Blows Against the Empire (1983)
Last update: 13 May 2005
All the way back in late 1980, I wrote an article on play-by-phone computer games. A firm in Houston actually contacted me in mid-1981 about funding development of a commercial play-by-phone game, and we entered into negotiations, and I got Wayne Holder involved. I started keeping design notes on the subject in late 1981; however, Wayne and I could never come to terms with the firm, and we chose to end the discussions with them.
Sometime in 1982, I attempted to run a multi-player version of Avalon Hill's SF board/role-playing game, "Freedom in the Galaxy", over a local (San Diego) computer bulletin-board system (BBS). I did this in part to test the feasibility of some of my PBP ideas without having to write software, do a game design, etc. However, not all the players wanted to go out and buy their own copies of FITG, and I didn't want to copy the game materials. So after a while, that effort wound down, too.
I then started work on an original game design, which came to be known as "Blows Against the Empire" (BATE). Again, this was a play-by-phone role-playing game that I worked on before and during my work on the original SunDog: Frozen Legacy (I had since joined Wayne Holder at Oasis Systems, and we were starting the FTL Games division). BATE was intended to be run over a computer bulletin-board system (BBS), with players submitting moves via e-mail. While I had thoughts of it being a commercial venture, it really served more as a game design testbed--and something fun to do with various BBS acquaintances in the San Diego area. I managed to get it started up, but couldn't really keep up with running the game (mostly due to long hours working on SunDog).
However, in the process, I created a backstory and universe for BATE, which I then drew upon (in a simpler form) for SunDog. I don't consider these "canonical" for SunDog, but they're still not a bad place to start, if you'll forgive the typical SF history-out-of-thin-air like that you find in far too many SF computer games these days. The links to the left contain material that is largely verbatim from what I wrote over 20 years ago.