SimNoosphere Game Announced

Fake News written by James Baughn on Monday, January 18, 1999

from the homesteading-the-slashdot-frontier dept.

Several months ago Humorix reported on a game available for Linux that allowed users to play the part of Bill Gates in running Microsoft. Now, instead of Bill Gates, a new game will allow users to play the part of Linus Torvalds in developing an operating system from scratch using the bazaar development method. Coding has already started on this game, SimNoosphere, and version 1.0 should be available by June.

The game begins with that fateful Usenet posting that started it all. It ends when Linux (or whatever name you decide to call it) achieves "world domination". Players have to contend with all the many obstacles a "benevolent dictator" must face, such as irate emails from mediocre coders whose patches were ignored, the risk of a code fork, trademark disputes, constant stupid questions like "How do you pronounce Linux?" and "What exactly is your job at Transmeta?", reporters who can't understand that Linux is not freeware, Ziff-Davis columns that claim Linux isn't a viable alternative, the threat of a Microsoft patent lawsuit, etc.

The SimNoosphere developers are also planning a plug-in architecture, allowing the game to be extended to encompass other people and projects besides Linux. A few of the plug-in ideas that the SimNoosphere developers have tossed around include:

  • Slashdot: Playing the part of Rob Malda, your mission is to turn Slashdot into the successful "new media" venture it is today. At first you have to scrounge to make enough money to pay for the continuous hardware upgrades that are needed to meet demand. Otherwise, Slashdot will always be down and people will leave "Crashdot" in droves to become addicted to some other website. You also have to make sure that certain things don't get out of your control, such as flame wars, the Slashdot Effect, Sengan's editorial license, etc.

  • Eric S. Raymond: As the "ambassador" of the Open Source(tm) movement, you have to insure that the Linux geeks and the corporate PHBs don't kill each other as they try to cooperate to move Linux into the enterprise. You also have to keep a firm lock on the Open Source(tm) trademark, making sure it doesn't fall into the hands of those evil SPI people. Meanwhile, you have to maintain a tight calendar of attending conventions, speaking at Linux user group meetings, talking with corporate bigwigs, inflating your ego, building a spy network to snag internal Microsoft memos, writing long essays that will inevitably spark a flame war on Slashdot, etc.

  • Richard M. Stallman: Playing the "Saint of Free Software", you have a similar job as ESR, but instead of incessantly promoting "Open Source", you promote "GNU/Linux". You constantly have to explain to confused reporters that all software should be free, dammit!

As one SimNoosphere developer said, "The possibilities are endless. Now all Linux users can have that wonderful ego-gratification (simulated, of course) that the head honchos feel."

I asked about the possibility of a plug-in for a somewhat popular Linux humor website, but the reply was less than enthusiastic: "Are you talking about Humorix? Sorry, but that would make a pretty boring game."

Several anonymous sources have told Humorix that the lawyers at Maxis (the producer of SimCity and related games) are rearing their ugly heads. It seems that Maxis claims a trademark on any name or word beginning with "Sim" (i.e. SimCity, SimAnt, Simi Valley, simple, etc.), and therefore the company's legal team is licking its chops at the possibility of suing the SimNoosphere developers.

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