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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.

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16 comments
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Nanobang 14 February 2020 at 1:47 pm UTC
1. The name Black Powder, Red Earth is poetry. Straight up.

2. I find the idea of playing on the side of a "dictatorship of a failing petrostate" to be only slightly more disheartening than playing "a brutal jihadist insurgency" opposing it. Which is to say, I don't want to play either side, neither fascist capitalist henchmen or fanatical religious thugs. Blech.
razing32 14 February 2020 at 5:11 pm UTC
Nanobang1. The name Black Powder, Red Earth is poetry. Straight up.

2. I find the idea of playing on the side of a "dictatorship of a failing petrostate" to be only slightly more disheartening than playing "a brutal jihadist insurgency" opposing it. Which is to say, I don't want to play either side, neither fascist capitalist henchmen or fanatical religious thugs. Blech.

LOL
Curios if they even get it on steam with that jihadist vibe.
Then again C^C Generlas did have the GLA

Honestly would be curios how dark and cynical this game can be with those sides.
To me it sounds like they are tryign to recreate some middle eastern nation. A lot of them had insurgencies and their governments aren't exactly saintly.
14 14 February 2020 at 6:43 pm UTC
Nanobang2. I find the idea of playing on the side of a "dictatorship of a failing petrostate" to be only slightly more disheartening than playing "a brutal jihadist insurgency" opposing it. Which is to say, I don't want to play either side, neither fascist capitalist henchmen or fanatical religious thugs. Blech.
Jihad is not just for fanatics. It might be that way in this game. But it more generally means struggle. If the dictatorship declared a legal (in their definition) war against the insurgency, both sides would be jihadists.

I'd also rethink your direct connection of fascism and capitalism. Maybe give this well-written article a read.


Last edited by 14 on 14 February 2020 at 6:51 pm UTC
Purple Library Guy 14 February 2020 at 9:42 pm UTC
14I'd also rethink your direct connection of fascism and capitalism. Maybe give this well-written article a read.
This is described as a "dictatorship". Should he rethink his direct connection of fascism and (dictatorship + capitalism)? I mean, if you consider there to be no real difference between capitalist states that are and aren't dictatorships, well, despite my cynicism about current representative forms of democracy, I'd still want to see a case made before I bought it.

As to that article . . . yeah, it's not badly written. And sure, there are radicals who are like what he describes; in the big Seattle anti-WTO demonstrations with tens of thousands of protestors, probably only thousands were what you could really call "radical"--and of those thousands, why I'm sure at least several dozen were Black Bloc morons. So it sounds to me like the author recalls being a Black Bloc moron, a "Weathermen" type, and because such groups are quite insular, was under the impression that that was what being "radical" inherently is. So no doubt the article is sincere, and it's talking about a real phenomenon. Just, not a very important one.
And I'm not sure he's that much less gullible now that he's discovered the wonders of the status quo than he was when he was the most gullible kind of radical. He'd picked a couple of tracts to be influenced by and ignored everything else, and now he's picked a couple of different ones. Doesn't seem like, either then or now, he had any very solid ideas about how things actually work; the article basically is his account of deciding to accept the black box of political economy as a black box with faith, rather than pessimism, ruling his relationship to it. Which really goes beyond an abjuration of radicalism to an abdication of citizenship--his position basically implies that one shouldn't have political opinions other than "Whatever is, is right".


Last edited by Purple Library Guy on 14 February 2020 at 9:43 pm UTC
14 14 February 2020 at 11:16 pm UTC
Purple Library GuyThis is described as a "dictatorship". Should he rethink his direct connection of fascism and (dictatorship + capitalism)? I mean, if you consider there to be no real difference between capitalist states that are and aren't dictatorships, well, despite my cynicism about current representative forms of democracy, I'd still want to see a case made before I bought it.
I guess I don't see where fascism and capitalism came out of the game description or video.

Purple Library GuyAnd I'm not sure he's that much less gullible now that he's discovered the wonders of the status quo than he was when he was the most gullible kind of radical. He'd picked a couple of tracts to be influenced by and ignored everything else, and now he's picked a couple of different ones. Doesn't seem like, either then or now, he had any very solid ideas about how things actually work; the article basically is his account of deciding to accept the black box of political economy as a black box with faith, rather than pessimism, ruling his relationship to it.
(Emphasis added)

It seems to me, based on his credentials, that he has pursued understanding in those areas at least. You can't quite write a whole chapter or "about the author" piece for every Internet publication and expect to get much readership. I say he chose an angle and wrote to it.

Purple Library Guy...his position basically implies that one shouldn't have political opinions other than "Whatever is, is right".
I felt a little bit of that complacency attitude I think you're getting at, but I wouldn't boil his position to be that simple and then apply it generously to the whole world. What stood out the most to me as a theme was (his definition of) radicals ignoring presented facts.
Patola 15 February 2020 at 2:42 am UTC
For linux there is also Vigilantes, and it is 3D. This game is great, I don't know why it is not mentioned often.
orochi_kyo 15 February 2020 at 3:10 am UTC
14I guess I don't see where fascism and capitalism came out of the game description or video.

It seems to me, based on his credentials, that he has pursued understanding in those areas at least. You can't quite write a whole chapter or "about the author" piece for every Internet publication and expect to get much readership. I say he chose an angle and wrote to it.

I felt a little bit of that complacency attitude I think you're getting at, but I wouldn't boil his position to be that simple and then apply it generously to the whole world. What stood out the most to me as a theme was (his definition of) radicals ignoring presented facts.

Facts? Ok. It is historically accepted that under fascist regimes around the world from Asia to America, that the wealthy got richer somehow. Not all of them, but most of these rich people were already participating inside this countries as businessmen or part of the bourgeois class. It seems that most of these people just get the advantage of the situation to get monopolies and concessions in countries like Italy, Germany, Nicaragua, Argentina, etc.

Now in the spirit of capitalism is "the competency", the idea that competing against each other makes better services and good prices, but when a capitalist could see the opportunity of getting a monopoly over a productive sector or service, they just take it, so fascism is good converting any capitalist into an oligarch.

I can perfectly see why Nanobang linked both terms "capitalism" and "fascism" inside the figure of an authoritarian system as "dictatorship", it has a historical background which should be checked first instead of recommending to read someone else opinion, which is pretty much what you suggested(I guess you believe that anyone who make this kind of comparisions between capitalism and any non-democratic system is a radical person).

I agree too, that both factions has awful backgrounds which causes me to feel no sympathy for any of them.


Last edited by orochi_kyo on 15 February 2020 at 3:17 am UTC
14 15 February 2020 at 4:08 am UTC
orochi_kyoI can perfectly see why Nanobang linked both terms "capitalism" and "fascism" inside the figure of an authoritarian system as "dictatorship", it has a historical background which should be checked first instead of recommending to read someone else opinion, which is pretty much what you suggested(I guess you believe that anyone who make this kind of comparisons between capitalism and any non-democratic system is a radical person).
What's wrong with reading an opinion?

Anyway, I want it on record that I didn't call anyone a radical. Your deduction is not correct this time.

FWIW, I liked reading your response. I don't understand why you have to demean me for pointing out an opinion and asking questions.
Purple Library Guy 15 February 2020 at 11:10 am UTC
14
Purple Library GuyThis is described as a "dictatorship". Should he rethink his direct connection of fascism and (dictatorship + capitalism)? I mean, if you consider there to be no real difference between capitalist states that are and aren't dictatorships, well, despite my cynicism about current representative forms of democracy, I'd still want to see a case made before I bought it.
I guess I don't see where fascism and capitalism came out of the game description or video.
Do you know of any dictatorial oil states which are not capitalist? How is that a controversial designation?

Now I'd have to agree that if you want to get down and detailed, Middle Eastern dictatorial oil states are not precisely fascist . . . but, they're awfully similar in a lot of ways. That is, they're dictatorial, they're capitalist, they fuse commercial interests with the interests of the ruler and state, they're oppressive, they often have significant religious components and maintain stability by persecuting internal and/or external enemies. There are differences--as hereditary monarchies they tend not to be based on leadership personality cults, although once installed the leaders may attempt to create such. But still, the characteristics are similar enough that I wouldn't really want to cavil too much over someone casually designating such a state "fascist" as a shorthand explanation for why they're not wild about them as a game faction.


Last edited by Purple Library Guy on 15 February 2020 at 11:19 am UTC
Purple Library Guy 15 February 2020 at 12:45 pm UTC
14
Purple Library GuyDoesn't seem like, either then or now, he had any very solid ideas about how things actually work; the article basically is his account of deciding to accept the black box of political economy as a black box with faith, rather than pessimism, ruling his relationship to it.
(Emphasis added)

It seems to me, based on his credentials, that he has pursued understanding in those areas at least. You can't quite write a whole chapter or "about the author" piece for every Internet publication and expect to get much readership. I say he chose an angle and wrote to it.
Sure, but it's an angle which says "It doesn't really matter what the facts are, certain cognitive problems exist, therefore we can presume that anyone complaining is merely the victim of those problems". I frankly think that's a cop-out. Rephrased a bit more bluntly, it says anyone who disagrees with the status quo can be presumed to be doing so because they are crazy (and therefore there is no need to evaluate the specifics of the disagreement). That's pretty much what the Soviets said, which is why dissenters were often stuffed in asylums rather than jail. Interestingly, the DSM V now defines rebellion against authority as a mental illness; "Oppositional defiant disorder". So yeah, I think that approach is pretty bankrupt and also a dangerous road to go down. I see something like that and I think if that person had something valid to say, they'd be saying it.

But say we do want to go there, decide who's right or wrong by who has more cognitive bias. Pessimism is far from the only cognitive bias or deficit people are prone to; it would be easy enough to talk about conformity pressures and various other factors which tend to suppress alternative opinions, or simply make them hard to access. Seems to me it would be at least as easy to make a case that most people who are not radical are that way because of cognitive biases or information deficits. But I still don't think it's a good approach. It's a kind of ad hominem argument, with all the problems that entails; the real question isn't who's got cognitive problems, the question is who is right, and that can only be decided based on the facts, not the arguers.

Similarly, the guy represents radicals as all being violent (and therefore probably wrong). But first of all, he seems to be extrapolating from his personal sample, which as I suggested before does not seem remotely representative. He hung around with jerks who were radicals, therefore all radicals are jerks, seems to be the reasoning. Reminds me of a terrible book called "The Elfish Gene" by a guy who used to play D&D; he spends most of the book talking about what total little scuzzbuckets he and his teenage friends were, and sneeringly extrapolates their characteristics to the whole gaming world, and I'm like, no, you just hung out with some total pissants, that's not the rest of the gaming world's fault. And on the other side of the coin, could we not pretend that violence is somehow this unique quality possessed by radicals, like nobody defending the status quo is violent? Say, why did they have to start this thing called "Black Lives Matter" again? Oh, yeah, it's because blacks are constantly being murdered by the representatives of the status quo in a manner reminiscent of old fashioned lynching, which was again, a practice of terrorism by defenders of the status quo. History has a lot more violence by authorities than those protesting them, although this may just be because they have greater capacity for violence rather than greater appetite for it.

The guy does quickly handwave a couple of claims that the victims of the "pessimistic" cognitive deficit are simply wrong, that things are in fact continuously improving and thus the only reason people could think otherwise is this "pessimism" complex. I think he is mistaken; I've seen more detailed presentations of that sort of claim, and I've seen counterarguments, and I don't think the Panglossian types' arguments hold up.

So 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.

There 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.

Of course, seeing that something is wrong does not in itself get you far--and again, this guy's friends seem to have pretty much stopped there: Status quo is bad, smash it, something something, utopia! A good radical has a solid explanation for why there is something wrong with the picture, which can then lead to some sort of prescription of how things should be done differently. Bottom line, the dude who wrote this article was a lousy radical when he was a radical, the type who make violent splinter cells rather than the type who build movements, and if he confined himself to saying don't be his kind of radical I would be behind that. But it's a lot easier to say the whole concept is wrong and that was your problem, than to admit to yourself that you were just doing it wrong.


Last edited by Purple Library Guy on 15 February 2020 at 12:49 pm UTC
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