Mass Effect 2: Ansiblenet

In Mass Effect 2 your character takes command of a brand spanking new spaceship, which has many new interesting upgrades. Those upgrades include double the amount of elevator rides you have to make between missions. The old Normandy only had two levels and you only had to use the elevator twice between missions. Once to get from the CIC to the lower floor to talk to Tali, Wrex, Garrus and Ashley. Then again to get back to the CIC. The new ship has 4 levels and your team members are scattered throughout them. Each elevator ride is punctuated with a lengthy loading screen. The funniest thing is that when combined, all these 4 floors are still smaller than most of regular Mass Effect 2 levels. So I’m really not sure why each needs a loading screen. Clearly it is due to some advanced upgrades in the elevator system.

Another interesting upgrade is the quantum entanglement communicator in the conference room. It is essentially a high bandwidth Ansible that allows for instantaneous point-to-point communication with Cerberus command from any point in the galaxy. It transmits life size holographic image and audio stream which is actually quite impressive. In most universes Ansibles are kinda crappy. In Le Guin’s Ekumen universe they can only send/receive text. The device installed on Normady is much, much more powerful.

In fact, existence of such device in the universe makes one wonder why most civilizations build their communication network Mass Relays instead of these awesome Ansibles. In fact, you can even ask the ship AI about it. This conversation pretty much goes like this:

Click to embiggen.

EDI basically hand waves this away (which is actually pretty impressive seeing how it has no hands) and gives you some bullshit about point-to-point communication. It is quite obvious that no one at BioWare reads this blog. If they did, they would know that I already came up with a clever idea for galaxy wide internet based around Ansibles. In case you are to lazy to read that article let me re-iterate it here:

  1. Establish point to point Ansible connections to bunch of your neighbors
  2. Plug all this Ansibles into a router
  3. Connect the router to the planetary internet
  4. Set it up to route outbound off-world requests to appropriate Ansibles
  5. If you get an inbound packet that should go to a different world route it out using an appropriate ansible

It would take some coordination, but if everyone would do this, Mass Effect universe would have instantaneous packet switched internet that covers the whole galaxy. The best part is that all you really need to do this, is good old 20th century TCP/IP networking. And yes, they would probably still be using IPv4. Isn’t it funny that all modern OS’s and modern hardware support IPv6 but no one actually uses it for anything?

So yeah… BioWare – read my post, and please take it into consideration when making Mass Effect 3. I’m expecting a galaxy wide internet, or a good explanation why it is not there. The fact that your Ansibles are point-to-point doesn’t mean shit.

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4 Responses to Mass Effect 2: Ansiblenet

  1. Matt` UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Cables are pretty well strictly point-to-point, hasn’t held them back.

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  2. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Linux Terminalist says:

    @ Matt`:

    My point exactly. :)

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  3. Zel FRANCE Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    I was under the impression that these Ansibles were very expensive per bit. It doesn’t say how frequently the dual particle can change states though. I’ll assume it’s quite slow, because otherwise even a 1 bit link can transmit huge amount of data.

    It would have made more sense with text data or very long transmission times. The hologram thing doesn’t fit with the explanation, but it’s more dramatic than just reading a letter.

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  4. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Even if these are extraordinarily expensive, the fact is that you only need few or few dozen per each world. I think that the instant interstellar communication would justify the cost.

    Zel wrote:

    The hologram thing doesn’t fit with the explanation, but it’s more dramatic than just reading a letter.

    Yes, it is. I’m pretty sure they wanted a holo-chamber for conversations with TIM and someone grafted on the quantum entanglement justification later. They might have just as easily not explain this and instead say it’s conventional communication and simply say that Normandy routinely checks with TIM whenever in range of a Mass Relay and sometimes he wants to talk to Sheppard in person or something.

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