The Rings of Orbis a science fiction fantasy RPG in a virtual Alien world

The Rings of Orbis is a FREE online Science Fiction Game created by Author Philip-Jon Haarsma – now known as PJ Haarsma  – and his team to accompany his best selling series of books The Softwire series.  Books and gaming together are a fabulous formula to encourage and children to read!  How better to spark an interest in reading, that when you play game that is so interesting you have to find out more.

I’ve been looking The Rings of Orbis and now even I want to read the books so I can get a full background to the game, and to find out more clues to help with the game – but I am a big kid!

I am a super fan of this idea, probably as reading is so important and as a gamer but also because my own son, had a similar idea, he has written a book and planned a series, got some designs for a game, drawings and ideas and he started all this when he was around 12 years old when he was inspired by another series of books –  he has always loved to read and has a wild imagination. He is now at university studying computer games development. 

Not only is PJ trying to reward children for reading by way of the game, In 2007 PJ  founded the non profit organisation Kids Need to Read along with his mate and fellow Canadian Nathan Fillion (big fan) from the TV series Castle to help all children to be able to have access to the books they need, through funding schools, library’s and other institutions that often supply free books to children.

 “It is our dream to fill library shelves with great books so that no child lacks for amazing stories to inspire their imaginations.” PJ Haarsma. 

Just to get a taster you can actually listen to Nathan Fillion read the first three chapters of The Softwire – what a treat!! 🙂  I heard a rumor that Nathan might be making a set of audio books for the series, I really hope so.

The Rings of Orbis

Is a free online web browser game developed and published by Automatic Games with some amazing artwork.   You don’t need anything special to be able to play the game and there are no hidden charges at all. You can buy certain things for upgrades and to speed things on but you do not need to.

This Virtual adventure takes place with many aliens in an area of space with four planet-like rings that stabilise a busy wormhole.

How to play the Rings of Orbis

You beginm the game by becoming a Citizen of the virtual Alien Society and then you start then to build your empire.

Choose which Alien Race to be from these five exciting playable races…

  • THE BELARANS: An unyielding race who believe that the universe, and everything in it, is theirs for the taking.
  • THE TREFALDOORS: A race known for their bizarre appearance and undying commitment to the truth.
  • THE CHOI: Blessed with the innate ability to navigate the cosmos, this race also boasts powerhouse negotiation skills.
  • THE SOLINN: A race marked by empath-level intuition and an unparalleled ability to fight to death.
  • THE SESSII: Although cultured and elegant, this race is second to none in ruthlessness.
  • THE ENTHANS: Hard workers that are quick to anger if they see behavior they consider unfair or dishonorable.

The purpose of the game is to be the most powerful Citizen in The Rings of Orbis, to do this you need to earn “Chits”  which is the currency of the game – and by leveling up all of your abilities.

See more on the website – Gameplay 

What are Knudniks

There are Aliens called Knudniks  not your virtual pet but your virtual alien, you get given one and then you can buy more by bidding on them in the game.  These creatures are your irresponsibility, you have to feed them, rest them, and work them, when they work they earn you money – Chits – but you also have to raise their abilities to do better jobs.

You get to build your own spaceship, (even fleet) which when you customise allows enhanced abilities and also this means that you can leave “the rings” and venture out to the outer planets for adventures and quests.  Not only that you can post your spaceship creation into the gallery to win weekly prizes.

On The Rings of Orbis game, is HUGE,  there are missions full of danger and enemies to defeat, quests to conquer, there is so much to do, if you are a gamer and/or like sci fi – you will have to just go and look for yourself, you won’t be disappointed you did.

Join me here – Shundrie

Find out what your Alien race is here – Which Alien Are You 

Hope this helps

Must go and feed my Knudniks



Strict Nat problem with Modern Warfare 3 – Call of Duty

The time had come! Modern Warfare 3 was released yesterday,  eager gamers – queued up to get their copy first lastnight at 12am.

Only to find when they returned on that they had a strict nat not an open nat on their Xbox 360 and couldn’t join any online games.

We had the same problem, strange though as it often happens with us, not sure if its due to the ip address not being static or the fact something is set up wrong on the router, but set everything up correctly for two Xboxes on the router – anyway I digress.

This is what we do, when one of the xboxes have a strict nat – we do this on the xbox – not the router.

Follow this video its as easy as pie and takes 5mins – Fix your nat settings for xbox360 this should work, if only for the time being.

Otherwise Xbox has their own instructions here –

Error: Your NAT type is set to strict (or moderate)

Last Modified 9/8/2011

If you can’t join online games or hear other players in games or chat, you might have a Network Address Translation (NAT) problem. If you have NAT problem, you will see a NAT warning icon when you test your Xbox LIVE connection.

You have a NAT problem

Show all
Find out if you have a NAT warning
What is NAT?
Show all
1: Restart your network equipment
2: Turn on UPnP on your network hardware
3: Simplify your setup
4: Open network ports.

Hope this helps


Microsoft Xbox 360 Live launches a new generation of TV

Today Microsoft announced that it plans to roll out the next generation of TV entertainment on Xbox live in over 20 different countries over the holiday season.

We have been waiting for this for some time now, and finally it appears to have arrived.

AT&T, BBC, Comcast, HBO, Rogers, Telefónica, Televisa and Verizon are among providers rolling out new TV entertainment services on Xbox LIVE.

On a Microsoft press release seen today they talk about this being a major step towards Microsoft realising their vision to bringing you all the entertainment you want, shared with the people you care about. Stating that you will be able to switch from games to music to live TV and more by using your Xbox 360.

Starting this holiday season they are giving US customer 26 live channels including MTV, Spike, Food Network, Comedy Central, HBO, CNN and Nickelodeon — with more to come.

Highlights of the Xbox 360 TV Experience 

Unified Dashboard for Xbox LIVE

Xbox LIVE now has a unified dashboard for greater, easier navigation, whether customers use Kinect or a controller. Access more entertainment content for everyone in the family from numerous providers.

Comcast Xfinity Direct to Your Xbox 360

Starting this holiday season, customers will have access to world-leading TV and entertainment providers such as Comcast Xfinity. Get access to over 10,000 episodes of catch-up TV.

Lots of Live TV on the Way for US Customers

Starting this holiday season customers in the United States will be able to watch live TV with Verizon FIOS. Get Verizon FiOS TV with multiple live channels like MTV, Spike, Food Network, Comedy Central, HBO, CNN and Nickelodeon — with more to come.

Searching for Entertainment? Bing, It’s There!

With Kinect for Xbox 360, there are no remotes, no buttons, no worries. Powered by Bing, customers can search across Xbox LIVE for games, movies and TV content from different providers, to find what they want to watch instantly.

Voice-Powered Search

With Kinect, you are the controller. Find TV shows fast, and use your voice to pause and rewind movies and TV shows. Just say what you want to watch and Xbox finds it with voice search powered by Bing. Want to find the latest X-Men movie?  Simply say “Xbox Bing, X-Men” and Xbox finds it.

More Entertainment Options Instantly

Xbox LIVE now brings customers more entertainment options to enjoy movies, TV shows and sports, instantly. Find new movies on the Zune marketplace or explore the latest videos on YouTube.

Entertainment Apps Galore for the Holidays

This holiday customers will get more apps with movies, TV shows and sports from top providers such as ESPN, Netflix, Syfy and YouTube.

Sharing With Xbox LIVE Community

Customers can connect with the Xbox LIVE community to show what games they’re playing, movies they’re watching and music they’re listening to, as well as invite others to join in — even post game achievements and info about favorite movies directly to their Facebook wall from Xbox LIVE.

Experience What Xbox 360 Brings to Music

Customers can easily discover new music, artists and albums and share with friends and family from the comfort of their couch.

What gives this a fantastic futuristic feel to it is Kinect,  I love the fact that there are no remotes or buttons, you will just have to talk to your TV and tell it what you want.

Entertainment Partners on Xbox

ABC iView – Australia
AlloCiné – France, Germany, Spain, U.K.
Antena 3 – Spain
Astral Media’s Disney XD – Canada
AT&T** – U.S.
BBC – U.K.
blinkbox – U.K.
Bravo – U.S.
BSkyB** – U.K.
Canal+* – France, Spain
Channel 4 – U.K.
Channel 5 – U.K.
CinemaNow (Best Buy) – U.S.
Comcast – U.S.
Crackle – Australia, Canada, U.K., U.S.
Dailymotion – Available in 32 markets
ESPN** – U.S.
Facebook** – Available in all 35 Xbox LIVE markets
FOXTEL** – Australia
GolTV – Spain
Hulu – Japan
Hulu Plus**– U.S.
iHeartRadio (Clear Channel) – U.S.**– U.K., U.S.
LOVEFiLM – Germany, U.K.
Manga Entertainment – U.S.
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment/Real Sports – Canada
Mediaset – Italy
MSN with – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, U.K.
MUZU.TV – France, Germany, Italy, Spain, U.K.
Netflix**– Canada, U.S.
Rogers on Demand – Canada
RTVE – Spain
SBS On Demand – Australia
Syfy – U.S.
Telefonica – Spain
Televisa – Mexico
“The Today Show” – U.S.
TELUS** – Canada
TMZ – U.S.
Twitter** – Available in all 35 Xbox LIVE markets
UFC – Canada, U.S.
Verizon – U.S.
VEVO – Canada, U.K., U.S.
VimpelCom** – Russia
Vodafone Portugal** – Portugal
YouTube – Available in 22 markets
ZDF – Germany

You probably need an Xbox gold membership and I expect fees for the new entertainment, so we will have to wait and see those prices before we get too excited, but it sounds interesting so far.

Hope this helps.

Gaming – The next generation – Nintendo 3DS

PS Vita. Wii U. With these consoles (possibly along with the PS4 and X-Box 720) launching over the next two years, the near future holds a lot for gaming. However, with a new set of consoles set to erupt onto the market, it would be easy to forget that the next generation has actually begun – albeit not explosively – with the 3DS.

Nintendo 3DS

I’ll be fair; the 3DS hasn’t exactly had the greatest year so far. After its launch in March, it sold poorly due to the lack of Nintendo’s usual quality software (to this date, there still isn’t a full Mario title out for the console) and the high price point. This led to an unprecedented price drop after less than six months from the console’s launch, which annoyed some fans and caused investors to worry about Nintendo’s future.

The worlds first glasses-free 3D Gadget

However, things could be turning around for the worlds first widespread glasses-free 3D gadget. With software titles like Mario Kart 7, Super Mario 3D Land and Sonic Generations out this year, on top of Kid Icarus and Resident Evil: Revelations due for a 2012 launch, the software drought could be over soon. On top of that, a new red 3DS is expanding the line-up of colour options for new comers to the console.

What really gives the 3DS potential to succeed though is innovation. Although they tend to shy away from producing the most powerful consoles, Nintendo have succeeded by innovating, by creating new ways to see videogames. And the 3DS is no different – besides the glasses-free 3D gaming, every console is capable of 3D photography (with video recording to be added in November), Augmented Reality and motion gaming with its accelerometers and gyroscope.

Nintendo – great potential

The potential these features have – especially in the hands of Nintendo – is incredible, and I for one can’t wait to see what more they do with them. Will it be enough to keep them safe from their traditional gaming competition, as well as the threat of smartphones though?

We’ll have to wait and see…