Simone Pike writes:
Many do not know that we have a page where you can download backgrounds and covers for Facebook with Star Fleet Universe
Check out what we have on http://www.starfleetgames.com/backgrounds.shtml
monitors, small monitors, we have something for nearly everyone. 800 x
600, 1024 x 768, 1680 x 1050, even 2560 x1600. If you need a different
size, we'll see what we can do to fill that desire. We even have backgrounds for the iOS7 iPhone.
there are any other sizes or any other images that you would like to
see turned into downloadable art, please feel free to contact us at
graphics@StarFleetGames.com and we'll work your request in.
RANDOM THOUGHTS #182
Steve Cole's thoughts on the biggest mistakes the Allies made during World War II (in chronological order).
1. The failure to take seriously that war was coming: The British and
French disarmament movements of the 1920s had left an opening for
Hitler, which the rearmament programs of the 1930s were not enough to
overcome. One can include here the failure to give the Germans an
equitable peace at Versailles. (Instead, the French insisted on
crippling reparations and on ignoring Wilson's 14 points which were the
basis of the armistice. The Germans felt betrayed, and they were.)
2. The failure to attack Germany in September 1939: The French were
just not ready for a war and used as an excuse inflated reports of lots
of German troops on their border. Even the unprepared French could
probably have hurt the Germans enough to force them to stop the war. One
might argue that they should have been prepared as the primary cause of
war is not being strong enough to guard your border against the nasty
neighbor who wants to steal your stuff.
3. Getting surprised by
the attack through the Ardennes in May 1940: The French just assumed
that the Germans were going around the north end of the forest, probably
because they captured a set of real German plans saying that was the
plan. The Germans, who knew the plans had been captured, reluctantly
switched to what had been their backup plan.
4. America's delay
in adopting a convoy system: This let the German submarines have their
"happy time" on the US coast. In the end, it cost hundreds of ships and
thousands of lives.
5. The War with Japan: US economic pressure
on Japan backfired, and the US just assumed that they were so powerful
that the Japanese would be idiots to attack. Well, the US failed to take
the next step in the thought process: If Japan cannot beat the US in
the war the US expects, what else might Japan do, perhaps a surprise
attack to wipe out the US fleet? So, in the end, we lost most of the
fleet and the Philippines, and of course the British lost a couple of
battleships off Malaya.
6. The Raid on Dieppe: This was a
disaster of an attempt to raid the French coast and experiment with
amphibious warfare. Hindsight would show it was never going to work, but
maybe they had to try it to realize it. No lessons were learned that
should not have been obvious ahead of time.
7. The failure to
break out after the Anzio landings: The Allies were scared when their
Salerno landing almost failed and decided to "go slow" in the Anzio
invasion, making sure everything was in place before moving. The problem
is that in war, the slow guy finishes dead, and the Germans had time to
move troops to contain the beachhead. Had the troops moved out to their
original objectives, Anzio would have been a brilliant success.
8. Island hopping: The US Navy and Marines insisted on attacking the
most heavily defended Japanese-held islands so as to seize existing
bases. The Army landed where the Japanese were not and quickly built new
bases, then bombed and blockaded the Japanese bases into irrelevance.
Very few of the islands the Navy took were not close to empty islands
they could have taken far more easily.
9. The Normandy Invasion:
The invasion itself worked, but there were several key failures that
almost added up to disaster. The airborne drops were scattered badly,
and the troops could have been trained how to handle such a situation
instead of being told that everything was going to be swell and entire
battalions would quickly assemble and attack their targets. The aerial
bombardment was completely wasted due to bad weather; nobody had the
sense to call off the wasted attacks. The overly ambitious schedule
shoved too many men onto crowded beaches, and the exhausted troops
stopped moving inland halfway to their objectives. (Omaha was a mess
because of Allied intelligence failures, but not really a mistake and
even with that the defenses cracked in 12 hours.) Nobody planned ahead
for the hedgerow country (despite a hundred thousand British tourists
who had seen it before the war). The British just would not spend the
casualties needed to break out of the bottle at Caen and flubbed plans
to take it on the first day. Once Patton broke out, the British would
not close the Argentan-Falaise gap and would not allow the Americans to
close it, allowing 100,000 German troops to escape (and keep the war
going months longer). For that matter, the trap could have been much
bigger if Eisenhower had seen Patton's vision and let him run for Paris
and follow the Seine to the ocean, trapping the entire German western
10. The failure to keep the German troops on Dutch
islands trapped there. By refusing to drive forward a few more miles,
the Allied troops left the gate open for another 100,000 German troops
to escape and form a new defense line. Not pushing those British tanks a
few extra miles lengthened the war by months.
This insane plan to use paratroops to open a highway into Germany could
never have worked. It was the wrong route (crossing several major
rivers). There were other, more direct routes.
12. The American
failure to deploy an adequate tank: It was very late in the war before
the latest versions of the Sherman equaled the versions of the Mark-IV
that the Germans had two years earlier. By the time the improved
Shermans were available, Panthers and Tigers made them obsolete (and
flaming wrecks). And let's not assume that any of the British tanks were
any good either.
13. The American replacement system, which sent
green troops directly into front-line foxholes: The Americans had too
far to go (and that ocean in the way) to use the European system of
building a lot of divisions and rotating them into and out of combat.
The Americans devised a system where a division spent months in the
front line, absorbing green replacements every day. The new guys never
had a chance to learn the basic tricks to avoid getting killed, and
casualties were horrendous. A system that could have been done was to
have every soldier spend his first two days in the division at a
replacement battalion where a veteran from the squad he will be assigned
to comes back and shows him how to stay alive until he learns the rest
of the nasty job of infantryman. Then the replacement goes forward with
his new buddy.
14. The failure of the US Army to provide a proper
squad machinegun: The US Army was in love with its Browning Automatic
Rifle which was a really swell automatic rifle but could not match the
firepower of the German MG34 and MG42. (The British Bren was no better.)
A German squad was built around their machinegun; the American squad
was a mass of (superior) riflemen. Captured MG34s could have been copied
and issued to US troops. The US rifle squad did not have its own
machinegun until the 1990s. For that matter, Americans never did adopt
or employ mortars with the passion that the Germans did.
Eisenhower's attempt to keep both Montgomery and Patton happy and
moving forward by dividing the supplies between them instead of picking
one. (Patton had an easier route with fewer rivers to cross, and a
history for attacking while Montgomery had a habit of insisting on
months of preparation for any attack.) The failure to clear the Scheld
estuary and open the port of Antwerp caused the supply problems. At
least Eisenhower kept Montgomery and Patton from attacking each other!
The Minor Mistakes: The US failure to adopt British armored carrier
flight decks would have saved ships and lives. Strategic bombing had
some impact (it needed more focus) but the area bombing campaign against
civilians and major cities was a waste of time and allied lives.
(London was bombed more often than Berlin and its people never broke and
stormed Parliament. Why did the Allies think the Germans could be
bombed into getting rid of Hitler?) Bombing Monte Casino was a mistake.
(The Germans never used it as a fortress -- until it was reduced to a
pile of rubble.) The Allies could not imagine that Hitler could launch
an offensive (the Battle of the Bulge) at so late a date (Dec 1945).
From the Star Fleet Academy Exam, Part 3
The whole thing is rather long, so I'll pull some questions each week
until you have the whole thing. Keep it under wraps or they'll change
Instructions: Read each question carefully. Answer all
questions. Time limit: 4 hours. Begin immediately. If you finish early,
turn your paper in at the table at the front of the room.
Based on your knowledge of their works, evaluate the emotional
stability, degree of adjustment, and repressed frustrations of each of
the following: Alexander of Aphrodisias, Rhameses II, J'hrai the
Bzornian, and Saurek. Support your evaluation with quotations from each
man's work, making appropriate references. It is not necessary to
Sociology: Estimate the sociological problems which
might accompany the genocide of all known life forms. Construct an
experiment to test your theory.
Philosophy: Sketch the
development of Vulcan thought and estimate its significance. Compare it
with the development of engineering theory of Earth's 12th century.
and Tactics: Describe a method of infiltrating a single PF flotilla
into the heart of Klingon space and rendering a B10 and all of its
escorts inoperable. You may plan for a single escort for your flotilla,
but no tender is available.
We'll wrap this up next week!
From Captain's Log #12,
Steve Cole writes:
I constantly see things on industry mailing
lists and in my Email where people want advice on entering the game
business. The best advice I have is my free book which you can find at
www.StarFleetGames.com/book as a nice multi-chapter PDF.
one recent case, an individual wrote to say: "I just lost my job and
have decided to be a game designer for a living. I need a stable income
of $4,000 a month. How long would it take me to get there? Three months?
I laughed and cried at the same time. For one
thing, I don't make $4,000 a month now and I've been in the industry
over 30 years. (A few years I have made that much, barely, but not in
the current market.) The sad fact is that except for the lucky three or
four, game designers won't ever make that much. Worse, you probably
cannot make a living as an independent game designer at all, since game
publishing companies were (99% of the time) created to publish the
owner's games because no other company would publish them.
another case from some time ago (I'm going to blur some facts here so
that nobody can tell who I'm talking about), a young game enthusiast
decided to quit his day job and focus his full time efforts on game
design and publishing. His wife said that she would allow this only if
he "brought home" a paycheck of a defined amount each month. He had some
money from an inheritance which was separate property and his wife
allowed that he could use this. Well, he went through the nest egg,
borrowed money from savings without telling his wife, maxed out the
credit card he got for the business, and then got two more cards (those
offers in the mail) without telling his wife and maxed them out. All the
time (his company lasted 18 months and did a dozen products) he was
"bringing home" the required paycheck. His company was making a profit
beyond expenses, but not enough to cover the paycheck, but the paycheck
continued because (a) his wife insisted and (b) he was sure he would
start making more sales any time. One of the credit cards was a $5,000
cash advance spent on advertising (which produced few if any new sales).
Every month, he wrote that paycheck but came up short elsewhere. He had
established credit with the printers and with the companies that sold
him advertising pages so he ended up deeply in debt to the printer and
to advertising publishers. Worse, his first product (which sold well
enough) ran out of print, but it was going to cost $20K to reprint it
and the dwindling rate of sales (nowhere near as good as it had been 18
months earlier) would not support the debt load, but he "had" to reprint
it to avoid looking like a company on the way out. Finally, with no
more places to borrow money and creditors threatening legal action, he
took the case to his wife for a home equity loan. She, of course, had no
clue that his company was $40K in debt (for which he was personally
liable) or that most of the family savings account was gone. It's a
wonder she didn't kill him or leave him, but she did force him out of
the game business immediately. He sold out for what he could get and
applied that money to the debts. Moral of the story, if you are married,
make your wife a part of every business decision and do not keep
secrets from her about family money.
In another case
(actually, there are four or five of these I have seen, all about the
same), an enthusiastic game designer who knew nothing about the industry
but was sure his game was the next big thing got a home equity loan,
printed thousands of copies of his game, and THEN (and only then) asked
other game companies how to contact stores and wholesalers to sell his
game. He had no clue what size the market was (few games sell over a
couple of thousand copies) or who the wholesalers were or what it would
take to get them to buy (some now demand that you pay them $500 for
advertising before they will carry your game) or even what the discount
structure was (which meant that his cost per game was fairly close to
the 40% of the retail price he had printed on the games). Moral of the
story, learn as much as you can about the industry before you spend a
dime getting into it. GO READ MY BOOK FIRST.
I see lots
of gamers who think that running a retail store, and online discount
store, or a game publishing company involves low work and high reward.
It does not. If it did, a lot more people would be in this business.
Those Unplanned Moments
This is Steven Petrick posting.
Life is a series of events, most of which are not planned but simply happen. We are impacted by the actions of strangers, and in this age of mass world wide 24 hour news cycles the actions of strangers have more consequence. That is to say that a tsunami hitting in Indonesia or Japan or Alaska has no direct bearing on my life, but the news makes it immediate.
There are other things.
Not too many years ago SVC lent me a book to read. At one point I found the characters having a meeting in Moscow where they discussed the statue of "Iron Felix" standing before the KGB building. The thing was, between the time SVC had read the book and I had started reading the book, the good citizens of Moscow had torn that statue down.
At another time I called SVC to discuss the coup in Moscow. SVC berated me for calling him at that hour of the night to discuss a scene in the book, noting it could surely wait until the morrow. I then had to stop him and say: "No. There is a coup going on in Moscow right now!" Yes, the book's story had a coup in Moscow, and was written more than a year a earlier, and it just happened that between SVC finishing the book and lending it to, my own reading speed, a coup happened for real (this was in the 1990s).
Another incident not related to the book, but related to the news cycle, and during Gulf War I (operation Desert Storm) involved the launching of SCUD missiles at Israel. At one point a missile was reported on its way to Tel Aviv, and an American reporter climbed onto the roof of a building (rather than intelligently taking cover) to report on it. As I looked at the TV screen I could not help a sarcastic comment about bad things (actually, about that particular SCUD having a tactical nuclear device), and the screen suddenly went dark. The home office had lost the connection to the reporter. You can probably imagine the scare thoughts that passed through my mind at that point, as in "yes, it was a nuke."
Life is full of little unexpected moments. Some of the more familiar are the taxi driver who winds up having to help deliver a baby in the back of his cab. Or the office worker who dives into the freezing Potomac to rescue badly injured people from a plane crash. Those are larger incidents, but bear in mind that in your day to day life there are always going to be little unplanned events.
On Ten Months, New Pets, and Different Paths
Jean Sexton muses:
Ten months ago I entered Texas. It is still a wonder to me to leave the city of Amarillo and go out into the country. There is so much sky and the land is so flat. And then there is the weather -- I've seen more snow than I have for the last four winters -- in fact, the last snow that I had in North Carolina was in January, 2011. I still get teased about the snow (and the fact that schools would close in North Carolina) and how much I enjoy it. That's okay -- I tease them back about dry creek beds that claim to be rivers.
I've been working in the office at ADB for ten months. We are settling into a routine which is productive. I handle the social media, answer the phone, work on Traveller, manage our outreach programs, and try to make sure things run smoothly. If you read "This Week," you find that the list of things I have done each week is quite long. I enjoy all the duties and try to make sure they are balanced. Is it what I expected? No, not quite, but I am growing into what the company needs me to be. I am also growing in my personal life.
When I first moved out and got my own apartment, within three months I had a cat. From that point on, I always had at least one pet. When I first started contemplating moving to Amarillo, I had two large dogs, two indoor cats, and one cat that lived outdoors by his choice, with the option to be in the carport when the weather was bad. Here Kitty Kitty and Merlin passed away long before I would move. But between the end of 2011 and the start of 2013, I lost all my remaining pets. My landlord had two cats that I could visit and play with as did the Coles, so I didn't start having "pet withdrawal" until I moved into my apartment. Even then, I stayed busy unpacking the essentials until the end of the summer, so the emptiness of the apartment didn't affect me until then. You've heard the story of Markie, my floppy-eared, stubby-legged, brave little dog. After he passed so unexpectedly, my apartment echoed with the sound of silence. Then The Wolf waltzed into my life and the life of ADB. Who would have thought a long-haired chihuahua would wrap everyone around his tiny little paws?
The Wolf is a very social dog. After everyone has arrived, the front door is locked so Wolf cannot slip out. Then he visits people throughout the building. He usually isn't too obtrusive. He comes in, looks to see if you will notice him (and pick him up and pat him), and, if you are too busy, he moves on. I have noticed that everyone in the office talks to him, pets him, and
carries him around. I think that he helps reduce stress at the office. Wolf follows anyone walking; he may be a seeking weapon. He has a small number of toys which he "kills" with great glee.He's a great mascot for a gaming company.
Sometimes a person walks a different path than was expected. Nowhere in my plans in college did I think I would work for a gaming company. I was a librarian with gaming as a hobby. None of my plans included marketing, although I did some of that at the library. I never thought my top three skills on LinkedIn would be blogging, creative writing, and copy editing. I thought I would live and die in North Carolina.
However, sometimes an opportunity presents itself and you must stretch your wings and fly, not follow the carefully laid-out path you envisioned for your life. Maybe there are more rough winds ahead for me; I don't know. I do know that I will continue to fly and soar to a new destiny.
This Week at ADB, Inc., 23 February - 1 March 2014
Steve Cole reports:
This was the week of final work,
including fixes and edits, on Captain's Log #48. The weather this
week was cool. The spam storm mostly remained at something under 200
New on Warehouse 23
this week: Captain's Log #34.
worked on Captain's Log #48.
Steven Petrick worked on
Captain's Log #48.
Leanna kept orders and accounting up to
Mike kept orders going out and rebuilt the
Simone did website updates and some
graphics. She also helped assemble some books for restock orders.
Jean worked on Captain's Log #48, managed our page on
Facebook (which passed 2000 friends), managed our Twitter feed (92
followers), commanded the Rangers, dealt with the continuing spam
assault on the BBS, managed the blog feed, took care of customers, and
did some marketing.