The Orion's Arm Universe Project Forums

Developments for 2014
Hello all,

As we enter the new year, I wanted to take a moment to make several announcements re the OA project and what we hope to accomplish. In no particular order:

1) As discussed in the 'what can we do better/different' thread, we are going to institute an 'Empire of the Month' project for 2014. Each month we will pick a new empire to focus on, with the goal of producing additional EG entries, artwork, and stories within that particular empire. The goal of this project is to flesh out the less developed empires in the setting since we have a habit of focusing most of our attention on just a few of the many many civilizations within the setting. Entries on anything are welcome, but the inclusion of cultures, rituals, holidays, artwork, system descriptions, etc. are especially welcome.

To start with, we'll be focusing on the Sephirotics, but if folks like this process, we could later extend it to the other empires and polities within the setting.

This is completely voluntary project - if you've got an EG or story idea for something set outside the designated empire, please have at it and we'll be happy to have it. The goal here is just to provide a bit more focus and filling in gaps in the overall setting description.

To get us started, our first empire for 2014 is (drum roll please):

The Communion of Worlds:

Currently there are a moderate number of EGs associated with the Communion, but many are stubs. A moderately developed empire with lots of room for additional detail and possibly modifications if we think they could be handy.

Have fun and please have any stories, EGs, and artwork, posted by the end of January.

2) Also as part of improving the project, it was suggested that we should put more emphasis on describing 'daily life' in the setting and on 'Real Life but OA Relevant' developments.

As a first step in that direction, I would like to take a moment to put on my Editor's hat and announce two new sections that will start appearing this year in Voices: Future Tense.

The first will be a new column "Real Life But OA Relevant" that will showcase RL developments in science, technology, and society that could impact or lead to our hypothetical OA future. The column will draw from member contributions to the discussion sub-forum of the same name and will highlight one or more articles that the V:FT editors feel will be of most interest to readers. This column will depend on your contributions to the relevant sub-forum, so please keep em coming.

The second new section with be titled 'A Day in the Life' and will aim to feature stories and/or vignettes illustrating daily life within the OA setting. Similar in principle to the Traveler's Notes vignettes that were/are created from time to time (and which are also welcome in V:FT), these will be intended to help people visualize life in Y11K or the centuries leading up to it. Again, this section will depend on contributions from the membership to make it viable and keep it going. So please put your thinking caps on, rev up your imaginations, and start giving some thought (and writing time) to how people live and do various things in the various places of the OA universe.

3) I'm currently aiming to have the first V:FT issue of 2014 published in late January or early February, so please have any stories or artwork you'd like showcased completed by the end of Jan if at all possible. Even if you can't get it done by then, please don't give up. Lots of other issues coming up and I'm always looking for content.

4) We will also be doing the Best of the Year Awards again in 2014, this time for the best content of 2013. After reviewing how things went for the 2012 contest, we will be making some minor changes to the overall process with the goal of making it easier and more user friendly all around. Details will be announced in the first issue of V:FT and an announcement will be posted to the OA website at that time.

5) As part of our Annual General Meeting for 2013, the managing board confirmed that we would like to do a redesign of the OA website (to include V:FT). Currently, Trond, our webmaster and resident programming wizard, is finishing up some stuff that will keep him occupied until mid-2014, so this will be a project for the Fall. In the interim, we have posted some suggested redesign ideas to the Suggestion Box - OA Website sub-forum for your consideration. Please look them over and share any thoughts you might have on what you like or don't like about what we have so far and any suggestions you might have for changes or alternative designs.

In the interim, we will also be discussing/implementing some changes to the EG, website, and OA process with the goal of improving the project at a less programmatic level. Keep watching this space for developments.

Ok, I think that covers it for now. There will be additional changes and initiatives being announced/discussed in the coming weeks (including things relating to the suggested improvements to the project from the 'what can we do better/different' thread, but wanted to get these announced up front so folks have time to work on things ASAP as we start the new year.

If anyone has any questions regarding any of the above, please don't hesitate to post em hear or contact me directly.

Thanks very much and have a great New Year!


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