What’s Mined is Mine — An Elite: Dangerous Short Story

What’s Mined is MineType-9 Mining

Commander Vithigar Erdé skimmed his cargo manifest, freshly updated with the output from his onboard refinery. As the star set behind the looming dark orb of the nearby gas giant he permitted himself some brief optimism and hoped the trip would continue to be as fruitful. The hold of his mining outfitted Type-9, which he had dubbed the Type-Mine, was about half full of the requested osmium and silver necessary for the construction of a new Aegis security installation in the Pleiades, and even the undesired “side catch” was still a valuable haul of platinum and palladium.

“Well, time to move.” He didn’t want to have to relocate, but with the light from HIP 19054 disappearing quickly it would become all too easy to accidentally remodel the front end of the Type-Mine against the side of an unseen rock if he stayed any longer. Pulling away from the planetary ring to clear the effect of its mass on the Frame Shift Drive’s ability to warp space, he prepared to make a quick trip at sub-luminal, but still relativistic, speeds to the opposite side of the planet.

Just after arrival in a day-side area of the ring a pair of unidentified blips appeared on his scanner. “Just as expected…”, Cmdr. Vithigar muttered. It never failed that two or three baby-fresh wannabe pirates would follow the obvious FSD wake of a mining ship as it entered a ring, hoping for an easy score. His mood soured when his sensors finally resolved exactly what ships were bearing down on him. This wasn’t the usual pair of sidewinders or eagles, but a pair of Federal craft, one assault ship, one dropship, both likely obtained through not-entirely-official channels, approaching from opposite directions. There was a silver lining though, now that the ships had been ID’d they were showing mismatched IFF signals. By some incredible coincidence these two Federal craft weren’t working with each other, they just happened to arrive at the same time. Vithigar made the decision to stand his ground, hoping they wouldn’t fight together, while at the same time recognising that this was probably not the wisest course of action.

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Destroying Iconography For Fun And Profit

Iconoclasts attracted my attention randomly and immediately when Steam happened to throw its trailer in my discovery queue one day. I had previously heard nothing about the game but wanted to play it probably within the first 10 seconds of the preview.

You play the role of Robin, a fairly typical player-insertion silent protagonist with an oddly geometric ponytail whose only established character traits are unwavering helpfulness and a talent for swinging a giant wrench.  The supporting cast, in contrast to Robin’s relatively flat character, is surprisingly multi-faceted and several of them see meaningful development throughout the game. It is very much the story of these other characters that the game is really about, with their reliance on Robin’s help being central to how they develop.  Iconoclasts also never really gets too serious, with a fair scattering of lighthearted dialogue to keep the mood up.

The gameplay itself is also fun, with responsive controls and a satisfying variety of abilities. It’s nothing groundbreaking with fairly standard “metroidvania” mapcrawling, but executed competently enough so that it remains enjoyable.  Many screens of the game are more akin to puzzles than challenges of mechanical ability to play, which is great for any puzzle game fan. The graphics themselves are colourful and eye catching, with great variety between different areas and full of little details which can actually fill in some of the story for someone paying close enough attention.

If you’re a fan of metroidvania-like mapcrawling with puzzle elements then definitely check this out.

A Rolling Stone Misses Out On This Great Game

Well, it’s been a while.  I can’t say exactly what prompted me to post here again, but here I am now, and since it’s Monday, I’m starting with a progress post.

Moss is, simply put, enchanting and whimsical.  You join a little mouse named Quill on an adventure to free her people from an evil snake, and find out what happened to her uncle, who left hurriedly after Quill showed him a magical glass relic she found.  The game is played in VR and you loom above Quill on her adventure, playing the role of a benign guide helping Quill on her way.

The third person perspective is executed amazingly well in VR, casting the player as the “reader” of the Moss storybook, and as a real entity in the game which Quill can see and occasionally interact with.  She and I high-fived at one point after we solved one particular puzzle that was notably more complicated than the ones previous.

This one is definitely worth checking out.

Virtually Amazing

I now own an Oculus Rift.

The recent price drop was the tipping point. I’ve been wanting a VR headset for a while now but found them prohibitively expensive. Especially considering that my current PC specs just barely eked by the requirements for such a setup.  It was a lot of money for something that might not work well.  Now at least it was a lot of money for something that might not work well but would leave enough cash left over to upgrade for it if necessary.

As it turns out, my fears were unfounded.  My five+ year old CPU and mid-range graphics card perform quite well in everything I’ve tried it with.  Read on for my impressions on what I’ve tried so far!

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More Tombs!

Recently picked up playing Rise of the Tomb Raider.  I spoke highly of the 2013 reboot on this blog previously, and this entry continues to deliver on the same formula.  It doesn’t deviate too far from what was previously established, but then sometimes you just want more of the same!

Don’t really have a whole lot to expound on here, just wanted to put up something to avoid going more than a week without posting.  There’ll be a doozy of an entry coming soon though, I promise!

What’s a “Rabbid”?

Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle kind of came out of nowhere.

If someone had told me a year ago that Ubisoft was going to be making a game using Nintendo’s intellectual property I would’ve thought they were insane, but here we are.  To make matters even crazier, it’s actually good.  Mario + Rabbids is a tactical game similar in style to XCOM.  You move your characters around to try to maintain an advantageous position in combat and take turns shooting at each other behind varying amount of cover.  Yes, shooting.  Mario uses a gun of some sort in this game, which seems kind of strange at first, but you get used to it.

Taken as a sort of “XCOM-lite” the game is pretty great, requiring some legitimate strategic thinking as the stages progress, while throwing in a dash of slapstick or absurdist comedy throughout.  The rabbids themselves manage to keep their antics from becoming grating, which I’m thankful for, and the expected charm of Mario and his gang manages to shine through.

Definitely recommend this for anyone who is a fan of tactical gameplay and likes the lighthearted style of the Mario games.  If you’ve got a Switch, give it a look!

We choose to go to Mun not because it is easy, but because it is fun!

I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of this one, both figuratively and literally.  In-game literally that is.

Kerbal Space Program is definitely more of a sandbox than a game.  A sandbox in which the “sand” is parts of spaceships and the “box” is a solar system.  Using a realistic — though simplified — simulation of space flight you hurl your creations to the sky, where they may soar gloriously to their destination… or not.

Few games, if any, leave me as satisfied or with the same sense of accomplishment as Kerbal Space Program does.  Maybe it’s the real physics the game uses, or the real(ish) scale of the game, but achieving something for the first time feels better here than it does in any other game I’ve played, whether it’s just getting out of the atmosphere, reaching a stable orbit, or landing on another planet.

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