Event attendees at the Esports center. 

Students came together on Oct. 29 to bring peace to the galaxy in the esports Game Day, “Stellaris with Doc Harris.”

The idea for a Game Day sprouted from David “Doc” Harris’s position as adviser to the Student Astronomical Society partnering with Sidney Sheets’ presidency in the Society of Physics Students.

The event reaped a highly enthusiastic response, so Sheets plans to organize a second Game Day over the coming break or during the spring semester. Harris hopes to utilize a diverse roster of space games.

“ ‘Kerbal Space Program 2’ is on the horizon. It’s not multiplayer, but we could have a competition to see who can make it to the Mun and back,” Harris suggested.

Harris sees the Esports center’s game library as a fantastic resource for students, not just for emotional well-being, but also enabling the gamification of learning.

Finding, or even making, games that simulate scientific theories is an endeavor Harris strongly supports.

Though the scientific basis of “Stellaris” just pays lip service to celestial classifications in a galaxy brimming with hyperlanes and psychic powers, Harris discussed several possibilities of games that scratch an erudite itch.

The simulated rocketry and gravity of “Kerbal Space Program” as well as the hard science fiction of the “Traveller” tabletop game are among the options Harris proposed. Bringing in the astrobiology department could lead to playing the evolution simulator “Thrive” with Manasvi Lingam.

The consonance of “Stellaris with Doc Harris” was a deciding factor for the Game Day’s launch title, confirmed Sheets. The high capacity of “Stellaris” lobbies contributed to the event’s turnout.

The game started as all “Stellaris” games do: each player alone in a cosmic expanse, with only five ships to their nation’s name. Soon enough, the burgeoning space empires encountered each other and the galaxy was painted in a dense patchwork of over 15 different flags.

“I was intending to tag in as a Fallen Empire and just subtly mess with everyone,” Harris said before deciding on a more fair choice of a peaceful nation of orbital habitats.

“This was my very first multiplayer game, I have played it a lot in single player, though. Turned out much more fun,” Harris admitted.

As the game evolved from exploration to politicking, two rivaling alliances emerged: “Doc Harris Study Group” and “Birds, Burgs, n’ Bolts.”

The rapid expansion of these federations provided a great deal of safety, with the galaxy seeing only four wars over a span of 120 in-game years. Those scheming to maneuver their nation above others would need nothing short of a galactic crisis to break up the gridlock.

The game’s script calls for villainous aliens to arrive in the final act, but the true endgame crisis was a timely game crash.

As the curtains closed, Sheets’ “Shroomjak Waterworlds” empire was crowned the victor, having led the ten-member study group to greatness.

“There’s a lot of nerdy teachers,” Harris affirmed. “We’re all allowed to have hobbies, it’s very important for our emotional well-being, too.”

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