OngoingWorlds blog

News & articles about play-by-post games, for roleplayers & writers


20 Years of Sunfire Script

Utopia Fleet

For as long as I can remember, I’ve heard people say, “I’ve been simming for 20 years.” Well, I can finally say it myself.

I’ve been simming for 20 years. 

Wow, that felt good!

On February 16, 2000, the USS Sunfire NCC-3935, a Bedford class starship, launched in old Utopia Fleet’s Deep Space Exploration Division.  I was the ship’s CMO.  That’s Chief Medical Officer for all you non-Trek role players.  Fast forward to today and it’s hard to image my life without play-by-post role playing.

I’ve been a writer, a politician, a diplomat, a founder, an editor, a counselor, an investigator, a philosopher, a Captain, an Admiral, and even a game show host–all of which are never going to happen IRL (that’s In Real Life for you non-simmers).  Role playing’s taught me a lot about people, life, and myself.  All in all, it’s been a fun ride.

I’m not going to keep waxing on about what simming’s meant to me.  How boring, right?  Instead, I want to talk about something unique from my original sim.  There are two things, really.  The first is open role playing, but I already wrote about that nearly six years ago.  The other is the script posting style, which is all but extinct now in play-by-post.

That original USS Sunfire role play was commanded by Commodore Jay “Robbie” Robertson.  To put it mildly, he was a very hands off Captain.  And the funny thing was: the entire rest of the crew was brand new to simming.  Yep, from XO James West, the one who recruited me, all the way down to Ensign Kodin Malar, my Assistant Medical Officer, and civilian Talin Southbranche.  Robertson had previously served on chat sims in Allied Federation’s Fleet, but this was his first email sim.

Robertson’s first post combined elements from his earlier days as a chat simmer with regular prose. It made for a strange brew. But the rest of us took it and ran with it. We had never simmed before and just assumed that’s how it worked. We eventually codified the script into this, which was later referred to as both Sunfire script and Independence Fleet script:


Character: (Thoughts.) ::action:: “Dialogue.” =/\=Communicator dialogue.=/\=

It coves pretty much everything you would ever need in a Star Trek game and provides an easy-to-read script that other players can quickly scan to get up to speed on the story. Obviously it isn’t as elegant as prose, but that’s not always the point with role playing.

I’m not saying that a bunch of sims should immediately switch back to this or some other type of play-by-email or play-by-post script. Prose works. Instead, try a post or two in script and see what happens. It might open up some doors or turn your creativity (or someone else’s) in a new direction. If you’re in a rut, definitely try it.

Role playing is all about mixing things up and trying different approaches. Script style can be a part of that. With the right group of players, you never know where it’s going to go.

Here’s to the next 20 years.