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How Does Top Sims Contest Judging Work?

Four times a year, the fleet at large is asked to vote for the Top Sim in each Set, which then goes on to the final vote by the fleet to crown the Top Sim of the Year. But how do these sims get decided on for your votes?

The Contest year is divided into 26 Rounds, and each Round lasts for two weeks. At the close of the nomination period for each Round, the Top Sims facilitator compiles the nominations and brings them before the Top Sims Judges for voting. The Top Sims Judges, comprising of a member from each ship in the fleet, use their best judgement and the Contest ranking criteria guidelines to determine a ranking of the nominations using a system called “Instant Runoff Voting”. In order to maintain fairness and integrity, a Top Sims Judge is not allowed to give top ranking to a nomination from their own ship. Once all the votes have been cast from all Judges in a Round, the facilitator will calculate the Round winning nomination by compiling the votes.

The Top Sims Judge from each ship works hard to represent their ship, so be sure to send them a note of thanks for their efforts! If you are interested in being considered as a Top Sims Judge, let your commanding officer know, as Top Sims Judges are in place for set term lengths and new Judges are needed all the time.

For a more detailed look into the system that goes into determining Top Sim voting, be sure to check out the Contest wiki page and forum threads.


New Academy Graduate

Please welcome our newest Academy graduate to the UFOP: StarBase 118 fleet: Colleen Bancroft!


Duronis II Embassy crew heads into Typhon Expanse

TYPHON EXPANSE – The crew of the Duronis II Embassy have taken a runabout into the Expanse to test game-changing technology.


The Science in Science Fiction: Seismic Activity

Am I the only one holding five tabs next to my half-written sim to add science jargon and try to explain what is going on while still abiding to the laws of nature or am I just not made to be a science officer? Our lovely characters have had years of training at the Academy, but, sadly, we have not! So there is a gap between what our characters know and what we know. Let’s try to make that gap smaller, starting with: seismic activity.

Normal circumstances
Planetary layersUnder normal circumstances, a class M planet would look a bit like this from the inside. The crust would be divided in plates, which we call tectonic plates, and would drift on the mantle. The friction between plates, so at the fault lines, build up and when the stress becomes too much, it suddenly moves, aka seismic activity. In these areas also volcanic activity is very common.


The Fun of Worldbuilding

Worldbuilding is a cornerstone activity for writers and gamers alike. Without it, our characters would not have a place to live or props to tell stories. This short primer will show you how to make a basic planetary concept with just a few basic ideas.

One of the first places to consider starting is with a species, then a planet, and then possibly their language. You name them, then design small aspects of each of them.

With species, start with the basics and get a clear vision of them in your mind. This can be anything from skin tones, eye colors, legs, arms, hair colors, and if they have unique abilities such as tremor sense, telepathy, or empathy. Are they a matriarchal or patriarchal society? Do they value gender equality? Do they have deities? What is their main cultural focus, like music, education, art, mining, etc.? Once you have these, you can move on to creating their planet.


Andaris Task Force to Provide Disaster Relief and Medical Aid to Kiros III

PAR’THA EXPANSE — The USS Blackwell and USS Atlantis were sent to Kiros III to provide relief to its inhabitants, the A’Kir and Kirosians, who are politically opposed to each other.


Lower Decks interview: Lt. Aitas, StarBase 118 Ops

We’re here with another interview with a newer member of our community. The title of this column is “Lower Decks,” hearkening back to the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode titled “Lower Decks,” in which junior officers aboard the Enterprise-D speculate on the reasons for recent unusual actions taken by the command crew near the Cardassian border.

This month’s interview is with the writer behind Lt. Aitas playing a Vulcan/Betazoid intelligence officer assigned to StarBase 118 Operations.

WOLF: Tell us a little about the writer behind the character — where in the world do you hail from?

AITAS: I’m originally from Minnesota, and am currently living in Texas with my husband and one very needy cat who has mastered the art of sitting on my lap right when I was planning to get up. It’s not very exciting overall, though I will admit I’m not a fan of the heat.

Is this your first simming experience, or have you done other forms of role-playing before?

I’ve done quite a bit of roleplaying over the last…well, I suppose it’s been about a decade now. I can’t exactly remember quite when I started. Did a little bit of it in MMORPGS, some in tabletop settings such as Mage: The Ascension and Eberron from Dungeons and Dragons, and quite a lot over various sites across the years. Starbase 118 is actually my first play by email experience though, so that took a bit of getting used to.


Poll of the Week: Exit the Matrix

Remember that movie from the 20th century, The Matrix, about how life was just a virtual reality humanity was connected to while their bodies were used by machines, so they would not know about the real world? Well, what if that situation had had an external influence?

Imagine you are the captain of a starship and, in one of your planets, you find a planet ruled by robots. After investigating, you learn that the native population of the planet, humanoids like you, have been enslaved by the robots, and they live connected to computers for their raw computing power! However, they are living in a virtual reality world where they think they are a rich and happy civilization. The machines, to prove their humanoid computers are happy, even let you connect to this world and check that they really are.

Given that situation, would you let it go on? Tell us in the forums!

This is a new question from our category Morals of Trek, where you are in the shoes of a Starfleet Captain facing a dilemma any of our favorite characters could have faced in Star Trek. If your crew has faced any such dilemmas and you want to see it featured in a Poll of the Week, let us know!


Technical difficulties plague USS Za as crew attempts reboot of systems

DEEP SPACE — Things have gone from confused to worse as the crew of the USS Za dealt with technical malfunctions aboard their ship.


Applications and Academy Graduates for March 2017

Every month, the Academy staff works to compile the statistics about our recruiting and training for the fleet’s informational purposes. Let’s take a look at how we did as a fleet in March.

This first graph shows the number of applications that we have received each month this year. During the month of March, the fleet saw five new applications. This equates to roughly one new application every six days. Looks like we got our usual “February slump” a bit late this year!

The following chart shows how our new members found us, according to their application:

This final graph shows how many people graduated from the Academy during the month of March . We had five Academy graduates in March. This number includes two applicants who applied at the end of February but whose training did not conclude until the beginning of March. We also had two applicants who began training but did not complete it until after the start of April.

These new recruits are the lifeblood of our community. Without them, it becomes difficult to keep our ships fully crewed and even more difficult to grow the fleet. If you’d like to help us recruit more members and grow our fleet, you can join the Publicity Team using this form.


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