Posts Tagged ‘ video ’

Countdown to New Vegas

If you been hiding under a rock somewhere, you might not know that Fallout: New Vegas comes out tomorrow.

Fallout 3 exceeded all my expectations and this installment promises to be better.

See you on the wasteland!

Next on my reading list

That is, what  book do I buy next?

Do I go the U/F route with the new release of Kelly Meding’s As I Lie Dead?

I recently read Changes and it was good, as was Meding’s first book, Three Days to Dead. Maybe it will kick start the stalled Revision/Revising on my on U/F tittle.

On the other hand I pulled an all-nighter just to finish Sanderson’s second book of the Mistborn trilogy, The Well of Ascension, I haven’t done that in years which should tell you how good the book is (review to be posted soon on SuD) so getting The Hero of Ages should cure my epic fantasy itch.

And last but not least there is David Weber’s Honor Harrington series.  A Short Victorious War would certainly put me in a space warfare kind of mood which is the perfect mood to be in when you’re writing the outline(s) for your own space sci-fi trilogy (yes, my head is that big, I’m not surprised you noticed).

Any suggestions?

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Talking epic sci-fi as well as media premiere’s (Kelly’s book as well as the subject of the clip below debut today!) I leave you with this video from Starcraft 2-Wings of Liberty.

Awesom Sauce!

My Game Review: Munchkin The Card Game

The online Urban Dictionary defines Munchkin as:

3) The most annoying roleplayers you’ll ever have to deal with, who characteristically max out their stats, mostly without reprecations (sp?), play to mindlessly kill anything in their paths and boss the rest of your players around, and get as many dots or levels as possible. Most don’t really develop their characters’ personalities.

It also defines the theme of the game of the same name. The goal of the game is to reach level 10 by any means (both foul and fair), as befits its namesake. The game comes with two stacks of cards: Doors and Treasures. The players start with four cards (two of each) and play in a clockwise sequence from whomever rolled the highest number. Then game starts:

1. Pick a Door Card: If it’s a monster you must fight it or run away. You win if your total score (Level + Item bonuses) exceeds the creatures level. If you loose or choose not to fight the monster then you must run away. You successfully run away on a roll of 5-6 on a d6.  Failure means that Bad Stuff happens to you (each monster has a short description on the bottom telling you what that is). Success means you gain a level (or more if the monster says so) and you take it’s treasure.

2. Look for Trouble: If there was no monster, but you have a monster you can play it then, so you can fight it and try to gain levels and treasure.

3. Loot the room: If you successfully defeated a monster then you get to draw a number of treasure card from the Treasure card pile. You can play then right there or save them.

Fighting monsters is not the only way to gain levels. For every 1,000gp worth of equipment you sell (discard) you gain a level, and other cards give you level raises. The thing is that you can only win (reach level 10) by killing a monster or (if they are clerics) by a card called Divine Intervention.

Races and Classes come from the Door pack, and players can choose to be any class or race (and even have more than one with the right card). It may seem like winning this game is easy, but other players can ruin your game by boosting enemies, throwing down curses, stealing treasures or backstabing (last two abilities belong to the thief). Also you can draw curses from the stack which can wipe out your items or even take you down back to the lowest average level among the players. Cooperation is also encourage by the promise of sharing loot (only the player that drew a monster can gain a level) and in the case of Elves, by assisting other players in combat (only one player can assist another, but everyone else can dump on them if they want).

The cards are illustrated by John Kovalic (of Dork Tower fame, well fame among the RPG playing set that is) and are rife with gamer humor such as: Duck of Doom (curse), Lawyer (monster, won’t attack thieves out of professional courtesy), Gazebo (monster), Sex Change (curse), Pantyhose Of Power (+3 item not usable by Fighters) and many others. It is a fast paced game for 2-6 players and with a galaxy of expansions and sets (Munkchin in Space, Superheroes, Horror and Pirates) it won’t get boring anytime soon.

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And no for some more gamer induced humor I present The Gamers:

The End and the Beginning of Time

We have ourselves a new doctor, the 11th in the series. I have to say that I a “new” Doctor Who fan, having only watched (although I was aware off) the 2oth century Doctors. But to be honest, it is a good thing that I didn’t watch any of them before Eccleston took the role. I was not prejudiced by the dodgy FX and 80’s cheesy lines, not that the new series don’t have that mind you I simply wasn’t prejudiced by what came before. So I took the appearance of the Cybermen with glee, was impressed by the Daleks and hooked on Rose hotness (yes, she is hot, live with it!).

Eccleston was good, Tenant was better.

So much better. I like the grit and determination that both showed, but a dark shadow loomed over the 10th Doctor and Tenant pulled it off without a hitch. Plus the romantic involvements felt more organic, especially with Rose. He also played well with Donna whom I grew to love (and miss).

But that time has passed. A new decade demands a new Doctor and a new companion (a hot one too by the looks of it and yes she is ginger which makes her even hotter!).

So good luck to the 11th Doctor and a chance to catch up to a year’s worth of “specials” I haven’t seen yet.

Twisting the Tale

I may have aborted my NaNo attempt but I haven’t given up on the story just yet. Recently I had a problem with a scene, it just felt flat and unexpired until I made changed in the POV-character (using Close-Third Person for this story). Instead of telling the story from the original character point of view I switched perspective. Suddenly the sense of tension returned and with it the energy the scene demanded. It also let the scene ending in such a way that it raised the stakes, which is always a good thing.

Such a simple thing, yet it made all the difference.

And since it is the season, and I am in the mood, here is some Holiday cheer curtesy of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra:

Hardening Sci-Fi without turning it into a fossil

Sci-fi is all the rage these days. Made a sneaky comeback (or not) with Star Trek: NextGen and grew in popularity during the 90s until today. However, it is, by enlarge, on the soft side of the scale (downright mushy if you ask me). In the beginning (somewhere in the middle of of the 19th century) science fiction was truly speculative  fiction. New scientific discoveries accelerated the pace of technological advancement. They in turn opened up a universe of possibilities for adventure in far away places, like Venus, Mars, or the moons of Saturn. When man managed to reach earth orbit, hard science fiction became popular and distinct from the softer fluff of pulp fiction, which came to be known as space opera (as in soap opera).

The authors like Arthur C. Clarke took a hard look at the science in front of them and extrapolated entire universes bound by the laws of physics.  Overtime the science became a straight jacket to story telling and confined sci-fi to a sub-class of hardcore fans. Meanwhile franchises like Start Trek and Star Wars (who turned the concept of space opera upside down) went the other way and opened up the genre to millions of fans worldwide. Yet even after they encouraged a new generation of scientist and technologist to go farther in their fields, they still scratched their heads, “But that doesn’t work that way!

Hollywood sci-fi has gotten so fluffy that all it takes to call something sci-fi is for the producers to declare,  “X IN SPACE” or “Y IN THE FUTURE“. Now not all shows or movies trend that way (recent SW and ST movies not withstanding). A few examples show that you can have a enough science to spice up your narrative without being strap down to a table for a extended session of electroshock therapy at the hands of astrophysicist screaming “THAT IS NOT POSSIBLE!”

Examples include: Firefly (no sound in space, not FTL), BSG/B5 (Newtonian Physics which makes for some cool space dogfights) and a few others (feel free to insert your own examples). By adding a few bits of real science you can break the mold and make your show cool again. Doesn’t mean you have to jettison all the softer parts (artificial gravity, FTL, space dogfights),  especially if you need them to make the story work for you. Just be careful that you keep it consistent and don’t abuse the applied phlebotinum.

In other words, you can still use science to wow your audience without pretending you care for the actual science.

By way of example, look at this short video. If that is not a gorgeous sight perfect for any sci-fi (or even fantasy) story, I don’t know what is:

Web Tools for Your RPG Campaing- Obsidian Portal

I found (via the Penny Arcade news page) a new web based site for tracking and keeping notes about pencil-and-paper RPG campaigns. Its called Obsidian Portal. According to their home page:

Obsidian Portal allows you to create Dungeons and Dragons campaign websites and other tabletop role-playing games. Rather than trying to automate the playing of the game, Obsidian Portal provides tools to help facilitate the storytelling. Every campaign gets a shared blog/wiki to showcase their story, as well as integrated tools to help track NPCs, locations, treasure, and all the other minutae that makes up an RPG. Check out this video for more details.

Basically you can upload background information, maps (in jpeg format) and all the minutia of your current campaign. It need not be a D&D campaign or for that matter an RPG at all (great for fantasy/sci-fi world building) and the service is free (although if you want to use the full features you need to “upgrade”). So far I found it useful if nothing else a backup for my own files in case the worse happens. For example, I uploaded this map of one of the locations for my upcoming campaign (made with the Neverwinter Nights 1 Aurora engine, however my copy of NVW went kaput, so I lost the ability to create more 3D maps!). Feel free check out my campaign page here.

 

And now for some over the top anime action!