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Urban turn-based tactics arrives on Linux with Black Powder Red Earth

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Black Powder Red Earth, a new minute-to-minute turn-based tactics game set in a proxy war between the dictatorship of a failing petrostate and a brutal jihadist insurgency from Echelon Software has released for Linux with the latest update.

Currently in Early Access, it's only been available since December last year and they plan to remain in Early Access for at least 12-16 months yet to finish it. You can see some footage below:

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Reading up on it, it's been a bit of a long road. Starting originally as an FPS prototype, going through multiple iterations to eventually settle on a focused turn-based tactics game that we have now. Built with a custom game engine too.

Developed with the support and advice of Special Operations combat veterans from the Commanders In-Extremis Force and by the designer of the Decentralized Battle Space Program, Black Powder Red Earth® has no tech trees, base building or R&D mini-games. It focuses entirely on meaningful tactical decisions that influence the outcome of raids in urban environments.

You can check out Black Powder Red Earth on Steam. They also have a Patreon which funds them to work on other related projects including an animated mini-series.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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razing32 15 February 2020 at 2:24 pm UTC
Purple Library GuySo for instance, you see claims that lots of people in the third world who used to be poor no longer are, because they were not before, and are now, making more than $2/day. Generally not much more. The problem is that a whole lot of those people used to be subsistence farmers, who didn't really make any money but could feed and clothe themselves, who were then thrown off their little plots of land by the wonders of foreign direct investment by agribusinesses combined with corrupt local authorities. Then they had to move to some horrible slum with no access to clean water and find some way to earn money, and are now half-starved, dirty and disease-ridden on $2.50 a day. So according to the statistics, they've been "raised out of poverty", but in fact they're far worse off than they were. This is a major reason third world cities are ballooning in size--so many farmers thrown off their land so that foreigners can raise export crops. It's a horror story that gets dressed up as a success story, and there are many more, along with a lot of cherry-picking and massaging of statistics.


Curios about this .
Dol you have any source to back this up as something happening globally in all third world countries ?
Or is this a specific example in a country you know/live in ?
14 15 February 2020 at 4:22 pm UTC
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Purple Library GuyThere are things about the world which are improving. Computer games keep getting better . . . all else being equal, I believe higher technology tends to make things better. It certainly makes people more productive. In fact, with the degree to which technology and productivity have improved over the last 50 years, if all else was equal, if the system was merely holding other elements the same, there would be no faintest shadow of doubt that everyone's lives were way better. If one member of a household with a middle-income full time job could keep a nuclear family in a middle class lifestyle then, it should take maybe one 20-hour-a-week job to do the same now. Instead it takes two full time jobs, sometimes more, and the resulting lifestyle is less secure. Something wrong with the picture.
I can't follow this paragraph. You begin saying that technology makes things better and productivity has improved. But then you point out how dual income in a nuclear family is almost a requirement to maintain a middle-class lifestyle these days. Was there supposed to be a big however or something before you exemplified the higher costs of living? Was it tongue in cheek, possibly saying that there is something wrong with the outcome of higher productivity since it hasn't equated to higher standards of living?


Last edited by 14 on 15 February 2020 at 4:24 pm UTC
Purple Library Guy 15 February 2020 at 8:25 pm UTC
14
Purple Library GuyThere are things about the world which are improving. Computer games keep getting better . . . all else being equal, I believe higher technology tends to make things better. It certainly makes people more productive. In fact, with the degree to which technology and productivity have improved over the last 50 years, if all else was equal, if the system was merely holding other elements the same, there would be no faintest shadow of doubt that everyone's lives were way better. If one member of a household with a middle-income full time job could keep a nuclear family in a middle class lifestyle then, it should take maybe one 20-hour-a-week job to do the same now. Instead it takes two full time jobs, sometimes more, and the resulting lifestyle is less secure. Something wrong with the picture.
I can't follow this paragraph. You begin saying that technology makes things better and productivity has improved. But then you point out how dual income in a nuclear family is almost a requirement to maintain a middle-class lifestyle these days. Was there supposed to be a big however or something before you exemplified the higher costs of living? Was it tongue in cheek, possibly saying that there is something wrong with the outcome of higher productivity since it hasn't equated to higher standards of living?
I said "all else being equal". I was actually specifically trying not to get into an analysis of what exactly is wrong, only establishing that it's reasonable to have such an analysis in the first place. But sure. Clearly, all else must not be equal. (wall of text follows)
Spoiler, click me
My specific diagnosis which tends to be confirmed the more I read, is that what is not equal is that more and more surplus is vacuumed towards the top. Every year fewer and fewer people own more and more of the wealth; Oxfam does about the most prominent report about this, and it's disquieting to look at a few of those reports in succession--every year they report some bizarrely small number of people whose wealth is equal to the wealth of the bottom half of people in the world, and then next year that number is even bizarrely smaller.
This is a very strong tendency in our economic system. It can be interrupted and temporarily reversed by major social upheavals, such as the massive unrest of the Great Depression, but in times of relative status quo the wealthiest use their power to gradually re-rig things to favour them more and more, so that the gains from such things as technological improvements are not distributed across the whole population but go almost entirely to the wealthiest--mainly such people as large shareholders and other owners of firms, but also big landowners and so on.

Now, it's easy to look at the specific billionaires involved and conclude that this has something to do with people being greedy, venal and crooked, but that would be a mistake. It goes back to the basic nature, in fact the basic strengths, of capitalism. The point of capitalism is for private individuals to invest in things which make a profit, so that they end up with more capital to invest, to produce more, to make bigger profits and so on. Capitalists are supposed to maximize returns; this is how economic activity is grown. The hope is that all this maximizing of returns to investment involves something productive and useful being done, so the results will be positive. Unfortunately, there are problems; I'll mention two really big ones.

First, a sort of collective action problem for capitalists, where each maximizes returns by minimizing pay to the workforce, but each depends on the buying power of all the other capitalists' workforce. So each capitalist may be busily increasing production by paring down what they spend on labour (among other costs) and reinvesting the profits, and the increased production from that individual firm may be growing the economy, and that might seem to compensate for those workers getting less money. The problem is, it's the workers that are expected to buy the products, and if all the other firm owners are doing the same thing, collective demand will stagnate and choke off economic growth overall. That's one reason overall growth since the Reagan/Thatcher shift has averaged lower. But individual capitalists can't just say, well, I'll pay my workers better and take a short term hit to profits so people will be able to buy products, because a competitor who does not do that will make higher profits or be able to undersell him. Any firm that learns the meaning of the word "enough" will be out-competed by firms which do not. So as demand stagnates, firms will just keep doubling down on minimizing labour costs, squeezing the workforce further.
(For some time now, we've been creating demand without higher wages by increasing debt, but that has limits and causes a host of problems)

The second is that the whole idea of beneficial capitalism assumes a sort of given playing field, but in reality one of the major concerns of the wealthy is to rig the playing field. Modern economics normally assumes that politics and economics are separate, but in an era where legislation is often written by corporate lobbyists and passed by legislatures without a comma of alteration, that is clearly not the case. If you have a structure in which the goal, and the way to gain power, is maximization of profits, and so the people with the wealth and power got there by an ethos of profit maximization by any means, inevitably many of them will figure out that getting those profits by effortful processes of developing, producing and marketing products is kind of doing it the hard way. Investing in the creation of tax loopholes, legalizing externalities (basically saving money by unloading "bads" on the general public, whether by lax safety, environmental destruction or whatever), the enabling of financial maneuvers that under different rulesets might be considered fraud, or such giveaways as Quantitative Easing . . . the money spent buying policies where the state one way or another effectively gives public goods to the private wealthy often has far higher returns than normal productive capitalist endeavours. But it comes from the same basic set of goals and motivations; in both cases you're investing money (in campaign finance, PR firms, lobbyists etc) to gain a return on investment. So it's not froth on top of the system, it is built deeply into it. You can see this same sort of thing in operation from before Adam Smith's time; the very availability of a workforce for factory employment in the early industrial revolution was created by such things as the Enclosures, legal maneuvers taking land away from small farmers so that they were left with no means of support, combined with a massive increase in draconian heavily-enforced anti-vagrancy, anti-poaching and so forth laws. The class of people who ended up working in factories was created by legal interventions heavily lobbied for by the wealthy people who needed an expanded workforce. Now one could argue that whether created by a rigging of the playing field or not, the results of the industrial revolution were a dynamic unleashing of production so it's OK. Leaving aside some of the problems back then, the problem nowadays is that they can't say "enough"--as I've said, it's structurally impossible. So as with normal production and the tendency to never stop trying to squeeze wages and other expenses, those rigging the legal structure can never say "Good enough, we've got big advantages over the proles let's leave it at that"; if some of them do, others will come along who don't. Thus for as long as there are no major upheavals, the very structure of society will continue to get shifted by those with the power to shift it.

Between those two problems (and a number of others), at any given time, one might be able to say "Well, this is more or less OK (for me at least); and if things stay like this and technology keeps improving boats will get lifted"--but things can't stay like this, the tweaks, the progressive unbalancing, will continue because those doing the tweaking have no stopping point. So things will keep getting more unequal until either the majority put their foot down or there is a major economic crisis. Even then, if we just recalibrate a la New Deal, leaving the wealth and power at the top diminished but fundamentally in the same structural position, they will just start up where they left off, bringing us to another peak of inequality and instability a few decades down the road. Unless civilization falls due to global warming.


Last edited by Purple Library Guy on 15 February 2020 at 8:29 pm UTC
Purple Library Guy 15 February 2020 at 8:34 pm UTC
razing32
Purple Library GuySo for instance, you see claims that lots of people in the third world who used to be poor no longer are, because they were not before, and are now, making more than $2/day. Generally not much more. The problem is that a whole lot of those people used to be subsistence farmers, who didn't really make any money but could feed and clothe themselves, who were then thrown off their little plots of land by the wonders of foreign direct investment by agribusinesses combined with corrupt local authorities. Then they had to move to some horrible slum with no access to clean water and find some way to earn money, and are now half-starved, dirty and disease-ridden on $2.50 a day. So according to the statistics, they've been "raised out of poverty", but in fact they're far worse off than they were. This is a major reason third world cities are ballooning in size--so many farmers thrown off their land so that foreigners can raise export crops. It's a horror story that gets dressed up as a success story, and there are many more, along with a lot of cherry-picking and massaging of statistics.


Curios about this .
Dol you have any source to back this up as something happening globally in all third world countries ?
Or is this a specific example in a country you know/live in ?
I'm afraid this is going to be disappointing: I've read a few articles on the topic, and they describe this as a widespread process happening across many parts of the third world. It tends to go with the sort of liberalization of foreign investment and elimination of public sector supports for agriculture that are generally mandated by the IMF and World Bank. But I fear I don't have them at my fingertips, so add as many grains of salt as you feel reasonable.
(The IMF and World Bank are interesting institutions, in that they both fairly often put out well researched papers about how to do economic development in third world countries which say that the IMF/World Bank approach is counterproductive and should be changed, and then they continue enforcing the exact same approach)


Last edited by Purple Library Guy on 15 February 2020 at 8:40 pm UTC
The_Aquabat 16 February 2020 at 11:54 am UTC
please gents keep your political opinions to yourself this a gaming site.
fractal 17 February 2020 at 2:15 pm UTC
While I appreciate a civilised discourse, an increasingly rare thing these days, I have to agree with the comment above with keeping politics off-limits due to the gaming-oriented nature of the site.

I wanted to say that I appreciate the original setting and it reminded me of the Jagged Alliance series. We need more turn-based squad-based tacticool modern combat in a somewhat morally ambiguous third-world setting. Unfortunately, Phantom Doctrine didn't scratch that itch and the only game that got even remotely close was Silent Storm, which I played probably a decade ago.
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