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The State of CoM – August 2017

I wanted to take this moment to address some concerns and grumblings I’ve heard recently, as well as update everyone on the current state of CoM and where we are going in the future. I apologize if this is a bit disjointed. Communication between all of us is key, and it is important to me that you all feel you can talk to me and address your concerns. We will hit a few big topics here today:

  • Why are the main nations (The Alliance, Coalition, and Kingdom) so much bigger and powerful than the other nations?
  • Where do your ideas fit in the larger IP of CoM?
  • What are the ranks for content in CoM?
  • How do I submit technology ideas, and why do my ideas get shot down at times?
  • Why is gravity technology everywhere?
  • Where is CoM going and what does the future look like?

The Alliance, Coalition, and the Kingdoms


Some have recently voiced concern on how omnipotent/large/powerful the Alliance, Coalition, and Kingdoms feel in the face of your own nations. Specifically, I have heard rumblings that they feel overpowered. Let me try to provide some perspective on that topic.

The Coalition, Alliance, and the Kingdoms – while my “nations” – are less nations in CoM and more a forces of nature. They are created to be large compared to the other nations to help me drive the story, force conflict, and maintain overall control of the universe. While you all can compete with them collectively (a great example of this is the Periphery), individually you are meant to be small in comparison. Furthermore, the “unit cap” on your growth (in terms of number of spheres of influence) is intended to maintain this balance and continue to give me some control over the direction, story, and history of the universe by using these nations as the catalyst for future events. 

This is not meant to stifle your creativity. It is meant to give the universe balance. It prevents one player’s nation from growing big and steamrolling newcomers. It helps create conflict on a large scale that everyone can be a part of. It is meant to force you to create alliances, to communicate with other players, and be part of the larger community. To survive, you have to come together.

Additionally, while these nations do have a higher tech base, I am hardly opposed to give your nations a one up on certain tech and tools of the trade. A good example of this, the Alliance buys its torpedoes from Straitsilver’s Bravian Commonwealth. I imagine in the future, the mechs coming out of Convoy’s Kingdom will be popular among other nations. Other nations like the Akrians have powerful EW/ECM.

Furthermore, the big nations have weaknesses. At the current point in the universe, the Alliance Navy is stretched thin. They are spread all over their space trying to contain the Coalition. The Coalition, despite all its power and might, is fighting as many internal conflicts as it is external. Eirangard has a weak King. Ishara’s ruler is getting old and the houses are fighting to decide who will be the next Khaan, and the Empyrean See has all the drama that comes with religious dogma and political policy mingling together. These weaknesses will be more apparent as I continue to expand the pages on the site (and are more loosely present in my story notes) and should be part of your storytelling and planning.

The key thing is that these big nations are hardly flawless and perfect. I created them with a great deal of depth, flaws, and unique aspects (at least I think so) in order to give the universe a diverse footing. That being said, I am always willing to take feedback. I might not agree with you, or I might choose to keep something because I have a plan for it later. However, my chatbox is always open to take your questions, comments, feedback, and arguments.

Adding to the Universe


Some people have voiced concern with the way things are going with additions to the universe. I have heard from someone that a few people feel that I shoot down their ideas and then adopt them as my own later. Whoever feels this way should contact me as soon as possible to resolve this. I never intend to steal your ideas, and if you feel wronged in any way I want to resolve it so you feel more comfortable that your ideas are secure, safe, and your own.

We as part of the CoM core team try to maintain all content in CoM as original content (that is Core content at least) so that way it is easier, in the future, to use it for items we might sell such as novels, games, RPG books, etc. Sectioning off content as Core  helps us avoids us inadvertently incorporating your original content into these products and not giving you due credit. 

Content Ranks


So lets talk about the content ranks in CoM and what they mean. These are a bit more of a new system that we are starting to expand in order to better help people not only create content, but eventually we want you to be able to sell your content as part of the universe.

  • Core – Core content is content developed by the team that is vital to the basic understanding, funciton, and texture of the universe. This is stuff like the starship classes, the MAG drive articles, FTL communiction articles, etc. Mostly this is going to be technology and components of the universe that are universal across all nations. This content, everyone has access to and can use it freely. Its the very DNA that makes CoM what it is, and is the product we provide you as part of the universe.
  • Canon – Canon content is the content submitted to the universe that has reached a level of quality it is considered to be a part of the universe permenantly (unless, of course, the original author decides to delete his content). With the authors consent, it can be incorporated into other Canon articles and be more tightly woven into the universe. It is part of the greater heart of CoM and its community.
  • Community – Community content is content that hasn’t undergone the canon process fully, but is considered of a quality to be recognized. This content can be used in RPs and part of the greater community, but is likely going to undergo changes before finalization. 

Hopefully that helps better explain the various levels of content in CoM. In the future, Canon content might be come the content that is formally published in some medium, be it games, books, etc. Community content might rise to the level of canon status and we may introduce a level to replace community. These are all in flux though, so bear with us as we get through all the legalise of group creativity. 

All of this being said, don’t think the content you have created won’t be used as part of the RPG universe (if/when we get there) or the game universe. All CoM products when sold will include a link to the website and the universe page so that way new users can discover your content and your parts of the universe. They may decide to have players explore the Periphery states or take a jaunt through the United Star Commonwealth. Your canon and community nations will have a place in the universe. It just might not be in products with price tags on them to avoid the complexity of international trade laws, etc.

New Technology


New Technology is something that a lot of you have approached me about. While I have shot down some of your ideas, I know a few ideas we have been open to and allowed people to implement. That being said, let me better explain my stance on technologies in CoM.

Some of the core things in CoM and how they work must and will be developed by the core team. Things like shielding, FTL technology, engine technology, etc are all stuff that need to be part of the core content. Even some weapons technology has to be – at its core – developed by my team. That isn’t to say that you can’t do some unique stuff with the core technology, but having the foundation developed by the core team means that we can tell you how things should work and shouldn’t work. It will also let us help explain how things should be balanced.

Part of this is because CoM is more than just a repository of ideas. Its a living and breathing universe. It is as much a roleplay community as it is a writing community. It is a bit of a hybrid, and any good roleplay needs some rules. Those rules are tied very closely to the technology in the universe, and that is part of the reason why we are keeping key universe tech development at the core team level. It will let us eventually expand the content of the universe into more than just the website but eventually develop roleplaying reference books, etc. without infringing upon the rest of the communities ideas. It also gives a set group of intellectual property that new users can access and reference that is independent of the growing universe as a whole. It lets us make beginners guides, user guides, etc. that won’t change radically because a new user develops a new form of FTL travel.

Of course new technology ideas can always be incorporated into the universe as canon. If you have an idea and you want to see it made a thing for the rest of the community to enjoy, the same process for a nation becoming canon can be followed. This new technology will be open to the rest of the communities use, but won’t be part any financial efforts the core team works on (such as the upcoming tabletop strategy game or any future RPG content) without specific permissions and agreements between us and you.

Furthermore, we are constantly taking your feedback. As we move forward we will be adding new ship weapons types such as plasma weapons and expanding the functionality of missiles and the fun things you can do with them. Ground warfare will get further fleshed out with the stuff we discussed in our fireside chat getting incorporated into larger articles. 

Gravity


Its sort of a weird header, but I wanted to address people’s questions about gravity technology in CoM. Specifically, why is it so prolific and what are its limits.

First, I want to get this out of the way. Some people may complain that gravity shielding or gravity technology as a whole doesn’t work or make sense, or that gravity weapons don’t make sense. This goes deep down the rabbit whole of suspension of disbelief. 

With our current understanding of the universe, faster than light technology doesn’t work. Relativity – and more important causality – states that we simply can’t exceed the speed of light. Add to the fact that you would deal with varying viewpoints of time (all of our worlds would experience time at different rates, etc.) and the universe could get very muddled quickly. There may be all sorts of ways we could bend these rules in the future, but projecting that far out is beyond my level of expertise.

Furthermore, technologies like electromagnetic and plasma shielding popular in other scifi is no more fantastical than gravity shielding. Both are in the realm of science fiction fantasy more than hard science fiction. Sure there has been some success with very basic electromagnetic repulsion and rudimentary containment of plasma, but the fantastical shields you see in star trek that stop physical objects, light based objects (such as energy weapons), and even space time effects are far from hard science fiction.

There is a level of suspension of disbelief that has to occur in order to create a working universe of the type we are developing. While it might be easy for you to suspend belief on things you are more a custom to seeing in other scifi, such as faster than light travel, energy shields, and others; they have no more validity than anything like gravity shielding or other gravity technology in CoM.

So why gravity technology used for so many things? Part of this was to create a sort of firmament across the universe. What created the topography of the universe we are currently in? I decided early on that the mastery of gravity would be the catalyst for human’s interstellar presence. It would give us the ability to bend space and time to achieve FTL. It would give us the ability to harness new types of energy (Dark Matter – and matter in general – seem to be tightly tied to gravity and its function so that is why we went with Dark Matter power sources). It is at the heart of what binds us to the ground, and overcoming it would give us the ability to become and do so much more.

I wanted this technology – that was so fundamental to humanity’s new presence in the cosmos – to be as ubiquitous as electricity. It would permeate throughout our life helping us move on the ground, power our cities, travel the stars, and even protect us. Gravity in CoM is the reason why we have achieved what we have achieved and it is at the very heart of technology across all cultures.

In the coming months I will work hard to expand on some of the tech articles on the site to help better explain things like gravity shielding (and why it isn’t the same as creating a gravity field in the star system the equivalent of a neutron star appearing suddenly).

CoM In The Coming Years


With the current group we have, we are looking to have a few more nations go up for canon consideration before we really get things rolling. As we finalize more content like the map, nations, ships, and tech, the universe will start to build a heart beat. More RP elements such as universe events will occur to help create a greater sense of cause and effect in your actions. However, I plan to run a small scale test of this sort of content with a few players in the comming months.

Additionally, we are pursuing a number of projects that may or may not see the light of day, but we keep you informed of on a regular basis. There is a website rebuild that we are considering right now, there is CoM Sovereign Wars which is in beta testing, and there are plans for future RPG books, novels, and other content. As sovereign wars moves to release, our vision is to expand it to incorporate a bigger part of the Unvierse. We will add new nations and ships to the game, additional game modes, and new content for you to enjoy. The website, while a more long term project, will hopefully add new RP content for you all to enjoy and be a part of. The RPG books, novels, and other content will follow as our plans for them become more concrete. 

In summary, we opened the doors to CoM in a very early stage. There is still a lot of work that we, as the core team, have to do in order to produce the content you all want to see. That being said, we did this intentionally to ensure we got feedback on what we had written, answered questions when they arose, and found holes in ideas we had thanks to the smart questions you all ask. While I know this may be frustrating at times, we are working tirelessly to bring you the things you want to see and enjoy.

You are at the ground level of a very new IP, and something we are quite proud of. I have invested both a significant amount of time, money, and effort into getting it where it is; and I am hardly running out of steam yet. That being said, our core team is small and have real lives too. Bear with us as we continue to build up CoM, answer your questions, and smooth out the edges. 

As always, I’m more than happy to answer any questions you have.

Sincerely,

Josheua

 

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