Concordia

The Asteroid Belt is a broad assortment of polities, some functional, some not, some protectorates of larger, more powerful states on Earth and around Jupiter. Among these, Concordia is something of an anomaly as an unrecognized de facto state polity that does not even claim to be a state, and remains a pariah for its willing harboring of those fugitive or lawless elements throughout the solar system.

  •  Concordia
    • Concordia

Concordia began its existence as merely one modest mining colony amidst dozens scattered around the Asteroid Belt. In the long tradition of such infamous outlaw havens as Port Royal or Tortuga, however, it soon made a name for itself for its willingness to harbor and offer succor for fugitive ships and their crews in return for trade in kind.

Jealously guarding its neutrality, Concordia's relatively unique position led to an explosion in wealth for the former mining colony. Dry docks were expanded, and eventually even shipyards capable of constructing frigate class vessels were built. Laws of a kind became established, and a political oligarchy solidified its hold over the asteroid, even to the extent of espousing (a few) laws.

Even in as isolated a region as it is, Concordia would still be no match for the great powers of Earth should such wish to extinguish it. To avoid an untimely and nuclear fate, Concordia enforces an ironclad policy of refusing service to any ship that attacks a vessel flying under national auspices of one of the five great powers of Earth. In return, said nations - and others - steer clear of Concordia proper, though most take advantage of its neutrality and anonymity to provide dockage and repair for privateers operating in their own employ.

The Great Contraction, 2045-2106 C.E.

For decades, individual geologists, biologists, and others had warned of the unforgiving math of production versus demand in over a dozen critical resources. Branded as alarmists or apocalyptics, their words were largely ignored, or at best considered suitable material for consideration only by academics.

By 2035, it was impossible for even the foolish or the stubborn to ignore the savage reality of what would come to be called "The Great Contraction".

Critical rare earth minerals, indium, antimony, cobalt, and other resources integral to the basic functioning of the technological economy became increasingly expensive to acquire, but the relative inconvenience of these was nothing compared to the cardinal problem of demand outstripping supply in those most critical of all resources - arable topsoil, phosphorous for fertilizer, petroleum, and fresh water.

The result did not come overnight or quickly, but the devastation it eventually left in its wake would paint even the infamous Black Death as a mere footnote. The result came in billions dead; by war, by plague - but most of all by the cold hand of famine.

State

The most powerful inner world rival to the Eastern Federation, State dominates the Western Hemisphere and is the de facto, if not technically the de jure administrator of Earth's moon, Luna.

  •  State
    • State
    • Luna
    • Phobos

As with all of Earth's powers, The Great Contraction of the late 21st century devastated the peoples of North and South America as waves of economic collapse and famine triggered regional resource wars and bitter conflicts that frequently involved appalling uses of biological weaponry. Ironically, while the United States of America was the unquestioned leader in resource consumption in the 21st century, with a stable population and flanked by two enormous oceans it was also moderately insulated from the first waves of chaos brought on by The Great Contraction.

Other national polities, however, especially in Central and South America, were not nearly as insulated. As the world markets collapsed and governments around the world struggled to contain the fallout from the economic disaster, pressure mounted on the United States borders. Combined with its own problems involving rapidly degenerating agricultural production and aquifers, the United States was forced focus its efforts on maintaining civil order in the regions east of the Rocky Mountains with little practical ability to aid the West Coast.

While many corporations themselves perished in the initial throes of The Great Contraction , some did survive, and the most powerful of these - now unable to rely on either central national government or local state governments to protect their interests - began to provide for their own interests in the form of private security forces, gated communities for their workforces, and infrastructural support.

As world populations slowly began to recover in the 22nd century, a collection of new multilateral treaties were signed creating the modern polity of State. While nominally a democratic republic, the political control of State in reality walks the line between the interests of the old national ruling classes and the pervasive might of corporate power. Ultimately, State represents a less stable and less unified national polity than that of the Eastern Federation, with power being more widely distributed, although it is notable that little of that power actually filters down to the common citizen.

Of the modern polities of Earth, State, along with Union and the Oceanic League, was one of the first three polities to pursue settlement of the solar system in the pursuit of natural resources. State's dominance of Luna and heavy influence over the Free State of Mars are both lasting legacies of this early pursuit, a legacy it has increasingly struggled to maintain in the face of younger, more aggressive powers.

The Kuiper Compact


Far beyond even the outermost gas giants lies the expanse of the Kuiper Belt.

  •  The Kuiper Compact

Here in "The Deep", as it is sometimes called, lies a disparate number of isolated polities divided by ideology as often as it is the vast gulfs that separate them.

The most notable of these polities is The Kuiper Compact, a loose confederation of autonomous polities consisting of The Plutonian Assembly, Makemake, The Republic of Xena, and the Sedna All-Thing.

The Kuiper Compact was initially proposed as an economic union and to provide a forum to resolve contentions diplomatically, but with the rise of the Protean League around Neptune and the relentless expansion of the Alliance, what had been a simple commerce league and debate society turned into a fully functioning confederation.

Growing in power and influence, the Kuiper Compact has begun to cautiously present unified a political stance in the various conflicts of the outer worlds, most notably against the Protean League, but also in an effort to resolve the "Haumean Problem", and stem the expansionist drive of the Alliance. The Kuiper Compact is still, however, weak in comparison with these powers, both aided and frustrated by its general isolation from the rest of the solar system and its individual member polities' isolation from each other as their worlds circle the Sun at often staggering distances.

The Sedna All-Thing

Farther out than any other human settlement in the solar system other than Sedna's own colony of Vesper, Sedna also has a dramatically asymmetrical orbit that means in centuries to come its orbit will take it to an order of magnitude greater distance from the rest of the solar system.

  •  Sedna All-Thing
    • Sedna
    • Vesper

Upon closure of Union's initial scientific station on Sedna, a cultural dissident group from Scandinavia purchased rights to the station, including extra-territoriality rights to preclude any further political claim from Union. The dissident group wrote an operating charter as "The Sedna All-Thing", purchased a pair of freighters and, loaded with equipment, supplies, and colonists, and in 2357 set off for the farthest reaches of the settled solar system.

One benefit of Sedna's relatively low population - only slightly above 100,000 - is that it has been able to maintain an unusually pure form of democracy. The "All-Thing" is the Sednan parliament, save that there are no elections; every individual can vote on anything, or, at their discretion, proxy their vote on everything or a subset of decisions to another individual. There is, further, no physical All-Thing facility, with the decision-making done purely virtually.

Sednans have a particular concepts known as Ragnarök taken from the Norse mythological concept of the end-of-the-world. The Sednan Ragnarök is the orbital inevitability of their eventual complete isolation from the rest of humanity as Sedna's orbit takes it orders of magnitude farther from the rest of the solar system on its 11,400 year journey around the Sun. This has deeply impacted the Sednan psyche, as while they are today part of the general community of humankind, the solar system, and the Kuiper Belt, they know eventually they will be on their own.

The Venusian Republic

In the early years of expansion into the solar system Venus represented a conundrum. On the one hand, it is both near to Earth with abundant opportunities for solar power, and moreso than any other body in the solar system has comparable gravity to Earth. On the other hand, the terrestrial environment represents the nightmare of an uncontrolled greenhouse effect with temperatures on the surface so extreme as to to be able to melt lead.

As such, when humanity first began to aggressively colonize the solar system beyond their cradle, Venus was at first completely bypassed in favor of colonization efforts on Mars and the mineral rich Asteroid Belt.

  •  Venusian Republic
    • Ishtar Terra
    • Aphrodite Terra
    • Lada Terra

When metanational interests - primarily from Union, but some as well from State and the Southern Bloc - eventually turned their eye towards Venus they approached the problem with two possible solutions, and the echoes of these two solutions still haunts Venus today.

The first solution exercised was the construction of cloud cities in orbit 30 to 50 miles above the boiling surface of the planet. There, amidst the thick clouds, despite caustic sulfuric acid billows, the temperature approached Earth norms. The pressure, too, became such that contained structures with Earth-breathable air would act much like hydrogen or helium would on Earth, buoying such structures amidst the poisonous wind. Specially constructed mining drones were deployed to the surface and remotely controlled to extract Venus' mineral bounty.

The second solution was the ambitious idea of terraforming Venus. The methods to achieve this would be staggering, and ultimately would likely be mutually exclusive with the maintenance of the currently numerous cloud cities.

The Eastern Federation

Unquestionably the single most powerful national polity of the 25th century, the Eastern Federation is nevertheless a mature power, with younger, more aggressive powers on Earth and elsewhere in the solar system eagerly waiting for the giant to stumble.

  •  Eastern Federation
    • Mercury
    • The Eastern Federation
    • Themistian Cluster
    • The Cybele Group

The Eastern Federation has its origins in the turmoil following The Great Contraction of the late 21st century. As world populations plummeted to war and famine, in Eurasia the Russian Federation struggled to maintain its influence over its more distant territories in Siberia as most of its resources and attention became focused on the western parts of Russia.

Although politically weakened by The Great Contraction, China's own private metanational corporations had only gained from their national sponsor's weakness, and aggressively expanded their economic influence, then later de facto political and military authority over Siberia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, and other areas unable to cope with the aftermath of the devastation of The Great Contraction.

As the nations of Earth slowly recovered from the economic collapse and population contractions of the 21st century, the metanationals pushed the central Chinese government to reform itself by merging the economies of China, Korea, Mongolia, Taiwan, Siberia and Kazakhstan into a joint federal entity.

The difficulties and stumbles in this reorganization took time, and as metanationals in Union and State rushed to build corporate colonies on Luna, Venus, and Mars, the Eastern Federation mounted a huge effort to claim its own manifest destiny before all of the most valuable real estate in the solar system had been claimed. Seizing Mercury and several clusters in the Asteroid Belt, the Eastern Federation today still feels as if it received a raw deal in the solar system's colonization, and has been steadily increasing its navy with an eye towards redressing that imbalance.

Today, the Eastern Federation boasts the largest navy by displacement in the solar system, (though not the largest in number of vessels), being the premier builder of dreadnoughts and super dreadnoughts. Only the still-present threat of mutually assured destruction has kept war from breaking out on Earth herself, those tensions instead emerging in the form of proxy wars and conflicts throughout the rest of the solar system.

Map of Earth, 2472 C.E.

The political map of Earth has changed greatly through the centuries since the dawn of human spaceflight.

Without a doubt, the single greatest impact on the modern map was The Great Contraction of the late 21st century, an event that impacted civilization as profoundly as the Black Death rocked medieval Europe.

By 2472 of the Common Era, five powers exist with substantial capability to project their influence beyond Earth herself. Three - the Eastern Federation, State, and Union - are the traditional powers.

Yet the traditional powers are far from Earth's only powers; the Oceanic League spearheaded much of the settlement of the outer worlds beyond Saturn, leaving it many friends and a tapestry of cultural ties that hold strong even centuries later. The Southern Bloc, tired of playing a subordinate role in system politics, is rising fast both commercially and militarily, and increasingly is challenging the traditional powers.

The Independent Republic of Ceres

Ceres claims the distinction of boasting the first permanent human settlement in the Asteroid Belt, the result of efforts in the early 22nd century by the Hungarian-based transnational mining corporation Corvin Ércbányászati Vállalat to exploit the vast mineral resources of the Belt.

  •  Independent Republic of Ceres
    • Ceres Cluster
    • Florian Cluster

In the early 22nd century, with mineral rights on Mars being locked up by the still potent but slowly fading might of the United States of America, the corporations of the nascent Union felt increasingly locked out of the Martian landrush, and began exploring alternative routes of expansion. The first of these efforts was a consortium organized by the corporate power of Corvin Ércbányászati Vállalat resulting in what would become both the largest and most powerful of the Belt's myriad colonies.

Ceres herself became the gateway to the rest of the Belt, boasting small vessel shipyard capabilities as well as considerable native resource development in its own right. As the Belt's primary port of call and by this point invaluable to not just Union but the Eastern Federation as well, Ceres declared itself exempt from Union judicial directives in 2189 by the legal fig leaf of reforming itself as an independent state under the Union's own rules of local self-determination.

Initially only a legal fiction, by the middle of the 23rd century the Independent Republic of Ceres had ceded enough rights to collective labor organizations that the fictional republic became a republic in fact. Today, the Independent Republic of Ceres has carefully navigated a path of political neutrality and commercial power to become the premier power of the Belt.

Dev Diary #13 - Agent Traits

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If tasks are the backbone of Org, minions - and especially agents - are the blood supply of the game. Almost every task in the game requires the slotting of minions.

But what determines whether a particular agent, ship, or facility can be used on a particular task? What determines how they can affect a task? How potent they are? If they can be upgraded?

For this development diary, let's take a look at agents, specifically at agent traits, and even more specifically at examples of particular traits and how they work.

Saturn


The Republic of Titan is the unquestioned economic and political giant of Saturn's planetary system.

Combined with the Rhean Divisional Authority it is an economic powerhouse ruled by an aggressive commercial enterprise centered around the mining of various hydrocarbons on Titan and several of the other moons.

Orbit Polities:

  •  Republic of Titan
    • Titan
    • Tethys
    • Phoebe
    • Janus
    • Enceladus
  •  Rhean Divisional Authority
    • Rhea
    • Mimas
  •  Iapetus Coalition
  •  Amalgamated Calpultin of Dione
  •  Alliance
    • Pandora
    • Prometheus
    • Calypso

Several years ago the Alliance bloodlessly seized three of the Republic of Titan's stations on three of the inner moons of Saturn.

Simultaneously, the Alliance has funded a steady privateer-led campaign of raids upon the commercial interests of both the Republic of Titan and the Rhean Divisional Authority, but thus far the Alliance has remained scrupulous about avoiding impacting the commerce of either the Iapetus Coalition and the Amalgamated Calpultin of Dione in an effort to persuade those two polities to remain neutral - or even friendly.

Dev Diary #12 - Freighters, Research Vessels, and Battleships

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Ships form the third leg of the tripod in Org that begins with agents and continues on with ground and orbital facilities.

Like agents (and unlike facilities), ships are mobile. Also like agents, every ship as a single unalterable negative trait, possibly one or more fixed positive traits, and a number of open slots that the player can later slot (and re-slot) with acquirable ship traits as well.

But what makes ships different from agents? Why does an org even need them? (Or does an org need them?)

Let's take a deeper look...

Uranus

Uranus is the home of the Outer World commercial and military juggernaut of the Alliance, which has begun carefully moving in on Saturn's Republic of Titan-Rhean Divisional Authority coalition.

  •  Alliance
    • Oberon
    • Ariel
    • Miranda
    • Caliban
    • Mab
    • Chariklo
  •  Dominion of Titania
    • Titania
    • Umbriel
    • Sycorax

The Alliance's powerful navy has begun setting up several military bases on isolated moons in Saturn's system, and has diplomatically isolated the coalition from the two smaller polities in the orbit.

Thus far the Trans-Jovian War has consisted purely of naval actions and marine assaults on outposts and military installations, but the time is coming soon where the Alliance will be ready to move directly on Titan and Rhea themselves.

The Alliance shares the orbit of Uranus with the potent Dominion of Titania which the Alliance has forced into a non-aggression treaty by virtue of the Alliance's commercial monopoly in Uranus' orbit on both Helium-3 and conventional hydrocarbon mining.

Neptune

Neptune is the site of a protracted conflict between the expansive and xenophobic Protean League and the moon of Triton.

Known popularly as The Long War, the conflict has simmered now for over fifteen years.

  •  Democratic Republic of Triton
    • Triton
  •  Protean League
    • Proteus
    • Nereid
    • Larissa
    • Galatea
    • Neptunian Trojan Belt
  •  Alliance
    • Neso
    • Psamanthe

Triton is far larger and more economically powerful, but is crippled with internal political gridlock rendering the polity incapable of effectively marshaling its superior resources.

Still, the Protean League is not powerful enough to launch an all-out attack on Triton, and so has - for now - confined itself to aggressive commerce raiding, capturing smaller colonies and research stations, and slowly but surely tightening an economic noose around its larger neighbor.

Dev Diary #11 - Designing Nations

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We recently showcased some of our work on the flags of the 25th century, but one thing we didn't talk about is the process we go through.

We could simply just build off of what looks good, but let's be honest - a lot of flags in the real world aren't exactly works of art. But then, they aren't supposed to; flags are intended to be symbolic representatives of the national polities they represent. The stripes of the United States flag represent something very specific - the original thirteen colonies. The colors of many of Africa's flags were chosen deliberately because they refer back to colors symbolizing dreams of African unity. The symbol on India's flag, the Ashoka Chakra, a 24-spoke wheel, is rife with spiritual import.

So, instead, we decided to build flags kind of the way they are built in real life - from the ground up, with an eye to the symbolism. We also do a couple of cheaty design things intended to make your lives easier.

National Flags of the 25th Century

The universe of Org contains not only the powerful orgs controlled by players, but also the decadent and corrupt nations that are ultimately puppets on the strings of the player's orgs.

Despite this, the national polities of Org are potent and particular in their own ways. Some of these ways are brutally economic in the form of what resources are available to each, some manifest in the tasks available due to the petty political rivalries or cultural idiosyncrasies of each.



Head over to Flags of the Solar System to see more of the flags of Org's national polities.

User Interface Early Mockup

The development process for working up the user interface works by first putting together a set of wireframes that define the logic and decision-making tree; for Org, this consists of several dozen different screens, each one individually discussed, debated, and analyzed for issues of ease of use, data association, and game logic.

The next step is to give these wireframes real art - that's the stage we're on now. Like the first stage, we're going to go through a lot of iterations on this before it gets to where we want it to be, and what works for tablet may not work for the web version, so we're likely going to see some bifurcation of that as well. The first draft is rough, but will become increasingly refined with every draft as we finalize the individual art elements, make real icons, move things around and so on.

Want to comment? Head over to the thread on the forums and drop us a line.

Dev Diary #10 - Task Timing

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Tasks in Org are the fundamental unit of gameplay in that they are how players recruit new agents, build new ships, raid and bombard worlds as privateers in the service of national polities, research new technologies, and a hundred other things.

Of the various aspects of tasks, a task's duration interacts with trait bonuses and penalties in several ways that are useful for an aspiring director of an org to master.

Let's look at a few of these...

The Kuiper Belt

Beyond even the orbit of Neptune lies the solar system's second asteroid belt known as the Kuiper Belt. Masses of dwarf planets and asteroids reside in a distant belt that are often farther from each other than other inner worlds are even from each other.

  •  The Kuiper Compact
  •  Haumea - A refugee colony from the Botany Bay moon of Hyperion, exports its own brand of militarism and, some would say, terrorism.
  •  The Quorum - An isolated research state dedicated to the promotion of unbound science in ways that even the Europan Consortium has been unable to fully pursue.
  •  Orcus Directorate - Its orbit keeping it far from Pluto and the Kuiper Compact, has gone its own way with a blend of totalitarianism control its proponents argue is necessary to survive in its isolation.

Within this distant frontier lies an array of small polities and myriad orgs, some taking advantage of the isolation from the rest of the solar system, others looking to bind the scattered colonies together into various engines of commercial, political, or military power.

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