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A preview of the 12-game Pirate Dawn Universe.

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I have been at this for almost two years now, and I have run out of things too say. I think I said it as well as I ever will and would really like this blog to end on the “leave them laughing” note of the glimpse of the robot story arc of the last post in the comments in the previous blog entry. After 35 years of trying to do what I was born to do, that experience tells me that none of this will have mattered and I still won't wind up getting to do the one thing that I was born to do. Maybe someone will wind up contacting me about my games, or Rube, or just an opportunity to work as a game designer. But don't expect that too happen even though, in 2018, I am one of the most experienced and knowledgeable game designers in the world.

While I still have everybody's attention I thought I would add this last blog post so that these last two years have not been a complete waste of time. A lot of people reading this have a lot of money. It is also common for corporations to support charitable causes. Some people donate to a charity annually, often around Christmas. If you, or your company, makes regular charitable donations I'd like you to consider a cause that few people have heard of.

Epidermalysis Bullosa is one of the worst medical conditions known to medical science. It is very rare, and is known as “the worst disease you've never heard of”. The people who are born with it never know a single instant without pain. Not a single millisecond of their lifetimes. In fact, their pain begins about 6-8 weeks before they are even born. It is among the most painful and horrifying medical conditions that a person can have, and the people who have it suffer more than almost anyone who is ever born. And that suffering never ends, never lets up for a single instant.

One of these reasons that most have never heard of it before is that it is so rare, and so many who are born with it die before their 20th birthday. Adults with EB are fairly rare. There is no cure, there is no treatment. There is almost nothing at all that doctors can currently do about EB. Because it is so unknown among the public, they have a great deal of trouble raising money to help find a cure and help lower income by the very expensive bandages that people with EB need. So, please, this year, make your donation to DEBRA, because they need the money more than most and nobody knows who they are.



I am looking for a programmer who is interested in making an indie game called Space Hockey. The design document can be downloaded from my blog on GameDev.Net. There are also over 600 pages of material relating too my 14-game Pirate Dawn Universe on this blog.

For now I am only looking for a programmer who is capable of making Space Hockey, and together we can assemble the rest of the team from there. I am looking for someone who is at least near 30 years old and has finished at least one game before. I don't want to distract younger people from establishing themselves in a career with the lure of making games, and I want someone who has made at least one game before so that they understand going into it how much work that entails even for a simple game like Space Hockey. It doesn't have to be a game that was published, the whole point is just that you understand how much work it is to actually finish it.

I am not looking to just make something to post on an indie site somewhere, the goal here is to eventually have Space Hockey for sale on Steam. As can be seen in the design document, once that has been achieved there is a lot of expansion of this that could take place resulting in half-a-dozen or so DLC expansions. This would begin as a hobby/indie project but will, hopefully, someday become a commercial game company. Assuming that Space Hockey and its DLC expansions were successful, the goal would be to transition into a commercial game company and begin work on the 14 games of my Pirate Dawn Universe.

I have been designing games and simulations since before the computer game industry existed, for about 40 years now. I don't say this out of arrogance. It is simply a fact of time that today, in 2018, I am one of the most experienced and knowledgeable game and simulation designers in the world. Although the very simple Space Hockey does not use it, a physical construct that I call “Rube” is the fundamental basis of what you know as “The Matrix”. Rube is also the fundamental basis of cyberspace, an insubstantial holodeck, and a self-programming computer with omniscient communication. The later games of the Pirate Dawn Universe such as Territories, Mission, Clash of the Titans, and the Struggle of the Ancients games are all based on Rube.

The Pirate Dawn Universe is a sci-fi universe focused on space ship games. Lost Art Studios games are based on the 300 years of game design that came before computer games. They are not, for the most part, based on past computer games. This is only one of the things that makes these games unlike any computer games that have ever existed before. As a former member of the SFB Staff, there is no competition out there for Lost Art Studios when it comes to making space ship games for the computer. If LAS can get off the ground, competing within this genre in the modern game industry would be like hunting rabbits with a 120mm cannon.

This will begin as a hobby/indie project to create Space Hockey, and we can establish a typical deal where those who contribute to the creation of the game receive some form of payment if and when the game actually makes money. I really don't care about the money very much and am open to anything that works. The true goal, however, is to get Lost Art Studios off the ground as a commercial game company that will very easily dominate the space ship game genre with its 40 years of accumulated knowledge of the Star Fleet Universe community. And, of course, Rube... which also partly comes from the SFU. Even if Lost Art Studios manages to get off the ground, we would not attempt to develop a truly large or complex game at first. Part of the plan within the design of the games of the PDU is that the first three games are smaller and more simple games to make.

Territories is a prequel, that “Civilization scale war game” is first chronologically but can be made at any point during the telling of the PDU story. The actual first three games are intentionally simple to make. As an MMO Pirate Dawn is “massive” from the player's perspective, but it it is actually a fairly small and simple game too make. The “massiveness” of Pirate Dawn is an illusion too the player. The game itself isn't actually “massive”, the simple arcade game maps are. Manifest Destiny and The Trade Wars, what would be the second and third games, are both smaller and easier to produce than Pirate Dawn is. They are both intentionally minimalist strategy economic war game “scenario generators” where the focus is heavily on the tactical combat resolution (which is not 3D). Lost Art Studios would not even attempt to make a “big game” until we were on our fourth release.

If you are interested in helping to create Space Hockey, with a plan already place to keep going from there, you can contact me through my blog on GameDev.Net or my e-mail address:

From Astral Invasion...


Space Hockey

Space Hockey

Welcome, sports fans, to the Colonial Space Hockey League!

Founded in 2322 the CHL features ships, weapons, and equipment reminiscent of the primitive technologies of the piracy crises of the early colonial era. In the earliest days of their Post-Terrestrial Age humanity's fledgling network of primitive colonies had nearly collapsed and failed. Throughout a nearly 20-year long period beginning in the mid 2160's the civilian population were forced to rise up and save themselves from starvation... or from those seeking to save themselves from starvation. Through a trial-by-fire the earliest colonial pioneers quickly evolved the tactical and operational doctrine of operating their highly configurable “Civilian Enforcement Ships”, a unique class of ship that ultimately revolutionized their capabilities in the harsh realities of space and most likely saved their home world from complete devastation at least once. This often overly romanticized formative era of the Confederation of Colonies is a sentimental favorite period of history for most people of Earth and the colonies. The change too this early colonial theme shortly before the formation of the league greatly enhanced the popularity of what had already been the fastest growing sport in the colonies.

The CHL consists of 24 teams divided into two conferences. Each conference has three divisions and each division is comprised of four teams. There are 18 games in a season. Teams play nine divisional games during the regular season, three games against each divisional opponent. The remaining nine games of the schedule are played against teams from across the league. The post-season playoffs consist of three rounds between eight teams. The three divisional winners, and one wild card team, compete in a two-round single-elimination playoff tournament to determine the conference champion. The two conference champions then play each other to determine the league champion. In the early days of the league the CHL was a single conference of 12 teams divided into two divisions of six teams each. They played 11 games per season, one game against each team in the league. A tie-breaker for division winner could create a playoff game, and an order of precedence of statistics beginning with total season points for and against broke ties for making it into the playoff game. The division winners then played each other for the championship game.

A Space Hockey team is comprised of six players. While many different team compositions are in use within the league the standard, or classic, formation of a Space Hockey team is two offense, two midfielders, and two defenders. Over the course of a game this “ideal formation”, or whatever general philosophical formation a team uses as a part of their strategy, is often not what a team has in the game at any given moment. Each individual player also has their own ship lineup and most players use at least two classes of ships in their lineup. This means that most players switch between at least two roles over the course of a half depending on which ships they are using. Each player is allowed as many ships as they can squeeze into their hangar bay each half. If a player runs out of ships, they are out of the game for the rest of that half. Good ship lineup strategy, and management, is a key aspect of any championship team.

The Colonial Space Hockey League sanctions nine 1/5th scale ships. The pilots, of course, fly these tiny replica ships remotely from the hangar bay using the same flight control stations used to control drones on the fleet's CLD drone carrier ships. The league would have a hard time finding talent if they asked the players to actually be inside of full-sized ships. On offense the fast and agile “S-Ships” (Stinger, Scorch, & Savage) tend to score the most goals, but they are sometimes destroyed by a single stream of fire from the larger defenders. The midfielders, the “P-Ships”, are a mixed bag. Predator is the best man-to-man defender in the league and is also decent playing offense. Phantom is the pure hunter/killer that spends most of its time just trying to bash other players out of the game, and Phoenix has a strategic value that makes it an obvious choice no matter what a player's role might be. The big defenders, “The Bashers”, require a player to build their lineup around them just to get away with using one of these heavy ships and still be in the game at the end of the half... but the other team has a hard time scoring when Ogre, Juggernaut, or Leviathan are guarding the goal.


I am about to begin trying to put together an indie team to actually make Space Hockey. If anyone is interested in helping bring Space Hockey to life you can contact me through this site, or my e-mail address is Kavik_Kang@hotmail.com.

The 64-page design document for Space Hockey is attached to this post.


Pirate Dawn Universe – “I wish that I could live it all again!”


Space Hockey.odt

One Last Try

*** *** *** It's a Kind of Resume... (Kind of....) *** *** ***

I spent 20 years sending resumes, letters, you name it, to game companies. Nobody ever even responds. In the 20 years I spent doing that only one company ever even responded... and they hired me. I have 20 years of actual experience that tell me that sending things to individual game companies is a waste of time. That is why now, in what is certainly my last attempt to do what I was born to do, I did this publicly on the only major game industry discussion forum there is. So this isn't a traditional “resume” because over 20 years of experience tells me that is pointless. It is just ignored. You don't know your own history, and don't seem to have any concept of how sophisticated some of the games from the serious side of the hobbyist game industry were. Avalon Hill and their many imitators were continuing the Ruler & String games that military men had been playing for centuries and the most complex of these were far more detailed than people today imagine a “board game” too be. I didn't go to the Devry School of Game Design... I went to the Harvard, Yale, and Oxford of game design all rolled up into one. We literally invented the process by which games are made today, long before you even existed, and produced the largest and most complex game ever made. But you don't know any of that, so it means nothing too you. I've tried everything else already. All of your suggestions... I did all of that already 20 years ago. It didn't work. There is no point in trying that same thing all over again when it is already proven beyond any doubt that method does not work for me and my unique situation.

Gamasutra Blog: http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/MarcMichalik/787769/

So this time around I attempted to explain where I came from with this blog and my blog on Gamasutra which is mostly about the history of the hobbyist game industry and specifically Star Fleet Battles. I can't just tell you I was SFB Staff because you have no idea what that means, it just flies right over your heads and you pay no attention too it. 20 years of doing that tells me that is meaningless too you. I have to explain who we were first, which I did on my Gamasutra blog, or you just compare me to some 20-year-old kid who knows almost nothing at all about designing games. That's how bad the situation is, you would actually compare us to little kids who want to make games when we've been doing this since before your industry even existed. It really is just about the most insulting thing I have ever heard in my life. It really is. We really were doing this before your industry even existed, long before, and our games were far more serious than the children's games that you make. They are too complex for modern gamers to even consider attempting to play. What we do is based on over two centuries of accumulated knowledge of real military men simulating warfare, and I've been doing it for about 40 years now. And you honestly insist that any 20 year old who takes a few classes at your nonsense “school” is qualified to be designing games and that we aren't. You are actually comparing your own founding fathers to little kids who don't even need to understand how the games that they play even work!


*** Payday/Attached Board Game AI ***

My game design “career” began in the mid-1970's when I was just 7 years old. My grandfather taught me how to play Cribbage and Pinochle while I was visting him for the summer. He was with military intelligence and tried to teach all of his grandchildren games at a very young age, but only I took too it. I was immediately obsessed with both games and made him play them with me as much as he would for the whole month that I was there. He must of told my parents how obsessed with games I was because they got me a children's game called Payday that Christmas. My brother was only 2, so I didn't have anyone to play it with. But that didn't matter, because as soon as I looked at Payday I realized that it played itself. There is no decision making in children's games like Candyland, Chutes & Ladders, or Payday so this is no great revelation to adults, but I saw this immediately when I was just 7. Even at just 7 years old I naturally “saw AI” in games. It wasn't any fun playing in the game myself, so I would mentally “attach” the “AI players” to myself. I wasn't actually one of the players, I was an “invisible player” and all of the “AI players” were “attached” too me. At least, that is how I saw it. This has evolved, over my lifetime, into one of the core concepts of how “Rube” functions. One way that Rube can be used is to “maintain a constant illusion of activity around the player” and my Attached AI is at the core of how that usage of Rube functions. After Payday I would constantly ask my parents to get me games and when they did I would immediately work out how to make them “play themselves”. “Invisible me” would advance through the turns/phases which would “turn the cranks” of all of the “AI players” or, as I have said in other places on this blog... “Rube is powered by moving through time”. I wouldn't be one of the players, I would make up “automated rules” to make games run on auto-pilot and play themselves without my being directly involved. I was practically obsessed with doing this until I was 11. Then I discovered Avalon Hill games.


*** Avalon Hill ***

The first Avalon Hill game that I got was Victory in the Pacific. First I made it play itself like I had been doing with simpler games for almost five years already, then I actually started playing it with other kids. Victory in the Pacific was the first game I actually played with other people, up until then I had always just created my “board game AI” and watched games play themselves. Soon I also had Blitzkrieg and Panzerblitz, and I made both of these games play themselves as well. This was far more challenging than any other games I had ever worked with before. Especially Panzerblitz, which was one of Avalon Hill's most complex games at the time. It was while working on a “board game AI” for Panzerblitz that I realized that I was not quite normal. Other people didn't even do this with simple games, and what I was doing with Panzerblitz was far beyond the understanding that any normal 12 year old should have. In fact later, in my late teens, I came to realize that even the best game designers in the world at the time (after having met most of them at conventions) did not “see AI” in board games like I did. They were confused when I would start talking about making complex games like Victory in the Pacific, Blitzkrieg, and Panzerblitz “play themselves” without me even being involved in the game. They didn't see how what I was describing could be possible. It was during this time that I gradually realized that I was not normal, I was a natural born “savant simulation designer” who just naturally “sees AI” in everything. Games, nature... everywhere. And other people, even the best game designers in the world at the time, didn't see this like I did and would just become confused when I would try to explain it too them.

One of my favorite movies of all time is Wargames, because I was that kid. I never broke into NORAD, of course, but around this time (1981) my family got a Franklin 1100 (Apple II+ clone) with a 1200 baud modem. I immediately discovered BBS door games and spent many hours searching for BBS systems to play the door games and download commercial games. Eventually Trade Wars and Barren Realms Elite came along and those were my favorite door games. My brother and I were the best BRE players in the world. The sysop of the BBS we played BRE on directed us to the network where the designer ran his own international BRE “galaxy” because he wanted to see us conquer the designer's network in under a week like we would do locally. We did that, then convinced the designer and the players in his “galaxy” to reset the game so that we could defeat them all by ourselves from a fresh start. Me, my brother, and the two other people that played our way with us took on the entire galaxy in a fresh start game. The entire world, about 100 players, against us four players on “Planet Colorado”. The rest of the world conceded on the third day after the reset, some after the first day and the rest over the next two days as they realized that we could not be defeated. Barren Realms Elite was a very broken game. Unlike everyone else, we played it for what it was and not what it was meant to be. We could beat an unlimited number of people arrayed against us, it didn't matter how many people were allied against us. The designer then banned the entire state of Colorado from his network because “you aren't cheating, but I don't like how you play my game”. This is where Pirate Dawn comes from. The original concept of Pirate Dawn was a blending of Trade Wars & Barren Realms Elite as the strategy layer combined with a blending Star Control, Subspace, and Star Fleet Battles as the tactical layer.


*** Star Fleet Battles ***

When I was 13 I discovered Star Fleet Battles. There have been very few people who learned to play SFB at such a young age and I had to have been one of a very few a very few self-taught 13-year-old SFB players. I have only heard of one other person who was playing SFB at 13 and he was the son of a staff member who made a big effort to teach him at such a young age. Naturally I immediately tried to make SFB play itself but, for the first time, I couldn't do it. SFB was far too complex to make that happen, which absolutely fascinated me. Eventually I did find a way to “cheat” and make SFB play itself against a player in a reasonably challenging way (in just 4 paragraphs!), which today is among the most popular solitaire scenarios in SFB called “The Orb” (which many also consider to be the “most Star Trek-like” scenario in SFB). The fact that I couldn't make SFB play itself in any real kind of way was what drew me too it like a magnet. So, instead, I made Panzerblitz run on SFB's Impulse Chart instead of Avalon Hill's phased turns. This was the beginning of my applying how SFB worked to other games that were totally unrelated to SFB. Panzerblitz running on the Impulse Chart was far too long, unwieldy, and confusing to be a commercial game but it worked very well even if it did take days to resolve a single scenario that only took hours in the original version. I had dozens of counters on the map running in “simultaneous real-time”, as if it were an RTS computer game, several years before RTS computer games even existed. My Panzerblitz “playing itself” on the Impulse Chart was, in reality, the world's very first “real-time strategy game” (1982). I had essentially created what was almost certainly the first RTS at 14-years-old, about 5 years before the earliest computer game RTS games existed. This was also the first marriage of my “Attached Board Game AI” and SVC's Impulse Chart, the true beginning of what today I call “Rube”.


*** Axis & Allies ***

I still remember waiting in front of the game store in the morning before it opened to buy Axis & Allies the first day it came out, I was there before they opened the doors. I took it home and immediately began working out how to make it play itself. It seemed like it should be simple compared to making Panzerblitz play itself, but I was surprised to find that it actually wasn't easy to work out... especially Japan and America. It took a long time to finally make Japan play itself well. It was easier than Panzerblitz, but at least twice as difficult as I had been expecting it too be going into it. But, in the end, just like a children's game like Candyland or Payday, I had all five nations in Axis & Allies playing themselves without my involvement other than following my own “automated rules” for each nation. This was the last board game that I did this with, because this was also the time that I had become a full-blown SFB junkie. For the next ten years or so after this I essentially lived SFB, and making “poker chip prototypes” of strategy war games after one of the original founders of Avalon Hill told me about “poker chip prototypes”. This was also the earliest days of commercial computer games, and if I wasn't playing SFB with someone or re-arranging poker chip prototypes into what would eventually become Territories, then I was playing the earliest computer games. Computer games were also a big part of my changing from making board games play themselves to actually playing the games myself. Up until I discovered SFB, and computer games came along, I hadn't actually played games very much. I made the games play themselves with what I had come to call “Attached Board Game AI” which later, when combined with Steve Cole's Impulse Chart, would eventually lead to “Rube”.


*** SFB Staff/Task Force Games/Territories ***

After about five years of playing SFB and computer games constantly I decided to review the entire Commander's Edition of SFB. I reviewed every word of the entire Commander's Edition and sent Steve Cole about 100 pages reports. I had no idea that TFG/ADB were just beginning the process of creating the final Captain's Edition at the time. SVC sent me back an invitation to join the SFB Staff. I was one of only a few people who did a review of the entire game during the design of the Captain's Edition. Many of my suggestions and corrections were used and to this day SFB is still laced with things that came from me. I was among the group of the first 7 people to ever be given a medal when SVC first began doing that, in the Z section of Advanced Missions for the design phase of the Captain's Edition, and remain one of the very few people in the history of the SFB Staff to ever be awarded a Silver Star. I represented the Romulans during my time on the staff, but actually had a bigger impact on the Andromedans who had no staff representative at the time and were being completely re-designed for the Captain's Edition. There is a lot of me in the “new” Andromedan rules of the Captain's Edition. This was, arguably, the most important of four critical periods of actually designing SFB (Pocket Edition, Designer's Edition, Commander's Edition, Captain's Edition). Shortly after joining the staff I became, at the time, only the third staff member ever actually hired by the company. Another came after me and today there have been four of us. I worked at Task Force Games, the publisher and not the developer ADB, but remained on ADB's SFB Staff while I worked at TFG. At TFG I was going to be their in-house game designer and this is where the very first version of what I today call Territories came into existence, after nearly a decade of playing with poker chip prototypes which had led to Territories. But then the hobbyist game industry collapsed about a year into my time there and TFG had to let everyone go except for the owner and his brother just to stay in business once all the retail outlets became novelty stores that didn't carry hobbyist games any more. This was only the beginning of my lifetime of bad luck in attempting to make games. From my perspective I had started at the top at just 22 years old, it was like wanting to make movies and being hired by Steven Spielberg... but of course the entire industry then collapsed around me to prevent that from happening.


*** IKNFL ***

I had wanted to make board games at TFG so that I could then make computer games. My goal had always been making computer games, not board games. After returning home after the collapse of the board game industry I immediately began trying to just go straight to computer games. Right away, it was obvious that the people in that industry didn't believe that board game designers knew anything that would be useful too them. They were absolutely convinced that they were doing a completely different thing that had no relation to table top games at all. They were wrong about that, but there was no convincing them of that. So I decided to transform one of their games into something much better than what they had done to show them what I was talking about. It took nearly 3 years to perfect the “IKNFL Unofficial Stat Patch” for Sierra's Front Page Sports Football. We received e-mails from people throughout the NFL praising IKNFL. Players, coaches, and scouts all sent us e-mails about how great they thought it was. One of the best linebackers in the league at the time completely agreed with our ratings of the linebackers and wanted to let us know that he thought we were right... he also believed that he was the 4th best linebacker in the league and he felt the ratings we had given all of the LB were dead on. A scout wanted us to know that he thought my brother knew the players as well as any NFL scout did and he couldn't understand how that was possible.

FPS:FB on the Imagination Network was probably the very first organized online gaming community ever (for a commercial game), which was formed and led by “Longshot” who had created the first “Ultimate Football League” on INN. My brother and I were among the first people to join Longshot's original league, and he restarted the league to use the original INNFL95 version of IKNFL as soon as we showed up and he saw our league file. IKNFL was also almost certainly the very first “mod” of a commercial game ever, which just naturally went along with the FPS:FB leagues on Imagination Network being the first organized online gaming community for a commercial game. So I was also one of the leaders of the first online gaming community for a commercial game and that entire community revolved around my INKNFL, which was the very first “mod” of a commercial game. IKNFL98e, the last and best version of the stat patch that we ever made, was eventually even included on the disk with the 1998 version of the game. So IKNFL was also the first mod to ever be included with a shipped game. To this day FPS:FB running IKNFL is still by far the most accurate sports game ever made in player ratings, individual player statistics produced by both simulations and played games, team standings at the end of the season, and post-season results. It is the original, and the basis for the player ratings in all sports games, which has still never been equaled. What you see in sports games today is simply their current version of my IKNFL. Of course, I never got any of the credit for this... everyone thinks Madden did this. Madden didn't do that, I did. They got it from me.

IKNFL was a game that people loved to lose because of the way that they lost... simply being outplayed. It wasn't just popular online, experienced players liked IKNFL because it was very hard in a good way. As “Avarice”, one of the top 4 players in Longshot's UFL league, put it after his first game against the AI of our “ultimate” version of the stat patch (IKNFL98e)... “I actually lost to the computer 24-10 and loved every minute of it!” This is the version that is on the disk for Sierra's FPS:FB '98, so if you can find this and make it run on a modern computer then you can play IKNFL98e for yourself. IKNFL98e is a zip file in a directory called “Extras”, the zip file includes a text file with instructions for how to manually install it “DOS style”. It really is still the best thinking man's football game ever made even today, 19 years later... “games that stand the test of time”. Nobody ever played FPS:FB with a gamepad, that's what Madden was for. Just call the plays. I suggest using the Denver Broncos for your first game. They beat the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl in the previous season and what we called the “Triangle of Death” (John Elway, Terrell Davis, & Shannon Sharpe) will at least give you a fighting chance in your first game. And if you know where to find a version of it that will run on a modern computer, or how to make it run from the original disk, please send me an e-mail or PM on this site telling me how to do it. I still have the disk, but I can't make it run in Windows 7. I'd love to be able to play it again because, like I said, it's still a great game now, especially playing/simming multiple seasons in franchise mode... due too Sierra as much as “Indra & Kavik Kang”, of course.


*** GGN/Heat Net ***

While doing IKNFL, in the mid-1990's, I came very close to founding my own game development company and online game service. The online game service side was called the Global Gaming Network (GGN) and the game development side was called Lost Art Studios (LAS). I actually came close to doing this, I had three very wealthy investors behind it. The investors decided to go to MCI to discuss partnering with them for the online game service side of this company. I tried to convince them not too but they insisted on revealing my whole plan for GGN too MCI. When MCI pretended to not be interested, and another company we were wanting to partner with for the LAS side was not in a position to do what we wanted them to do at that time due to an internal struggle taking place within their own company, the investors decided to drop the whole thing. They had spent about $100,000 towards doing this over about 6 months. About a year later MCI started HEAT.NET which was very obviously based on a horrible misunderstanding of my online game service. HEAT.NET was terrible, they just didn't understand what the point had been, but HEAT.NET came from me... even though it was a horribly misguided vision of what I had been talking about. I've never fretted too much over this incident because it would have ultimately failed. Steam came along around this same time and would have buried me right along with all of the other online game services, so I didn't actually miss out on anything this time around. Had it made it far enough to make its first game Lost Art Studios would have survived, but Steam rose to power long before the Lost Art Studios side would have released its first game (which would have been Territories).


*** GameFX ***

IKNFL actually worked! In 1998 Sierra offered both me and my brother jobs as the designers of FPS Football '99 out of the blue, I hadn't even sent them anything, and GameFX offered me a job at the same time. I had sent them something. It was easy to see that their attempt to go 3D with FPS Football '99 was going to be a disaster that I would not be able to save, and GameFX was obviosly a top flight group of people who were on the cutting edge of their time. It was an easy decision to make. Of course, again, almost the same thing happened at GameFX that happened at TFG. Only this time the entire industry didn't collapse, just GameFX. I had went there thinking that we would be making what I called “Homefront” after they finished the game that they had been making at the time. Most of my time at GameFX was spent working on “Homefront”, which today is called “Pirate Dawn”. In the end, during the last 3 month extension they could get on what had become “Sinistar: Unleashed”, they pulled me off of Homefront and had me make all of the levels for Sinistar. I spent 2 ½ months sitting at a desk by myself making all 30 levels across 4 levels of difficulty as fast as I could and then they shipped that quick first pass almost as soon as I had finished it. I had very little to do with Sinistar: Unleashed and was not involved with it at all until the last few months when they finally realized that I was the only person in the office who had any idea of how to make some kind of game out of it. GameFX was shut down about a month or two after the release of Sinistar, which anyone who worked there would tell you had nothing to do with me. In fact, I'm sure anyone who worked there would agree that had I not been there they never would have shipped a game at all. All I did was make the levels, they spent 4 years making the engine. I did very little in comparison to pretty much everyone else who had worked on it for so long. But, at the same time, had I not been there they never would have shipped any game at all. Or, as one of the programmers put it after I was finished with my 2.5 month long, 10-14 hour per day, 7 day per week marathon... “We handed him a shoe box full of unrelated parts and he gave us a game in under three months”.


*** Manifest Destiny/Mission ***

I then spent the next 10 years sending resumes, letters... I tried everything under the sun... to computer game companies. Not a single one ever responded in any way, because board game experience doesn't count in your world and I think you blame Sinistar's failure on me when I had almost nothing to do with Sinistar. While doing this I turned Pirate Dawn into a trilogy, adding Manifest Destiny and Mission. Then I realized that lots of sci-fi stories begin with a nuclear war. I already had “my Civilization”, Territories, which was a nuclear war game, so I stuck Territories in front of Pirate Dawn as a prequel and wrote a whole new story around “the four game trilogy” of Territories, Pirate Dawn, Manifest Destiny, and Mission. This decade of being ignored ultimately ended with me “retiring” from game design right here on GameDev.Net about 10 years ago. After 20 years of being both ignored and plagiarized at the same time (what a combination!), when I had decades more experience and knowledge than just about anyone in the computer game industry, I wasn't about to just silently go away. Twenty years of doing it the right way had never got me anywhere, I figured I would try the exact opposite and truly speak my mind after 20 years of be ignored... other than when you steal from me, of course. You'd think someone worth plagiarizing would be someone worth hiring... but no. But, of course, that didn't work either. Nothing works. I know, I've tried literally everything. That was what “Pirate Lord” and my first appearance on GameDev.Net had been about, trying the only thing that was left to try and just speaking my mind after 20 years of being both ignored and plagiarized at the same time.

I actually have two equally “signature games”, Territories and Mission. Mission is “my other Civilization”. Mission is the starship simulator that places you in the captain's chair that has long been the “dream game” of every Star Trek fan who plays games. My knowledge of how tactical space combat functions allows me to create this, where the closest anyone else can come too it is Bridge Commander... which was just terrible! Bridge Commander was a laughable endless back-and-forth jousting match (essentially no combat environment because nobody in your industry knows how to create that in space) with an interface that doesn't work for the situation and essentially nothing at all as a ship design. Mission really does put you in that captain's chair, and because it is so “realistic” and unlike any game anyone has ever played before one of the biggest challenges of Mission is teaching the player how to command a starship. The only major drawback to Mission is that it is not for casual gamers who want to just install the game and immediately jump into it. Mission is fundamentally an adventure game, but anyone who tries to just jump into the adventure game would be completely lost in doing almost anything at all and would stand no chance at all if they actually got into a fight with anything. The biggest challenge in designing Mission is how to teach the player not just how to control the ship, but how to fight with it because the SFB inspired Rube-enhanced enemy AI will absolutely humiliate you if you don't know what you are doing. This is why the trailer/advertising song/movie for Mission is Pink Floyd's “Learning To Fly”. “There's no sensation to compare with this.”

Players would need to spend 6-10 hours in the Academy Simulators “learning to fly” a starship before attempting to actually play the game... so the “simulators” need to be a whole seperate game that you play before the adventure game so that it doesn't seem like work and learning. They'll need to “pass all of the classes” before unlocking the ability to even try to play the full game, to prevent them from skipping ahead and becoming frustrated by the game being “too hard”. You might call it a “tutorial”, but it is much more than that. It needs to be, modern gamers don't take games anywhere near as seriously as hobbyist gamers did and won't stand for 10 hours of learning before they can even begin to play the game. So I had to find a way to turn that learning process into “a game before the game”. So I guess you could say that Mission is two games in one, the first being essentially a massive tutorial that is disguised as the beginning of the adventure game... your time at the “Academy” before being assigned to GSC Rocinante on humanity's first ever mission of long-range galactic exploration. I really can put you into that captain's chair, and 40 years of knowledge and experience of the SFB community SHOULD make this not surprising at all... and yet I am certain anyone reading this is thinking too themselves “I can't do it, and if I can't do it then you cant do it even though you have 40 years of experience and accumulated knowledge of the subject and I don't” because that is just how arrogant you people are.


*** Pirate Dawn Universe ***

After just a few months of being “retired” from game design, after my first appearance on GameDev.Net about 10 years ago, I realized that I was not able to stop designing games. I have been doing it literally my whole life, since I was 7 years old, and it is not voluntary. I am not capable of not making games. I have to make games, even if they will never be published. It's the only thing I do, and just about the only thing I ever think about. I am not normal, I was born a savant simulation designer and it is really a truly uncontrollable obsession for me. I can't not think about simulations and “artificial intelligence” (my own brand of it, anyway). So I began expanding the “four game trilogy” into what today I call the Pirate Dawn Universe. There are actually 19 games of the Pirate Dawn Universe, but at my age I would never live to make the 12 games of the 6 primary eras of the timeline so I haven't thought much about my own 7 “side games” for a few years now since realizing that. The PDU is meant to be endlessly expanded and you can put a new game, or a new era of 2 or more games, anywhere in the timeline. Theoretically, there could be 100 games in the PDU although that would obviously never happen.

Not expecting the games to ever be made, the focus since my “retirement” has been on the story that encompass the 12 primary games of the PDU. There is no reason to write detailed design documents for games that I won't live long enough to make anyway. So there are game design documents for the first six games, the early ones, but the second half of the PDU is mostly story with “design docs” that are generally 20-60 pages of notes to myself (about the equivalent of the several computer game industry design docs that I have seen, actually, “20-60 pages of vague notes”). I've worked like this a long time and know that I can transform those notes into what I consider to be first draft design docs in 3-4 months, so I only do notes on the later games and focus more on the songs/story. Today there are well over 1000 pages of PDU material in my files, focused mostly on the first 6 games of the PDU. Until I was recently inspired to try this one more time I had never thought I would even try to actually make the games again, and these last ten years have been spent just completing the “Broken Time Loop” of the PDU for myself as a hobby.

Territories is over 25 years old, Pirate Dawn is exactly 20 years old to the month at the time of this posting, Mission is almost 15 years old... “Games that stand the test of time.”

The songs that I have used on this blog are coming from my files on the PDU. I write the story of the entire PDU around the song lyrics. While everyone else looks for music that vaguely matches the story they have already told, I assemble songs that tell a story on their own simply by the order they are in and then expand greatly on the story told by that group of songs. Each era is written entirely around the lyrics of the songs that are the backbone of the story of that era. After evolving for 20 years it is now a very intricately woven story across all 12 games and a player would continue to figure out and notice new things no matter how many times they experienced the story. It really is more of a mythology than it is a story. There are certain words that are used a LOT in many songs and because of this they keep recurring in every era of the story. As a result these words have become extremely important, meaningful, and prominent within the PDU story. The most important of these words are “Dream”, “Vision”, “Mission”, “Spirit”, and “Rain”. Most of these words have more than one meaning within the PDU depending on the context they are being used within. For example Zeus & Hades call reality within the mortal world the “The Dream”. But then they also confusingly call Cindy McAllen “The Dream”... and there is actually a lot too this, far too much to go into here. All 12 games of the PDU have all of their songs worked out already, 90-120 minutes of “movies” for each game, many of which are completely outlined by time stamps (in my own files, not on this blog) as to the movie that goes along with them. The songs come first, and the rest of the story is written around them.

Armageddon Chess, available for download on this blog, is a complete first draft example of this that you can see for yourself right now. If you don't want to read all 200 pages or so of Armageddon Chess, I intentionally included a self-contained “short story” example of how the story is written around the song lyrics with the “Struggle of the Star Queens” chess set in Armageddon Chess. That chess set is only 15 pages written around over a dozen songs and was created specifically to provide a quick-to-read example of what I am talking about here. A particular favorite of mine in Armageddon Chess is how Belinda Carlisle's “Heaven is a Place on Earth” and Van Halen's “Best of Both Worlds” work together... but you will only really get that by reading the blog post for Armageddon Chess and then all 200 pages or so of Armageddon Chess. It won't make a lot of sense without knowing the whole story that leads up to those two songs/movies. On the blog I put Heaven on Earth in the blog post because Belinda's Heaven didn't fit into this version of Armageddon Chess (that song would be in the Fallen Angel Rising DLC chess set which was not included with the prototype version of the game on this blog). For example, if you read all of Armageddon Chess and its blog post you'd realize that Best of Both Worlds is Kavik Kang speaking to/thinking about Cindy “Fallen Angel” McAllen and you'd understand the meaning of lyrics like...

“There's a picture in a gallery, Fallen Angel looked a lot like you. We forget where we come from sometimes, but I had a dream it was really you.”

“You don't have to die and go to heaven, or hang around to be born again. Just tune in to what this Place has got to offer, 'cause we may never be here again.”

“It's not work that makes it work, no, just let the magic do the work for you.”

“If we could have the best of both worlds, we'd have a little bit of heaven right here on Earth.”


*** Rube ***

Finally, about two years ago I recognized what I call now call “Rube” in Territories. It had been there for about 25 years staring me in the face but I had never noticed it until recently. Rube is the E=MC2 of simulation design and is the fundamental basis of something that looks a lot like “The Matrix”, a holodeck, cyberspace, and a self programming computer with omniscient communication. They are all they same thing, really, slight variations on the same theme. Rube is also important to science, it is the “uniform simulation of everything” that science has long said that it has wanted. Rube really is a true “cybergod”, but in reality is a general simulation of time combined with reality which just winds up being indistinguishable from what we perceive as “God”. Rube is the end result of 300 years of simulation design evolution which began with the Ruler & String games played by real world military men since the 17th century. If I ever get to make one of my games then the world will get to meet Rube, if not then Rube will die with me and this knowledge will be lost to history. It isn't coming back any time soon. Nobody does this anymore, nobody makes games or simulations this way anymore, nobody is thinking along these lines anymore. My guess is that Rube will either be lost forever or not re-emerge for hundreds of years. Rube is the end result of 300 years of work of an entire field that no longer exists and there are very few people left in the world with the pre-requisite knowledge required to “discover” Rube. If Rube dies with me, it probably isn't ever coming back. “Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.” - Arthur Schopenhauer


*** Out Of Time, What Now? ***

At this point it is not possible for me to make the entire PDU anymore, I will not live long enough to make 12 computer games. If someone was wanting to do the PDU, I'd be thrilled to start it off and hope that I lived long enough to make it to Mission (but would probably only make it to Manifest Destiny or The Trade Wars). The people I was making it with could then use the games that I had made up to that point, and my files on the remaining PDU games, as the basis of finishing it after I am gone. More likely, nobody is going to be interested in a 12 game universe. If I got started sometime soon I think I'd live long enough to make at least 4 games. So you could just forget about most of the PDU and only make the very best games from it (Territories, Mission, Clash of the Titans, and Armageddon) with a new story written around them based on the original PDU story (and timeline), but greatly shortened where the games are missing and the timeline would just briefly tell the story of what had been entire games. I used the best music in the best games, so Mission would still use Cygnus X1/Hemispheres. Clash of the Titans/2112 could combine with the awesome music of Astral Wake Apollo, that works with 2112 so well, and tell the entire story of that era in just Clash of the Titans alone. So all the best of Rush's sci-fi music would still be there using just those four games, which the entire story was ultimately written around. And so would the Star Queens like Blondie, Belinda Carlisle, Pat Benatar, and Janet Jackson. I love the Clash/AWA era!

Territories/Rube creates its own new genre of strategy war games. Just like you've all been imitating Civilization to the point that there is a “Civilization genre”, Territories would be the same thing as that. Now you'd have two kinds of strategy war games to make instead of just one. And Territories is an actual grand strategy war game, where Civilization is actually an empire building game. Territories is all about the war. You don't actually make grand strategy war games, and when you try it is always a big misguided disastrous mess like Hearts of Iron or something too simple and basic to make for a good board game let alone a computer game. You make good empire building games, and terrible grand strategy war games. If you don't have technological research then you don't know what to do. Tech trees are great for empire building games, and bad for war games. Tech trees discourage both fighting and building military units because “the next big thing is always right around the corner”. Territories would give you something else to imitate and create a whole new genre out of, that doesn't rely on the crutch of a tech tree but replaces that aspect with something just as interesting. Territories has evolved as a computer game for 25 years in its own private independent evolution, it is nothing like any strategy game that has ever existed before. Territories really is the beginning a whole new genre of “grand strategy war game” for the computer.

When it comes to space combat, we are literally 40 years ahead of you in this and the SFB community actually understands how it works at a fundamental level. Any space combat game that I make would revolutionize all space ship games in your industry that came after it. Most of your space ship games have been heavily influenced by SFB, but nobody who actually understands SFB has ever made a computer game. That's what the big difference would be, it's not me blowing my own horn. It is a body of knowledge that I possess in an “I've followed it my entire life” kind of way. While there have been many SFB experts over the years, I'm pretty sure that I am the only one that has spent 30 years contemplating how to translate these concepts to computer games and actually working out nearly a dozen different versions of doing that. It's my best, by far, so stripping Mission of its story and making it a stand alone game that has nothing to do with the PDU would be a pretty good idea. But it doesn't necessarily have to be one of my games. I could very quickly turn BSG: Deadlock into something that you would not believe, for example. I would create a new genre of strategy war game with Territories/Rube, or totally and completely revolutionize space combat games in your industry with almost any space ship game. To a competent person, this should come as no surprise at all considering my background and history with space ship games. It should be expected. This isn't any big claim coming from a life-long SFB expert.

But, in the end...

Since I can't make the entire PDU anymore, and could probably only make it 4 or 5 games into it, I've realized that it isn't even the thing that I'd most like to do anymore. Of course I'd still love to make the abbreviated four game version of the PDU that I mentioned earlier, but after thinking this through over the last few months... at this point the thing I'd most like to do is return to my original dream, making the SFU computer games. The PDU only came into being because I assumed that I would never find a way to make SFU computer games. There are three truly amazing games to be made here... Star Fleet Battles, Federation & Empire, and Mission made as a sort of alternate type of “first person from the bridge” SFB game (which is what it already is). Just as in the PDU, you need to set the stage and establish the “universe/canon” before “flying a starship simulator/adventure game through it”. So the player knows a background, lore, and strategic situation of the universe that they are exploring in the adventure game. The same would be true for the Star Fleet Battles game, SFB would be better with a pre-established universe to exist within. So I think they would be best done in the order Federation & Empire, Star Fleet Battles, Mission. F&E sets up the universe, SFB teaches the player about the ships in great detail, and then F&E+SFB provide a massively huge established universe to “fly a starship through” in every Star Trek fan's “dream game” Mission. Unless I get hit by a bus or something, I would almost certainly live long enough to actually finish this! I have nothing to do with them, I was on their staff for a few years about 25 years ago, but ADB can authorize SFU computer games through Paramount. They have in the past with Star Fleet Command, so I know that this is a possibility. And then if I lived long enough to make a fourth game, which I probably will, it could be Territories.

There is a great asset that goes along with this as I am sure that the SFB Staff/community would be eager to offer their advice through forums in the making of these games. They still exist, and I'm sure most of them would be thrilled to help make these the best games that they could be. These games would have a couple dozen or so “assistant designers” who have made these games a part of their lives. One of the most well-known sayings within the SFB community is “SFB is not a game, it is a lifestyle choice”. These are some of the people who wound up truly living up to that old saying. I've said many times before that I would make truly revolutionary space combat games. If I used my lifetime of contemplating how to translate the SFU into computer games, which in a way is what the PDU is, in guiding the remaining SFB community who cares to help through translating these games too the computer then you could multiply what I've said about that in the past by at least 10. Most of these people have been doing this for 30 years or more, they really know what they are talking about. These really would wind up being some very special games. And we'd get to leave behind the legacy to the next generation of what so many of us thought was so special that we devoted a part of our lives too it.

This doesn't lose Rube, either. Mission is a very different Rube than Territories, but Mission is still Rube. SFB already has Rube's cardio-vascular system running through it, its Impulse Chart, and would also be a “Rube game” (the way I would make it, anyway). As an example of what a computer game version of SFB would be like, and one of the things that would be so revolutionary about it, there is no better example than the AI. When I apply Rube to SVC's original Impulse Chart in SFB... Rube “knows the future” through a “trick” similar to a radio station delay. Think of that “time bar” in BSG: Deadlock. A “moment of time containing reality” or, in SFB terms, “plotted movement”. The AI “knows the future”. The SFB community has the tactics of this down to a science in this particular game, and in general... really. We know the movement plot for all of the ships for ¼ turn in advance throughout the turn, and we have 40 years of accumulated knowledge to now “choreograph” what will happen through “automated rules” (AKA “AI”). There are about a dozen major “empires” on the Federation & Empire map. Each empire's ships would use their best tactics, because we already know what those tactics are. We aren't guessing, “blindly blundering forward through trial and error praying that it works out in the end”, we already know how it works. The SFB-inspired Rube-powered AI of both Pirate Dawn and Mission, which is partly based on the concept of the “Oblique Option Point” (there are many “Option Points” in this system), is the foundation of how this will all be made to work in single player. The SFB community, and Rube, would astonish you with how “intelligent” the enemy “AI” in this game would appear too be. Rube knows the future before it happens, “Rube plans the future”, and we know how to use that information. On “Hard” mode (the best “AI” that we can make) it will be a long time before a new player gets to the point of consistently winning but, just like my IKNFL mod of FPS: Football, it would be a game that you love to lose because of how you lose. You'll just get out-played by our automated rules that already know what you've decided to do ¼ turn in advance. The SFB Staff and a bunch of Rated Aces will be kicking your *** by remote control;-)

And then online, if you want to fight against other people online with space ships in a “thinking man's space ship game” then you'll never play a better game than my SFB computer game would be. It's probably not going to draw an FPS-sized audience, but it would be a great game online with a huge variety of well-established scenarios for up to six players. There are hundreds of scenarios to choose the best and most popular from to use in the computer game, including many great “beer & pretzel” scenarios that are designed purely for fun without regard to realism. For example there is the original “Space Hockey” scenario, “That's My Freighter!” where three players/ships fight to tow a freighter off of their own map edge zone, or the very popular 6-player conundrum known as the “Circle of Death”. SFB has way too many good scenarios to even use in a first release computer game, we'd be picking from just the very best of them. SFB is, of course, also based on original series Star Trek, so now you would not be relying on my PDU story and would instead be making games based on a story you already know is very popular. I was never able to make SFB play itself in any kind of good way, other than cheating with “The Orb”, but as a computer game that becomes an easy thing to do. The AI of this game, which is really the AI of Pirate Dawn and Mission, would amaze the gaming world. It really would. But then, that's Rube for you...


*** One Last Try ***

Space ship games should be a major genre in computer games, right up alongside FPS, RTS, and RPG games. But they never have been. This is because nobody in the computer game industry that has ever made one understood how space combat actually works, the “science of 2D ACM without gravity”. If you don't know that, then you can't make a space ship game that actually works. You can't even design sensible ships. It's not your fault that you make such primitive and terrible space ship games (“No offense...” - Rodney Dangerfield). It's Hollywood's fault. You try to imitate what you see in Star Trek and other sci-fi movies and TV shows, and bring that to life in a game. You stick with their “canon”, which is just a writer's imaginings that is not based on reality. This is the root cause of why you have never been able to make space ship games. They are always a disaster because those Hollywood writers don't have the slightest idea of how space combat actually works. They don't care how it works, and they don't need to know. What you see on TV and in the movies is nonsense, and you wind up trying to re-create that nonsense imagined by story tellers who don't need to care about how it actually works. You can't make it work that way because it doesn't work that way, so in the end you wind up with a complete disaster because it is based on nonsense.

I make space ship games based on how the combat actually works. This has nothing at all to do with what you see in sci-fi TV shows and movies, which has nothing to do with the reality of “2D ACM without gravity” which are like laws of physics. You don't get to decide how space combat is going to work and then make it work that way. It works the way that it works and there is nothing at all that you can ever do to change that. And when you don't know how it works, you wind up with a disastrous mess every time. This is why you don't make very many space ship games even though it should be one of the most popular genres, and it would be if it were ever actually done right. It's because every time that you try, you run into the brick wall of the “laws of physics” of “2D ACM without gravity” which you know nothing about. And then, as a direct result of this, the game you try to make winds up being a complete disaster almost every single time. Faster Than Light is one of the very few exceptions... because it is the classic Star Fleet Battles Ship System Display and Energy Allocation Form, and because there is no movement. If there was movement FTL would have been every bit as big of a disaster as all of your other space combat games have been. You can see this where they get the higher levels of “Evasion” in FTL backwards with diminishing returns. Higher levels of “Evasion” (speed) should provide even higher bonuses than lower levels, diminishing returns is backwards from how it should actually work. Even in simplifying all of maneuver into a simple “Evasion Rating”... you still managed to get even just that exactly backwards.

The computer game industry generally doesn't make space ship games because you've learned over time that you can't. They turn out terrible every time because you don't know how space combat works, and if you don't know how it works then you can't make a good game out of it. All you can do well with space ships is put them into a Civilization-like game. You often ask me “why should anyone hire you and risk millions of dollars making a game” and the answer to that question is “why would you hire anyone else and risk millions of dollars on them making a space ship game when they don't actually know anything at all about the subject”. There is only one group of people in the world who has this all worked out, and there is only one person among that group who has spent his entire life working out how to translate it all to computer games. I would truly revolutionize this genre, I really would, and that should not come as any surprise. That should be expected from the SFB Staff, you should expect that one of us would make a very special computer game in this genre. You would want me making space ship games for you because then you would completely dominate that genre, which should be among the most popular genres but isn't because your space ship games are always so bad. That's why you should be interested in me making space ship games, because then you would be the dominant maker of space ship games. If you were going to do it well, you would have done so long ago at some point during the last 30 years.

Whether it is with my own Pirate Dawn Universe, the “second generation” of the Star Fleet Universe, or with the original Star Fleet Universe, I would make some very special space ship games. And, of course, the original Star Fleet Universe is Star Trek... and I'm sure that the current SFB Staff would be eager to “do their adviser thing” with me for SFU computer games. So in that case it would be a group of experts with decades of experience in making these kinds of games. Either way, PDU or SFU, GSC Rocinante would go on its “Mission” in the starship simulator dream game of every Star Trek fan who has ever played a computer game. “My other Civilization”. It's only a matter of whether it would be a Galactic Survey Cruiser of my own Advanced Ghost Fleet or of Gene Roddenberry, Franz Joseph Schnaubelt & Steve Cole's Federation Star Fleet, which is really the original Federation Star Fleet. The games that you have made within this genre over the last three decades prove that you simply aren't in the same league with us when it comes to space ship games. I don't say this to be insulting, but to after 30 years try and finally get the point across... it's like comparing a professional athlete to little league players. There is no competition out there when it comes to space ship games, just as if John Elway were going up against 12-year-olds. Again, I don't say this to insult you but to try to make the point that I have been trying to make for 30 years now. We are on a completely different level than you are when it comes to space combat games, and this is provably true. If you had everything for SFB you'd have 2 four-inch binders containing about 1,000 pages of rules, and 4 four-inch binders containing well over 2,000 ships across nearly 40 different “empires”. You'd also have another 500 pages of things like the Tactics Manual, and about 5,000 pages worth of Captain's Log. If you like that, a splinter group of SFB Staff also made Babylon 5 Wars which is essentially a slightly different take on SFB set within the Babylon 5 universe. There's another 1,000 or so pages of material for Babylon 5 Wars, too. We really do have this whole space ship thing down to a science.

Why would you want me making space ship games for you? Why would you take that chance on anyone other than me? You've been imitating the Star Fleet Universe, most often without even realizing it, for over 30 years now. Why not let one of the people who has lived it show you how to do it right for a change? And who better than the only one of us who has devoted their lives to translating it all into computer games. Whether it is done as the PDU or SFU... Why would you not want to completely dominate an entire genre? I really can do that for you, easily. That would be a very easy thing to do, there is no competition out there for us in this genre and there never has been. So I am here, waiting to hear from anyone out there who wants to to make some very special space ship games. Whether they are PDU or SFU, or anything else for that matter. The SFU is Star Trek and already firmly established, and the remaining SFB community who has lived it as their hobby for decades would most likely be thrilled to offer their advice in making the SFU games. The PDU has “next generation” designs of the ships, weapons, and systems that work better as a computer game than the ships, weapons and systems of the SFU would because they were designed too from the ground up. The PDU also has the MTV video-Rush-classic rock thing going for it, and the uniquely original mythology written around the music that has been weaving itself into existence across all 12 games over a period of 20 years now. Either way we could make some very special strategy war games in space that are nothing at all like Civilization and focus on the war, tactical space combat games, starship simulators, or simple arcade-like action games (like Pirate Dawn or The Trade Wars, where the combat is like Star Control and other early “top down” arcade games). It's really not your fault that you can't make space ship games, it's Hollywood's fault. Mission could show you the way...


“Dreams don't need to have motion to keep their spark alive.” - Neil Peart

Happy Birthday America!!! In return for all that you have done for me, here is the best birthday present that I could possibly give back too you... The Long Telegram of July 4th, 2017!

*** *** *** Long Telegram of July 4th, 2017 *** *** ***

The Truth is Out There...

*** *** Territories Timeline (1945-1989) *** ***

I hadn't been planning on making any more posts here, this is definitely the last one and I will just let this stand here now as my only means of at least telling a part of the story of my Pirate Dawn Universe. But due to current events, and especially “news”, I just had to post this. It's just too relevant and information that America absolutely needs to know right now, not years from now (if ever) when Territories is released. I don't say this in any kind of self aggrandizing way, or because I think that I am some great writer (I am most definitely not, I get by). I say this purely due to the content and subject matter, and the nation's current intense interest in this subject matter. You might very well consider this to be among the most fascinating things that you have ever read in your life! Again, not because I am some great writer, but because it is not at all the history that you know, and yet it is the true history of the these years. Or, at least, a WHOLE LOT more accurate than the history that you think you know. A little bit at a time, I have spent nearly 20 years writing the entire PDU timeline, and the 20th century is by far the most extensive and detailed era of the entire thing (which goes from 4.5 billion BC to 4288). The years leading up to 1945 can be found in the Armageddon Chess file attachment found on this same blog, and you could just skip all the way up to the first timeline entry regarding Karl Marx, in 1850, if all you are interested in are the events leading up to the focus of this timeline.

Although I have spent the last year finalizing this into a complete first draft up to 1989, the core of this timeline really has existed largely as it is, as far as the major points and story-lines go, for about 20 years now. This was not written in response to recent news and current events, although over the last year it has been finalized to first draft form and so it does now directly reference current events in subtle, and sometimes not-so-subtle, ways. Like a lot of sci-fi, this prequel/prologue story of the PDU now uses a “sci-fi” story to comment on present day issues. This was not the case for the last 20 years and this has existed largely as it is for a very long time now, the core of it long before 911 ever even happened. This is an important point, because it is so relevant to the biggest news story taking place for the last year or so... which is why I am posting it.

The Armageddon Chess timeline is really just the beginning of the Territories timeline cut off at 1945 where the new game Armageddon Chess was inserted into it. When I finished what was needed for this blog and posted that, I immediately went to work completing the Territories timeline up to 1989. So now the entire opening prequel timeline of the PDU up to Territories is ready to go in terms of being the starting point, nowhere near the final draft, of a game development process. The file attached to this post is the end of the Territories timeline leading up to the game, covering the years 1945-1989 (the Cold War). Even if you have no interest what-so-ever in the Pirate Dawn Universe... read this. If you have any interest at all in the true nature of the relationship between the United States and Russia, read this. If you want to understand why minor nations cannot be allowed to have nuclear weapons, read this. If you want to know the real, true answers to questions of Russian interference in US elections, read this. If you want to know the true nature of Russian intelligence, read this. If you spend all night watching the news... DEFINITELY READ THIS!!!

And then, just for the heck of it, and because it is such a mind-numblingly simple thing to do... I figured I'd fully explain the Iraq War in a single sentence.

CNN, Fox News, MSNBC... None of these people have any idea what they are talking about!!! The term “ignorant babbling morons” immediately comes to mind. I am half of a “WWII Grognard”, that was my parent's “Baby Boomer” generation. My generation didn't have a name, we came between “The Hippies” and “Generation X”. We might have been called “The Progressive Rock Generation”, but we weren't. I know a lot more about WWII than most, but not as much as the true “grognards” of my parent's generation who were closer too it than I was. I am a “Cold War Grognard”, and I know as much about the Cold War as the Baby Boomer “grognards” (that means “really serious WWII buff”, for you kids out there) knew about WWII. In addition to this, I am in a unique position to know more about this than I should. Without elaborating further... this is the “Family Business” that I was never directly involved with, but three of my closest relatives were. I know more than I should. If you keep my real last name in mind, there are even a few very clear hints at what I mean by this contained within this timeline that I am pretty sure you won't miss when you get too them.

Because it is mostly only vaguely alluded too in this timeline I will say it here directly. Please don't go off on a tangent calling me a nutcase, or reflexively shouting out “McCarthyism!!!” as a Pavlovian response, unless you have actually taken the time to read this. I really do know what I am talking about when it comes to this subject, and I really do know more than I should. When you are finished reading the attachment to this post you will, hopefully, at least understand why I say this......

Former FBI Director James Comey is a true, actual, real-life traitor! There is no question about that, nothing else can possibly be true. When you are finished reading this you will at least understand that I have a real justification for saying this, it is not just coming out of the blue, and has absolutely nothing to do with ANYTHING being said on the news today. Nothing else can possibly be true, James Comey is a traitor. There is no question about this at all. He can't possibly not know the truth! For the good of the nation James Comey should be tried, easily convicted, and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole as an example to others of the consequences of committing a major act of treason against the United States. Again, before you start posting insults below in the comments... read this attachment. Then insult away if you want, but I won't be responding to the comments of this post if it goes in that direction. I know better than to bother wasting any time taking on the tactics of Vladimir Lenin directly, you can't win. That's one of the things that makes his ways so effective. I've said all I have to say on the matter in the timeline.

“Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels – men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, may we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.” - Dwight Eisenhower

By the way... I have very little interest in politics and, while I would rather see any republican as president over almost any democrat for reasons that this timeline will make crystal clear, there are only three politicians of recent history that I actually admire and would actively support. John F Kennedy being one of them. Although I am thrilled to see any republican back in charge of the country, I am not a “Trump Supporter”. I am not a “Trump Hater”, either. I could take him or leave him so far, he has done absolutely nothing wrong yet nor is their any reason to suspect that he will. He has done nothing to make me say “Wow, another Dwight Eisenhower!!!”, either. So this has absolutely nothing to do with the nonsense of post-911 politics. I have never in my life even registered to vote, let alone actually voted. I really don't care. All I care about when it comes to this subject is America itself.

I know that I'm not going to change the world with this. In fact, as far as I know not a single person has even read any of the attachments that I have posted up until now. If you even so much as like America just a little bit, read this one. I'd be very surprised if five people have read any of the other ones. But I just can't take it anymore, everything being said on the “news” is so totally and completely backwards from reality. About 100 years worth of reality, and history. I just wanted this posted here since it is all that puny, insignificant little me has the power to do about it. If you really want to know the truth about Russian intelligence, and their long history of interference in American presidential elections, this is probably the closest that you are ever going to get too it. It really is.

And, of course, if by some miracle you have actually read the timeline up to Armageddon Chess, then this is also the end of that story leading into the true first game of the Pirate Dawn Universe... Territories: The Hot War. But this post really is much more about current events and the “news” than it is about my games, although it is also the end story of the Armageddon Chess timeline as well.

Oh... I almost forgot, a few things... There is some confusion because I am also, I would think obviously, writing my own story into and around all of this. The most obvious example being that anything relating to the “Dhalrhynthian Empire” is, I would think it would go without saying, made up other than it being loosely based on actual “UFO lore” which, as far as I know, is not real history. Although I would certainly agree that some rare multiple witness/radar events such as Belgium in 1990, and the Phoenix Lights in 1996, would most accurately be termed “unconfirmed incidents”. Specifically, the timeline entry explaining the creation of the CIA is particularly muddled by the UFO story line. It should usually (most of the time) be easy to tell when I am telling a story and when I am conveying real, true history. For example, everything not directly being affected by the Dhalrhynthian story in both the CIA and DIA creation timeline entries is the true story of that, as much as the little that I know of it anyway. The entire story of Soviet intelligence throughout the timeline is entirely the true history of Soviet intelligence to the extent that I know that story. That is NOT made up!

By the way, if you know a lot about the subject of UFO's I was once, from the late 80's to mid 90's, the man who was fairly well-known within that community as “The One & Only Great Wall Debunker” (don't ask, it's a long story... of that “Wacky Wall”;-) All I will say here is that Occam's Razor cuts a whole lot deeper than the UFO debunkers would have liked for it to cut. I am a true skeptic. Debunkery is “dishonest trickery” and in the face of debunkery... the “Great Wall of China” does not exist. “What's more likely? That your photograph is a picture of an ordinary castle wall, or that it is a 2,000 mile long wall, built over a mountain range... to keep out 'evil spirits' from the north? Don't worry, even if that Wacky Wall isn't there, I promise the 'evil spirits' won't get you.” And that is just the beginning. In over three years of what was called “The Great, Great Wall Debate” not one shred of evidence (NOSE), their own term thrown back in their face, was ever presented that survived their own tactics being used against them which were, of course, the tactics of Vladimir Lenin. Oh... even after all these years, I still love it so much!

Another, what should be obvious, example of an entire story-line running through this that is just my storytelling is that almost everything related to “Area 51” or Zhitkur at Kapustin Yar is also a part of my made-up story. Even the NATO code name “Bear's Den” for Zhitkur is something that I made up for my story. Those places both exist, they both have underground facilities, and the place that you know as “Area 51” really was originally called “Paradise Ranch”. That's all I know, everything else about that story-line is just me writing the most interesting story that I can for my universe... and the entirely made up “global underground base network” that you will read about becomes very important and relevant in the sci-fi eras of the story of the PDU. I would think that this is not real should be obvious too, but my experience with this subject matter tells me that I should mention it anyway. Of course I don't know any classified secrets, but really do know a lot more than I should. What I actually know is what I have great confidence is a supremely accurate perspective on the history of the Cold War from a few people who were in exactly the right places to know the truth, accumulated over a lifetime of intense interest in the subject and being around these people for my entire life. But mostly, this was my grandfather's view of the world, imparted to me during my youth... and he really was in the right place to have a pretty good vision and perspective of it all. You'll see...

Very little of this is my story, most of what is in this timeline is the true history of the Cold War to the best of my knowledge... except for “Full House” and all of the related events leading up too it. Full House is just my storytelling inspired by the mysterious near-nuclear incident of Sept 26th, 1983 which (the real claimed history) is almost certainly not the true story of the events of that day. The real world story of the Able Archer 83 “exercise”, which began exactly one week after that, is also almost certainly not the true story of that event either. But I just use Able Archer as it is in real-life anyway, confusing huh? Very few people are aware of these events that are almost certainly a cover up of the real events that really did take place during that month, because very few people ever had a “Grognard” level of interest in the Cold War. The month of September 1983 made the Cuban Missile Crises look like a era of great cooperation and diplomacy between the superpowers. The downing of KAL-007 was a part of these events, as was the KGB's likely assassination of Soviet Premier Yuri Andropov at the end of the year. It is almost a certainty that a nuclear war very nearly occurred, TWICE, during the month of September 1983. By comparison, a nuclear war did not at all nearly occur during the Cuban Missile Crises, that was a walk in the park compared to the real world events of September 1983. I don't know the details, only the stories of the cover up which have been the inspiration for what that I call “Russia's Year of Hell”. The version of these specific events of 1983 presented in my “Long Telegram” is just my “X Files-like” imaginings of what might have actually happened during the year 1983 based on the real, actual events that clearly did happen in real-life but for which I, of course, only know the “conspiracy theory” version of based on what little is actually known to the public. My “Full House” is probably a valid (although very, very dangerous) strategy, and probably would nullify MAD, but is only my personal theory of what might have occurred during September 1983 and not, as far as I know, real history. Although something along the lines of Full House might actually be what happened on that day, it makes a lot of sense on many different levels for a lot of different reasons, and it falls perfectly in-line with what was going on in the world at the time. Of course, that doesn't make it true. Don't skip ahead to this, it won't make much sense too you if you do and is essentially the big grand finale end of the story of the entire Territories timeline. You really do need to know the history leading up too it since the end of WWII to understand, you really do. And right now you don't know that history, no matter how much you might think that you do. You are about to learn it.

I should also point out for the game industry audience that this is the end of this story line within the PDU. The Hot War changes all of this. The story moves on into the sci-fi universe after this which is intentionally never political, with regards to the real world, and the “Secret War” instantly becomes a thing of the distant past. This is not at all what the PDU is about, this is only what the prequel story that leads into it is about. And, if you hadn't noticed, the “Grey's” will not be a part of the PDU story either. If you had read the Armageddon Chess timeline then you should have noticed that they are going extinct during this part of the timeline. The whole point of them being in this prequel story is to kill them off so that they are acknowledged for the people who would otherwise think that they were “missing”, and then by the time the story gets to the sci-fi eras they are not there anymore. I didn't want them as a “Stellar Nation” in the PDU. The PDU story is written for kids, because kids play games. I have violated that in this for the adult audience that this version is meant for. There are some things that go beyond my definition of PG-13. Those things would be edited if this was actually being made as a game for kids, as would all of the current event “news” related things. Or, to say it in the terminology of the PDU, “Balance” would be restored;-)

And, finally, I am “Social Media Challenged”. It's a thing that is beyond my generation and that I have never had any interest in. So I have no idea how to effectively distribute information over the internet. All I know how to use that are still in use today are e-mail, websites, and forums. If you are on America's side in the “Secret War” that has been taking place since the 1920's, as you can read all about in the attachment to this post, and want to actually try and do something about all of the ridiculous nonsense that you have seen on the news for the last year, here is a plan for you. Find a copy of George F Kennan's original “Long Telegram” (which is easy to do) and combine it with my “Long Telegram of July 4th, 2017” into a single file... or whatever it is that you “Social Media” types would do with a thing like that... and post it, re-tweet it... whatever it is that you do to give something a chance at “going viral”, or at least reaching a wide audience. I don't know how to do that, all I can do is post it here as a part of my preview presentation of the Pirate Dawn Universe. If you'd like to see this reach a wider audience, then you will have to try to make that happen yourself, because I don't know how too. People who are old enough to know what a “picture disc” was generally don't know anything about “Social Media”.

The Cold War came to an end, but that had no effect what-so-ever on the Secret War that has been taking place since the 1920's. All that the end of the Cold War meant was that Russia had lost its “colonies”. Really, they are still the Soviet Union today, nothing changed at all other than that the Soviet Union lost its colonies. Other than that, absolutely nothing ever changed at all. Everyone in the American intelligence community knows the history that you are about to read, in fact they know much more than I do. Obviously. Including the treasonous former FBI Director James Comey. So read away & enjoy... or pull your hair out as the blood veins in your temples burst in an uncontrollable rage... depending on how successfully you've been brainwashed by Russian intelligence and their army of Vladimir Lenin's Useful Idiots in America.


Marc “Kavik Kang” Michalik

Lost Art Studios

“I wish that I could live it all again!”


“Against the run of the mill, static as it seems, we break the surface tension with our wild kinetic dreams” - Neil “Professor Pratt” Peart, High God of the Drum Kit

Happy Birthday America!!!


“The best games are educational.” - The Avalon Hill Gang

Download the Long Telegram of July 4th, 2017 here...



*** Ok... The True Final Word on Rube... ***

I wanted the last post to be the last post of this blog, but I don't want this to end like it is ending. I though by this point injecting aEURoeOne Flash of Pirate LordaEUR? into what was being said would be at least a little funny to the audience at this point, and at least not cause a big stir. And it didn't really cause a big stir, but did annoy a few people. That was entirely my fault, and I didn't mean to do that. I really thought it would be at least a little funny at this point, and probably is to anyone who has actually read it all... but I'm sure most who have looked at it have just barely skimmed it. If anyone has read it... I was really thinking going into this that I couldn't lose because even if nothing came of it I would at least finally find out what people thought of the story. I'd love to hear what people think of the story, people who have actually read it. For example, if you read enough to realize who Cindy really is I'd really like to know what you think of it. I know already that it could be vastly improved by an experienced editor, I'm no great writer... I am really more wondering about the story itself.

Obviously, I don't want to reveal so much about Rube that I wind up watching other people making games based on it while I am still not making games. But I thought I would do this one last post to clear up some things about it so that it makes a little more sense too you. Territories is not The Matrix, it is the fundamental basis of what could be turned into something like the Matrix. Rube is not AI, Rube needs AI. Rube is not a cyberworld, Rube is the God of a cyberworld. The aEURoedigital worldsaEUR? you create... Rube needs that. The AI you create... Rube needs that, too. You are the right people to make Rube. In fact, just like the hobbyist game industry... in a way you have been working on Rube all this time without realizing it. Rube is not Avalon Hill or SFB. Rube is the system developed by AH and ADB brought to the world of computer games and simulations. I never wanted to make board games. Rube is the result of working out how to make computer games the Avalon Hill/Steve Cole way. Rube is the skeleton and structure of an artificial world, not the artificial world itself. It is both time and reality within that artificial world.

When you tell me that you are already far along in working on something like this... I know you are. But you aren't working on Rube. You don't have an equivalent to Rube. You are working on what I call the aEURoeActive/Passive MapaEUR?, the world that Rube is the God of. Rube needs an Active/Passive Map, too. Just like you can see in the first post in this blog. Rube is a long way from being anything as advanced as the Matrix you envision from the movies. For example, the aEURoehumansaEUR? of any version of that you tried to make now would be as aEURoeintelligentaEUR? as you could make them. You know better than I do the current state of that kind of AI, whatever it is... that is one thing holding Rube back from becoming truly something like The Matrix. Sheer content is another. For example, the aEURoefirst pass MatrixaEUR? probably only has two or three dozen different insects in it... 100 years later it might finally have 100,000. We are still nowhere close to being done with insects... if you are shooting for something like the flawless reality seen in the movie. I'm not saying it is that next week, that is what it could one day become.

But there isn't much practical reason for anyone to ever take it that far because The Matrix serves no real practical purpose that I can see other than as a holodeck or making games. A far more simple version is all that science or entertainment is ever likely to want. Rube really is akin to a General Theory of Relativity of simulation design, arrived at over a period of 70 years by many people. Not just me. If you really do understand simulation design then you should recognize the profound implications of a functioning simulation of God. I know with certainty that Will Wright understands this because the original idea of this comes from the same source material as both Sim City and Spore. A simulation of God is a aEURoeuniversal simulationaEUR?. An artificial universe that can be anything you choose for it too be. Rube is not your cyberworld, Rube is the God of your cyberworld. Whichever cyberworld you build to aEURoeput inside of itaEUR?. I can't build the world, only you can build the world. I can only build Rube. Rube is time combined with reality within your cyberworld. Look at the first post in this blog again and notice the aEURoeSoul RubesaEUR? or aEURoeAscendant CandidatesaEUR?. You won't decipher how this all works from them, but those are very important to how all of this works and they are a part of my Attached AI. Even the SFB crowd doesn't realize what they are looking at there. But those aEURoeSoul RubesaEUR? are where much of what is not making any sense too you lies.

Rube is very real, and it really is very important. Not because I am smarter than anyone else, I didn't come up with this out of the blue. And, you know, a lot of those who came before me were doctors, scientists, and engineers. That's who played ASL and SFB, a lot of the players anyway. ASL was legendary for attracting military officers, historians, medical doctors, and engineers. SFB was just as famous for attracting people from those same professions, but with SFB you can throw in the propulsion engineers and NASA scientist types. Kids played Monopoly and Risk in those days, there were no computer games. The gaming world was a very different place in the 1970's and 1980's. These are the types of people who were playing these games and suggesting improvements too them for decades. It was a pretty serious group of people. This is where Rube comes from, decades of development on an artificial aEURoetreadmill of timeaEUR?.

As for aEURoeknowing the futureaEUR?... you can aEURoeknow the futureaEUR? and I went out of my way to give an example of a method you use where you aEURoeknow the futureaEUR?. It's simple, I know. And you don't really aEURoeknow the futureaEUR?, I know that too. But it is exactly this type of trick, or another Rube uses in one of the games is similar to a radio station delay, that Rube can use to do certain things where, in effect, Rube can allow the AI to aEURoeknow the futureaEUR?. Rube does literally plan the future, that is one of the primary ways that Rube functions. Rube plans to future of every Soul Rube in it's reality. You use LOD techniques to make a world only exist when it needs too... that is an important part of the Active/Passive Map. In fact, that pretty much is the aEURoePassiveaEUR? side of the A/P Map. I am not saying that Rube is completely out of your realm, although I realize it might have been sounding like that. In the end if a computer version of Rube were made, Territories is the best way I have of doing that, it that would come as much from you as it would all those who have led up to it. Territories really would be 25% Avalon Hill, 25% Amarillo Design Bureau, 25% Lost Art Studios, and 25% you. We provide the cyberod, you provide the Active/Passive Map. I know... that seems completely backwards, doesn't it? Who would have guessed...

Marc aEURoeKavik KangaEUR? Michalik

Lost Art Studios

aEURoeI wish that I could live it all again!aEUR?

Ok... this really is going to have to be the last post, because I am out of Cindy songs that I am willing to give away...

*** *** *** A Final Word About Rube (Or... One Flash of Pirate Lord;-) *** *** ***

This will be the last post of this blog. If nobody in the modern game industry has any interest in Rube... Well... That is actually not surprising too me anymore. What I call the aEURoemodern game industryaEUR? might also be called the aEURoecomputer game industryaEUR?. It began in the early 1980's with the first commercial games. Infocom is traditionally considered to be the beginning of the modern game industry. These are things that you know, but unfortunately this is where what you know begins. People had actually been making aEURoeserious gamesaEUR? since the late 1940's. And really, even before that, as Charles S. Roberts and the original Avalon Hill gang were players of the aEURoeRuler & StringaEUR? games that originated in the 16[sup]th[/sup] century. You know these games... the little 3D dioramas with toy soldiers that real world military officers have been playing for centuries. You've seen these games in many movies, including one of James Bond movies. Yes, those were games... not toy soldier collections. That is where the industry that you work in ultimately comes from, those dioramas with toy soldiers that many colonels and generals still play to this day. The aEURoeRuler & StringaEUR? games originally came from... Chess. They were the aEURoenext generationaEUR? of Chess among the original aEURoehardcore gamersaEUR?, military men. There are a significant number of small aEURoegarage game companiesaEUR?, like DGS Games for example, that still make Ruler & String games today. Most are run by real-life military officers, as they always have been. This is the beginning of your own history. The 16[sup]th[/sup] century, not 1981 and Apple II games. But, right from the very beginning, you insisted that all of that had nothing to do what what you were doing. You were doing an entirely different thing. So you completely ignored centuries of knowledge of game and simulation design and began completely re-inventing the wheel from scratch just a little over 30 years ago. We started taking it farther than aEURoerulers & stringaEUR? in 1948, you started all over again and completely from scratch in 1981. We knew you were wrong about this right from the beginning, and that you would be doing NOTHING new... but you were certain that the computers meant that you were now doing a completely different and entirely unrelated thing.

You have never understood what our most sophisticated games actually were. And you still don't. We knew there was no difference, that you were not doing anything new because we understood that our games were already aEURoereal time gamesaEUR?. You did not, and still don't. I know. I was there. I've been here all along. To this day you still can not comprehend how a board game can be a aEURoereal time gameaEUR?. You still have no understanding of this at all, and question that it is possible if someone tries to explain it too you. (HINT: The pace at which time passes is not relevant... it's relative.) This is why you are completely incapable of even recognizing how important Rube is to what you consider to be aEURoeyour professionaEUR?. It's actually aEURoeour professionaEUR?. We are the NFL, you are the Arena Football League. We work aEURoein slow motion, under a microscopeaEUR? and you work in aEURoetrue real timeaEUR?... who do you think understands the details better? It all goes flying past you in real time. We simulate time and reality in slow motion, under a microscope. Which ultimately results in... Rube.

We are now so far ahead of you, having begun our work in 1948 while you started over from scratch in 1981, that the height of our work has now reached the level of being literally indistinguishable from magic too you. That's how far ahead of you we are. It really is. Rube says it all. We have now reached the point that we are so far ahead of you that our form of simulation design appears to be impossible magic too you. You aren't even interested in Rube, the ultimate evolution thus far of what you think you do, because it is so far beyond your knowledge base that you are completely incapable of even conceiving of its existence. This is exactly how far behind the actual professional game and simulation designers of this world that you really are. What we do now, in 2017, is literally indistinguishable from magic too you. You are the amateurs, we are the professionals... and this has always been the case. You've always had this completely backwards. You actually consider a recent graduate of the Devry School of Game Design to be a qualified game designer, and us 40 year veterans to not even be qualified in comparison too them. This is the extreme level of your arrogance. You are insulted by me? Are you kidding me? A recent graduate of the Devry School of Game Design knows pretty much nothing at all about game design and is not qualified to shine our shoes, and the only reason that any of us could possibly have to go to your nonsense aEURoegame design schoolsaEUR? would be to retrain the incompetent teachers there who have less than half the experience and knowledge that we do!!! Welcome back to reality...

Charles S Roberts & Avalon Hill set out, without really realizing what it was they were actually doing, to simulate time combined with reality. Who knew... they just thought that they were making WWII games. They made those old diorama ruler & string games producible as commercial products for the masses. They replaced the rulers & strings with hexes on a cheap cardboard map instead of a 3D diorama, shaded for elevation, and the expensive miniatures with cheap cardboard counters. This is what the early Avalon Hill games really were, commercially viable versions of the military war games that real world military men had been playing for centuries. They began quickly evolving the old ruler & string rules and soon arrived at the phased-turn system, which they then further evolved for about 30 years. The aEURoecash register exampleaEUR? that they apparently teach at the Devry School of Game design is actually a very rudimentary explination of Avalon Hill's early phased-turn system. In the end, Advanced Squad Leader, this had become very sophisticated with many sub-phases of phases... sub-phases of sub-phases, and so on. But this most sophisticated form of their phased-turns found in Advanced Squad Leader had actually been somewhat influenced by one of the many Avalon Hill-like hobbyist game companies that had emerged, Steve Cole's far more sophisticated version of Avalon Hill's phased-turns. which encompassed an even more detailed aEURoeImpulse ChartaEUR? with yet another entire Sequence of Play within each individual aEURoeimpulseaEUR? (or, aEURoemoment of time containing realityaEUR?). In some ways ASL takes some inspiration from SFB's more complex phased-turn system, which they had inspired to begin with, as a part of turning Squad Leader into the massive Advanced Squad Leader. When Steve Cole and Task Force Games made Star Fleet Battles they took over the development of the aEURoetreadmill of timeaEUR? that Avalon Hill had created gradually over decades through their ever-evolving phased-turn system.

Stephen V Cole and Amarillo Design Bureau took this a quantum leap forward with a warp powered version of AH's phased turn system called the aEURoeImpulse ChartaEUR?, which was itself merely the aEURoenew detail componentaEUR? encompassed by a very sophisticated AH-like phased-turn system. Avalon Hill made a wind-up clock, Amarillo Design Bureau turned it into an atomic clock... and I eventually turned it into, well, time itself. SVC and ADB, by the way, are in terms of longevity the most successful company in the history of the game industry and only Gary Gygax and Dungeons & Dragons have been more influential on your games than Steve aEURoeSVCaEUR? Cole and ADB. SVC's company began as Jagdpanther Productions in 1973. His company has continuously published games since then as Jagdpanther, then Task Force Games, and finally as Amarillo Design Bureau from 1973 to this very day. That's 44 years. ADB still releases several new products every year. Only Avalon Hill and TFG/ADB have ever succeeded in making games for 44 years. Avalon Hill existed for... 44 years. ADB will surpass Avalon Hill sometime this year as the most enduring game developer in all of history. Unlike Avalon Hill, the same man has been behind TFG/ADB all along making SVC unquestionably the most experienced game designer of all time. He also, by the way, practically invented the cooperative process by which you make games today. Only his friend, Steve Jackson, comes anywhere close in terms of longevity and sheer time. aEURoeThe StevesaEUR?, both of them in Texas, have been doing at this for longer than anyone else has ever done this type of thing... and both of them are still going strong to this day. You'd think that everyone in this business would know all about both of these two founding fathers of all that they do.

One of the many games to come out of Task Force Games over the years was the game you know today as aEURoeHeroes of Might & MagicaEUR?. Some of you probably already know that HoM&M began its life as aEURoeKing's BountyaEUR?. What you don't know is that King's Bounty was actually Task Force Games being ahead of its time, as usual, and with New World Computing (which had been formed by a group SFB Staff and SFB Rated Aces) attempted the first simultaneous release of a board game and computer game... King's Bounty. In the end they were actually released about 9 months apart, but we had tried to release them together. This was one of the big things that happened when I worked at TFG, along with the release of the final aEURoeCaptain's EditionaEUR? of Star Fleet Battles. The game that you know as Heroes of Might & Magic originally came from Task Force Games, as King's Bounty, just one of countless marks that Steve Cole and his company have left on your industry without you knowing it. His Star Fleet Battles, of course, is the Dungeons & Dragons of space ship games. Just as with D&D and your RPGs, there are very few space games you have ever made that don't trace their lineage back to Steve Cole and Amarillo Design Bureau in some way. You've never heard of SVC and ADB, but they have had a vast influence on you. As I've said before... Master of Orion, Sword of the Stars, and Faster Than Light should all have Star Fleet Universe labels on them! And those are just a few of the more prominent examples. We are invisible too you, but not unknown too you.

This 50 years of work by AH/ADB then wound up, through an accident of history, with me and my 20 years of developing my own Pirate Dawn Universe, really the aEURoeFifth GenerationaEUR? of the primary line of serious simulation design in all of human history. Checkers/Chess, Ruler & String games, Avalon Hill, Amarillo Design Bureau, Lost Art Studios (which is really just me). Rube is the end result of this 70-year long focus by AH, ADB, and in the end my LAS, on simulating the combination of time and reality on a table top. This is where Rube comes from... it's not just me. It comes from the first 70 years of the history of modern game and simulation design. It is the ultimate evolution of the first 70 years of modern game and simulation design. If the modern game industry is going to continue to ignore all of this... then the Matrix, a holodeck, and cyberspace will probably be lost to history. Because, ultimately, those things are where Rube will go. And it's not like someone else will just come up with the same thing later. Nobody is working or thinking along these lines anymore, if Rube dies with me it isn't coming back for at least 100 years... and possibly not ever. Nobody does this anymore, the few who have this knowledge are getting old now... and a fundamental component of Rube is my Attached Board Game AI, which has only ever existed in my unpublished games. This knowledge dies with us because you know little, if anything, about how this works and only our generation that lived through its development is likely to ever be able to see Rube in it anyway. And then without my Attached AI, which has never been seen before... there is no Rube. It's 1/3 of Rube and it only exists on my hard drive and in my mind. This isn't coming back any time soon, if it is lost now it is lost for a very long time.

Here is an alternate way I've come up with to describe Rube that is tailored to this audience, you. Programmers rather than game designers. Rube is a new aEURoepredictiveaEUR? design for a punch-card computer. A manually operated punch card computer running on a table top. aEURoePredictiveaEUR? is not the right word, Rube literally plans the future. It does not simply predict the future by, for example, knowing how long it will take a shot to travel a certain distance... and therefore you aEURoeknow the futureaEUR? and can predict where that projectile will be in the future. Rube writes the future of all of its reality. Rube can plan any future aEURoemoment of time containing realityaEUR?, for any and all individual aEURoeliving entitiesaEUR? within it, up until that moment happens. I am aware of how you use what you term aEURoepredictiveaEUR? mechanics to compensate for networking issues, so this is a concept that you are at least familiar with. Rube is not actually what you mean when you say aEURoepredictiveaEUR?, but this at least is an example of YOU aEURoeplaying with the futureaEUR? in a way that most outside of your field can not truly understand. I understand it, your aEURoepredictive mechanicsaEUR? are very simple compared to Rube, but this is something that you know and understand that might seem aEURoeindistinguishable from magicaEUR? to most outside of your field. It is also you using a far more simple means of aEURoeknowing the futureaEUR?... the basic idea is not completely alien too you. Just as I, or we (AH/ADB/LAS), have discovered a way to literally plan the future of reality. Simply knowing where an object will be in the future based on its speed and direction of travel is far less complex than Rube, but it is still a case of you also aEURoeknowing the futureaEUR?. It's not as unbelievable as it sounds on the surface, you have your own means of aEURoeknowing the futureaEUR? in a far more simple way. I'll just skip the part about how Rube is powered by moving through time to avoid confusing you... Oops, too late.

The best way for programmers to think of Rube is that it is a manually operated punch card computer operating on a table top. A good example is my current effort to make a board game version of Territories. Territories the computer game might have as many as 12000 cards in an aEURoeall out productionaEUR? of it. Territories the board game (think Cold War-gone-Hot War in 1989, Axis & Allies on steroids) can only come with about 200 cards at most. Its expansion would consist solely of 6 more decks of cards, another 300 or so cards. The board game with its expansion will only have about 500 cards, both for production reasons and the fact that players could not manage anything even close to a 12,000 card version of Rube operating manually on a table top. The computer game version of Territories might have over 100 different card decks, maybe even 500 card decks, 1000, infinity... any and all of which might potentially be running at the same time, many of which the player does not even know exist as card decks and are simply bringing the world around them to life. aEURoeI make games that play themselvesaEUR? is a line that has been in my mind since I was a little kid. One card deck, for example, might be what amounts to a James Bond mini-novel running in the background of my Cold War game. He keeps popping up and doing real things within the game that have a real effect on the game. Associate a movie with every James Bond card... and you've got Goldfinger running in the background, as a mere side story, of Territories the computer game. This is an example of what I mean when I say that Rube is exceptionally good at telling stories in a strategy war game. I bet you programmers are starting to at least see something here now... at least I hope this works better for you.

At the end of my all time favorite Star Trek episode, aEURoeA Piece of the ActionaEUR? (Book'em, Spocko!!!), Kirk says something like aEURoethe transtator is the basis of the transporter, the tractor beam, the phaser... much of our modern technologyaEUR?. Rube really is a thing like this. I know, it took me months to come to grips with having discovered this about 2 years ago now, but it really is. Rube is best described as aEURoeThe MatrixaEUR?... but the Matrix is a lot more than just the Matrix. After all, other than make games and simulations for science... what do you actually do with something like the Matrix? Well, as it turns out, the Matrix is more of a scientific theory, and basis of other things, than it is a thing in and of itself. It is a simulation of time combined with reality that looks for all the world like what we think of as aEURoeGodaEUR?. It is, effectively, a theory about the nature of how time and reality function together. I have come to realize that the Matrix can also very easily be an aEURoeinsubstantial holodeckaEUR?. Just think about it, and that one should make at least some sense too you all by itself. They really are almost the same thing, and Rube can also be a holodeck. Rube is also what we all think of as aEURoecyberspaceaEUR?. This is the latest thing I have realized about Rube. Rube is also aEURoerealistic cyberspaceaEUR?. Not crazy, off-the-wall, Lawnmower Man cyberspace, but it is the basis of an aEURoeall-knowing cyberspaceaEUR? that would make George Orwell's 1984 look like a story of hope for a more private future. Tron actually has it most right in this case... aEURoeMaster Control ProgramaEUR? would be a more accurate name for it than cyberspace. In fact it is largely my original aEURoeAttached Board Game AIaEUR? that I have just naturally used since I was 7-years-old, and is a fundamental part of how Rube works, that could be turned into something like cyberspace. What you might call aEURoeRube's Vision of CyberspaceaEUR? is in many ways actually a more simple and more primitive version of Rube than Territories is (but much more massive, obviously) and with it aEURoeattachedaEUR? to literally everything on the internet... I actually don't like what Rube could do to the internet. The aEURoetranstatoraEUR? was the basis of the transporter, tractor beam, and phaser in the fictional world of Star Trek. Here in the real world, Rube really is the basis of the Matrix, an insubstantial holodeck, and cyberspace. And, apparently... nobody cares.

Rube is the new height of the field of game and simulation design. It really is. It is the result of an entire lifetime of work based on 50 years of work that came before it, it's not just me. It really does come almost entirely from a blending of Avalon Hill's phased-turn system and their concept of aEURoeassembling the battleaEUR?, Amarillo Design Bureau's Impulse Chart with its embedded SoP, and my Attached Board Game AI. I'm not one guy saying I have come up with this out of the blue, this isn't coming from just me. In a way... there are centuries of evolution behind Rube that can be traced all the way back to chess! This is not just me...

Now that I think about it... Who would I have to convince to create an X-Prize for The Matrix? That would be perfect! It's a shame that isn't out there... I could fund my own private and seperate computer game industry dedicated solely to making the PDU, haha!

So this is the end of my last attempt at getting through too the computer game industry. If nobody contacts me... I won't be surprised, that's what I expect. You just aren't ever going to acknowledge any game design prior to 1981 as being relevant to your world, are you? You are going to continue to remain absolutely convinced that you are the leading experts in this field, aren't you? Really... It is not your field, it is our field. There is a sandbox at the edge of our field, and that is where you can be found playing with your plastic buckets and shovels angrily insisting that you are the greatest sand castle builders that the world has ever known... as we construct the pyramids right behind you without you even noticing that they are there. If you have no interest in Rube, then you have proven that this is exactly who you are. You really have. You really are just the kids playing in the sandbox at the edge of our field. aEURoeOne Flash of Pirate LordaEUR?;-)

aEURoeIf everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.aEUR? - George S Patton

Kavik aEURoePirate LordaEUR? Kang, Black Knights

Lost Art Studios

aEURoeHoney... I know what it's worth...aEUR?

I just can't make a blog post here without a song. So, just in case there is someone out there who has actually read the PDU story overview, Armageddon Chess, and the Pirate Dawn lore files... which there probably isn't... here's a bonus for you actually knowing the story (and I'd love to hear what you think of the story if there is someone out there who has gotten into it enough to have read it). One final Cindy McAllen song, since I have used her as the big star of the presentation here, that anyone who might have read the whole story that is here will appreciate. If you haven't read the story then you will just shrug and not get the coolness of this. As with all of the songs that I use, if you know the story then every single word of this is very meaningful and relevant... because the story is always derived from and written around the lyrics of the songs that tell the spine of the story. And I always make sure to tie every line to something somewhere in the story. I probably shouldn't be giving this one away, actually, but oh well... I'm pretty sure that nobody has read it anyway, so there probably isn't anybody that I am giving anything away too. You will all just shrug...

*** *** *** The Story *** *** ***

This blog was more about revealing the story that is wrapped around all of the games of the PDU than it was about the games themselves. I am revealing parts of the overall PDU story a little bit disconnected from each other to not reveal too much of the overall story. Most of what I am revealing in this presentation is actually not even from the games, it is mostly timeline and background for the individual games... the "spine" of the overall story of the universe. The details of the stories of the individual games are like the "ribs" of that "spine", and there is actually very little of that in this blog. I thought I'd skip ahead to The Trade Wars and Mission for a couple small interesting things from the first half of the PDU story to hopefully inspire more of you to actually download it and read it. These are also from the games, part of those more detailed "ribs" of the story that so little of any of this actually is. I think it's a pretty interesting sci-fi story, and this entire presentation is focused mostly on the story. So this is all mostly really just a sci-fi story to read, if you like those, and if you like it there is more than a book here. It's about 500 pages all together. It's intentionally a little disconnected, as I said, like a wide ranging preview. I like the story a lot these days, after it has spent so long evolving into what it has become after literally half-a-lifetime of working on it as a hobby. For most of that time I didn't like the story, and would just shrug and say "it's not like us AH/ADB guys were ever known as great story tellers"... so it's not like I think of myself as a real writer. It's just evolved into something that at least I now think is pretty good. Hopefully other people will like it too.

I make games, I'm only a story writer because I need to be for the games. But I think I've come up with something pretty cool over 20 years of evolving it, better than I should have been able to because of the long process of evolution through the games, and putting it together around the songs, that has created it as much as I have. So even if you aren't interested in the games I'd be interested in hearing about what people think about the story. I've been kind of interested in hearing people's opinions on that for quite a while now... from someone who has actually taken enough interest in it to have actually read it all, that is, if anyone even has. The unique way it is written for games, meant to be experienced over and over, means that it really is one of those stories that is better the second time around. Even in this "scattered preview" that is presented in this blog I have made it complete enough for there to be countless things that anyone who actually got into the story would start to figure out. For example there is a lot more that can be discerned about Cindy McAllen, Andrea Takahashi, Kavik Kang, Lord Vaith, Zeus, and Hades from what is here than you could possibly realize by simply reading it once like a book. In fact, in Cindy's case it is possible to realize who she really is from what is here, which is something I want the "fan boys" to be able to work out almost from the beginning of the story. I understand that it is a lot to take in and that not many people are likely to take an interest in it in this form. But if anyone out there actually has read it, I'd love to hear what you think of it. I thought, at the very least, I would finally get to hear what people thought of the story.

So here are a couple examples of story/lore taken out of actual games that might hopefully interest some people to look at more of the story, and then a little more about the actual games and how I personally rank my own PDU games among themselves and why.

*** *** MeeSo explain Gravity and the Places (Mission) *** ***

Here is some actual dialogue from Mission... so that you can actually meet Rube! This is something that would happen very shortly before the final quest of Mission (Cygnus X1/Hemispheres). After this there is something I posted in the forums earlier but I thought I would add here as well, a fake futuristic sport I created for the PDU called "Triangulation" or "Triple Threat Basketball". It's meant to be a real, playable sport... although I would imagine the rules would evolve a lot by the end of the first game anyone actually tried to play in real life.

MeeSo is Rube. A primitive and broken Rube (for now... he's working on it...). In the game universe MeeSo is a "Tressel". He is not the only one that is encountered over the course of the PDU but he is the most advanced, or maybe "least broken" would be more accurate, Tressel that is ever encountered. MeeSo is a very futuristic looking metallic sphere with a seam around his center. He looks a lot like "a really shiny perfect and pristine good-guy Borg Sphere", and he hovers in mid-air. MeeSo can also teleport himself, as far as can be discerned... any distance that he wants. The top and bottom half can seperate at the seam, and you can see his Active/Passive Map ("The Matrix") and the insides of the top and bottom hemispheres when it does, but this doesn't happen very often. MeeSo also, of course, has a Top Spinning Wheel of Time above him that is not connected too him in any way, but stays generally where it is (there is a little bit of drift/play when he moves, and it is one thing that is used to convey emotion). "Laser beams of light" shine down into the Sphere from the Impulses on the Wheel, more of them depending on how "active" MeeSo is, and there can be up to... infinity of them. MeeSo has a "Tank Tread" instead of a Bottom Spinning Wheel of Time... and he doesn't like to talk about his tread, to say the least. The "Tank Tread" is the primitive Territories version of Rube (Rube II) that is the basis of most of the games of the PDU. The Wheel and the Tread spin, wobble, whirl, etc, to convey emotion, as do the Star Trek-like always blinking lights on the outside surface of the sphere. In addition to not liking to talk about his Tread, MeeSo is also greatly offended by being called a "robot, android, cybernetic life form"... any of these types of terms both offend and annoy him, and none of them are accurate. MeeSo insists on being called MeeSo or, if you must define him, "an artificial universe". But he prefers just being called MeeSo, as long as you don't... abuse it, let's say. MeeSo is very sensitive about his name being used... badly.

MeeSo's main reason for existing as a character in the PDU is that MeeSo explains the science of the PDU. That's the main reason that MeeSo exists, to explain the pseudo-science of this universe. The "MTV music videos" of these games are essentially silent movies, and I always assume a minimal amount of voice acting in any non-music cinematic scenes for budget/production reasons. More would be great, especially in the three adventure games, but I always assume that there will be very little voice acting and that the story will be conveyed almost entirely through text. In the three games where MeeSo appears as a character, a large amount of whatever "voice acting currency" was available would be spent on MeeSo. If there won't be much talking, MeeSo will be the one doing most of the talking in the games that he... it... is in. MeeSo's voice would be very important and I've never been able to decide what it is. But until that works itself out I always hear MeeSo as one of my Italian relatives from New England... Joe Pesci, basically.

Oh. I almost forgot. MeeSo has a natural tendency to speak in the third person, being an artificial universe and all that. But the humans laugh at him whenever he does, so by this point he has learned to avoid doing that.

Rocinante encounters some type of micro-singularity that is emitting a powerful repelling force. The bridge crew is very confused by this, but MeeSo is excited and honored to see...

MeeSo: "The Force!!! It's Gravity... from another Place! This reminds me of that Place I went to when Mee... when I was just an Orb!"

Captain Hiro Tanaka: "MeeSo, it's not Gravity... It's the opposite of that. It is a force pushing away from a singularity."

MeeSo: "That is not the Force! The Force is special!!! That's not special, that's just Gravity. It's here, in this Place... and there's nothing special about that. The Force is what is creating the Gravity!"

Tanaka: "I'm pretty sure that's the wrong word, too, Meeso..."

MeeSo: "No... The Force is the Force and Gravity is Gravity. They can seem to be the same thing sometimes, but they are separate. They are two things, not one thing like you think you see and feel... but can't hear. Like Mee... I tried to explain before, but it upset Sam so much that you stopped me, you are in the wrong Place to understand Gravity."

Commander Samantha "Spirit Angel" Byrne (this is actually Cindy "Fallen Angel" McAllen in her first re-appearance as the Harlequin character of the PDU after having been absent from The Trade Wars), First Watch Helm: "What is so special about the Force, MeeSo?"

MeeSo: "The Force is not in this Place... so it's special! Anything that is not in this Place is special... in this Place anyway, because it shouldn't be here. That's what makes it special! The Force is what creates Gravity, without the Force... there wouldn't be any Gravity. The Force is Gravity, and Gravity is the Force."

Tanaka: "So how is this repelling for... gravity, that we are seeing here... how is this gravity, MeeSo?"

MeeSo: "Well, now this is a special case, you see. This thing shouldn't be here. It is in the wrong Place. And... without getting into a lot of details that you wouldn't understand anyway... the Gravity is working backwards because the Force of that thing is in the wrong Place. It's here, and it shouldn't be. And other than that, Mee... I think you are in the wrong Place to understand anything more than that."

Tanaka: "...and by 'thing', of course, you mean the singularity?"

MeeSo: "By your terminology, yes. But you are in the wrong Place to understand that thing, so your terminology doesn't help much. Does it? That 'thing' is life! It must be, it has both Gravity and the Force... therefore it is alive!"

Tanaka: "So you are saying that this anomaly is a living being, that is from another Place, that right now is here in this Place when it shouldn't be. And that this repelling... power, lets say... is "Reversed Gravity" because it is coming from something that is in the wrong Place... which is this Place! Do I actually have this one, MeeSo?"

MeeSo: "Very, very close... I'm so proud of you! Mee... I knew you were a smart guy... even said so. You almost got it, except that the Force is what you see and feel here in this Place. Not Gravity. Gravity is an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us. It penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together. You can't see, feel, or hear Gravity no matter what Place you are in. The Force combined with Gravity is the repelling 'power' that you feel from that thing. Neither one alone has any... 'power'... as you put it."

Byrne: "But Meeso, our reactor creates a gravitational force as a byproduct... Does that mean that it is alive?"

MeeSo: "Of course not, your reactor creates artificial gravity. What you call gravity... not the Force! The Force is special. Gravity without the Force is just... gravity. That doesn't mean that your reactor is alive, that's just fake gravity. It doesn't have the Force like real Gravity does. Gravity and the Force are related to the Places. They create the Places, at every level. That's part of the problem here, when you are in the wrong Place to understand then your causes can't see their effects... and you really are in the wrong Place to understand Gravity and the Force."

Byrne: "But you just said that the Force was what we felt and saw in this Place, not Gravity... Please don't tell me that we are back to the Places again, MeeSo, my brain still hurts from the last time..."

MeeSo: "How many times do I have to say it... You are in the wrong Place to understand, so your causes can't see their effects. This is all about the Places again! 'Wheels within wheels'... that's how grandpa KnowSo used to put it, and he really knew the Places pretty good. The electron orbits the nucleus, therefore the nucleus is alive. The moon orbits the planet, therefore the planet is alive. The planet orbits the star, therefore the star is alive. The star orbits the galactic core, so the core is alive. The galactic core is orbiting a very big thing, and that very big thing which Mee... make that "I"... am not about to even begin to attempt to explain to you... it's alive! It must be... its got both Gravity and the Force! 'Wheels within wheels... in a spiral array!' That's how grandpa KnowSo always used to put it!"

Byrne: "It's just like the last time all over again! I'm sorry Hiro, I don't care how much it offends him... ... MeeSo Confused!!!" {Mild laughter from background bridge crew, having heard that one from Samantha/Cindy before.}

Tanaka: "Thank you, MeeSo... It's a long way to Cygnus. I think we'd better get on with our survey... I certainly wouldn't want anything bad happening to Sam's brain by continuing this particular discussion again. Are we done here, Roger?"

Lt. Commander Roger Jennings, First Watch Operations: "Scanners were finished with it long before MeeSo was, sir..."

Tanaka: "Outstanding, Mr. Jennings. Samantha... Whenever you are ready, you may take us to our next target."

Byrne: "Following the Dream, sir..." <...and winks at the audience.> [The last time you saw Cindy before this game, two games ago in Manifest Destiny, "Follow The Dream!!!" was her most often used catchphrase. It becomes by far the most famous of several quotes associated with her from that era of history which anyone that was following the story would know at this point. In fact, Cindy's "Follow The Dream!!!" quote is part of what is on the dedication plaque on the back of Captain Tanaka's chair. The fictional bridge crew characters (and the audience by now) would all recognize this as their "somewhat spiritually nutty Aran helm officer" Samantha paraphrasing her Aran idol Cindy McAllen, but they would never imagine that Samantha actually is Cindy. Cindy McAllen died almost 200 years ago and they see Samantha, only the audience sees Cindy.]

...and the favorite sport of the colonies!

*** *** *** Triangulation, AKA Triple Threat (The Trade Wars) *** *** ***

The Colonial Triangulation League (CTL) was founded in 2162. Triangulation is the third most popular sport in the Confederation of Colonies. The sport started out slowly, barely drawing enough fans to keep the league alive throughout the first several decades, but has risen to become one of the few major professional organized sports played in the CoC. Soccer and basketball are the only other team sports played in most nations, each colony of course being a nation, and are the only sports that are more popular than Triangulation. Horse racing is the next most popular sport, it had a strong resurgence in the late 2100's and has steadily risen in popularity ever since. Baseball is still quite popular in many nations, but only in a small percentage of them. Baseball is among the most popular sports at an amateur and recreational level, much more so than even soccer, and is the most played sport in general. Football remains, as always, the most popular sport in America, but is played professionally nowhere else and has only a cult following among people outside of the United States. Anicetus Colony has a unique fascination with American football, and is the only place outside of the US where there are large numbers of fans of the sport.

Triangulation surpassed baseball in popularity in the late 23[sup]rd[/sup] century and today nearly rivals basketball, the sport that had originally inspired it. It is known as "the sport of the colonies". Triangulation was invented on Centauri Colony and today it is overwhelmingly the most popular sport on the colonies. Triangulation enjoyed an explosion of popularity during the 2240's coinciding with a marketing campaign calling it "Triple Threat Basketball". This was soon shortened to "Triple Threat" and today the two names are used interchangeably in reference to the sport, with Triangulation still common only among a minority of people on Earth... which still translates to a majority overall. All twelve of the colonies have Triple Threat teams and no other sport has a professional team on every colony. Centauri has two teams who share the same arena, and the rivalry between the Pathfinders & Volcanoes is probably the most intense of any two teams in the CTL. There are 36 teams in the professional league and hundreds of Triple Threat courts throughout the CoC, most of them on Earth of course, where it is played for recreation. Only baseball and basketball are more popular as recreational team sports.

*** *** Colonial Triangulation League Official Rules, 2286 Season *** ***

There have been no rule changes since the 2285 season. 2285 World Champion Beijing Swarm have relocated to their new Triangle of Victory Arena outside of Tianjin, China. The new arena is less than 50 miles from the location of the old facility, the team will remain Beijing Swarm. Milan Wave has renovated Skylight Arena in Milan, Italy (EU), which now complies with all current league regulations. Sudan Storm has replaced Alpha Arena in Khartoum, Sudan (AU) at the same location between seasons, the new Alpha Arena is in compliance with all CTL regulations and seats an additional 2,200 spectators. Arcas Colony has repaired the minor light refraction flaw in their outer dome, caused by a meteorite impact prior to the last season, that many players had complained about. Alexiares Colony has replaced the entire inner module in which their CTL arena resided and therefore has a new facility, which will retain the name Apollo Arena. In accordance with CTL Committee decision of 2282 the Los Angeles Spikes have relocated to Milwaukee, WI (USA) and are now the Milwaukee Spikes. Los Angeles, California (USA) is now in compliance with the two team per city or colony limit imposed by the 2282 ruling. There are no other team or arena changes for the 2286 season.

*** General Rules ***

All of the rules of basketball apply except as modified by these rules. Note the concept of the "Enabling Rule" being turned around backwards by this first rule. This rule means that unless there is an Enabling Rule then all of the rules of basketball apply. So, for example, if it is a foul in basketball then it is a foul in Triangulation... but the free throw rules of Triangulation slightly alter the penalties depending on which Zone the foul happens in. Similarly, there is no mention of the Key Area in front of the basket, so it exists and all of those rules apply to Triangulation. There is no Enabling Rule that says it does not exist, so it does.

There are 3 five-man teams.

Beginning The Game - The game begins with a 3-way tip off at the center of the Center Zone between the three team Captains. There is also a 3-way tip off to begin the second half.

Winning The Game - Each team starts with 88 points. When a basket is scored, 2 points are subtracted from both of the opposing teams. When one team runs out of points the game is over and the team with the most points remaining wins. There is no game clock, there is a 4 minute halftime break when the first team reaches 44 points.

Tie Breaker - If the game ends in a tie, each team replaces the already defeated team's defensive player in their own Goal Zone with one of their own players. Then the two remaining teams continue to play until a winner is determined, ignoring the defeated team's Goal Zone for the remainder of the game.

*** *** Might need a circle Key Area at the Goal Zone BL, on one or both sides. Keep Captain away from the line seems necessary, maybe Runners in Center Zone as well?

*** Triangulation Court ***

The court is shaped like a triangle with the tips cut off. The end of each tip is 25ft long and each of the three sidelines are 120ft long. There is a basketball basket at the center point of each "tip end" of the triangle.

Free Throw Line - 15ft away from the basket. Penalties in the Goal Zone result in 2 free throw shots, penalties in the Center Zone result in 1 free throw shot.

3-Point Line - 25ft from the basket. 3 points subtracted from both opposing teams.

Goal Zone Boundary Line - There is 10ft between the 3-Point Line and the Goal Zone Boundary Line. This leaves a 50ft wide area in the middle of the three Goal Zones that comprise the Center Zone.

Out-of-Bounds - If the ball goes out-of-bounds in any Zone, there is a Jump Ball between Captains in the Center Zone between the other two teams. As always on a Jump Ball, players from any of the three teams may recover the ball from the tip. The Goal Zone Boundary Line is considered out-of-bounds for Center Zone play, but not in Goal Zone Play (you are allowed to pass from a Goal Zone into the Center Zone).

In-Bounding The Ball - After a basket the Captain of the team that was scored on brings the ball into the Center Zone. The Post players in the Goal Zone are not involved and cannot interfere. The Captain begins standing inside the Goal Zone at the Goal Zone Boundary Line.

Center Zone Timer - There is a 40-second possession clock in the Center Zone. A player must cross into a Basket Zone within 40 seconds. If the Center Zone Timer expires there is a Jump Ball at center court between the Captains of the other two teams. Any team may recover the ball from a tip, including the team that had just expired the clock.

24-Second Shot Clock - There is a 24-second clock in the Goal Zone that works identically to the shot clock in basketball. Technically the first rule already establishes this, but this is here for clarity.

Offside Timer - The Captain can only be in the Center Zone when his team possesses the ball. He has 8 seconds to return to his own Goal Zone when his team loses possession of the ball. If he fails to return in time the team with the ball gets a single free throw shot. Interfering with a Captain's ability to return to the Goal Zone is a penalty that gives the Captain a free throw shot.

*** Zones ***

The court is divided into 4 "Zones". Each team has a Goal Zone, and there is a Center Zone between them. The opposing team's Goal Zones are termed "Basket Zones".

Goal Zone - There is one player from each team in the Goal Zone. The Captain of each team is the player of that team that is assigned to this Zone. The Captain may leave this Zone to play in the Center, or even cross into either Basket Zone with the ball. The ball may be passed within the Goal Zone, or into the Center Zone from the Goal Zone.

The Post players in this zone, the two players other than the Captain, play either offense or defense depending on which team's Runner has entered the Goal Zone. Sometimes a Post player is defense, sometimes they are offense.

Center Zone - There are two players from each team in this area of the court. The player with the ball may enter either of the opposing Basket Zones. The ball may be passed within this Zone, but not out of it into a Goal/Basket Zone.

If the Captain does not come forward into the Center Zone his team will have a hard time getting past the defense being outnumbered 4-2. Of course, an offense is still outnumbered 4-3... but the center area is large and the defense is trying to defend two goals.

Basket Zone - The Goal Zones of the opposing teams are termed Basket Zones. The player with the ball may enter a Basket Zone. The Captain may enter a Basket Zone, but normally returns to his own Goal Zone to play defense while a Runner plays offense in the Basket Zone. The ball may be passed within the Basket Zone, or into the Center Zone from the Basket Zone.

The team that in-bounds the ball after a basket has been scored is the team that is most likely to score next, so which basket a team wants to score in can be a strategic decision later in a game. The team that in-bounds the ball can just give it to the other team in the Center Zone, of course, but that doesn't help them to win at all. They lose points no matter which of the other teams score.

*** Positions ***

There are three positions and five players on a Triangulation team. The Captain, two Runners, and two Posts. While different team strategies and philosophies would obviously result in different team make-up, this also lists the types of players envisioned as the Base Positions of Triangulation during its original design. An exceptionally talented C might play in the Goal Zone, or an exceptionally talented PG might play in the Center Zone... but it seems too me that the extreme ends of player types from traditional basketball have disadvantages in Triple Threat.

Captain (PF/SF) - The Captain can play in all three zones, according to the rules of each Zone. The Captain is the player who performs all Jump Ball tip attempts for his team. The Captain may only enter the Center Zone when his team has the ball, and must return to his own Goal Zone within 8 seconds if his team loses possession of the ball. If the Captain crosses into the Center Zone from his Goal Zone when his team does not have the ball it is a Center Zone penalty (1 free throw by the player currently holding the ball).

Note that any time the Captain is not in the Goal Zone, his team will be at a 2-to-1 disadvantage if an opposing team brings the ball into the Goal Zone... and the only defender is not even on his team!

Runners (SG/SF) - Two words... Alan Iverson. He would have made quite a Triple Threat Runner! Runners are not allowed to leave the Center Zone unless they have the ball. The ball holder may enter the Basket Zones. Runners are often quick and agile players, and good at scoring goals. The best athletes are usually found at this position. If a Runner crosses into a Goal Zone without the ball it is a Center Zone penalty. A single free throw by the player currently holding the ball, a Jump Ball between the other two teams if the offending player's team has the ball.

Players can't pass the ball into the Goal Zones from the Center Zone, so ultimately someone has to make a move on somebody. It's 3-4, but that still means not everyone can be double teamed... so getting past the defense is not particularly difficult for the right types of players. The ultimate goal of the defense in the Center Zone is, obviously, to steal the ball.

Posts (PF/SF) - The Posts are both the offense and defense of the team. They must be good at both scoring and playing defense. One of these players is in each Basket Zone, along with a Post player and Captain from each of the other teams. If a Post player crosses into the Center Zone at any time it is a Center Zone penalty. A single free throw by the player currently holding the ball, a Jump Ball between the other two teams if the offending player's team has the ball.

You are probably best off with all around Small Forward types here in general... but a star player always makes the difference, and exceptional players of every position except PG seem potentially feasible here depending on their talents.

Referee - There are 3 Referees. One stands at each of the 3 Goal Zone Boundary Lines and is focused on the Goal Zone and Captain of his assigned Goal Zone. All three Referees are equally responsible for Center Zone. Referees normally stay outside the edge of the court near their assigned Goal Zone Boundary Line and never enter the Goal Zone during play. They will commonly move forward a little into the Center Zone to follow the action, but generally stay in their area.

*** *** *** The Games *** *** ***

Since this blog has mostly been about the story, I thought I'd add a little bit about the games themselves. While the function of Rube is certainly alien too you, and most of these games really do function in a very unique way unlike any computer games that have ever existed before, a lot of the general nature, technology, and general atmosphere would all be eerily familiar too you. The Pirate Dawn Universe could be described as Star Fleet Universe II. You don't know this, but the silent hand of the Star Fleet Universe has been more influential on your industry than any single game other than Dungeons & Dragons. Star Fleet Battles is the Dungeons & Dragons of space games, and you already know it well without realizing it. On my Gamasutra blog there is a video of 30-year SFB veterans going through a very complicated cloaking procedure. If you pay attention, you will understand the whole thing... because what you know as a "cloaking device", "stealth", and "electronic warfare" within games ultimately came from us. Almost every space ship game your industry has ever made was either directly or indirectly influenced by the SFU, it is literally one of your great grandparents.

You already know the Star Fleet Universe very, very well even though you don't realize it. Master of Orion, Sword of the Stars, Faster Than Light... these are all very thinly disguised Star Fleet Universe games. Destroyers generally have 2 heavy weapons and 4-6 secondaries. Heavy Cruisers generally have 4 heavy weapons and 6-8 secondaries. This sounds "right" too you, doesn't it? Of course it does... because that's how we did it! Just like D&D with RPGs, the SFU is ultimately the only source material that you are working with. I don't need to tell you what a "Displacement Device" does, do I? You already know. About the only thing you don't know about it is that is is actually "Andromedan" technology from the SFU. You already know the PDU. It is Master of Orion, Sword of the Stars, and Faster Than Light. Only this time around, done by one of the most dedicated and serious simulation design experts that the SFB Staff has ever known... instead of just by one of our fans. It's one of the original designers of the original game doing this as computer games for the first time ever. Master of Orion and Faster Than Light were the equivalent of "fan productions" compared to the games of the Pirate Dawn Universe. The PDU comes straight from the original source, being done right as computer games for the first time. You already know us without realizing it. Too you we are Master of Orion and Faster Than Light, and the PDU is just that genre being done truly right for the first time within your industry.

A perfect example of the difference between the PDU, "SFU II" done by one of the actual original experts of this genre, would be what you know as the "Command Point" system from Master of Orion. Many, many of your games since MOO have also used this system. Why? The broken, misunderstood version of it that was used in MOO achieves nothing... haven't you ever wondered about what the reason for such a thing might be? Why it was really there? This is actually supposed to be the "Command Rating" system of the Star Fleet Universe, the people who made MOO completely missed the point of this system and you have been imitating it, even though the misguided MOO version achieves nothing, ever since. The PDU would use this correctly in a computer game for the first time. Command Ratings apply to fleet flagships, not the entire navy. Limiting the size of the entire navy achieves nothing... why have you been doing it for 30 years? You've never been able to make a good "space strategy war game" because there is no "strategy" to a single mega fleet of death stomping anything it encounters on the map... which is what the actual Command Rating system prevents from happening. In the PDU you would see this done right for the first time, resulting in actual "strategy" in a space strategy war game instead of a single massive fleet of all your ships stomping around the map, and no reason to try to defend anything other than with your own single massive fleet trying to intercept it. There is no game there, that doesn't even work... and yet that is what you make every time you try and make a strategy war game with space ships. In reality, you rarely make these kinds of games even though they would be very popular... largely, I would be willing to bet, due to this very issue. The space ship strategy games of the PDU are actually strategy games, not production races to build the biggest single fleet that you can.

The PDU would be much more familiar too you than you know. It would also be the first time you had ever seen this stuff done right, done the way that the original designers of almost all that you know of "space combat" intended.

If you are wondering how I rank my own PDU games as games among themselves...

#1: Struggle of the Ancients, Part 2: Armageddon - A blending of war game and god game, Territories meets GIBROH... or "Territories: The 8[sup]th[/sup] Generation". It might be described as Territories inside of GIBROH, Rube II within Rube III... and Rube II overrides when they are in conflict. That's not a typo, Rube II (Mortal World) overrides Rube III (Zeus, Hades, & Cygnus) because in the PDU the "Gods" only have a vague influence over humanity. This is also my newest and most modern game idea, this version of Armageddon has only emerged in the last year since I "discovered", or "recognized" is really a better word, Rube. In my mind Armageddon is light-years ahead of all of my other games, and it is about 8 years newer than any of the other games as well. Armageddon is something I have come up with from scratch after a big gap between any of my other games. I guess the best word is that I "matured" a lot in that decade or so and this game really does stand head and shoulders above all the rest in my obviously very biased self-evaluating view.

#2: Territories - The origin of Rube, "Rube II". This is not a "quick playing, minimalist" game like some other PDU strategy games. Territories, Armageddon, Clash of the Titans, and Struggle 1: GIBROH are all "full length" strategy games that, like Civilization for example, can only be played in one sitting if you make a day of it. Territories is a game about avoiding nuclear war, played by Dwight Eisenhower's rules which are the rules that the Cold War was played under. The superpowers cannot generally directly confront each other in Territories. It is possible, but not advisable. Territories is largely about indirect warfare through "puppet states", intelligence and special forces operations, small wars and regional conflicts backed by superpowers, diplomacy, and nuclear brinkmanship. A part of Rube is the Avalon Hill concept of "assembling the battle" combined with how the SFB impulse chart functions, and if you play Big Three games and understand both of those things than you certainly have a much better understanding of Rube than anyone else who is reading this. You would also "kind of start to get" what is so special about Territories and Rube. I had posted a part of the Territories land combat system in the forums, and that is a very good example of what I am talking about here.

#3: Mission/Astral Wake Apollo/Fallen Angel Rising - Space... the final frontier... My final "best way" of translating Star Fleet Battles into a real-time computer game. There have been many incarnations of Mission over the years. It might potentially be many different games depending on the resources available to make it. In its highest "3D Rube IV form for the AAA 3D blockbuster dev team" these three games would literally put you into the captain's chair and be that Star Trek dream game people like me have always dreamed of. It's not magic... that version gives up a lot and is very limited in a lot of ways. Less complicated versions of this game are actually, in my view, a lot better in a lot of ways. They are particularly far more diverse in their content and capabilities in the end. That "magic trick" ("It's A Kind Of Magic") of putting you in the captain's chair and turning the bridge into a "holodeck" that "Holodeck Rube IV" can do really does come with a long, long, long list of limitations. So much so, that I don't think it can remain interesting for three games. I have begun to think of the "holodeck" version of Mission as a one-time side game that could be made under a different name, and going back to the previous "pre-Rube IV" version of Mission/AWA/FAR that can be the fully featured "captain of a spaceship" game that just keeps getting better and more complete with each new version of it. With "Holodeck Rube" what the player thinks is happening isn't actually happening... which means that there are a lot of basic things that can never happen, because Holodeck Rube can't do it.

#4: Clash of the Titans - My true "grand strategy war game" in space. There are some influences from the SFU's Federation & Empire in this game. It's the World War II of the PDU galaxy! It's the Rube II powered big galactic-scale space war game of the PDU, and combined with AWA is the single biggest side-arc/"rib" story that is told throughout the timeline ending in the longest aftermath timeline of any era of the PDU at over 1,200 years to the next game... what more needs to be said? Oh yeah... 2112!!! And if you think that is cool, then you'd be absolutely shocked and amazed by what, exactly, it is that combines with 2112 through Astral Wake Apollo to complete the other half of the story. If you like this kind of music, you'd absolutely lose your mind if you knew what the music of Astral Wake Apollo was! Hint: It's not Rush, or Joe's Garage... and there is actually a single, intentionally partially concealed, hint at what it is buried somewhere in this blog;-)

#5: Astral Invasion - Somewhat... unique. Let's say one aspect is a roughly equal relevance of the CoC Navy and EDF Space Marines. AI is more ground oriented than any other space game of the PDU. The humans have a very high level of technology during this era, they have many unusual abilities and powers that make this a very unique era and game. This is far beyond the technology of Star Trek: TNG, the TNG equivalent PDU era was over 1,200 years before this during Clash of the Titans and Astral Wake Apollo. These humans are very, very advanced... and that results in a very unique game. This is really "my own personal" sci-fi era where I have taken things past where I know of them really having been taken before with Star Trek/gaming detail and coming up with my own "Next, Next Generation". As one example of this, the humans of this era are masters of artificial gravitic technologies which, if you really start thinking that through, takes on a wide range of relevant meanings that drastically change the nature of their civilization. This is only one such "civilization transforming" technology that the humans of this era have.

#6: Pirate Dawn - Created to meet the specifications that people in the computer game industry were telling me, in the 1990s, that they wanted instead of the intricate "Big Three" strategy games I was always trying to show them. This is basically a very large arcade game that "any 10-year-old can just pick up a gamepad and start playing"... just like they said they wanted. Only Pirate Dawn and Armageddon Chess have no trace of Rube within them. Pirate Dawn is "just a normal game". The original concept was a blending of the old BBS door games Trade Wars and Barren Realms Elite as a strategy layer on top of a top down space combat arcade game like Star Control and Subspace/Continuum. These layers are what I call "severed" from each other. A kid who comes in and flies around aimlessly shooting at stuff doesn't need to even know that the strategy layer exists, and can't do anything to hurt their own side even if they may not do much to help... although they might, even without knowing it. They are just "Lone Wolf" pilots, really.

#7: Manifest Destiny - Intentionally meant to be a small, streamlined, minimalist "grand strategy war game". The target is for it to be a 90-180 minute long game. Heavily focused on the individual battles between the fleets of ships. This game introduces my "Naval Combat Battle Board" which is also used in Clash of the Titans and Astral Invasion. The NCBB is something that has existed and been evolving for almost 30 years. It could be a very successful small Steam game all by itself, which is what inspired making such a minimalist grand strategy war game like Manifest Destiny around it. The NCBB is a very different "mini game" in the three games it is used in due to the vastly different technology of the ships, and therefore the nature, and far more intricate fleet composition of the later era games. The NCBB is like a far more intricate and complex Axis & Allies battle board, designed specifically to represent naval combat, that could only come out of the SFB Staff. The NCBB is actually a very unique thing. The German's have a third aspect of military doctrine that falls between "tactics" and "strategy". There is no English word for it, but it best translates as "operational" and is largely related to what we call logistics, but is not quite the same thing. This, in turn, inspires an old concept among the SFB Staff that has still never been made into a game, what we called an "Operational Level" game which is a blending of a tactical and strategic level of game. The NCBB is my vision of this concept of an "Operational Level" game. It is not a "tactical combat mini game", and yet in a way it is. It is a roughly equal blending of tactical level and strategic level that is too difficult to really describe in this single paragraph. You can see a tiny glimpse into how the NCBB is generally structured in the 1X Fleet Composition lore file that is included with Pirate Dawn. The way the fleet is structured as "elements" and "sections" is all a part of how the NCBB functions. The NCBB is a very detailed and complete, and yet at the same time extremely abstract and "strategic", representation of fleet combat between large numbers of ships that is easy to manage and resolves fairly quickly. 1 + 1 = Chess.

I'll give this much away about Manifest Destiny: The Fall of the Battleship Hammerfield... The "Historic Campaign" of this game might also be called "Hard Mode", the title of this game is very deceptive and misleading. You are not exactly on a road to glory here as the title might lead you to believe. After their actions during the piracy crises their neighbors don't exactly like the humans very much... to say the least. This is my favorite dramatic moment of the entire PDU story... many very bad things happen during this game. This game is where you would realize that this is not your mother's Star Trek universe;-)

#8: The Trade Wars - Really just a straightforward train game as a strategy layer, running on Rube in a very simple way, with arcade-like tactical starship missions of various types as the tactical layer. This is sort of a slower-paced version of the combat in Pirate Dawn, with far more detailed, larger, and advanced ships. The tactical operation, and engineering, of the ships in this game matches that of Mission/AWA/FAR... these arcade game versions of the ships still function the same way that they do in the simulators. Space ships and "science" work in very specifically detailed ways in this universe, just like in Star Trek and the Star Fleet Universe. Another intentionally smaller, quicker playing, minimalist game like Manifest Destiny except that The Trade Wars has a tremendous amount of lore associated with it. A strange thing, a smaller game with huge background story, as a result of the nature of the PDU. It will be a longer playing game than MD, more like 3-5 hours, Manifest Destiny really is as "small" as I can make it while still truly being a "grand strategy war game". The Trade Wars is mostly an economic game and many of the combat missions resemble piracy. It is something of a transitional theme game-wise matching where the story is going, a blending of geo-political military war game like those to come with an economic piracy type game like Territories and Pirate Dawn of the past.

#9: Struggle of the Ancients, Part 1: GIBROH - This game is Rube III, with opposing "Gods", as described in the first post of this blog. It is really just an enhanced version of the Rube II of Territories and most other games of the PDU which only need one "god". If you are a big fan of long playing "god games" over war games you might vault this one to the very top of your personal list, although Armageddon is a blending of god game and war game... so maybe still only #2 even for you. This is the beginning of the second time through the broken time loop of the PDU, and the beginning of the end of the story. It is what is described in Rush's Hemispheres as the "Struggle of the Ancients", a "battle for the souls of the world" between Zeus & Hades. This game is really just Rube in it's natural state, just Rube being Rube instead of being twisted into a pretzel to make some other game out of it. There are three major "Greek Gods" of the PDU because Neil Peart and I add "Eternal Guardian Cygnus The Twelve" (God of Balance) to Zeus & Hades half way through the story at the end of Mission. Because this is a reset back to the beginning of the dawn of humanity, Cygnus does not exist yet in this game, so this is a 1v1 "struggle" between Zeus & Hades covering most of the period of real world history. A player can choose to be either Zeus or Hades and "build a god" to be used in Struggle of the Ancients, Part 2: Armageddon if you have both games and want to transfer your character to Armageddon from this game.

#10: Armageddon Chess - This was originally just the final ending of Armageddon. This was created in the last 6 months or so as a playable prototype for this blog, and you can download this game right here from my blog and play it right now. Of course it is last on this list... the production constraints were "create a game where you can just send someone a text file, and then they can play the game with around $30 worth of easily find-able stuff". That's not easy. Go ahead, try to rival Armageddon Chess under those conditions. Of course it comes in last being created under those production constraints. It's not in the same league with these other true computer games. If something were behind this game on this list, I'd see a doctor thinking that something must have been seriously wrong with me for all of these years!!! On the other hand... it's not nothing. I wouldn't have posted something here that I didn't think was truly good! If you like Chess, you will probably like Armageddon Chess. I consider it to be the real "Chess II", it is my take on what that should be anyway. This game vastly amplifies the existing complexity of Chess, it has been designed specifically to do that. A "tactical combat layer" over the top of the existing game of Chess, Chess becomes simply the movement rules of Armageddon Chess. You have heard me mention what I call "layers" before, and this "tactical combat layer" laid over the top of Chess is specifically designed to work with and enhance the existing complexity of Chess. Consider how many moves ahead you have to think just to make sure that you won't wind up checkmating yourself by attacking an enemy piece during your own movement turn... Armageddon Chess makes Chess look easy! In this case... 1 + 1 = Chess II. I'd really love to hear what truly good Chess players thought of this game, if there are any out there who have played it (or even taken a good look at it, actually). I am just an average Chess player, I don't get it in the same way that you rated/tournament level players do.

Marc "Kavik Kang" Michalik

Lost Art Studios

"I wish that I could live it all again!"

Pirate Dawn

*** *** *** Pirate Dawn, The "Flagship Game" of the Pirate Dawn Universe *** *** ***



This is not a playable board game, it is a design document for a computer game. This is what I think of as "Pirate Dawn II", it is the same 2005 version of the game that I have shown here before. Also included are 2 "lore files" from the current "Pirate Dawn III", the Master Ship and Master Colony files which together are about 50 pages of a lot of critical story associated with the most recent version of Pirate Dawn. Like I said in the introductory post of this dev journal, "the game writes the story and then the story designs the game". Pirate Dawn III is what happened to Pirate Dawn II after 8 more games were added after Mission. Pirate Dawn III is a very different game in a lot of its details, the most recent story has made many old "it's an arcade game anyway" compromises unnecessary and the newest version is both a much better and "more realistic" game than any of the previous versions. Pirate Dawn III also adds a whole new layer, and dimension, to the story. The long standing original story of Pirate Dawn that the entire universe was originally derived from, as seen in the "version II" of the design document provided here, is now not in reality what is actually going on. But I don't change that original story directly as that was the root of everything. I leave the original story as it is and alter its meaning by writing more around it that re-defines it without changing it. In the newest evolution of the story the "piracy crises" is what the media has the people of Earth believing is going on. It is now actually a civil war between the colonies. This is not only a vast improvement of the story, it was actually inspired as a part of improving the game.

The current version of Pirate Dawn is, in a general sense, the same game as the decade-old "Pirate Dawn II" design document I have provided here. It is very different in its details. Two of the biggest differences are that the "new" story was conceived to explain the player corporation/cartel HQs being located at the colonies because it never really made any sense for them to be located out on moons and asteroids in the solar system. Actually being a civil war between the colonies has made it easy to finally create a realistic story that matches how the game actually plays where in the past there had always been a lot of "oh well, it's an arcade game anyway" fudges. The game works and plays much better as a result as well, and the way the people live makes a lot more sense now. For example players would always have wanted to be based at the colonies for gameplay reasons, and it makes sense that is where most people would live, and now most players are based out of the colonies. Another big difference in this version is how freight is handled. I had been using the system everyone knows and is familiar with just because that is what everyone expects from past "space trading games", but with Pirate Dawn III I have done what I have always wanted to with this. Freight now works based on a "consignment" system just like freight in the real world operates. Unlike other space trading games you do not "buy and sell" cargo in Pirate Dawn. You move freight based on consignment. You never own it, you are just transporting it. Different classes of freight (Hazmat, Refrigerated, etc), and different service levels, pay different rates. This is simply how freight works in the real world so if you understand that then you understand how it works in the current version of Pirate Dawn.

Attached to this post...

2005 "Pirate Dawn II" design document. The existing story elements of Pirate Dawn II are almost unchanged in Pirate Dawn III, but much is added that redefines this original story of the PDU from which everything else originally sprang. The general gameplay is the same, but there is another decade worth of refinement of the details in Pirate Dawn III that makes it a much better game in a lot of different ways.

Introduction Timeline: Normally a PDU game comes with the timeline from the end of the previous game to the beginning of the current one. I am leaving Territories out of this so this is the second half of this timeline segment, beginning from the end of the Territories aftermath timeline entries. This is mostly about the colonization process and the formation of the Confederation of Colonies.

0X Colony File (Pirate Dawn) - Core information regarding the early Confederation of Colonies. None of these lore files are in a first draft state like Armageddon Chess, they are actually a pretty long way from being truly finished. They are largely "complete" in their content, almost everything is there, but nowhere near finished. There are even a lot of notes, which always begin with "***" to easily cycle through them, which I have left in them.

0X Master Ship Chart (Pirate Dawn) - All pre-colonial ships built prior to the establishment of the CoC Navy. The 0X and 1X "Master Ship Chart" files provided here cover absolutely every manned human space craft that has ever exists from 2017 through 2190. If it isn't listed in either of these files, then it never existed within the PDU up to that point. (NOTE: I might add an early Mars mission by China in the 2030's and that would be the only "ship" missing from either of these files, if it winds up existing).

1X Master Ship Chart (Manifest Destiny) - All ships of the 1st generation CoC Navy at the end of Pirate Dawn and the beginning of Manifest Destiny (2190). To actually show some space ships, since that is ultimately the focus of most games of the PDU, these last two files are the very primitive early sublight fleet of the CoC and the starting "Order of Battle" for the CoC in Manifest Destiny. There are seven generations of fleet technology in the Pirate Dawn Universe, 0X - 6X. These are the ship descriptions. I am not showing the "tactical level" design of the ships in this but the tactical design for the "base ship", and how it specifically functions, in the PDU is essentially a far more intricate version of the Star Fleet Battles design of ship meant to function in real time as a computer game. Rocinante is, by far, the most "realistic" and detailed design for a space ship within games ever seen by a long, long way (or, it would be once cool production stuff like fake blueprints existed for it).

1X Master Fleet Chart (Manifest Destiny) - Fleet composition of the 1st generation CoC Navy at the end of Pirate Dawn and the beginning of Manifest Destiny (2190). This is a very simple and primitive fleet. There are few variants and it is a very basic fleet composition. This is based fundamentally on the structure of the Cold War era US Navy and one thing the CoC learns in this war is that this fleet composition and doctrine are all wrong for defending the colonies in space. Working with a fleet that is badly designed for the job is part of the challenge for the player in Manifest Destiny. In Manifest Destiny you can ally with other stellar nations in the region and your allies will send "expeditionary fleets" to aid you in the war... and you can assign those ships to fill the tactical gaps and complete the CoC Navy. Your Vorkavian enemy's fleet can also be greatly enhanced if they can bring those same neighbors to their side. For example they don't have any type of carriers, but the nearby neighbor in this region that does is the one most aligned and disposed to easily join the Vorkavians and then they will have carriers which obviously makes a huge difference. In Manifest Destiny gaining an ally also fills a gap in the poor design of your primitive navy, for both the CoC and Vorkavian Corporate. They send you what amount to support ships for your fleet, but they still also just appear to be the design of their navy.

...this all amounts to about 300 pages so it is a lot of reading. The lore files are almost entirely story.

*** *** Primary Characters of Pirate Dawn *** ***

Because it is the beginning and foundation of the sci-fi story some of the most important characters to the overall story of the universe, and some of the most important "historical figures" of PDU history, are present in Pirate Dawn.

Alex "Zero Tolerance" Larson - The star of Queen's One Vision theme movie for Pirate Dawn and tied as the most important early historical figure of the PDU alongside of African Union Ambassador Alpha Ambassa of Territories who forms the African Union during the Hot War, and is also the driving force behind the formation of the Global Council in its aftermath. Alex Larson is the primary inspirational figure who ignites the spark that ultimately leads to unity among the colonies and a mostly unified drive to explore the galaxy. In the grand scheme of things Alex Larson doesn't actually do all that much, and only flies as an active bounty hunter during the earliest years of the crises, but still winds up being one of the most well-remembered figures in the history of the PDU due to the series of events that he is credited with touching off.

Kavik Kang - My own alter-ego character, a tradition within the Star Fleet Universe, Kavik Kang is the primary star of the beginning of the story of the PDU. His story mostly ends with Mission (game #6) although he does continue on throughout the story in three different ways from that point. Kang is introduced in Pirate Dawn and is later one of the three major characters of Mission. Kavik Kang's real story happens in Mission, he goes into a self exile to avoid arrest toward the end of the piracy crises and "things happen" from there. Of course, as you have already seen in the timeline, he is traveling in time... which hasn't actually begun yet. But that changes nothing, he is still already traveling in time even though he hasn't begun traveling in time yet... I hate time travel! But this does mean that he always has at least a cameo appearance in every game;-) Kavik Kang is the beginning of the story. Andrea "Suzi" Takahashi is the middle of the story, and Cindy "Fallen Angel" McAllen is the end of the story. Where have I heard that before?

Cindy "Fallen Angel" McAllen - This character was originally created as a measuring stick for my own Kavik Kang character. Cindy always has to have a bigger and better story than Kavik Kang. This long ago stopped becoming an issue when Cindy ran away from Kang with the creation of her feature story in the final chronological game of the timeline, Fallen Angel Rising. Cindy is introduced in this game and she is the biggest star character of the next game, Manifest Destiny, and the entire overall story really. Cindy is, far and away, the stand-out top ace of the piracy crises... in fact she is downright "supernatural" good;-)

Nafi "Ranger" Ambassa - The "great hero" of Pirate Dawn and Manifest Destiny. He is the stereotypical action star hero who was born to save the world and never stops trying to do it. He's Arnold, Stallone, Bruce Willis, and Buck Rogers all rolled into one. He is also the great grandson of Alpha Ambassa and the second of three "great achievers" of this family from Senegal who exist throughout the first half of the PDU. The Ambassa family is only a part of the fulfillment of the promise of Armageddon Chess that "the best of James Brown is yet to come"!

President Jose Mauricio Gomez-Villaverde - President of the Confederation of Colonies granted the rare status of Fully Empowered President at the beginning of his second term in office. President Villaverde supported the popular movement inspired by Alex Larson which ultimately led to a drive toward warp driven starships and galactic exploration. In the short term, however, this "mandate of the people" transformed the piracy crises into an institutionalized civil war with both sides of the conflict equally supported by Earth.

Marvin "The Prophet" Cayce - Founder of Ara colony and author of an eerily accurate book of prophecies. This is one of the most visible ways that I am taking advantage of the PDU knowing its own future. I hope for this "book" found in Pirate Dawn to be at least 60 pages long when it is finished, comprised entirely of "prophecies" that at best make cryptic sense, or in some cases no sense at all, until what they are related too happens. Then they are obvious. These have been accumulating for some time now and there are about 12 pages of them right now. The MMO Pirate Dawn does not use very many music videos, one of the few movies of Pirate Dawn features The Prophet. His name is Marvin so that he matches the "Listening to Marvin all night long" lyric of Spandau Ballet's "True", the trailer movie for Fallen Angel Rising. Cindy McAllen is a full-blown "true believer" devotee and very close friend of Marvin Cayce and she is a very politically powerful and beloved figure on Ara. Other than Marvin, Cindy is probably the most politically powerful person on Ara during the piracy crises but even on Ara only a handful of people know that she is actively involved with the government of Ara.

Only the first 03:38 of this song is used for Marvin's movie, and it might start about 15 seconds late as well since the beginning is so faint. These lyrics were already used as descriptions for two of the chess pieces in the Time of the Titans chess set and all of the things mentioned in the first 3.5 minutes of this song are relevant to the overall story of the PDU in some way... because this is one of half-a-dozen or so songs that the entire overall story is ultimately based on, so it always just naturally matches everything everywhere. Just like One Vision, Mission, Hemispheres and Natural Science.



Grand Admiral Nathan J. "Half-Life" Wolinsky - Founding father of the CoC Navy. Grand Admiral Wolinsky was deeply concerned by the impression that the CoC was leaving on neighboring, and increasingly visiting, alien species and was the leader of a movement within the EDF to convince the Global Council to begin the construction of a large defense fleet capable of at least defending the colonies. This movement had actually begun before the piracy crises began but intensified greatly once these military officers saw the civilian population regularly attacking any and all alien ships they encountered. Admiral Wolinsky is the most involved in the story of Pirate Dawn of these last three characters who are really more prominent in the timeline that leads into Pirate Dawn than they are in the game itself.

William "Half-Dead" Janis - The primary star of the timeline leading into Pirate Dawn, Colonel Janis is later considered to be the founding father of military naval aviators in space and the Military Patrol Craft strike wings of the CoC Navy. He is a close, career-long associate of Grand Admiral Wolinsky. He is also essentially a step-uncle to Cindy McAllen and his wife is the closest thing that Cindy ever had to a mother. He is a minor character in Pirate Dawn and a major character in Manifest Destiny. In the military. before the piracy crises. he had been famous as "Stinger" but he uses the call sign "Half-Dead" to conceal his identity as a piracy crises pilot from all but those who know him personally. Anyone who knew him personally would recognize him by the call sign "Half-Dead". Colonel Janis remained exceptionally healthy and youthful until a very old age and was approaching 80 while still serving as a flying wing commander at the end of the First Intergalactic War.

Jack "Arch Angel" McAllen - Cindy McAllen's father and William Janis's career-long wing man first aboard an aircraft carrier of the US Navy and later at EDF Lunar Base Alpha establishing the earliest military doctrine in space with Grand Admiral Wolinski and Colonel Janis. Arch Angel was widely considered to be the best combat pilot of his day. Colonel Janis could only rarely defeat his wing man in the simulators and Arch Angel was almost always unusually dominant in full scale real-flight exercises. Jack McAllen is not in any game. A recently retired Major McAllen dies in an exhibition stunt flying accident shortly before the piracy crises inspiring his famous, now 26-year-old, former teen idol poster girl daughter Cindy to disappear. The disappearance of the "Darling of Lunar Base Alpha" remains one of the most talked about mysteries of the day until it is finally confirmed during the middle of the piracy crises, nearly seven years later, that the once irresistibly adorable little 11-year-old girl who had captured the hearts of her generation was now the greatly feared and widely despised "Fallen Angel" of the hated Aviary cartel of Ara.

*** That's All, Folks! ***

This is the end of this public presentation of the Pirate Dawn Universe. I don't want to give away too much of the story. Armageddon Chess is the beginning of the entire story, and Pirate Dawn is the beginning of the sci-fi part of the story. That should be enough. I tried for twenty years to make it into your industry, but you've always insisted that a twenty-something graduate of the Devry School of Game Design is vastly more desirable than someone with my background. The Pirate Dawn Universe is the ultimate evolution and completion of about 70 years of continuous work by Avalon Hill, Amarillo Design Bureau, and then me. The end result is a functioning simulation of the combination of time and reality which, as it turns out, is indistinguishable from a functioning simulation of God. With all of its components taken to infinite capacity, Rube is practically indistinguishable from what we all know as "The Matrix". "Ultimate Infinity Rube/The Matrix" is also a "self-programming computer with omniscient communication"... maybe 100 years from now, anyway.

Rube is the final conclusion, the ultimate final result, of an entire primary branch of the modern game industry that begins with its very beginnings of Avalon Hill and runs through Task Force Games/Star Fleet Battles, to end with my 20 years of working on the Pirate Dawn Universe. At this point, this is as much (if not more) about this 70 years of accumulated knowledge, not to mention the end result of the fundamental basis of "The Matrix", being lost to history. If it is, it is entirely because the modern game industry refused to acknowledge it (or even look at it), it certainly won't be from a lack of me trying. If nobody in the modern game industry has any interest in Rube at all... then I suggest re-reading everything that I wrote the last time I was here as "Pirate Lord" when I "retired" from banging my head against your brick wall. Read everything I wrote the last time again, and this time around accept the fact that it was all true. I was right. If you have no interest in this, then everything I said the last time around must be 100% true.

I am out of ideas. Contacting game companies at random isn't going to work any better now than it did for twenty years last time around. So this is it. This blog, and the one on Gamasutra, are the only new ideas I have to try here. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear any suggestions anyone might have for actually making at least just Territories (and with it Rube). I could happily forget the entire universe at this point and just make Territories... and Cindy McAllen isn't even in Territories! With Territories you would also make Rube which, assuming the modern game industry actually does take simulation design seriously instead of just insisting that they do, will someday in the distant future be something very much like what you know as "The Matrix". So, if anyone is interested I am here. If nobody is interested in Rube then you will probably never hear from me again... and you really should stop pretending like you take this stuff seriously, because you clearly don't. My money is on it being at least another 200 years before Rube is re-discovered. After all, it took what must have been at least 50 or 60 of us about 70 years to arrive at it, and nobody is actually doing this type of thing anymore.

Pirate Dawn Citizen/Zeus Victory End Credits (and shockingly appropriate at this particular moment, as well)...


Marc "Kavik Kang" Michalik

Lost Art Studios

"I wish that I could live it all again!"


Pirate Dawn.zip

Armageddon Chess


*** *** *** Pirate Dawn Universe *** *** ***


"The ultimate goal of commercial game design is to solve the equation 1 + 1 = Chess." - Marc "Kavik Kang" Michalik (2005)

This developers diary is devoted to the Pirate Dawn Universe. This gaming universe has been under development for over 20 years now. I am approaching 50, and even making the games of the PDU two-at-a-time, which has always been the plan... it would take a long time to make 12 games. So at my age, this is clearly my last attempt at completing what has become my life's work. So I am revealing a whole lot because, why not, it just all disappears with me if I don't. Obviously, the whole point of this is to try one last time to find a way to make these games and tell this story. Me and the Pirate Dawn Universe have always been inherently incompatible with the modern game industry. This is not how you operate, on many different levels. On the other hand... how many other 14-game universes that have been evolving for over 20 years are there out there to choose from? And how many of them (wait... there aren't any other ones...) were created by someone who has been designing games and simulations since the 1980's and was a part of the first group of modern game designers in history, the group that created the only other massive space ship based gaming universe that has ever existed? And, of course, the process by which you make games today. This really is a last chance in a lifetime both ways.

"Asking a programmer to design a game is like asking an author to paint a portrait." - Marc "Kavik Kang" Michalik (1997)

I have angered people who work in the modern game industry in the past by saying that they have institutionalized the process of "blindly blundering forward through trial and error, praying that things will work out well in the end". I understand how this might sound insulting, but it really is a good description of it (...maybe said harshly) and has never been meant as an insult. The modern game industry has made a religion out of excuses for why it is "impossible" to design a game ahead of time and that it can only be achieved through trial-and-error, and luck, and of course they have institutionalized this belief to the point that they even have high-sounding terminology for their rationalizations. Like, for example, referring to "blind trial-and-error" as "the iterative process". Evolution is a great thing... if it starts from a great thing. Blindly blundering forward through trial-and-error based on 20 pages of vague notes is an evolution of nothing. It is an incoherent mess that didn't work to begin with in the making. Or, as a really famous guy once put it...

"If you don't know where you are going, every road will get you nowhere." - Henry Kissinger

It's all just rationalizations to avoid admitting that you don't know how to design a game that functions ahead of time, you have to just work it out as you go and hope that things work out well in the end. It's not by choice. Actually finishing a game is always a lot farther away then you realize, this is famously the first big lesson learned by anyone who tries it. It can seem "impossible" to someone who only makes it 1/4 of the way into it, thinking they've made it 1/2 way, and still being depressed at the prospect of actually finishing it. This isn't me being philosophical, this is the very old advice of the original Avalon Hill gang. The Pirate Dawn Universe is an example of how the previous generation of game designers, the ones you have forgotten, made games. A process your industry has insisted for over 25 years now is absolutely impossible and cannot be done... only because you can not do it. Hence, all of the rationalizations of why it "cannot be done" while what you should more accurately be saying is "we are not capable of doing that". Because we actually did it for over 50 years, about twice as long as you have yet to exist. Which presents a slight flaw in your argument.

"Game design is neither an iterative nor a group process... game development is both." - Marc "Kavik Kang" Michalik (2016)

I have spent most of the last year preparing this presentation which consists of an overview of the story of the Pirate Dawn Universe which covers the story of humanity from the formation of the Earth to the explosion of the sun. There is also an overview of each game of the PDU along the timeline, a playable prototype game with 18 different "factions" available. I am three games ahead of the process, the first three games of the PDU are ready to begin production now. My files on the first 12 games which I am creating this presentation out of are fairly extensive, all 12 of the "primary" games of the PDU have at least very extensive notes accumulated over years. There are 12 primary games of the PDU covering the most critical eras of the timeline, but the true mythology created by this universe could theoretically support a nearly infinite number of games. The story of the PDU is really more than just a story, it is a completion of Greek mythology (and too a much lesser extent, world history).

One area of focus of the PDU is supply and logistics infrastructure. As a former member of the Star Fleet Battles Staff I am uniquely qualified to make games featuring space ships. Nobody else has ever contemplated the subject to anywhere near the degree that the hundreds of members of the SFB Staff over the past 40 years have. But there is actually much more too my unique perspective on this subject matter. For many years my "non-game career" was in real world freight operations. I have been the Terminal Manager of a major freight logistics station that handled truck, train, airline, ocean container, and "inbond" international customs freight. So the "supply and infrastructure" side of the lore and games of the PDU is very realistic and accurate as to how large amounts of heavy freight would actually be moved between a network of colonies. As an example to anyone reading this who knows a little about freight operations, the "Colonial Transports" of the PDU are somewhat similar to container trains and they run line-haul half-turns like trucks that meet at the Jump Gate. For the rest of you this basically means that the freighters return to the port of origin after having made only half the trip and then trading their containers at the gate, which is about the half-way point for both of the freighters. Both crews arrive back home in half the time that they otherwise would have, and only one of them even goes through the Jump Gate.

A couple of the many "governing rules" of the PDU are that it is a PG-13 story, and that women are generally portrayed primarily for the female audience... as much as I may have succeeded in that, anyway. There are only two exceptions to these rules so far. In Armageddon there is a disturbing scene of a soldier dying on Omaha beach intended to show the true cost of war to individual people in this "universe of war" at least one time. If this was a movie this scene would probably earn the entire PG-13 story an R-rating. It's not gore or anything like that, just disturbing. The other exception is ("Sexy") Suzi Takahashi, who is more commonly known by her legal name Andrea Takahashi. She is the one female character who is intentionally written for the male audience. The song lyrics force an overriding concept of "balance" on the philosophies of the PDU, but I get around being stuck with "everything must always be equal" by defining three different valid forms of "balance". For example "Counter Balance" is "balance through equality of extremes" which might also be thought of as "chaos"... about the exact opposite of "balance". This is all a part of what amounts to being these people's religion that you are already beginning to learn here... ;-)

Religion could be considered the main subject of the PDU, and at the same time the subject of religion is completely avoided by the PDU. This is what Greek mythology has been used for within story telling for over two thousand years, only the PDU attempts to redefine, re-write, and complete Greek mythology... retelling the entire story from beginning to end. I keep the identities of the Greek Gods, and the virtues that they are supposed to represent, but none of their histories and none of the overall story of Greek mythology. Every mythology or religion in the history of the world exists within the PDU, many are actively being used and all others are assumed to be "real" and exist as beliefs among segments of the population. All are eligible to be used within the story at any time, and in any way, and many already are (Egyptian, Roman, Mayan, and Norse mythologies are all already in the story in one way or another). Except for the three major monotheistic religions... Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (In chronological order... "balance":-). These three are treated special. They are only ever vaguely referred too, and when they are it is always to place them "above" all of the other religion/mythologies that are actively used within the story. They are religions "of a higher Place" that we cannot understand because "we are in the wrong Place to understand". Zeus, Hades, and the other "Gods" of the PDU are NOT "all knowing". The "Infigod", as the PDU calls the God of the three major religions, might be. But we can't know that because, of course, we are at least a few Places in the wrong Place to understand the Infigod. A leading theory is that, if there is an Infigod, he is in the highest Place that exists. That would be the only Place from which he could understand all of the Places, in any other Place you can only understand the Place that you are in. Of course many also believe that there is no "Highest Place" and that the Places are infinite in both directions, so if there is an Infigod he must exist simultaneously and omnipresently in all of the Places at the same time. "Wheels within wheels..."

I should also mention that about 30 years ago, before the idea of the PDU even existed when I was only about 18, I decided that a part of my "game design style" was that I was going to be "the MTV rock video" storyteller of the gaming world. This aspect of how I make games never went away, even though MTV did, and the entire 4.5 billion year story of the PDU is based almost entirely on the lyrics of the songs used to tell the stories of the games and the intervening timeline. "Represent EVERYTHING!!!" The motto of the hobbyist era simulation designer... the lyrics of songs can be represented in a game, too. It has all been "written and designed around the lyrics". In the exact same way that you can base a game on WWII, or real world history, you can base a game on the lyrics of a song the same way. At this point, after about 20 years of evolving this through countless different versions of the story and working out all of the songs of all 12 games... the lyrics of the songs literally are the primary story-line. They really are, and the song lyrics are almost always the most important key part of the story that you need to pay the most attention too. Everything, at this point after 20 years of evolving this, comes from the lyrics. The songs of the PDU, in the order that they are in, really are the primary story-line of the PDU. The written story that goes with them, and has been derived almost entirely from them, very often re-defines the song lyrics from what they were original meant to mean. Very often in amazing ways. You'll also be very surprised at how some songs from different bands work together... there are two very good examples of that in this presentation, there are many others throughout the universe

While many different bands are used, and a wide variety of music, the Pirate Dawn Universe largely revolves around the lyrics of Neil Peart across the entire history of Rush's music. In fact, Neil Peart could really be considered the co-author of the story of the Pirate Dawn Universe. It really is his story almost as much as it is mine. For the Rush fans, and so I don't have to keep answering this question, ALL of Rush's classic epic full-side songs are used at some point. I even found a really good way, and it wasn't easy in a "mostly serious" sci-fi universe, to use the Tolkien-inspired lyrics of Fountain of Lamneth & The Necromancer! The lyrics of the songs used have had as much, or maybe even more, influence on the story as Star Trek, Star Wars, Babylon 5, Stargate, and Battlestar Galactica. It's a pretty close call, actually. And, of course, when I say "influence" I mean source material to represent within the games and story. Most games represent reality, and real world history. The Pirate Dawn Universe writes its own history with the timeline, and then bases itself on its own history, the lyrics of the music used, and my favorite sci-fi stories.

"The game writes the story, and then the story designs the game. Endlessly back-and-forth, until someone wearing a suit rips if from your hands and publishes it." - Marc "Kavik Kang" Michalik (2002)

*** *** Pirate Dawn Universe - "Sadder still to watch it die than never to have known it." *** ***

Pirate Dawn Universe Theme/Website Movie...


(Game#1 - 1945): Armageddon Chess
(Game#2 - 1989-2012): Territories: The Hot War - An Introduction to the Pirate Dawn Universe
(Game#3 - 2168-2189, MMO): Pirate Dawn - The First New Dawn of the Pirate Dawn Universe
(Game#4 - 2190-2198): Manifest Destiny: The Fall of the Battleship Hammerfield... - A Continuation of the Pirate Dawn Universe
(Game#5 - 2286-2306): The Trade Wars: Awa's Flagship Apollo - A Continuation of the Pirate Dawn Universe
(Game#6 - 2357-2367): Mission - The End of the Pirate Dawn Universe?
(Game#7 - 2672-2727): Clash of the Titans: Legend of the Ghost Fleet - A Continuation of the Pirate Dawn Universe
(Game#8 - 2718-2727): ADC-400800 Astral Wake Apollo: - A Continuation of The Mission
(Game#9 - 3912-3943): Astral Invasion: - A Continuation of the Pirate Dawn Universe
(Game#10 - 4284-4288): ADC-595150 Agamemnon: Fallen Angel Rising - A Continuation of The Mission
(Game#11 - 1000BC-1939): Struggle of the Ancients, Part I: The Battle of Olympus Rages On High - The Beginning of the End of the Pirate Dawn Universe
(Game#12 - 1939-1945): Struggle of the Ancients, Part II: Armageddon - The Final End of the Pirate Dawn Universe
NOTE: No games or story additions, "Broken Time Loop Gap" (1945-2012). The Cold War, The Eternally Unstuck Reflection of The Dark Side of Armageddon.

These next two games are the "theoretical end story" of the entire PDU story. They could be made as games, but their primary purpose is to provide a "real" end-of-time story for the purpose of maintaining consistency in the story and design of the 12 "primary games" of the PDU. At the end of Game #10 the PDU timeline resets back to 4.5 billion BC and the story of humanity's second time through the Broken Time Loop begins. This Broken Time Loop will probably keep happening until the end of eternity, and this is the true "mortal end" of the story. However, in the very unlikely event that everything were to work out just right on one of these endless cycles through the Broken Time Loop... the Dark Side of Armageddon would be destroyed, and earth's Broken Time Loop would be repaired back into a straight and unbroken timeline. And then the timeline would continue... and the true timeline of the of the earth would then be completed from the perspective of the Gods over the course of the final 4 games of the PDU!


"I wish that I could live it all again!"


(Game#13 - 1945-4288) Struggle of the Ancients, Part III: Ascension - The Second New Dawn of the Pirate Dawn Universe

(Game #14 - 4288-8112) Astral Twilight: Guardians of the Galaxy - The One Vision of The Mission of The Dream

PDU End Credits, "It's the measure of a life..."


*** Summary of the Pirate Dawn Universe ***

Armageddon Chess - The Final Battle of the Dark Side of Armageddon! This is a fully playable prototype that is also a complete first draft of the beginning of the story of the Pirate Dawn Universe. There are 9 different chess sets available, and this prototype game is attached to this post to download right now. There are actually almost 30 chess sets for this game already, but I am only including 9 of them to prevent overloading the player with too much content right off the bat. I have included the five primary PDU story sets of Armageddon Chess, and 2 Fantasy Series sets to go with the 5 original PDU Fantasy Series sets that will be more familiar too you... Star Wars and Dungeons & Dragons! Feel free to mix and match different sides from different chess sets within the 7 Fantasy Series sets. Within the same series, all of the sets are meant to work together no matter which sides you want to put up against each other. In a fight between Darth Maul and Andrea Takahashi... my money is on "Suzi"!
Armageddon Chess, being the first game meant to be very simple to produce, uses only a single song and cuts it in half (up to 04:30) to use as the theme and then to continue later as the end credits. Of course, each chess set has been written around a song/movie, and those are included in the prototype, but I don't expect to get to make movies with the first few games. Territories has a full line-up of movies, but has always been kept to only actually needing four of them. When I say "need" I mean that the rest of the story of the PDU needs for those four movies to exist. Starting with Game #5, The Trade Wars, none of the games from then on can exist without their movies. By that point, every part of the story has become wound together with every other part of the story and all of the "highlight moments" that the movies represent are a part of the story.
As an example of how I use the lyrics of songs as the basis of the story of the PDU, and how the lyrics are often the key moments of the story that you miss if you don't listen too them, I have created a "Grand Finale" just for this prototype game. In addition to the five basic chess sets that would come with an initial release of Armageddon Chess as a computer game (...and the no-story Star Wars and D&D sets that can be used with them), I have also included two more expansion/DLC chess sets. The first one provides a nice lead-in to the "big end story" I have created for the Struggle of the Star Queens chess set. I have used over a dozen songs to create a single self-contained story that shows how this is done throughout the PDU to tell its story. The Struggle of the Star Queens is also a Fantasy Series set, so it is compatible with most of the other chess sets in the prototype. The story of the Struggle of the Star Queens chess set will be much, much better if you read your way up too it through Armageddon Chess and all of the chess sets that come before it.
All you need to actually play Armageddon Chess is the file attached to this post, a chess set, a set of poker chips (3 different colors), and 2 six sided dice. And do me a favor and try to keep Suzi away from Darth Vader... he's the one guy I kind-of worry about possibly taking her out;-)


Territories: The Hot War - Territories (AKA "Warmonger Tycoon") is both the origin of Rube, and my signature game. This is "my Civilization" or "my Sim City". Although all of the other strategy war games are singularly unique, they all at the same time share several common foundational elements that are at the core of how Territories functions. This foundation is more than just Rube, it also includes cards, elements of hobbyist game-era "train games", and a few other things underlying whatever the strategy game happens to be. These games are completely unlike any strategy war games that have ever existed before, one aspect of that being that through a combination of the cards and how Rube functions they are exceptionally good at telling stories. Manifest Destiny, Clash of the Titans, Astral Invasion, and Armageddon are all direct descendants of Territories... but none are very similar too each other as you are probably thinking they are. For example, Manifest Destiny uses Rube in such a simple way that you could almost say that it doesn't even use Rube... almost. They are all very different games. Armageddon could be described as the "next generation" of Territories, and is fundamentally different from all of the other Territories-based games. None of them "feel like Territories", or like each other. These foundational elements are used very differently in each game, and the games themselves are very different from each other.
There is a whole lot of game in Territories and its descendants, 1+1=Chess, but not a whole lot of production. With the sole exceptions of the MMO Pirate Dawn, and the 3D starship simulator/adventure games, my games are relatively simple to produce compared to the 3D extravaganzas of "running around shooting at things" that are so often made by your industry. My games are "Big Three" table-top games translated to the computer, "MegaSupremacy on Steroids", all of the complexity, depth, and content of a Big Three era game concealed behind a Sid Meier-like iconic interface. In the end, they are essentially strategy war games that function in a singularly unique way (Rube)... and have the content, detail, and gameplay of a Big Three game like Star Fleet Battles, Advanced Squad Leader, or Dungeons & Dragons. By the standards of the modern game industry, they are not major productions as compared to the technological powerhouse games that are often made. They do generally have a lot more story and content than typical modern games do... which is part of "that big three thing". The games of the PDU don't need all that technology to mask the fact that there isn't actually much game hiding behind all the pretty 3D models. In fact, the PDU movies associated with each game might actually rival the production costs of the games themselves in some cases. I have no idea how much these things actually cost to do, but they can all be made as 2D cinematic videos and would be just fine done that way! The games of the PDU do not require a "AAA paint job" to draw interest, the games and the single story they all tell take care of that all on their own. It would be nice to have, of course, but these games don't NEED all of that like most games made today do. The look is not the game, as is so often the case with computer games. If it looks acceptable by today's standards, that's all these games need... "AAA" 3D everything would certainly add "additional coolness", but is entirely unnecessary.


Pirate Dawn - This is the "flagship game" of the Pirate Dawn universe. It is a massively multiplayer action/arcade/strategy/economic/war game. One side eventually wins the conflict, and that game resets and starts over with a new game. Games generally last 9-18 months, longer on larger maps. There is a complete 200-page design document for this game included in the presentation. Pirate Dawn is the "audience retention" game of the PDU, and assuming it is successful will help to retain an audience for the PDU with this constantly active MMO game. Most of the games of the PDU are primarily single player games, the starship simulators have no multiplayer option at all. It is possible that most or all of the strategy games might not have multiplayer either, since so few people actually play multiplayer strategy war games because the games last so long.
If the none of the war games or god games had multiplayer... then Armageddon Chess and Pirate Dawn would be the only games of the PDU that even had a multiplayer option. I am completely neutral on any of the games other than Pirate Dawn and Armageddon Chess having a multiplayer component, Territories and The Trade Wars would play the best in multiplayer. Most of the games of the PDU are not the types of games that people play online, and the "illusion" that are the starship simulators simply cannot exist as multiplayer games... what the player thinks is happening is not actually happening. Rube makes for a very unique online strategy war game that might be described as "turn-based and yet the players are also playing simultaneously". Territories in particular would actually play very well online and be unlike any previous strategy war game in online play due to the nature of how it functions. But this still does nothing to change the fact that gamers don't play 6+ hour long strategy war games online.
Pirate Dawn and Manifest Destiny don't have many songs/movies associated with them. Other than the option of giving Territories a full line-up of movies like the later games have, the first four games don't actually call for many movies just due to their nature. I've always assumed that the PDU would have to establish success before getting to make what add up to 90-120 minute long movies along with them, so the first four games don't use many. These games use 6-8 songs each, but both could get by on just 4 movies exactly as Territories can.

You'll probably want to take the time to make out what is being said with those first distorted words in the beginning, they will become more and more meaningful as you go.


Manifest Destiny: The Fall of the Battleship Hammerfield... - This game is the completion of the Pirate Dawn story, these two games are a pair that go together (as are all games of the PDU, it is really 6 pairs of games more than it is 12 individual games). Manifest Destiny is a grand strategy war game in space, featuring the first sublight generation (1X) fleet of the Confederation of Colonies, that ends in the first truly big epic dramatic moment of the PDU story. There is a three game build up to the big final moment of this game, and then from that moment forward the story of the PDU really takes off. With who the humans of this universe are, and how they got that way, now established over the course of three games, and with so much historical background established to base everything on... almost every game for the rest of the PDU timeline has a big dramatic ending just like Manifest Destiny. These first four games exist in great detail, far beyond what the modern game industry thinks of as a pre-production design document. This is nothing at all like "Territories in space", even though it is based on Territories in ways, this game is actually a translation to the computer of ADB's Federation & Empire that, in the end, bares really no resemblance to F&E and really just modernizes some of its primary elements for the world of computer games. This is not the big epic "grand strategy war game in space" that you are envisioning, in the PDU that game is Clash of the Titans.
Manifest Destiny is not like any game that has ever existed before. It is a dynamic and interesting very fast playing strategy game too it (1 + 1 = Chess), but the focus is on the fighting between fleets. The ships and the composition of the fleets, with a combat system that is ALSO focused on the ships and fleet composition. Manifest Destiny is all about the fights between the fleets, and the rest of the game is entirely focused on supporting that. The point of this... Manifest Destiny is the result of the original goal of "create a good, fast playing strategy war game". Manifest Destiny is a good, thought provoking strategy war game with a very detailed focus on the ships and fleets that should normally take only 90-180 minutes to complete an entire game. The 1X Master Ship Chart & Fleet Composition Chart from this game have also been included with Pirate Dawn, this is the very primitive first generation sublight navy of the humans of this universe.

"For we who grew up tall and proud, in the shadow of the mushroom cloud." Thank you for that one, Freddy!!! I couldn't have written it better myself;-) Queen is the very unique sound of this very unique "foundational era of humanity in space". One very short 30-second clip of a David Lee Roth song (the end of a joke story arc that began in Territories) in this game is the only song in either Pirate Dawn or Manifest Destiny that is not Queen. They are the unique sound of this critical formation era of the sci-fi timeline of the PDU.


The Trade Wars: Awa's Flagship Apollo - If you pay attention you will notice that the PDU keeps "zooming out" to encompass a larger area around Earth with each new time period. Territories was just about Earth. In Pirate Dawn you "zoomed out" from the Earth to the Earth and the 12 colonies of the CoC. In Manifest Destiny you "zoomed out" another notch to the region and the CoC's immediate neighbors. Now, again, The Trade Wars "zooms out" and you now see the Interstellar Alliance... a galactic superpower. This is a pattern that continues until the end of time, the PDU just keep "zooming out". This game introduces you to the geopolitical nature of the galaxy and many of the alien species that inhabit it. It also has a strong focus on the Earth, Confederation of Colonies, Federation of Nations, Interstellar Alliance, and the nature of this now "Star Trek meets Minority Report-looking" human civilization that has been shaped by the history of the PDU up until this point. In future eras this time is fondly remembered as "the old wild west frontier days of the Confederation of Colonies". The Territories-Pirate Dawn-Manifest Destiny era shapes and forms their civilization, just as WWII and the Cold War have shaped and formed our world today, and this is where you finally find out who the resulting humans of this universe are. There is more "universe lore" in this game than any other, by far... "Explosion of Lore" has actually become my nickname for this game. I'm not making that up.
There are two equal star characters of this "train game in space". Federation of Nations Ambassador Awa Ambassa, a direct descendant of both African Union Ambassador Alpha Ambassa of the Territories era and Commander Nafi "Ranger"Ambassa of Pirate Dawn and Manifest Destiny. Awa is the last member of this unique family line of great achievers in the early years of Pirate Dawn Universe history. This game also introduces the last of three very important "immortal" (each in their own way) characters of the PDU, Andrea "Suzi" Takahashi... who you will meet in the chess sets as "Death Stalker". The three "immortal characters" of the PDU are Kavik Kang, Cindy McAllen, and Andrea Takahashi. None of them are literally "immortal", all three exist throughout the entire timeline in their own way... and they are not the only characters that exist throughout the timeline.
The Trade Wars is a unique multi-genre "action-strategy-economic train game" focusing on an economic civil war that takes place among the member states of the Interstellar Alliance. The Humans of the PDU, the Confederation of Colonies, are a member of an alliance of five stellar nations called the Federation of Nations. The Federation of Nations is a member of the Interstellar Alliance, and in this game the player controls the Federation of Nations as an alliance rather than just the Confederation of Colonies. Other factions can be controlled by the player, but the primary story of the game is only told when you play as the Federation of Nations ("the campaign game").

Rush was the majority of the music of both Armageddon Chess and Territories but, really, as far as the Rush goes... "And so it begins!"


Mission - This game is the original end of the original story and is the forth oldest game of the Pirate Dawn Universe. Territories, Pirate Dawn, Manifest Destiny, and Mission once comprised the original "trilogy with a prequel" that eventually evolved into... all of this. Mission is the PDU equivalent of Captain Kirk's 5-year mission of exploration. In this starship simulator/adventure game the Galactic Survey Cruiser GSC-6000 Rocinante goes on humanity's first mission of galactic exploration, sending a CoC ship beyond the borders of the Interstellar Alliance for the first time. Captain Hiro Tanaka's mission of galactic exploration is meant to reach the black hole of Cygnus X-1, attempt to determine the cause of the unusually strong X-Ray radiation that it emits, and then return to the Earth within 20 years. The ship is capable of making the round trip non-stop in about 12.5 years. This kind of stuff is always all worked out in a lot of detail in this universe. In the PDU "HyperWarp" speed is a law of physics enforced constant of 888 times the speed of light;-) GSC Rocinante is humanity's second HyperWarp ship. ADC Apollo of the previous game was the first, it was a scaled down prototype of Rocinante converted to be used as a "Diplomatic Cruiser" by Awa Ambassa during The Trade Wars.
Mission features a wide array of characters across a vast area of the galaxy, and several of my favorite characters of the PDU originated in Mission (some have since been moved to other games). This game really has become something of a character farm where characters get made up here, but there are too many in this story so they then get moved to other games with new stories. Andrea started out in Mission, and now this is one of the only games that she isn't in at all. "MeeSo", for example, is a broken and incomplete Rube, called a "Tressel", who is the star comedic character of Mission. For one thing, MeeSo will go to great lengths to avoid saying his own name if it will come across... badly. Great lengths... Mission is the end of the beginning of the story, and the beginning of the end of the story... and in an unusual way can also be perceived as the end of the story. Not only because it once was the end of the story, but also because of what the rest of story has become in support of it. All three of the starship simulator/adventure games, Mission, Astral Wake Apollo, and Fallen Angel Rising, take place within a time period already established with the player through the previous game. So the player is always made familiar with the "Place" they are in with the previous game before setting off into that new place in a starship simulator adventure game.
Another star character of Mission is helm officer Samantha "Spirit Angel" Byrne. Cindy McAllen of the Pirate Dawn/Manifest Destiny era, after being absent from The Trade Wars, returns as the Harlequin character of the PDU. She "inhabits" a major character in all of the remaining games. In Fallen Angel Rising she is just Cindy again, but her name is Ashling "Rising Angel" O'Connell. Ashling is an Irish name meaning "Vision" or "Dream", her characters always have Irish names. Ashling is Cindy, all of her previous Harlequin characters had been characters that she was "inhabiting" (I'm using this word to avoid giving away what is actually going on here). So from Mission on Cindy McAllen is always inhabiting a major character. The audience sees Cindy, the characters in the game see the character that she is inhabiting. The audience sees the character she is inhabiting whenever they see a reflection or artificial image (view screen communications for example) of her. As the Harlequin character, of course, Cindy is aware of the audience and communicates with them through body language and facial expressions a lot. Cindy is just kind of always mysteriously there and no explanation for any of this is given until the end of her story in game #10.

This song works together with Pirate Dawn's theme, Queen's One Vision, and the meaning of both "movies" keeps changing dramatically with each new game. It really does, because like Hemispheres the combined lyrics of these two songs have wound up influencing the entire story. Both One Vision & Mission always seem eerily specifically relevant to whatever era/story you are involved with at the time... and this just happened all by itself! If you come back and go through these two songs again after having gone through all of Armageddon Chess... be sitting down. That really goes for all of these songs in the summary, really. I don't want to be sued over this...
The multi-part end game quest of this adventure game entitled "MeeSo Boldly Go Where No Tressel Has Gone Before! (Or... MeeSo Know About The Force!)", is set to Rush's Cygnus X1 & Hemispheres and is the core story that the entire universe was ultimately written around.
Cygnus X-1:

Hemispheres, Part 1:

Hemispheres, Part 2:


Clash of the Titans: Legend of the Ghost Fleet - The story of the PDU changes significantly after Mission, and I don't want to reveal that story here, so the remaining descriptions focus mostly on the games themselves without discussing the stories as much. Due to the Ghost Fleet and Star Queen chess sets you will unavoidably know that the primary music for this game is Rush's 2112, so there is that. The events of Mission indirectly lead to this period where things "go off the rails" for about 1200 years or so. You'll catch a fairly detailed glimpse of just one of the ways that things "go off the rails" AFTER the events of this game in the Struggle of the Star Queens chess set. Astral Invasion picks up again where things had been going all along up until... this... happened. The Struggle of the Star Queens chess set is somewhat misleading as it portrays events that happen after this game, not during it. Clash of the Titans and Astral Wake Apollo have almost nothing to do with that story other than Grand Empress Mukantagara having been a prominent figure in both Clash of the Titans and AWA.
Just as the PDU has "zoomed" out with each period up until now, that pattern continues throughout the rest of the PDU as well. In this game the PDU "zooms out one more notch" to portray a war between two of the three galactic superpowers that between them claim most of the galaxy. The Solar Federation invades the Interstellar Alliance. Clash of the Titans is a Rube-based grand strategy war game in space that bears almost no resemblance to Territories or Manifest Destiny. The unique nature of the various fleets, and different types of fleets, available to each side make for a grand strategy war game in space unlike any that has ever existed before... even without considering Rube. This is my personal favorite of the strategy space war games, it is the big epic "WWII in space" type of game that people think of when they hear the term "grand strategy war game". Of course, it's running on Rube, the "treadmill of time" of Avalon Hill/Amarillo Design Bureau/Lost Art Studios, so it doesn't work anything like any strategy war game that you have ever played before.
The story of the PDU changes drastically after the events of Mission. The last four games were an era of dominance by Zeus, these next four games are an era of dominance by Hades.
Over the course of the PDU every song from all three of what most Rush fans consider to be their "three-in-a-row masterpieces" are used. 2112, A Farewell to Kings, and Hemispheres. These three albums are what made Rush's reputation, they are the whole reason that today Rush is a legendary band that stands right alongside of The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd. This is the only place where that happens all in one game and every song from 2112 is used in this game.



ADC-400800 Astral Wake Apollo: - This is essentially Mission II. But Mission was about exploring the galaxy in a long range Galactic Survey Cruiser. Astral Wake Apollo is a Diplomatic Cruiser, a distant descendant of Awa Ambassa's ADC-9000 Apollo from The Trade Wars, and it has a Flag Bridge with an ambassador in addition to the Tactical Bridge where the captain commands the ship. This ship is also the flagship of the Advanced Ghost Fleet, the Anti-Matter powered "Advanced Technology" HyperWarp driven branch of the CoC Navy. In game terms this means that "AWA", the nickname this ship is known by to the people of the CoC, adds a whole additional layer to the overall gameplay as compared to Mission. In AWA you can switch between two very different bridges and you play the dual role of the captain of the ship and the ambassador on the Flag Bridge. As captain you control the ship in tactical scenarios exactly like you did in Mission, as ambassador you command a squadron size force of strategic support ships during the final years of the Clash of the Titans war. This, like Mission, is still primarily a starship simulator/adventure game. AWA tells the story of the end of the Clash of the Titans war from the "close-up first person perspective" of a starship simulator adventure game, and you learn that things were not entirely as they had appeared to be from the broader perspective of the strategy war game Clash of the Titans.
AWA and Astral Invasion are just going to have to remain a little mysterious. There is no way to conceal the fact that 2112 is the music of Clash of the Titans. The music of Clash of the Titans and AWA, originally presented little by little over the course of each game, in the end combine with each other to create a single continuous nearly 3-hour long movie! This is the longest single story of the PDU and in the end it comprises a single movie. I don't want to use the theme/intro song here, so I'll give you two songs other than the theme instead. This song is inserted between 2112's Soliloquy and The Grand Finale, the last two songs of 2112, as a part of creating this "3-hour long movie"...

It's like it was always meant to be there;-) The credits roll over this song... in both Clash of the Titans and Astral Wake Apollo, this is in both games, and Grand Finale is a post-credits movie in both games. In AWA these two movies are the only two that you see repeated from Clash of the Titans, unless you watch the whole combined thing after unlocking it:-)
Advertising/Marketing Trailer:
Had you experienced the entire story up to this point, based on the entire story up until the big "final" end story of Mission, three things would be immediately obvious too you in this trailer advertisement for Astral Wake Apollo. It would be very obvious too you that Zeus is the "Old World Man", Hades is the "New World Man", and Cygnus The Twelve is the "Third World Man". There is also a dual meaning after you know the story of AWA, this song/movie also then becomes equally relevant to the Mortal World star of both of the Clash/AWA stories combined. This is also the very first movie of the fully assembled "3-hour long movie" that the movies of both Clash and AWA combine to create.


Astral Invasion: - It's been about 1200 years since the events of Clash of the Titans/AWA... there is literally a book worth of timeline between these two games! Really, the idea had always been to possibly publish this timeline segment as a book between these two games. The Star Queens from the chess sets existed during this period, as a minor side story arc among what is really going on here. The time of the Queen of Clubs is less than two centuries in the past. The PDU "zooms out" once again. Now the entire Milky Way Galaxy is being invaded by... Forces from another Place. You are currently in the wrong Place to understand the Astral Invasion, and that's all I am going to say about that. However, since it is so perfectly deceptive in every way, I can actually give this theme/intro song too you.


ADC-595150 Agamemnon: Fallen Angel Rising - Mission III. A Diplomatic Cruiser like AWA, but many years have passed and this is a far more advanced, and very different, ship than AWA was. It has completely different weapons from what Rocinante and AWA had, for one thing, and its shields are... very versatile. The same basic dual bridge design of AWA is still present in this game. This is the chronological final game of the PDU timeline, and one of five different points in the PDU timeline that can arguably be called the end of the story. Mission (2), Fallen Angel Rising (1), and Armageddon (2) can all pretty equally be argued to be the end of the story of the PDU. There are 5 equally valid endings of the story of the PDU, shown with each game above in parentheses. Even I can not definitively answer which potential ending is the actual ending, that's the whole point, they are all equally valid end points in their own way. I really don't want to say anything more about Fallen Angel Rising, or any of this, except of course... "Oh Baby!!! Do you know what that's worth?!?!" And maybe a few cryptic lyrics, now pay very close attention...

You go, Cindy!!!
I know what you think I'm giving away with these two songs. When are you ever going to learn... "You are in the wrong Place to understand."


Struggle of the Ancients, Part I: The Gods In Battle Rage On High - The PDU "zooms out" again... all the way to heaven!!! It's Zeus v Hades in the Struggle of the Ancients! The story of the PDU resets back to the beginning of time and is re-told from the perspective of the Gods. If you were in this Place well, then, you'd be in the right Place to understand a whole lot of things that you didn't before! This "God Game" is just Rube. Rube in its natural state, just Rube being Rube. Rube is a pretty complete simulation of God... "Satan" is equally present. Rube is actually a simulation of opposing Gods, which you may have noticed with the "Heaven" and "Hell" "Spinning Wheels of Time" in the Rube article in this development diary. Simply adding "a second Rube" and giving each exclusive control of their own "spinning wheel of time" results in two equally powerful and influential "Gods" who can do nothing too each other... directly. You'll find "indirect warfare" to be a common theme in my games, Territories is ENTIRELY about indirect warfare. This game literally is God v God battling for the control of the souls of the world. It's Rube. In other words... it is EXACTLY the "Struggle of the Ancients" that Hemispheres told you it would be at the end of Mission!!! The Gods are attempting to complete themselves which will enable them to ascend to the Astral Plane, which is the Place immediately above this Place... which is the whole reason that we can't understand it!

If you have gone through all of Armageddon Chess, and a therefore now in the right Place to at least partially understand Natural Science, and you are reading through these theme/trailer lyrics again... this is the one that you will most want to be sitting down for. For more reasons than I can even begin to mention here. It's not my fault if you get knocked off of your feet... I warned you!


Struggle of the Ancients, Part II: Armageddon - The PDU has always "zoomed out" in the past, this time it "zooms in" for a close-up view of the critical moment, and most epic battle of the Struggle of the Ancients. This is a "historical" WWII grand strategy war game that, I think, would pretty obviously be the most unique WWII strategy game ever made. Zeus & Hades have completely different goals than the Mortal World, and the previous 11 games have completely re-defined what WWII is about in this universe. This is a traditional "historic WWII strategy game"... on the Mortal Plane. Of course, Zeus in the Upper Void and Hades in the Lower Void are the ones really calling the shots here, and WWII is really just a reflection of their battle in The Void. The actual war taking place in the Mortal World is a mere sideshow, even though it is the game that you are actually playing, as Zeus & Hades intensify their battle for the souls, often stated as "spirits" in the PDU, of the world. They are interested in ascending "warriors" for their final battle, the events of WWII that the mortals care about are completely irrelevant too them. I think it is safe to say that there has never been a WWII game quite like Armageddon before... and it's a pretty tough genre to do something truly new in.
This is where Armageddon Chess came from. When it was suggested that I make a playable prototype I eventually decided to just take "The Final Battle of the Dark Side of Armageddon" from this game and expand it. That chess set has existed for many, many years. All of the other chess sets were created in the last 6 months or so. Armageddon Chess had been the "Mini-Game Ending" of Armageddon, the final game of the PDU, as a means of creating the biggest and most dramatic ending I could think of by having a "game design ending" that accompanied the "story ending". The prototype very quickly became the new first game of the PDU as I almost immediately realized that it solved all the problems I had always had regarding trying to somehow explain the "Gods" before Territories. It had always been way too much for the timeline and was the only major problem I had left in resolving the story. The chess game is PERFECT for this purpose, and I absolutely LOVE how the PDU now both begins and ends at WWII... AND at the exact same instant! It totally and completely closes the "Broken Time Loop" to the detail of the exact millisecond where the two ends connect. I had never dreamed of doing this, so whoever it was that had made that suggestion... Thank you!!!


Moral of the Story - This short 1 minute video is the last minute of Rush's Hemispheres. You would have first seen this at the end of Mission, and then two more times as about the last thing seen at the end of both of the other starships simulators as well, and now at the end of Armageddon you would see it for the last time as almost the last thing ever seen in the PDU assuming that it ends at Game #12 like I always do. This video is the "moral of the story" of this entire "universe of war". It is simply a view of the Earth from the distance, slowly turning, as beautiful as it can be made to look. As soon as the music begins the flags of the nations of the Earth begin appearing around it until, by the end of the song, the tiny little flags of all of the nations of the Earth surround it (very tiny, there are over 190 nations on this planet). It's that simple. The moral of the entire story of the Pirate Dawn "Universe of War"... a recurring refrain of the second half of the story.
The Sphere: A Kind of Dream...


Struggle of the Ancients, Part III: Ascension - This game is the PDU's "Alpha Centauri to Struggle Part 1's Civilization". That's right... zoom back out again! Struggle III is essentially Struggle I in space, and other than the three starship simulators these are the two most similar games of the PDU. Theoretically, it is very unlikely that the Broken Time Loop of the PDU ever reaches this point. For that to happen would be very, very unlikely. Most likely, after the events of Armageddon the Humans of the PDU will be forever trapped in their Broken Time Loop, endlessly replaying the same 4.5 billion years of history over and over again, and never escape the trap within time that they have managed to create for themselves. If, however, by some fluke of luck everything went exactly the right way during one of these cycles of their Broken Time Loop then the "problem" would be fixed, the Dark Side of Armageddon would cease to exist, and the now "repaired" timeline of our real world reality would continue from 1945 where it had been trapped since the nuclear detonations of 1945 the first time around. Did you get all of that? Good! So, as you can see, the likelihood of the Earth's timeline ever even making it to this game is not too high. But, lets assume that the near impossible HAS actually happened, and that George Washington has finally managed to somehow pull off his Mission. In this game you would complete the God that you began building in Struggle of the Ancients Part 1. This God character can be transferred through all three parts of Struggle of the Ancients, and then transferred on into Astral Twilight from here. In Part 1 you build a God for Part 2. In Part 2 you upgrade that God, in Part 3 you complete that God... and in Astral Twilight you use that now completed God, either Zeus or Hades. Which ever one you built. Assuming the timeline is ever repaired so that the real timeline can even make it there, of course.

Astral Twilight: Guardians of the Galaxy - Back when the PDU was an 8-game universe there was an imaginary "9th game" called Armageddon that served as a "real end point" to keep the story and games consistent with a single real end point of it all. Armageddon eventually became the basis of the final grand finale end of the PDU, and these two imaginary "13th & 14th games" came into being as the new "real end of the story" that all of the other games and stories lead toward. As always, the PDU has to know its own future, and that is what these two games really are. I never plan on actually making these games, but they could be made. I do know specifically what they are, that is the whole point.
I bet you thought that when the PDU "zoomed out" all the way to heaven that I had to be done with the zooming out thing, right? "Certainly, he can't zoom out any farther than that. That must be it!" I know you did, don't lie... You were wrong! The PDU "zooms out"!!! One... Last... Time... All the way to heaven... of the galaxy!!! Yes, Struggle of the Ancients Parts 1-3 were only Earth's heaven. And just the humans. Such a small little speck, isn't it? Two little words explain all of the rest that needs to be explained here... Vorlons v Shadows. "And so it ends..." the final four, big bang, ultimate smash four-part ending of the Pirate Dawn Universe. The Struggle of the Ancients Trilogy & Astral Twilight: Guardians of the Galaxy!!!

And now that you have made it this far, and this will make some kind of sense too you. As I mentioned earlier I use a "timeline trick" to literally steal all of world history, and Greek mythology... OK, and Egyptian, and Mayan and, well, all of it really... as the starting point of the story of the PDU. As an example of just one result of that, well, here are a few of the many important characters of the story of the PDU... Alexander The Great (Apollo), Julius Caesar (Hermes), Cleopatra (Athena), Charlemagne (Dionysus), Genghis Khan (Thanatos), Vladimir Lenin (Dolos) and last, but certainly not least, Dwight Eisenhower (Ares) and Napoleon Bonaparte (Inperator). You'll meet all of them in Armageddon Chess!

Since I've wound up on characters I certainly can't resist mentioning my personal favorite, Cindy "Fallen Angel" McAllen of the Pirate Dawn/Manifest Destiny era. I'd like to be able to tell you about Cindy, but you are in the wrong Place to understand her. You are only potentially just beginning your first trip through the Broken Time Loop of the Pirate Dawn Universe, so you are in the wrong Place to understand Fallen Angel. To understand Cindy, you would have to be in at least your second trip through the Broken Time Loop. The Age of Piracy & Final Battle chess sets will let you know a little more about Cindy, if you could call it that... you really are in the wrong Place to understand Fallen Angel. So, really, unless the PDU ever actually gets made, I guess I will remain the only person who is in the right Place to understand Cindy... pretty much the same situation I am in with Rube. Hey, wait a minute... Maybe these two things are related? This could be important! I know what Cindy would say...

"Oh Baby!!! Do you know what that's worth?!?!"


Marc Michalik
Lost Art Studios

*** Primary Influences on the Pirate Dawn Universe ***
The Pirate Dawn Universe has been influenced by... everything in the world that I have ever liked, basically. But there are 12 primary influences that have, by far, been the most influential on both the story, the mythology really, and the games of the PDU. They have all been a major inspiration, and noticeably influential throughout all of the games and the story that encompasses those games. In order, these 12 primary influences are...

Star Fleet Universe - The Pirate Dawn Universe is the next generation of the SFU, nothing has influenced the PDU as much as the Star Fleet Universe has. The SFU was not known for its story, but it should have been. SVC is a very unique game designer, and story teller. JMS of B5 fame was inspired by a part of his unique method of story telling, the timeline. But "the whole package" of how SVC told a story through the game in the SFU is designed and tailored specifically to tell stories within games. The story is told in tiny bits, spread out... everywhere. The timeline, the weapon descriptions, character biographies, on cards... everywhere and anywhere there is a place to put it, sometimes just a few sentences at a time. In the SFU this was done so subtly, in fact, that you actually absorbed the story through playing the game... or at least having and reading all of it, even the rules! It was so well concealed, and nearly subliminal, that the SFU had the reputation of having very little story... but it really is there. The PDU doesn't take this to the artform heights of subliminal brevity of the SFU, but it is the same thing conceptually. Of course, in the case of the PDU the most important parts of the story are often the song lyrics associated with that part of the story.
One example of what I mean by this is that there is no reason to talk about the second or more variant of a destroyer, for example, other than a sentence or two, it would just become repetitive. Instead, you say one or two sentences about that variant in its description, which lead into a totally unrelated thing that advances the story. This is just one example of how this is accomplished. This is going to work MUCH better in computer games than it did in the SFU, it will simply all be absorbed through playing the game as it was in the SFU... only it won't take literally years for that to happen as it did with the SFU. Then, I make it a little more interesting than the SVC/JMS version you might be familiar with by first "breaking" my timeline... and then "breaking" it again even more, which creates a gap called "The Eternally Unstuck Reflection of the Dark Side of Armageddon". Then still later it gets fused back together as a "Broken Time Loop" that still has the Dark Side gap. This throws more than a few twists into what you most likely recognize as a "Babylon 5-style story".

Rube - Almost all of the sci-fi pseudo science of the PDU is based on how Rube actually functions. All pseudo science relating to time and reality is simply a description of how Rube says that it functions. Most of the other fake science can trace itself back to Rube in some way as well. The Broken Time Loop is also inspired by how Rube functions. Pretty much all of the fake science of the PDU is based on how Rube actually functions... and Rush's Natural Science! Of course, Rube is also the fundamental basis of most of the games, in one way or another, and so is second only to the SFU in the influence it has had on the PDU. Rube comes from the SFU, and Avalon Hill, so even Rube does not rival the influence that Steve Cole's SFU has had on the Pirate Dawn Universe.

Neil Peart - The story of the PDU is actually a completion of Greek mythology based on the writings of Neil Peart. The lyrics of Rush throughout their entire career, with the centerpiece of the story being Cygnus X-1/Hemispheres. Neil Peart is, in fact, essentially the co-author of this story which has been written around the lyrics of the songs that are used. Many bands other than Rush are also used, but they generally more support the story that Professor Pratt and I have come up with. Through a "timeline trick", which you can see happen for yourself in the Armageddon Chess timeline, I "gradually steal both all of world history and Greek mythology" as the mere starting point of the story of the PDU. In fact, the end of the story of Armageddon Chess is actually the beginning of the story of the PDU... Armageddon Chess is a prologue to the story. This truly is "a completion of Greek mythology" and not just a story, it really has taken just under 20 years of this being essentially my lifelong hobby to arrive at this. Thanks for the help, Pratt! ;-)

Train Games - Part of my unique brand of strategy games usually involves laying that strategy game over a "card heavy train game-like" diplomatic/economic/espionage system as the foundation for whatever that strategy game is, "on top" of that train game foundation. Like two layers of strategy game, really. As a result, the train game genre of the hobbyist game industry has been a very major influence on most of the games of the PDU. The Trade Wars is the actual "pure train game" of the PDU, but then adds tactical-level action game elements layered over it, instead of laying another strategy game on top of it... so it's still a lot more than just a train game.

Babylon 5 - Of all of the major sci-fi universes, all of which have been major influences on the PDU, none come close to Babylon 5. Although the overall story of the PDU bears no resemblance to Babylon 5, it is at the same time similar in many ways. This is mostly due to the fact that what you know as "the JMS Bible" was actually a simple version of the Star Fleet Universe timeline. The "broken time loop, with an even more broken time gap" of the PDU is quite a bit more sophisticated than JMS's bible. Like Babylon 5, the PDU knows its own future and can take advantage of that in story telling. There is a LOT of this going on in Armageddon Chess, much more than you can possibly pick up on this early in the overall story. This is done in a far more complex and intricate way in the PDU than it was in Babylon 5. JMS didn't spend quite the same 20 years on it that I have, and didn't understand how it worked in quite the way that I do. He was a casual SFB player... I have a tiny bit more knowledge of the system than that. "Just a 'lil bit..." If only I was as experienced a writer as he is...

Dwight Eisenhower - Most people today don't know this, but Ike wrote the book on how to NOT go to war. Then he followed it up with the sequel, "How to NOT Blow Up The World With Nuclear Weapons". In the PDU humanity has forgotten the lessons that he had learned from WW1, the Great Depression, and WWII. Part of the story of the formative Territories, Pirate Dawn, Manifest Destiny era is the story of humanity re-learning (the hard way) the lessons that Eisenhower had already taught us. The foreign policies, outlook on military affairs, and how the world works in general in a diplomatic sense, of Dwight Eisenhower are a primary influence throughout the history of the PDU. They are also the philosophies by which Earth Defense Force and the Confederation of Colonies live by. In the case of Territories, a game about avoiding nuclear war, it is designed entirely in accordance with "the world according to Ike". There is even a note to myself in the Territories design document to, if there are not legal/business issues with it... credit Dwight Eisenhower as Lead Designer and myself as the assistant designer. He wrote all of the rules, it really is his game even more than it is mine.

"I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, as only one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity..." - Dwight D Eisenhower, (S.H.A.E.F.) Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Forces Europe (1943-1945), President of the United States of America (1953-1961)

Tom Clancy - I attempt to write in a "Clancy-esq" or "militaristic sci-fi" style. I hope I actually did... You won't actually see much of this here, though, since the only two sci-fi era chess sets don't really contain much of that kind of thing on purpose. It would be out of place in Armageddon Chess. But even in the later games where this does hopefully exist, what I strive for is probably more accurately described as Roddenberry/JMS/Clancy punctuated by brief flashes of comedy. So the comedy part can make the "serious militaristic" part hard to see sometimes... haha.

Battlestar Galactica - The later-generation capital ships of the human fleet of the PDU somewhat resemble Battlstars in their form and function, not their look of course. They are very unique, though, as they use the much larger Military Patrol Craft ("One-Man PT Boats in space") of the PDU rather than fighters. Another very noticeable BSG reference would have to be the Viper model of Military Patrol Craft, the most advanced craft of that class that only appears toward the end of the timeline. There are twelve colonies in the CoC. There is also a tribute to BSG story in the timeline that I refer to as "Flight of the Star Queen" which intentionally resembles the BSG story. The Clash of the Titans chess set represents a single incident from the Flight of the Star Queen story that takes place in the immediate aftermath of the events of Clash of the Titans, and of course the Struggle of the Star Queens chess set also comes out of this story. This is an example of how you can just pick any story arc out of the timeline and make a game out of it, really. These 14 games are mine, the idea had always been that others might also make games within the PDU.

Star Trek, Star Wars, Stargate SG1, & Buck Rogers in the 25th Century - These last four are pretty well tied and there are many references and influences of all of these throughout the timeline. These are the rest of my favorite sci-fi stories and can be seen in the PDU throughout much of the timeline. Some examples... Several aspects of my own Kavik Kang alter ego character have some vague but noticeable similarities to the Buck Rogers story, and the entire "Star Queen" side-story arc of the post-Clash/AWA period was originally inspired by Princess Ardala. There is a planet that is remeniscient of Stargate, with a portal device called "The One Ring" (...a bank-shot SG1/Lord of the Rings reference!). Olympia Alexis Davenport of The Trade Wars era will remind you of Captain Kirk (in that game, you get a brief glimpse of her in one of the chess sets). One of the stars of Mission, Hiro Tanaka, will remind you of Captain Sulu (...with a dash of Picard). And, of course... Andrea "Death Stalker" Takahashi, the "Batman/Boba Fett Space Ninja TechnoMage of the PDU", is pretty unmistakably straight out of Star Wars... except that Suzi would eat Jedi Knights and Sith Lords for breakfast. ;-)

"Suzi, Suzi, girl, for cryin' out loud, you've got all the right moves..."


I know... Suzi seems to have a lot of names, doesn't she? Suzi, Andrea, Death Stalker... And it's just getting started! Once she... establishes more of a reputation for herself, let's say, during the time of the Star Queens she becomes known by yet another name.


For a while, anyway, until her next nickname emerges... From here, if you want to know more, download Armageddon Chess and go through that in order starting with the timeline.

Marc Michalik
Lost Art Studios

Armageddon Chess Attachment: Armageddon Chess is attached to this post. The .odt files in the ZIP file are from a Word compatible word processor called Open Office. Word automatically converts these files to Word when you open them. This is the perfect introduction for the Armageddon Chess timeline. The modern game industry credits this quote to Sid Meier but it was actually a very well-known saying among the hobbyist game industry. That's where he heard it. This is so old that I don't think anyone even knew who originally said it which, combined with the nature of it, probably means that it came from the original Avalon Hill guys of the 1950's & 60's.

"The best games are educational."




*** *** *** Pirate Dawn Universe *** *** ***

Welcome to my developer's journal! This is a little different than most of these journals I have looked at, I am a game designer and not a programmer. I've also spent about 20 years working on this. This journal is dedicated to my Pirate Dawn Universe which consists of 14 games tied together through a timeline that begins with the formation of the Earth in 4.5 billion BC and ends in either 4288 or 8112, depending on what happens. It is essentially my own Star Trek, Star Wars, or Babylon 5. I have a great deal of experience in creating a sci-fi universe within games, far more than anyone working in the modern game industry today, and the Pirate Dawn Universe is my life's work. I have been doing this pretty much continuously for about 35 years now. I really have forgotten more about imaginary warships in space, fleet composition, and combat between them than any 5 of you combined have ever known. That's not bragging, it's just a fact. I am not alone, there are a few dozen others just like me but they are of a different generation and they don't really care about computer games. I have been playing your games my whole life and you don't take this anywhere in the same plane of existence as seriously as we did for over 40 years.

My blog will tell you a little bit about who I am, and about the old hobbyist game industry from someone who was there. Gamasutra Blog: http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/MarcMichalik/787769/

Most of the games of the PDU are based on a unique form of game design that I have developed over the last 40 years. There have never been games that work like these ones do. I call this "methodology of function" Rube. Rube is the next generation of the Star Fleet Universe, or the third generation of Avalon Hill... take your pick. Rube is the end result, the highest evolution, of 70 years of game and simulation design knowledge of the hobbyist game industry that just happened to wind up ending with me. My "Lost Art Studios", which is really just me, is the next and last in the line of evolution of the game industry of the late 1940's-1990's. Avalon Hill, Dungeons & Dragons, Star Fleet Battles... that whole era really, it all ultimately led to and ended up as the Pirate Dawn Universe. In one week I will post about 300 pages of information about the PDU to this journal, most of it as downloadable text files. The game is almost all of that material. Armageddon Chess is the first game of the PDU and you can be among the first people to play it if you want, and it is the star of the show of this journal.

The point of this, obviously, is to find a way too make my games. I am 48 and gave up on this 8 years ago. This is definitely the last time I will ever try to make my games... so I might as well go all out and show you everything! It's just going to die with me if I don't, so there is no reason not to show it to the world now. Even if I got to make the PDU starting right now I'd probably be getting close to 65, or even 70, when the Armageddon game was being finished. Randomly contacting game companies is pointless, I tried that for almost 20 years. They generally have a plan to make their own games and aren't interested in looking at anything else. At least that was my final conclusion after nearly two decades of trying. On top of that, one of the very first things I was taught in the board game industry was that we returned all unsolicited game submissions unopened, for many obvious reasons. I would imagine that you are the same, and suspect it is possible that in all those years of trying... not a single game company ever so much as looked at what I had sent them. Understandably. Then, to make matters even worse, I am inherently incompatible with the modern game industry. The way that I make games, that we made games, is pretty much an exact carbon copy of your complete list that you believe is the "worst" way that it could possibly be done. You do things, for the most part, completely backwards from the way that we did. When the phrase "game designer as rock star" emerged back in the early 1990's... One of you may have actually talking about me! I'm serious, that's not a joke. I was then, and still am, exactly that guy (although the hair is gone now). I wouldn't be surprised at all if I had been at least part of the inspiration for that phrase. I have been occasionally among and around you since the dawn of your time. I have at least met most of the "old legendary names" of your industry. In a few days I'll show you exactly what it is that your long-despised "rock star" actually does, and how that winds up working out in the end.

I "retired" from trying to do this anymore about 8 years ago, right here on GameDev net;-) But about a year ago I decided to try this one last time. So if anyone out there is interested in what really is the ultimate evolution of 70 years of work by hundreds of the original commercial game designers, then through an accident of history... it's right here. Avalon Hill... Amarillo Design Bureau... Lost Art Studios... this is the chain that led to the PDU. This is its heritage, where it comes from, what it is. It is the ultimate evolution of 70 years of continual unbroken work by several generations of the very first modern game designers. Created by someone who has been playing computer games constantly since they first came into existence. As you might imagine, it is just a little bit more refined than the games that the modern game industry makes. "Just a 'lil bit..." Or may you wouldn't imagine that, since I am just your "rock star";-)

Until this weekend... Something you should find interesting, if you have an interest in game design. If you have an interest in game design and you don't find this interesting... then you should probably be in a different line of work. A little bit about Rube...

After having had over a year to contemplate and consider Rube I have a much better understanding of it then when I first discovered it. Recognized it in nature is more accurate, actually. I am going to focus on making the first two games of the Pirate Dawn Universe, and forget about Rube, because the very simple-to-produce Armageddon Chess is definitely the most likely path to success. Also because making Territories, the second game, makes Rube... and that is the only way that I am ever going to get anyone else to understand Rube. The programmers don't need to understand Rube to create Rube. Rube is a part of nature. It's all simple... until it comes together to function as a single entity. Rube will simply come into being within Territories whether anyone else recognizes what is happening or not, and by the time the project is finished the programmers WILL understand Rube! It has become very clear that the only way that I have of introducing the world to Rube is to make Territories.

To make others understand Rube I would need to be able to express Rube mathematically, and I am nowhere near capable of doing that. People don't believe that Rube exists because I should not have been able to discover Rube. People expect anyone who could discover something like Rube to be capable of representing it mathematically. Rube is so complex that attempting to explain Rube in any other way just sounds... insane. So the only way that anyone else is ever going to understand Rube is if I make Territories. By the time that game is done, the programmers who helped to make it will understand Rube. And some of them will probably be able to express Rube as a theory mathematically, at least well enough for it to finally be understood by people other than me. This is the only means that I have of explaining Rube in a way that anyone else is ever going to understand. So I am now trying to make Armageddon Chess, so that I can get to make Territories... and thus Rube. And then, of course, the rest of the PDU!

Rube is not an editor, or game making tool. Rube is a physical construct used to explain a very complex method of simulating the combination of time and reality. Rube is a functioning model of how time and reality function together. "Moments of time containing reality", the defining statement of Rube. This is used as the basis of making games, at least that's what I use it for. I will share my current understanding of Rube at a macro level. Take this as you will... it is all true.

Rube is a FUNCTIONING scientific model that I have just naturally been using various incarnations of for most of my life. I am a "savant simulation designer", and I will just leave that for however you want to take it. Rube is the product of nearly 70 years of continuous work by literally hundreds of designers. The third-generation of Avalon Hill, the next-generation of Star Fleet Battles. An evolution that, through an accident of history, then ended with me and my now 20-year-long obsession to create the Pirate Dawn Universe.

As I have said before, what Rube actually is is the world's first functioning scientific model of God. The Rube of Territories is a primitive, embryonic form of what Rube can actually be. The Rube of Territories is simply a very sophisticated way of handling cards within a simple Avalon Hill-style phased turn system. Territories is a VERY "board game primitive" version of Rube. Struggle of the Ancients Part 1 literally is Rube in its natural state. Just Rube being Rube... but that is Game #11 and Territories is Game #2.

If you assume a Rube where all of its five components are functioning at an infinite capacity, then all of the following things are true... Rube is an "artificial universe". A self-programming computer with omniscient communication. This is exactly what Rube is. A functioning simulation of God. A functioning simulation of time combined with reality. I did not set out to create a simulation of God, I set out to make better games based on SFB's Impulse Chart with its embedded sequence of play. The founders of Avalon Hill had set out to simulate real time in games, and Amarillo Design Bureau took that system to the next generation. And I, or "Lost Art Studios" which of course is just me, took it to Rube. We didn't set out to simulate God, we set out to simulate time and reality. And with Rube, that 70 or so years of work has now been completed.

I can't tell you how time, reality, or God function in the real world... obviously. But Rube is a functioning model that I have actually been using for decades and I CAN tell you how Rube says that time and reality function within Rube. Most importantly... Rube says that what we perceive as "time and reality" **IS** God. Or, what we perceive as God **IS** "time and reality". One or the other, or both at the same time... take your pick. But according to Rube, this is the case. This is why our combined 70 years of work to simulate time and reality within games (Avalon Hill/Amarillo Design Bureau/Lost Art Studios) ultimately resulted in a simulation of God. Because, according to Rube and how Rube functions anyway, "God" and "Time combined with Reality" are one and the same thing. They function identically. God is Time, and/or Time is God. Take your pick... because they are one and the same thing. At least, within Rube they are. They function identically.

This, BTW, makes for some pretty awesome game lore within a sci-fi universe

After having successfully completed the work of AH, ADB, and LAS/Territories, and achieving a complete functioning model of time and reality, I was not looking at the model of "moments of time containing reality" that was the basis of my "3[sup]rd[/sup] generation" work on the system. I was looking at God, or a model of God anyway. Here is the most obvious and descriptive way of describing the 5 components of this simulation of how "time combined with reality" functions. "Moments of time containing reality." And how I described them as components of a simulation of time and reality before recognizing this as being equally a simulation of God.

Top Spinning Wheel of Time (Heaven)
Rube Goldberg Card Sorting Machine (God)
"Living Entities" within the A/P Map (Souls)
Active/Passive Map (Mortal World, AKA "The Matrix")
Bottom Spinning Wheel of Time (Hell)

Or... a slight modification for the "God Games" that come at the end of the PDU. The Struggle of the Ancients trilogy and Astral Twilight are essentially just Rube being Rube, as a game. This is how Rube is configured for those games, and this time in the terminology of the PDU.

Top Spinning Wheel of Time (Upper Void)
High Rube Goldberg Card Sorting Machine (Zeus)
"Living Entities" within the A/P Map (Ascendant Candidates, Zeus)
Active/Passive Map (Mortal World, AKA "The Matrix")
"Living Entities" within the A/P Map (Ascendant Candidates, Hades)
Low Rube Goldberg Card Sorting Machine (Hades)
Bottom Spinning Wheel of Time (Lower Void)

Rube seems incomplete without the "Low God" and his "Souls", doesn't he? This is what I call "Rube III". Rube III began as the foundation of Struggle of the Ancients, Part II: Armageddon and then also became the basis of the entire Struggle of the Ancients trilogy and Astral Twilight. Territories after I understood Rube as a physical construct is Rube II (the first Rube listed above), the strategy war games of the PDU all have Rube II at their foundation to some degree or another. The original Territories where I first noticed Rube as a physical construct was Rube I, which is "obsolete" now in my mind. Mission is Rube IV and is not "god"-like at all, IV came before III but is much more complicated. Rube IV is better described as "an insubstantial holodeck" than it is a simulation of god. Rube IV "maintains a constant illusion of activity around the player". There are several versions of Mission and I am considering stepping back to the previous one from this "holodeck" one I have tried to put together in what I call "notes stage"... only because I think that, although Rube IV is a very impressive trick, the previous version of Mission was a better game than what is coming together with the new "Rube IV" idea. Rube IV still "maintains a constant illusion of activity around the player" by literally planning the future of the reality around them. I somewhat fear a Rube V.

I have created all of this part of Rube, these five components are my "next generation" of the Star Fleet Universe, the completion of the work begun by Avalon Hill in the late 1940s. The "treadmill of time" created by the hobbyist game industry over the past 70 years is the cardiovascular system that runs through those five components, and is the heart and core of the system. The "Spinning Wheels of Time" also incorporate the basic design of the SFB Impulse Chart. In the most simple terms... this is the difference between the way that I make games and the way that everyone else does it. That really is what Rube is, me finally be able to conceptually explain how my singularly unique games function.

This is what you get when you take the SFB Impulse Chart to the next level of "moments of time containing reality". This is what you wind up seeing after you finally succeed in creating a functioning model of time and reality. Not time and reality... God. They are indecipherable from each other.

I am, just to be clear, a scientific-minded person who likes to think of himself as an on-the-fence agnostic ("Who am I to answer that question?") but just naturally leans pretty far toward atheism. So there is no religious motivation, or "opinionated contamination", on my part in any of this. I am also not claiming to have any answers in the real world. This is how Rube functions, which doesn't necessarily have anything to do with how time and reality function in the real world. For the sake of my own sanity, that is an issue I ignore and will leave for other people who know "blackboard math" to worry about. But Rube does function, so this does carry more weight in my mind than the imaginings of a futurist, for example.

And, if you are wondering about what Rube says about time travel... Rube says that you cannot travel forward in time because time and reality consist of "moments of time containing reality", and that future "moment of time containing reality" is "staged within Rube/God", and it will not happen until the moment that it happens. Rube/God, however, can alter and plan the future of each individual "Living Entity"/Soul at any point prior to that "moment of time containing reality" happening, planning any future "moment of time containing reality" of every "Living Entity/Soul" in its universe into eternity! Rube says that you cannot travel backwards in time because once a "moment in time containing reality" has happened it has ceased too exist. Even Rube/God cannot access the past in any way because that "moment of time containing reality" no longer exists.

That's what the functioning model that is Rube says, anyway. And from here I will wait for Territories before wasting time trying to explain Rube when I don't know the math required to do so. Territories will explain Rube for me to people who do know the math to explain it. On the plus side, I have realized that I can publicly explain Rube in as much detail as I want without worry of someone else running off with it, because nobody has any idea what I am talking about no matter how I try to describe it. I couldn't get someone to understand Rube even a tiny little bit if my life depended on it, so there is no reason to be secretive about it. Trying my best, all I get is blank stares and concerns for my sanity (literally)... so there is no reason at all to be secretive about something that I can't make people understand no matter what lengths I go to explain it. Hence the fairly detailed description above.

Next Friday I will post a summary of all 12 games of the the entire Pirate Dawn Universe timeline and a playable prototype of Armageddon Chess, the first game of the PDU. The opening timeline is the entire beginning of the story of both Armageddon Chess and the entire Pirate Dawn Universe, it is about 120 pages long and covers 4.5 billion BC to 1945. Because of the unique way that the PDU is written for games the story works well no matter what order you take it in. As a published game almost all players would play the game and learn the story of Armageddon Chess before being into it enough, if they were going to be, to read the timeline which then acts as a prequel story. But the story is best taken in order, as it is presented in the zip file. If you are mostly interested in the story then reading the timeline first, then the game manual, then the chess sets in the order they are presented will turn Armageddon Chess into the big ending of the story that you have just read.

There are 9 chess sets included with the prototype, 7 of which are compatible with each other. None of them have ever been play tested, in fact I have never even set up a chess set and tinkered with this. I did this entirely in my head sitting in front of a word processor over the last six months or so. So you will almost certainly find some game balance issues that might still need some more work, it has still never been played. If you are playing it you might be the first person to ever do so. The chess sets should work very well with themselves, this is fairly simple to work out. It is freely mixing and matching the sides from different sets within the Fantasy Series where play testing is almost certainly going to reveal some problems. Armageddon Chess is about 250 pages with the timeline, game manual, and the 9 chess sets. All you need if you want to actually play it is a chess set, poker chips, and some 6-sided dice.

I will post the PDU summary of all 12 games, with the zip file for Armageddon Chess attached, this Friday. Armageddon Chess is Chess brought up-to-date for the modern game audience. From the perspective of modern gamers raised on computer games Chess is missing a combat system, so I have given it one. Obviously just some type of one-on-one Archon like D&D thing would be pretty... lame... as my generation would say. So, just like a computer game might do, Armageddon Chess "zooms in" on a "tactical battle area". All of the pieces in the 3-square combat area are involved in the battle, and they can have very unique abilities beyond just causing damage. Moving other pieces within the battle area, for example. This is all designed to create a combat system that seems like it is a part of Chess, very simple to understand rules that create an endlessly complex situation... especially when combined with the existing rules of Chess that they are working with. Armageddon Chess amplifies the existing complexity of Chess. So if you always thought that Chess was too complex... you might want to try another game;-)

10... 9... 8... 7... 6... 5... 4... 3... 2... 1...

Marc Michalik
Lost Art Studios

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