Every system has been running for way too long, and every machine has bugs, glitches, issues and breakdowns. Every project is forced to fight the other projects for everything it needs, and while competition can be a wonderful driving force, it can also cost dearly.

Those who are used to getting things done know that it takes skill, smarts and a good helping of elbows to do it. You want that crate of graded magnets; you better know who has it. You want access to that 3-D printer in time; you better know how to get at the front of the queue. You want those samples; you better make sure nobody else gets to your source first and contaminates it.


Thinking on your feet
How to act in a disaster-tormented environment.

The colony is sandwiched between the hostile weather outside, and the silent, often invisible siege of microbes going on inside. Everybody knows it can be crucial to do the right thing when the alarms go off or somebody starts coughing up blood.

Once you have a problem on your hands, you better have the right solution or know how to improvise it. Many colonists tend to think in right-now-mode, to focus on things that can get solved quickly in order to clear the swollen queue of crises waiting to happen.

Jury-rigging become long term solutions, which add to the plethora of bugs, accidents and breakdowns plaguing every colony system.


A run-away power tool.

The heart and mind of the colony is TAU (Terraforming Administration Utility), the immense cluster of non-sentient swarm intelligences that brought the seed ship to Da Vinci, founded the colony and booted up the terraforming process.

Bits and pieces of TAU are everywhere in the colony - in walls, machines, monitors, appliances, tools. The swarm AIs are absolutely vital to the colony. They manage all life-critical systems, the tower web and databases, and also grow and train new humans. TAU also handles many maintenance tasks, and controls the chimbots used for repairs and lugging stuff about.

Despite its usefulness, TAU poses a serious problem for the colony. It is aging and buggy, and suffered serious and hard to fix damages when the tower top broke off. It cannot readily be rebooted or taken offline. So the incredibly complex machine that handles your floatbed, regulates air flows, manages critical warning systems, creates human life and safeguards all knowledge is not working properly, and nobody can isolate or fix the flaw or flaws. Most colonists are used to living with and using a power tool that might kill them.


Allround specialists
Who does what to keep disaster at bay.

There are no traditional professions like technicians, scientists or workers in colony society. This might seem confusing, but compared to modern day people the colonists are fit for almost any task.

Every cell, every process in their body is configured to perform optimally. They have access to extremely sophisticated technology and learning facilities. They are all "born" with the equivalent of several university degrees and that is just to start out on.

Everybody can pretty much do what they want, given that they put down the time and effort. You want to know the details of fusion power, you go learn it. You want to know about nano-level brain surgery next, you go learn it.

However, not everybody does everything. Lack of time is often the factor in who does what, rather than lack of ability. People tend to specialize in something they like to do, like handling large-scale structural collapses, or tracking down virulent viruses, or acting as go-betweens when tempers flare, or researching blueprints for better sub-specified fiber optics.

You can get a formal certification in some areas, so people quickly can find an expert if needed. But everybody still has the basic package - how to do simple maintenance, first-aid, how to take a sample, how to recognize an accident waiting to happen.

A society divided between workers and thinkers wouldn't stand a chance on Da Vinci.


Every man is king
Who controls the society.

The colony has a fairly flat hierarchy with a very interchangeable top. The administrators rule all production and much of the trade flows, but a determined group stand a good chance of tipping the scales and taking over.

Real power is found in nepotism, in networks, in who knows who, and who can do what. There are no central bodies, no focused meetings, no formal ways of doing things. But a whole lot of unwritten rules, local habits and dangerous undercurrents in public opinion to navigate.

The anarchistic and sometimes chaotic democracy also means there are no authorities to automatically take care of things. While TAU builds and maintains critical life-support systems, almost everything else is up to people.

Colonists are used to taking personal initiative and doing things themselves. If nobody cares, things will not get done. Talking about it will not fix it. If you see something you do not like, get some support and change it. If you get sick, find somebody who can assist you in finding a cure. If you want better equipment, make it or find somebody who can help you. If the outer hull shielding in your cluster is cracking up, you better take action before an accident occurs.


Crime & law
When civilians are in charge of law enforcement.

Even in a society with no authorities and much personal freedom, there are limits and those who break them. Crime on Da Vinci often manifests itself as carelessness, cynicism and too much ambition, though the occasional violence or murder happens.

When you want a project to succeed, you might go easy on how you test things - or on who or what. If you really need those hardpoints to get your stuff in production, sabotage or blackmail may be the fastest way to remove your opponent.

Since there is no police, spotting and dealing with a crime is everybody's responsibility. Everything is solved through the claim system, where an anonymous group of randomly chosen jurors decide whether or not a given accusation might stick. Typical punishments focus more on stopping, repairing or preventing damages than actual revenge.


Village life
How to live in a world where everybody knows everybody.

Living in the tower can be like living in a very small village, made small by augmented reality and computer eyes. Even though the tower stretches 3 kilometres towards the sky, you can never really get away from people.

There is no terra incognita, no next town to skip to if things get too hot. If you mess up, you have to live with it.

Being hooked up to databases all the time also means nobody is truly a stranger. Even though you may never meet most of the 240.000 people you share your recycled air with, you can always look them up in the database. If a complete stranger stops you for a favour, you can always find him or her again on the net.

That means networking comes naturally to most colonists. It always pays to do somebody a favour - after all, you might need one later and it's not like they are leaving town.


Downtime & recreation
How to relax in a stressful environment.

Your typical colonist works like there is no tomorrow, but every now and then it's time to relax and dump some stress. Spending some time in the local garden, enjoying a prolonged stay in ones floatbed or doing a quick skin patch of soothing drugs are all popular choices.

But the steam bath is where most people go. Imagine soaking in nice, hot water while drug-laced steam lifts you up and keeps even the worst day at a wonderful distance.

Drugs play a growing - some say too large - part in colony recreation. But when you are strapped for time, it's a convenient choice.

Nature in the Jar
How to sustain human life under inhabitable conditions.

While the colony is still underway, nature has been suspended in many ways. The colony can choose to restore some or all of this, presumably when there is room and opportunity for it. However, that day seems farther and farther away, and some have begun arguing for reversals sooner.

The suspensions mean that colonists neither drink, nor eat, nor sleep as modern day people do. When toxic levels in the body attain annoying or problematic levels or when nutrition is needed, a colonist will return to their floatbed for a physical and mental recharge. There is no coordinated sleep cycles, giving the tower a feel of restless activity at all times of the day.

The colony has no children and no families as we know them. The ability to procreate has been put to sleep, along with the digestive systems. New colonists are speed-grown and speed-taught in floatbeds, which comes sliding out to deposit a young adult with impressive skills and knowledge in the world after just 2 years. As for family life most colonists feel the need of a basic social unit and join a ring. Rings are good for support, sharing mindsets and feeling less disconnected in a huge, milling society.

There are no old people either. Most colonists appear stuck somewhere between 18 and 45. This is due to the floatbed treatments, which keep aging damages in check. Humans have only been alive and awake on Da Vinci for 120 years, and virulent diseases or accidents are still the main cause of death.

The population is still split into men and women and cover many different shapes, sizes and skin colours. While more extreme physical changes or adaptations were discussed, the designers back on Earth strongly wanted to keep human diversity and appearance. A minority of colonists challenge this decision and want to investigate more fundamental changes to the human genome, in order to better fit Da Vinci.

((Not directly background story but never the less it was on the same page as the other background story))


Naming guide

Get inspiration for choosing a name for your character that fits the Seed theme. Read the dos and don'ts. A formalized naming policy will follow at a later point.

Go to first part: Getting a Name In-game

Getting a name in-game
Inspiration for choosing a name for your character that fits the Seed theme.

The function of a Seed name balances somewhere between a handle and a unique designator in the colony. It says something about who you are, but not where you belong. In the Da Vincian society, you have to make choices all the time. Who am I? What am I doing? How do I want the others to view me? Your name is no different.

Most of the psychological training of a Da Vincian to-be is done by simulation and feedback sessions, albeit at rapid speeds. At some point during the two year growth phase, TAU loads a special session. The purpose is to get the to-be Da Vincian to choose a name for him or herself.

Not just a name, but also an identity, an understanding of self. Who are you? Why are you here? Who will you be? How this session plays out we want to leave open to players as part of character backstory, but from this point on the person has a name as well as an ID in the tower databases.

When you pop out of the floatbed for the first time, you have your chosen name and hopefully a working understanding of yourself.

Read on: Choosing a name off-game


Choosing a name off-game
Inspiration for choosing a name for your character that fits the Seed theme.

Choose something that does not contain contemporary references, i.e. "JudasPriest", "Bush", "Machinehead", "Quake", "Rammstein". The reason is that while it can always be argued that such a name could be in use on Da Vinci, it is very immersion breaking.

Choose traditional human names, as opposed to objects, bands, religions, pop culture phenomena, animals and so on. Our premise being that Earth wanted to pass on the full heritage of human names to future colonies. Examples: Linne, Yannic, Esmeé, Loukas, Morton, Javier, Jorge, Nicolas.

Choosing multi-cultural names is highly encouraged. The premise being that Da Vinci is a super concentrated conglomerate of all Earth cultures. You will be as likely to run into an "Ashebah" or "Kualaaf" as a "Mark" or "Elisa" in the corridors of the colony.

Short names - 2 or 3 syllables - are somewhat in vogue in the colony. Perhaps because they are easy to remember, perhaps because they look or sound nice. Examples: Prym, Seema, Surina, Nuru, Ciro, Aylen, Nor.

Avoid surnames. Traditional surnames and their connotations fit badly with the backstory. Terran designers wanted to avoid genetic bonds for the first batches of humans, intending for family ties to come later when society was up and running. Unfortunately the colony is now stuck in the twilight zone in-between.

The sanity check: Ask yourself if a Da Vincian would use this name. Something during the in-game naming session prompted your character to pick this name among a multitude of others. Why? What made it appeal to him or her? What does it mean for him or her? How would it appear to the other Da Vincians? Does it feel realistic?

Read on: Helpful places & naming policy


Helpful Places & Naming Policy
Inspiration for choosing a name for your character that fits the Seed theme.

Helpful places

Your name is entered in free text during character creation. If you need inspiration, the Internet is a very good place to go looking for lists of names. (and other baby namer sites)

How about a naming policy

As mentioned, we do not have one formalized yet. However, we do have some basic rules in place:

1. Names must be one word. The game currently does not support multiple word names.

2. Some names will be immersion-breaking and thus unacceptable. E.g. "JediHaxx0r" or "skyWalker44_2".

3. Names will be eyeballed, since no automatic namechecker can ferret out unacceptable names, while still retaining player freedom. Name checkers can be volunteers from the community.