Monday, August 4, 2008

Star Frontiers Network Site Moved To Its Intended Home

Well, I finally got the Star Frontiers Network site moved to it's permanent home. It only took a month longer than planned due to repeated hardware failure.

I got the pieces to build a new computer at the end of June (it was my Father's Day present) that was going to host the site but the motherboard kept dying. After I got the pieces I set it up and started up stress test to "burn in" the components and make sure they were working properly. Well, it literally burned the motherboard, frying a capacitor. The weird thing was that it ran just fine for 24 hours without a problem. It was when I turned it off and rebooted that the capacitor fried. So that caused a two week delay as I had to send it in an get it repaired/replaced.

Once the mobo came back I hooked it all up again and fired it up (again literally). This time it didn't even last a day. While testing it out the computer locked up and refused to POST. Both times there was the smell of burning silicon. The first time I had the case open and actually saw the capacitor burn out. The second time there was no obvious sign of damage. Again, the mobo went back to the manufacturer.

This time I know they sent me a completely different motherboard as it was blue instead of green like the original. That was Thursday of last week and I haven't had any problems at all. So today I moved the site over. For those that are interested, here are the specs on the new box:

Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-SA (rev 1.0) BIOS v F5
AMD Phenom x4 9850BE (quad core 2.5GHz)
4 GB Patriot Exterme PC6400 DDR2 RAM
Sony DVD+/-RW drive
Integrated graphics

The computer is my and my wife's main home computer and so is running WinXP. The site itself is running on Scientific Linux 5 (a Redhat Enterprise Linux knockoff) in a VMWare virtual machine. The VM currently has 512MB RAM and 2 CPU's which is more than enough to run the web server. Until I moved it, it was running on a Intel Core Duo (2GHz) system and only had 256 MB RAM and 1 CPU and had no troubles. The new setup makes it a bit snappier. If traffic and load ever become an issue I can always add more RAM to the VM or eventually move it to a dedicated box. (If only I could be so lucky to get that much traffic.)

The site is doing fine. The Obar Enterprises game is in full swing with seven players and Shadow Shack is starting up a new game called Wing Commander where the players are star fighter pilots, or as he describes it in the forum description, "Welcome to Top Gun, Knight Hawks style!". So come on over and join in the fun or just follow along.

Friday, July 4, 2008

New Online Campaign

Well, now that the Star Frontiers Network web site is officially up, it's time to get my new campaign going. It will be run as a Play By Post style game on the gaming forums on the new site. The title of the campaign is Obar Enterprises. The PC's will be an elite troubleshooting team working for Obar Enterprises, a small independent merchant company with a lot of contacts and a lot of resources. You can follow this link directly to the Obar Enterprises game forum or click through from the main forums page. We've got two players so far and are looking for a total of four to eight so if you're interested in playing along drop on over and check it out.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

New Star Frontiers Web site

So today was supposed to be the offical announcement of my new Star Frontiers web site call The Star Frontiers Network. The web site is ready. There are still things to do but it has the parts I wanted immediately. It's running on RedHat Enterprise Linux 5 (actually Scientific Linux 5) in a virtual machine under VMware using their free VMware Server software.

I ran into some technical dificulties however. I am getting a new computer at home to replace my 5+ year old one sitting on my desk at the moment and the site is going to run from there. My home ISP has decent upstream bandwith so there is no real point paying extra at the moment. Anyway, I got all the pieces for the new computer last week (I'm building it myself) and put them all together.

Here are the specs for those who are interested: AMD Phenom x4 9850 processor (4 2.5GHz cores), 4 GB Ram, 500GM HD and onboard graphics to start. the AMD chip has an unlocked muliplier which means I should be able to overclock the system (I'm hoping to get it up to about 3GHz but we'll see). I have plenty of thermal head room in the case, the overnight stress test maxed out at well below the thermal limits and that was without the second case fan installed and the primary one set to low speed. Anyway that is a different topic. Back to my problem.

I got the OS installed and started a 24 hour stress test to make sure everything is working. The test ran fine and the cooling was working with no problems. I shut down the computer to make a few tweaks in the BIOS (turning on virutalization support and what not) and when I tried to restart the computer it fried a capacitor on the mother board. So now I'm waiting on a replacement. The motherboard arrived back a the manufacturer yesterday so hopefully I'll be getting my new one soon.

In the mean time, I'm making an unoffical announcement of the site to those who (if any) read this blog. For now it will continue to run on my dual core laptop where I have been developing it. My laptop is usually on an connected to the internet (it is about 3x as powerful as my desktop and I use it as my main workstation) so you should be able to access the site at any time. You can find the site at Currently there are forums (devoted to on-line games and software development), text and audio chat servers, an issue tracker and the beginnings of a Star Frontiers links page (that's what I'm currently working on). So head on over, check it out and post comments and suggestions. When I get the new computer up and running the switch over should be transparent although I expect the site will be a little zippier on the newer faster hardware.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Real Life Chronocoms

So I thought this was kind of cool. Real live just got one stop closer to Star Frontiers. A Hong Kong company just released a wrist watch cell phone. Add video taling capability and you've got a chronocom (It does play mp4 videos however). Some details can be found here: The Cell Phone Watch is Here.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Another Star Frontiers Blog

Just a quick shout out to w00t (aka simple). He's got another Star Frontiers themed blog as well although it is not 100% Star Frontiers as he has other gaming topics as well. Read and enjoy.

Star Frontiers Software Development

In the past year or so there has been some very active Star Frontiers themed software development. I thought I'd take a moment and highlight the projects going on that I know about (since I'm involved to some level or another in them). Details and discussion forums about all of these can be found at the Forums.
  • Star Frontiers Knight Hawks Vector game - (Windows) This is "A real-time multi-player Knighthawks computer game" according to the blurb on the forums. It is an arcade style implementation of the Knight Hawks Vector rule set. In the game you can play against the computer AI or against up to 7 other players over the Internet. There a huge number of ships to choose from both UPF and Sathar. It provides some prebuilt scenarios as well as a scenario editor that allows you to create your own playing field and opponents for custom games. My main contribution to this one was playtesting but I did help out just a tad with some of the display code.
  • StarFrontiers Orbiter add-on - (Windows) This is a add-on for the Orbiter Spaceflight Simulator that implements the Knight Hawks Vector rules into a complete 3D spaceflight environment. This project is currently on hold as the main developers (Art Eaton and myself) are currently working on other projects and are waiting for the Orbiter Multi-player add-on to mature. An earlier version, written by Art and others can be found at the Knight Hawks Vector download page. The new version implements new ships as well as the combat rules of the game allowing for realistic Star Frontiers battles. I'll probably be coming back to this one later this year and finishing it up for single player mode.
  • Second Sathar War game - (Linux, Windows) This one is my current project. I'm implementing the Second Sathar War game from the back of the Knight Hawks Campaign Book into a computer game. I've almost got the single computer strategic version complete allowing you to keep track of the strategic logistics on a single computer. This version requires you to conduct the battles off-line, old school on the table top. Following that I intend to add multi-player support across the Internet and implement the board games rules. The board game rules will also be spun off into a stand-alone game for Internet play.
  • Star Frontiers RPG game - (Windows) Art, Imperial Lord and myself are working on a full blown RPG game based on the Star Frontiers milieu. Art is providing most of the heavy coding and Imperial Lord is working on the storyline. I'm just mainly providing wise cracks as the moment but have been contributing NPCs and will help out with playtesting and coding as things move along. This is Art's current main project and rapidly evolving.
  • Hover Races game - Related to the SF RPG is the hover races game that lets you race your hover car and (soon) hover bikes around a track.
Again, those are the ones I know about. If you know of others please post them in the comments. As always, the developers would love for people to download and test out the games and provided feedback. So go try them out and tell us what you think.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Boy have I been lazy

Three and a half months since my last post. I guess this takes getting used to. There have been a bunch of behind the scenes things going on, some related to Star Frontiers and some related to Real Life, that have been of sufficent distraction to ignore this completely. Anyway, I'm going to try to do better and we'll see what happens.

Related to my previous post, on-line gaming has been pretty slow all year. Partially due to the fact that our super referee, Shadow Shack, has been under the weather and busy at work to the exclusion of all else. He's projecting a comeback in mid June so we'll hopefully be getting back into the swing of things. There are also a few more new games getting ready to start but I'll save that for a later post. On the other hand the Britmol's Tavern and Black Hand Gang games have been continuing, if slowly.

Anyway, that's it for now. I've got a post planned on all the Star Frontier's related software project going on and what to look for in the comming months on that front. That will be coming soon.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Online Campaigns

While they seemed to have flagged over the holidays and not really picked back up, there are a number of online Star Frontiers campaigns going on at different sites on the web. Here's a quick rundown of the ones I know about that are still functioning. There are others that seem to be completely dead that I won't mention. Unless otherwise stated, these games are being run "Play by Post" using a community forum board to host the game play. (If you know of an active campaign that I missed let me know and I'll add it to the list.)
  • Pirates- Refereed by Shadow Shack, this is an inverse adventure of the orginal SF modules set on Volturnus. In this adventure the PC's are playing the pirates. Hosted at
  • Britmol's Tavern - Refereed by Parriah, the PC's are a motley crew caught up in intrigue between many rival factions and is centered in the Cassidine system. A fairly free form game where the players determine the storyline as much as the Referee. Hosted at
  • Black Hand Gang - This is a play by e-mail game with the synopsis posted as part of the mission diary. The players form the Black Hand Gang, a team formed on the original Volturnus adventures. They form a troubleshooting team working for the Eorna and spend their time in suspended animation when not out adventuring. The campaign is playing through all the standard SF modules. They are currently on a "Mission to Alcazzar". This one is on it's own site for the write ups but the game is played in a Yahoo Groups forum.
  • Port Loren Raiders - Refereed by Shadow Shack. This is a slightly more advanced rendition of the classic sample module in the Alpha Dawn Expanded Rules book. Hosted on
  • Lost Worlds, New Frontiers - Refereed by Beowulf. The PC's are part of the security force on board the PGC's newest super luxury star liner (HS 20 from Knight Hawks) when the ship misjumps in the Void and ends up in an uncharted (but hauntingly familiar) star system with most of the command crew missing and the PC's trying to figure out what is going on. Hosted on
  • Outer Reach - Refereed by Imperial Lord. This is virtual table top game. The group gets together using OpenRPG and plays out the games in real time. The PC's were falsely accused of subversive activites against the Outer Reach govenment and thrown onto a prision island. They've now escaped and are making their way off-planet to start a new life somewhere else in the Frontier. Hosted on
  • Space Rats - Refereed by Shadow Shack. The PC's pooled their cash and bought a beat up old Destroyer hull they converted into a freigher and now ply the space lanes looking for adventure and profit. Hosted at
  • The Dominion - Referred by Shadow Shack. Set in a dark future of the Frontier, the UPF has fallen and been replaced by the Soverign Domain Authority. The Sathar haven't been seen for nearly 40 years but have started showing up again. The PC's play the owners of a small tramp freighter and escort fighter. This one has a definite Star Wars-esque setting. Hosted by
  • Basically Speaking - Referred by Shadow Shack. This one is done real time in the gameroom section of This is an alternate adventure to the SFKH0: Warriors of White Light module included in the Knight Hawks game, but is played out completely using the Basic Rules from the Alpha Dawn boxed set. The PC's play the boarding party of one of the other Clarion Milita Assault Scouts, the CMS Falcon. Hosted on
  • Desert Island Planet - Refereed by Gergmaster. This game is just staring. The PC's are headed to a planet for an archeological dig that crashes on a desert planet, destroying most of their ship and supplies. Hosted on
As you probabaly noticed, Shadow Shack does a lot of refereeing. Kudos to him and all the other referees for all the effort they put into the games to make them enjoyable for those of us playing.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Welcome Back to the Frontier

Welcome to my new Star Frontiers blog. There is a small core of active SF gamers out there and we are hoping to find more. There are a lot of different projects going on ranging from rules revisions to computer implementations of various parts of the rule sets, most notably the star ships. I'm involved in several of these and will post on our progress. I'll also try keep abreast of other developments and keep you posted.

Just to get you started I'll point you to the two official Star Frontiers websites. Check them out and get involved: - The offical Star Frontiers site - Sister site to containing the Star Frontiers community forums.

The other place to check out is Bill Logan's fan site located at There is a lot of content there as well including Bill's amazing Star Frontiers webzine The StarFrontiersman.

So, welcome to the Frontier and join us for some fun.