Thursday, October 19, 2017

Three Years of Reavers

I just want to point out that Iceland is going to the world cup and the USA isn’t. America has a shit soccer team and star citizen. Iceland: Better at football and space ship games.

~~~ This was a broadcast from asher_elias to reavers at 2017-10-11 02:06:32.634838 EVE ~~~

-Sample of what you get on the Reavers ping list

So we are here at the three years mark of the Reavers SIG.

Reavers forum bee

I remain a bit cloudy on the exact founding date for the group, but middle-ish October works as a general rule.  It isn’t like the hard launch date for a video game… back in the days before early access and whatnot… where there was a line between when you couldn’t do something and when you could.

Anyway, here we are at the third year.  Summaries of the past two years are available here:

As for the last year, the map of null sec has changed some since then.

October 14, 2016 and October 14, 2017 compared

Probably the largest change to note is the alliances that were pushed out of the north in the wake of the Casino War, many of whom landed in space to our east and led to a refactoring of various coalitions. (Also, as I mentioned on Monday, look at LowSechnaya Sholupen losing the same area of space in Fountain two years running.)

Those changes influenced what Reavers did over the last year.

The first Reaver operation I went on after the last anniversary was in December and involved us helping Volition Cult pop an Astrahus that had been dropped in the territory in Catch.  It was a temporary alliance with them against Honorable Third Party.  Thomas Lear led us in our new Sleipner doctrine, getting on the citadel kill, a carrier kill, and an ESS kill along the way home.

In February Thomas Lear again led us in our Sleipners, this time up north into Pandemic Horde space in Cloud Ring, again to contest an Astrahus being anchored.  That went less well as PL dropped some of the newly OP Rorquals and used sentry drones to hit us.  I lost my Sleipner there, but at least I didn’t have to fly all the way home.

Asher led us north later to join in on the fights going on around the Circle of Two Keepstar in M-0EE8.  I had to go back on my own for the kill though.

 

Once CO2 moved south we set up to camp their ratting and mining ops in their new home in Impass.  I killed a lot of MTUs while we were out there.  It was also my first time flying a Stratios and my real introduction to scanning things down to shoot, though mostly I shot MTUs.

In May we all deployed out to one of our favorite locations, H-ADOC in Curse to stir up some fights.  I lost a Cerberus almost right away.  We lingered out there for a time, setting up an Astrahus to work from so we could switch clones/implants at need.  We went home for a bit, but returned again in July.

From there we ranged out into the Great Wildlands with our new Typhoon doctrine to shoot a Silent Affinity Fortizar.  It cost an Apostle but we helped take it down.

I used my MTU scanning skills to blow up a bunch of Fraternity MTUs in the area.  They like to rat and run missions around there and have a habit of leaving their MTUs behind.

Eventually we were called home to Delve.  That run took two days and featured a heated discussion about BBQ sauce, pizza, and other aspects of cuisine.

We were back home to join in on the deployment north to Hakonen.  While that wasn’t a Reavers specific operation at all, it did see wide-spread use of the Reavers Typhoon doctrine.

Reavers however got the opportunity to fly a special doctrine during the fight.  Azure and Argent led a little fleet of us in Atrons fit for ECM Burst operations that we would fling into the midst of the enemy, after which we would hit the burst and warp back to our perches to cloak up. (Ops one, two, and three.)  An interesting new experience, but hell on your sec status.

After that it was time to come home.  I fixed my sec status and flew my Typhoon back to Delve, only to learn that we would no longer be using the doctrine, at least coalition-wide.  It might still be a Reavers thing.  Things were beginning to brew to the east of us… and then Judgement Day hit and the war was aborted.

All of which doesn’t sound like much activity from Reavers.  I know I missed a couple of Reaver adventures, like the flight of the armor tanked Drakes.  But it hasn’t been like the first year of Reavers when we seemed to spend a lot of time behind enemy lines.  Not only has the sovereignty map changed since then, the reality of holding sovereignty has changes as well.  And Asher led a lot more ops around the map over the last year (like this one), they just weren’t Reavers exclusives.

Overall though, that is about as many things as I posted for year two, so I suppose we’re steady.

Anyway, that was my view of year three of Reavers.  We shall see what the future brings.

Gallente Federation Endorses Fart Lighting

It pretty much said that the Gallente celebrate fart lighting in the launcher today.

Oh yeah, blue flames man!

Or maybe this is just a sign of my misspent youth, which occurred before we all had the internet to distract us.  Or encourage us.  I think farts get lit either way actually.

Still, “Blue Flames” brings a number of things to mind aside from flatulence ignition, including a rocket car  a Chevy engine, something half remembered about the temperature of flames, and Quafe ship SKINs.

When I think of the Gallente Federation itself, I tend to think of the color green.

Green, Steel, Rust, and the type of tacky Gold you see on Acura or Lexus emblems

But (heh, butt) if you want the Sapphire Sungazer SKINs despite this unfortunate association in the launcher, they are available now from the New Eden Store.  I’ll have to check them out, but somehow I doubt they’ll be better than the Quafe SKINs.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Fall Movie League – Foreign Domination

Week Seven of our Fall Fantasy Movie League is now in the rear view mirror, meaning we’re past the half way point of the 13 week season.

Way back at the beginning of week seven the picks available seemed to offer multiple possible avenues to success.

 Happy Death Day         $350
 Blade Runner 2049       $237
 The Foreigner           $143
 The Mountain Between Us $99
 It                      $95
 My Little Pony          $84
 Victoria & Abdul        $80
 Kingsmen                $71
 American Made           $71
 LEGO Ninjago Movie      $70
 Marshall                $62
 Flatliners              $34
 Battle of the Sexes     $24
 American Assassin       $9
 Til Death Do Us Part    $7

Happy Death Day, a murder mystery meets Groundhog Day film, seemed to be clear to top the box office and was priced accordingly.  Blade Runner 2049 was only in its second week, so still had potential to deliver at its lower price.  And then there was The Foreigner, a Jackie Chan vehicle that

Any of those three seemed possible anchors for a successful pick.

At its price, Happy Death Day seemed the least likely of the three to be the winning pick, even if it exceeded its estimate, which it did in spades, bringing in $26 million while only expected to hit about $20 million.

Blade Runner 2049 had been predicted to be a slow burn, a movie that wouldn’t be strong out of the gate, but which would sustain its box office over time rather than dropping 50% on the second week.  I calculated that if it could just keep the second week drop to 45% or less, it was a strong candidate.

Meanwhile The Foreigner felt a bit under priced.  At $143 a screen you could get six screens of it, plus a couple of fill ins, and if it exceeded its $10 million estimate by even a bit it would be a strong contender.

The good news, for me, is that I went with six screens of The Foreigner and two screens of American Made, which turned out to be the perfect pick of the week, shared with 415 other players, good for $106 million.

Fall Week Seven Perfect Pick

The bad news is that I picked it on my daughter’s account, my alt account, where I put the pick I didn’t take for my main account.  Wilhelm went with four screens of Blade Runner 2049, Battle of the Sexes, and three screens of American Assassin.

My Fall Week Seven Picks

This was me letting my gut out vote my brain.  I’ve beaten myself with my alt pick three weeks out of seven now.

I was down to the wire deciding which way to jump, and in the last moment I went for Blade Runner 2049 more because I wanted it to do well than because I really believed it was going to make my goal.

And it did not make my goal.  It dropped 53% over opening week, reinforcing the suspicion in the back of my brain that perhaps the cult classic status of the original Blade Runner didn’t mean it was as popular as I thought it was.  A basic projection problem.  I liked it, people who talk about it generally like it, but that did not translate into a mass audience.  RIP my Blade Runner 2049 plan and any hopes of a sequel.

Still, my picks were not the worst in the bunch though… not to be mean… I did worry a bit when I saw Isey and I had identical picks.  The scores for the week went down like this:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $101,436,978
  2. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $98,288,772
  3. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $97,984,090
  4. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $84,946,755
  5. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $72,994,597
  6. Kraut Screens (T) – $72,607,820
  7. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $70,991,190
  8. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $64,869,289
  9. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $64,869,289
  10. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $64,869,289
  11. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $64,294,226
  12. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $66,533,492
  13. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $59,853,529

Meta League legend

  • TAGN Movie Obsession – players from it marked with a (T)
  • MCats Multiplex – players from it marked with an (M)

Ocho and Bel both stopped picking over the last few weeks, so Liore’s league has been dropped from the list since I am the only active player there now.

Those at the top went heavy on The Foreigner, which pulled in $13 million plus was the best price/performer, giving it a $2 million boost, making it worth $15 million per screen.  That is almost as much as Blade Runner 2049.

Past that are the people who anchored on Blade Runner 2049 or Happy Death Day, which came out to be about equally poor choices in the end.  That left the overall scores as follows:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $597,259,405
  2. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $585,837,180
  3. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $552,625,270
  4. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $537,907,722
  5. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $523,575,221
  6. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $522,053,084
  7. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $521,039,080
  8. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $520,856,126
  9. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $496,420,772
  10. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $438,879,656
  11. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $425,994,240
  12. Kraut Screens (T) – $415,521,600
  13. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $254,764,219

Week seven put me way at the back of the pack for the MCats league.  Catching Corr seems unlikely unless he forgets to pick.  Otherwise he generally picks as well as I do or better every week save the first.

However SynCaine and I remain neck and neck in the TAGN league, though both of us had best be wary of Pak who, despite starting a week late, is catching up to us.

And that leads us into Week Eight, which has the following options:

Boo! 2: A Madea Halloween    $411
Happy Death Day              $202
Only the Brave               $201
Geostorm                     $186
The Snowman                  $167
Blade Runner 2049            $128
The Foreigner                $105
It                           $57 
Same Kind of Different As Me $53
American Made                $50 
The Mountain Between Us      $49
Kingsmen                     $47
LEGO Ninjago Movie           $42
My Little Pony               $35
Victoria & Abdul             $31

New on the list are Boo! 2: A Madea Halloween, which doesn’t appeal to me, but I have long understood that there is no accounting for taste, Only the Brave, a wilderness firefighting tale that seems spot on given recent events, Geostorm, a natural disaster flick that seems maybe a bit too spot on given recent events, and Same Kind of Different As Me, for which a pithy summary eludes me.

The top six movies on the list are all potentially anchors.  (Going all-in on The Foreigner would leave $160 on the table, which is never a good plan.)  I am not sure which way to jump at this point.  Boo! is too expensive relative to current estimates while nobody is going to convince me that seven screens of Blade Runner 2049 are a good idea after the current results.  So my own anchor will likely be something in between those two.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Collecting Forgotten Data Cores

After playing EVE Online for this long I have left things laying about all over New Eden.  As I mentioned when we were deployed up to Hakonen, that was close to where I was doing a lot of buying and selling back in the day.  I found piles of unsold stock that had been sitting around since probably 2008, so I listed a bunch of it on the market and have watched it slowly sell.  That isn’t going to make me rich, but it will at least remove some stuff from my assets tally and maybe help some capsuleer.

Likewise, when I had my alt running the Warzone Extraction event I noticed he had some possible assets available.  Basically, the Journal button on the Neocom was blinking (which it seems to do for no good reason now and again) so I opened it up.  There wasn’t anything new there, but I did see that I had five research agents still toiling away for him, collecting points I could redeem for data cores.

Back in the day data cores used to be one of the go-to passive income options.  They’re used for the invention aspect of Tech II production and, I gather from the EVE Uni Wiki entry, are primarily obtained via loyalty points earned in Faction Warfare.  Before then however, you had to use research agents.  You would set up with an agent and then just let the research points pile up until it was worthwhile to go redeem them.  It used to be one of those things that wouldn’t stop if you unsubscribed, so you could come back to the game and have a tidy sum waiting for you from research.

Most of the agents were out in Amarr space, where my alt was running the Warzone sites.  So I sent him back to Amarr to grab a ship with some cargo space to haul data cores.  I wasn’t sure the Drake had the space.  However, he only had a Badger handy, which is a flimsy hauler on a good day.

But I remembered my entosis alt was still hanging around near Amarr in his Nereus, in which he did some of the Alpha Strikes event.  So I rolled him over to Amarr and traded the tanky hauler to my main alt.

Flying the Nereus to Amarr

I even bought the exoplanets SKIN because it looks so good on the Nereus.

Then it was off to collect data cores.  Most of the agents were close to Amarr, and level 2, but one was in low sec space, which is what made me think that the Badger might not be ideal.

There was also an optimum order in which to visit each agent, which I had completely forgotten.  I suppose I could have gone to DOTLAN and used the navigation option there to plot a round, but instead I decided to wing it.  There were five agents waiting for me, four in Amarr space and one in Caldari space, just a couple of jumps from Jita.  I saved the Caldari agent for last, since Jita would be the optimum place to sell.

The run itself was without incident, as 99.99% of high sec flights tend to be.  Even the dip into low sec was without incident despite somebody sitting on the gate when I landed and decloaked.  He let me warp off to the station unmolested.  He was probably going somewhere else.

Picking up data cores from a low sec station

Once I wrapped the last pickup… I had left stocks or tritanium in each station, since when you speak to the agents they want to send you on a mission to retrieve some, which is good for another data core’s worth of research points… I headed to Jita to list them all on the market.

So far the run has netted me about 400 million ISK and there are still some left to sell.  That didn’t exactly make me super space rich.  I won’t be buying a titan this week.  But for somebody whose main income is 15 million ISK ticks ratting in Delve and mechanical parts from PI, that will buy me a couple of doctrine ships.

And then it was back to Amarr to hand back the ship.

Heading into Amarr

I figured I would add that last screen shot because it had a moody, atmospheric feel to it, like something out of Blade Runner 2049.

Anyway, data cores remain a minor passive income activity.  I will have to go check to see how many research points Wilhelm has piled up.

Monday, October 16, 2017

An Azbel in Aridia

I had not been out on a coalition fleet op for almost a month, since the camp of the Keepstar in 68FT-6 that followed Judgement day and the demise of Circle of Two.

But my activity tends to be a reflection of the coalition’s activity.  I am not much for random PvP and gate camps and the like.  I enjoy operations that have an objective, and after the downfall of CO2 there wasn’t much going on with the strategic front.

And then The-Culture started falling apart in Fountain, stepping aside to let coalition allies The Initiative land in their space, which started to stir things up in the central-west of null sec in New Eden.  This also brought The Initiative into conflict with LowSechnaya Sholupen, which ended up losing their space in Fountain as a result.

Fountain as The Initiative moves in

Oddly enough, if you compare the current sov map (from which the above clip was taken) with the one from a year ago, LowSechnaya Sholupen was in the process of losing that very same chunk of space to The-Culture.  Some things never change… or always change… or however you sum that up.

We have had an opportunistic relationship with LowSechnaya Sholupen, or LSH, over time.  During the great retreat from Saranen to Delve they picked off… “sholuped” as it was termed… some careless Imperium capital ships attempting to make the run.   But we have also spent some time allied with the and helped them fend of The-Culture before, cooperating to bust towers and citadels that were encroaching on what they saw as their turf.

However, when things settled down we reset each other, it being more fun to hunt us than to be an ally when times were quiet.  LSH sat in Aridia and picked off people coming to Delve while we were up in Hakonen, and then picked off Imperium pilots attempting to return from the north when that deployment was done.  We shot them, they shot us, nobody thought too much about it.  And then we came into conflict over sovereignty in Fountain and we started hitting their assets.

Or that is my understanding of the situation.  I’ve spent most of the last couple of weeks either at EVE Vegas or playing RimWorld and derived most of that from what I heard on Saturday night.

A Saturday night ping.  A couple of hours in advance a ping went out announcing that there would be a strategic op forming up, with a guaranteed kill mail and a possible fight, at 05:00 UTC, which comes out to 10pm local time for me.    That isn’t all that late, or it used to not be that late.  I’ve become my grandfather, something or an early riser a lot of mornings, so I tend to be in bed at 10pm most nights.  Furthermore, a strat op like that can possibly run for hours and I’d been up since 5:30am local time as it was.  But I had taken a nap that afternoon and there were no plans for Sunday, so I decided to hang out and join in.

At the appointed time a ping went out for a Machariel fleet for the op.  I was already logged in and so joined fleet right away and hopped into my Mach.  I would normally fly logi for an op like this, but I bought a Machariel for a fleet a while back when they were short on DPS and now I am determined to fly it at every opportunity… and there aren’t that many… until I lose it.

Wilhelm Machariel

Our Mach doctrine has a large number of refits included so the first part of any op is getting everybody on board with the fit of the day.  Usually the FC has a link to the fit in the fleet chat MOTD.  Our FC, Dirk Stetille, was a bit behind on that.  Not that it mattered.  People will show up in a Mach fleet and immediately start asking on coms what the fit is without bothering to check the MOTD.  It is one of the annoyances of being in main fleet, people asking questions immediately without checking in the usual places.

Anyway, I got myself fit and undocked.  There I watched the capital fleet under Thomas Lear, which was going with us, undock and start heading out ahead of us.

Sitting on the Keepstar undock

As usual, the capital and sub-cap fleets were sharing voice coms, which adds its own element of confusion when one FC gives instructions that only apply to one fleet but fails to specify which fleet they mean.  Still, despite the usual amount of questions and people showing up late or being in the wrong ships or asking if they can catch up, we did get our act together and get under way in fairly short order.

We moved off to a nearby jump bridge that we would used to get us to 1-SMEB, and from there into Aridia, where we were told to hold and wait.  Of course, some people jumped anyway and the FC had a heavy interdictor put up a bubble around the jump bridge which prevents anybody from using it.  Well, anybody besides interceptors and interdiction nullfied ships that aren’t affected by bubbles.

Held in place on the jump bridge

We stayed there until the capitals got far enough ahead.  Then Dirk had the hictor pilot turn off the bubble and we jumped through and aligned for Sakht and the Aridia region where LSH lives.

We plodded along a bit with the capitals, then were warped to a perch off of an LSH tower that we proceeded to warp to and shoot.

Hitting an LSH tower

We successfully put the tower in a reinforced state.

Tower shoot finished

That immediately led to questions about the kill mail we were alleged to have been guaranteed.  At that point Dirk had to explain that we had indeed formed up more quickly than expected and were actually early for the timer we were planning to hit, so we stopped along the way to reinforce an LSH tower.

From there it was on to the main target of the night, the LSH Azbel in Yahyerer.

Arriving at the Azbel

We landed at a perch as carriers from the capital fleet jumped in with us.  We then warped into gun range of the engineering complex and opened fire.

The LSH Logo on the Azbel

The structure was being gunned by an LSH pilot, but the defenses were not much compared to what we brought.  We were fit for passive tanks and were using projectile weapons, so capacitor draining void bombs were of little use, and we spread out so that other bomb flavors were not much help.  Fighters were launched, but between our light drones and the carriers covering us, those were dispatched quickly.  The Point Defense System managed to catch a few support frigates that wandered too close to the structure in order to tag it and get on the kill mail, but other than that we just shot, reloaded, and shot again.

There was a minor bit of drama, as is usual, about people broadcasting for reps prematurely. (Or broadcasting for shield reps in an armor fleet.)  Dirk asked us not to broadcast until we were down to 60% armor.  That was more damage than anybody in a Mach was taking and so the logi discussion quieted down.

The Azbel itself was worn down until finally it exploded in the usual magnificent blaze, leaving a wreck behind.

Azbel Boom!

Then there was the question of looting the wreck.  The kill mail shows that a lot of capital ship building components dropped along with a pile of fuel blocks.  Thomas Lear brought a Rorqual to loot, but the sheer size of the loot… over 3 million m^3… meant that only a bit could be grabbed.  So we shot the wreck instead, terminating what was left of LSH’s dreadnought construction operation.

As we were heading out a Raven had the ill fortune to stumble upon us as we were heading to a gate.  He managed to jump just in time, but a few people ran him down and caught him, giving us our only non-structure kill for the night.

In the wrong place at the wrong time

You know that stumbling into 300 Goons in a system has to be a panic moment.

From there the capitals started back towards Delve while we hung about covering their departure.  At that point Dirk said that anybody under 60% could broadcast, and I think we all had some armor damage.  You could see some on almost every Mach.  Dirk said he was mildly impressed that so many of us could hold off.   We were then going to head back home ourselves, but first he had a couple more targets of opportunity for us along the way.

First was another tower to reinforce.  This went more quickly when another group of caps and supers showed up to add their firepower to the mix.  There was a moment of comedy when two Leviathan titans bumped on landing and went flying off.  It wasn’t a huge bump, but they went pretty far off from the rest of the caps.  But their firepower meant that the tower was reinforced in short order.

Second tower reinforced

The, finally, there was one last tower.  This one had been reinforced earlier in the day, but had so little stront in it that it came out that night.  So we headed to that with the capitals along as well and blew it up.

A True Sansha’s tower coming apart

With that second kill mail in hand, it was time to head home.  Fortunately Delve was only a few gates away.  We had gotten participation credit already, but Dirk gave us a second one as the three hour mark was upon us.  And that wrapped things up for the night.

We will see if there is more to do in Aridia or if LSH will come to some accommodation with us.

Meanwhile, screen shots from the op collected up in a gallery.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Honest Game Trailers – Pokemon Sun and Moon

Honest Game Trailers continues its journey to review every release generation of the core Pokemon RPG series.

More blunt that usual about Pokemon being essentially the same damn game over and over, but fans buy them over and over as well, so I guess repetition isn’t much to complain about given the success.  I know I’ll be buying Pokemon UltraSun & UltraMoon when it comes out next month.

For those dying to see previous entries in the series, here are the links:

Friday, October 13, 2017

Honest Trailers – Blade Runner

With Blade Runner 2049 out it was inevitable we would get an Honest Trailers response.

I have to admit that they aren’t exactly wrong on some of those points, but back in the 80s when I saw it in the theater (at the Varsity Theater, when it was the New Varsity and they used to play movies after their first run) a lot of the appeal was the strange, semi-familiar but futuristic atmosphere and cross-cultural melting pot of LA.

And then there was Spaceship Warlock that totally played on that vibe back in the day.

Of course, there is a Cinema Sins Everything Wrong with Blade Runner video on YouTube as well.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

RimWorld Ate My Gaming Time

I mentioned RimWorld back at the end of the Steam Summer Sale this year as one of the games I picked up.

It had been on my wishlist for a while as something interesting to look into, but the early access label kept me at a distance until I saw SynCaine’s write-up on it.  That was enough to flag it as safe to buy, but even a little while with it told me it was a game which needed some time devoted to it, a good game to while away the hours with once the weather turned chill enough to have a legit reason to stay inside.

Now, as the nights have grown longer and the weather a bit more chilly, I have finally gotten around to RimWorld.

My elevator pitch for the game is that it has all the sticking power of early SimCity at a more micro level.  Like SimCity it moves along constantly (though you can pause or speed things up) and you don’t control the people in the game directly.  Instead you setup tasks for them to do.  And, of course, keeping them happy is important lest they face a mental breakdown which, best case, will have them huddled in a corner for a while.  If they have the pyromaniac trait they might start setting fire to everything instead.

The game itself looks somewhat like Prison Architect and Escapist 2 and probably a few other indie games with stylized characters.

The default scenario starts off with three people in a wrecked spaceship landing in their survival pods on a semi-tamed planet, a world on the rim of explored space.  Once down on the planet your three stranded characters have limited survival gear so must setup a camp in order to survive.

In the first shelter built

Each character has certain skills (e.g. shooting, melee combat, cooking, crafting, medical, etc.) they bring to the mix, but nobody is strong all over. (Though skills improve through use, so that person who is only level 1 in cooking may become a chef some day.)  They also have some traits, things they enjoy, things they will never do, biases and weaknesses.

That first mix with three characters is pretty vital because once you are down you’ll need to build shelter, defend yourselves, and start working on a food supply.  Wood will get you shelter, beds, and some covered storage, while the bits and pieces from the ship will let you setup some basic electrical network.  With electricity the first thing I always build is a freezer to store food indefinitely.

I tend to over-focus on food.  But the first few runs food became a problem, so now I end up with excess rice and potatoes.  You can hunt as well, but there is a bit of risk in that and you need a butchering table to process the prey into raw food to be cooked and skins for clothing, so I start with rice, which grows quickly, along with harvesting the local berries.

Another setting you get at the start of the game is placed in the context of telling the story of your adventure.  You can choose what sort of story it will be.  You can have a tale where nothing bad ever really comes your way, or when events like packs of wolves or raids by nearby settlements come at regular intervals, all the way up to facing a series of ever more powerful kaiju attacking your base.

Well, maybe not kaiju, though there are a lot of mods out there for the game, so there might be a kaiju option.  There is certainly a Star Wars option… but when there are mods there is always a Star Wars option.

Meanwhile your characters need to go on surviving day to day while you try to keep them happy and on task.  Their mood and ability to go on are keyed into what is going on.  Some things are easy, like keeping the housing area clean.  Living in a dump is depressing.  So it having your sleep disturbed, so you have to split up sleeping quarters to make sure the early risers don’t end up next to the night owls.

And then some of your characters are boosted by specific things.

Sammy saw somebody die and it was intense!

If they grow too unhappy they may wander off or have a psychological break.  I had one character who would start setting fires around the base when her mood got too low.

Their relationships count as well.  Sometimes they bond or become lovers or hate each other and will start fighting and need medical care.

And then there is their past history.  I had one guy who had a smokeweed dependence going in, so eventually I grew some and he became happier.  But then other characters started smoking too and I ended up with one guy who would go off and binge on the stuff for a day at a stretch.

Likewise I grew hops to brew beer and ended up with a character who ended up disabled from alcohol abuse.  She had to stay in a medical cot all the time and have people feed her.

So, while there is an end to the game, a winning and losing scenario where you either escape the planet or all die off, I spend lots and lots of time just managing the day to day operations and expansion of the base, managing supplies, setting tasks, dealing with bandit raids, mad animals, and trading caravans, and just generally making sure things are getting done.

Mae is setting fires again while Jova and Queenie are disabled

It all ends up being something in which you can lose yourself for hours at a stretch.  This is probably the first game in a while where I have sat down in the evening to play for a bit then realized hours later that everybody else in the house has gone to bed and I am up way past my own bed time on a work night.  I have played little else over the last few weeks, save for my time at EVE Vegas.

So it has that going for it.  You can just keep going with one crew for ages, adding new people to your group as you find them and expanding.  Even when you suffer a set back, like that time I had everybody bunched up for defense and I found out about grenades when the raider attacking us threw one into the crowed killing two and maiming another, the colony goes on and you can rebuild.

On the other hand, sometimes you hit a dull stretch.  People are happy-ish, but you are just waiting for tech to be researched or you’re short of some supply…  for me usually components for building complex items… and and the random number generator just won’t send a trade caravan your way, and things suddenly lose their luster and you quit.

Still, for a Steam Summer Sale purchase I have already gotten a lot of play value out of it and I haven’t even started exploring the mods available for it in the Steam workshop.

So if you’re into the whole God-like control game where you set your people to work, this might be a winner for you.

Also, hunting with a light machine gun is totally a thing in the game.  Hell, machine guns in general are pretty cool in RimWorld.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Fall Movie League – Pony Fever!

Week six for our fall Fantasy Movie League is done and it quite clearly had a theme.

When I wrote last week’s post I ended up saying that Blade Runner 2049, despite being the big new title of the week, was too expensive, with The Mountain Between Us looking like the most attractively priced film, and marking My Little Pony as a potential dark horse candidate.

Sound words in hindsight.  These were the prices for week six.

Blade Runner 2049        $838
 The Mountain Between Us $150
 It                      $143
 Kingsmen                $133
 American Made           $131
 My Little Pony          $126
 LEGO Ninjago Movie      $109
 Victoria & Abdul        $56
 Flatliners              $44
 Battle of the Sexes     $32
 American Assassin       $26
 The Stray               $16
 Home Again              $14
 Til Death Do Us Part    $10
 Mother!                 $9

There was still some room to work with in the top six movies, with no real obvious right path save for the pricing of The Mountain Between Us.

However, come Wednesday a madness struck, a pony fever took over the FML chat.  Box Office Pro, which had previously put My Little Pony in at about $7 million for the weekend box office suddenly and rather drastically upped their estimate to just about $12 million.

With $12 million as the target all question of who to pick went out the door… if you believed the estimate.  A lot of people did as the pony fever spread, and the movie rose in the research vault from the 9th most popular pick with 22% of players choosing it up to 3rd position with almost 32% of the total, surpassed only by Blade Runner 2049 with 38% and It with 34%.

In the FML chatter forums people were complaining that the week was now a slam dunk and that FML ought to change the pricing after the fact if movies get a sudden bump like that.

Meanwhile, on the FML Slack channel I am on, the discussion quickly got most of us on board with the pony train hype.

The problem here is that estimates are just that… estimates.  They are not reality.  Though, after the Friday night numbers the estimates seemed to be coming true as the Saturday predictions showed the pony special pick… seven screens of My Little Pony and one of LEGO Ninjago being the prefect pick and My Little Pony the price/performance leader.  That would have put all of us well past the $90 million mark for the week.  We were going to leave everybody in our dust.  Stats showed that half of the top 100 players were all-in on ponies.

That was my pick as well, so I was up on that pony high as well.

My Fall Week Six Picks

But the Saturday estimates are like a rock on the coast that has sunk many an optimistic mariner.

Sunday came and the My Little Pony party seemed to be over.  The estimates turned out to be very optimistic and the Sunday numbers hangover was upon us.  Pony dreams crashed and The Mountain Between Us ascended.  In the end the perfect pick was six screens of The Mountain Between Us and two of Flatliners, the latter also getting the best price/performance nod.  138 people got the perfect pick this week.

Fall Week Six Perfect Pick

My Little Pony rang in just shy of $9 million for the weekend, putting it at 75% of its high end estimate.  Bad pony!  No treats for you!

Another victim of MLP fever

Meanwhile the Meta League scores for the week shook out like this:

  1. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $70,041,952
  2. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $69,285,911
  3. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $69,203,767
  4. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $69,203,767
  5. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $69,203,767
  6. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $69,203,767
  7. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $69,203,767
  8. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $69,203,767
  9. Kraut Screens (T) – $66,935,930
  10. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $66,373,163
  11. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $66,196,344
  12. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $47,543,164
  13. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $43,541,793
  14. Ocho’s Octoplex (L) – $26,325,300 [did not pick]

Meta League legend:

  • TAGN Movie Obsession – players from it marked with a (T)
  • MCats Multiplex – players from it marked with an (M)
  • Liore’s Summer League – players from it marked with an (L)

Ben won first place for the week with six screens of The Mountain Between Us, but didn’t have Flatliners, while SynCaine got second with six screens of It.  However that did not put them all that far ahead of the pony crew, who shared the next six positions with identical picks.

Not a big gap there.  It wasn’t a week for one of us to get ahead with a good pick.  Rather the pack stayed mostly in place with bad picks (or no pick in one case) causing people to fall back a bit.

So the overall season looks like this at the end of week six:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $495,822,427
  2. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $487,853,090
  3. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $481,634,080
  4. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $464,913,125
  5. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $461,002,597
  6. Ocho’s Octoplex (L) – $417,219,840
  7. Wilhelm’s Films from New Eden – $458,705,932
  8. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $457,758,858
  9. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $436,092,325
  10. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $398,132,000
  11. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $374,010,367
  12. I HAS MOVIES (T) – $361,124,951*
  13. Kraut Screens (T) – $342,913,780
  14. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $188,230,727

Remember, some people in the (T) league showed up late… though not Isey of I HAS MOVIES who is clearly in the running for the “I voted my heart/gut” award for the season.

There it is, another week down and the next looming with a new set of picks and prices.

Happy Death Day          $350
Blade Runner 2049        $237
The Foreigner            $143
The Mountain Between Us  $99
It                       $95
My Little Pony           $84
Victoria & Abdul         $80
Kingsmen                 $71
American Made            $71
LEGO Ninjago Movie       $70
Marshall                 $62
Flatliners               $34
Battle of the Sexes      $24
American Assassin        $9
Til Death Do Us Part     $7

Blade Runner 2049 got a big price reduction, not only because of it being in the second week but also because it fell far shy of the estimates for its opening weekend, hitting just $32 million instead of passing $50 million.  But even before the estimates from last week were out they were saying they expected the movie to stay stronger than expected over time rather than peaking the first week and then disappearing.

Having seen Blade Runner 2049, I do recommend it, but only if you’ve seen the original.  It might be hard to figure out why some things matter if you have not.  But if you’re into it the 168 minutes go right by.  I plan to go see it again.

But would I anchor my week seven picks on it is the question?  Otherwise I know nothing about Happy Death Day, though 2017 seems to be the year of horror… and not just in the movies… and likewise nothing about The Foreigner.

And even with those three as possible anchors, what else looks strong to back that up?  Ponies?

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Home From EVE Vegas 2017

That went fast.  Very fast.

EVE Vegas 2017 – SOLD OUT

I was sitting there in the big auditorium with Nosy Gamer and Dire Necessity and Mynxee and Johnny Splunk as CCP Guard and CCP Falcon said from the stage that EVE Vegas 2017 was over and I think the reaction among several of us was, “Wait, it’s done? That’s it?”

It seemed like too short of a weekend.  Still, a lot happened.

CCP Presentations

CCP expanded on some of the things they were talking for the upcoming Life Blood expansion.  We already knew the Guristas were going to get a shipyard in north null sec, a mirror of the Blood Raiders in the south.  We learned that there would/could be up to three Guristas shipyards up at once as well as the capital ship blue prints they would drop; they include a faction version of the Phoenix dreadnought and Leviathan titan, which both can launch fighters in keeping with the usual Guristas theme.

There was also some updates on the new moon mining structures, how they will work, and some video of them in action.

But I think High Sec got a lot more attention than in past presentations.  There were, of course, the Guristas and Blood Raiders outposts, mini versions of the shipyards to find in empire space.

Then there was the announcement that moon mining would be coming to high sec with the new structures.  It will only be available in 0.5 sec status systems, and only deliver ore and not moon goo, but you can still get supercharged rocks out of it that boost yield for your mining op.

There was also the update to The Agency, which is slated to be the all-in-one place for finding PvE content.  It won’t just be for events any more.

But I think the big thing for high sec will be Resource Wars.  That is a new, co-op PvE system where you can join in, but don’t have to fleet up, to either mine or kill pirates to help your empire gather resources for rewards.  Semi-sorta public quest-like in nature, it touches on the three things I was going on about with EVE Online PvE.  They will provide progression of a sort with some meaning (akin to missions), have predictable return on investment, and are somewhat on demand through The Agency interface.  I want to try them out when they go live.

In the grand tradition of the game, I am sure somebody will be complaining about all of this.  CCP can’t add anything to the game without some people saying it isn’t enough while others bitch that it is too much focus on somebody else.  I just see new stuff and am happy.

Then there was the expansion of Alpha clones, which created what might be called an “Alpha Plus” or “Alpha Prime” class of players.  That will need its own post, but there is an article about it up at PC Gamer. (Also, I briefly met Steve Messner, the author, and got to thank him for linking to one of my posts last month.)

And, in addition we got updates on Project Nova and heard about the new Project Aurora (which some people got to play), both of which represent CCP figuring out that maybe they should team up with other developers when they make something in an arena they have not mastered.

Anyway, there are many other articles on the presentations and I will probably do posts about individual things later.  Suffice to say, much was learned about upcoming releases and plans going forward.

Player Presentations

EVE Vegas always features some player presentations, and the ones I saw this time around were all excellent. These are the ones I managed to sit in on.

Mike Azariah of A Missioneer in EVE spoke about finding your own path to “win” in EVE Online.

Eveline Vos and Keskora Yaari talked about the nature of life and conflict in wormhole space which, as an outsider to that corner of New Eden, was very interesting.

Emmaline Fera, a friend from Twitter, gave a simply awesome presentation on EVE Online leadership skills and how they transfer back and forth to real life.  I would love to see this again or at least get the presentation.

Matterall gave an hour long presentation that followed the experiences of a single NCDot player from the OTEC era through to today.  This was especially interesting as my own time in null sec started just before OTEC (I came in during the war against White Noise) and closely paralleled the story, only on the other side of every conflict.

Debes Sparre (who used to comment here now and again) and Elise Randolph gave a presentation about building fleet doctrines that was very good.  I liked that they framed as a parallel to ship fitting.  As you pick modules for your ship, so you pick ships to fill out your doctrine.  They also promised to put their presentation and final fittings up on the web.

And then there was the usual Max Singularity presentation.  This time around his New Eden Physics Class 101 developed a consistent tech lore as to why ships in New Eden behave the way they do.  This was, in part, covered by his submission to the Frigates of EVE book, but he gave us the expanded, one-hour presentation as to why our ships work they way they do.  I can only hope that this all ends up some place where we can reference it at some point.  Anyway, now I have to buy that book as well.

Demos & the EVE Store

CCP had the usual array of demo stations and such setup in another room.

I went and tried out Sparq for a bit.  It is interesting, but perhaps not as accessible as Wii Sports, to which it has been compared.  The VR aspect of it is cool and immersive, but I still had problems just getting my hands to go exactly where I wanted them.  I don’t know if I’m just clumsy (high probability) or if the PlayStation 4 VR just isn’t as precise as I expected it to be.  Also, I could never quite get how big the shield on my hand was for deflecting shots.  It looks tiny from your own perspective, but you can see your opponant’s shield and it looks much bigger.  The fact that you cannot have local matches is probably the biggest hindrance to the game. (Unless your friend brings over their PS4 and VR headset to play.)

EVE Valkyrie: Warzone was on display of course.  Oddly though… or perhaps not… there were no VR headsets with that demo.  They wanted people to play the non-VR version, with stations setup to use keyboard and mouse and others with the XBox controller.  I didn’t try that out, but I bought a copy on Steam, so I’ll have a post about that later.

And then in the same room was the EVE Store, which finally had some decent items available.  And I mean simple things, like a T-shirt that just said EVE Online, that should have been there by default last year.  Also a year late was a Warp to the Dance Floor T-shirt.

Of course, it isn’t the EVE Store without some sort of screw up.  They were supposed to have EVE Vegas 2017 pins, but they were delayed so didn’t make it to Vegas.  I was told I would have to order them through the online store.  But the online store was completely failing to work with my phone browser, so I figured I would just order one when I got home.  But they were apparently only for sale during the event, so I missed out.  Bleh.

I did buy my daughter a Permaband T-shirt.  Her response was very “meh.”

People

There were many.  Over a thousand.  I did not speak to nearly enough of them.

Nosy Gamer, Dire Necessity, and I went to Holstein’s over at the Cosmopolitan where, once again, Dire order the shake with the comically large addition.  Last year it was a whole slice of pumpkin pie.  This year it was pretty much a whole ice cream sandwich in his cookies and cream shake.

Gonna need a bigger shake…

I also had a great dinner with Debes Sparre where we did the usual thing that long timers in the tech industry do; exchanged work horror stories.

The Venue

The Linq hotel was a strange bird.  I couldn’t quite place my finger on it until somebody pointed out that it used to be the old Imperial Palace hotel, the one-time cheapest place to stay on the strip.  Caesar’s bought it and spiffed it up, but it was still a matter of trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.  So I had a room with very nice decor, but the hot water system isn’t of the recirculating type typical of nice hotels, so you have to wait for the water to warm up.

And nothing screams “high class” like soap dispensers attached to the wall in an otherwise very up scale shower.

They all dispensed similar clear liquids too

There were also not enough elevators.  The main set were slow, heavily used, and glitchy.  I got in one that insisted on going up on every other stop, which made getting to the lobby a 10 minute ride.  The elevator car of the dammed.  And this situation wasn’t help by signs like this.

This sign is a complete lie

There was an elevator four doors down from my room with this sign, so I didn’t use it on the first day.  Later I discovered that it would put me on the second floor about a dozen steps from some steps and a door that put me on the casino level, which is where you need to be to get anywhere.  Those elevators were never busy.  So, I guess technically there were enough elevators, but the hotel was scaring people away from some of them.

Also, I got lost at one point, as all three towers… or districts… connect on every floor so I ended up going to a room with almost the same number as mine.

 

So it wasn’t the Bellagio, but I have to admit that the room prices were pretty good for what you got.  Of course, it probably helped that CCP didn’t book the event during Halloween again.

The Party

The party venue was like the Chateau of previous years on steroids.  Bigger, better, and many more bars to serve up free drinks.

Club Drai

CCP Guard and a few other got up and sang some of the Permaband numbers, though Killing is Just Another Means was left off the play list due to recent events in Las Vegas.

Not being the party person I was 30 years ago, I went back to my room and went to bed after that.  But there were many after parties and some people looked the worse for wear the next day.

Goodies

Of course there were things to pick up, both from CCP and players, as part of the event.

CCP had a goody bag that came pre-loaded with some items, including three SKINs.

EVE Vegas SKINs

I redeemed them and immediately activated the Megathron SKIN on my main.  I left the other two unredeemed wondering if I should send them to my Gallente Alpha alt, since he actually has the other two ships.

I have to send a special shout out to Dirk MacGirk who gave me one of this year’s Open Comms show T-shirt featuring the show advisory on the back.

Not mentioned: Alcohol Consumption

I wore the T-shirt from last year at the event, as it is one of my prized EVE Online possessions.

There were other nice items, including a Signal Cartel card and poker chip from Mynxee and an event T-shirt featuring one of the new moon mining structures.  I tried to sum that all up in one picture.

EVE Vegas Loot

That star on my badge is from Mike Azariah certifying that I have “won” in EVE Online.

Blade Runner 2049

I went to the charity showing of Blade Runner 2049 that CCP hosted.  No spoilers, but it helped to have seen the original… or the director’s cut I suppose, if you want to be technical…, it didn’t feel like 168 minutes sitting there, and you probably want to see it on the big screen.

Summary

A good time was had.  I would do it again.

I haven’t covered nearly enough of what I saw and heard, and I am nearly 2,000 words in.  More for further posts I guess.  I am sure I have forgotten something major I wanted to mention.

And, naturally, after a weekend of EVE Vegas I feel like I need another weekend right away just to get back in my day-to-day stride.  This no longer being young stuff sucks.