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Far Horizons: The Awakening
#1

After the passage of a hundred aeons of expansion, cooperation, and war, the first civilizations to make it to the stars and flourish began to crumble. Another hundred aeons passed and even the memories of those original civilizations were lost to the unyielding flow of time. There the galaxy sat, her stars burning brightly, but void of life.

Now is a beginning. Something is stirring in the galaxy. From the oblivion new species are evolving and establishing their own civilizations. They're too primitive yet to make it to the stars, but they have their sights set on the far horizon. They are awakening...

I could sit here until the end of time bemoaning the decline of PBM, or I could do something about it. As GrimFinger said, "What play by mail needs is new games. Build them, and they will come." This is my contribution. While I lack the game design aptitude and imagination to create a completely fresh game (as you can tell from the crappy fiction lore above), I do have the technical skill to create a game. So, I am reviving Rick Morneau's popular PB(e)M Far Horizons. Why Far Horizons? For two reasons: 1. The complete source code is available (and still works!), 2. after reading the rules, I really like the game.

What is Far Horizons? The one sentence blurb is: "Far Horizons is a strategic role-playing game of galactic exploration, trade, diplomacy, and conquest." See the links below for a much longer explanation.

Instead of starting a game of Far Horizons immediately, I plan to bring this 90s era game into the current decade with modern amenities such as: GUI turn viewer/order creator, fancy website with game/player statistics and messaging portal, and other things I haven't thought of yet! Importantly, I do not plan to change the spirit of the game. It will stay a fundamentally slow moving turn based game with support for PBM and PBEM mediums.

With these goals in mind I have created a wiki where the design and development of this new version of Far Horizons will take place. For now it is hosted as a subdomain of my main website. Eventually I plan to come up with a catchy name (feel free to suggest one!) and buy a real domain.

Current Games:
Main Website: http://fh.binaryelysium.com/
Game Manual/Rulebook: http://fh.binaryelysium.com/index.php?title=Game_Manual
Game Engine Source Code: https://github.com/Ramblurr/Far-Horizons
Game Client Source Code: https://github.com/Ramblurr/Far-Horizons-Client

I'll be posting updates here as they come.

Edit: (2011/03/11) Added game client source code link.
Edit: (2011/03/11) Added Galaxy Alpha game
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#2
Alright!
Looking good Ramblurr
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#3
What a great thread! I gave it a rating of five stars.

Why? Because, it is new content of substance for our site, here. It is subject matter of primary interest for gamers of the PBM genre. The names Far Horizons and Rick Morneau both ring a bell somewhere in the back of my head, although I can't lay my finger on anything more specific, right now.

You say that Far Horizons was popular, Ramblurr. What are you going by for that statement? What made it popular?

Some of your goals for the development of this game conjure up memories of past attempts by PBM companies (GUI turn viewer/order creator, fancy website with game/player statistics and messaging portal). I encounter far more bad graphic user interfaces than I do good ones. Also, statistics can be fun, at times, but they can also be detrimental to at least some games. Players tend to accumulate data. Take the encounters for Middle-earth PBM, for instance. In time, they become known. Players track down the correct solution, rather than players thinking and interacting with the dragon, creature, etc..
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#4
Here are a few other far Horizons links that I managed to track down.

http://groups.google.com/group/rec.games...fc14639730

http://www.cetnerowski.com/farhorizons/p...n/HomePage

http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/pbm_list/des....6837.html

http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/pbm_list/des....7769.html

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#5
(03-11-2011, 08:56 AM)GrimFinger Wrote: Here are a few other far Horizons links that I managed to track down.

Indeed.. these are recent links, all updated within the past couple years. It looks like at least two groups of people have recently tried to bring Far Horizons back, yet nothing seems to have come of it.

One of my goals is to keep all all news and development public, so if I do let it lapse (lets hope not!) others can easily pick up where I left off, instead of starting over.


By "popular" I was referring to the number of hits I saw in old usenet postings. Also the game we have with us today alleges to be the 7th edition, so it must have had some sort of following to progress that far. It probably wasn't as popular as many other PBMs you old timers might be familiar with ;-) I sure am not in a position to make that judgment.

---

Project Updates

After several days of putting the site together and converting the game manual from a .txt to a .pdf, I've finally banged out some code.

1. The game engine can now produce galaxy maps in an XML format.
2. The beginnings of a turn viewer are progressing.

Right now the turn viewer is a shell that loads the XML galaxy file produced by the engine and displays the map in 2 dimensions. See screenshot of map viewer. It's not particularly pretty yet, but that will come. Grimfinger is right, a GUI doesn't add anything to a piece of software if it is ugly and unusable. What you see here is merely a proof of concept.

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#6
I have added a Beginners Guide and Strategy Guide to the documentation section. These aren't original articles, I found them in an old usenet posting. I have attributed them to their original authors when possible.

Also I updated the page layout to something more sci-fi themed, yet still functional. If you have any comments on the guides or layout change, don't hold back!
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#7
I have added several new articles to the Getting Started section, courtesy of Dewey, an old FH player from the 90s who will be joining us in Galaxy Alpha. He kindly provided me with the new articles, as well as an updated version of his Strategy Guide, and a handy excel spreadsheet which I will post soon.
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#8
http://code.google.com/p/farhorizons-web-ui/
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#9
(03-12-2011, 01:01 AM)Ramblurr Wrote: I have added a Beginners Guide and Strategy Guide to the documentation section. These aren't original articles, I found them in an old usenet posting. I have attributed them to their original authors when possible.

Also I updated the page layout to something more sci-fi themed, yet still functional. If you have any comments on the guides or layout change, don't hold back!

I like the look and the feel of the site, but liked it when I first stopped by a week or so ago.

for what its worth, the "Screenshot of a Galaxy Map loaded from XML" appears to link to a 404 and to be slightly cut off or the right side. (Im using Chrome on Win7)

I think the direction you are going with the supplemental material is good, but I would suggest you don't spend too much time supplementing the email interface.

One possible mod you might make would be to allow for some standing orders (I couldn't find any mention of them but if they're there, my bad.)
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#10
(03-11-2011, 09:23 AM)Ramblurr Wrote: One of my goals is to keep all all news and development public, so if I do let it lapse (lets hope not!) others can easily pick up where I left off, instead of starting over.

Since Ramblurr has apparently deleted his defunct Far Horizons site, it would appear that anyone who might want to follow in his tracks will have to back track to where he started, rather than benefit from his own efforts in resurrecting this old Play By Mail game.
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