Thursday, 26 March 2015

#OVERRIDE: Threats & Thematics

Greetings friends!

So there's something I am hoping to share with you and that is the themes present in the game Override.

By now you are probably more than familiar with the Sponsor groups present on the world of Honos, but are you familiar with how they see each other?

I remember when I used to play White Wolf games they often used to have a table that they used to show how each group saw the other groups, and that's something I would like to try and tap into now.


United Earth Force (UEF)
UEF - We are the protectors. We keep the peace on a world that wants to tear itself apart.
HMC - The hired help. When they are not busy digging holes they are locking themselves away building new gadgets. Those gadgets are useful however.
Wraiths - Never trust a bone-head. Sneaky bastards, but also the best snipers on Honos. Second to a UEF Marksman of course!
Accord - Political fools. They think they control the Fringe, but it's our guns keeping the rebels at bay.
Red Claw - Blackmarket Terrorist scum.
Raiders - Traitor Terrorist scum.
Unity - Body-stealing Terrorist scum.
Reavers - So the Red Claw think they can give themselves a new name and try their hand at politics? I've got a 9mm that'll answer that problem.
The AI - We're not beaten yet. We will retake Earth!
The Pha'Nur - Bunch of bugs ate a dirt farm? Big whoop...

Honos Mining Corporation (HMC)
HMC - We are the creators, the inventors and the invigorators and our blank checks make Honos go around.
UEF - This is their rifle, there are many like it but this is theirs. Without them their rifle is nothing, without their rifle they are nothing... And we make the rifles.
Waiths - They have their own tech, but our boys are only days away from figuring it out.
Accord - You really think they can't be bought? Our pockets run deep.
Red Claw - Everyone has a use even these 'roaches.
Raiders - They keep the soldiers busy, more bullets fired. Someone has to manufacture those bullets.
Unity - Like the Indian surrounded by all the garbage. Utterly helpless in the modern world, no matter how much they sculpt & mod themselves.
The AI - We know... We're working on it!
The Pha'Nur - Someone's gotta deal with them bugs. We have the spray but the grunts don't wanna use it!

Wraiths - We are the watchers of darkness, the spear of light and the slayer of dragons.
UEF - Uncouth swine pretending to be civilised. Give them a stick and point them in the right direction.
HMC - The wealthy, successful brother to the UEF. If we ignore them, maybe they will go away.
Accord - Without Control there is Anarchy. Without Order there is Chaos.
Red Claw - Like filth-ridden monkeys hitting rocks. But even monkeys don't deserve slavery.
Raiders - Too much water under the bridge. Given enough time they will consume themselves.
Unity - They know not what they do. They play with the fabric of life and death like a toy.
Reavers - They were always welcome within the Accord, they just refused us.
The AI - A modern Prometheus.
The Pha'Nur - We are not prepared.

Red Claw
Red Claw - For too long we have been oppressed. Tonight we fight! Victory or Death!
Raiders - Like us, their own kind turned on them. They were like lost children but we have sculpted them into golems of war.
Unity - The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
Raiders - The Sword of Justice
UEF - They think they control Honos. They know not what it means to call yourself a true warrior.
HMC - Slaves themselves, they just do not see their masters.
Wraiths - Never again. Never forgive, never forget.
Accord - A snake coils in their buxom and with every passing day it grows on their own arrogance.
The AI - The wheel turns eternal.
The Pha'Nur - Wild animals in need of taming. They fit in well on Honos.

Raiders - We welcomed all with open palms. The actions of others forces us into fists.
Red Claw - They offered us sanctuary in our time of need. Misunderstood creatures of noble heritage.
Unity - My skin crawls just thinking about them.
Reavers - Everyone deserves to be treated equally and fairly. If that is reached at the end of a sword, so be it.
UEF - They call themselves civilised and us terrorists but they have yet to see what true terror is.
HMC - They build stuff. UEF use stuff. We steal stuff. I call that synergy.
Wraiths - If only we could get our hands on their tech.
Accord - Bullies playing at peacekeeping.
The AI - We exchanged one tyrant for another. The difference is that the new one has forgotten all about the old.
The Pha'Nur - It's our people in the Bad Lands they're killing, but no one bats an eye. Every day they grow in number but our own are too thinly spread as is to do anything about theirs.

Unity - We are the way. Soon you shall realise that we were right all along.
Red Claw - Obedient pets
Raiders - Their soft flesh is too weak to us. But truce treaties are strong.
Reavers - Necessary for what is to come.
UEF - They throw themselves willingly on our weapons and yet claim we are the insane ones?
HMC - Malleable
Wraiths - How short their memory is when they cast us away for their sins.
Accord - They are allied with our mislead brothers and sisters, but they will learn from their folly.
The AI - The speak to us from afar. They make us offers. We are tempted.
The Pha'Nur - Their voices cling to the remains of our spines and our nerves tell us what we feel is fear. They show us that there is another way, and perhaps we were wrong. We do not like doubt.

Until next time; stay safe and be excellent to each other!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Friday, 20 March 2015

#Override VASSAL & How to Play

Greetings friends!

So on the request of a friend of mine, last night I created a Vassal Module for Override which can be found HERE.

I say created; what I actually did was take an existing Infinity module and tear out a chunk of stuff, replace it's D20 system with a D6 and rename some of the Units.

Eventually I hope to expand this with actual Unit artwork from Override, as well as my own splash screen and maps, but for now this will do.

What I hope to use this for is to create some "How to Play" videos which I can host on my YouTube Channel. In the meantime however I need to get used in how to use Vassal, find out what is missing from the module that needs to be added, and see if there is a way of adding the ability to rename units ingame (so you would have 3 of the same icon all representing say; Hydan Gang Members, but you could rename them the Bill, Bob & Jack).
- Another option is to look at the roster itself. Currently you can only recruit up to models; 8 Units and a single Auxiliary. I might be able to get around by using Unit 1, Unit 2 etc and leave players checking with the opponent. Unsure, but I can play around and test.

If any of you are interested in trying this out with me let me know via the usual channels (Twitter: @doctorloxley and Email: and I'll see what we can arrange.


I must say however; things are starting to move awfully fast! At this rate the game will be entering beta before I know it, and that scares me.

Until next time; stay safe and be excellent to each other!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

#Override - Gang War gets a new name & edition

Greetings friends!

Notice anything different about today's post? Rather than using the previous #GangWar, I am now using #Override, short of course for First Law: Override.

What does this mean?
Well I'm short, the #GangWar hashtag is now replaced with #Override, meaning you now need to look out for that hashtag to claim your entries into the Bounty Hunter pot.

Secondly, the franchise has always been First Law: Override, but as Gang War grew legs of it's own I realised more and more that it was that game I wanted to push and promote. So here we are!

So now we are looking at the same game under an new heading which I personally believe is a more marketable title.


We also have a new edition of the game: V0.1.4

This version has lots of new stuff including initial rules for both Link-Bots and the 6th and final mission: Assault on Precinct 313.

There are also lots of rules changes following on from the weekend testing. Such changes are quite minor like the removal of elevation modifiers, instead allowing the cover mechanic to do the job for us. Other changes like melee engagement are more drastic involving an almost entire re-write, but producing a result that is simpler to understand and more organic in style and play.

I am still looking into Random a Deployment, which in short will be the final edition of v0.1 as following on from that will be v0.2 where I change the two initial test groups from Human Gang 1 and Human Gang 2, to UEF of the Accord and Raiders of the Reavers.
- Stat-wise we won't see much of a change, instead seeing that the weapons and gear (UEF [United Earth Force] having Pulse Rifles & HMGs, Raiders getting Scrambler tech Wet-Ware and The Blade, a Deck that allows you to reroll 1 Hack Dice).

Following on from that we will be welcoming in the Red Claw; a Reaver Sponsor Group who are less effective at range, better at melee and carry melee weapons that provide additional protection against ranged attacks!

Moving on with further editions we'll be seeing the Hydan for Accord, who are even better at shooting than Humans, but suffer from a weaker toughness. They make up for it however with Crystech Sniper Rifles that when used with an Aim allow you to re-roll 1 Attack Dice. That's great and all but they still suck at getting hit, especially when as a Sponsor they are forbidden from purchasing Heavy Armour off the bat. But they make up for that with specialised Light & Medium Armour.

Yup the Hydan's Light Armour comes complete with an inbuilt stealth-tech, quite simply to shoot at these guys while their Stealth is enabled gives a -1 Attack Dice modifier if the wearer moved and -2 if they stood still (sprinting and firing disables the tech) reactivating the stealth tech is an Interact Action, so when you shoot with these guys you'll become de-stealthed and need to wait until the following turn before re-stealthing.

Following on from these will be the HMC (Honos Mining Corp) who's Heavy Armour increases the user's Toughness by 1 and have access to Plasma HMGs which work on exploding 1s and diminishing 6s (any 1 you roll allows you to roll an additional dice, any 6 you roll cancels out a success). Plasma tech is unreliable and can create all sorts of reactions from super-heated discharge that kills anything on hit (rolling lots of 1s) to total jams (rolling lots of 6s).

Last but not least will see Unity for the Accord. Cyborgs have additional equipment available to them that no one else gets including Viral Melee weapons (1st point of damage reduces the target's Tm for 1 turn), Arachnoid Limbs to ignore difficult terrain & treat scalable as climb able, and Healing Injectors which allow them to heal themselves mid game. They also are the only Sponsor who can equip their Hackers with Heavy Armour, however every other unit is only able to use Light!

And this ends the projection on where we're going!

Once done we will be closing off the alpha and opening v0.3 which should begin the beta with campaign rules!

So yeah, lots of new stuff!
- oh and how can I forget: A new Roster complete with changes introduced in 0.1.4.

Until next time; stay safe and be excellent to each other!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

#GangWar The Roster & A Few Changes

Greetings friends!

So following on from yesterday's post I have a lot of changes after my weekend beta testing Gang War that I need to put down on paper (digital). I also have a few new additions including Link-Bots and 2 new Hacker Cartridges: Firewall & Interference.
-Firewall is to be used on an in-progress hack that reduces the hacker's Tm by 1 for their next Activation.
-Interference is just like Blackout (the EMP blast) but instead it only effects 1 Unit, so less of a Get Out of Jail ability, and more of an actual attack itself. Yup, is that HMG user in the Heavy Armour bearing down on you? Not with Interference in your Deck! One use of this.

But I also want to maybe throw in some other bits for Hackers.

Firstly there's resisting.
As we add more attacks in the form of Interference and Blackout it makes using items with a Digital Interface (Dig-I) more and more risky. Resisting allows you to try and resist a Hack attempt on you by rolling a single success on your Hack Dice. Remember unless you have a Deck, you only get 1 Hack Dice. If you succeed then you have resisted the Hack attempt and kept control of your gear.

There's also Hacker Duel.
This is something I've liked the sound of for a while. In short if you try to use a Cartridge Attack (Firewall, Interference, Blackout etc) within range of another Hacker's Deck, that Hacker may attempt to initiate a Hacker Duel. When a Duel begins the duelling hacker rolls their Hack Dice.
If they roll LOWER than the lowest dice the original Hacker rolled, then the attack is cancelled however the original Hacker becomes the subject of the attack.
If they roll EQUAL to the initial roll, then the attack is only cancelled, no one is effected by it.
If however they roll HIGHER than the initial roll, then the attack goes through as standard and the secondary Hacker is also effected by the attack and unable to resist.
- Ouch!


Following on from that, last night with the aid of my awesome wife @teh_tri I have been able to release the following Roster

What this is, is something very similar to the old style rosters we're all familiar with from Ye olde days of BloodBowl, Necromunda, GorkaMorka and Mordheim.

Not only can you record up to 8 Units + 1 Auxiliary Unit (Link-Bots for now, but allowing for more) but it allows you to track your equipment, your Wounds, your Gang Score and if you need to roll to retreat!

Obviously this isn't everything you need to play the game, but I think it is a step towards being an extremely valuable resource.

Ideally I would like to make something in the form of an App that does the same, but that's far future speak for me.

Note: Undoubtably you are going to want to use this spreadsheet on either a Smart Phone or Tablet. That is fine, and while I can't speak for Android users, those with the official MS Excel app for iOS will have full functionality. As I do not have an android device I am unable to confirm or deny how it works on that.
-Note: As long as you have a Microsoft email account (hotmail, outlook etc) then you should be able to get the MS Excel app for free!
Now you can't argue with that!


A reminder that the Bounty Hunter competition is still going; this is now the second post with the #GangWar preface. If you made use of all the entry options for both posts you would by now have 10 entries into the drawing!

On that note, time for me to sign off. So stay safe and be excellent to each other!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Monday, 16 March 2015

#GangWar A Weekend Playtesting & An Upcoming Competition

Greetings friends!

So the weekend is over and I wanted to share something truly awesome with you all.

First of all; my good friend Tom visited us and we were able to put Gang War through it's paces involving pushing the game to it's limits in what is possible and what is not.

Let me tell you; this game is fun, fun, fun!

I've been careful not to push it too much before. I mean my testing has been very limited before and really was only my opinion, but I was super relieved to see my friend's reaction to the game being exactly as I felt.

Each game was tense with every unit from the Leaders to the lowly Members giving massive sways to the potential outcome.

We had data being hacked, snipers gunning down Gangers, EXO Suits firing off HMGs, EXO Suits being hacked and ejecting their user, even a hacked EXO Suit being hijacked by the opposition as he continued to stomp around the battlefield as a duo of EXO Suit users laying waste to everything left on the board.

We also made a couple of minor adjustments to the rules, things like the melee engagement rules, how to treat terrain directly in front of you, adding parkour, things that enhance the experience from both thematic, realistic and gameplay directions.

There was a couple of things I noticed; both games we played were won by force - using firepower to take my guys out and force me to retreat. Obviously the aim of the guy is objectives (Capture the Data, Node or PoI) so how is this resolved? How do I make objectives viable compared with simply shooting the opponent?

This to me seems simple. Eventually there will be two game modes: Campaign and Beyond Freeport (Tournament play). Both of which provide rewards from Victory Points, to XP and Notoriety. You just make it that winning the game via completing the objective gives more (maybe double) of the rewards than winning by forcing a retreat. That way players themselves are less inclined to force that result due to the innate desire to maximise rewards where possible.

The best thing about this game is that almost every part of it feels exactly like I hoped it would: elegant.

Things happen because they make sense, and whenever we came across something that felt inelegant we made a small change to the rules and then it worked out exactly as I hoped it would creating an experience that was both cinematic and balanced.

Can I throw that word out again? Balanced! The game felt freaking balanced! This is what I really hoped for, as by creating the balanced Humans as the template, I am now able to start creating the other races and basing them off this human template (the Red Claw for example having a lower Range Skill but a higher Melee Skill).


Which leads me onto my next point I'd like to raise:

At the time of writing I can currently ~3,800 page views away from 50k. According to my calculations, at the current rate of consumption, this should be reached somewhere between 1.5 to 3 months. This is something I'm quite proud of. More that I am VERY proud of it.

So here is what I am thinking:

Between now and the target 50k page views I am offering you the audience the chance to appear in the game as a Licensed Bounty Hunter. Your character can be hired by any Faction and any Sponsor, will have a set series of skills & gear and will be usable in both Campaign & Beyond Freeport games.

Should I ever seriously entertain the notion of an official miniature line, yours will be the first to be created and cast.

How do you win this prestigious honour?

It's actually simple.

For every post beginning with #GangWar in it's title that I publish on my blog from now until the target is reached you can earn entries into a random drawing.

You can earn entries by doing the following:

-Retweeting about the post on Twitter
-Commenting about the post on Twitter
-Sharing the post on Facebook
-Commenting on the post on Facebook
-Leaving a Comment on the post itself.

This means if you do all of these for every post you can earn up to 5 entries PER POST!

Note: this only applies to posts that start with the hashtag GangWar. It is possible that I will release about 20+ posts in this time but some of them will be rage posts or what not & I can't be bothered to track all of them. However every post which covers the game Gang War will include that Hashtag at the start. This way we can not only promote the game but also the blog.

Of course I need to be aware of these comments & shares so be sure to tag me in them. If you need any extra info from me to do so then please let me know.

Once we reach 50k pageviews (and with your help we can do this much faster) then all these entries will be put into a metaphorical hat and a winner drawn at random.


I hope you are all as enthused by this as I am.

Now I just need to find some way of demoing the alpha rules to people so they can see how awesome these rules are!

Until next time; stay safe and be excellent to eachother!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Friday, 13 March 2015

Gang War - The Problem with Hacking

Greetings friends!

So by now if you didn't already know; Hacking is a major part of Gang War.

The Hackers aren't the strongest of Units. They are physically weak, can't hit for shit and basically run away at the first sign of trouble.

But they have teeth.

The Hacker is the star of the show!

They may not have the long ranged deadly-ness of a Sniper Rifle, or the in your face PWNidge of a HMG.

They will never have special skills like Juggernaut, Wrecking Ball, Marksman or Montoya (more on these when we reach Beta), but they have the skill Hacker.

Hacker is a straight forward skill; it allows the Unit to use Hacking Decks.

As we've already covered, decks like the Jackhammer, Eagle and Bulldog are what transform Hackers from zeros to heroes!

By utilising wireless technology the Hacker can remotely Hack into devices from a further distance than anyone without a deck is capable of.

They can emit an Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) that temporarily fries and DigI Tech within range!

They can even tap into friendly Unit's wetware and bring them back from a state of Incapacitated!

So why does Hacking itself feel so dull?

- Now this could be an issue that is in my head, but I have found that normal combat which consists of 1 player rolling dice, then the other player rolling dice and the differential giving damage or not, this is quite exciting! Seeing those two hits go through, you are hoping that the opponent can't defend against them and go down!

Hacking however is just a single dice rolling.

The Hacker rolls his dice and sees how successful he is.

Like I said; it's not the most exciting of things.

This is something I am hoping to look at this weekend when I do some more test playing. The answer must be out there, but quite what it is I am unsure.

Should a Hack Target have it's own Defence Dice? If so then that turns Hacking into just a form of non-violent combat. The aim that I am going for is that Hacking should feel very different to normal combat. But exactly how to do that? I'm not 100% sure yet.

Until next time; stay safe & be excellent to each other!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Of Excitement & Squee

Greetings friends!

After a couple days off from work (and kinda being away from the Internet in general) I'm back with a bit of a chattete for you all.

So earlier this week I was published by a third party website's blog:

This was for me a really big deal. Before this point I had been a bit of a meerkat. Sure I pop my head up into the air for all to see in the form of blogs, podcasts & streams. But it's always done within very easy reach of a burrow from which I can disappear whenever I wanted by never really promoting my works.

I never went to websites I wasn't already familiar with, I never said to people "HEY LOOK AT MY BLOG!" I just put it out there and let people see it as they wanted. If people liked it they came back for more; if they didn't then they moved on. Same with podcasting and streaming.

I learned a long time ago that to survive in the public limelight, no matter how big your audience; you need super thick skin as everything you do comes under scrutiny. When you succeed there's always someone ready to put you down, and when you fail there's always someone to laugh at you. Even when you are mediocre there is still a line of people just begging to poke fun and complain because your opinion differs from them by 0.1 degrees, or because you made a statement that was off by irrelevant information (saying a release date was March when it was April for example).

So when I saw a tweet from Wayland Games saying they were looking for 'talented bloggers' I thought I'd send them some links.

Do I consider myself a talented blogger? Of course not. Jesus! I don't even consider myself a blogger, just an opinionated dude who has a blog. But what was the worst that could happen? They could say they didn't like my attitude or my subject matter. Maybe my style of writing wasn't for them? Well that's fine because I know I am writing for a niche crowd anyway.

So imagine my amazement when I get an email back asking for a n actual article; anything of my choice that is hobby related ~750 words? I'm over joyed!

Even now ~24hrs after the post went live on their website, I am still amazed in ways I can not put into words:

My words - my freaking words! Are appearing on a 3rd party website's blog!

Already I have drafted a follow up article. Something not too different to what I have written here in the past, covering my history as a hobbyist and gamer and the motivation behind it.
- Really it's pretty basic stuff. There's no venom or ranting, little creativity but I don't think that stuff belongs there. That is firmly based in this blog, and I can't see the viewers of Wayland Games being at all interested in what has ground my gears lately and forced me into a nerd rage.
- Like Pacific Rim! Seriously, how shite was that film! Why punch a big monster when you have an inbuilt sword? Why wait until your almost dead before using the sword? Just start off with the freaking thing!!

So yeah; that's got me pretty excited!

More than that however! This weekend I am hoping for a visit from a friend of mine. I am super happy about this as we get to playtest some games of Gang War, and with hope try & wrap our brains around Infinity some more.
Now you have to understand, it's not very often I get to play games; mainly because I'm a lazy SOB and so can't be bothered to travel to London or wherever to play. So when someone is going to actually travel to my own place of residence for a game or two? Well that's just making my weekend!

So yeah. That's what I've been up to recently!

After this weekend you should expect another update on Gang War as I am sure we will establish that nothing works and needs to be rebuilt from the ground up, but hey that's what alpha playtests are for!!

So until next time; stay safe and be excellent to eachother!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Friday, 6 March 2015

Gang War - Link Bots!

Greetings friends!

So as the basics start falling into place in Gang War; we start to expand into the more outlying aspects of the game.

One such aspect is the variety of equipment you can purchase for your Gang. We've already seen Digi Scopes, Medi Kits and more, today I'm talking about an item that with hope will be both fun and also introduce additional tactical options to the game.

I am talking about the Link Bot.

A Link Bot is an AI Construct either created after the exodus from Earth or liberated from The AI itself.

The Generic Link Bot is Humanoid and designed to perform basic functions such as cooking, cleaning and manual labour for the benefit of it's owner/creator.

That said, a Link Bot also as an amorphous outer shell allowing it to alter it's size and shape based on designated functions. Link Bots can not change their mass however - all those circuitry must go somewhere. What it can do however is increase or reduce its density and therefore the amount of space it takes up.

Most importantly: Link Bots are First Law enabled.
Law 1: A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
- Isaac Asimov

This is extremely important. The Link Bot's AI process will not allow it to injure a human being.

This has wide reaching implications on the use of Link Bots. They can not be mounted with weapons or similar, and at current there are three forms of Link Bot functions which can be implemented:

1). Humanoid - In the basic form a Link Bot can interact with objectives it has a middle ground movement but is limited by it's bipedal movement.

2). Remote - in this form the Link Bot is half the size of a humanoid and either has arachnoid like limbs or the capability to float above the ground, making it immune to most types of terrain. It is unable to interact with objectives however Hackers are able to Proxy-Hack (use the Remote to Hack through) however in doing so they loose any benefits they would obtain by Hacking through a Deck.

3). Defender - in this form the Link Bot is slower moving but able to generate a field of protection around it and anyone within that field. The Field of Protection provides additional Defence Dice on top of whatever armour the Unit may be wearing. It also is a larger size allowing it to block LoS and protect friendly Units.

And those are the basics of Link Bots. A special form of equipment that in game is treated as a Unit with it's own Action system but is actually purchased as Equipment for your Hacker, meaning if the Hacker is Incapacitated then so is the Link Bot.

Until next time; stay safe and be excellent to each other!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Gang War v0.1.3: What's new & upcoming?

Greetings friends!

So last night I updated the core pack of Gang War to v0.1.3.

With this update we saw a slight increase in points cost for the Kn Sniper Rifle. Now at this point you may be wondering why that is? After all initial testing has shown that the fear of the Sniper Rifle giving complete board control is not a reality?

That's right, and those fears were unfounded, and in rules the reason the Kn Sniper Rifle and Kn HMG were set at the same points was down to these weapons being the opposing sides of the same coins.

Both weapons put out around the same damage as eachother on paper, but one thing became apparent:
- The HMG requires you, the player, to move towards the enemy to become most damaging.
- The Sniper Rifle is made less powerful when the opposing player moves closer to you.

What this means is that the Sniper Rifle needs to be countered, but the HMG needs to be enhanced during a game. Pricing them both at 15Nt was either being too generous on the Sniper or too harsh on the HMG.

So I thought about it, I could reduce the HMG in cost, but in doing so I was taking it in line with the Assault Rifle in terms of costing, and the HMG is leaps and bounds ahead of the Assault Rifle. So instead I increased the Sniper Rifle up to 20Nt.

Do I think it's literally the best weapon available at the moment? No. It doesn't have the fluidity of an Assault Rifle or devastating output up close of a HMG or Shotgun (in fact good luck hitting anything up close with a sniper rifle) but instead it puts control in the players hands. It forces the opponent to have to react to it and I think that should come at a cost.


Next up was the Exo-Suit!

Currently quite happy with this, it seems at first look to be a strong & powerful form of equipment that turns the Unit into a walking tank.

It's weakness however is hacking and if you can hack it successfully then you can take control of the item.



New Missions are here!

The previous two turned out (after some minor tweaks) to be not only fun, but tense and cinematic. These three new additions; Domination, Data Capture & Double Domination with hope will be more frantic and action based but with big dilemmas on how Hackers are handled. They will be needed to achieve objectives but these objectives will be in the middle of fire-fights. How they play out? Only testing will tell!


What's next?

Well I intend with v0.1.4 to put out the 6th (and currently final) mission; Assault on Precinct 313.

So how many of you are familiar with Assault on Precinct 13? The John Carpenter original or more recent remake? This is the sort of thing I am hoping to recreate.

If you read my multi-part short story the other month you should all be familiar with The Block and the different regions. Precinct 313, the cop-shop just outside the rich 200s. It's high tech with good funding, but not prepared for a big fight, so when the bobbies arrest a notable Gang Member from the 600s they have little to prepare themselves for the onslaught that soon arrives at their front door, instead opting for hired security to whoever will take the job.

One side; the Defender starts off within the Precinct, including access to the Precinct's security system - imagine Hackers on turbo!

The security system can be interfaced as a Hack and once interfaced it has it's own set of Programs much like the cartridges used in Decks. The difference? They are all active, all the time!

Located around the Precinct are Security Nodes, let's say; 6 in total. Only one Node can be active at a time, but they have all manner of abilities from inbuilt Assault Rifles to Firewall Activations (make a Hackable Object immune to hacking for 1 Turn). Each Node also has it's own Blackout Program that can activated but doing so permanently disabled that Node.

Located within the Precinct behind a secure door is a PoI (Person of Interest). Once the Attacking Team reaches 1" with LoS of the PoI and performs an Interact Action they may then control the PoI and will win the game by getting the PoI off any table edge.
To make this easier, the Attackers have some extra bonuses, currently in the form of 2 Exo-Suits which start in their deployment zone.

Yup, these guys are bringing the heavy firepower on the Precinct and woe betide anyone who gets in their way.

- Defenders: this is where the Defending player comes in! With only the Precinct itself to help them , they need to withstand the Assault and keep the Attackers at bay for (10?) turns! The exact length is going to have to come out through testing. But the aim is to create a sweet spot where it could go either way.

If by the end of the (10th?) turn the PoI is still present on the board, then the Defenders win as the reinforcements turn up and secure the area.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Criticism?

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Monday, 2 March 2015

Modern Day Game Streaming - A Scared & Fearful Take on the Modern Imternet

Greetings friends!

So I recently received some good news. After applying back in December for the Razer Sponsorship Program I was accepted into the Level 1 Program which provides me with money off certain purchases made within the next two weeks.

Great I thought; let's check it out!

I'm not going to go into the exacts of what was offered as I don't know how much of that should be considered 'privileged' info, but what I will say is that the package allowed me to walk away with a standalone microphone & headphones for a bit over £150.

Now here is a question for you ladies & germs:

Are you surprised by that?

Now I need to point out; the Level 1 sponsorship program is aimed at "supporting up and coming content creators".

Now I'm looking at these products and what I'm running with my Streams and YouTube Channel and really I don't think my audio is really that bad. My headset I love, it gives great clarity sound and records pretty good voice audio all for the great price of ~£35 off Amazon.

What I suffer from is a gaming rig being held back by pretty old-ish CPU and no video capture hardware, but make no mistakes, almost every game I buy nowerdays I can run at a good framerate (30-60) with everything maxed out - unless of course you're talking about Dragon Age: Inquisition, ~3 months after launch and it's still totally unplayable even at low settings for me).

No the issue is that game capturing requires processor power, something that is not a luxury to me and so after running the game (and making it look nice; because where's the point in streaming a game if it looks shit?) and then capturing that audio/visual for upload, there really isn't much left in my poor computer.

Would spending ~£150 on a new mic & headphones improve that? Plus why would an "up and coming content creator" want to spend that sort of cash (note: this is after the Sponsorship Program Discount) on audio input/output?

Clearly I am misunderstanding something here? Is the plan to use famous YouTubers like Pewdiepie et al who use this hardware as a plug to sell? Dragging people in off the internet and saying "hey kids! Look at Pewds! He's a millionaire by playing games online! Buy our stuff so you can be a millionaire too!"

The thing is it doesn't work that way. I've watched SO many videos of people 'just playing games' and in a lot of cases you can see them desperately trying to be the next Pewdiepie, often imitating his words & catch phrases, but all they are doing is playing games online and hoping for that golden ticket.
- As someone who's hobby involves dabbling in writing blogs, recording podcasts & streaming games; it is not that easy! To get a professional product that is marketable (and that's the important word here) you need countless hours of editing, and lots and lots of extras to make it actually look better than something from Aurora Cable TV.

Which then leads me onto my next thing that I just don't understand: the streamers themselves.

Looking on just one form of social media (Twitter) I am frightened by both the YouTube and Razer Twitter Accounts, namely because of the people they feature.

So recently there was a lot of kerfuffle over the Razer Blackwidow Chroma which retails for about £150 by itself (full price).

When this started being shipped out my Twitter feed was awash with photos of what I can only describe as 'young adults' bearly out of their teens clutching these as they perform the 1265th 'Chroma Unboxing' on YouTube.

What is going on here? I mean seriously who spends that sort of cash on a keyboard? A fucking keyboard?!?

What are we talking about? Is this the 1% spoiling their kids with whatever they ask for? Are these students who (just like I did) are spending their student loans on gifts for themselves instead of tuition fees like it's supposed to?

I literally don't understand it.

When I was growing up (and I'm including everything before I was 25 here, because it's only past that age did I realise how much of a child I was even then; and to an extent still am and forever will be) I never had a top of the line PC, never! Because they are expensive!
If there was any option of cutting back at the time of purchase, I always would - and things like keyboards are one of those cutbacks, because let's face it a Mercury Brand £10 will let you write a CV and play the latest FPS just as well, anyone claiming otherwise is either an actual professional gamer, competing in the annual sponsored tournaments netting an actual salary off this where there micro seconds make all the difference, or (and this is more often the case) an arrogant A-Hole!

Over time I have made the occasional upgrade, like how about 10 or so years ago I upgraded my mouse to a Diamondback which still to this day I love, but even then it was still only about £30 so hardly a big expense.

Am I just getting too old for this?

Seriously, this online world scares me where the rules of gaming are being not only broken but flaunted in the style of a neo-pagan festival!

It used to be that what was inside your rig was what mattered, that the gaming elders who had been there in arcades tossing US Quarters into games of PacMan were revered as those who would dispense their sage knowledge of the pitfalls of bad consoles and hardware clashes.

Now it's all Iced-Gem haircuts and £150 keyboards while emptying the contents of your handbag on the Internet to millions of viewers.

I don't understand how this happened on my watch. We were there being pioneers of communication and entertainment, mixing the old with the new, forging ahead to ensure that not only was the classic remembered, but it was immortalised.

Now the classic is archaic and marginalised with far too many people knowing of Gaming Geek History only in the form of a quirky T-Shirt, or a statistic to be quoted at the right time as if acting as a badge of honour to prove one's geekiness.

I don't know how we got here, where the unacceptable and extreme is now considered acceptable and mundane, where the ridiculous & obnoxious is celebrated with fame & coin.

But one thing is for sure. I'm afraid.

I'm afraid of how at only 31 years of age I can fail to understand the digital world, that it's moved on in such a way and direction right out from under my nose.

I'm afraid that this will carry on and with every year my own disconnect will grow until I'm left typing with a single finger at a bright world that is moving too fast for me to even begin to comprehend.

And more so than any of the above; I'm afraid that somehow, with our use of ICQ, online clans, Roger Wilco & Dialup Internet; we're somehow responsible for this dire online world...

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

The Rules of Alien5

Greetings friends!

So the other morning I had my attention drawn to
- Yeah I know I'm a little late. I started writing this on Thursday but due to some time off work it was pushed back.

Now I would recommend reading this article and then giving it a bit of thought.

Clearly the article itself is click-bait. What is really being said is that the supposed Alien 5 will actually be set between Aliens & Alien3.

Alien3 and Alien: Resurrection happened. No matter what anyone's personal opinions on these may be, they happened and they are canon. So what we will actually see is something set in the middle of them both.

We saw something similar in Aliens: Colonial Marines with the Stasis Interrupted DLC. This featured events in between the two films and was remotely clever enough to allow for the events of Alien3 to play out despite what happened in itself.

Now if Alien 5 is going to be set between these two films, then it also needs to be set before Stasis Interrupted which is also official canon, and while Stasis Interrupted allows the events of Alien3 to happen, the events are important enough that they wouldn't allow Alien 5 to happen - it's very specific, ignore the bitching and moaning and play the game to see for yourself.

So if we are going to see this film set between Aliens and Stasis Interrupted, what rules does Alien 5 need to follow?

- Ripley, Newt & Hicks must survive.
Yup, these characters are still alive in Stasis Interrupted so they need to end Alien 5 alive as well.

- The Sulaco must not be destroyed.

- Ripley, Newt & Hicks must end in the same stasis tubes on the Sulaco.

- No DNA-Reflex Aliens! While it is canon that the Alien adapts itself based on it's host, Ripley must not see the results of this in Alien 5. This is a requirement for her comment in Alien3 about the Alien being something new that she had never seen before making sense. While it would still apply as long as there are no dog/cow aliens, however if she was aware of the DNA Reflex, then her comment instead would be more along the lines of:
"Yeah, they do that".

- Wayland Yutani can not attack the Sulaco until the very end.
This is where Stasis Interrupted begins. Way-Yu attempt to take possession of the Sulaco but fail. So it happens but can not happen until the survivors are back from the events of Alien 5 and back in Cryosleep.

- Ripley, Newt & Hicks must feature somehow in the film. This will probably be in the form of at least one of the characters remaining in stasis, but considering the relationship at the end of Aliens, there is no way they would not be brought up at least once.

- The cargo bay from the end of Aliens must remain exactly as it was at the end of Alien.
We return to this location in A:CM which in the main game is set after Alien3, so in order for us to do so, it must remain as-is including having Bishop's legs left where they were.

- Must be between Lv426 and Fury162.
In Aliens it took 2 weeks to travel from Gateway station near Earth to Acheron and it's moon LV426. At the end of Aliens they were travelling back but never reached the desired destination when the sleep pods were jettisoned to Fury161, meaning Fury161 is somewhere within the 2 week travel time between Gateway and Lv426. Alien5 needs to be set somewhere physically between the two, and more importantly no more than at the very most - 2 weeks, must have passed between Aliens and Alien 5.

- No Company Knowledge of Surviving Aliens.
It has been suggested that Alien 5 will feature a new world with Aliens on them including a hive and queen. If for any reason Way-Yu know about this then it must be destroyed at the end of Alien 5, otherwise there would be no reason for Way-Yu to think the Alien in Ripley in Alien3 was the last of it's kind.

I'm sure I have missed more, but by my workings; as long as these rules are followed then Alien 5 is able to be set when the director intends and will not screw with the existing timeline. How they will explain the 25+ years age difference is anyone's guess.

Of course it is possible they could simply claim that Alien3 and Colonial Marines never happened, and considering how flippant FOX are over their IP pride I really wouldn't put it past them.

Likewise, while Weaver has gone on the record for saying that she would love to give Ripley a "proper finish", I remember her saying something very similar about Alien: Resurrection, despite now snubbing both Alien3 and Resurrection which she was at the time of their release more than happy to promote these films as good instalments.
- To me this means that Weaver's integrity really only stems as far as the next pay cheque. I'll take everything she says with an iceberg of salt; thank you very much.

And on that skyisfalling note; stay safe and be excellent to each other!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley