Thursday, February 23, 2017

Project 14 - Sketch Fiction - Sector of Interest : Wrap Up

Well, I've managed to write all six of my planned sketch stories. I'm disappointed it took me so long to do what was supposed to be a few days worth of work basically, but it's done. Hopefully I'll revisit a project like this soon and maybe do it a little more like I was originally envisioning. In the mean time, however, I'm really happy to say that I've finished Project 14.

Sector of Interest

“Sector Control, this is Bulk Hauler TMS-M884MXHQ. I am exiting jump-space from gate 5417-a into your zone of control."

"Good morning, Hedge Queen, we have your on our boards. Good to see you again.”

"Thank you Control. My Nav-model has synced, can I get a course to the Loading Station Six?”

"Confirmed, HQ. Sector-Nav will transmit."

“Thanks, control. Anything interesting going on out here?”

“Nope, HQ, you’re not that interesting and neither was the hauler eight hours ago. I’m guessing the hauler in eight hours won’t be that interesting either. Mail courier might be interesting at least.”

“Oh that’s right, I almost forgot. The courier had some engine problems and the Station Master at Hai Shen gave us the mail packets to pass on to you guys here.”

“Huh, good to hear then HQ. Data or physical as well?”

“Both, Control. I can transmit the data once we’re in one-hop range and I’ll get Johny to run over in the tender and pass the physical packet over to you guys. Looks to be about 6 cubic meters.”

“Rodger, Hedge Queen. Sector-Nav will transmit a solution for the tender too. Stand by.”

“Thank you, Control. I’m glad we get to be interesting after all.”

“Don’t hold your breath, HQ. We have a pretty high standard of interesting out here.”

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Project 14 - Sketch Fiction - Neighbours

This is the fifth of the six sketch stories.


They sound that fucking klaxon whenever a ship is going to drop. All it does is scare the cows, and let me know that the cows are going to be even more scared in about a half an hour, when a damned space hulk drops on our heads.

The land was dirt cheap. Is dirt cheap. All for 0.8% chance (per landing) of falling debris hitting the farm and just a 0.00013% chance of catastrophic explosion. So now I’ve got a great plot of land, with neighbours that pull a spaceship out of orbit twice a week and then smash it to bits.

Usually they’re pulling down ancient bulk haulers, giant asteroid cages with jump drives that basically fall apart on their own as soon as they’re down well. Sometimes it’s something more interesting, like a tug or  a guard cutter. Every once in awhile they drop something really interesting like a deep space survey ship or a yacht or even a bombardment platform once, but usually it’s just the work-a-day stuff.

It’s more interesting to watch at night, where you can usually see a star come to a stop in the sky and then start getting bigger and bigger. In the day, I just get to wait for a little spec in the sky to grow until it looks like a bird and then a shuttle and then suddenly a giant, hulking, behemoth.

I think it’s the grav-mirrors that upset the cows, but I don’t know why. The mirrors make a high pitched noise that bugs the dogs, but most of the other animals couldn’t care less about them. It’s just the cows. Maybe cows are just adverse to physics defying monstrosities floating in the sky.

If I have the time, sometimes, I’ll walk up to the top of the ridge to watch them. The ship floats down on the grav-mirrors. It’s a little surreal to watch this giant thing that used to move effortlessly through space drop slowly through the air until you’re standing on the ridge above it.  Once they have it positioned, they drop it the last few meters, then they pull the grav-mirrors out and send them back up to hook up to the next ship.

As soon as the ship’s down, they swarm all over it. They run three shifts a day, twenty-four hours-a-day. Whenever they drop a new ship they’re working on it right away. As soon as the last entrails of the last hulk are gone, the next one is dropping right to the sound of that klaxon.

They’re very polite. They’ve dropped “significant’” spaceship bits on the farm four times now. Each time then send a crew right away, hauled off the junk, decontaminate the area and paid me for the crops or the animals killed. Then, six months later, I can go back to using the land again.

That might be the problem actually, herd memory. Sylvie was killed by space junk, heralded by klaxon, so we should all be wary. Mountains shouldn’t float, why doesn’t the human panic? That, or maybe they just really hate the fucking klaxon.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Blog: Video Games of January 2017

I wasn't sure that I wanted to keep tracking the games I played in 2017. Still, in the early days of the month it was hard to stop tracking and it's kinda fun to see the graphs and totals build. So I kept on tracking and now I seem to have tracked what I played in the month of January.

January was a month where I didn't have a strong drive to play anything, so my play spread over a few games.

My top five games (by play time) for January 2017 were:
  1. Marvel Puzzle Quest - For a game I usually play for less than half-an-hour a day, it's a little surprising that this is my post played game of the month. That being said a few minutes a day builds up over time and between time spent commuting on the bus and a few quite minutes in the office here and there it's been really easy to play.
    As I said before they do a good job of keeping the game interesting and updated and every time I play I feel rewarded (even without putting in money) and for a very simple game it's continually interesting and fun to play.

  2. EarthBound - I started playing this in December (thanks to the WiiU Virtual Console) as part of my SNES Nostalgia. That being said, as you might know from a few other posts, I never played EarthBound as a kid. Who want's to play a game that stinks ... or an RPG that doesn't have swords in it (yeah I was a dumb kid).
    I think though, that this is a game well arrived at as an adult who has played games for a long time. It has a lot of concepts that really resonate more as an adult than it ever could have as a kid.

    I've also been motivating myself to play so that I can read the Legends of Localization: EarthBound book without spoiling myself. The book is a fantastic look at video game localization and I highly recommend it and the first volume in the series.

  3. Civilization VI - Civ VI doesn't grab me as much as I think it should. It also doesn't really have the "one more turn" hold that I remember other games in the series having. It may be that I just haven't hit the right mindset or that unupdated with DLC Civ VI is still a little thin on material. I am enjoying it, and it still reminds me of the good-old-days playing Civ, but it doesn't really give me good days playing Civ right now.

  4. Recettear - This game is weird. It's not that well produced, although not terrible and it turns out that the best way to play it is to ignore one of its main mechanics. Still, playing the RPG shop keeper is pretty fun. It could be way more in depth or dynamic, but it's still sufficiently fun to play that I've really enjoyed pulling it out to play.

  5. Mario Golf: World Tour - Other than MPQ, Mario Golf remains my in office, lunch hour break game (you can't play it on the bus, you need to be more precise). It has great tactillity and it's really satisfying to play when you're playing well (and super frustrating when you're playing badly). I feel like it could have a deeper online experience (or a better explanation of the online experience) and I wish it had a little bit more of the Game Cube's course design. It's really enjoyable in short bursts.

Here's my total play time chart for January 2017:

And here's the total times I've played over the month: