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.
Let’s assume our technology continues along a predictable path and let’s assume that simply existing in space is still the ridiculously dangerous affront to god it is today. Would it be single fighters swirling in pew-pew dogfights? Railgun platforms sniping things from unimaginable distances away? Would there be any weapons at all, or would it be more like trying to fry the enemy in your thruster wake? I really don’t know much about space, and I’ve been wondering for a while, so I turn to you.
Oh, and please feel free nitpick the tiny technical details, as those are what I’m most interested in.
The discussion he got was many pages of interesting discussion, the first being the best:
The most “realistic” space combat I’ve ever seen was in a long space opera series by Peter F. Hamilton. He makes some convincing arguments as to why pretty much everything you see in modern sci-fi wouldn’t work.
The basic argument goes something like this: Humans are limited to accelerating at only a few g’s, while your weapons can tolerate accelerations of many times that. In the book, I seem to recall antimatter drones accelerating at 40 g’s or so, which isn’t as sci-fi as it seems since we have already created antimatter in the lab, just not in very large quantities.
Now, by analogy with modern warfare, why don’t we use swords anymore? Because rifles have longer range, and a sword-toting army would be decimated by a basic infantry long before they ever got in range. Well, lasers and railguns are the swords in outer space. Once your target is even so much as a light-second away, it’s pretty much impossible to hit them (assuming they are maneuvering, which they should be). Let alone light-minutes or light-hours.
Basically, future space combat will take place between ships that are incredibly far apart, exchanging salvos of self-guided missiles at extreme ranges. Because anyone not adopting this strategy will be destroyed long before they get into range.
You can see this trend with modern naval combat already. All naval guns are pretty much obsolete, having been replaced with missiles. We don’t operate any battleships anymore, and destroyers operate more than anything else as screens for our aircraft carriers, which use planes to strike targets thousands of miles out. There’s no reason space won’t be any different.
But the rest also makes for interesting reading, if like me you’re into such things. 🙂
Despite a busy first week at school I managed to cast and put into production both Twin Stars episode 208, and Little Gou and the Kind Word. It’ll be nice to have Little Gou back again, and I have a couple more Gou stories planned for this year as well. (Likely the gap between Book Two and Book Three of Twin Stars will be filled with Little Gou stories.)
Twin Stars 209 is still giving me trouble, but I think I finally have a real handle on it. Why has it been so hard to write? Well, prior to this when I’ve been doing space battles they’ve all been skirmishes or largely off screen, so I could focus on simple tactics and note the battles rather than show them. In TS209, however, we have a huge fleet battle which is the central focus of the story itself, and needs to be explained clearly to the audience in some fair levels of detail so they can follow it. Not easy to do when you’re working in pure audio without a narrator!
I originally tried to write it as I do most Twin Stars battles, focused on the characters and the dramatic elements with the battle itself done in fairly vague terms. That failed miserably. The battle is the center of the episode, I can’t just dance around it like I usually do if I want it to work. In the end, I spent a lot of time playing (my personal passion) Go, trying out various wargames, re-watching Legend of the Galactic Heroes, and doing a lot of reading on the subject of space warfare. From this, I actually sat down and worked out the battle in real terms of strategies and maneuvers, and I figured out exactly what happens and how it happens. The end result is the battle is the story, and is now front and center throughout the episode. How the characters experience it and deal with it has become the window to that story, instead of the story itself.
I had thought that episodes like this would turn out to be the easiest part of Twin Stars to do, but as usual what looks easy when done well in presentation is actually damn hard to do when done in practice.
For various reasons, I’ve been reading up on Space Warfare, with an emphasis on the more realistic kind. While doing some research I came across some great material on the Bad Astronomy and Universe Today forum. In particular there was one thread that impressed me, mostly due to a user named Stuart who is clearly connected with the US Air Force or NASA in some significant way. His posts in that thread are especially worth reading for anyone interested in the topic of Space Warfare from a game or fiction perspective, although it’s probably best to read the whole thread. He mostly compares it with submarine warfare, which I agree is an extremely apt comparison.
I also came across another set of articles on the topic, and am in the process of going through them. Interesting stuff.