Artemis Tutorials

What is Artemis?

The Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator has been described as a cooperative social game where players assume the role as various stations on a spaceship bridge. If you've seen Star Trek, or any science fiction based in space, you get the idea.

You can watch people play Artemis on YouTube. (Its not as cringeworthy in person, honest.)
I found Artemis about a year ago, and was immediately fascinated. I'd had the great fun of running a gaming center several years back, and while the job itself was a horrible experience, the fun was playing games with people in the same room. The thrill of firing off a rocket launcher and hearing someone howl in horror across the room was exhilerating.
The game's creator, Thom Robertson, has envisioned a similar experience. You get 6 or more people working together to defend the galaxy from alien invasion!
The game has 5 main stations; Helm, Weapons, Science, Communications and Engineering. It is also expected that someone will play Captain, who only has the Main Screen as reference, but can always peer over the shoulder of the other players. In theory a Captain is not needed, however, in practice even a poor Captain means the difference between success and certain oblivion.
At the time of this writing there are three modes, Invasion, Elite Coop and Mission. The Invasion mode creates a random environment where you can set the difficulty and how "interesting" the play field is. You get 4 space stations to defend and wave after wave of alien invaders to defend against. Elite Coop is basically Invasion mode on steroids for multiple bridges to play. (Yes, you can have more than one bridge in the same game.)
When you select a Mission the game is more story driven. Players are encouraged to write their own missions. Missions can be simple, go here blow up that, or complicated space opera many "chapters" long.
The game requires a dedicated server and then each player needs their own computer, iPad or iPhone, as a terminal to play their station. Players can take on multiple stations and they can even share stations. In the very least you need a server and one "terminal" to play all the stations.
When I play test missions I run the server on a netbook and then run all the stations in VMWare on my Mac mini. If I am working on a mission with a lot of work for the Comms station I also connect my iPhone as Comms.
I had the opportunity to run a 4 station bridge at MARCon 48 and it was a blast. I had quietly been collecting enough equipment to run a full bridge and it was a treat to see it all working. I posted a note about it at the Artemis forum.
Watching people play for the first time is an eye opening experience. Even when a group of friends sit down, there is often a period of adjust beyond just getting used to the play controls, where people are shouting at each other and no one is really listening. When they fly into a minefield or run out of energy retreating from an enemy fleet, heads suddenly pop up. As annoyed eyes dart from player to player everyone quickly realizes that it is everyone's problem and a healthy sense of cooperation sets in. Funny enough, in my observations, the adjustment period goes more quickly with a group of strangers.
Artemis is designed to be played all in one room, but it also supports internet play, though you'll need Skype or another voice channel to communicate with remote players.
Overall, this is an amazing game to play, and with an Android version on the horizon getting the right equipment together is getting easier and easier.

Safe journey, Artemis!

Posted: Friday, April 19, 2013

Past Articles - Artemis Tutorials:
Timing Artemis Mission Scripting 101 Part Three - Thursday, May 30, 2013
Events Artemis Mission Scripting 101 Part Two - Monday, April 29, 2013
Characters - Artemis Mission Scripting 101 - Part One - Monday, April 22, 2013
What is Artemis? - Friday, April 19, 2013

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