Monday, August 6, 2012

Artemis: Spaceship Bridge Simulator - What is it and is it good?

This summer I was lucky enough to actually be able to attend the annual reunion at my boarding school, and here I saw something that I have missed in many years, seeing the growing popularity of online games: A group of people, sitting together around their computers and having fun playing the same game. This is what we call a LAN-party, but sadly, I haven't been to any lately, as all the games are online anyways and you talk with each other for free through Skype, so why bother?

One person however wasn't sitting, he was walking around, looking at everyone's screens, pointing at people and giving orders: "MORE COOLING!" - "INCREASE ENERGY ON THE FRONT SHIELDS!" all while he was getting reports back from the people around him: "DS3 NEEDS ASSISTANCE!" - "We are low on energy, sir!". There was a lot of tension in the air as the spacecraft that these people were running was fighting a fleet of enemy spacecrafts, but there was fun too.

They were playing Artemis: Spaceship Bridge Simulator. Thom Robertson, the creator of Artemis, writes on his website about Artemis:

"Artemis is a multiplayer, multi-computer networked game for Windows computers.
Artemis simulates a spaceship bridge by networking several computers together. One computer runs the simulation and the "main screen", while the others serve as workstations for the normal jobs a bridge officer might do, like Helm, Communication, Engineering, and Weapon Control.
Artemis is a social game where several players are together in one room ("bridge") , and while they all work together, one player plays the Captain, a person who sits in the middle, doesn't have a workstation, and tells everyone what to do.
Artemis is a software game for Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7."
I found the game so amazing, that once I got home, I started toying around with Artemis myself, getting it ready on my Mac laptop (super easy with Wineskin).
One week later, I had 3 friends come by to act crew for me and we headed into space! With only 4 people on the bridge I doubled as Captain and Science while my Helm was also taking care of Communications. We had a fantastic evening, switching roles a few times so everyone could try the different positions, and my next experience with Artemis is due this weekend, where we plan on bringing the game to a 'real' LAN-party and play it, not in a small room, but somewhere where everyone can see what we are doing, for Artemis is not only a cool game for the players, but also spectators.
I can highly recommend this game to anyone who would like to challenge themselves both as individuals and as a team. Playing Artemis requires very little knowledge of computers and games, but does require that your crew knows how to work together. 
You learn more about, and try out Artemis for yourself at:
The Demo is free, but unfortunately doesn't include all functions of the game, but if you ask me, the 40$ for a license is better spent here than on anything else, AND you can share the game, for free, with your crew!