Re-entangling Science and Technology

Mar 26, 20 Civ V Tesla Coil

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As I discussed in my previous article, the idea that there is a direct, linear relationship between science and technology, also known as the “assembly line” model favored by policymakers (Kline, 1995), though often taken for granted in videogame mechanics, doesn’t stand up to even a passing glance at history. Of...

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Disentangling Science and Technology

Feb 04, 20 Wise Men Discovere Engineering

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Science is a fairly significant element in strategy games. Some, like Civilization, even feature a “Science Victory” as one means of winning, making science not just a means to an end, but an end in itself. In pretty much any game with a central tech tree mechanic, investing in science is a fairly solid strategy. ...

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Beyond Trees: Tech Webs, ANTs, and Black Boxes

Nov 26, 14

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Videogames have an amazing potential for modeling societal processes.  At the same time, videogames also embody the worldview of their creators on a procedural level.  As such, it is a rare thing when a game is able to move beyond popular understandings of the world and approach it from a new and interesting direction.  As...

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Being Historical: How Strategy Games are Changing Popular History

Sep 24, 14

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« Those who study history are concerned with the occurrences of passed times; those who conceive time as history are tuned to what will happen in the future. » — George Grant, Time as History   When we play at History, are we playing the past, or the future? As players of history-themed games, we are often called to be...

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Plundering the Past: Historical Tech in the Science Fantasy RPG Numenera

Oct 23, 13 Plundering the Past: Historical Tech in the Science Fantasy RPG Numenera

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The cat’s meow in tabletop role-playing games (RPGs) for the last several months has been Monte Cook’s Numerera. Set one billion years in Earth’s future during a time known as the Ninth World, Numenera is a Kickstarter-funded science fantasy RPG that embraces as its core concern one of the fundamental dynamics of most tabletop...

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