I journeyed through the giant Head Of Sal…
Where I accidentally released a demon…
And am being hunted by a monstrous wolf-beast…
At my gaming heart I’m an explorer, but a lazy explorer. If you say to me “Here’s the whole universe to explore!” I will think this is a good thing. If you then also add that to do this exploring I will have to spend a long time flying through boring black space and along the way there will only be a slim chance I will witness anything more exciting than a nice sunrise over a gas giant then I’m going to suddenly be much less inclined to explore. That kind of exploration has all the hallmarks of grinding and we all know by now how I feel about bloody grinding, don’t we.
Now in the many fan eulogies of Elite & Frontier I have heard how people would just set off to cross the galaxy or to find generation ships and asteroid hermits and whilst these have all sounded like great fun as a concept, the execution did not. Mostly they are tales of people wasting hours just going nowhere or, more accurately, finding nothing except more procedurally generated empty black space and that is, frankly, a dull waste of my time as I said here.
I don’t want Elite Dangerous (*name shudder*) to be like that. I want to explore it and I want it to want me to explore it. How can Frontier Developments do that? Well I think a little like this…
This is only a flavour of what it will take to keep me exploring and I have no idea if the Devs are considering anything like it, but if they are not and they just expect people to fly off for three hours of pretty screensaver time then I know that I’ll be bitterly disappointed.
In my last post I talked about how I wanted to see an Earth-centric universe in Elite Dangerous and I was really pleased to hear I will be getting just that when the game is released in early 2014. If you pop over to the official YT channel, this fourth fiction diary video mentions it just at over six minutes in and to know that the Federation HQ is on Mars is just amazing. All in all, I’m pretty sure I’m going to be a Fed now
And my desire to play a Fed leads me nicely on to my next ‘what I want to see in the game’ post. Realistic humans, that’s what. What do I mean be that? Well, simple really. Too often in sci-fi the humans are abstracted to the point where they are pretty much aliens. Their motivations, actions and reactions are so far removed, usually due to the nature of evolving societies and advancing technology, as to bear little resemblance to what I recognise as human. At that point I lose interest in them because I can no longer connect to them and unlike fantasy I read sci-fi precisely to connect to a concept of own potential future.
So when it comes to the humans in Elite Dangerous I want them to be more like us with the same drives and fears, the same desires and goals but I still want them to be more exotic. I want them to be transhuman, altered by tech and by genetic engineering, but fundamentally still human at their core.
Both The Federation & the Alliance sound like my kind of people. a union of utilitarian capitalists on one hand and a loose collective of trading partners on the other – these are people I can understand. But then you come to the Imperials well then those fellas suddenly start looking more like aliens than they do humans, but given that there are only three intelligent races in Elite one of which is humans, another is extinct and the third may not be in the game at release, it makes sense to have something of the ‘other’ in the mix.
Still, no matter how cool Imperial ships are, there is no way I’m handling slaves so it’s the Fed for me
Wowsers! Kaalus had put island into the upcoming 1.22 release of SC! He’s also put in boats, better water, mechanics to handle stamina and sleep, and a crap ton of new animals but for me the improved terrain generation that results in islands is the winner
Read more on his blog here: http://kaalus.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/terrain-goodness/
In in London again and whilst working on my papers for tomorrow’s meeting I noticed a hell of a lot of unclaimed Portals around St Pancras & King’s Cross so I grabbed my phone and went for a late evening wander.
I now own most of King’s Cross, all of St Pancras and a few bits of the British Library
Tomorrow I think I’ll try and reclaim the small park I took over in my last visit. Wish me luck!
I’m pretty excited about the new Elite game due in early 2014, partly for nostalgic reasons but also because I am pretty bored of fantasy right now as the last three years have been very Tolkien and Guild Wars heavy in both my gaming and reading. But for the past six months I’ve been reading nothing but sci-fi (mainly hard sci-fi with a little opera thrown in to remind me why I get bored with space opera so easily*) and now I’m craving a play experience akin to the brilliant Transhuman Space role playing universe. I think Elite 4 (given the piss-poor name of Elite: Dangerous, what were they thinking?) will be my best hope of finding it.
So what exactly do I want from Elite (that’s what I’m calling Elite 4 now – it’s always going to be just Elite to me). Well that’s simple… but complicated too. Let me explain.
Firstly I want a human-centric universe with Earth at its heart. Of course I want human colonies, I want humans to have spread out for light years in all directions, but Earth should still be special to them. This might be unrealistic given how difficult it might be for one planet to stay relevant in such a diaspora but I’m not asking for Sol 3 to be a galactic capital yet neither do I want to see it a nuclear ravaged wasteland or forgotten back-water. Earth may diminish in political power as we take to the stars, but it’s where we crawled out of the oceans and up into trees, where we founded the notion of civilisation and fought again and again to impose and defend it. How can humans take to the stars and forget the wondrous beauty & ingenuity of everything we have built and created here? And what about all the amazing things we will make here by 3300? Are we to assume that the planet becomes denuded of its artists, its humanitarians, its creative geniuses? No, if we are to build on what I firmly believe is the obvious fact that, taken as a racial planet-wide whole, the human species is continually improving and working hard on making sure we don’t blow ourselves back into the stone-age then there is every reason to suspect that by 3300 Earth will be a target amazing planet indeed and I want to see that. I want to explore the wonders not only of the human universe, but of the human home world. I want to fly around the whole world and land in the cities that have grown and spread with another millennia of human ingenuity. I want to skim the clouds above Britain and swoop down to land in London and Manchester and Edinburgh. I want to visit home.
I know Elite won’t have planetary landings at launch, but as long as the Earth hasn’t been forgotten and confined to the rubbish dump of history, I’ll be a happy Burro.
In my next post on what I hope to see in Elite, I want to look at human behaviour and motivations. I think I’ll use the phrase “keeping it real” at some point
* Rainbows End & Embassy Town were brilliant, Consider Phlebas less so and The Human Division a fun ride somewhere between those two poles.
My Ingress client updated overnight and I’m now on v1.30.2 and it’ a sprightly wee thing indeed! Gone are the large screen-covering windows and in are small pop-up toasts messages informing you of stuffz. Also the hacking animations are pretty slick now with a more firework-y type pop of particles and wee 3D icons whizzing about – it’s all very pretty
Here’s a video showing the changes from this great site: http://decodeingress.me/2013/07/02/video-ingress-scanner-v1-30-2-update/
The Smurfs didn’t manage to take all my portals back yesterday so I went around at dinner and claimed back what I could and took a few new ones for good measure. I had just sat down at my desk when my phone huuwuumed to let me know someone was attacking my newly gained gains. I opened up the scanner just in time to see the one portal I can sometimes reach from my desk (the fickle gods of GPS willing) being attacked.
The fickle gods were indeed willing and I hacked right back in and so began an Epic Battle of Epicness! As he took down portals I threw them back up, as he smashed in shields I lashed more on. I sucked up all the XM I could and broke into power cube after power cube to keep up with the dizzying speed with which he attacked my portal until I received a message from my enemy.
“OK, I’ll let you keep that one :)”
I had won and, being honest, it was a hell of a thrill
This is a filler post, I’ll not lie to you. I have a post about Elite half done and I can’t seem to finish it and that led me to thinking about what I’m playing, and not playing, at the moment.
Second Life: Nope, I can honestly say that I never even think about this game now. Sometimes I wonder what kept me in there for so long but then I remember all the fun I had in Murray and with the TSMGO guys and in Kahruvel and the answer is obvious
LOTRO: Holy crap no! This game I don’t mids in the slightest. Nasty grindy thing.
Guild Wars 2: I haven’t played this since November now and I don’t really miss it which is still a source of some surprise to me.
Minecraft Pocket Edition: The last update (0.7.0) didn’t really do it for me so I haven’t picked this up again. I might do once Realms goes active but that rather depends on how much server access costs.
Survivalcraft: Nothing is really grabbing me about this any more. The last update didn’t float my boat and the upcoming one isn’t making me tingle either. Maybe it’s something I’ll come back to, but I’m not so sure given my track record for leaving games and not looking back.
Borderlands 2: Oh boy, I’m loving this game. Nuff said. Apart from Handsome Jack is amazing and Claptrap’s bistro dubstep is brilliant. wub wub wub wub.
Ingress: Silly escapist fun, I’m enjoying this more than I thought I would ever have done but it really makes me wish for a fuel cell battery in my phone
Carmageddon: I bloody loved this on the PC many moons ago and now I have a version of it on my tablet. A riot of bad taste
Elite Dangerous: Now this is the biggie I’m looking forward to, but more of that in a future post…
What are you playing right now? Leave a comment below. Or don’t, it’s OK either way, I’ll still love ya