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-CONTACT – A FUCKEN CONTACT!

-Get to the shields, I’ll keep the weapons primed. We’ll take their weapon systems out.

-WE’RE DEAD, WE’RE FUCKEN DEAD! MAXIM WAS LUCKY ENOUGH TO BE SHOT IN THE FACE! IT’S VACUUM FOR US!

-Nathan. Calm down. It’s unmanned. Focus on keeping the shields charged and we’ll make it out of here still.

-I FU- I alright. Fucken alright. Shields nominal, missile incoming.

Artiom felt the ship quake as the missile’s blast tore a hole in their shield. With the shield upgrades they’d picked up it must have been a warhead more powerful than any Federation standard ship to ship missile. Fleeing from an enemy fleet and then meeting this monster hulk. An AI from a long dead civilization patrolling the nebula endlessly, for all time.  The odds had never been tipped in their favor from the start – but this- what the fuck?

His fingers tapped the console keys with focused frenzy. Ion blasters first, disable shields, then blast their weapon system. Disable their lasers and those goddamned payloads of death. Nathan was doing a good job with keeping the shields up. They were taking hull damage at a steady rate, but at least the shield generator was recharging quick enough to ward off any critical damage. They might still make it. They just had to manage their power levels carefully.  Cut the power to the medbay, feed power to the weapon systems. Artiom was one with the machine. The movement of his hands churned out red, flashing destruction from the bow of his ship. He was a god. His Kestrel’s laser beams cut a deep swath into the rogue AI’s hull and its weapon systems powered down. 

-Their weapon systems are down, Nathan. We’re taking out their shields.

-Roger!

Gotta be quick. Don’t let it repair itself. Get to work. Artiom keeps his focus primed, feeding a continuous stream of weapons fire on the enemy ship. They’re gonna make it out. One final laser blast. The weapon recharges for what seems like an eternity. Just five seconds more and we’ll turn the AI into space dust. Four. Soon. Three. A flashing light. What is happening? Two, the AI’s missile bay fires. One. Our hull can take it. Zero. Fire. The laser cuts another deep swath into the AI ship causing a chain reaction of explosions inside. 

-Nathan, brace yourself!

The missile hits the starboard hull. Everything around Artiom is flashing red. 

-ARTIOM, FIRE! FIRE!

-I’ve bloody GOT IT NATHAN! Get the extinguisher, go GO!

-Med bay on fire, we have to put it out!

Nathan and Artiom arrive at the medbay with fire extinguishers in hand. The whole room is ablaze. With the training engraved into their bones they quickly seal themselves into the shield bay. Artiom presses wildly at the console venting out the air from the burning compartments. When he looks back to Nathan he notices the streak of red painting a line on the wall down towards where he Nathan is sitting. Something sharp is jutting out from his chest.

-My mum used to tell me about the stars.. They’re souls from …

Nathan’s voice trails off as the last breath leaves his lungs. Artiom is gutted. It doesn’t matter though, there’s shipwide damage that must be repaired. If he waits too long the enemy fleet catches up and they get him, and the information they’re carrying. Artiom starts the repairs. There used to be three of them on the ship but now there’s only him. He spends hours fixing consoles, restoring the power grid, getting the systems back to a somewhat operational state. Last is the weapons bay. Just as he is about to have balanced the power output of the lasers he sees a flashing red message. As an explosion rocks the aft section of the ship he lets out a sigh. Fire. Again with the fucking fires. He runs into the oxygen plant and sees that it’s ablaze. It’s inactive state meaning life support is down, meanwhile the ship is taking catastrophic damage from fire. He must vent the fires. Vent the fires, in the oxygen plant, while there is no life-support. Shit. In the adjacent room to the life-support section he starts the process. Vent air, just enough for the flames to die out. Not too much or there will be no air for him. 

The ship sighs as air is vented out into the dark void of space. Artiom rushes in as soon as the fires have died down and starts his repairs. After some time he starts feeling more strained. Tired. He feels like it’s time to have some rest. Just a tiny little bit of rest he tells himself. He sits down on the floor and looks at a picture of a woman. He can’t quite recall who it is, but it makes him feel safe somehow. 

Day Z 

I woke up on the shoreline of Chernarus. Clothes wet. Trousers filled with sand. Everything a mess. I was near the port and by the time I’d picked myself up from the dirt I could see the giant dock cranes looming over me. The place was deserted. No ships coming in. No people working the lifts. Nothing. 

At first I thought I was alone but when I searched the crane foreman’s office I found some company. It was the foreman himself.  He’d sprayed his brains out on the wall. Real masterpiece. He had a journal too. Kind of like this one but you wouldn’t believe the shit he’d written in it. I took his gun, took his food. There was a small medkit close by too. Figured I was gonna need it. From the looks of it Chernarus was at war again. Times like these you do what you gotta do. Despite my better judgement I decided I’d climb one of the cranes and see if I couldn’t see some signs of life.

Far off past the dock I could see some houses and some movement. From the distance I couldn’t quite make it out, but I decided I’d go have a closer look. Hey, maybe it’d be someone who could make some sense of this mess right? As I was climbing down I slipped on the wet metal of the crane and crashed onto the pavement. Cut myself up, sprained myself  pretty badly. Had to use some of the morphine from the medkit to be able to walk. Not a great start for the day. I started towards the houses where I’d seen the movement and as the morphine kicked in I started feeling a bit better about the situation. That feeling wouldn’t last.

After walking for about fifteen minutes I was close enough to the houses to see what had been making the movement. It was a man in a suit. The weather wasn’t really the type of weather in which you’d expect to see men in nice suits, but then it looked like this man and his suit had seen better days. When I called out to him he started walking towards me slowly. He didn’t respond other than that and his movement was odd. Shambling-like as if his legs weren’t really moved by him, like he was remote-controlled or someone was pulling his legs forward with strings like a puppet. I walked closer slowly and tried to talking to him some more but without any luck. I didn’t even notice at first but in the house to my right there was some movement in the corner of my eye. Before I knew it some yelling madman came charging towards me. He was snarling like a rabid dog and was covered in blood. At the time I couldn’t tell if it was his own or someone else’s but before I knew it he was lying on top of me trying to fucking bite me. I managed to shove him to the side and shot him twice in the stomach. This jolted the other man who in the same rabid manner started running towards me.  Him I shot before he could reach me. War will make people do crazy stuff, and I wasn’t about to be pig-sticked by some goddamned east-bloc dock hand.

I started noticing other people emerging from some of the houses around me so I ran off towards the center of the village and into a shack. I closed the door tothe shack, checked my clip and peeked through a crack in the wall. The people from the village were moving around aimlessly, all remote controlled. I decided I’d try and hide out there in the shack until night time. Figured I’d have an easier time avoiding crazies if they couldn’t see me. God that was stupid. Throughout the whole night all I could think of was the flyers the UN-peacekeeping troops had been handing out on the boat. The front of it said “Welcome to Chernarus.”

Last night I made my debut as Fleet Commander(Henceforth known as FC)

I felt a bit nervous and uncomfortable at the prospect of leading ships for the first time, and I really didn’t feel like I was ready yet. Having lost the bulk of our veterans of the last few months the CEO position was thrust on me rather promptly. Either way, it’s sink or swim, and I gave swimming a try. Albeit with lead weights on my feet and hands, it felt like.

For the roam we had nine participants. For RPSH that is unusual, and it made me quite happy. The fleet was compromised of mostly new people, with perhaps 3 people with over 10 million skill points. This means we had a lot of tech 1 frigates, and not much deeps. Considering it was my debut, that was fine. I wouldn’t have wanted to take out battlecruisers only to have them whelp at the entry system into nul-sec.

As soon as the fleet was assembled we left our high-sec jumpoff point Jarizza. We headed through our old home in Asabona to Sendaya. From Sendaya we jumped into Doril, which is the first system in Curse.  Curse is known for being a real shithole of death. From all the nul-sec areas I have been in, Curse is the most inhospitable. There are Dramiels everywhere, and most of them are very good due to the fact that there are Dramiels everywhere. You don’t go into Curse just for the lulz, if you do, you die. Which is sort of what we did.

As soon as we jumped into Curse, I had my scout go check out our out-gate. As we were holding the gate a HAC, otherwise known as heavy assault cruiser jumped in. It was a Muninn and from zooming inon it I could see it had 720 artillery. So I ordered everyone to burn and tackle it. Burning is basically engaging your afterburners or microwardrives(typically mwds in the case of burning) and barreling towards the target, tackling is getting close enough to warp disrupt or scramble it.

As I was about to shout “Engage at an angle”, I got hit by the arties first volley which took my shields, my armor and put me deep into hull. The issue was that I had clikcked approach and engaged the MWD. This means that I was heading straight toward the ship which means I have 0 transversal velocity to the enemy ship. Which means that the artillery cannons can get a clean hit on me. As soon as I got hit I tried getting my transversal up, but it was too late and the ship’s drones popped me.

At this point we had, hurr hurr, point on the ship and the fleet was engaged. Our Blackbird which is a ship that can ECM jam and make ships unable to lock had been forced to warp out due to him being the first one to be engaged, and thus we couldn’t prevent the Munnin from sending drones on us. This lead to two frigates dying, after which I called a disengage.

Tails behind our legs we fled, went back to Asabona, reshipped and went back to Doril. Once in Doril we had gangs of 20 moving about. So I left FCing to my previous scout as I was gonna check the two outsystems of Doril and see if we could safely pass through. The reason I did this was that I was in an interceptor, which means that I am quicker than the normal frigates and  ought to be able to get way. The first system was camped, so I jumped back into Doril.

When I jumped into the second system I noticed it was camped by a fleet of 10+. As soon as they saw my gate flash they put up warp disruptor bubble, a bubble that basicaly prevents warpdrives within its area of effect, which made me unable to warp away to safety. I tried burning out of the bubble to warp to the sun, and then try to get safe, but alas they had sebod people on the gate which meant I got instalocked, scrammbed, and popped. Even my pod.

A Dramiel was the one to put the most damage on me. Oh Curse.

After that I gave command to the previous scout and told him to get everyone home.

When we headed back to reship we almost popped a Taranis, which would have been neat. Other than that I consider the roam a succesful debut. At least I didn’t whelp the whole fleet, eh!

As of Friday I may be rebooting this blog. I will in lieue of the old game blog format start writing this as a diary of sorts.

I will, as it stands right now, be taking over the helm of RPSH in EVE and become the corp’s new CEO. Thus this blog will be the place where I jot down what I learn, and also where I chronicle the various fleet fails that will occuer.

BobHound

So once again I lost interest.

To remedy this I am looking for co-writers for the blog. An effort to make this into a community type blog thing where great minds meet and discuss the important things in life. Namely games.

So, interested in writing about games once in a while to keep this blog from becoming a refuge for scavengers(the goddamned spam!) and dust devils?

For today, just watch this and contemplate your situation in life.

*update*

I have now finished Octodad. It’s about half an hour long, so instead of me reviewing it for you, try it yourself. Follow the link and download it. You won’t regret it. It was an experience.

Still not feeling swell. Tired and having a hard time eating food. But here come some first impressions of Call of Duty: Black Ops.

I have only had the time to play the first level on singleplayer. And boy is the first level shit. If the rest of the game is gonna be anything like this, it’s bad. The first level starts you off as a Black Ops operative on a mission to kill Fidel Castro. So after a pointless semi-level before the first level you end up in Fidel’s mansion with the intent to kill him. The action I’ve had so far is pretty bad. It’s the standard CoD stuff, except it seems to lack weight. Maybe it’s because you’re in the most uninteresting place ever, killing the most uninteresting non-descript soldiers, ever.

The first level comes off as chaotic and confusing. Confusing because I once died for having strayed too far from my buddies, apparently. I was doing what I thought was rational. Crouching down behind cover. But they wanted me to follow, apparently. And it wasn’t like they it was made immediately obvious that i had to follow them. I assumed I had to follow them, but I also assumed they would be going in a methodical rate, waiting to kill some baddies. So I thought I was doing alright, until I suddenly dropped dead. Not because I was shot, but because the game required me to follow or die. It seems like a totally new way to force the game into the cinematic linearity, without it even being in a suitably awesome spot. It’s also weird, because the spot in which I auto-died was a place where the most logical thing to do since there was gunfire fucking everywhere, was to take cover and shoot some people first. In my opinion, that is. Seems counterintuitive to kill you for things like that. At least give me a goddamned warning first!

Another gripe is that the first level was brown and chaotic. Everything was brown so when the enemies ran around it was hard to follow them. And since there was shooting and grenades all over the place it soon became just a brown blur of things happening. Nothing at all like the crisp action of the previous games. Or well. I must say, what I loved in the previous games were mostly the SAS stuff.

Either way. It’s Call of Duty Modern Warfare, but just not as good.

Ate something funny this Friday. And then Friday night it made me do the opposite of eating it(coming through the same hole as it came in, I.E not the butt). So I was pretty wasted yesterday, and I’m pretty tired today too. Hence no Blizzard post today. Today will instead be dedicated to the wonders of real life. So today I will be doing dishes and cleaning out this den of filth.

I’ll write that piece later. For now, toodles.

I remember the release of Fable 1. Quite clearly, actually. You see, I am one of those people that sat in the Fable chat room on IRC discussing what we were hoping it would be, voting for titles to be implemented into the game and just generally annoying the poor dev assigned to sit in and take queues from us community freaks. I was, to say the least, quite invested in the game.

Then came the release, and it was nothing like the trailers and screenshots had hinted at. That’s not to say it wasn’t good, it just wasn’t what had been promised. Mr. Molyneux of Lionhead has a tendency to go overboard when talking about his games. This is as much a fact in the gaming world as that of Bobby Kotick being a dick. So, he promised a bit more than could be delivered. My main gripe was really always only the lack of an open world, like in Gothic. That was disappointing for me. The game itself was in my experience rather nice. Cozy even.

Lionhead has always been a company that produces games to my liking. They were an ofshoot off Bullfrog who had in their time produced some of my favorite games. This list including: Populous, Syndicate, Magic Carpet and Dungeon Keeper. After their breakaway they went on to create Black & White. A game that I still bloody love. A game that I have also in adult years found that not everyone likes. This always being related to some PC Gamer article and promises made by Mr. Promisemaker. I didn’t even know you couldn’t love it, because it was fucking awesome. I remember being especially in love with the creature vs. creature combat. Those were the days.

Lionhead has a certain tone to their games. B&W and its in my opinion swell sequel is humorous and cozy. Evil in these games, just like with Dungeon Keeper is done with a sense of humor. It’s not really EVIL at all. I mean, you get to kill people indiscriminately, but you’re never staking them through the eyesockets or hanging a father of in front of his child while spilling his guts out. It’s not that evil, it’s just really rude. I can appreciate this sense of humor, and this way of presenting evil. Especially in the way it carried over to Fable.

Fable, despite its shortcomings was always a nice experience. It was never the hardcore RPG I wanted it to be, instead it was sort of an action adventure like Zelda 64, with the addition of some RPG elements. You got to fight with your sword, shoot with your bow(or gun in the sequels) and cast some spells. Your character also mirrored your actions in the world, even if the choices always were quite binary. But it was an experience, and your character felt like it was really yours to play with. You could go all sims if you wanted to aswell. Buying houses, decorating them, marrying, etc. etc. All these elements included made it into a very cozy, immersive, sim like experience.

Running around town having everyone stand agape in awe at you is pretty funny. Barging in on someone sleeping because you own the house is also pretty funny. Fable was good at those moments while being bad at the RPG moments. Storywise they were never any table turners either. But you know, what can you expect from a game where you have the option to fart someone in the face?

Old enough to remember the above picture? If I recall correctly, and I’m not sure I do, it’s from the first Fallout game’s installing process. Could be from the second game’s installing process as well. Fucking hardcore if you ask me. To me it speaks volumes of a genre that’s gone missing from our collective mind. Sort of reminds you of some old heavy metal album cover. Or old games cover for that matter. Both Doom and Duke Nukem featured their protagonists standing on heaps of corpses ready to make a final stand. And here our two protagonists, unnamed vault dweller 1 & 2 standing in the midst of a bleak city-scape surrounded by ghouls. They honestly seem kind of fucked.

It’s all very pulp. And I might not be using the word pulp correctly, but it’s kind of a throwback to the old classic fiction. It makes me think of writers like Ron E. Howard who wrote his Conan stories in these short-story magazines that came out on a monthly basis. The stories were episodic or standalone, and these magazines (like Strange Tales or Weird Tales), whether they were fantasy or sci-fi, had a tone of weirdness. And by weirdness I mean that they were strange. Science-fiction before Star Wars was as I understand it, odd. I think we who grew up post Star Wars have a concept that sci-fi means future and but-in-some-sense-real. That the elements of sci-fi have to be plausible and relatable to the real world. So far as I understand, this was not always the case back then. Bear in mind, I wasn’t even an idea in my parents’ head when these monthly short-story magazines were printed. Also bear in mind; I am being highly speculative in the musings that follow.

I can only assume that the people at Black Isle Studies had grown up with these strange tales as well as with Star Wars. And I believe that you can see the influence of this old paradigm in writing in Fallout 1&2. Because let’s face it. Fallout 1&2 carries itself very differently from Fallout 3. This must in part be because the medium in which the story is presented has changed. It’s no longer an RPG seen from the so called isometric top down view. It’s a first person RPG in which all contact with people is done face to face. It’s a game in which every word of dialog is spoken. It’s a game which focuses on you being the vault dweller. This last point may be something I have read into the game. It’s something that can be more difficult to tell in first person games because of the perspective. You have games like Metro 2033 where it’s very clear that you are playing Artyom, and that it’s not up to you to be anyone else than him. You may control some of his actions, but you’re always him. In games like Fallout 3 you are never confronted with a personality other than the one you give to the character. In Fallout 1&2 this isn’t true to the same extent. For me that probably has the most to do with the perspective. You are always looking down at your character while you are leading him or her to the destination at hand. And this has quite drastic changes in the way the narrative is delivered. For me the perspective lends itself easier to a “he/she said this line I chose” narrative than the “I chose to say this” that I believe exists in Fallout 3.

It’s not really the mechanical aspects I want to talk about today. They are what they are and have benefits and drawbacks of their own. I want to relate this post to the ever so vague word vibe. Vibe doesn’t really mean anything on its own. It’s a stupid word that could be replaced with atmosphere, setting or other vague words like feeling. A good game always instills you with a feeling. And if you’ll indulge me, it has a certain vibe. The first Fallout games to me seemed to draw very heavily on a certain kind of vibe to produce the atmosphere that is so prevalent in the games. To relate to the nonsense I wrote above, it’s my guess that they drew their inspiration from source material that was very pulp. On some levels it becomes very obvious. Fallout is set in a post-war apocalypse that is set a long time after the great resource war that culminated in 2077 with the destruction of the entire world (All lore statements can be referenced to the Fallout Wiki). The nuclear war, and in that respect the themes and appearance of the game draws from the cold war and early propaganda from America during that time. And it was also in that time that magazines like Strange Tales were in circulation. But other than that I feel that the vibe that Fallout projects doesn’t always stress realism.

It’s more a strange journey through a wasteland in which people struggle to survive. This feeling of weirdness is conveyed through the various instances of dark humour in the game. These can be found scattered like easter eggs in the general world, but also in the various special encounters you get while travelling the world map. For my experiences with the first Fallout games the humorous tone was very important just as the bitter realities of the wasteland were important. And let’s not forget: The wasteland in Fallout is unforgiving, bleak and without much hope. And that’s exactly why it needs that hint of weirdness.

This is where Fallout 3 fails for me. That familiar vibe from the first games is lost and your journey through the wasteland seems simply bleak. Don’t get me wrong here, I do love Fallout 3, but not for the same reasons that I love Fallout 1&2 for. And it might be that I simply like Fallout 3 because it echoes the Fallout setting, albeit not as well as the previous installments. There is something inherently cool about life after the apocalypse, and Fallout 3 rides this wave. And it does so well with all its shooting and exploring. But, and here’s the kicker, not as well as New Vegas.

New Vegas fails in many technical aspects. It’s buggy and a bit wonky at times. It shares the awkwardness of character presentation with the spoken dialog of Fallout 3. But it is much more a throwback to the wasteland of Fallout 1&2 in terms of vibe. It has that dark sense of humor. The various factions are presented in a manner that speaks to me more than Fallout 3. The Brotherhood of Steel for example in Fallout 3 felt like a sterile shell of a faction. Whereas it in New Vegas feels a helluva lot better. And it’s not even in the main storyline. New Vegas nails the feel of the raiders, the gun runners, the super mutants. Everything feels a lot more Fallout than Fallout 3. It’s my opinion that this comes from the fact that New Vegas makes a serious attempt to connect the experience to Fallout 1&2. Fallout 3 built upon the setting, but drew little from the history created in the previous games. New Vegas lets you build a story of your own, but it also references a TON of things from the games that came before it. Like with the gun runners from the Boneyard in Fallout 1 who have a booth outside Freeside. The Van Graffs who sell energy weapons in Freeside will if questioned talk about their own expansion, but also talk about how it has been halted by the strong presence of the gun runners. These things, and how New Vegas connects various points of interest throughout the game and the previous games makes New Vegas feel like a more authentic experience, in terms of attention to detail and vibe, as opposed to Fallout 3.

If I were to describe the vibe I’d call it honest. New Vegas seems to inherently know that it’s Fallout, and it always makes sure to stay true to that legacy. Fallout 3 seems to make an attempt to be Fallout, without really grasping what that means. I may not know what that means either, but I feel like New Vegas is the sequel that should have followed the second game.


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