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Armageddon Chess

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Kavik Kang

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*** *** *** 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;-)
Theme/Intro:

 

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.
Theme/Intro:

 

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.
Theme/Intro:

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.
Theme/Intro:

"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").
Theme/Intro:

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.
Theme/Intro:

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.
Theme/Intro:


2112:

 

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.
Theme/Intro:

 

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...
Trailer:

You go, Cindy!!!
Theme/Intro:
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!
Theme/Intro:

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!!!
Theme/Intro:

 

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."

 

 

ArmageddonChess.zip

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