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View Full Version : [New RPG] Protoforms?


Blackjack
2011-02-11, 05:10 AM
No, not the naked Transformers of the movieverse. Those blank, pre-Transformers from Beast Wars and Animated.

So, I've been watching the Animated episode where Yoketron has a huge stash of Protoforms in his basement, which gets stolen by Lockdown. I've been thinking, why don't we do something similar?

It would be useful for scientists with itchy fingers like Predacon to experiment upon and maybe to build Sixshot and other multichangers. I mean, we could assume the schematics could be uploaded to the stasis pods.

And fighting over new troops would make stuff more interesting than simply energon. And it'll give another thing for the Transformers to fight for on Cybertron other than just the Vector Computers.

Plus, for characters that want to originate on Earth, they have got a possible origin with the protoforms instead of 'falling out of the sky' or 'had been in stasis for years in the Ark/Nemesis'.

Thoughts? Come on, don't be shy...

optimusskids
2011-02-11, 07:46 AM
I always thought the Protoforms ability to take any form was rather too akin to magic similar to Mr Bays shifting disguises by scanning.

although there is the Arthur C Clarke view

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic . ..."

Blackjack
2011-02-11, 08:09 AM
But the Beast Wars Stasis pods only scans an alternate mode for the Protoform inside and is never shown to grant another alternate mode after that one use to 'birth' the Transformer inside...

Warcry
2011-02-11, 03:44 PM
I'd always thought of protoforms as the equivalent of frozen embryos, myself -- new Transformers that were given life and then put in stasis for whatever reason before they could switch on. Never quite been able to figure why they'd do that though. Maybe for deep-range colonies that are too far away to use the Space Bridge to reach, they send some along so that they can grow the population once the colony is established?

Aero Blade
2011-02-11, 03:53 PM
although there is the Arthur C Clarke view

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic . ..."

Imagine a calculator back in the dark ages.

I'd add to that with saying the difference between magic and technology is being able to reproduce the effect with a mass-produced/copiable device. ;)


For protoforms, it's been shown a few different ways in cartoons, and I want to note some important details.

Firstly, in beastswars when they meantion protoforms, the protoforms are talked about as the Maximal crew members, and are indicated as though they are supposed to have memories, unless something happens (Tigatron's exposure-induced memory loss, Black Arachnia's reprograming). We come to think of protoforms as infant(like) transformers, but they seem to be indicating that these particular ones were already online before.

I'd wager to guess that they were volunteers for being put in stasis in a protoform-like state to conserve energy for their exploration trip, something akin to cryo-stasis that humans would do in a sci-fi movie for a long space trip. When needed, they'd be woken up from the pod and merely need it to scan them an appropriate alt-mode to replace the one removed when they went into stasis (again to save energy, only needing a formatting instead of converting the old form to a new one).

Now if I recall my Animated right (only saw the ep once that detailed it :() Sari came from a protoform stasis pod that had been with Megatron's wreckage, probably damaged when he crashed to earth with it. The first thing it scanned was Sumdac, and it used the information from his scan to fill in the damaged gaps. This would be why Sari has no concievable transformer-like traits until she has allspark energy induced into her systems via the key, and even after that is still more human-like in design than transformer. Seeing as how Sari's protoform was probably one of the inactive ones stolen from Cybertron, she didn't have any memories because she was never online prior to Earth.

That's my view on it, at least ;)

Aero Blade
2011-02-11, 04:08 PM
Adding on from what War posted while I was posting, I can see that view as well. The protoforms could also be a bit of population control, puting them in storage for when it's a better time for them to come online, to compensate for low energon cycles on the planet and so on. The Vector Sigma computers might not produce sparks at a regular rate, so they might be stored until there's a certain number, then released in a wave all at once (generations as a perond of time when the protoforms are released).

The senarios we're planning for the rpg could also be a reason we have protoforms. If a Vector computer is under attack or under lockdown for some reason, it wouldn't be ideal for the computers to be making infants while you're trying to keep the area secured and protected. The produced sparks during those times would be better put into protoforms for a later time when they can be safely activated.

One other thing I've considered is that the protoform mold itself to the spark, which is why we have such variety of transformers. Even when we have transformers that are similar, they're not exactly alike in body forms. Instead of puting a spark into a generic body and the spark having to adjust to the form, it would make more sense that you have a body that is most tailored towards the spark's potential. The amorphus protoforms, once the spark has been added, would transform itself to a shape most suited to the spark, varying in time depending upon the spark. This is what they also showed in Animated, when Prowl transfered Yoketron's laser core/spark chamber to a remaining protoform, which immediately transformed to look like Yoketron's old body (minus some armor).

Warcry
2011-02-11, 05:48 PM
One other thing I've considered is that the protoform mold itself to the spark, which is why we have such variety of transformers. Even when we have transformers that are similar, they're not exactly alike in body forms. Instead of puting a spark into a generic body and the spark having to adjust to the form, it would make more sense that you have a body that is most tailored towards the spark's potential. The amorphus protoforms, once the spark has been added, would transform itself to a shape most suited to the spark, varying in time depending upon the spark. This is what they also showed in Animated, when Prowl transfered Yoketron's laser core/spark chamber to a remaining protoform, which immediately transformed to look like Yoketron's old body (minus some armor).
I always figured that the a Transformer would be created whole by default, protoform and spark together as one unit. While one could imbue life into a pre-built body it doesn't always seem to happen that way -- in the comics for sure the first Transformers were spawned whole rather than created from existing bodies.

Normally I figure the protoform would develop as you described, shaping itself to fit the character of the new Transformer. But other Transformers could interfere in that development, either by tossing the new robot in stasis and storing it or by implanting preprogrammed instructions that would effect the character's personality and/or physical growth (like what Predacon plans to do to make Sixshot).

Aero Blade
2011-02-11, 06:16 PM
Yup, definitely things could be interfered with while in the delicate stages of development. The above is what happens under 'normal' circumstances.

As for the mechs that spawn 'whole' from the moment of birth, I'd probably say they were just extremely fast developers, the protoform molding itself to them almost instantaneously. All things develop at somewhat different rates.

Blackjack
2011-02-12, 12:05 PM
I've always thought Sari's protoform was special, so she doesn't count. ;)

In terms of Beast Wars, none of the Protoforms seem to have any memory of their lives in Cybertron Blackarachnia had to study Cybertron's history, while Silverbolt has never set foot there before. This includes the protoforms seen in IDW fiction... they seem to be truly birthed Transformers, like Warcry's analogue of frozen embryos, other than the two occasions we saw the protoforms as being pre-existing Transformers being placed into stasis: Rampage and Grimlock (in the IDW comics) respectively.

There are two kinds of Protoforms, I think. One is the protoform with a spark, like most of the Beast Wars cast and presumably Sari from Animated. Also we have seen 'blank' protoforms twice without sparks upon which a new Transformer spark could be transferred into, either via transfer (Optimus Primal, Yoketron) or brought to life (Dinobot II, the Starscream Clones).

For what it's worth, the AllSpark Almanac II says that Protoforms are mined and cultured from metals deep within Cybertron, and sparks gifted onto the by the AllSpark or Vector Sigma.

Sixshot can be a reprogrammed Protoform? Ace. :up:

Aero Blade
2011-02-12, 07:29 PM
That's the thing with Beastwars, we never got to see what a normal protoform coming online was supposed to be. Tigatron's memory was damaged by energon exposure, he didn't even know he was a transformer until he saw the others in action. Black Arachnia was tampered with to turn her into a Predacon, and probably wiping any Maximal memories she might have had. The fuzors were also another case of exposure, that time to the energy wave the Vok were intending to use to cleanse the planet.

As far as talking about the protoform and spark separate, I already meantioned that. Protoforms getting their sparks infused at Vector Sigma ;)

optimusskids
2011-02-12, 07:52 PM
As a corroally we'll have to think about the entire issue of creation. Can Transformers be built or are protoforms the only way? If both is there a social or religious divide over the issue.

Brave Maximus
2011-02-12, 09:27 PM
That's the thing with Beastwars, we never got to see what a normal protoform coming online was supposed to be.

Airrazor
We got to see what the protoform looked like as Rhinox was trying to get her online

(also one of my favourite scenes in Beast Wars)

Still, love the idea where this is going....

Might even give me some ideas for Grimstone.

Blackjack
2011-02-13, 04:48 AM
But Airazor's stasis pod was also damaged by the crash (which was why Cheetor and Rhinox had to donate parts or something). Even though we see the protoform, it isn't normal in the sense.

Do the Beast Wars IDW comics count? There the Protoforms just... wake up like how they do in BW. Grimlock aside (who has been stated explicitly to have been the G1 character placed in stasis) the rest all act like newborn characters of sort. Well, other than the fact that they all have pre-determined allegiances upon 'hatching', that is...

Brave Maximus
2011-02-13, 09:36 AM
Airrazor's scanning unit was damaged, as was the stasis casing. The protoform itself was fine. Other than, with the casing damaged, it was in danger due to the increased amount of Energon on Earth at the time.

Rhinox was trying to fix the scanner, and used Cheetor to stablize the protoform's spark.

You actually got to see the protoform solid, which had distinctions that looked like Airrazor would... then when she scanned the body became almost fluid. I always took this to be how all protoforms looked, even if they were damaged.

For this RPG, who knows though.
With a few small exceptions - I cannot imagine TF's being created or worse, mined, in one solid piece. But would there be giant factories where they're constructed?

Oh... idea:
Could there not be a place where protoforms are constructed, in a basic, rough shape, like an artists doll (joints and rough blocks, but no details) - containing the basics for TF life and transformation.
When the spark is added, the protoform becomes maliable, allowing for the spark to modify the body as needed (some could argue the basic programming could be used to allow this to happen, with certian parts being constructed out of a memory alloy). The only issue would be the size of the frame, that would have to be determined at creation.
When the spark enters, it could be suspended (as Warcry suggested) - and added for transport before picking a form, or commandeered by unscrupulous scientists for research and the like.

Blackjack
2011-02-13, 11:03 AM
Agree with what we saw Airazor as being what a Protoform should look like.

While I also dislike the concept of mining, well... other than going back to plot devices like the AllSpark or the Matrix, the only way Protoforms could conceivably be made would be factories, I guess. Although it won't be mass-production... more like, say, in-vitro fertilization, perhaps? With exceedingly rare material and stuff...

Always thought that when the spark is added/stasis pod is activated/what-have-you, the protoform would scan a suitable alternate mode which would become permanent and then modify the body to become what it is. Basically, going by the human analogue, like moving from formless embryo stage into, say, a distinctive young child within the span of a few seconds.