Closing Words


Well, now it is finished. Yet another of my projects that got out of hand, took a life on its own and grew into a huge website. Perfect training for my coming career as a mad scientist - "Oh my god! I have created a monster!".

I hope this setting will be useful or at least interesting. It can always be read as a kind of novel rather than a game. It is definitely not something that I think everybody will like or even understand, and that has not been by goal anyway. What I wanted when I started out was a different sf setting, something that got away from feudal space empires and cyberpunk but dealt with issues I considered important: how humanity can change itself, how different cultures develop, how they interact and what kind of civilisations could develop in the far future. This setting has been a kind of playground for me and my players to explore these questions.

Another purpose for this setting is to demonstrate some ideas. A lot of sf takes the easy way out and tries to avoid the implications of cybernetics, AI, genetic engineering, interstellar trade, nanotechnology or anything else that threatens to make the world utterly strange and different. In many cases the authors simply rule out the "dangerous" technology or limit it (often in the name of game balance) so that the world will remain recognisable. I have tried to avoid that approach here, even if I have deliberately toned down just how dramatic (and fast) some technologies could be. Even simple AI or nanotech will change society unrecognisably - and we better think about it now, in the real world, because it seems to be on its way.

Creating the world was the easiest part of the whole project. Just leave me with a computer, some reference books, net access and enough coca cola and I will produce a setting. The next step was harder: running the campaign. Even if you have written up the Penglaiese agriculture department bureaucracy or plans of New America in detail, the players are bound to do things or ask questions that task your imagination. Furthermore, they suggest new ideas all the time - which means for me that I had to add to the world after each gaming session. And those new facts grew even more behind the scenes, until the world at the end of the campaign was much more complex, much richer than the world at the start. As it should be. Then came the final and hardest step: turning it all into a website. I had megabytes of notes, but most were utterly incomprehensive even to myself. How to explain BIGV to somebody on the outside? How to avoid getting endlessly side-tracked by raytracing and the urge to research more? Where to draw the line? I don't know, but now the site is at least up. I hope I will be able to go to sleep without having to rush up and write down details of Trahan everyday life, sketches of Nova fashions and weird ideas for AIs.


Perfection is our goal. Excellence will be tolerated.
- TQM Motto from the International Association of Business Communication


Solna, december 6 1999
Anders Sandberg,