Ashes Lore: Understanding Turinium

Published on Friday, September 4, 2015 By Brad Wardell In Ashes Dev Journals



Ashes of the Singularity is an up-coming real-time strategy game that takes place in the year 2178 when humans have evolved to the point in which we interact with the physical world through constructs (think of a modern day Drone as a very primitive construct). A single human (or “Post-Human”) is handling millions of these constructs across many light years simultaneously just as we are “handling” 100,000 billion cells in our physical bodies right now.

The object of the game is to take control of Turinium generators that have been placed on suitable worlds in order to convert the entire planet into Turinium (or at least as much of it as we can.


Turinium is our take on Computronium.  It’s actually not as new a concept as you might think.  Douglas Adams in the Hitchhiker’s Guide of the Galaxy series revealed that the entire Earth is a giant computer. In essence, the Earth was actually Computronium. 

Computronium is programmable matter. The ultimate programmable matter. While theorized, it is inevitable.

Intel Sky Lake and the road to Turinium

This week Intel announced SkyLake. It’s a new CPU based on a 14nm fabrication technique.  Each year or two, the fabrication size gets smaller and smaller.  In 2005, it was 65nm. The 8088 was 3 microns (3,000 nm).

At some point we will reach the smallest possible size that processing can occur at.  It will almost certainly be at the sub-atomic level but you will reach that point. That ultimate smallness is called Turinium. 

Moore is More or 42

imageOnce you reach that ultimate smallness, the only way to get more processing power is to have more of it. Mass starts to matter. 

It would be incorrect to assume that Turinium has to look like some sort of gray goo type material.  Since it’s at the sub-atomic level, it could look like anything you want depending on the level of efficiency you want out of the mass.  A tree could be made of Turinium for instance.  To reference Douglas Adams again, the Earth and even Arthur Dent were all made of what was effectively Turinium (trying to find out the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything).

Why would we care?

As the name of the game implies, Ashes of the Singularity is about what happens after the technological singularity. It’s just too good of a subject matter not to use as the basis for a Sci-Fi game.

imageIn this future, humans have, for over a century, been augmenting their capability through computing power that we can’t even really imagine today.  The best analogy we have is that we’re already doing this: How much of your knowledge do you keep in your brain versus via your mobile device? Compare that to 10 years ago.  Now imagine where things will be in 50 years. 100 years.

Once you have Turinium , the “faster” computing paradigm is over. It’s how much Turinium you have. And feats that we mere humans can’t even imagine start to become grasped by these Post-Humans who have access to so much more capability. 

Thus, Turinium becomes the ultimate resource. More valuable than anything.  Unlike the Space of the Dune series, Turinium can be created on most other planets, it’s just a matter of reaching out and taking them.