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Space Business

27 Aug 2015

I made my first-ever Twitter bot, and it's called Space Business! Space Business tweets the hottest intergalactic business, finance, and economic headlines every four hours.

That sounds real boring

Space Business's source material is a body of data I've created for a science fiction strategy game I'm working on. I procedurally generate a lot of content for the game—trade goods, pirate ships, contract terms—and I figured I could make other stuff set in this universe using the same code.

Isn't imagining a future society that's still capitalist lazy?

Absolutely. I repurposed gold and oil headlines to make Space Business, so if these tweets sound ridiculous to you, you can imagine how absurd our media sounds to beings living in an actual post-scarcity society.

In the game, I've ruled out using currency as a game mechanic entirely, no matter how many problems it would solve. You can still trade goods, but everything you can trade—Dope Goos, Jeweled Drones, Whining Cubes, etc.—is uniquely named and the focus isn't on accumulating ever-greater mountains of stuff. Space Business's tweets come from a parallel universe where I gave up and just used a money mechanic.

What's up with the sector names?

Games like Mass Effect imagine a universe where large regions of space are named after famous American, European, and Russian scientists and astronauts. While I do want to poke fun at the financial world, I also want to seriously imagine a future society where the names of important African, Middle Eastern, and Asian astronomers are carried into space along with the more familiar (to me) Western ones. So that's what's happening when Space Business tweets about the rising cost of Battle Tagines in the Alhazen Rift.

I didn't learn about these astronomers growing up in Ohio and Georgia, only from reading Wikipedia, so this list is probably incomplete. Did I miss someone important? Send me their name and info, and I'll update the bot and game and credit you.

What's a Msec?

A megasecond (Msec) is one million seconds. In the future, Earth years, days, and weeks are irrelevant, but seconds are still useful, probably. A megasecond is about a week and a half (11.6 days).