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Archive for the ‘Gaming’ Category

Brief Update

For those of you who have subscribed to this blog for the Sci-fi D&D content, I have now enabled a subscription widget for http://www.ironwolfgames.com. Sorry for the delay – there are a lot of things I take for granted on this blog which have to be added manually on the self-hosted one. I post content there as I get it finished, so if you haven’t checked it out in a while, be sure to head on over.

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Just a reminder that all of my D&D related posts are now located at my website, www.ironwolfgames.com. I’ve posted two new classes since making the switch – the Freer and the Officer. Also look for the updated version of the Ace and probably something on Sci-fi armor for 4th edition later this week.

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I’ve been adding content for a while, but I think I can finally say that my solar system generation lens is complete. To commemorate its completion, I’ve tossed together a tracking sheet, simple and free for anyone to download and use in their games. It’s nothing fancy, but I figure I’ll save the pretty version for the book.

Enjoy!

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Permanent Link

So today I was left with an inordinately long wait at the doctor’s office. Once I had exhausted all other options for amusing myself (Reading my tweets, playing puzzle games, and contemplating on the manufacturing process of the artwork on the office wall) I decided it was time to do something useful with myself and jotted down a couple spaceships. I got about five of these done before it was my turn, but these three are the only ones I was satisfied with.

Sketch 1

After that was done, I had a quick lunch and was off to work. Now, making decals in a shopping mall is all well and good for keeping you busy most of the time, but it’s February. Even people who had money left over from Christmas have spent it by now, and of those who haven’t, most won’t be thinking about decorating their car until it’s warm enough to actually apply a decal without scraping ice off the windows first. So I was once again left with little to do. Fortunately, I do work at a decal shop. That means Illustrator is one of the (slightly) less expensive pieces of software on my hard drive.

Illustration 1

Surprisingly, my finished product versions of the ships turned out remarkably similar to the original sketches. I think I’ve finally found my way around this obnoxious illustrating barrier. The same thing happened on Tuesday when I was working on a logo – I got exactly nowhere on the Illustrator version until I had a passable working sketch drawn on a sheet of paper. It didn’t have to be perfect – and was far from it, really – but the basic shapes had to be down before I could make that creative leap.

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Even though I haven’t blogged in a while, I’m still around. I just haven’t done anything truly blogworthy in a while. I’m not running any campaigns or actively working on any projects…at least, not until this morning. My shiny brand-new (ok so it’s been sitting on the back-burner for a while, and just barely became presentable) project is called Building a Star System, and is a newly-published lens on Squidoo. It’s a tool to help people build planetary system models for fictional solar systems.

Now before you get all excited, it’s not a fancy 3D model generator, or anything like that. Rather, it’s a series of charts and dice rolls that will get you off the ground if you find yourself suddenly in need of a random star system. It can also be used to fine-tune an existing system you’re just not satisfied with, and eventually it will assist you in fleshing out your worlds as well. Currently it can do everything from choosing a star type to determining how many moons your planets have. It’s a great starting point, and there’s lots more to come.

I also did a little updating of some other lenses, particularly my most popular lens, How to Get Rid of a Kink in Your Neck. I’m amazed at the traffic it’s pulled in so far – it always comes up on the first page of google search, too. If I could post regularly, maybe I’d pull traffic like that to the blog again too…

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Earth Eternal screenshotSo I’ve been following this one since the early development stages, but somehow I missed the open beta announcement a couple months ago. I guess they didn’t figure it was important enough to be the newsletter headline or something…

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to take a closer look ever since I surfed over there a couple of weeks ago and saw the new look of the website. The other day I took a break from my various projects to check it out.

Understand that my only real MMO experience is from from World of Warcraft (Air Rivals doesn’t count – it might as well be a single player) so all comparisons will be vs. WoW.

The first major difference is the preparation time. I’ve been loathe to reinstall WoW because of the 3-5 hours during which I’ll be unable to use my computer for any other purpose. Not only that but you have to check on it every five minutes in case it finishes early or has a question to ask you. Not Earth Eternal. Not by a long shot. I spent maybe ten minutes downloading and installing the plugin before I was ready to play. Probably closer to 5.

Earth Eternal runs in your browser. How cool is that?

So ten minutes in and we’re already building our first character. The race choices are pretty unique. I’ve been following the development, as I said, so there weren’t too many surprises, but if you’re unfamiliar with Earth Eternal, you should know that all the races are furries. There’s quite a wide variety, from rabbit to wolf to hawk, and there also seems to be a minotaur and some sort of cyclops.

Character customization is an interesting mix of varied and restrictive. There are only 3 faces and 3 body types to choose from, but you can color your eyes, fur, feathers, face, beak and highlights almost any color you wish. You can even change your height. Then you get to pick a first and last name, with a random generator full of ideas to help you out. (Not that I ever needed help picking a name – Lironah is almost always available).

The combat tutorial is brief but intuitive. The quest system is strangely familiar…as are all of the movement commands. One definite advantage over WoW is the quest tracking. Not only does it tell you where to go, complete with arrows, but when you get there it unobtrusively reminds you what you’re supposed to do there. Without having to open up your quest log in the middle of nowhere while trying to watch your back.

The combat and spells system are very familiar, though an explanation of how to use the points you get at each level wouldn’t be too far amiss. I like the extra toolbars; the one-click access to them saves me about the same amount of time as the quest tracker does. I also like the repeatable quests – they give you tokens which can be spent right there at the billboards, though the starting area chests all seem to contain the same 4 items.

Enough about the pros. Let’s hear some cons or things WoW does better. First off is the factions. I’m a big PVPer, and not having an enemy faction to fight just makes my heart cry. I do miss some of the NPC banter, though I could see how adding it back in would kind of kill the browser-based play idea. I haven’t seen any signs of professions, which might actually be a good thing for some people, and the only things akin to potions I’ve seen yet have to be bought with ability points and require purchased reagents.

That brings me to another big con – the imbalance between people who are willing to spend money on the game and people who aren’t. It’s one thing to be able to buy cool equipment without having to spend hours looking for rare drops, but buying ability points? That seems totally unfair to me. Sure, I know it’s just another way to recoup their production costs and pay back their investors, but it feels like…buying WoW gold, or something. Or hacking your account. Just feels too much like cheating for me’ to be able to spend money to become tougher than the other players.

Last big con is that while the game allegedly (I just overheard this and haven’t confirmed yet) has no level cap, the quests only go up to level 50. It’s not so much a game con as it is a playing in open beta con, but it still counts.

I’ll go back and take another peek next week, and see if it really balances out the 5 hours to install WoW.

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