BuddyPress - Spheres of War
I've been pondering social networks and online communities and how to take best advantage of these system to help development of Philverse ideas (get feedback) and work up the development of WarSpike. After reading this post: Use of internet to promote TFM and Warspike? by malika over on Troll Forged I thought about it and while looking as the functions of BuddyPress had an epiphany. We are all wanting the same thing, and this is how we can do it. I'm also reminded of discussions with Kage and the nature of community, I think the last one was on Anargo: Bloggarizing a forum.
However this idea is a bit of an expansion to what I previously thought was possible with my skills and only really sunk in looking at BuddyPress and the way it works. I was considering the main blog of BuddyPress would be for all things WarSpike, the main official blog for big news. Then (working) 'groups' could be made, each with their own group forums for each of the Spheres: Technical, Tactical, Strategical, and Political. Simple enough, but then we could have groups for combinations like Technical-Political to form an RPG, and onto of that we could have groups for Augments. But this is missing the power of BuddyPress and what is can do, the WordPress.com which is based on WordPress MU (Multi-User) install and runs millions of pages.
Then my brain went ape shit as the possibilities flooded my mind. What if Troll Forged made a group?
Troll Forged could make a group, and that group could have a dedicated forum for the Troll Forged group, it could have a full WordPress blog to run as it's main website with a news blog and static pages, just as I am using for this blog and the WarSpike blog. Not only that but the TF group would have the wire, where all members of the group can post news and links, and all while being signed in to this BuddyPress install.
In that instance, I thought to myself, what if Blood Moon (on the TF forums) had a group, or Anargo?
A full BuddyPress install could handle hundreds of groups, hundreds of forums all while linked together, each member can have a full blog.
With 'Spheres of War' being used only for the combined edition (all four Spheres) of WarSpike on POD, I was thinking I could set it up under Spheres of War. I could move the Philverse (this blog) over to Spheres of War. All linked together with everything else.
In regards to WarSpike, the main rules and Augments could be held within Spheres of War along with miniature companies that use the WarSpike rule set (they could set up an Augment group too).
Makes me wonder if it should be done...
What are you thoughts?
Sciror: Background Meta-Framework
A meta what now? A background meta-framework is really just a whole bunch of descriptions of how things in the game world 'works'. It describes mundane technologies, but how all the fantastical elements come about and function, an outline of what can be done with them, and the elements that are already assumed to exist within the game world. It is the base concept underpinnings of a full background. The foundations of the background onto which all else can be (quickly) built as all the heavy work is done.
Sciror: The meta-framework I am putting together is called 'Sciror'. It is basically all the concepts I came up with for explaining 40K technology and magic, ripping out all GW references, and re-purposing the remaining (original) writing for Sciror. Sciror is effectively 'Philverse' without any GW IP.
Once all the core concepts are shifted over, I will put together some example empires, factions and even isolated fantasy worlds are an example of what can be built with Sciror. The idea is to make world creation simple and allow for many genre without having to worry too much about how it all works, and all the while keeping all the Sciror based universes compatible and all ticking along under WarSpike ruleset.
More on the Sciror website
Sciror Forums over on Troll Forged
Google Adsense 40K style
Well there's nothing to really like about Ads, they usually annoy more than inform, especially when you are concentrating on something else. This presented a bit of a problem as I wanted to add some ads to my sites to see if it would generate some income. I tried to make them subtle at first, but they still stood out like a soar thumb. In the end I decided the only way out was to theme it in some way, and let me tell you the Adsense palette and controls are a wee bit limited. I wanted to blend in with the general 40K theme of the site.
I wanted something that that I could attach to the side of the main content. I didn't want to put the ads in with the content as they generally pisses me off and I don't want to do that to others. By putting the ads at the side, in the black space, if you really hate ads this would allow you to resize the window and cut the ads of the side completely. Seemed like a good compromise if not ideal.
I first thought of a scruffy billboard or notice board, themed to look like it might belong in some hive, and make a feature out of the ads in a tongue in cheek way, but Google dose not let you mess with the ad placement (and you can't really twist them) and so it didn't look right. It would also be too large and distracting, even if you could cut them off, I needed something narrower.
The 'purity seals' popped into my mind - 40K is covered in them!
Thus was born the concept of a 'Adsense purity seal'. I always wondered what was written on them. I have a feeling it's not really an advert, but there again the Imperium is really religious and maybe ads have to be officially sanctioned? The Ad-Mec make stuff and that would be 'holy' to them so why not a purity seal?
Anyway, I hope that it makes a feature of the Ads and makes them more acceptable in some way (I may be going too far in justifying this! But one look at my 40K Concepts Page and you know I also go 'too far' 😀 ).
The purity seal at the moment is a basic mock up. I'm thinking of further theming it with some Imperial icons, but not official Games Workshop icons as this would be going too far and I'm sure it would breach their IP (or at least they would be very unhappy about it). I thinking 40K-esque, or Imperial-esque, perhaps Russian double headed eagles and such (or perhaps Roman icons) to replace the little knight fella.
The seal may also benefit from a metal icon or end to the parchment to give it a bit of weight and round it off nicely. Maybe a skull imprint in the seal and a double headed eagle at the end of the parchment would look good, but I am getting ahead of myself. First things first, should I even be doing this, is it too over the top, and would dark grey text on black be less of an eye soar?
Anyway, what are your thoughts on this type of Ad disguise, and can it be improved?
Please comment, even if brief, and thanks in advance for any input.
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My new 'WarSpike' game system is coming on. I knew it was going to be a bit of a challenge considering the scope of the project. It consists of four games covering strategic, tactical, technical and political spheres, each can be played in it's own right, or combined into the complete WarSpike 'Spheres of War' system. It allows you to run games at a club level using Strategic sphere and zoom into the action with Tactical where the clubs members can resolve battles, and even focus into the Technical Sphere to fight duels between champions.
The four spheres allow a multitude of combinations and the Political-Technical combination allows players to run a WarSpike Role-Play Game, yet the other Spheres can be bolted onto this combination to allow a Player character to lead a unit of henchmen using Tactical to resolve their group actions, yet jump to Technical when focused in on the action surrounding the Player Character. The Player Character can even take charge of an army, and run a Strategic Sphere game 'in game', and send off orders that other players who can use Tactical to resolve the battles and report back as to their outcomes.
To complicate matters I want it to be 'realistic' yet 'streamlined', and it's the way combat is handled that the real innovations turn up, more of The ARMA school of thinking than the classic Hollywood nonsense. Along with the interoperable nature of all the Spheres (they all interact seamlessly. Once inside another, like Russian Nested Dolls, only these Spheres are arranged as a strange loop) it makes for an interesting system. A lot to learn, but I hope worth it to those who invest the time, and I try to make it easier as your can start with one Sphere, an while learning that you do not have to even look at the others. Yet if you do look at the other Spheres, you'll find it all very familiar, as they share so much.
Such a complex project took a bit of sorting out, and now I think the WarSpike sites work well together to show each step in the development process. I wanted to include fans in the development cycle, and so all the rules are posted on the WarSpike Development Blog to get some feedback. Once the concepts are sorted they are re-written and posted as Prototyping Pages to gain more feedback on the specific details. When the rules are working they move to the Static Site for all to see.
PDF: Once all of the content slots on the static site are filled the rules will be compiled into a PDF and released for download over P2P networks for free. I will be using magnet links to ensure the correct file is downloaded and hoping fans who like the rules leave a copy in their share folder to contribute to the downloads by other fans. The PDF will be licensed under a Creative Commons licence.
This is not the end on fan participation as WarSpike can be expanded with 'Augments' and source books. Fans can write up their own background (they can use Sciror but that's another story) and reference the rules etc. The only proviso is they can not duplicate the rules - they have to link back to the WarSpike site so players can download the rules. The rules will always be available for free.
I also plan to release a couple of Print on Demand editions, a cheap black and white spiral bound edition with no mark-up, and a premium edition rendered up as an old fight codex, full illuminated manuscript, containing all four Spheres in one massive hard copy. That I will charge for, and it will not be cheap! (If LuLu allowed me to embellish it with gold leaf I would!). This last one is about the only source of 'income' from the project based on product, though I think I'll add in a donation button just in case some one feels generous.
Well, that's what I've been up too in my spare time, and anyone is welcome to pop over and comment of the concepts and rules of WarSpike.
I've added a gallery for images for Galerie Daniel Maghen. The first image is my Draklodyte commissioned by Oliver. It's based on the troll/ troglodyte I posted up in the WHF section of my site. I was asked to stick some wings on it, which I did, and the Draklodyte was born!
This is a pretty powerful beastie, on thick arms it bounds along like a Gorilla, and able to scale mountainous terrain with ease. The wings are a bit small for the sheer mass which affects it's modus operadi.
I imagine that the Draklodyte climbs up onto cliff tops and 'dive bombs' its victims. Swooping down at great speed: straight into the back of the party! Bowling them over like skittles - Strike! It then turns on them, butts them down, sits on their chests and devours their flailing hands. It has a very tough hide and regenerative powers and is a real pig to kill, but you are unlikely to get the chance as it employs the 'hit and run' tactic. As soon as it's eaten our arms it's out of there! It will not stand and fight - ever.
It's much the same as the troglodyte this concept is based on. As such I think they are smart and cunning, they tend to be a bit shy, and only attack when they have surprise.
Perhaps the drakes have wings, and the troglodyte is the female? She nests in the depths of dwarf strongholds?
The published image can be found in the L'univers des Dragons book published by Galerie Daniel Maghen.
Ecorium Terrain Concepts
I was chatting away over on Troll Forged forum, about WarSpike and what-nots, and I noticed Ed was interested in making some terrain. I chipped in with this thread: Modular Ecorium Blocks to see if he would be interested in making some Ecorium terrain. I always thought they would make great scenery for gaming, as the designs are kinda Space Hulk 'compliant', and miniature friendly. They should be easy to use with Space Hulk, 40K or WarSpike. The idea is to recreate my Ecopolis designs for Hives. I always figure it's much easier to design if you have a developed concept of what yo wish to represent in model form. I have a ton of ideas for these modular units; ultra-modern, nature gone wild, damaged areas, re-built steam-punk as-hoc mods, all interchangeable so you can 'degrade' various areas. It seems to have generated a bit of interest, and IceSword has picked up the baton and ran with it, and has already started to built a 'hydroponic garden' with green walls with an eye to making a few rack-farm units too. IceSword et al. have a ton of ideas, and the feedback has been great - it will be very interesting to see what develops.
This is all very exceiting, and I wonder if anyone else in interested in making such terrain? If so, head over to Troll Forged Forum, and also check out the minis from their 'sculpting collective': Troll Forged. It a fascinating project and a great place for budding sculptors to get their creations cast up and sold (it's a bit like Print on Demand for minis).
I was looking at my sites logs to see where all the traffic is coming from, I do this from time to time out of curiosity, and I noticed that was a bit of traffic from 'TV Tropes'. The link in my log files lead me to the 'Dan Browned' entry. Tentatively I followed, and after reading the Trope my fears were confirmed and I must confess I was a little concerned. I scanned through the entry, and I finally found the link to my site under Tabletop Games;
Source: TV Tropes: Dan Browned This troper has yet to meet a 40k fan who even tried taking the science seriously as to how it actually worked. Ironically enou... C the tactics employed by the various races in fluff have met a degree of grudging acknowledgement of having been researched and at least being plausible by the jarheads who played it most of the time.
- This guy gives it his best shot to try and justify the 40K universe. It's not perfect, but he tries. http://www.philipsibbering.com/WH40KRP/40K_1_Concepts_index.shtml
That's not bad, in fact it's quite good! Hence this post 😀 It seems I've come up as the lone voice of trying to make sense of 40K 'as is' (I think that is some kind of definition of madness...). Anyway, it made me smile, and a took a certain twisted pride in it.
Rule of cool
This rule is often levelled at 40K to disparage the setting, and to dismiss some of the more outlandish and non-conforming sci-fi concepts as simply 'rule of cool'. I understand the concept of 'rule of cool' and 'grimdark' but I do not think they should be seen as used to defining 40K in it's entirety. It think these expressions are 'summaries of the superficial', sound bites to broadly describe a feeling or ethos of a setting but not really descriptive of what that setting it.
I tend to think 40K is much deeper than the sound bites, and that often the rule of cool can be explained to be reasonable and make sense with a little imagination and logic. It's not hard to come up with reason why the 'rule of cool' concept which seems air light and fluffy sweet as cotton candy could actually be the tip of the iceberg, and a great segue into a deeper background. Indeed I used this principle in my development of 'Philverse' version of 40K.
I would also note that GW has always encouraged fans to come up with their own background for their armies, and therefore the background is quite open and adaptable and seems to be able to handle almost any sci-fi or fantasy concept you care to throw at it. It seems to many ways to follow the British tradition of sci-fi such as Doctor Who, Sapphire and Steel, and even Red Dwarf. Often they are far less concerned with the technical side of things, and often mock technobabble, yet they may tackle complex issues of what happens in a technology actually existed and how humans would deal with it. It's less about the tech and more about the human drama, comedy and curiosity.
If the rule of cool is used as a segue to deeper veins of creative thought, the sound bite attention grabber to guide the reader to deeper riches, I have no problem with it.
Lasgun concept (peace keeping)
The ubiquitous Lasgun is the primary weapon of the IG. It is basically a streaming stun gun, delivering an incapacitating shock to insurgents to enable capture and later interrogation by the Inquisition. The Lasgun is designed with peace keeping in mind, but even peace keepers have to kill. The Lasgun has a secondary mode that is a lethal high energy 'pulse' setting that packs quite a punch. The electroshock is about 30W and good enough to stop the heart of most humans, and the 'exotic' laser can defeat lesser armours to deliver the shock. The extreme wavelength of the laser gives it unusual penetrative powers, and can create an ionisation tunnel thorough armour to deliver the shock. It can also super-heat the water in the body to cause an explosive expansion of stream. This can cause serious wounds (combined with the electroshock can hurl targets quite a distance).
The last mode of the Lasgun is a low power 'laser disrupter' mode. This is use to mess with the vision of a charging enemy protected from the stun effect (i.e. inside a car etc.). The prime use of this is to stop vehicles are road blocks.
All these modes allow the IG to be far more decisive in scenarios where civilians are involved. It has also lead to the IG view that it is better to 'stun first and ask questions later', the concept expanded to the 'stun everyone and let the Emperor sort them out' ethos of crowd control. However, the stun effect can be lethal to children and the elderly, and trigger happy Troopers have caused incidents where the vulnerable have perished to the shock effect even on the non-lethal setting. Lasguns have also be used in war crimes, torture and abuse. The most notable is the practice of 'execute and revive', and the use by 'gangs' (rogue element within the IG, or AWOL) to capture victims at long range.
The Lasgun is seen as a weapon of Imperial oppression and the preeminent weapon in psychological warfare. It causes great fear among civilians; who often see the IG as having no impediment to using it. The IG are quick to stun even over minor infractions, and some seem to enjoy it and are looking for an excuse to use the weapon.
Note: Some Lasgun have the pulse mode disabled due to excessive civilian deaths. Without the pulse setting the Lasgun can be ineffective against determined or protected enemy combatants.
Tech note: The Lasgun may use electromagnetic radiation that can penetrate and be based on a 'graser/ gaser', (a gamma ray laser), x-ray laser or ultraviolet laser as an ionising medium. If so, this is why it will penetrate armour, go through mirrors etc. Running with this idea, I would speculate that in strict STC designs the graser is not powerful enough to debilitate a target immediately on it's own, it is the electroshock that stuns and stops the target dead in their tracks. It would cause ionisation damage at higher energy levels, but this could be somewhat mitigated due to the secondary shock effect and the associated lower energy level needed to pull it off. In this concept the Lasgun is a relatively low power weapon compared to regular laser weapons that used brute force photon energy to destroy targets. It only takes around 25W of electroshock to stop the human heart.
Wounds: Even peripheral strikes to limbs from a Lasgun will stun and take a person down. On the pulse setting a strike would stop the heart and render the person disabled via spasm; locked up in excruciating pain before loosing consciousness and dying. High powered Lasgun (hot shot?) may cause explosions of super heated steam to erupt from the strike zone creating large ragged holes in the flesh of the target, and induce radiation sickness. This is not a 'humane' weapon.
Thoughts on the IG
The concept of the IG as part of a futuristic fighting force may seem a little strange to our modern eyes. The IG are often portrayed as basic in comparison with current militaries, having more in common with the warfare, tactics and gear of World War I than a future combat force. However, like all things in 40K it is not always as simple as it first seems, and we can't compare our world to the future galaxy spanning might of the Imperium or their many powerful factions such as the Adeptus Mechanicus (note to self: Enemy tech suppression and weird views of genetic management of populations, and form of 'practical' and 'situational' eugenics).
In short the IG is not the Imperium's main fighting force when dealing with rogue planets and aliens - that is down to the Navy. This is an important distinction as the IG is not used in the same way as out modern millilitres. Primarily the IG is a peace keeping force used for Imperial nation building. They are deployed to ensure a stable environment for the Imperium to put into action various programs to fully convert the world over to the Imperial way. Eventual the IG peace keepers change roles once the world is stable and become Arbites and PDF, and after a few generations are fully integrated into the gene and meme pool.
Another aspect of the institution of the IG is one of population control and disbursement. The excess population of super massive and loyal Hive Worlds are routinely skimmed off for service in the IG. These conscripts are shipped to a world that needs to be stabilised. World population losses through the conflicts in unstable areas are literally replaced by IG who will later settle on the peaceful world (should that come to pass) and who know how to live proper hive life. The traitors are systematically replaced by loyal IG.
It should be noted that even though the IG is a peace keeping force is does not mean that they have not been involved in epic ground battles. Though most full scale 40K ground battles are over in seconds, thanks to the Navy's WSDMs (weapons of super massive destruction) which can lay waste to an entire worlds from orbit, there are occasions when the Navy holds its fire even when they have orbital superiority. These scenarios often revolve around large IG presence on a world and the possibility that the IG could win a good old fashioned counterinsurgency/ ground war. The Navy will help out, and any positions overrun will disappear in a flash of brilliant sunfire.