Anybody have any thoughts on the purpose of the steam machines--is there an evil purpose or is it just Arcadian conspicuous consumption?
I just assumed they were a sign of problems with the balance (regardless of what the guardian says). Stark is the world of science, Arcadia is the world of magic. The Azadi are bringing some degree of science to Arcadia, it seems to suggest something is wrong with the balance, that Stark is bleeding over (which also would explain why Arcadia gets all the visitors and Stark seemingly gets none).
However now that i am thinking about it, in the underground area that Zoe first pops in when she arrives in arcadia, we see more of those steam machines. I believe it is April that says something about how they might be from some kind of original inhabitants. Perhaps some remnants of the united world? It would make sense that if the world of magic and the world of science were united, devices would use a bit of both, and those steam devices do require magic to work. It could easily be the prophet introducing these devices to the Azadi as part of some plan involving the original inhabitants. After all, we do see him head to that underground place and he does seem to have a commanding role over those creatures down there.
Funny you mention this. The question I asked myself: can "magical steam" be the conductor for whatever constitutes the flux of dreams in Arcadia, and such be used to trap it or direct it to the tower or some other beacon? Could those machines be the equivalent of the dream pods introduced to Stark? Dreamfall doesn't really support this theory, but I was surprised when the tower was shown surrounded by all these seemingly artificial clouds in the end. I liked to entertain the idea, since that constituted some kind of twisted reversal of principles - Stark would be robbed of its dreams by magical seeming flowers while in Arcadia the same would happen through almost scientific means.
Originally Posted by pSyCHoSpiLLeR
Ah, interesting point. As Tramz pointed out the Guardian said nothing was wrong with the balance. So this is a kind of funhouse mirror of the physics of Stark and Arcadia.
Originally Posted by s.oliver
The idea of having a divided world of Science and Magic has always confused me.
From a technical perspective, many things in Arcadia have always been scientific (even something like a wooden door is technology). Physics is science, and Arcadia has physics...unless those physics are governed by magic..which is totaly possible...or just a nice plot device.
Ostensibly, it's to show how the Azadi are changing the face of Marcuria and presumably other parts of the world they occupy. Apparently the Azadi brought such machines and have been pushing them extensively to the point that Benrime buys a pressure tap for the Journeyman Inn just to show her supposed loyalty.
Originally Posted by pSyCHoSpiLLeR
However, there's some interesting things I've noticed about these devices that might suggest some more sinister purpose, if you wanted to look at it that way:
* Na'ane points out that the steamwork devices are a combination of magic and technology, not just technology as one might expect of "true" steam powered machines. I once visited a railroad museum where they had a working steam engine there, and I noticed there were two pretty conspicious things missing from the Azadi machines that the tourguide at the museum pointed out to us were critical to steam technology - they didn't seem to have a supply of wood or coal to fire the boilers. Most boiler-tech like that also vents off steam (though I guess it's possible to make it "closed circuit") so they need to keep adding water but no cisterns of water were in sight near the machines. I'm guessing both of them are handled by some sort of magic, as Na'ane suggests.
* April points out that the clockwork eggs in that ruined city under Marcuria also seem to function on a similar principle - a combination between magic and technology.
* You would imagine that Sadir, the capital of Azadi Empire (the Azad Empire, I guess) would be much more technically advanced than even Marcuria, but from the brief glimpse we see of the palace and grounds, you don't actually see evidence of a single steam-powered machine.
From that, perhaps these steam devices are actually being utilized to a much greater degree in Marcuria than in Azad? Perhaps they utilize tech the Prophet got from the ruins? Then they certainly might have a more sinister purpose than just being a magical-technology industrial revolution. They might steal people's dreams or inspiration to collect at the tower?
Last edited by Sianna Tors; 05-14-2006 at 10:44 AM.
But exactly what the towers purpose is hasn't been eluded to. Yes the Dreamer technology can control the person but does the tower work in the same way. The Azadi say repeatedly that they wish to bath the world in light. Assuming that the dreams are gathered by the steam machines in Murcuria and funneled to the chamber April saw. Because Dreams are supposedly the root and power of everything. If one could harness that power in a world governed by magic wouldn't that be the most powerful weapon or tool?
Sianna Tors: "you don't actually see evidence of a single steam-powered machine"
In the intro sequence of Kian, you can see huge industrial chimneys in the background.
I can understand how Stark has seen lots of changes in technology since it is ruled by society...
But these steam machines, which are more (forgive me for sounding redundant) steampunk in nature...can't that just be signs that it is now time for Arcadia to progress to another age?
I mean...with all those brilliant minds of people out there were they just supposed to stay in medieval land forever? It just doesn't seem like society would go for that.
I guess technically that's what the story is about. But I don't see why it's such a big deal for them. Essentially I kinda picture Aracadia to have a much different fate than Stark if left alone, but certainly still benefiting from technology AND magic.
Think of The Wire if it was run completely off magic. I'm not sure what it would look like or how it would function, but perhaps it would run completely from the connection of one mind to the next. Whereas you'd have this kinda telepathic Internet.
If the world's do merge...I think it'd be simply more interesting to let Arcadia evolve on its own.
The steam machine that remains in the abandonment of Crab Bend seems particularly suggestive of the destructive change of the Azadi. But why leave a working machine where there are no users?
Originally Posted by Sianna Tors
Of course, with the abandonment of Crab Bend, the noose, the cemetery and the towering imposition of the Keep, this part of the maze is an icon of the destructive influence of the Azadi.
Last edited by pSyCHoSpiLLeR; 05-14-2006 at 10:53 PM.
Steam Machines aren't just for decoration. In Dreamfall Chapters: Rebels there are little revelations about it. Steam Machines are connected to the Tower and Azadi are build tube network around Marcuria for something...