Sunday, February 14, 2010

Comments on the history of Diaspora

In writing my review of Diaspora I started with what I know of the history of the development of the game, and my interaction with it. As I continued writing I realized that it didn't really contribute to the actual review of the game, so I removed that section and included it in this separate post instead, as I feel it still might be of some interest to those who are unfamiliar with the game.

I first became aware of this game back when it was called Spirit of the Far Future, which was an attempt to develop a version of Traveller using the Fate system. This was a couple of years ago, just before the release of the Mongoose published version of Traveller. It had been announced that Traveller would be released under the OGL, and I believe that the designers of Spirit of the Far Future hoped that the application would be broad enough to allow for a version of the rules to be developed using the Fate system. When more details came out about how the OGL would be applied I believe it became apparent that this wouldn't be the case.

At this point they shifted gears and decided to take the work they had put into Spirit of the Far Future and apply it to the game that eventually became Diaspora. Unfortunately, I also chose to stop following the project at this point. In my defense, I was really excited about the concept of a Fate powered Traveller, especially how it was being developed in Spirit of the Far Future, and was thus equally disappointed when that project ended.

It wasn't until a few months ago that I again became aware of the game as I started hearing rave reviews about a game called Diaspora, and it gradually dawned on me that this was the game that came out of Spirit of the Far Future (although I wasn't sure of that fact until I actually had a copy in my hands). For the record, I believe that credit goes to Paul Tevis and his recently ended podcast "For a Few Games More" for first making me aware that the game had been published, while Chris Hanrahan and Brian Isikoff's podcast "2d6 Feet in a Random Direction" caused me to pull the trigger on ordering it.

Most of the systems developed for Spirit of the Far Future are still present in Diaspora, although they tend to be better developed, while others are completely new to Diaspora, like the cluster generation system.

I'm still a bit sad that Spirit of the Far Future will never see the light of day, but Diaspora appears to be a more than worthy successor, and if you haven't already done so, I encourage you to check out my review of the game in the previous post.


Brad said...

Thanks for your extensive and kind coverage of Diaspora! I'll say that your facts are pretty much on target and I had no idea that we had fans of SotFF who were disappointed enough to stop following our continued efforts. Though to be honest, we ourselves were disappointed enough for some time that idea was on the shelf and getting little attention until someone had a breakthrough idea that revitalized things. If I recall, it was the cluster creation idea that got us back on track.

Anyway, I wanted to drop a note about the corrected version. We don't have a rigid deadline, but there's every reason to believe that the corrected version of the hardcover will be in place within a couple of days. The softcover will be a few weeks after that (we need to do some cover work which means test copies which means shipping times). And as for a PDF, it seems certain that we'll be doing that on approximately the same time frame.

Fulminata said...

My disappointment in the end of SotFF was the tipping point, but at the time I was already busy with a lot of other stuff too or I probably would have kept up anyway. Seeing how well Diaspora turned out I'm sorry I didn't!

It's good to hear the corrected version will be available soon, even if it means I'll likely have to spend more money on Diaspora ;-)

It's also good to hear that a PDF will be available.

Hopefully, we'll get a chance to actually play the game in the next few weeks as our RPG group looks like it may have finally found a workable schedule for meeting. When that happens I'll do an update as to how things went.

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