05 August 2015

The Thesis Marches On

Greetings, Programs.

  As this post is being written, I have 11 days until my thesis draft is due and I have to see how defense works at online school.

  I'm making a lot of progress, and learning things I didn't know about gaming along the way.  Did you know William Tecumseh Sherman objected to wargaming in the American military on the basis of what we would call a lack of morale check rules?  Look it up, when Major W.R. Livermore suggested the US Army adopt Prussian-style wargaming, Sherman objected that men are not blocks of wood.  He knew no unit would stand in the line of battle until attrition destroyed it completely.  Morale breaks, men run or balk at advancing.  Sherman felt the games were not realistic.  In modern terms, he was looking for morale rules...

  Did you know we owe video games to the military?  Tennis for Two was presented on an oscilloscope, the first video game, at a national atomic laboratory.  Spacewar was written by Steve Russell on a PDP-1 that was bought and paid for by the military.  Hell, packet switching, the base technology of the modern Internet, was developed as a way to secure communications in the event of nuclear attack.  The RAND Corporation, long an atomic war think tank in the employ of the US Air Force, introduced the ubiquitous hex map for their games and simulations.  The hex map is a staple of modern tabletop.

  Most of what I've learned is that I'm ready to be DONE with the graduate school experience.  The specter of going for a PhD is still there, and possibly a requirement to find permanent employment as a professor- but I need to take a year or two off before I tackle that hurdle.  I need a break.  I need to spend my non-work, non-family time enjoying my hobbies.  I find that when you are forcing time for your hobbies in the name of staying sane, they are not as fulfilling as they are when they're not so terribly urgent.  I have blog posts to make, games to write.  I'm ready to be done with the things I have to do and get on with what I want to do - isn't that the point of finishing my college and searching for a more lucrative academic post?

  My thesis draft is due 16 August 2015.  Once it's in, we've got the defense to do, then the revision for the final draft.  By the end of September, I'll be done.  And that means more posts here, and more games we can talk about.  I want to revisit the games of TSR that weren't D&D, like Top Secret, Gamma World, Star Frontiers, Metamorphosis Alpha, Gangbusters, Marvel Superheroes...  I love all those games, and don't get to do much with them.  I also want to work on my adaptation of what Bobby and I call MechWarrior 1.5, sort of our version of what MechWarrior could have been if we'd been writing it back in the 80s.

  Stand by, the three of you out there who read the blog.  We'll be getting back to regular traffic and longer gaming-related posts soon.

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