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 Q&A Request of Mateusz Skutnik 5-1-2018 
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Sundex wrote:
Any maximum amount that you want to specify apart from an overexaggerated 500?

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07 Jan 2018 04:09
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Ko9 wrote:
24. Is Littel Tornato right in his calculations
on how big the root is.


If I can amend this, I think I'm wrong.
When Apoc and I did the counting we stuck to conservative estimates,
But If you make one or two assumptions then that number goes up to about 26,068(Little less than that).
(I can explain the math later).

On that note: are any of the 6 plates from 552 also in 553?

Also Ko9, you got my name wrong :)
Thanks to Ant for fixing that

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07 Jan 2018 12:21
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The questions are looking good so far!

Mateusz has asked us to assign levels of importance to the questions, we should do this before the list gets too long. I also think we should arrange them by topic to make the list a bit easier to parse. I can do both things if you guys agree, later when I arrive home.


07 Jan 2018 16:44
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I am fine with that!

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07 Jan 2018 16:55
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07 Jan 2018 17:53
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Okay, here is the list. As I said, I classified the questions in sections according to their theme, starting from Anteroinen's corrections to Ko9's list. I also made small corrections or clarifications to some questions (except the last one, I don't know what it is referring to either). I think the question about LittleTornado's calculations could be reformulated into a more direct question about the size of the Root, or deleted altogether, what do you guys think?

The level of importance is a more contentious issue. I tried to assign higher importance to the questions that could solve a potential plot inconsistency or clarify an important aspect in the games, and lower importance to yes/no questions or dead-ends that don't help us solve anything beyond the question itself. But if you consider that my assignment to any question is wrong please tell me and I'll gladly correct it.

Finally I also fixed the numbering, the order is mostly arbitrary though I tried to put questions about the same game closer together.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Legend:
*** -> very important
** -> somewhat important
* -> not very important

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

LOCATIONS

* 1. Is location 672 an example of a Submachine in construction?

* 2. Does the Submachine have an outer shell, like in the movie Cube, or is it infinite? If yes, what is it?

* 3. Does the Submachine copy structures built by aliens?

*** 4. Where is the Edge located exactly? Is it a wall between the Core and the Outer Rim, or is it surrounding the Outer Rim? Or both things are true, and we travel to the outer part to disable the inner part's defenses? How does one explain the human infestation map in Submachine 6?

*** 5. What does the Defense System actually do and what is it protecting? Who are the turrets for and where are they pointed? Does it govern the subbots? Does it protect the Core or is it at the outer edge of the outer rim? Are the defenses in or out?

*** 6. If the Lighthouse is a part of the Core and the Root is a part of the Outer Rim, how can they be connected physically (as seen in Submachine 5)?

** 7. What is the true layout of the Lighthouse? Is the painting shown in Submachine 1 correct? If so, why can't we see the entrance nor the third floor window in Submachine 2?

* 8. What is to the right of the hatch in the Submachine 2 basement (blue-tiled rooms)?

* 9. Is LittleTornado right in his calculations on how big the Root is? That is to say, does the Root comprise of approximately 1413 rooms within 157 distinct transporter locations, which are a small part of 11,818 rooms of transporter locations?

* 10. What is the significance of the statue seen in 314 and why is it so similar to the one in 452?

** 11. Why do all the layers have a black void in the background while in Submachine 8 we see different sky backgrounds?

** 12. Is the starry background in Submachine 8's layer 2 fake, or is Submachine really so big that it can host whole stars inside it?

* 13. Are there locations in the subnet that nobody can visit, see, or ever know about? As in, it is impossible to visit them. If so, roughly what percentage? Or are there just too many/infinite?

** 14. Do the structures seen at the ending of Submachine Universe imply that the player didn't exit the Subnet from any of them because they weren't their home layer?

** 15. Where is the Kent we keep hearing about? England, Connecticut or some place original to the Submachine canon?


TIMELINE

** 16. At which date does the first game take place?

*** 17. When was the Lab created and for what purpose? Was it a part of the attempt to understand the collapse and rapid expansion? If not, what was it for and who controlled it?

** 18. What happened exactly in the period between Submachine 4 and 5? The player woke up in a bed at the start of Sub5, with food and coffee, and there are no signs of them having been teleported recently; how did they get there?

*** 19. What is the purpose of the Root in the Submachine storyline? What was it used for and who by and for how long? Why was there an observation room; is the place still used? In short: what is special about the Root, outside of it being the first man-made Submachine?

*** 20. What were the seven-layer bullets used for and when? Was there a war between followers of Murtaugh and those who opposed him? Did people try to kill Murtaugh later? How did this affect Murtaugh? How did this affect the Subnet?

** 21. What is the rough timeline of the "Sub-Eras" and the "Dynasties"? When did the singularity happen?

* 22. Was Murtaugh's karma portal technology inspired by the beamer technology in Submachine 8?

*** 23. Is the plot for Submachine 9:
a: Mur and Liz travel into the past and are revered, but soon die and are buried in a proper format.
b: Mur and Liz go through time normally and, therefore, die normally.

*** 24. What are the specific moments during the series that the player travels in time, and roughly how many years/decades/etc. do they go forwards/backwards?


LAYERS

** 25. Are layers and sublayers actually arranged in a continuum similar to the number line, as the note from Submachine 10 suggests? That is, is there a sublayer 1.5 between layer 1 and layer 2, a sublayer 1.25 between layer 1 and sublayer 1.5, and so on?

** 26. If so, what is there after layer 7? Does the structure wrap back to layer 1, like the numbers in a clock or like in a Submachine loop? Or there is simply nothing past it?

* 27. What distinguishes the seven main layers from all other sublayers?

** 28. In layer 8, if all atoms are "frozen in time", why can the player move?

*** 29. What are the specific moments during the series that the player changes layer, and which layer do they end up each time?


KARMA

** 30. What is the difference between green, white and blue karmic energy?

** 31. Is the colour of a karma portal significant in some way? How about the size (as seen in Submachine 7)?


CHARACTERS

*** 32. What is the purpose of the player's journey? Could you explain the player's journey in your own words and how long it took? Are we a student going through a museum ride or what? How long after the events described in the notes is player actually situated in? Months? Years? Centuries? Millennia?

* 33. What is Elizabeth's ethnicity?

** 34. In Submachine 10 we see a lot of skulls, but no skeletons? Where did the skeletons go and where did the researcher get so many skulls in the first place?

*** 35. Who were the unidentified people who left the notes in Submachines 9 and 10, and how were they produced? Why are they written as dialogue, if they are notes? What is the speakers' and the notes' significance to the story?


MISCELLANEOUS

*** 36. Does the Subnet have its own religion, which in turn is a combination of all cultures?

??? 37. Who dug the hole in the Submachine ground floor/green padded area?


07 Jan 2018 21:52
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Questions 2, 4, 5, 6, and 7 are all part of a larger general question about the Subnet's structure. We should add somewhere how the Desert factors into all this, considering the notion of "escaping" most likely means "outside the subnet" which means that the Lighthouse is by the outer edge, and an outer edge exists. It's extremely clear how inconsistent Mat was in planning everything out spatially. And if the reasoning isn't spatial, we should know exactly how it all works.

11 and 12 should be combined, as the focus is really just on what makes Sub8L2 different.

Not sure why 20 is marked as ***.

25 should be ***, and should be combined/reworded with 26 and 27. The basic question is to ask Mat how the layers are arranged and how sublayers are involved, of course.

I wouldn't mind seeing 30 and 31 bumped up one either.

Also, add Sub8 to 35

---

Ok, so my questions, which I'll leave up to you guys to figure out importances:

- Why does the Subnet exist at all? Where did it first come from and what made the first location be created/absorbed? Where is it? Is it inside a universe or its own universe? If the first Subnet location wasn't necessarily built by humans then what's responsible for starting everything? What was the intended purpose of just having a bunch of places in empty space somehow controlled by a computer? Who made up the plan and were the layers involved created by someone/something in particular? If so, how? If not, does that mean it's just something that was "discovered" that's tied to this fictional universe that we just have to accept?

- What significance does the AI from the note in Sub8 have on anything we see in the Subnet? Is the AI in question SHIVA? Is the AI responsible for first creating the Subnet? What is the answer to "Why are we" and is there a demonstration of this answer anywhere?

- How exactly does one decide where to transport to find a new KP or XYZ location? So many of the XYZ locations are completely closed structures, so does that mean that the portals were already inside? But then how were explorers able to access them if they weren't previously reverse-engineered? And how does Mur find new locations to turn into KP locations? Does he just point his arm off in space until a little chime plays so he knows he hit solid material?

- (Adding on to 25) how do karma portals interact with the layer "dimension" (assuming that the layer dimension is accurately explained in the first place)? What does it mean to have "interdimensional karma flow"?

- Differentiation between in-game mentions of layers vs. dimensions would also be appreciated, as many as possible

Questions that I think we shouldn't bother with:

8 - This is trivial compared to other things we're dealing with. It doesn't help us at all and I want to kick this one out in the case that Mat decides to only choose a certain number of questions to answer and he decides to just pick this one to escape hard thinking

9 - Mat's never going to say whether or not an estimate like this is correct. He could easily say no and just bewilder us more. Not worth it.

13 - He can just say yes and be done with it. And percentages aren't useful to anyone here.

22 - I don't understand why this is here.

23 - Definitely shouldn't be ***. I was under the impression that Mur and Liz resolved their differences, then they lived the rest of their lives trying to fix things by using a combination of karma and time travel, which is why they were revered and built in a temple.

24 - Also shouldn't be *** since it's obvious one of them happens between 9 and 10, and I don't see reason to believe it happens significantly anywhere else (argue that all you want)

33 - Pointless unless you expand the question to asking where ALL of the characters are from.

36 - I don't see why the Subnet would "possess" a religion.

37 - probably a * if that, and I believe he's referring to the hole between the lighthouse dungeon and the lighthouse basement and mistook the teal tiles for green padding.

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07 Jan 2018 22:54
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Apocrypha wrote:
Questions 2, 4, 5, 6, and 7 are all part of a larger general question about the Subnet's structure. We should add somewhere how the Desert factors into all this, considering the notion of "escaping" most likely means "outside the subnet" which means that the Lighthouse is by the outer edge, and an outer edge exists. It's extremely clear how inconsistent Mat was in planning everything out spatially. And if the reasoning isn't spatial, we should know exactly how it all works.


Yeah, I agree, we definitely need a question about the desert. Something like:

"At the ends of Submachine 10 and Submachine Universe, the Player ends up in a desert. What is the significance of this place for people like Murtaugh and Elizabeth, and where is it located with respect to the rest of the Submachine? Is it a foreign planet, as it appears, or is this an alternate Earth?"

Apocrypha wrote:
Not sure why 20 is marked as ***.


I am going to defend my question a bit here: you can't just write in the implication that seven-layer bullets were developed to shoot at people like Murtaugh and Elizabeth and then leave it at that. Okay, maybe ** is okay, but it is definitely not a trivial point!

Apocrypha wrote:
Why does the Subnet exist at all? Where did it first come from and what made the first location be created/absorbed? Where is it? Is it inside a universe or its own universe? If the first Subnet location wasn't necessarily built by humans then what's responsible for starting everything? What was the intended purpose of just having a bunch of places in empty space somehow controlled by a computer? Who made up the plan and were the layers involved created by someone/something in particular? If so, how? If not, does that mean it's just something that was "discovered" that's tied to this fictional universe that we just have to accept?


I think this one is definitely a good question, I think either ** or ***. There's parts like (to paraphrase) "what made Submachine start" which I think are really important (***), but I kind of suspect the origins of layers might definitely be just a part of the universe, so ** seems more appropriate. Then again, the talk about layer 3 being a copy is suspicious...

Maybe we could consider separating this into two questions, because there's a lot here and I am not sure how concretely layers as a concepts are a part of submachine as a concept, if you catch my drift?

Apocrypha wrote:
What significance does the AI from the note in Sub8 have on anything we see in the Subnet? Is the AI in question SHIVA? Is the AI responsible for first creating the Subnet? What is the answer to "Why are we" and is there a demonstration of this answer anywhere?


I think we could add "and does SHIVA or some other AI actually control all of the Subnet or just some parts of it? Is this a part of Submachines or has SHIVA just taken over?" Or can't I just remember that being established? Either way, I think this is a ***, but I think the question about "Why are we?" deserves it's own question, maybe **.

Apocrypha wrote:
How exactly does one decide where to transport to find a new KP or XYZ location? So many of the XYZ locations are completely closed structures, so does that mean that the portals were already inside? But then how were explorers able to access them if they weren't previously reverse-engineered? And how does Mur find new locations to turn into KP locations? Does he just point his arm off in space until a little chime plays so he knows he hit solid material?


I think this is definitely a *** since it really is a question most of us have thought about at one point or another.

Apocrypha wrote:
(Adding on to 25) how do karma portals interact with the layer "dimension" (assuming that the layer dimension is accurately explained in the first place)? What does it mean to have "interdimensional karma flow"?


I think this deserves to stand on its own, especially if the questions about the layers are combined a bit. It kind of is its own topic. This is ** I think.

Apocrypha wrote:
Differentiation between in-game mentions of layers vs. dimensions would also be appreciated, as many as possible


I thought layer = dimension was fairly well established by earlier posts by Mateusz? If we're referring to "five-dimensional" then we probably should mention it somehow. Or maybe rephrase the question to:

"Are there instances in the games where layer and dimension are not used synonymously? Consider, for example "[t]he Submachine is now living in five dimensions" in Submachine 10, [add other specific examples]"

I think this is *, but could go to ** depending on the other examples.

Apocrypha wrote:
8 - This is trivial compared to other things we're dealing with. It doesn't help us at all and I want to kick this one out in the case that Mat decides to only choose a certain number of questions to answer and he decides to just pick this one to escape hard thinking


Yeah, I agree, this one is not important.

Apocrypha wrote:
9 - Mat's never going to say whether or not an estimate like this is correct. He could easily say no and just bewilder us more. Not worth it.


Fair enough, I have to agree with you here.

Apocrypha wrote:
13 - He can just say yes and be done with it. And percentages aren't useful to anyone here.


I think this might be rephrased to: "Are there locations in the Subnet that even Murtaugh with his karma arm cannot visit? If so, why? Are they specific locations, or do they form a group due to some property?"

Still, it is kind of *

Apocrypha wrote:
22 - I don't understand why this is here.


I think this is based on my interpretation of one of Ko9's original questions which was particularly poorly worded. It is kind of random, and I don't have attachment to this. We have no reason to think this is true at all, after all.

Apocrypha wrote:
23 - Definitely shouldn't be ***. I was under the impression that Mur and Liz resolved their differences, then they lived the rest of their lives trying to fix things by using a combination of karma and time travel, which is why they were revered and built in a temple.

24 - Also shouldn't be *** since it's obvious one of them happens between 9 and 10, and I don't see reason to believe it happens significantly anywhere else (argue that all you want)


I agree, though my impression is that the player never really time traveled himself, that seems to be Murtaugh and Elizabeth's thing.

Apocrypha wrote:
33 - Pointless unless you expand the question to asking where ALL of the characters are from.


Yeah, though I am curious myself a bit. We can cut it for space if we need to, but having some connection to where some of the characters are from would be nice.

Apocrypha wrote:
36 - I don't see why the Subnet would "possess" a religion.

37 - probably a * if that, and I believe he's referring to the hole between the lighthouse dungeon and the lighthouse basement and mistook the teal tiles for green padding.


Yeah, I have no idea about 37 myself and don't really see it being more than a *. 36 is kind of weird too, since people have religions, not regions themselves.

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Also, I have been thinking, should we consider as a *-question: "Does Einstein actually have powers, or was that just an illusion caused by Murtaugh's uncontrolled use of karma in the lighthouse?"

I mean, he's included in the ending shot of the game, right? He's even still alive after all this time, so maybe there is something to it.

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08 Jan 2018 00:31
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Apocrypha wrote:
24 - Also shouldn't be *** since it's obvious one of them happens between 9 and 10, and I don't see reason to believe it happens significantly anywhere else (argue that all you want)


Okay, I'll argue XD

There are very old known inconsistencies with the dates shown in Sub2 and Sub7's notes that can pretty much only be solved with time travel or other forms of "playing" with time. Mateusz has already explicitly alluded to it, see for example forum post December 18th, 2010 - 4

mateuszSkutnik wrote:

1. time period could be different in different dimensions;
2.time could run differently in different dimensions (like in Inception;

3. he also could have been transported in time (remember ending of sub2? it says: did I travel too far, or too early). too early could mean that the lighthouse teleports not only to the outer rim but also 32 years into the past. After 32 years of searching murtaugh is finally ready to return to the core. And in the core it's one day before einstein disappears.

there are 3 explanations for you. no need to panic.

question is: did WE also travel 32 years back to the past when we entered the lighthouse portal?...


in response to this

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and even the reference in the opening of Submachine 9. A good explanation of where and when the player travels in time would solve this and similar issues once and for all. Moreover, an answer to this question would allow us to completely reconstruct the internal timeline of the series (and possibly the external timeline together with question 16). Perhaps I should have worded that question differently (or split it into several ones dealing with these date mismatches), but it's a quite important question for me.

About the rest of your comments, I mostly agree. I'll make the changes tomorrow, now I gotta go to sleep.

EDIT: also, I just had an idea. I'm a bit afraid that the answers to the list will raise even more questions. One option to avoid that could be to have a live discussion with Mateusz (for example in a livestream) to help clarify the remaining details after we get the answers.


08 Jan 2018 01:00
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The livestream sounds like a pretty good idea on the surface, but would be difficult to parse for clues afterwards, unless someone transcribes it. In addition, it would probably be beneficial for Mateusz to have time to look up and think about phrases and words and think about the questions first, since while his English is definitely good and serviceable, he is not 100% fluent.

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08 Jan 2018 16:24
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