Steve Jackson (American game designer)
Steve Jackson is an American game designer. His notable creations include the card game Munchkin. Steve Jackson is a 1974 graduate of Rice University, where he was a resident of Baker College before moving to Sid Richardson College when it opened in 1971. Jackson attended the UT Law School, but left to pursue a career in game design. While working at Metagaming Concepts, Jackson developed Monsters! Monsters! based on a design by Ken St. Andre related to his Tunnels & Trolls role-playing game, Godsfire, a 3D space conquest game designed by Lynn Willis. Jackson's first design for the company was Ogre, followed by G. E. V. which were set in the same futuristic universe that Jackson created. Jackson became interested in Dungeons & Dragons, but found the various-sized dice irritating and the combat rules confusing and unsatisfying, did not like the lack of tactics, so he designed Melee in response. Jackson joined the SCA to gain a better understanding of combat, but he soon became more interested and started fighting in SCA live-action combat as Vargskol, the Viking-Celt.
Metagaming published his game Wizard. While designing Melee, Jackson realized this idea could be expanded into a full fantasy role-playing game to compete with D&D, started working on The Fantasy Trip. While the game was scheduled for release in February 1978, the design and development required more work than Jackson had anticipated and the game was not released until March 1980. Howard Thompson, owner of Metagaming, decided to release The Fantasy Trip as four separate books instead of a boxed set, changed his production methods so that Jackson would not be able to check the final proofs of the game; as a result of these actions, Jackson left Metagaming and founded Steve Jackson Games that year. His game Raid on Iran was an immediate success. Jackson bought The Space Gamer from Metagaming, sold the rights to The Fantasy Trip to Metagaming. However, Thompson sought legal action against SJG for the rights to a short wargame called One-Page Bulge, the lawsuit was settled with an agreement, reached on November 26, 1981 which gave Jackson full rights to One-Page Bulge, to Ogre and G.
E. V.. Jackson tried to purchase The Fantasy Trip from Thompson after Metagaming ceased operations in April 1983, but Thompson declined the offered price of $250,000. Jackson designed or co-designed many of the games published by SJ Games, including minigames such as Car Wars and Illuminati, a published version of an informal game played on college campuses, called Killer. Jackson wanted to get into computer gaming software in the early 1980s, but instead wound up licensing gaming rights to Origin Systems, which produced games such as Autoduel and Ogre. Jackson became interested in designing and publishing a new roleplaying system in the middle of 1981, intending it to be detailed and realistic and well-organized, adaptable to any setting and any level of play. In 1995, Sean Punch took over for Jackson as the GURPS line editor. Jackson designed the strategy card games Munchkin and Ninja Burger, the dice games Zombie Dice and Cthulhu Dice, as well as Zombie Dice variants Trophy Buck and Dino Hunt Dice.
Jackson has exhibited his elaborate Chaos Machine at several science fiction or wargaming conventions, including the 2006 Worldcon. On May 11, 2012, Steve Jackson's Kickstarter funding project for the 6th Edition of his Ogre game became the highest grossing boardgame project at Kickstarter, with 5,512 backers pledging a total of $923,680; the success of the Ogre Designer's Edition project has prompted a new project to help re-launch the popular Car Wars franchise as well. The use of Kickstarter as a combination of market research tool and funding program for development is a first in the gaming industry. Jackson is mistaken for Steve Jackson, a British gamebook and video game writer who co-founded Games Workshop; the confusion is exacerbated by the fact that while the UK Jackson was co-creator of the Fighting Fantasy gamebook series, the US Jackson wrote three books in this series, the books did not acknowledge that this was a different'Steve Jackson'. On March 1, 1990, the United States Secret Service raided the offices of Steve Jackson Games based on suspicion of illegal hacker activity by game designer Loyd Blankenship, seized his manuscript for GURPS Cyberpunk.
SJG filed a successful lawsuit against the government, which went to trial in 1993 as Steve Jackson Games, Inc. v. United States Secret Service, made possible through the newly created civil-rights organization Electronic Frontier Foundation. Jackson is an avid collector of pirate-themed Lego sets, he has written a miniatures game that uses Pirate sets, Evil Stevie's Pirate Game, has run it at several conventions. Jackson has combined his fondness for model trains and LEGO through the LEGO train community and has been an active member of several LEGO users groups including TBRR and the Texas LEGO Users Group. Jackson has received ov
Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction
Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction is a subgenre of science fiction, science fantasy or horror in which the Earth's technological civilization is collapsing or has collapsed. The apocalypse event may be climatic, such as runaway climate change; the story may involve attempts to prevent an apocalypse event, deal with the impact and consequences of the event itself, or it may be post-apocalyptic, set after the event. The time frame may be after the catastrophe, focusing on the travails or psychology of survivors, the way to maintain the human race alive and together as one, or later including the theme that the existence of pre-catastrophe civilization has been forgotten. Post-apocalyptic stories take place in a non-technological future world or a world where only scattered elements of society and technology remain. Various ancient societies, including the Babylonian and Judaic, produced apocalyptic literature and mythology which dealt with the end of the world and of human society, such as the Epic of Gilgamesh, written c.
2000–1500 BC. Recognizable modern apocalyptic novels had existed since at least the first third of the 19th century, when Mary Shelley's The Last Man was published. However, this form of literature gained widespread popularity after World War II, when the possibility of global annihilation by nuclear weapons entered the public consciousness; the apocalypse event may be climatic, such as runaway climate change. The story may involve attempts to prevent an apocalypse event, deal with the impact and consequences of the event itself, or may be post-apocalyptic, be set after the event; the time frame may be after the catastrophe, focusing on the travails or psychology of survivors, the way to maintain the human race alive and together as one, or later including the theme that the existence of pre-catastrophe civilization has been forgotten. Post-apocalyptic stories take place in a non-technological future world, or a world where only scattered elements of society and technology remain. Other themes may be cybernetic revolt, divine judgment, ecological collapse, resource depletion, supernatural phenomena, technological singularity, or some other general disaster.
The scriptural story of Noah and his Ark describes the end of the corrupted original civilization and its replacement with a remade world. Noah is assigned the task to build the Ark and save the lifeforms so as to reestablish a new post-flood world. Numerous other societies, including the Babylonian, had produced apocalyptic literature and mythology which dealt with the end of the world and of human society. Many of which included stories that refer back to the Biblical Noah or describe a similar flood; the Epic of Gilgamesh, written ca. 2000–1500 BC, details a myth where the angry gods send floods to punish humanity, but the ancient hero Utnapishtim and his family are saved through the intervention of the god Ea. A similar story about the Genesis flood narrative is found in Sura 71 of the Quran, where prophet Noah, Nūḥ, builds the ark and rebuilds humanity. In the Hindu Dharmasastra, the apocalyptic deluge plays a prominent part. According to the Matsya Purana, the Matsya avatar of Lord Vishnu, informed the King Manu of an all-destructive deluge which would be coming soon.
The King was advised to build a huge boat which housed his family, nine types of seeds, pairs of all animals and the Saptarishis to repopulate the Earth, after the deluge would end and the oceans and seas would recede. At the time of deluge, Vishnu appeared as a horned fish and Shesha appeared as a rope, with which Vaivasvata Manu fastened the boat to the horn of the fish. Variants of this story appear in Buddhist and Jain scriptures; the first centuries AD saw the recording of the Book of Revelation, filled with prophecies of destruction, as well as luminous visions. In the first chapter of Revelation, the writer St. John the Divine explains his divine errand: "Write the things which thou hast seen, the things which are, the things which shall be hereafter", he takes it as his mission to convey—to reveal—to God’s kingdom His promise that justice will prevail and that the suffering will be vindicated. The apocalyptist provides a beatific vision of Judgement Day, revealing God’s promise for redemption from suffering and strife.
Revelation describes a New Heaven and a New Earth, its intended Christian audience is enchanted and inspired, rather than terrified by visions of Judgment Day. These Christians believed themselves chosen for God’s salvation, so such apocalyptic sensibilities inspired optimism and nostalgia for the end times; such works feature the loss of a global perspective as protagonists are on their own with little or no knowledge of the outside world. Furthermore, they explore a world without modern technology whose rapid progress may overwhelm people as human brains aren't adapted to contemporary society but evolved to deal with issues that have become irrelevant such as immediate physical threats; such works depict worlds of less complexity, direct contact, primitive needs
Nuclear warfare is a military conflict or political strategy in which nuclear weaponry is used to inflict damage on the enemy. Nuclear weapons are weapons of mass destruction. A major nuclear exchange would have long-term effects from the fallout released, could lead to a "nuclear winter" that could last for decades, centuries, or millennia after the initial attack; some analysts dismiss the nuclear winter hypothesis, calculate that with nuclear weapon stockpiles at Cold War highs, although there would be billions of casualties, billions more rural people would survive. However, others have argued that secondary effects of a nuclear holocaust, such as nuclear famine and societal collapse, would cause every human on Earth to starve to death. So far, two nuclear weapons have been used in the course of warfare, both by the United States near the end of World War II. On August 6, 1945, a uranium gun-type device was detonated over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Three days on August 9, a plutonium implosion-type device was detonated over the Japanese city of Nagasaki.
These two bombings resulted in the deaths of 120,000 people. After World War II, nuclear weapons were developed by the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the People's Republic of China, which contributed to the state of conflict and extreme tension that became known as the Cold War. In 1974, in 1998, two countries that were hostile toward each other, developed nuclear weapons. Israel and North Korea are thought to have developed stocks of nuclear weapons, though it is not known how many; the Israeli government has never admitted or denied to having nuclear weapons, although it is known to have constructed the reactor and reprocessing plant necessary for building nuclear weapons. South Africa manufactured several complete nuclear weapons in the 1980s, but subsequently became the first country to voluntarily destroy their domestically made weapons stocks and abandon further production. Nuclear weapons have been detonated on over 2,000 occasions for testing demonstrations. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the resultant end of the Cold War, the threat of a major nuclear war between the two nuclear superpowers was thought to have declined.
Since concern over nuclear weapons has shifted to the prevention of localized nuclear conflicts resulting from nuclear proliferation, the threat of nuclear terrorism. The possibility of using nuclear weapons in war is divided into two subgroups, each with different effects and fought with different types of nuclear armaments; the first, a limited nuclear war, refers to a small-scale use of nuclear weapons by two belligerents. A "limited nuclear war" could include targeting military facilities—either as an attempt to pre-emptively cripple the enemy's ability to attack as a defensive measure, or as a prelude to an invasion by conventional forces, as an offensive measure; this term could apply to any small-scale use of nuclear weapons that may involve military or civilian targets. The second, a full-scale nuclear war, could consist of large numbers of nuclear weapons used in an attack aimed at an entire country, including military and civilian targets; such an attack would certainly destroy the entire economic and military infrastructure of the target nation, would have a devastating effect on Earth's biosphere.
Some Cold War strategists such as Henry Kissinger argued that a limited nuclear war could be possible between two armed superpowers. Some predict, that a limited war could "escalate" into a full-scale nuclear war. Others have called limited nuclear war "global nuclear holocaust in slow motion", arguing that—once such a war took place—others would be sure to follow over a period of decades rendering the planet uninhabitable in the same way that a "full-scale nuclear war" between superpowers would, only taking a much longer path to the same result; the most optimistic predictions of the effects of a major nuclear exchange foresee the death of many millions of victims within a short period of time. More pessimistic predictions argue that a full-scale nuclear war could bring about the extinction of the human race, or at least its near extinction, with only a small number of survivors and a reduced quality of life and life expectancy for centuries afterward. However, such predictions, assuming total war with nuclear arsenals at Cold War highs, have not been without criticism.
Such a horrific catastrophe as global nuclear warfare would certainly cause permanent damage to most complex life on the planet, its ecosystems, the global climate. If predictions about the production of a nuclear winter are accurate, it would change the balance of global power, with countries such as Australia, New Zealand, China and Brazil predicted to become world superpowers if the Cold War led to a large-scale nuclear attack. A study presented at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in December 2006 asserted that a small-scale regional nuclear war could produce as many direct fatalities as all of World War II and disrupt the global climate for a decade or more. In a regional nuclear conflict scenario in w
The Generic Universal RolePlaying System, or GURPS, is a tabletop role-playing game system designed to allow for play in any game setting. It was created by Steve Jackson Games and first published in 1986 at a time when most such systems were story- or genre-specific. Players control their in-game characters verbally and the success of their actions are determined by the skill of their character, the difficulty of the action, the rolling of dice. Characters earn points during play. Gaming sessions are story-told and run by "Game Masters". GURPS won the Origins Award for Best Roleplaying Rules of 1988, in 2000 it was inducted into the Origins Hall of Fame. Many of its expansions have won awards. Prior to GURPS, roleplaying games of the 1970s and early 1980s were developed for certain gaming environments, they were incompatible with one another. For example, TSR published its Dungeons & Dragons game for a fantasy environment. Another game from the same company, Star Frontiers, was developed for science fiction–based role-playing.
TSR produced other games for other environments, such as Gamma World, Top Secret and Boot Hill. Each of these games was set with its own self-contained rules system, the rules for playing each game differed from one game to the next. Attempts were made in Advanced Dungeons and Dragons to allow cross-genre games using Gamma World and Boot Hill rules. Though it was preceded by Basic Role-Playing and the Hero System, GURPS was the most commercially successful generic role-playing game system to allow players to role-play in any environment they please while still using the same set of core rules; this flexibility of environment is aided by the use of technology levels that allow a campaign to be set from the Stone Age to the Digital Age or beyond. Role-playing games of the 1970s and 1980s, such as Dungeons & Dragons used random numbers generated by dice rolls to assign statistics to player characters. GURPS, following the lead of the Hero System first used by the Champions role-playing game, assigned players a specified number of points with which to build their characters.
These points were spent to get attributes and advantages, such as the ability to cast magic spells. Additional points can be obtained by accepting lower-than-average attributes and other limitations. GURPS' emphasis on its generic aspect has proven to be a successful marketing tactic, as many game series have source engines which can be retrofitted to many styles, its approach to versatility includes using real world measurements wherever possible. GURPS benefits from the many dozens of worldbooks describing settings or additional rules in all genres including science fiction and historical. Many popular game designers began their professional careers as GURPS writers, including C. J. Carella, Robin Laws, S. John Ross, Fudge creator Steffan O'Sullivan; the immediate mechanical antecedent of GURPS was The Fantasy Trip, an early role-playing game written by Steve Jackson for the company Metagaming Concepts. Several of the core concepts of GURPS first appeared in TFT, including the inclusion of Strength and Intelligence as the core abilities scores of each character.
A Basic GURPS set was published in 1986 and 1987 and included two booklets, one for developing characters and one for Adventuring. In 1990 GURPS intersected part of the hacker subculture when the company's Austin, offices were raided by the Secret Service; the target was the author of GURPS Cyberpunk in relation to E911 Emergency Response system documents stolen from Bell South. The incident was a direct contributor to the founding of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. A common misconception holds that this raid was part of Operation Sundevil and carried out by the FBI. Operation: Sundevil was in action at the same time, but it was separate. See Steve Jackson Games, Inc. v. United States Secret Service. A free PDF version of the GURPS rules was released as GURPS Lite; this limited ruleset was included with various books such as GURPS Discworld and Transhuman Space. Steve Jackson Games released GURPS Fourth Edition at the first day of Gen Con on August 19, 2004, it promised to streamline most areas of play and character creation.
The changes include modification of the attribute point adjustments, an edited and rationalized skill list, clarification of the differences between abilities from experience and from inborn talent, more detailed language rules, revised technology levels. Designed by Sean Punch, the Fourth Edition is sold as two full-color hardcover books as well as in the PDF format. A character in GURPS is built with character points. For a beginning character in an average power game, the 4th edition suggests 100–150 points to modify attribute stats, select advantages and disadvantages, purchase levels in skills. Normal NPCs are built on 25–50 points. Full-fledged heroes have 150–250 points, while superheroes are built with 400–800 points; the highest point value recorded for a canon character in a GURPS sourcebook is 10,452 for the Harvester in GURPS Monsters. In principle, a Game Master can balance the power of foes to the abilities of the player characters by comparing their relative point values. Characters in GURPS have four basic attributes: Streng
Game design is the art of applying design and aesthetics to create a game for entertainment or for educational, exercise, or experimental purposes. Elements and principles of game design are applied to other interactions, in the form of gamification. Game design creates goals and challenges to define a board game, card game, dice game, casino game, role-playing game, video game, war game or simulation that produces desirable interactions among its participants and spectators. Academically, game design is part of game studies, while game theory studies strategic decision making. Games have inspired seminal research in the fields of probability, artificial intelligence and optimization theory. Applying game design to itself is a current research topic in metadesign. Sports and board games are known to have existed for at least nine thousand, six thousand, four thousand years. Tabletop games played today whose descent can be traced from ancient times include chess, go, backgammon, mahjong and pick-up sticks.
The rules of these games were not codified until early modern times and their features evolved and changed over time, through the folk process. Given this, these games are not considered to have had a designer or been the result of a design process in the modern sense. After the rise of commercial game publishing in the late 19th century, many games which had evolved via folk processes became commercial properties with custom scoring pads or preprepared material. For example, the similar public domain games Generala and Yatzy led to the commercial game Yahtzee in the mid-1950s. Today, many commercial games, such as Taboo, Pictionary, or Time's Up!, are descended from traditional parlour games. Adapting traditional games to become commercial properties is an example of game design. Many sports, such as soccer and baseball, are the result of folk processes, while others were designed, such as basketball, invented in 1891 by James Naismith. Technological advances have provided new media for games throughout history.
The printing press allowed packs of playing cards, adapted from Mahjong tiles, to be mass-produced, leading to many new card games. Accurate topographic maps produced as lithographs and provided free to Prussian officers helped popularize wargaming. Cheap bookbinding led to mass-produced board games with custom boards. Inexpensive lead figurine casting contributed to the development of miniature wargaming. Cheap custom dice led to poker dice. Flying discs led to Ultimate. Personal computers contributed to the popularity of computer games, leading to the wide availability of video game consoles and video games. Smart phones have led to a proliferation of mobile games; the first games in a new medium are adaptations of older games. Pong, one of the first disseminated video games, adapted table tennis. Games will exploit distinctive properties of a new medium. Adapting older games and creating original games for new media are both examples of game design. Game studies or gaming theory is a discipline that deals with the critical study of games, game design and their role in society and culture.
Prior to the late-twentieth century, the academic study of games was rare and limited to fields such as history and anthropology. As the video game revolution took off in the early 1980s, so did academic interest in games, resulting in a field that draws on diverse methodologies and schools of thought; these influences may be characterized broadly in three ways: the social science approach, the humanities approach, the industry and engineering approach. Broadly speaking, the social scientific approach has concerned itself with the question of "What do games do to people?" Using tools and methods such as surveys, controlled laboratory experiments, ethnography researchers have investigated both the positive and negative impacts that playing games could have on people. More sociologically informed research has sought to move away from simplistic ideas of gaming as either'negative' or'positive', but rather seeking to understand its role and location in the complexities of everyday life. In general terms, the humanities approach has concerned itself with the question of "What meanings are made through games?"
Using tools and methods such as interviews and participant observation, researchers have investigated the various roles that videogames play in people's lives and activities together with the meaning they assign to their experiences. From an industry perspective, a lot of game studies research can be seen as the academic response to the videogame industry's questions regarding the products it creates and sells; the main question this approach deals with can be summarized as "How can we create better games?" with the accompanying "What makes a game good?" "Good" can be taken to mean many different things, including providing an entertaining and an engaging experience, being easy to learn and play, being innovative and having novel experiences. Different approaches to studying this problem have included looking at describing how to design games and extracting guidelines and rules of thumb for making better games Game theory is a study of strategic decision making, it is "the study of mathematical models of conflict and cooperation between intelligent rational decision-makers".
An alternative term suggested "as a more descriptive name for the discipline" is interactive decision theory. The subject first addressed zero-sum games, such that one person's gains equal net losses of the other participant or participan
A role-playing game is a game in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting. Players take responsibility for acting out these roles within a narrative, either through literal acting, or through a process of structured decision-making regarding character development. Actions taken within many games succeed or fail according to a formal system of rules and guidelines. There are several forms of role-playing games; the original form, sometimes called the tabletop role-playing game, is conducted through discussion, whereas in live action role-playing, players physically perform their characters' actions. In both of these forms, an arranger called a game master decides on the rules and setting to be used, while acting as the referee. Several varieties of RPG exist in electronic media, such as multiplayer text-based Multi-User Dungeons and their graphics-based successors, massively multiplayer online role-playing games. Role-playing games include single-player role-playing video games in which players control a character, or team of characters, who undertake quests, may include player capabilities that advance using statistical mechanics.
These electronic games sometimes share settings and rules with tabletop RPGs, but emphasize character advancement more than collaborative storytelling. This type of game is well-established, so some RPG-related game forms, such as trading/collectible card games and wargames, may not be included under the definition; some amount of role-playing activity may be present in such games. The term role-playing game is sometimes used to describe games involving roleplay simulation and exercises used in teaching and academic research. Both authors and major publishers of tabletop role-playing games consider them to be a form of interactive and collaborative storytelling. Events and narrative structure give a sense of a narrative experience, the game need not have a strongly-defined storyline. Interactivity is the crucial difference between traditional fiction. Whereas a viewer of a television show is a passive observer, a player in a role-playing game makes choices that affect the story; such role-playing games extend an older tradition of storytelling games where a small party of friends collaborate to create a story.
While simple forms of role-playing exist in traditional children's games of make believe, role-playing games add a level of sophistication and persistence to this basic idea with additions such as game facilitators and rules of interaction. Participants in a role-playing game will generate an ongoing plot. A consistent system of rules and a more or less realistic campaign setting in games aids suspension of disbelief; the level of realism in games ranges from just enough internal consistency to set up a believable story or credible challenge up to full-blown simulations of real-world processes. Role-playing games are played in a wide variety of formats ranging from discussing character interaction in tabletop form to physically acting out characters in LARP to playing characters in digital media. There is a great variety of systems of rules and game settings. Games that emphasize plot and character interaction over game mechanics and combat sometimes prefer the name storytelling game; these types of games tend to minimize or altogether eliminate the use of dice or other randomizing elements.
Some games are played with characters created before the game by the GM, rather than those created by the players. This type of game is played at gaming conventions, or in standalone games that do not form part of a campaign. Tabletop and pen-and-paper RPGs are conducted through discussion in a small social gathering; the GM describes its inhabitants. The other players describe the intended actions of their characters, the GM describes the outcomes; some outcomes are determined by the game system, some are chosen by the GM. This is the format; the first commercially available RPG, Dungeons & Dragons, was inspired by fantasy literature and the wargaming hobby and was published in 1974. The popularity of D&D led to the birth of the tabletop role-playing game industry, which publishes games with many different themes and styles of play; the popularity of tabletop games has decreased since the modern releases of online MMO RPGs. This format is referred to as a role-playing game. To distinguish this form of RPG from other formats, the retronyms tabletop role-playing game or pen and paper role-playing game are sometimes used, though neither a table nor pen and paper are necessary.
A LARP is played more like improvisational theatre. Participants act out their characters' actions instead of describing them, the real environment is used to represent the imaginary setting of the game world. Players are costumed as their characters and use appropriate props, the venue may be decorated to resemble the fictional setting; some live action role-playing games use rock-paper-scissors or comparison of attributes to resolve conflicts symbolically, while other LARPs use physical combat with simulated arms such as airsoft guns or foam weapons. LARPs vary in size from a handful of players to several thousand, in duration from a couple of hours to several days; because the number of players in a LARP is larger than in a tabletop role-playing game, the players may be interacting in separate physical spaces, there is less of an emphasis on maintaining a narrative or directly entertai