November 2003 Archives

And Speaking Of...

We just got the shipment of _Full Thrust_ miniatures we ordered on Halloween. Almost four kilos of metal space goodness from Britain. Just the fricking _shipping & handling_ was £42. But now... now we paint. (Well, and do a fair amount of filing, scraping, cutting, pinning, gluing, etc. to get these things cleaned up and assembled. Most of the castings are pretty good, but I'm really not thrilled about the look of Orion's ESU ships. One sprue of fighters is pretty much fused into a single sheet of metal.)

Power Projection

As a component of our recent _Full Thrust_ obsession, Inire bought a copy of "Power Projection": from "Warehouse 23": It's a ship-combat game set in the "Traveller": universe, and based on the _Full Thrust_ rules. The thing I really like about _Power Projection_ is its refinement of the vector movement system introduced in _Fleet Book 1_. Instead of tracking the velocity of each ship with, say, a little arrow counter (for direction) and a die (for magnitude), it uses a "future position" counter to track the endpoint of the velocity vector. Underneath the ship mini at the beginning of each turn is a "current position" counter. After movement orders are written, and it's time to move the ships, each mini is placed on the future position counter, and then moved according to its orders for the turn. Then a line is drawn from current position to mini, extended past it a like distance, and the future position counter placed there. This means first and foremost that there's no bookkeeping to track current speed. And the error introduced by nudging the future position counter is much less than nudging a direction counter next to the ship would be. It also means that -- as seems fitting in a setting where computer-aided targetting would likely be the rule -- the other players have a better idea of where each ship is going to be next turn. This is information they'd theoretically have already, but makes it more clear to all concerned what's going on. The other changes I'm not so hot about. Weapons and shields come in more flavors than they do in basic _Full Thrust_, but have much less variation in terms of rules. All of the beam weapons come in regular and enhanced varieties (mining lasers being an exception), and differ mainly in terms of range. There are also several kinds of missle (including bomb-pumped lasers warheads), and "sandcasters," which are sort of like smokescreens of reflective particles. All non-missile weapons use the same to-hit/damage chart. Range, shielding, and other modifiers shift the row of the chart used, and the necessary roll on a d6 to do damage; it's similar to the way screens in _Full Thrust_ work, but generalized. Shields are really just modifiers. Different flavors of shield affect certain weapons more than others, but most ships seem to mount some of each. Frankly, I'm not all that wild about all of the modifiers, and the need for the chart. I'm sure it gets faster with more play, but it just feels _off_, somehow. There are definitely elements of _Power Projection_ that I'm thinking of adapting back into _Full Thrust_ -- the movement refinements, sandcasters, and perhaps bomb-pumped laser missles -- but on the whole, I think I prefer the simplicity of the original.

Wax Online

While this is pretty much the opposite of "entertaining," I just learned of the existence of an online version of the "hypertext film" _Wax, or the Discovery of Television Among the Bees_. So, of course, like that tape in _Ring_, I have to pass this terrible knowledge on to preserve my own existence. ==

Jacob Maker is a beekeeper
who designs flight simulators.
One day, the past arrives out of the future,
and Jacob enters …




Reloaded, Abridged

Before The Matrix: Revolutions opens this week, it'd be good to go back and review part one of the film (aka The Matrix: Reloaded). If you don't have time to rent it, I suggest this excellent summary:

The Matrix: Reloaded

Back to the Hunt

We had the inspection of the house I mentioned last week, and that didn't go so well. Mrs. Me was pretty disappointed, and I wasn't all that thrilled, either. Place needs a new roof, some maintenance to the rafters themselves, the A/C and water heater on toward their end-of-life, there are settlement cracks in the foundation, lots of little plumbing tasks, drainage issues on the sides of the house.... Nothing by itself was completely infeasible. But that's still a lot of money, and it was a profusion of stuff, not just one thing. I could see having to drop a *lot* of money to get it all taken care of, and that's really not what we're looking for. So... back to it. One of the unfortunate realities of the market in this city is that the edges are _so_ much less expensive than the middle. The tract homes out in Sahuarita and Vail are the prime examples, of course, but even close in, the difference can be pretty large. I'm really trying to stay on this side of Wilmot, but it may get difficult.