Do you like a challenge?
How about a chance to win a cool prize and get recognition from across the simming community? Then do we have news for you!
Ongoing Worlds is a website that brings together resources for Play by Post games across several genres. They are hosting their annual Flashback Week challenge from November 15th to November 22nd. SB118 was featured in last year’s competition when Fleet Captain Diego Herrera won the top prize and we’re hoping for another strong showing!
The challenge is simple: roleplay as normal, but add a flashback that shows part of your character’s backstory. Flashbacks are a great way to add depth and character development to your characters, as well as tell a story to your crew mates explaining more about who your character is.
Job One for you as a player is to do stuff; you should be thinking, at all times – ‘What are my goals? And what can I do to achieve them?” You are the stars of a very personal universe, and you are not going to get anywhere by sitting on your duff and waiting for adventure to come and knock on your door.’ ~Grant Howitt
Inspiration for this post came from an article off of Story Games Weekly e-zine, where Grant Howitt wrote a fantastic article on how to be a better tabletop roleplayer. In reading it, I found there was a mass of useful information that could be translated for e-mail simming. Simming brings the players to the forefront of the game, even more than MMORPGs and tabletop roleplaying. There are no mechanics or dice to hold you back, and our captains are guides rather than masters of some vast space dungeon. This offers great flexibility to simmers in creating stories. But as a famous comic book once said ‘with great power comes great responsibility.’ So let’s look at three simple ways we can write stronger sims, ones that will integrate you with your crews more strongly and make your writing more interesting to read!
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to learn more about the players who drive this game? What if there was a way for you to share more information about your own life and what awesome things you’re interested in.
Wait… what’s that? There is such a thing?
There most certainly is! Our Memory Book is the place where Starbase 118 keeps a database of the person behind the character – the real you!
Anyone can join in, in fact we would like to encourage newer players to create their own pages and tell the group a bit more about yourself. Think of it like a scrapbook where you can write about your simming, link to all your characters and NPCs, talk about your real life interests and keep a record of your times in Starbase 118.
“Don’t just plan to write—write. It is only by writing, not dreaming about it, that we develop our own style.” ~P.D. James
Writer’s block is something that every writer deals with. Sometimes it goes hand in hand with real life stress or exhaustion. Sometimes ideas just don’t flow. Sometimes you just sit looking at the posts, knowing you should write something but nothing comes to mind. But any good writing game is built on having players contribute, and the more you participate in the story the more your character can grow – and the more fun you will have! So let’s look at tips for overcoming writer’s block and getting back in the swing of posting when your ideas run dry.
Try getting up early and writing first thing in the morning OR late at night right before bed.
Mornings can be times of great energy, free of distractions that accumulate over the course of the day. Also you are most likely to remember and be inspired by what your dreamt last night early in the morning. Late nights tend to be the point where most people wind down and let their minds relax. Either one of these periods may trigger new and creative ideas.
We all love a good saying. There are many different phrases that get used over and over, from favorite movie quotes to curious cultural references. But what about those odd phrases we hear on a regular basis, but we don’t really know where they come from? Have no fears! In this session of the Witty Wordsmith we will delve into some frequently misheard or misunderstood phrases to sort of where they came from and what they really mean.
“I nipped that problem in the bud”
Nope. I didn’t spell that wrong. This has nothing to do with being bitten in your posterior region (though you will frequently see this misused as nipped in the butt or bum). This phrase has its origins in horticulture where you nip (cut) a bud off of a flowering plant to either keep it from flowering or spreading.
Last month, StarBase 118 celebrated its 20th simming anniversary! Simming – and Star Trek – have come a long way since 1994. Today we take a look at some of the biggest changes in simming between then and now and how those changes have formed our game today.
1: Changes in the Trek Prime canon
In 1994, Next Gen was coming to an end, Deep Space Nine was getting started and Voyager was an exciting proposal. The biggest decision a sim needed to make when starting up was whether they were going to include the Borg as an enemy or whether it would be a plain old ‘explore the galaxy/threat-of-the week’ style sim.
Since then we have watched the Dominion War devastate the quadrant, multiple major changes in politics with the Klingon, Romulan and Cardassian empires, the explosion of the Hobus Star, the development of the Delta and Gamma quadrants, the revelation of Section 31 and a myriad of new races come to life on the big and small screens. Sims today need to not only recognize the changes in canon, but pick a time in canon to play in. Sims, like SB118 that have built stories while canon was changing needed to talk about how they could incorporate the changes in Trek canon with the story lines of their own game.
All in all, the later Trek series and the Trek movies brought a newfound complexity to Star Trek, and became a point of discussion and sometimes dissension between fans. It has made our simming games more complex that they were in the past, often times including long term political plotlines and overarching story elements.
“Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assaults of thought on the unthinking.” ~John Maynard Keynes
There are plenty of words out there which get used incorrectly on a daily basis. Sometimes the word has an archaic background or it just sounds similar to the correct word. Sometimes media misuses the word and it catches on for viewers and readers. This month we’re looking at another batch of frequently misused words to clear up the meaning and help polish your writing so it shines!
alacrity – Often used to mean speedy, the actual definition is a bit more complicated. While speed plays a part, alacrity is defined as a cheerful willingness to do something, and a prompt attention to said task. From the Latin alacritas (eager/lively) this word has more to do with the emotional state of the described rather than the speed they work at
Last weekend StarBase 118 was one of many sims participating in the online convention SciWorld. Running from Thursday to Sunday over two Internet Relay Chat (IRC) rooms, the convention featured multiple events from online simming demonstrations, discussions on character building, to how to incorporate crossover in games.
Session topics included a workshop on website and wiki building, blogging strategies, how to build your writing skills and how to deal with problem players in a game. Other activities included open chat-based simming, a Family Feud style game based on Star Trek trivia and plenty of humorous reminiscing. I even heard that Lt. Commander James got to blow up a starship in an open sim!
Sessions were hosted by representatives from over a dozen sims, including our very own Fleet Captain Diego Herrera and Captain Grier Reinard who led sessions on character development and building character relationships.
“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
~The Princess Bride
Our language is full of words that get used incorrectly more than they get used correctly. Maybe they sound similar to another word; sometimes they have an obscure meaning or grammatical pitfalls. This month we will be looking at a few words that are commonly misused both in the mass media and in our own writing. By picking them apart you can give yourselves some mnemonic hooks to use them correctly and even find ways to incorporate them into your character’s vocabulary!
Like the words decimal and decagon, the deci- at the beginning of decimate implies a power of ten. The literal definition of this word is to ‘slaughter one of every ten’ but the more accepted definition is to ‘destroy a portion of the whole.’ This is a noticeable but not overwhelming portion. If you want to say ‘every last thing was destroyed’ opt for a word like massacre or annihilation.