Spaceship Bridge Simulators

I was gonna dump this into the “Games You’re Playing” thread but thought it might be niche enough to be its own topic.

Some time last year Nuri and I started hosting Artemis parties. Get a few folks together and host a LAN party to play some starship adventures as the bridge crew.

If you’re not familiar:

I became familiar with it (like a lot of people) via MAGfest, and then realized we could just, like, do this. The system requirements are so low that you can make it run on like a tin can. I sideloaded the Android app to my damn Fire TV stick and had it run a server.

Anyway it’s raucous fun and the community is pretty dedicated and extensive. There are people who design consoles and shit for full immersion. Thinkin’ I might get some Raspberry Pis one of these days and give it a go.

Artemis itself has a few flaws - the Comms station is boring, the Gamemaster option is lackluster, and the Android app is behind everything else so cross-platform play is annoying. Also, you can technically play over the Internet rather than a LAN, but it takes some VPN work.

We hosted a last hurrah before social distancing this weekend, and during that we ran into an open-source Artemis clone that looks wicked promising - Empty Epsilon:

It fixes a few problems that Artemis has, it’s totally free, the Android app and desktop apps are synced (though the Android app has issues that keep it from being perfect), and it’s set up for playing over the Internet! So, future spaceship wars are probably gonna migrate to this!

Anyone else out there into the spaceship bridge life?

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At East my job was to run the official Star Trek VR Bridge Simulator for people. It’s pretty fun, and lacks any sort of “Do-nothing” position.

Also, a shocking number of people have absolutely no reaction or understanding to the fact that part of the demo is you warping into the Neutral Zone and getting hailed by the Kobiyashi Maru.

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I loved playing Artemis!

About, err, 5 years ago?, I used to host parties where we’d all bring laptops and play, I had a projector set up to be the main viewer. It was a lot of fun!

I did once get a second starship into the system soon after the added the ability to have multiple ships in one game. That was a blast

Comms is way more important when you need to coordinate two ships. We forced them to be the only people who could converse between each of the ships.

I got this working with a simple port forward. No VPN required.

I have the Star Trek VR Bridge Simulator for my Playstation and I remember playing the tutorial mission where you warp in to rescue the crew of an “unnamed” ship.

When I finally had the ship in sensor range and saw that it was the Kobiyashi Maru, I was just like… fuuuuuuck, this isn’t going to go well.

Great game, wish more people had it so I could play with friends.


Also, the “classic Trek” (TOS) controls for Bridge Simulator are just random nonsense and are almost impossible to actually fly with, but make for a hilarious experience.

Yeah, but port forwarding is less secure IIRC. Probably still a non-issue overall given that I live in a low population density area, but it’s the principle of the thing.

So yeah, it’s not great for security, but I’ve found setting it up for a few hours and then removing it constituted an acceptable level of risk for a bridge simulator day.

Also, when I did it. I had a junk laptop be the server, which after the game I shutdown and put away. Forwarding their port to some non existent box is probably fine.


Apparently there’s a new one being released shortly called Starship Horizons (currently early access on Steam) that doesn’t even require an app for the clients - just a browser. One Windows machine as the server though, which is sorta meh because cross-platform play would be killer.