Friday, October 31, 2008

It's Halloween!

...and I feel dead.

The wife spent the night at my parents' place to help set up. I'm heading over after work. It's got a good chance at being a 21-hour day with mental and physical exhaustion in spades. I'm not hanging around on the weekend to clean up. Everyone else has the option of moving their schedule around for this. Not me.

Spent the night playing Penny Arcade ep.2. I'm actually almost done, but this boss-fight is a little tricky. Gonna finish my first play-through and play some EVE on the weekend. If I catch a brainstorm I'll write.

Well, wish us luck. If you're at all able to come by the event, it's @ 1 Plover Hieghts, Woodbridge, Ontario. It's starts @ 1900 local. I'll be the warewolf.


/me howls

Thursday, October 30, 2008

My life in Eve - Part 5

I was actually playing two games at once last night. On EVE I was using the almost non-existent cargo space in my Hurricane to move my assets 11 systems over through high-sec. I was fairly certain I would not get into any trouble as the lowest system on the route was .7, so I set my autopilot and glanced back at it every few minutes to see when it was time to dock. By the time I have to move again I'll have an industrial to do it with.

The other game I enjoyed last night was Penny Arcade Adventures ep.2, and when I say enjoyed I mean ENJOYED. It premiered last night on every system and OS at a great price (about $15), and the writing alone is worth it. If you haven't played the first episode you can pick it up for its reduced price. I won't rant about it much about it (as I already have for ep.1 in a previous post) but I will say significant improvements have been made. Anywhoo, I spent way too much time playing it and I got to bed far too late. Sorta worth the lost sleep though...

I've got far too much going on right now to think clearly enough to write chapter 10 of my story, so I won't even bother until the early to mid November. I don't want to avoid it, but I don't want to create an inferior product because I'm not 110% focused. I hope the few fans I have will allow me this indulgence, of which I apologize for. I will still be posting a new chapter here and on the EVE-O forums every week, so the majority of you won't even notice a thing.

In all the commotion, I forgot to confirm the photogapher for the Halloween event this year. Pierre is a semi-professional photographer who's main passion seems to be cosplayers. Last year he agreed to shoot the event for the promise of pizza, and there was indeed 'za to be had by all. Transportation is an issue for him, so I hope he can make it. I'll have to call him later.

More on the event tomorrow.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ambulation and Her.

Welcome to the first installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed here. Check out other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!

This month's topic comes to us from PsycheDiver: Ambulation: What are your hopes for your avatar and new functionality of stations?

So I was lying in bed with the wife having a conversation about the more obscure pieces of X-Men trivia and how it's superior to Heroes, when I began to think about the concept of ambulation in EVE. My wife really enjoys RPGs and has observed me playing EVE, but seems to have a problem getting interested in it. Beyond the intimidation factor that excel-in-space presents, it occurred to me that ambulation would have the most profound impact on a player exactly in her position, so I decided to get her thoughts.

I started with something like, “Hon, what does ambulation in EVE mean to you, as a newcomer looking in?” At this point she looked confused and I realized I'd have to explain what ambulation is and what it means in terms of EVE gameplay.

In EVE, your character is your ship. You have that funky profile picture but that has no real impact on the universe. You interact with the galaxy through your ship, while in every other RPG you interact via a humanoid character or characters. It's easy to create a bond with a person or simulation of a person because humans are social creatures and we're programmed at a base level to gravitate towards anything that resembles us. Because of this, making an initial emotional connection to your EVE character and the universe it exists in is difficult because all you see is ships and no people. This is an inherent problem in EVE RPing.

Ambulation (which literally means walking) is the name of a CCP project that will allow the player to create a complete virtual body or “avatar” for your EVE character that can interact with the interiors of stations and other players' avatars via a virtual interactive environment. This means your avatar will leave your pod (which is in your ship) and be able to do everything a player would normally do in a station like access agents and markets, and also have other options like meeting rooms and other social venues open to them. This will pave the way for a variety of new player-run business options.

This is how I explained it to her. “So players will have to leave their ship to do all the things they normally do in stations?” she asked.

“Nope.” I replied, seeing this was a basic fear of the ambulation project. “You'll still be able to do all the things you do now from your pod, but leaving your ship will allow for more social options and business opportunities.” I gave her a quick explanation of how a meeting room would help plan operations via displays that can be viewed communally, and how a player-run business like a bar or other storefront would be extensions of a player's options in how they live in EVE. She seemed intrigued.

“What about PvP? EVE is a heavy PvP game right? Will there be PvP in stations?” She asked.

“Well that's a real possibility for the future, but it's probably the most difficult aspect for CCP to get right.” I answered. “PvP on stations would require a whole new skill set, items and a system to use all of them effectively. Then all of it needs to be properly balanced, with in itself could take years. It does hold a lot of tactical possibilities though.” Her interest was growing.

“Would my avatar have a home? I want to decorate.” She said in a slightly bubbly fashion that she knows I find adorable.

“Maybe. I've heard people asking for that on the forums and there's very few negative aspects to it. It would have to have some sort of functional purpose though.” That got me thinking about all the new items that would pop up on the market to facilitate all of this. Items to customize your store, meeting room and home. Items to fit to your avatar for fashion and function. The marketplace could easily grow by a third. “Also, since they're trying to push for industrial individuality in storefronts, this will open up manufacturers to creating a real customer base, which will lead right into a demand for unique items that players will design, patent and sell.”

That last bit about customizable items went a little over her head. I'd just shown her the basics of buying and selling earlier that week. “So would ambulation draw you into EVE?” I asked.

“Well, it's a definite plus. I like the idea of not having to always stare at a ship when I'm not flying.” She said. She brought up Gaia Online (which makes me shiver in revulsion) and explained that the simple act of an avatar looking and emoting exactly the way you want it to will draw in more players than EVEers think.

Well, there you have it. Out of the mouth of (hot) babes.



# CrazyKinux's Musing: Exotic Dancers, Corporate Meetings & more
# The Wandering Druid of Tranquility: Ambulation - what I hope to see
# Semper EVE: Ambulation and Me
# Roc's Ramblings: Blog Banter #1 - Ambulation
# The Ralpha Dogs: Ambulation/Walking in Stations: A "Second Life" for EVE?
# Drunk in Space: Look at how much weight he put on…
# Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah: Eve Blog Banter - Ambulation
# I am Keith Neilson: Going For A Stroll Through EVE
# Shahirs Journey: Hopes for Ambulation
# A Mule in EVE: Ambulation
# One Man, One Ship: Ambulation
# Achernar: Avatars in a spaceships game
# The Shard: Ambulation
# Mad Rant: Saturday Night Fever
# Life in Low Sec: Ambulation Fantasies
# Achernar: Avatars in a spaceships game
# Protosolus: EVE: Gawking in Stations
# I May Find Peace Within The Emptiness…: Walking Around…
# ombeve: Blog Banter: Ambulation

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Last Son of Prano - Chapter 3.

Chapter 3.

3 Days Later.

The elevator that connected the rooftop library to the rest of the Frontenac estate led directly to a large hallway that connected to the other living spaces like the dining room, bedrooms and the like. It was a long but wide hall with a homey elegance. Hardwood floors, delicate trim and colours, and a few pieces of artwork on display. Marcus Frontenac was walking in the direction of the elevator door, smoking a pipe and entrenched in the morning's news displayed on a flexy (a thin, flexible datapad capable of wireless hi-speed communication and holographics) when the elevator door hissed open.

Gigaer walked slowly through the doorway, staring at the datacore in his hand and lost in thought. Marcus quickly laid the flexy and pipe on a small sidetable and rushed to his son, catching Gigaer just in time. Marcus laid him slowly on the floor as he took stock of the most important person in the world to him. Gigaer's eyes were extremely bloodshot and a glaze of cold sweat covered his skin. Had he tried to induce a trance of some sort? Marcus tried to snap his son out of it, but the only thing Gigaer could do is whisper the word “Planeswalker.” before he completely lost consciousness. Marcus carried Gigaer to his room and placed him in his bed.

Gigaer awoke dazed and confused. He sat up slowly to keep his head from spinning any more than it already was. As his vision cleared he saw his father sitting beside his bed, reading. “So that explains how I got to my room.” Gigaer said, rubbing the back of his neck to try and relieve the tension.

“You just managed to get out of the elevator. You're lucky I was there to catch you or else your nose would have bled all over the hardwood.” Marcus said with his usually dry humour. “How are you feeling?”

“Dazed and drained. I could use a good meal and a shower.” Gigaer said, straining to return a smile. He sensed his father was full of questions but felt it better not to ask. Gigaer tried to piece together his fuzzy memory of the last three days. “The only thing on the datacore was a vid. It was of an older Matari woman covered in soot and blood. She spoke in a Brutor dialect and said she was my mother. She said I was a miracle from the gods and I was our race's only hope to return us to harmony with the spirits and gods. She called me Planeswalker. She called be son. Then she died.”

Gigaer arose slowly from the bed and began to regain his equilibrium by pacing and letting the stream of thought pour out of him. “I watched the vid so many times that I lost count. Finally when every frame was burned into my memory I began looking for information on this Plainwalker thing, but there wasn't any.” Marcus went over to Gigaer's dresser and prepared an outfit for him while the rant continued. “I tried every mental and consciousness exercise I know. Nothing. I turned the library inside-out looking for clues. Nothing. I ran every net search I could think of. Nothing, nada, zip. I've studied Matari mysticism for years, but I've never heard of this Planeswalker thing. What could it be? What am I and what am I supposed to do?”

“I'll tell you what you're supposed to do.” Marcus said moving towards the door. “You're supposed to shower, dress, eat until you can't eat anymore, then meet me on the rooftop.” Marcus opened the door and passed through it, saying “I'll be waiting for you there when you're ready.” before closing the door behind him.

Gigaer stumbled into the adjoining bathroom, stripping his clothes and racking his brain with every step. The shower felt wonderful and helped to clear his head. Once he was done, he stretched for a bit to get the blood flowing and dressed himself in the clothes his father set out, which happened to be a comfortable tracksuit he used for working out. He then made his way to the kitchen, where Chef (that was actually his name due to an odd series of events involving pirate leaders and witness protection programs) had a full meal of his favorites already prepared. Gigaer gorged on food and drink at a frantic pace for a full hour before he could stomach no more.

It was sunset by the time Gigaer stepped out of the library doors leading to the rooftop garden. Marcus was over by the western-most edge staring at the play of hues in the sky from a bench. Gigaer sat beside him and joined in the spectral appreciation.

“I've spoken to an old colleague on Pator. A captain in the Republic Fleet who owes me a favor. He says he'd be happy to sponsor you for the Republic Military School for capsuleers. A captain's sponsorship will get you in, and I'm sure you'll be able to graduate with honours. I've transferred enough ISK into your accounts for anything you could possibly need. You leave tonight.” Gigaer looked at his father with confusion, but Marcus didn't need to see the look to know he needed to explain his plan. “To find the answers you seek, you'll need freedom and power, while still being able to operate without the notice of those who would want you dead. For that, you'll need to be a capsuleer. The captain will arrange a new identity for you and the funds are being laundered enough to not attract any attention. As my son, you're too visible, but as a capsuleer you can go wherever and do whatever you need to in order to find your destiny.”

Gigaer wanted to argue - since it meant giving up the life he knew forever - but he knew his father was right. Gigaer even contemplated it as a next move before joining his father on the roof. Marcus accompanied the son he would never see again to the lobby, where some of the living staff, the ones that have known Gigaer since he was a newborn, gathered to say their quick goodbyes. As far as anyone but Marcus, Gigaer and the distant Matari captain knew, Gigaer was leaving on a nice vacation to a high-end sunny beach on some resort planet only the rich and famous frequent. The secretly empty personal shuttle to that resort would later explode in a tragic “freak accident”, erasing Gigaer Frontenac from people's view, so Gigaer could in actuality assume a different family name and search for the spiritual future of the Minmatar race. Father and son embraced one last time. It was quick and seemingly lacking in emotion, as to support the illusions at play, but Gigaer knew there was nothing that truly needed to be said.

A Gallente datacore was in Gigaer's pack. On it was all the information he would need to assume his new life, as well as a vid Marcus made for him. A true goodbye from a proud guardian for his beloved son. Seeing how his mother had already made him a vid message explaining his future, it only seemed fitting that his father would do the same explaining how much his past would miss him.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Council of Stellar Management and you.

I've been going over all the candidates, and there's really a big separation between those treating this as an actual chance to make a positive contribution, and those looking for a free trip to Iceland. What's extremely important at this point is for the general community to reward those who take this seriously and show their support for the system by VOTING. It's not hard people. Do it in real life and do it in EVE. You should care about both worlds.

I'm actually impressed by a few candidates. Eva Jobse has (like a few others) a whole site dedicated towards her campaign. For a candidate NOT to have at least a blog or MySpace page dedicated to their campaign is insulting and shows a lack of dedication. Charlie Eriksen even took out an ad in E-ON magazine. If you want to consider an incumbent like Charlie, I urge you to look at his past performance and make it part of your decision. Having a resource like past accomplishments and meeting minutes are gold to a voter. Bjorn-Erik G Townsend seems to have unique issues that usually get little attention, like better cross-platform support. Brian Simonson seems eloquent and able to be original and creative in his approach.

You'll notice I'm referring the candidates by their real names and not their handles. That's because we're voting for REAL PEOPLE. Having success in tournaments or in-game politics means nothing in the real world. While a deep appreciation, understanding and experience with the game is an asset, having a titan or a fat wallet doesn't mean the candidate knows how to improve to the game or talk toCCP in a way that will facilitate the meaningful discussion of issues.


  • They live in your country

  • They are a member of your corp, alliance or are “blue” to you.

  • Tourney accomplishments or other in-game career success.

  • Ghost training. It's a dead issue. Same with lag.

  • They seem funny. This isn't Last Comic Standing.

I'm not going to tell you who to vote for or not to vote for. You need to do your research, figure out who you think will do the best job and make an educated choice based on real factors. Resigning the concept of theCSM to failure rests with the players, not CCP.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Learnings on a lvl.3 combat mission.

I've missed the Brutor tribe. I have an unexplained affinity towards them, though because of certain political and security issues I haven't been able to run any lvl.2 missions with them. Instead I've been hanging with a Sebiestor agent in Hakeri. Now things have changed. My standings have grown so I've decided to head to Frarn and hit up a Brutor lvl.3 Security mission for the first time.

I was not sure if I'd be able to pull off a lvl.3 yet. Certainly a Hurricane could do it, but were my skills up to par? Answers from my corp were few and far between and I came to the conclusion that the only way to find out is to give it a go. So I did.

After a lot of warping from Hakeri to Frarn and a good amount of pew-pew in my first mission, I've come to some important conclusions:

1) I rock and so does my cane!
2) I may need to move a considerable amount of ammo to Frarn from Hakeri in order to facilitate the pew-pew. I ran out pretty quickly.
3) Collecting loot becomes more time-consuming the higher the mission level is. To that effect I've grabbed the Minmatar Industrial skill. I could have gone with Gallente industrials, but I found the Mammoth's specs a little better than the Interon IV. I'll fit it for salvaging, loot-grabbing and general transport. This will also solve my problem with lesson 2.

I may find that I'll be moving on to lvl.4 missions sooner rather then later. It all depends on when I can get my corp to build me a Tempest. I'll move as much ammo into Frarn tonight and grind away when I can.

Chapter 9 is coming along well. I've decided to split the final battle into two parts, and the cut came after watching a few good expamples of cliff-hangers in science-fiction TV series. You can just see the "To Be Continued..." appear after you've finished reading this chapter. I think it'll come out quite well. Turns out I may not need an epilogue, but I'm starting to brainstorm on a small prologue.

I went over the CSM candidates quickly, and there seems to be a great divide between the ones who are dedicated and the ones looking for a free trip to Iceland. Once I've done more research (maybe tonight) I'll give you my impressions on the individual candidates. This will be my first shot at being a pundit, and I urge the rest of the EVE blogging community to follow along. Above all it's important to be critical yet hopeful of the CSM and it's processes. The first one was a bit of a failure but it was to be expected. We need to press on and make it work the way we all want it to.

I've been trying to get in touch with my friend Kurtis today to remind him to send over those pics I'd like to post here tomorrow. No luck so far. I still have to clean out my Photobucket (I think I got it confused with Imageshack last time because of a conversation I had with the wife about hosting options). Hopefully it comes together tonight.

Turns out CrazyKinux and YoMma are Canadian. if they're in or around Toronto then maybe I can convince them to do a video podcast with me. It does make it look like I'm trying to wiggle my way into their success, but I'm just looking for good talent. We'll see if anything comes of it in the coming months, though I'd love to work with them if possible.

Anyhoo, I gotta work on the story, do some housework and take care of my sick wife.


Friday, October 24, 2008

So many words...

Busted out the laptop on the bus ride home. I just let the fingers fly and didn't think about flow or anything like that. Just letting the brain storm. I came out with the longest chapter yet, which worries me a little. I may have to split the climax into 2 chapters and have an epilogue. I may write a prologue as well, so technically this has turned into a 12 chapter project. Writing ship-to-ship action and making it interesting is actually quite difficult, which is probably why it's so rare in fanfictions. Playing EVE, especially in combat, is all about your micro-management skills, which, when you put it on paper, is uber-boring to read. I want to make it work though, and I will. I'll spend a few hours on the weekend mulling over it and I may get the whole project done.

Someone mentions a central site for EVE bloggers, messages are sent and community interest is expressed, and almost instantly we have EVE Bloggers.NET! It's just a blank forum at this point, but just having the domain and the attention is a big step. Now we (as a community) need to start talking about what specifically we want out of this site. A forum is all well and good but there's so much potential for functionality that will help people and bloggers connect to blogs and each other.

If I can get my friend to send me some pics of his computer and if I get around to cleaning out my Imageshack account, I may have my first gallery post this weekend. Be afraid...

I've been thinking about starting my own podcast since I spoke to YoMma (Shout out brother!) on the EVE-BLOGGERS channel in-game, but I've been wondering about how to set it apart from the pack. First off I think the "sweet spot" number of hosts is 3, which allows for an optimum amount of banter and personality. One idea I had was maybe not make it an purely audio format, which probably means a video channel on YouTube. This would obviously require certain equipment and editing skills. I'm a college media studies grad and I'm relatively sure I could pull it off. I'll be bringing it up at the Toronto EVE meet next month.

Spatial Awareness V completes tomorrow. I grow.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

My life in Eve - Part 4

So that shopping spree I went on went a little too far, and I managed to cut into my savings. I won't spend anything more until I get back to my comfortable amounts.

I'm dubious as to weather my Hurricane can efficiently perform in lvl.3 missions. The only way to find out really is to try one out, so I'm gonna find myself an agent and take a shot. I have no problem doing lvl.2 missions for a while until I'm ready for lvl.3 missions, and I could end up skipping lvl.3s and moving on to lvl.4s directly, although that all depends on when I can get into a Tempest. I shot off an inquiry on that to my corp's main BP-user.

My wife is an honourary member of the Ushra'Khan, eve though she doesn't play. She does help me manage my skills when I'm not home, and because of her I've only missed out on a handful of training hours in the 9 months I've had the account. At some point I'll show her how to play and hand over my alt to her tender care, but for now excel-in-space scares her. It seems CCP has taken people like my wife into account during this year's fanfest, and have come up with the Sisters of EVE program.

Certain rumblings have been rolling through the rapidly-growing EVE blogging community. One of the most interesting ideas is a central site where all EVE bloggers would be able to be able to publish their work, start discussions and basically promote their blogs which are scattered on the many winds of the net. I think this is a great idea and forming a unified community only holds advantages. CrazyKinux's rolls, packs and banters are obviously a positive force in our universe, and Black Claw is now featuring blogger profiles, so judging from how these separate efforts go, we can guess as to how a central structure would be received by the community, and so far everything is looking good.

I took my first swing at chapter 9 of Last Son of Prano last night on the behest of my wife and a few fans (I can't believe people read my stories or my blog) and probably got to about 30% complete. Chapter 9 is the climax of the story and has a lot of ship-based action, all of which makes it difficult to write. I don't want to rush it, but I want both of the last chapters done by the night of the 28th, which means I may have to cut down on my EVE time for the next few days. I'll be posting a new chapter here every week, and on the EVE official forums at the same time. The U'K get to see the chapters as soon as they're done on their forums.

I think I should get to it. Not many days left.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Last Son of Prano - Chapter 2.

Chapter 2.

5 years ago.

The crisp morning air still held the scent of dew as staccato pangs of clashing blades rang out from atop one of the larger skyscrapers on this well-to-do Gallente planet.

The enormous rooftop terrace was a masterwork of scenic walkways and zen gardening. A crystal dome, which housed a wondrous library, dominated the centre of the space. The terrace, and the entire building, was home and headquarters to Mr. Marcus Frontenac, a rare materials mining mogul who employed elite capsuleers to mine the most valuable ores and minerals from the most dangerous edges of space. 20 years ago one of his surveyors, an old man who was one of Frontenac's first employees and looking for a pension to retire with, ran across an Amarr escape pod while heading back from a fairly profitable venture into nullsec. Inside lay a child, barely alive and covered in blood and grease. This worked all the better for the old surveyor, as this child's poor condition would pull at his old boss' heartstrings and allow for a better bargain.

Frontenac took the boy in as his own, and after viewing the recording made by his mother found in the pod, understood the immense responsibility he had to raise the boy to be more then the son of a businessman. For 20 years the boy had the best tutors and trainers, went to the best schools and was constantly pushed beyond his boundaries. One of the ways Gigaer and Frontenac bonded as father and son was though study of the methods of combat. Strategy and politics were things he learned in school, but this pair found common ground on the edge of a blade.

They were called kandjals. Frontenac learned of them on a vacation to a Pator hunting resort. A kandjal was an arm-length staff which was mostly straight expect for a 30 degree curve at one end. The other end held a diamond-shaped blade usually made of a metal found only in the most inhospitable areas of Pator. It had a mirror finish and had the strange characteristic to vibrate acoustically when in motion. The faster it traveled the louder and higher pitched it sang. Singing steel was rare and only used for kandjals. The staff itself also had a trick. By activating a series of springs inside the hollow staff, it could extend to quarterstaff length with explosive force, and retract just as quickly and easily. The kandjal was a traditional weapon to the Matari tribes and masters of their use were very well respected even today. Frontenac had the opportunity to train with a great master and he took great pride in passing on his skills to his son.

Marcus and Gigaer spun wildly with their kandjals in hand, both in evasion and looking for an opening in their opponent's defenses. Gigaer had never bested his father before. The man who knew more about the arts of war, peace, life, love and commerce was elderly to be sure, but an unstoppable force when he chose to be. Twin whirlwinds danced around each other, testing each other, weapons humming and whistling through the air until meeting in rapid clanging flurries. Both warriors extending and retracting their staffs, angling in new directions, anything to throw their opponent off his game long enough to win. They spared every morning, but it had never gone on this long. The sun was high in the sky now and both men were becoming winded.

Today was different for Gigaer. He was at the top of his game, and he was beginning to see holes in his father's technique. He's seen them before but they always ended up being traps. If Gigaer ever got overly-cautious about those holes, his father scolded him for playing it safe and not trusting himself. Today the holes seemed different somehow. Was his father trying something new to tease him or were his instincts starting to take over? Gigaer decided to stop fighting it and let his training and instincts take over. Marcus spun wildly and brought his blade down from high, but instead of blocking it forcefully, Gigaer wasn't there at all. At the instant Marcus committed to the attack, he was unaware that Gigaer's stance had changed. Gigaer's timing was perfect. Before Marcus could recover, he could hear Gigaer's blade humming softly behind his neck, the point of it tickling the skin. For the first time, Gigaer had beaten his father in a contest of skill.

Gigaer was ecstatic, but didn't let it show as they bowed to each other in respect and retreated into the library for relaxation and refreshment. The library held many books, but no shelf stood high enough or close enough together to make the room seem cramped or block the awesome vista of the cityscape and sky made visible by the crystal dome. Gigaer and his father sat at the large round table at the centre of the library. The table was covered with open books and other documents of varied type. Some were for study, others were related to Frontenac Mining Corp. and consisted mostly of timetables and personnel reports. Gigaer rarely viewed those reports, as his father didn't seem to want Gigaer to take too much interest in his business. A quick towel-off and a drink was all they needed to relax.

"I have nothing left to teach you, son. The last thing I still had on you was my kandjal skills, and now you've proven that you're my better." Said an exhausted Marcus.

"You're still wiser then I, father. Wisdom comes with experience and you'll always have a head start on that." Gigaer said jokingly.

"I'm serious. There's nothing left of real value for me to teach you. Nothing that will help you find your destiny." Marcus suddenly got serious. Almost solemn.

"I don't understand. You've always told me one makes his own destiny and only the weak leave it to others or chance." Gigaer was beginning to become confused as he nibbled on a sandwich.

"That's true, but you have a path that you must walk. A path I've trained you for since you first came into my life. A path I've kept hidden from you until you were ready... until today." Marcus looked deeply into his son's eyes. Marcus had never created the illusion that he was Gigaer's biological father. Gigaer's Matari heritage was obvious. Gigaer had wondered how he ended up in that Amarr escape pod, but his life had been so full of other tasks that he never found the time or opportunity to think about it. Marcus arose and walked over to the historical section. There he found a book and brought it back to the table, laying it in front of Gigaer. The title printed on the hardcover was "Gears of Destiny: The Role of Myth and Lore in Empires." and the more Gigaer studied the book's coverings, the more he realized this was no book at all. In fact, it was a small, locked safe make to uncannily resemble a book. The back was a disguised pad that read one's DNA and biometrics, which would unlock the safe.

Once Marcus realized Gigaer had made the discovery, he took the book from Gigaer's hands, placed it on the table face down and placed his palm on the reader. a series of beeps told the two that the reader was working, and after few seconds it let out a clear tone signaling the user had been identified, accepted, and the lock had been opened. Flipping the book back to the face up position and opening it as it were a normal book, Gigaer took notice of the internal construction. It was very sturdy. The entire building could have come down on it and it would have survived. Inside was only an old Amarrian datacore that seemed to be covered in dry blood. Marcus carefully picked up the core and handed it to Gigaer.

"Tell me what you think." Marcus said softly, noticing that Gigaer was already intensely studying the object and not wanting to break his concentration. Gigaer noticed that the core had been damaged but should still be readable, and the bloodstains were actually calligraphy in ancient Matarese. Gigaer focused on the writing as he recalled his learnings of the language. His lips moved silently as he tried to decode what was written. Once he had it, his eyes widened and turned to his father.

"Would you care to explain why is my name written in blood on and old datacore that you've kept hidden from me?" Gigaer's voice betrayed his growing sense of frustration. It's not that he didn't like mysteries, but he got the sense that his entire life was about to be thrown into a whirlwind.

"This was the only thing other then you we found in that Amarr escape pod. On it there's a recording of your biological mother. I've only watched it once. What I learned from that vid has helped me to push you as hard as I could. I knew you'd need to be the best you could be if you were to survive the journey ahead."

Gigaer looked again at the datacore. He didn't understand anything that was going on. Marcus Frontenac smiled and pointed him to the main work station located at the north end of the library. There Gigaer could view the recording on the datacore and access all the information he needed to in order to fill in some of the blanks. Gigaer stood and walked towards the station, Marcus patting his son on the shoulder in reassurance as he passed him. Marcus walked over to the south side of the library, where he entered the elevator and left his son alone.

Nobody saw Gigaer again until three days later.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My life in Eve - Part 3

I managed to make the 30-jump journey back to Hakeri thanks to some scouting by Jayseven. I dumped everything I had in CL into the corp hanger, including a few ships and plenty of ammo and modules. I flew a stripped Rifter back, though I should have just found myself a shuttle and left the Rifter. As soon as I got back to Hak I started going over what skills I needed to purchase and went on a small spending spree, which will continue tonight. I plan to hold onto 100 million in savings and not spend it on anything from now on unless it's unavoidable. That means at present I have about 35 million in "investment funds" (I tried to find the right financial term for that but I came up dry).

My directives now are to bust my ass on missions to make as much standings and isk as possible, while being very diligent about my skill training. I'm not sure how long it will be until I can send a jump clone back to CL, but I'll do my best to make it as soon as possible. Hopefully my new +2 implants will help speed me along.

My blog was mentioned on MicroWarpCast ep.2 and I couldn't be happier to be part of such a great community. CrazyKinux said "...another good site." which is a pretty good endorsement from such a well-respected blogger. His blog, as well as MWC are pretty awesome, in fact it's probably my favorite podcast, due to the entertaining banter and commentary.

After listening to it, it occurs to me that people don't really know what my handle means. 'Psyche' (most people forget to pronounce the "e", making it seem like I'm a prankster) represents a person's persona. 'Diver' is going to take a little explaining, as I derived it from some unique sources. The reason people say "web-surfing" is because the Internet is a vast ocean of information, and the word 'surfing' entails skimming along its surface at high-speed and having fun. 'Diving' in that same context is coined often in cyberpunk works as removing the safety of the 'board' (which could represent yourself, your computer or both) and fully immersing yourself on pure information. Anime like 'Ghost in The Shell' or 'Serial Experiments Lain' are good examples of this that would offer a gateway into the world of cyberpunk. 'PsycheDiver' not only refers to my interests in cyberpunk and transhumanism, but also my latent empathic/telepathic abilities, as well as my interest in psychology, mysticism and many other "fringe" fields. I'll talk about those other topics on occasion.

I posted my 8th chapter on the alliance forums last night as promised, and I'll be posting the 2nd chapter on the EVE forums tonight and here tomorrow. Chapter 9 is going to be the hardest to write, and I'm not sure if I'll be able to get it done until early November. I'll give it my best shot and hope for a flash of insight, in which I can usually bust out a chapter and a then some.


Monday, October 20, 2008


I was supposed to be doing chores, but decided to jump on EVE instead. I'm really glad I did.

We have a LOT of enemies in Curse, and while we manage to more than hold our own, it's still annoying that all these dime-a-dozen corps keep throwing themselves upon our swords just in an effort to be more than ass-rashy. Fortunately, we managed to get some good intel on a 15-ish ship fleet setting up for a run on us in CL-85V, and since we could throw together a fleet almost twice that size, we decided to go flex some muscle. Usually I'm not online during the good fleet action but I was really lucky this time, and the "sure thing" nature of this op made it a great first-time learning experience. We got together, went after them, and had them running around the constellation trying to regroup and flank for a good hour, picking away at their numbers the whole time. I didn't manage to get any killmail for myself, but I did help.

The learning experience came from the fact that a non-alliance corp was running the op and they were using Vent for comms, which I didn't have. I would have gotten it set up if I had known before-hand, but my comp tends to freeze when it's minimized so I had to rely on Tito for pass-on info. It made things difficult and I found I was lagging behind the group a lot. Later on that day we had a similar opportunity to take on yet another fleet, but this time it was an alliance op and we use TeamSpeak, which I had running. I noticed how much better I could work with the group when we had clear decision-making and organization that was disseminated instantly, instead of reading chat. We didn't manage to catch anyone that time, but it was still a great experience for me.

Also tried my first plex that day. An escalation that only turned out to me 2 targets 5 jumps away. If I knew the name of the event I would have written a petition. During this little outing we used eve-voice, which was cool since it was built into the EVE client and didn't require me to minimize EVE and pray to the gaming spirits that my comp didn't have a seizure. My corp uses it, and I think they should try and integrate better functionality into it to lure people away from TS and Vent. I caught wind of a POS attack early next morning, but since I didn't have a BS or something decent for an op like that, I didn't partake.

Fast-forward to late last night. I was waiting for a skill to finish and chatted up my corp about a few things. The area was super hot and nobody was online so fleets were not forming. I decided to finally ask Kerth if it was OK for me to head back to alliance for a while. He was AFK as usual so I got the opinions of the others, who didn't seem to have a problem with it. My corp pretty much has takes after the old cougar motto when it comes to super-loyal semi-noobs like me, "Invest in them while they're young". They saw I was thinking long-term and actually putting myself in more danger to do it (I'd have no back-up in Empire). At this point Kerth starts chiming in, stating that he'd read everything and acting all fake high-and-mighty dick dictator like he does sometimes for a laugh, which I enjoy playing along with as a loyal warrior willing to throw myself upon my sword for my lord. After a bit of that he said it's be fine as long as I was careful and understood the risks. I told him I did and I'd bust my ass getting what I needed done so I could get back to Curse fast and better-able to serve my demi-god. Anyhoo, I'll be heading back tonight. I'll still have a setup in Hakeri and there will probably be someone online to scout ahead for me.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Halloween Fundraiser - The Plan

Every year, my family up in Woodbridge turns their entire house into a haunted piece of hell to raise money for cancer research.

A few years back, I lost my grandmother to pancreatic cancer, which is an experience tantamount to torture for her and my family. My soon-to-be-brother-in-law is also a testicular cancer survivor. Needless to say, finding a solution to cancer is very important to us.

Last year we managed to raise over $5000 for the Canadian Cancer Association, but since we didn't like how we were treated by them, we've decided to go with the cancer ward at the hospital for Sick Kids. I spent a few years of my early life there for several reasons. I loved that place and even though I'm technically poor I still donate every month.

Tonight was the planning meeting. We have nearly 20 people involved and organization is key. The meeting went very well, and we plan on blowing last year's numbers out of the water. Last year I was a zombie in the haunted tunnel, but this year I'll be much more interesting as a werewolf running around all over the place. I'll be getting my costume set next weekend, but all this week I'll be going around to news outlets all week after work to try and drum up attention.

If you want to contact me about it, drop a comment. I urge EVERYONE in the Greater Toronto Area to come out to 1 Plover Heights near Weston and Rutherford on October 31st @7pm.

Tomorrow I'll post about my first fleet action and plex ever in EVE!


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Comic Impressions - Hurra for the action/comedy.

A big reason I like team-based books like X-Men is because when you have characters that have been together for so long, and you have a writer who actually seems to care about the sense of family and history those characters would experience in each other's company, you get some really good flashes of comedy. The last two issues of Uncanny X-Men (502 and 503) have some good examples of this. It's one element that keeps me coming back to X-Men, rather than solo jobs like Spidey.

Another thing about X-Men, the varied books (at the best of times, and times are not always good) like Uncanny, Astonishing and X-Force all seem to have their own flavour. Uncanny is classic but evolving X-story, Astonishing (being written by the astonishing Warren Ellis) has been pushing some boundaries of where you can really go with the ol' 616 (look it up) and X-Force is superbly dark and gritty. Good times.

I pick up WitchBlade TPBs for my mom (she can't stand reading direct issues), and I plan on getting her Fathom when those trades are released again. Speaking of Fathom, you should know by now that Michael Turner, a wonderful man and artist who lost his very long fight with bone cancer, is having a tribute book put out on November 5th. I urge everyone to pick it up. I've very glad that Michael managed to lay enough groundwork so that Aspen (his company) can keep great stories like Fathom and SoulFire alive. He will be missed.

Just about the only DC I read consistently is Green Lantern and the Corps (I know I should read Superman and Batman titles but I have yet to jump into those). I'm pumped about this "Darkest Night" story that will extend well into next year, and hope Ryan Gosling picks up the role for the movie. I'm not a fan of his previous works but the man sure has some major acting skillz.

Coming back to Marvel, I'm a big fan of the lesser-known and revamped characters like Iron Fist and Nova. I've always liked Marvel's space stories and Nova and Guardians of The Galaxy are really fun action titles. As for Iron Fist, I just really dig me the mystical king-fu stuff and the writing is sorta noir and swash-buckly when they run an Orsen Randall tale.

I'm a little iffy about Skaar: Son of The Hulk. The main character and art are there but the supporting characters and plot are not grabbing me the way Planet Hulk was. Still, I'm giving it a chance. I'm also having thoughts about The Ultimates 3. I LOVE Joe Mad's art, but he's so hard to keep on a monthly schedule (that's why one of my favorite stories, BattleChasers, was cancelled) and as for the story... Well, the whole idea of the Ultimate universe was to start these iconic characters and teams from scratch again so they could be revamped, but it seems all they're doing with the Ultimates is building the same house of cards again, only this time they seem to be in a hurry and the nuances are getting lost. I hope for better.

Anyhoo, I'm gonna read EON, get some lunch and maybe jump on EvE. Also gotta get some housework done. Special post topic tomorrow.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Comic Impressions - It's good to be home.

I really enjoy going to One Million Comix. I imagine it's what drinkers feel like when they go to a bar where "Everybody knows your name...". I walked in and took a good 40 minutes saying high to all the staff and regulars, catching up on lives and tribulations. Only after that did I set to my epic purchasing quest.

$95 (nicely discounted) in comics later, I hung around for another 2-3 hours chatting it up about the business, family, politics, entertainment news and a few other things.

Million ( is THE place to go for comics, anime and everything in between. The owners have managed to diversify and cut out so many middlemen that they'll not only be able to weather the current financial turmoil spreading over the globe, but after it's all over in 5-6 years, they'll be by far the biggest game in town. It's a very friendly environment and they do a great job of taking care of regulars.

It's family owned and run. The Giancoulas clan are a good bunch of Greeks. Costos is the frontman and works his ass off working the front, schmoozing with customers and potential business associates. Chris is the big guy in the back who works mostly with the finances and does most of the road-work, going to conventions in the states and making contacts. Alex is their younger brother and does all the gopher work. Their dad (who everyone just calls "Greek" because his real name is very hard to say) sits in the back and does menial tasks that keep the business running smooth. Good guys all.

I managed to get home with just enough time to change a skill on EvE, eat some Thanksgiving leftovers and read about a third of the comics I bought before I had to hit the sack.

I've decided that instead of "reviewing" comics on a weekly and individual basis, I'll just give general impressions on what I'm reading and hand out a few cheers and jeers (don't know if or how I'll organize them). If you've gone back to my IGN blog and want me to bring back that format, I'll be happy to oblige. If I get through my comics tonight I'll try this new pseudo-format tomorrow.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Gamer Army and other things...

Private PsycheDiver, ID# 4115, reporting in.

If you're a gamer and have never seen before, I'd give it a shot. It's a webcast centering around a "pro" gamer named Jeremy, his wannabe director brother Kyle, and assorted friends and enemies. Once you get past the first few episodes the show starts to take one some depth and becomes quite entertaining.

Their official fanclub is called the Gamer Army. GA is a regimented group dedicated to promoting and excelling at fair and competitive gaming. $20 gets you a lifetime membership, access to some awesome content, restricted forums, unique patches and apparel (for a Battle Dress Uniform) and custom dogtags. My tags (which I wear almost 24/7) are very realistic and read:

ID. 0004115

If you'd like to join, do me a favour and use this link to sign up:

It'll help me gain points and get a promotion.

If you're already a member of the GA, please contact me about how I can decode the encrypted instructions on my recruitment approval and gain access to special ops.

I'm looking to start a campaign within the PP and GA forums go rally MMO gamers towards Eve and the Ushra'Khan alliance.

Speaking of Eve, CL (which is where I'm located ATM) was crawling with reds, and unfortunately there was not enough of my corp online to repel them, and the rest of the alliance was elseware in Curse. I'm thinking about heading back to Empire for a while, at least until I'm able to rat in 0.0 solo.

I've been thinking about my long-term skill plan. As it stands I've gone back to training learning skills. I have all but the Presense skill, and I plan on having all the rank 1s V'd out and get the rank 3s to IV. After that get Minmatar Frigate and Cruiser to V. At this point I'll be looking at command skills for T2 ships. As of now I'll be getting:

- Assault Ships
- Covert Ops
- Electronic Attack Ships
- Interceptors
- Heavy Assault Ships
- Recon Ships
- Command Ships

Then I'll refocus on tanking, then electronics. I'll have to take a look at Leadership as well. After all that I'll be moving on to Battleships and the large stuff. Obviously this plan will take a few months at least. If I can get back to Empire and mission run during this, I'll be able to work up my standings quickly enough to send a jump clone back to Curse, and have the skills to actually make a difference.

After work I'm meeting the little lady (fiance/wife, I'll post about her sometime next week) at One Million Comix. Million is a great shop for comics, anime, collectibles and just hanging out. I'll be doing a lot of reading tonight since I haven't been there in a few weeks and they are nice enough to put my books aside until I get a chance to grab them. We're talking around 20+ comics tonight. If you've taken a look at my old IGN blog I used to do weekly reviews for the comics I pick up. I've been toying around with doing that again here, but around the time I stopped it seemed to feel like work. I'll very likely have some sort of regular blurb about comics but I doubt it'll be the same as last time. I wouldn't really mind it if I got some sort of feedback, but sadly I got none, and why work for free when I'm not even sure if anyone gives a damn.

Yes, I'm desperate for feedback and conversation. This isn't a diary I'm keeping. I'm trying to connect. On that note, I've connected this blog to about 70 others. I went through the current list of CrazyKinux's blogroll and chose the ones I liked. I'll be adding many more in the days and months to come, as well as getting/bribing the wife to use her photoshop skillz to pimp my page.

Aishiteru zutto ippai. I know at least you're reading babe...


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

At least Eve Online politics doesn't cost the players $300 Million.

I'm a believer in the democratic system. Everyone deserves a voice in how their country is run, how taxes are used and what policies are implemented. However, last night's Canadian federal election has left a very bitter taste in my mouth. After $300 million dollars is used for an election in an age where cash for the average person is hard to come by, nothing has really changed. It's still a Conservative minority. Nobody is shocked that the Liberals lost a bit and those seats were picked up mostly by the Bloc and NDP. Lastly, the Green party proved it was as impotent as nearly everyone suspected, not even grabbing one seat.

Elections don't usually bother me. The system needs to work in its own way, for better or for worse. However, looking back, it would have been smarter to just make the last parliament work and use that $300 million for something useful. We're not a country that can afford to burn money, and this election turned out to be one big bonfire.

It seems like the job of running a country is game to the people we elect. If the situation isn't as favorable as they want it to be, they just drop a bomb on the whole thing, giving them the chance to tour the country for 5 weeks and costing us our hard-earned tax dollars.

If I thought that not voting would help the situation (which some people seem to think), I would treat the polls like the plague. The reality is, if anything, more people should vote. This was the lowest voting turnout for a Canadian federal election EVER. People are so depressed with the system that they choose to ignore it. If there was more of a chance for average Canadians to voice themselves to the officials they elect, we may have never had an election in the first place. We would have told them to do what they're payed to do and stop messing around. There's a huge disconnect in this country, and it needs to change.

CCP made the CSM in an effort to build a better connection to their clients. I find it amazing that this government on any level seems to be completely insulated from its public.

Finally, on a tangent, a plex hit was planned by my corp last night for 2330EST. I would have stayed up, but once I logged in again about an hour before, it turned out the plans were scrapped. Tito got podded while scouting the target system. Reds flooded it quick and he was boned. We're gonna try and get something else planned for this week, but to be honest right now I just wanna hunt down some reds.

Happier topics tomorrow. Promise.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My life in Eve - Part 2

First off I'd like to thank CrazyKinux for adding me to his Eve Online player blogroll. It's a list of some really great blogs and I've set up a tracker on my page which will show the latest postings from the Blog Pack, which are the chosen few who excel at blogging about Eve. Hopefully I'll work myself up to the pack someday, and I'll be going through the roll and putting my favorites on my list.

The list of blogs can be found @ and the "Elite" Blog Pack @

I joined CK's Blog Banter group, which will have organized discussion about certain Eve-related subjects. I should suggest some topics.

I've also started to go through some of the Eve podcasts and I'll be posting my favorites soon. One thing about some of the major contenders is that it's usually just one guy talking in a very non-entertaining way. Having banter between players improves the cast geometrically. Reading dev blogs word-for-word and talking non-chalantly about what assets they moved around in the past week makes for a very dull experience. As a media student and Eve fan I demand my chosen casts to be a cut above and have some semblance of professionality.

My time on Eve has been limited over the last few days. I'm going back to my learning skills in an effort to speed up my overall training. I have some implants being shipped in from Empire, which should be arriving anytime now. Ushra'Khan is on to yet another war campaign in our crusade to capture Curse region and take out slavers and the like. I haven't really gotten in on the action yet due to my relative noobness (other then that one kill I assisted with), but that should change relatively soon. Once I get some higher learning levels in and some implants plugged I think I'll start with cruiser V and beef up my drones and passive tanking skills.

I'll looking forward to certificates being implemented. Not only will it allow people to show off, but I'll get a better idea of what skills I'm missing, and others can take a look at my certs and advise me. As for the ghost training controversy, as a paying customer I don't think players should be taking advantage of this loophole, and those whining about it are starting to look like penny-pinching tards. News flash people, CCP is running a business and it's only fair to give them their due for a product we all obviously love.

I'm thinking of getting discussion rolling on another Toronto Eve-meet. The last one was about 6 months ago and I think we can start planning for one in early December or something. I'll be able to add more to the discussion this time around. This time I'll remember to bring my laptop so I can take some notes. I'm sure others will want to access Battleclinic for reference as well. Maybe we can talk about starting a podcast ourselves.

I'll be logging on tonight. Hopefully some of my corpmates will be on and we can get a plex done or something.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Buddhsim and The Force Unleashed

I enjoy writing fanfictions, but the vast majority never actually get started due to my lengthy planning stages. I outline everything in my stories before I even think about starting chapter 1. I write spot paragraphs to see if scenes can be conveyed properly and time is taken to make sure everything about the story works before I start. Some writers are content to write half a story and then drop it when a fatal dead end is met, but I am not.

It's this process that has kept me from writing anything Star Wars. It wants to be science-fiction (as most people think it is), but in reality it's fantasy. Any "technology" you see is meant to to be as magical as the force, and dire consequences await anyone who messes with that unique balance (midichlorians anyone?).

The relationship between the Jedi and Sith is also oddly limiting when unique stories are trying to be told. The light ("good") side deals mostly with order and discipline, while the dark ("bad") side is instinctive and base. So if you want to write about a Jedi who falls in love, you're pretty screwed because love is an emotion, and emotion invariably leads to the dark side. Writing about a Jedi is like writing about cardboard, and if you made a Sith the hero, he would have to have a "change of heart" and become good, which means cross over to the light side, which means drop his passion, which means you're stuck.

I can understand where George Lucas got this idea, as it's been around for quite a while in many major religions like Christianity, Judaism Hinduism. Move away from your animal emotions is akin to moving closer to divinity. Catholic priests are told not to have sex, for instance.

All that being said, some may be confused with the story of the latest Lucasarts game, The Force Unleashed. After playing through it twice on the weekend (thanks to my friend and fellow geek Barry for lending to me) I realize that no law of SW lore was broken. First of all, yes the apprentice was dark side and (depending of the ending you choose) he can save the day and be a hero. He's trained to use the dark side and a is primal force-user to be sure, but that doesn't necessarily make him bad or a Sith. His actions defined him, not the source of his power.

The last level was what really showed me what the writers had managed to come up with. Beyond all his darkness there was one guiding light in his heart, his connection to Juno Eclipse, the female pilot of his ship. Did he love her? Maybe, but the key is just after they kiss, he throws himself off his ship and away from her, knowing he'd never see her again. Buddhism teaches the source of suffering is worldly attachments and desires. So how is an emotional connection supposed to lead to the light? It doesn't. He was never a Jedi, but his ability to say goodbye while still holding onto what that love meant to him kept him from being evil. Releasing himself from that attachment kept him from being controlled by it. Some call this being an anti-hero, but that term is thrown around way too often.

This point could have been better illustrated if the final boss (in this case, Emperor Palpatine) would have captured her as a hostage. Also, the game should have been longer to allow various characters to develop a little more. That said, it's a great story and expertly told. It's also helped me to think a little outside the box when it comes to the force. Maybe I can finally get a SW story done.

It's always darkest before the dawn, and we wouldn't recognize the light if there was no darkness.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Last Son of Prano - Chapter 1.

This is the first chapter of my Eve Online fanfiction, featuring my primary. As of now 8 chapters have been written, 7 posted, and another 2 planned. Once this story is done I'll be writing one about my alt, then after that I'll do a story with both of them. Feedback is definitely encouraged. ENJOY!

Part 1.

25 years ago.

Space rushed by the hull of the Apocalypse-class battleship at it traveled through the edges of Amarr space. The ship, its pilot and crew all belonged to an ancient Amarrian with ties to many in power, and and such he commanded power and wealth purely through proxy and cunning.

The Amarrian, named Augustius, prided himself on many things, including the large number of Minmatar slaves under his "care". While he allowed them more freedoms then many of his equals would deem appropriate, he found himself fascinated by how the barbarians chose to live, even while being given the chance to live as civilized as the Amarr do. The battleship was transporting a few families of his slaves to a new estate of his, deep within the empire on a moon where the wildlife was lush and he urged to conquer it. Augustius had, in fact, bought the entire moon for this thrill of his.

Deep within the dark inner cavities the ship where the golden sheen was replaced by carbon, soot and sulfer, a small miracle was taking place. What was left of the Prano clan, a Brutor family whose powerful mysticism and honoured heritage found its place in even the earliest stories of Matar, was adding another to their numbers. The matriarch of the Prano clan had always been infertile, and many thought this was the death knell of the bloodline, yet now they were witness to the culmination of a virgin birth.

The matriarch would not survive, for she bled far too much. The medical facilities on-board might have been able to save her, but those were not at the disposal of livestock. She bore a strong, young boy who cried out at the top of his lungs. The midwife examined the boy for defects and found only one. A birthmark on his right shoulder blade that looked uncannily like a raptor's wing. The midwife raised the screaming baby up for all in the small and dirty cabin to see, and soon it was clear to all. Through generations those of Prano blood that bore this mark went into the annals of history as great visionaries and spiritual leaders for all Matari. This baby was a gift from the gods.

The matriarch gave her last commands and she gasped for air and chocked on her blood. Given Augustius' interest in Matari history and the greed that drove him to acquire all he could, he would never let the baby go, especially after he learned of the birthmark and its secrets. Their purpose was clear.

24 hours later, in unison, every Minmatar on that ship attacked their Amarr keepers. The ship was thrown into chaos and the pilot dropped out of warp near a cluster of jump gates for fear they might damage the control systems and send the ship spiraling into another. All this was a distraction, as the midwife and a small group of the late matriarch's disciples darted for the escape pods. After incapacitating two inept Amarr guards, the baby was placed in a pod programmed for a randomized path out of Amarr space and into the Gallente Federation, where he would be put into a foster care system. Some in the group wanted the baby to be sent to the Republic, but it was deemed far too dangerous. The baby slept though the entire ordeal, which made the midwife laugh a little under her panting breaths as she ran through the corridors, hold the baby close. A vid-recording that the matriarch made in her last minutes for the baby, explaining who he is and who his people need him to become was placed in the pod as well. Upon the small datacore's casing, written in the matriarch's blood by her were the words, "For Gigaer" in Matarese.

The pod launched and warped safely through a gate, but not before the Apocalypse's reactor was breached by the Matari captives, ripping the ship apart.

Days later, a passing Gallente miner would run across the pod, nearly out of power and air. The baby inside was barely alive. The miner worked for a rich business mogul who always wanted a son, but whose wife bore him nothing but girls. Maybe giving this baby to him would finally net him that promotion...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Too Human Impressions.

I hesitate to call anything a review, and hate giving anything a quantifiable score. The only time I'll give a score is if it's really vague, such as the star system used heavily to rate movies. The reason for this hesitation is because I don't think it's right or even possible to score a work of art. Video games are the 8th form and everyone is going to have a different experience with every game. Scoring is fundamentally flawed.

I've been excited about Too Human (by Silicon Knights) for a few years now. I could be labeled a Transhumanist and I'll gravitate towards any work that uses that as a theme. Building those themes around the framework of epic Norse mythology also intrigued me as a Pluralist. Needless to say I ate up any piece of info I could find on the game, pre-ordered it and eagerly awaited its release.

After many weeks of playing it through over and over, lending it to friends and checking out online opinion, I've come up with my own full impression of the game.

It's alright.

You want more? OK, well... the general consensus of gamers seem to agree on a few things. The story is good but hard to interpret if you're not familiar with Norse myth, the designs are amazing but the graphics engine is only decent, and the soundtrack is powerful but limited in scope, controls are easy but the camera sucks, and there are balancing issues with experience gathering and classes.

I won't say the game is short because it's only the first part in a trilogy. I won't harsh SK for the graphics engine because for everything but the last few months everything was build around Unreal Engine 3, but when SK and Epic came to legal blows over certain issues, SK had to build a whole new engine in a very short amount of time. Range-based combat is difficult at best and will off-put many gamers. This issue is due to not being able to quickly target the right enemy and flow easily from one target to another. So later in the second and third parts we can hopefully expect remedies to many of the problems I outlined. These issues stand as the general thoughts of the gaming community, so SK had an obligation to listen and learn.

There are some issues however that are systemic within the concept of the game. One is obviously the camera, though looking at the controls I'm not sure if we'll ever be given control, though the camera could be a little more intuitive. When I heard about SK bringing a psychologist on board for this game, I was excited about the emotions the game would evoke. Unfortunately, even though the voice acting was top-notch there was very little in the way of jerked tears or other emotional evoking being done. SK really needs to demand more from this psychologist. Doing this will help with portraying the story in a less abrasive way and hopefully convince those in charge that a larger soundtrack is necessary. The charms quest system was confusing and seemed needless, so replacing it or giving it a serious overhaul is definitely a must. and Lastly, expecting a player to play through the game four times just to begin to access top-level equipment is far too much, even when multiplayer is involved. Adding multiplayer specific side-quests or allowing you to have multiplayer-only character choices like Thor, Tyr or Freya would be a way of spicing things up.

Do I have hope for this series? Yes. I plan on pre-ordering the second and third game. But I'm worried about the rest of the community. I'm seeing a lot of returned copies of the game at the local EB. SK has to work HARD to get the community back. I'd love to see an artbook, but instead of putting it on the page only, have a book for concepts and DVD-ROM for super-high-rez models of all the models (armour, weapons, enemies, etc...) as well as a full primer to Norse myth, backstory and themes like posthuman gods. Added cinematics NOT using the in-game engine would also be a plus. Have these in a special edition for the final installment and have the case built to hold the first two games as well.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Penny Arcade adventures - episode 1 (XBox 360) review

I recently completed Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-slick Precipice of Darkness, and I have to say that it may just be one of the best-written games of all time.

Let me start by saying I'm a huge fan of PA. Their humour is abrasive, but that's part of the charm. It's imaginative and high-brow, even while being so blue it's almost black. Gabe is a wonderful artist and Tycho is extremely intelligent and well-spoken. I'd urge anyone to give it a look.

The game carried the label "episode 1", so it's not surprising that the game is as short as it is, but really that's the only real detractor. It's downloadable off Xbox Live for about $20 in gamerpoints, and it's well worth it at even twice that price. The gameplay uses a traditional RPG format with turn-based combat. It's a simple system without a lot of frills, with a few mini-games added in to pull off special attacks and gain items. The soundtrack isn't vast but it definitely fits the themes at play. The script, including plenty of diologue trees, a little evilish voice-over and plenty of shocking comments, will have you laughing every 30 seconds.

Where this game really shines is the story. A Lovecraft-esque saga with some steampunk accents, it chronicles a character you design, and his (or her) search for answers and a home after his house is trampled by a giant Fruit-F**ker. Your character runs into two other characters (based off Gabe and Tycho) and joins their agency, Startling Developments. The characters are rich, shockingly funny and backed up by a full supporting cast. You travel through the suburbs, an evil carnival and other locals fighting hobos, mimes and other agents of evilness.

It's a simple game with simple controls and simple trimmings, but it's a hell of a good time and you'll want to play it again just to experience the hilariously dark, disturbing and disgusting events over and over again.

They've said this game took an enormous effort to make and after this series is done there are no plans for another one, but I really hope they release an action game featuring the cardboard-tube samurai.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My life in Eve - Part 1

Many of my posts over the coming months and (hopefully) years will be about my experiences with my favorite MMORPG of all time, Eve Online.

Check it out at

The learning curve is near-vertical, but it's so expansive and detailed that you'll never be bored. You'll never hit a level cap or find a top gear set, because there ARE no levels and the equipment system is so complex and operating in any scenario is so unique that there's no possible best setup. I'll try to keep from ranting, but there's plenty of literature and a free trial available, so check it out.

A few weeks ago my corporation convinced me to move into nullsec before I thought I was ready. Due to my lack of isk it's almost impossible to act solo, and I didn't really like the idea of relying on others. Still, I went, and got popped a few days later. When that happens I usually lock myself into a station for a while and re-evaluate my skill training plans, which I was doing until last night.

Bothrops managed to lure me out of my hole and give me my first taste of nullsec ratting. I messed up by attacking the cruiser instead of the battleship, wrecking the farm others in my alliance were using, which earned me some flak on chat, and I didn't follow instructions to the letter. Funny, if I had done the second thing the first thing would have never happened. CL in Curse region isn't really built to support heavy ratting ops, so once i messed up it really shut down the rest of the night. Also, some reds started scouting and intel showed we didn't have the manpower online to handle them, so we retreated to our stations for the night.

Bothy did me the favour of reviewing my skill levels and, although he seemed impressed that I had so many support skills at high levels, there were a few glaring omissions. He said he'd pick up some skillbooks and implants (which I had not been able to replace since getting popped) soon. Lack of cloaking, electronics and low drone skills are what I'll be focusing on in the very near future, then I should be ready to try a battleship.

I hope to have a better run tonight.

FYI, my corporation is COGnet Spacesystems Ltd. in the Ushra'Khan alliance. I'm proud of my allegiances and I have a lot of fun RPing.

I'm also writing a novella fanfiction, which I'm posting in the alliance forums, and once it's done I'll post in the EVE official forums. I'm working on chapter 8 of 10 currently, and got a fic for my alt in planning. Once both are done I'll write a third fic featuring both characters. I've made my alt but haven't played with her yet. She's meant for mining/refining/etc... and I'm waiting for my primary (who's combat, obviously) to my more or less complete, and for the Midus expansion to be released.

Sorry, these posts are going to be filled with terms that are specific to Eve. I don't have the time or inclination to educate through my blog what you can find on the main site or others in 10 minutes. If you have a specific question, I'd be more than happy to answer anything left in a comment.

Writing creatively on the side is what I consider a alt career, my primary being law enforcement. If my alt makes me any money later, that's cool, if not, that's fine as well. I think I may post my novella chapters here as well.

Ja (which is "later" in Japanese slang. I'm Canadian-Italian, but I'm still an otaku).

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

And so it begins, again and for the first time.

This isn't my first attempt at maintaining a blog.

First it was Livejournal @ That was during my media studies at Humber College.

Then it was I still thought I had a future as a journalist.

This will be different. I don't think this will net me a writing job in the future nor will I try to stick to one topic. Everything I am, I will try and post, and I will do it frequently.

Life, love, comics, anime, video games, movies, TV, novels, politics, science, technology, philosophy, sex, gadgets, etc...

I hope to build a readership, but at this point I have no idea how to attract people other than to write a LOT. So I will.

Stay tuned. It should be interesting.