Children of a Dead Earth

So, the other day I was reading the Tough Scifi blog, a blog dedicated to Realistic Space Combat (a subject longtime readers will know I’m fascinated by) and there was a reference to a new game called Children of a Dead Earth, which I clicked on out of curiosity. What I got surprised the heck out of me.

For years, I’ve searched for a game simulating realistic space warfare using actual physics, weapons and tactics that make sense based on what we know of how the universe and space combat could actually work. (No shields, no FTL, no space dogfighting, etc.) Mostly I wanted a game to simulate the actual physics involved, just to see how the whole thing would play out.

Well, Children of a Dead Earth IS that game.

The title comes from the idea that in this setting (which is our own solar system in the future) the Earth has been rendered lifeless, but not before Elon Musk and friends managed to get us out to Mars and colonize space. So it’s a conflict simulator between system powers, and there is a single player campaign all about this very topic. (Although primarily the game is meant to be a “Sandbox” game where players set up scenarios themselves, build their own ships and weapons, and blow the crap out their enemies.)

Now, one of the things about realistic physics is that it involves a lot of math and advanced concepts, which is why this is a very niche product. However, the game has done a great job of making it all very playable, reducing the math to mostly visual sliders and readouts and keeping the game fun instead of tedious. In fact, they’ve made it so playable it might just reach a wider audience than you’d expect, which manged to get it a Very Positive overall rating with 79 reviews on STEAM, which is where you can buy it. You can watch a playthrough here to decide if this is something you’d be interested in:

I have to say, they managed to make it as visually appealing as they could while staying realistic as well. The ships aren’t ships as in the Starship Enterprise, but structures with a cone of armored plate around them. Lasers are invisible, but railguns and coilguns are quite visually impressive and just plain cool to watch in action. And I find the strategic elements that physics brings interesting as well, since it’s primarily orbital combat and you have limited fuel for maneuvering. (Basically, if you don’t think ahead, you’re in deep trouble.)

This game really ups the Space Combat genre in a new way, and provides Scifi authors with a new tool to see how the battles that they’ve got in their books would actually play out. In fact, it shows just how complicated and interesting space combat really can be, which can add whole new layers to tales of future conflicts.


Jokes for Friday

I half-read a headline this morning, and it inspired the following joke:

A Historian, a Philosopher and an Writer walk into a bar and find the bartender dead.


The Historian asks, “What happened?”


The Philosopher says, “Who can know for sure?”


The Artist answers, “I can make a guess.”

or, an alternate version…

A Historian, a Philosopher and an Writer walk into a bar and find the bartender dead.


The Historian asks, “What happened?”


The Philosopher says, “Who can know for sure?”

The Writer says, “Will you two be quiet? I’m taking notes!”

Project Play- Aftermath

Today I attended Project Play, London’s first (or is that most recent? not sure) gaming convention of the universal sort. What I mean by that is that there wasn’t just Role Playing Games, or Tabletop Games, or Electronic Games, or Console Games, or Mobile Games, or Tablet Games or Classic Games or even Card Games- there was all of them! And more!

Fanshawe’s Student Union building was filled with game sellers, producers, and players. It also played host to Doll fans, Cosplayers, and Anime fans, who each had their own little areas, and other oddities like the Personal Computer Museum. (Which made me feel quite old as I looked at all the consoles I used to play as a kid, like the Atari 2600, the Intellivision, and the Commodore 64. I remember when the Vic 20 was new!) A nice collection of different smaller fandoms all under one roof that wouldn’t normally have enough people for a con, but could collectively benefit from being together.

I arrived about halfway into the event and I spent my time flitting from place to place and visiting with different people I knew, but mostly I spent time at the Forest City Go Club table playing teaching games of Go with Matt and Mark (who were kind enough to give up their day to man the table). When I first got there the club had been relegated to a back room, but eventually we managed to get moved to a more central location between a number of video game producers and things really started to hum! Quite a few people were interested in learning about Go, and with luck we made a few new Go fans. (And maybe club members! We’ll see in the coming weeks!)

I’d say somewhere between two and three hundred people came out to Project Play today. That’s just a guess, but by the afternoon that place was really moving, and it was a joy to see. There have been attempts to hold Comic and Sci-Fi conventions in London before, with varying degrees of success, but none of them really brought together so many diverse groups and done it so well.

I hope that there’s another Project Play next year, and that it’s bigger and better advertised than this one! I think they’ve only tapped their potential, and will just get bigger and better from here!


Project Play

The biggest hands-on gaming event in Southwestern Ontario

Gaming, Digital Art Showcase, Cosplay and more, to provide gaming opportunities for children in need

Fanshawe Student Centre – Sunday, September 16, 2012, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Project Play.

Entertainment Industry Joke

I heard the following joke on the Dead Robots’ Society podcast today, and though I’d share. This joke will only make sense if you understand the entertainment industry.


A writer and a producer are stranded in the desert together, crawling their way across the sand.

Then suddenly, the writer looks ahead and sees an oasis shimmering before him!

Using what strength he has, the writer gets to his feet, runs to the oasis and finds it’s real!

Kneeling down next to the oasis, he desperately begins gulping down handfuls of water. But, as he’s doing so, he hears a splashing sound, and looks over to see the producer has unzipped and is now peeing in the oasis!

“What are you doing?!?” Cries the writer in horror.

The producer smiles at him and says confidently “Making it better.”

The PA Report – Artemis allows six people take the bridge of a starship, and tell their own story

Oh, I’d love to play this with a room full of my friends!

I actually remember playing the old Star Trek Tactical Combat Simulator pen and paper game from FASA which was basically the same thing done with dice and paper, and it was pretty fun on the rare occasions we got to play with a full crew. (I think that happened maybe twice.) This looks like it takes that idea to the next level, and would be a real blast, especially if the graphics were a little better.

Artemis is designed for anyone who watched Star Trek and dreamed of what it would be like to sit on the bridge of a star ship.

That dream comes at a price, as playing a game of Artemis requires some organization and a lot of hardware. You need up to six computers and a projector or large television for the full experience, as there are five stations that need to be controlled directly and a view screen for the captain. The captain’s job is to ask for information from the other five members of the crew, digest what it all means, look at data on the main view screen, and make command decisions. The game requires a quick wit and the ability to work well with others.

Artemis is $40, which is steep for an indie game with such basic graphics, but that license allows you to play the game on all six computers. There is no DRM, as the game’s creator simply asks you to abide by Wheaton’s Law.

via The PA Report – Artemis allows six people take the bridge of a starship, and tell their own story. bedtime calculator

Now here’s a neat idea! bedtime calculator will calculate the optimal time for you go to bed to wake up at a particular time based on normal human sleep cycles. I think I’ll give it a go and see how it comes out!


Playtime is over! London’s first Go Tournament was a blast!

So, this weekend I ran a little thing called the Forest City Cup- London, Ontario’s very first Go tournament. We had 18 people turn out to play from as far away as St. Cathrines, and had a great time playing Go all day.

Well, I didn’t get to play, as I was too busy troubleshooting and organizing, but everyone else did. There were three organizers, and only two could play, so I volunteered to work instead of play. To give you an idea of how busy I was, when I got home I realized that in nine hours, I had only sat down a total of about 15 minutes. Still, it was all totally worth it, and so damn satisfying.

A little over a year ago, I was dreaming of a Go club in London, then I ended up being the organizer of our city’s largest club, and now I’ve also helped organize a whole bloody tournament! It’s funny where life takes you sometimes. 🙂

Playing Go!

The winners of three divisions (Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced)

Rob steals the spotlight in the group shot!

More details here:

Tournament Report: Forest City Cup- November 19th, 2011 | Forest City Go Club.

Forest City Cup- London’s First Go Tournament!

It’s amazing how some things progress in life. A year ago I was just a single player dreaming of there being a Go club here in London. Now, I’m not only the organizer of a successful Go Club, I’m also working with the Chinese Canadian National Council’s London Chapter, and our local Chinese Newspaper to help put on a full tournament!

Come check it out!


When: Saturday, November 19th, 2011.

Where: Chinese Canadian National Council London, Ontario. Located at 1701 Trafalgar Street, London, Ontario N5W 1X2.

Cost: $8 per person. Pizza lunch can be made available upon registration.

Registration: Please register before hand, as seating is limited to 40 participants. Please see the Event Brite page to pre-register online, or email the Forest City Go Club to register.

Transportation: The LTC bus system will be able to take anyone to and from the location. The one bus route, which goes to the tournament, ends at 6PM on Saturday, so please make sure to have other means to depart from the tournament. This bus in question is the Trafalgar route.


8:30-9AM            Setup

9:30-10:30AM    Round 1

11-12PM              Round 2

12-1PM               Lunch

1:30-2:30PM       Round 3

3-4PM                   Round 4

4:30-5PM             Award Ceremony


CGA rules, minus the scoring system.

-The scoring system (Japanese or Chinese) will be determined by the players. If each player wants to use a different system, a flip of a coin will be used to decide.

-Komi is 6.5 points.

-Handicap: handicap -1 stone, no handicap for the Dan division.

Time per games: 25 Minutes Main Time, and 25 stones/5 minutes Canadian.

Prizes: Cash prizes and certificates will be awarded to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in each division.


Forest City Go Club is GO!

As I’ve mentioned from time to time on here, I’m addicted to Go, the best game in the history of mankind. (Well, besides Shining Force, but I digress…) I’ve also been involved with the Fanshawe College Go Club, which was formed last October but sadly folded as of last week due to the summer break and low membership. (A bunch of 18 year olds addicted to sex, freedom and partying weren’t interested in playing a 4000 year old board game of focus and contemplation- who would have thunk it?) This leaves London without a Go club of any sort, since the University of Western Ontario Go Club died a short time ago, and London has never had an independent club that I know of.

Until now!

As of this Thursday (April the 21st, 2011) the Forest City Go Club opens its doors to play each Thursday from 6pm to 9pm at the Northbrae YMCA (go here for details). We’ve inherited the Fanshawe club’s equipment, so we have three full sets of stones and paper boards to play on, as well as my own two sets, and whatever other sets people want to bring. I think that should be a good start, and it lets us offer the whole thing for free to the local community and anyone who wants to come out and join in!

I have no idea how many people will come, but it looks like at least six people I know will be there for the first of the weekly meetings, and I’ve put up 19 poster/flyers around the city so far in places where interested people might go. The club webpage I linked to above is getting a couple hits a day, so hopefully we’ll have lots of new people coming out- it’s just a matter of wait and see!

So, if you know anyone who might be interested in learning to play Go, or you’re a player yourself please come out and join us! Half the fun of playing Go is being social and meeting new people.