Acknowledgement to the Works of Gene Roddenberry

Star Trek: Voyager is far from the best on offer for Star Trek. In fact, most of it clocks in at or near the bottom of the ranked list. But there is one thing that Voyager does, every show, that the other ships don’t.

The NCC-1701 slowly drifts past a red planet before boosting into action and wiping a couple credits onto the screen. The NCC-1701-D hovers into frame right after passing a very smiley ringed planet before warping through a star-spotted background. Deep Space Nine perches on the edge of the wormhole while the camera gives it a full body cavity search.

But Voyager dips under a solar flare. Her warp nacelles swirl a wake in the gases of a nebula. And when she passes by a ringed planet of her own, she reflects off the surface; a hazy outline keeping pace with her, off to where no one has gone before.

Voyager interacts with the environment. The ship is a physical presence in that universe; it takes up space, reflects light, has an effect on the world around it. It has agency. If any Star Trek property could take credit for inspiring me to design a space game, it’s the first couple of series. But Star Trek: Voyager’s intro got me up off the couch.

It inspires in me the same sense of wonder that I had as a child watching Carl Sagan stroll along a beach and teach me about the cosmos. A wonder not just at the vastness and uniqueness of the unknown, but of our part in it as a piece of the connected whole. It comes as no surprise to me that my way of exploring this idea is through the use of a game; a medium where interaction, agency, and cause and effect are key elements. And it’s even less shocking that I would take its name from a Sagan quote.

Design of Other Suns has been plodding slowly, ever forward, for a couple of years now. As the game solidifies, expect more detailed explorations of its design, development, mechanics, and theme. Let’s hope it’s better than Voyager.