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A Final Word About Rube

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Kavik Kang


*** *** *** 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...

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Six paragraphs comparing yourself to people who actually made the board games you name drop....check.

Try to appeal to programmers via a punch card reference?  Yeah, that's going to work.  

Lots of talk about how Rube is the greatest thing since sliced bread without ever actually describing it concretely or how it should be implemented....check.

Good luck with your endeavors.



Also, Axis and Allies was a terrible game.


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I actually make them, too.

An attempt by the adults to explain the current height of the field of game and simulation design to the spoiled little children playing in the sandbox at the edge of our field... I can play your propaganda game with you, if you want...

I have been describing Rube too you, you are just so far behind actual simulation design that it is indistinguishable from magic too you.  You could learn a lot if you put down your bucket and shovel and listened to your betters for a little while instead of becoming insulted whenever we speak.  I'm sorry that your self-worth is based on your misguided belief that you are the experts in this field, and that you can not tolerate our presence.

You to... maybe in 30 years you will actually manage to reach a level of knowledge that is equivalent to Avalon Hill's Panzerblitz... maybe.  Probably not, if you are going to continue to become enraged whenever a real game designer attempts to speak as you have been doing for the last 30 years.

I don't mean or want to become Pirate Lord again here, but you people really are something!  And I will just leave it at that.  I am only responding to your tone here.


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Well, I've got to be honest Kavik Kang, I've spent the better part of the past 10 minutes reading parts of this blog and other blogs you've written about Rube and I still don't have the foggiest idea what it's all about or even if it's a game.  Do you have pictures or something to show other than your current ideas?  I'm curious and would like to know what you're trying to make.

I'm getting the impression you're a connoisseur of games and game design.  Do you have a top 3 that you think best represent the art of Game?


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This post was really about trying to convey the history of where Rube comes from.  I have been trying to explain Rube to people for nearly 2 years now.  I've come to realize that only people with a deep understanding of Avalon Hill's phased-turn system, which is also a part of SFB, and SFB's Impulse Chart have any frame of reference from which to understand Rube.  In the end, Rube is the world's first functioning simulation of God, or time combined with reality which look for all the world like the same thing.  That's really what it is.  But there is a long way to go to get from understanding games as "Turn 1 I go, Turn 2 you go" and being able to comprehend Rube.  It really would take a book to explain Rube, that is part of how I discovered it.  The best way for me to explain Rube is to just make Territories.  If I can't find a way to make that happen, I could basically strip the Territories off of Rube leaving a "functional model" of the "spine" of Rube to demonstrate on a table top.  If I was going to just try to explain Rube and forget about making my games that is what I would do.  That would be a lot easier than writing a book to explain it.  Maybe I will do that if I can't just find a way to make Territories and do it that way.  But I'd rather just make Territories to do that which is what I am trying to do now.

Rube is a way of simulation time combined with reality that has evolved over many decades.  It begins with simple turns.  Turn 1, I go.  Turn 2, you go.  

Then came "phased turns".  Turn 1, Phase 1, I go.  Turn 1, Phase 2, you go.  

Then subphases.  Turn 1, Phase 1, I move.  Turn 1, Phase 1, you move.  Turn 1 Phase 2, I shoot.  Turn 1, Phase 2, you shoot.

And it kept evolving from there.  Notice that in a board game the phases actually make no real difference in sequence.  Players are still moving back and forth if you watch them play.  But in their minds, and the design of the game, they are moving and acting simultaneously.  In a computer version... they really are acting simultaneously.  This was the very, very beginnings of what has eventually now evolved into Rube.

I'll also add, for the fun of it, that I've made a point to watch the Matrix a few times since stumbling on to all of this and there is something that really jumps off the screen and stands out too me when I do.  Something that they just did because they thought it looked cool... but actually hit the nail right on the head when they did.  In some scenes you see a information display of activity taking place in the Matrix on the monitors.  It is like a waterfall of separate lines falling down the screen.  This is just amazing too me.  If I assume that is an interface that I have made track activity within Rube... I can make complete and total sense of those "falling lines".  If that were the interface for Rube that effect makes me envision, and you were one of those falling lines... I could tell you everything about the rest of your future from that screen, and re-program you future from their as well.  Those falling lines are so dead on, they make perfect sense too me as an interface for tracking "living entities" within Rube.  This actually isn't relevant to anything, I'd just been dying to mention it;-)


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"I have been describing Rube too you, you are just so far behind actual simulation design that it is indistinguishable from magic too you." - â€œKavik Kang” (2017)

This makes it read like you are a programmer explaining how the internet works to cave men.

If that is how it is don't bother: we cave men will understand Rube when we, ready to make own Rube.

"Rube literally plans the future. It does not simply predict the future"- â€œKavik Kang” (2017)

There is two problems with this, first is size: If you store a point in space for a object and every turn a object can move to two points the results will grow exponentially. 

Note the following math is inaccurate, however it still explains the basics. If you feel like doing the detailed math to get one or two decimal more, please do.

Assuming every point stored is per second and in bites.

(1bit* 2 possible positions) = N

1N*2N*3N ... etc.

2->4->8 ->16->32->64->128->256->512->1024->2048->4096->8192->16384 = 16kb for 15 seconds.

A more realistic example is a matrix with 9 floats = 9 bites = 147kb for 15 seconds = 590kb for 1 minute and 9mb for 15 minutes.

So 9mb for one object * 1 000 objects for a mid size space game = 9 GB of data written to the hard drive at any given second to predict the next 15 minutes of object locations, in a game where a object can only move two points in space and once per second.

Now if the object can move in only 360 degrees, that is no decimal degrees, and has a speed value that can only range from 1-10, again no decimals.

Then: 9*360*10(bit size* (position*speed = possible points) = 32kb -> 116mb-> 420 gb-> 1.5 petabytes -> etc.

considering that 120 petabytes is a supper computer you can only store 4 steps for a single object moving in 2D space constraint to 360 degrees and only 10 speed.

1.5 petabytes to predict a single 9bit point.

"I am aware of how you use what you term “predictive” mechanics to compensate for

networking issues, so this is a concept that you are at least familiar with."- â€œKavik Kang” (2017)

Not the same thing, networking uses linear math, there is no or very little possibilities in the math.

For example predicting the character's standing to crouching point is as simple as knowing the animation speed. The animation speed tells what point of the animation the player will be in when the bullet overlaps.

The thing to note here is that both the bullet and animation travel in a straight line, there are no possibilities. The collision boxes are relative to the animation.

"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 “real time game”. "- â€œKavik Kang” (2017)

Who doesn't, games run in loops and tics, Programmers learn this when they first attempt a real time event. In turn based games the tic just takes longer.

I think I see what you want to do with this part, predictive math is small only one or two steps away, so you will optimize the math by limiting the steps that can be predicted. That will only work in a turn based game or in a game where you only change large events using the data you collect.

Considering that there are games doing this I assume that Rube does more.


Now the second problem, a computer can't imagine.

So even if you found some way to predict the future of the world and store it, so that your computer can use that data. It would have no way of turning it into a story.

From your cards example maybe you plan on using a AI that reads patterns, so you feed it 10 stories it sees common examples an creates a story. There are AI like this, however they are in the very early stages.


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Rube doesn't function in the same way you are talking about.  Within Rube a future moment of time containing reality is a static thing.  There is no location that needs to be tracked.  As I said, I understand that you know the very basics of the Avalon Hill phased-turn system, I know that you understand that things run in increments of time.  That's part of how a computer operates, too.  I was using the word "prediction", and that concept, only to try to get you to see a similar situation where you "play with the future" in ways most people can not understand.  Rube plans the future, it doesn't predict it.

Right now I am confident that you will see Rube one way or another.  I have never tried to make board games before, I was only interested in computer games.  I can probably get Territories published as a board game fairly easily.  I am not a total outsider in that world like I am in yours.  Even the board game version of Rube is very impressive... at least once it has that extra 300 card expansion.  That 200 card limit in the initial game is still a problem I am trying to work out, that is pretty... spartan.

In the last post I mentioned the "waterfall interface" seen in the Matrix.  Since I have mentioned it so much... Although the video below is about Federation Commander, the "Candyland Version of SFB for the Masses", at about 06:00 this guy breifly goes over the SFB Impulse Chart so that you can see what it is.  The basic function of it is simple to understand, don't expect to see Rube in it... but imagine that "Matrix Waterfall" falling down it, and and you will see a flash of Rube that only another life-long SFB player would have any chance of actually catching and interpreting at all;-)


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I want to point out that I am not trying to explain Rube in this blog, in fact I am intentionally wanting to keep anyone from being able to fully figure it out while revealing enough to make people realize that this really is something real.  I am completely unconcerned about the vast majority of people on the planet being able to decipher Rube from what I am revealing here.  It would take a 300+ page book for me to explain Rube to most people,.  Not because I am smarter than anyone else, or because it is too complicated for people to understand, but because having deep a understanding of the phased-turn, the concept of "assembling the battle" within that type of system, and the SFB Impulse Chart are the pre-requisite knowledge to have any frame of reference from which to understand it.  The first 200 pages of that book would be bringing everyone up to speed with ASL/SFB, only the last 100 would even be about Rube.

This is not meant as an insult towards your industry at all, but I am not holding back as much as I am out of concern that you will figure this out, which I don't want to happen because I couldn't take seeing what really would be my games being made with me STILL not making games.  I just couldn't take that.  It is very unlikely any ASL player could put this together.  There are, however, about 3 dozen or so world-class SFB players in this world, many of whom have probably already read this blog, who would put this together pretty quickly if I weren't intentionally being vague about specific things... especially "my" main component of this, my "Attached Board Game AI".  

So this is not a situation where I am trying my hardest to explain it.  I am trying to walk a tightrope of telling people enough for them to understand that it is something real while not allowing a group that I know is reading this to understand completely what I am talking about.  Because they will, just like you would if you had been playing SFB for the last 40 years.


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Long time reader of GameDev, first time replying. This blog sounds like rant. I couldn't even read the blog properly, too big rant about one self or about the past.... Saying how bbetter someone is than new guys are etc!

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In less words, Rube is a model for creating deterministic simulations?  Sounds interesting...
Played the hell out of King's Bounty.  And Federation Commander looks glorious.  I'll get back into tabletop gaming one of these days I swear...


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The two best short sentence descriptions are "artificial universe" or "functioning simulation of God".  Federation Commander is an excellent game.  SVC really targeted it at modern gamers as much as he could.  Miniatures have to be optional for the game to be affordable, so the basic game still comes with just counters.  But the design of the game itself is actually the opposite of SFB in many ways.  One important change in Federation Commander is that it uses the SFB concept of "reserve power" to allow players to use power in a flexible way "on the fly".  One thing that drives modern gamers away from SFB is the forward planning that is required and the very restrictive (tiny) level of "reserve power" that is available.  This change makes it play more like a real time computer game than SFB does.

King's Bounty may have been a huge hit game for TFG had they given it Milton Bradley GameMaster level production values.  That thought wouldn't have crossed anyone's mind at the time.  That kind of thing was very, very expensive to do in the early 1990's.


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I don't see the point of this 'blog' update, it sounds like a big rant with big paragraphs, as as long time reader of GameDev.

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The point, I would think obviously, is to try one last time to try to find a way to make Territories and Rube.  There is no "ranting".  Unfortunately I don't speak Twitter, I use full paragraphs.  I would think anyone that was interested in game design would be interested in Rube... in fact, I am certain of that.


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Stop using social media as an excuse for lack of better paragraph's.

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I do have issues... 30 years of banging my head against a brick wall of arrogance.  I mean... look at what I am telling you here... and nobody cares?  It's actually pretty amazing.  It is starting to look like I am really am going to have to find a different group of people to take this too.  Your industry clearly has no interest in game and simulation design.  It is starting to look like you really are so far behind us that you can't even recognize what we do now as anything other than impossible magic... and you are STILL talking down too us?  There really are no words to describe the people of the modern game industry anymore at this point.  Footstomping, insistent, crying little children doesn't even begin to describe it.  It really doesn't.  You are the exact opposite of everything that you are absolutely convinced that you are.  Great programmers and artists... not even competent yet when it comes to game design.  Welcome back to reality!  We are what you think you are, obviously... you really are just playing in a sandbox at the edge of our field.  And you really can't see the pyramids we've been building behind you all along.

The only similar situation in all of history that I can think of that compares to this was the priests refusing to look into Galileo's telescope.  That's exactly who you people are.  You've proven that too me beyond any doubt now.


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" I mean... look at what I am telling you here... and nobody cares? "- â€œKavik Kang” (2017)

You are saying Rube is the next best thing since sliced bread, we get it. The thing you don't appear to understand is that you sound like a novice designer at best.

Almost any new designer comes of with THE GAME IDEA, that some how is better than any game that has ever existed. They tell you how the game is going to have infinite exploration, infinite missions, infinite scenarios.

The point is that it can't be done, making a game that simulates God, a universe or infinity requires as much resources as the goal.

In other words to make a game that simulates God, you need a computer as powerful as God. Considering that computers now can't even simulate a GameMaster, this is a very unrealistic goal.

If you mean that the game is a god in the sense that it governs the rules of it's universe, then yes all games are gods.

Nothing you have shown or described, proves that Rube can even be made.

In fact knowing the future is impossible, unless you limit the possibilities. SFB for example limits it to six and uses responsive AI to react when it can't predict.

"One thing that drives modern gamers away from SFB is the forward planning that is required and the very restrictive (tiny) level of "reserve power" that is available." - â€œKavik Kang” (2017)

What drives people away from SFB is bad design practice. The game is so complex and badly designed, that a player has to spend over 3 hours in learning, even to play a basic battle.

Comparing your Rube to SFB is why people don't want to invest. There are more players interested in Tic-tac-toe than SFB.

At any given time SFB has only 3 000 - 10 000 players interested, if Rube is a hundred times better, it could only interest a million players players. Then considering that the chance of Rube being that much better is so small, it isn't worth the cost of making it.


At this point there is only two ways Rube will ever exist:

One, you make it.

Two, you post in online and hope someone else makes it.


No person is going to waste millions investing in a game design that has no guarantee of making money, when they could just bet in a horse race and have better odds.


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"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic".  This really is all you have just said.  Confirmed what I have been saying.  You are so far behind the actual field of game and simulation design that you can't even imagine what I am talking about.  Rube is nothing like SFB, just like SFB was nothing like Avalon Hill games.  And, in terms of longevity, only Dungeons & Dragons rivals SFB as a "successful game".  In terms of innovation in game and simulation design... Rube proves that SFB was the most important advance in the field in all of history up until this point. 

I have been designing games since before your industry existed.  You are the novice.  I doubt you have 1/4 of the experience that I have doing this.  I am not the "new designer", you are.  What I am doing is based on 70 years of work by hundreds of designers... what you are doing has less then half of that history behind it.  You started over.  But you are right, I don't have a degree from the Devry School of Game Design... so none of that counts.  Right?  It only counts when the programmers put their stamp of approval on it. 

And, of course Rube can know the future... if you are writing the future, then you know the future.  That is a big part of how Territories works.  Both players always know the immediate future shortly before it happens.  So they can intervene.  It's a cold war game with a big focus on intervening in future events that are about to unfold on short notice.  That's only one of the things that makes it unique.

There are many other ways Rube can come into existence.  I can strip the Territories off of it and make it as a simple demonstration of how it functions manually on a table top.  Is anyone out there making a serious effort at "cyberspace" or something like the Matrix or a holodeck?  I'll take it too them, they will certainly have a use for it.

I know what I am doing, and I've been doing it for 40 years.  There is no question that Rube is a very real thing, and not the imaginings of the kinds of amateurs you are accustomed to dealing with.  But, you've convinced me, you are exactly the people that I decided you were 9 years ago.  I'll just move on to making Territories as a board game instead, and a stripped down version for the world of science.  Since your indstury really does appear to be as hopelessly defiatnly arrogant as I has believed it was for some time now.

Territories can be a very simple game to produce.  If anyone is interested, I am here.  I don't expect to hear from anyone, because "fire bad".  But I really am a nice person and I'd love to make the real Territories instead of the mostly empty skeleton of Territories that a board game version has to be.  It wouldn't cost a lot to make by your standards in it's most bare form, and if it was a success you can see there is a pretty good plan of where it could go from there.  There is even a simple to produce strategy game version of Pirate Dawn that could be made in place of having to make a big MMO game.

But I don't expect to hear from you... you aren't capable of seeing what is in front of you.  You are offended by the notion that anyone outside of your world could possibly be ahead of you with this stuff, even though that has always been the case, so you are just immediately certain that if you can't understand it that it can't possibly exist.  So insult the person to discredit them, because we are the experts and nobody who doesn't work for us has any business even discussing the subject.  Right?

So if anyone out there is interested in Territories and Rube I am here, but otherwise I will just let this stand.  I don't have any desire to endlessly trade insults with people who are offended that we exist.


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"I am not the "new designer", you are."- â€œKavik Kang” (2017)

No, you are. :)

That was so childish I couldn't resist.

"Is anyone out there making a serious effort at "cyberspace" or something like the Matrix or a holodeck?" - â€œKavik Kang” (2017)

Look into VR/AR, Pokemon Go and advances in wet ware. We aren't near a holodeck yet, considering what we know now; the holodeck is just the top of the iceberg.

We can lock a single person in a virtual world like the Matrix now, the cost of this would be extremely expensive. The damage done to the body would be irreversible and unethical. If we are lucky some millionaire will volunteer to do it.


"And, of course Rube can know the future... if you are writing the future, then you know the future." - â€œKavik Kang” (2017)

"Both players always know the immediate future shortly before it happens.  So they can intervene." - â€œKavik Kang” (2017)

That is not knowing the future, this is knowing one possible state of the future and the least likely one to boot.

The moment the player takes action the "future" you showed them is no longer the state that the actual future is in. So assuming the player can make only 3 in-game choices and there is only two players.

Then the chance that the state you showed will happen is 5*5(Player 1 * Player 2), means your state that you show is only 1 out of 25 possible states; meaning you have only a 4% chance of being the correct choice.

If that is how Rube works, it has no idea what the future will be, at best it knows what the future could be.

People who wonder how I got 5*5, it's because there is always the chance in multiplier games that a player doesn't take action or leaves the game.


""Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" This really is all you have just said".- â€œKavik Kang” (2017)

No one is arguing this point. The internet is magic to a caveman and useless, as the caveman has no electricity or computers that can run the internet.

Nothing you have shown or done, convinces me Rube is as great as you claim or that it can even be made.

 "I don't have a degree from the Devry School of Game Design... so none of that counts.  Right?" - â€œKavik Kang” (2017)

Thanks to advances in game development, less than a percent of games made these days are made by developers with a Game Design degree.

"don't have any desire to endlessly trade insults with people who are offended that we exist." - â€œKavik Kang” (2017)

What offends me isn't that you exist, it's that you dare to complain.

Do you know how many developers making games today never even received a first chance, from the very beginning they had to do it all them self?

Doing nothing and then complaining about how unfair it all is, that is what offends me. Take a look around, the game industry isn't what it use to be; anyone can make a successful game now.


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"Thanks to advances in game development, less than a percent of games made these days are made by developers with a Game Design degree."
This is very, very obvious.  Everything you just said in this post just supports everything I had just said.  Thank you for completely agreeing with me, even though I am sure you don't realize that is what you are doing.  I wasn't planning on posting again, but had to point out that you just confirmed everything I had said point-by-point, in great detail.  Thank you for doing that.
As for me "doing nothing"... how is 20 years of work that completes the work of Avalon Hill and ADB, 50 years of actual game designers like the ones you admit you don't have, and revolutionizing game and simulation design "doing nothing".  You are doing nothing endlessly remaking Doom, Dune, and Civilization.  I am most definitely doing something.  Rube already exists, how dense are you?  It has for many years.  Something can exist even if nobody in your industry was involved in making it.  Wow!!!
I've had enough.  It's here.  I tried my best.  If your industry really is this arrogant there is no reason to waste any more time on this, and if not someone will actually contact me after a while.  Probably not.  I think you just spoke for the modern game industry PERFECTLY!!!

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Wow, this is nuts.  So you're angry that no-one is jumping on board to help you create your vision of "Rube"... even though you won't really describe it in detail.  The best you'll offer is that it's a "functioning simulation of God"... and yet your issue is that everyone else is arrogant.  Even though you've responded with statements like:

"An attempt by the adults to explain the current height of the field of game and simulation design to the spoiled little children playing in the sandbox at the edge of our field"


"You could learn a lot if you put down your bucket and shovel and listened to your betters"

Pirate Lord man... I remember your first epic meltdown.  You haven't learned yet that you need to do a better job interacting with people?  "30 years of banging my head against a brick wall" and you haven't stopped to think that maybe it's how you approach people?  It's great that you're enamored with your idea, it really is.  Passion is a valuable thing in life.  But if you turn people off by being rude to them, or getting exasperated that they won't just blindly trust your vision... then they aren't going to help you...


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It's not a vision... it is the end result of 70 years of work by the hobbyist game industry.  I am not some guy with an idea, I am the end of a 70 year long chain of a thing that existed before your industry even existed.  None of what you are saying is really relevant, because I am not just one little kid with an idea.  I am nearly 50, with a lifetime of experience, and have happened to have wound up like I keep saying, through an accident of history, being the next in the line of people to take this to the next level.  Only I wound up with the "hot potato" of being to one to finish it.

This doesn't seem to be registering at all.  I am not a "kid with an idea".  I am, really, the current top person in the field after having completed 50 years of work that began with Avalon Hill.  And, yes, when people with 10 years of experience talk down to people with 40 years of experience like they are children, that is "arrogance".  When the 40 year veterans talk down to the 10 year guys... it's not.

I do have to say that I consider it progress that you are finally willing to admit that you are not game designers, and that because of your "advances in game development" anyone can make a game these days.  You used to get mad at me when I tried to explain that too you, so it's nice to see we are all in agreement on that point now.  You'd think that might change your attitudes toward us actual game designers... but no, apparently.


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I come off as "extremely disrespectful" after 20 years of trying it your way already.  I get this reaction because, as has been the case for 30 years now, people in the computer game industry become literally enraged when anyone not employed in their industry attempts to claim to know anything about game and simulation design.  I have seen this again and again for 30 years.  There is no way of discussing game design as if you might actually know something without getting this reaction.  It has always been this way.  That's why I love it when the response is "We love the board game industry, just not you".  You don't like me only because I was the one to finally say something, I would imagine the rest silently gave up 15-20 years ago.  But I am different, I devoted my entire life to this and have nothing to lose.  If I don't make at least one of my games then my entire life was for nothing.  

Why wouldn't I think that I know at least as much, if not more, about game and simulation design than the people on this site?  I've been doing this since before their industry existed.  I have completed the work of the hobbyist game industry resulting in a functioning simulation of god... literally the holy grail of simulation design if you actually know what you are talking about.  The fact that so far not a single person in the computer game industry is interested in Rube at all is actually proof that they don't understand some of the basic fundamentals of simulation design.  If you don't get that a simulation of god is profoundly relevant within simulation design, then you don't know what you are talking about.  I really can't believe that nobody is interested in Rube, the only possible explanation is that there isn't anyone in the modern game industry who understands simulation design well enough to understand how important a functioning simulation of god is.

Except Will Wright, of course, he would have to know this... it was in the book he read.  

I am not being rude and disrespectful.  I am simply not pretending to know nothing compared to them.  I am just speaking as who I am, and with the 40 years of experience that I really do have.  This has always enraged them.  But pretending like I don't know anything didn't work for 20 years, and I won't be alive much long.  I really don't see any chance of making it to Cindy and at this point, let alone Armageddon.  At most I would hope to make it to Mission, and that whoever I was making the games with would finish it through Armageddon after I was gone based on what I had left behind.  But really, I am just trying to make Territories.  Just get to make my signature game and give the world Rube, the end result of 70 years of work beginning with Avalon Hill, with it.  But apparently my "Lost Art Studios" was well-named, because this is all so far removed from modern "game designers" (programmers, really) that nobody in the modern game industry even understands the relevance of a general simulation of time combined with reality, or god.

I really am having a hard time believing that there is not a single person in the entire modern game industry that is interested in this.


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