Sep 15, 2012


Kach and the view from Demon Lodge (click for full size).
... in Chapter One of Exode....
The planet Hemmal has a long history of human habitation, but an even longer existence prior to the arrival of humans. Before humans were first brought to the planet, it was almost entirely a world of water and aquatic life. Located in a crowded part of the galactic core, Hemmal has periodically been irradiated by supernovae, disrupting the evolution of complex land animals.

Regardless of the supernovae, Hemmal has deep oceans and most of its continents are submerged: only the highest mountain ranges were above sea level when the pek arrived. A thousand space elevators were installed and they began the process of lifting water from the ocean into orbit. Swarms of nanorobotic devices penetrated the crust of Hemmal and sped up the planet's rate of tectonic flow and orogenesis, creating additional land and some dramatic mountain ranges, including Pelis Kel, where the planet's Buld population resides.

Parthney, Kach and Bakeko (rendered by DAZ Studio).
Artificial lifeforms, the pek, worked to terraform Hemmal for about six million years before the first arrival of humans on the planet. As mentioned previously, the original human inhabitants are known to the Buld as "Prelands" and my need to create a distinctive near-alien appearance for the Prelands was my main motivation for experimenting with Daz Studio 4.5.

Humans are the only form of life that has been introduced to Hemmal from Earth. However, those regions of Hemmal where humans live have been decorated with artificial lifeforms that resemble plants from Earth.

The Buld Clan originated as the group that serves as crew on a fleet of spaceships, most of which travel between the human-populated planets near the core of our galaxy. These spaceships cannot move at speeds above that of light, so trips between stars takes many years. The Buld were provided with artificial life pets that can take the form of small dogs, cats and other mammals. The non-biological pets are very clean and do not actually have hair, although they do have simulated whiskers.

The Buld who now live on Hemmal originated from the crew of a spaceship, and they brought their pets to Hemmal. At the start of Exode, Parthney and his cat, Bakeko, have been living at Demon Lodge for almost a year. Kach arrives at the Lodge for a visit, having heard that there is a strange experimental musician in residence. Kach is amazed to discover that Parthney is "false"; biologically a human male. The Buld are hermaphroditic, but they occasionally mutate and a child will revert to a human phenotype that is essentially identical to the humans of Earth.

Kach has been hiding the fact that she is false and is biologically female. Phenotypically Kach is not easy to distinguish from a typical Buld hermaphrodite. As a male, Parthney is obviously false and has never tried to conceal his biological nature. Kach and Parthney lack the special chromosome that makes the "true" Buld hermaphroditic and good hosts for nanites. Normally two Buld brains have a type of unconscious social recognition and resonance provided by communicating nanites in their brains (high density nanite regions shown in yellow, image to the right).

Upon meeting, Kach and Parthney feel a connection with each other due to the similar, if low density, distribution of nanites in their brains. Of course, Kach has never seen a human male before. Due to circumstances beyond his control, Parthney is soon on his way to Earth and he does not see Kach again for 15 years.

I tried using the animation feature of Daz Studio 4.5. If anything, the situation for documenting the Daz Studio software has gotten worse over the past 5 years...for the earlier version of DAZ that I used previously there was a partial reference manual....with DAZ 4 if you are lucky you can find an old tutorial on a topic for some previous version of the software (usually for Windows with features that are different than what is in the Mac version). I have a real talent for crashing Daz with my animations, something that has not changed from 5 years ago. I made about 6 seconds of animation; most of it I just recorded in the animation preview mode. Look carefully at the video (below) and you can see one second (30 frames) of rendered animation that took my poor Macintosh 26 hours to render. I used the "built in" walking animation, which apparently is just a temporary tease feature in the "free" version and actually costs $60.00.

Exode is under construction; collaborating authors are welcome.
Note: I later decided that sophisticated teleportation technology is available to the pek, making it much easier to remove "excess" water from Hemmal and expose the planet's continents.

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