Original Cosmic Starfire Annoucement

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Original Cosmic Starfire Annoucement

Postby Crucis on Tue 30 Jun 2009 19:48

A New Project Announcement

Today (June 16, 2008), Starfire Design Studio is pleased to announce the start of a major new project. This project will be lead by myself, Fred Burton, with the blessings and close assistance of SDS owner Marvin Lamb. The goal of this project will be nothing less than to revive, recreate, and re-imagine the 3rd edition of Starfire. In order to make a clean break from the past, I have chosen a bold, new name for this bold new project:

Cosmic Starfire

While I cannot release any details of Cosmic Starfire at this time, I will state upfront and for the record that this project will *not* be an attempt to pull together all of the old 3rd edition rules from the various original source documents into a single merged document. Instead, Cosmic Starfire will be a nearly entirely new product that will draw on the lessons learned from all editions of Starfire, but will not skimp in the slightest on the history and flavor of the Starfire Universe.

Furthermore, this project will not simply be about producing a single set of tactical and strategic rules. In addition to Cosmic Starfire's core rules, I also plan to include a new historical conflict, the First Crucian-Arachnid War. The 1st CAW takes place about 100 years prior to the Fourth Interstellar War, but is much smaller in scale and (pretty obviously) lower in tech level.

But the plan doesn't end there. It is my hope and desire to use Cosmic Starfire as the foundation for a new series of historical modules that will depict the events and conflicts of a new and ever dangerous region of the galaxy known as The Expanse and the mysterious new races within, as well as some familiar races, the Star Union and the Zarkolyan Empire.

For those who are concerned about how Cosmic Starfire will be true to the spirit of 3rd edition if I am not working forward from all of the original source material, never fear. Marvin and I have a plan that we are confident will be able to produce a Cosmic Starfire product that can proudly carry on the classic Starfire tradition. Will we be able to satisfy everyone? Probably not. However, it is the goal of Cosmic Starfire to satisfy the widest possible cross-section of the 3rd edition fans and possibly … hopefully even fans of Galactic and Ultra.

Cosmic will include the vast majority of the weapons and tech systems with which 3e fans are so familiar. I will not commit to "all" because another of Cosmic's goals is the simplification and stream-lining of the rules. (More on this below.) It is an accepted fact and operating assumption of Cosmic that 3rd edition-style technical systems and weapons do not and will not possess the same type of game balance as is present in the tech systems and weapons of GSF and Ultra. This is not to say that there won't be a modicum of balance. For example (an extreme example), you shouldn't be expecting to see Capital Missiles doing 10 points of damage at TL5. Furthermore, one can expect that some "revolutionary" weapon systems will continue appear from time to time that can radically change the balance of power in a campaign.

Additionally, new technical systems and weapons will be added to the overall tech mix to widen the options available, that at times may mitigate the feeling that some revolutionary weapons are the only path to victory. For example, one not exactly new area of technology that will be included in Cosmic is kinetics. Another area of new technology will be uncharged (as opposed charged particle beam weapons, aka the Energy Beam) particle beam weapons, starting right at TL1.

One of the primary goals of Cosmic will be some simplification and stream-lining of the rules. Do not take this to mean "dumbing down" or lowering Cosmic to the much lower level of detail present in the SDS product Admiral's Challenge. What we mean is that there are places in the rules where a high level of detail is "purchased" at the "cost" of a level of complexity that is not justified by the "value-add" of the detail. (If that sounds like mumbo-jumbo to anyone reading this, I'll try to explain the concept in greater detail later.)

I know that R&D rules are a sore subject for 3e fans. It is my intention to produce a clean new set of R&D rules that players will enjoy using. However, don't bother asking me what those changes are at this time. I truly do not know what those changes will look like at this point. (A mild word of warning. You may have noted that I constantly use the old 3e nomenclature of "TL". Do not take this as any sort of signal. It's nothing more than my 3e inertia speaking. But on the flipside, also do not take this admission as any sort of signal of intent in the other direction.)

For those of you who may not know me, my name is Fred Burton, and I was one of Dave Weber's trusted minions during his time working on the 2nd and 3rd editions of Starfire, and I suppose you might say, an uncredited heavy contributor to ISW-4, as well as the creator of the Star Union and Zarkolyan Empire, and numerous other contributions, such as the Laser Torpedo and the 2nd Generation Standard Missile. I am an unabashed and unrepentant fan of 3rd edition and its rich history and background. And it is my goal to bring that rich and glorious history back to Starfire!


Also for the record, please do NOT consider this any sort of product release announcement, or ask Marvin "Are we there yet?" This project will take some time.


At this point, I'm sure that many of you may have some questions that you'd like to ask. But let me ask and answer some that seem rather obvious to me at this point.

Question 1: What role will the Starfire List play in the development of Cosmic?
Answer 1: Obviously, we will use the list for informational announcements and perhaps some teaser stuff to help promote the project. And from time to time, we will seek out some opinions on important issues. Also, we may want to solicite new ideas in specific areas where perhaps our own imaginations aren't being sufficiently productive.

Question 2: Will Cosmic affect Ultra in any way?
Answer 2: Any decisions made regarding the design of Cosmic are intended only for Cosmic, from my perspective. However, if Marvin happens to like some of the things that are done in the process of developing Cosmic, he's certainly free to use them however he sees fit for Ultra. It's entirely his decision.

Question 3: Tell us more about The Expanse.
Answer 3: Not right now. Later perhaps.


Fred Burton
Lead Designer of Cosmic Starfire

(This message was originally posted to the Starfire List on June 16, 2008.)
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