Tuesday, 29 September 2015

First Law: Override - Beta Rosters

Greetings friends!

Today i'd like to share with you what I hope will be the first pass at Official First Law: Override Rosters!

These currently come in 2 flavours:

First is the Stand-Alone Roster. This is the one for a one off game of 500Nt where you don't intend to make use of the campaign system.

It might sound a bit strange to people; why have a campaign driven game if we are then going to release print&play rosters that encourage one off games?

The answer is simple: the game is fun enough for that!

I remember a lot of the time when playing GW Specialist Games like Necromunda and GorkaMorka where essentially the game didn't really begin until after a few games were under your belt and the stat/skill increases started to roll in. If you were unfortunate enough to get yourself caught in a loosing spiral, then this would heavily screw with your enjoyment of the game.

So maybe you only want to play a one off game to test a Force out? Or maybe you want to play in an organised play event? Then this is where the stand alone game comes into its own.

The stats for our units have been allocated in such a way that you don't feel your Force is gimped to begin with, you can compete straight outta the box so to speak.

Sure a lot of the fun equipment and skills are gated behind the Technomancy (Tm) and Initiative (In) stats, but these are about rewarding those who are lucky and adding a bit of advanced fun and added complexity over time. Even without these a force is still extremely fun to play and can be as varied as you fancy. Want to play a Raider force with a Big Bro, 2 Ghosts each rocking 3 Link Bots? Go for it! It is a Hack heavy 'list' that really well balanced the risk/reward mechanic that we have tried our best to implement within this game. If however it doesn't work for you and you would rather less link bots and more actual gun toting dudes, then you know to do that in future games!


Next up is the Campaign Roster. Unlike the stand alone roster, this is designed for use within a campaign for you to record your full 1,000+ Force.

Notice the column on the far right, the one called Selection? It is here you record your current selection for the game you are playing.
Maybe your game requires 600Nt, so you write down the total Nt in that column, and then the total should add up to 600 or less.
- I personally find it is a good place to mark your units who are recovering from injuries that force them to skip a game. I personally show this by putting a big X in that space.


So give them a look, play around a little and let us know what you think is missing.

We look forward to any and all feedback!

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

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Friday, 25 September 2015

To take part or not? (Extra Life)

Greetings friends!

So today I've been thinking...

For years I've seen people taking part in Extra Life, an event for those who don't know where gamers get together, game and try to raise money in doing so normally in the form of an (attempted) 24hr gaming marathon.

I've always thought that this is something I would like to do, mainly for the reason that it seems like a challenge. I have done long gaming sessions before, but NEVER any that lasted 24 hours!

This year the designated day is Saturday 7th November from 8am and running (as mentioned) for 24 hours, and I'll be honest. I'm tempted, seriously tempted!

Of course there are issues I need to consider, and I need to consider them very seriously, most importantly is that of childcare. At that point my little Moo will be very nearly 4, and there would be two choices: 1). Involve her in the stream, which I am not comfortable in as I don't particularly like the idea of streaming her across the net. 2). Not involve her and require that someone (probably my amazing wife) looks after her entirely for the day, which goes against every ideology I have as what fatherhood is supposed to be like as it would not be fair on her or my wife.

Assuming that was all solved/resolved and I decided to go ahead with this, would you my dear friends be interested in this? Would you tune in to my twitch stream LoxBotLive and watch as I try to stay awake and same for 24 hours gaming?

If so what would you like to see? Is it online action games, like Heroes of the Storm, Diablo 3, Unreal Tournament and Nosgoth? Maybe online CoOperative games like Colonial Marines, Resident Evil 5/6 and Portal 2? What about offline games? Would you be interested in a full run through from start to end of classic games like Beyond Good & Evil and SNATCHER or horror games like Outlast, Amnesia and Alien: Isolation? What about one of those long games, the MMOs like World of Warcraft and The Secret World or open worlders like Dragon Age? They all have more than 24hrs worth of content within them and that alone could fill the entire time without requiring alternating every few hours.

If any of the above which are multiplayer, would you like to play along too? Maybe get a bit of voice chat between us going? Have a chat to be shared between us and the entire streaming Internet!

What do you think?

It's a big investment, but one I think could be fun, however I would need to know if I have support or not, so please answers on a postcard to the usual address (or Twitter @doctorloxley, @loxbotlive or comments below)

On that note; stay safe and be excellent to each other!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Thursday, 24 September 2015

The Empathy of Videogames (SOMA)

Greetings friends!

So over the past couple of days I've been playing the excellent SOMA by Frictional Games, famous (or perhaps infamous) for Amnesia: The Dark Descent.

It's a fantastic game, and for the first time in a while it has made me stand back and question a few things in my own gaming experience.

Now if you go and read any other review of SOMA you will see much the same sort of comment as I have made above, citing moments from the game where you as the player have to make tear jerking and horrific decisions that make you hate the developers for putting you in those situations.

My experiences so far have been very different then these, and why exactly I feel that way is the questions that I have been forced to ask myself.


One of the things the game makes you ask yourself early on is quite simple:

If something thinks it is self aware and alive; is it?

I've had a chat with my significant other about this, and despite probing questions and many disagreements, I don't know where I stand with this. Does "I think, therefore I am" really stand up to scrutiny?

If an artificial intelligence walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, is it a duck?

Can we really define ourselves by our physical body, or are we more than that? How much of what identifies us as us is personality? And how much is simply how our mind interprets the electrical signal of stimuli? If you were to take a digital map of your identity, and if it reacted in the same way as you, had the same opinions, the same ideas and the same prejudices, would it be you? If you were to then die and it was 'downloaded' into your body, would you still be you?

Honestly, I don't know where I stand with this. And likewise there are countless other questions that I don't know where I stand; is Artificial Intelligence potentially equal to or greater than organic intelligence? If everything you perceive is in the form of electrical nerve impulses, then is a reality made up entirely of digital electrical impulses just as real as the 'real' world if you perceive it to be so?

All I can understand is my own reactions to the game, and how when presented with situations where I was supposed to be moved, I was not. My reactions and actions seemed clear and obvious. Do I kill something that is of no use to me, but believes itself to be alive, or do I kill something that is useful, but would not feel pain?

The 'human' way of reacting is to kill the thing that would feel no pain, that we should be 'humane' and 'care' for the sick and the elderly.

My reaction was not that at all. But to look and decide what is of use. By killing the one who feels pain and believes itself to be alive, would I be worse off? No! By killing the thing that IS of use to me, would I be worse off? Almost certainly!

What has bothered me is that this reaction seems so different to the other reviewers of this game, that they all either put themselves in a worse-off situation, or they made the logical decision but felt bad about it.

I felt no remote for my actions, it was the right thing to do in order to prolong my character's survival chances and I know that in a heartbeat I would make the same decision again.


I spoke to my significant other about this, I asked her why she thought I felt no remorse for these 'digital' actions compared to others who apparently felt like the game was figuratively ripping out their heart.

Her response was (jokingly) "It's because you have no soul".

It reminded me of a conversation I had with a good friend the other month, where we discussed how when I read about the suffering of others in the paper or on the TV I feel nothing but indifference, and if asked why my reaction is simply "why should I care about people I have never met?" Emphasis on should, as if it is expected.

We came to the conclusion that I simply lack empathy for others; something I find very interesting due to arguing for years (over a decade in fact) that empathy does not exist. Having this opinion would make sense if I did not feel it.
- Why that is the case, and if it is something that I 'switched off' as a learned defence mechanism, or was just born biologically incapable of feeling; that is a question for another time.


So what else have I found in the game which has been a challenge? Surely if I am feeling no empathy towards these characters (and considering what the other reviewers state about the game, it would be very easy to think the game was one whole empathic mess) then the game should be a cake walk, with nothing to challenge my choices of right versus wrong?

Far from it my friends!

Just last night I encountered a databank full of AI constructs; personality matrices which is put into a digital simulation would act and think just like a real, living person. I had to ask myself what to do with them.

My choices were simple: erase the data! Doing so would put these people to rest. Currently they were in a dormant state, doing so would be putting them out of the misery of one day waking up and seeing just how shit their lives had become and they would feel no pain. Plus it would save them from the maddening corruption that was spreading through the world.

The other choice was to leave them be. They would remain in a dormant state until either being later erased, woken up or corrupted to see the world through twisted eyes, a horrific mockery of their former lives.

I chose the latter.

But it was a difficult decision, I won't lie to you, but not for the emotional reasons others may experience.

For me I looked at the situation; essentially kill them and drastically reduce my chances of running into them later on as corrupted versions of themselves, or instead leave them be but in a state that meant if I had a use of them I could use them.

Like I said, it was a difficult choice. I want to further my survival, but what is a greater threat; a potential enemy who may come to kill me later? Or being in a situation where I need their expertise to survive and not having them available (because I had killed them?)

I chose Door B. There were already hideous monsters running around, a few more wouldn't be that bad, but being in a situation where I need a technician's access code and being unable to work around it was more worse!

Is that the same question I had to ask myself that the developers wanted me as the player to ask? Of course not, but it stopped me in my tracks and made me think for a moment, and that was a first for a video game!


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

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

The Trials and Tribulations of KickStarter

Greetings friends!

Today I'm here to beat up a dead horse some more as I go over the already heavily discussed topic that is KickStarter and crowdfunding in general.

Now part of me wants to try and analyse the current trends we have seen with the crowdsourcing medium, but I know it will be redundant as someone else will have already done so in a better way.

What I can do is provide my own viewpoints and observations which I am sure will be unoriginal and uninspired, but at least they will be mine.

I've been following KickStarter for quite some time now, many years in fact and during that time I have backed a small number of campaigns:

The first I ever backed was City of Titans aka The Phoenix Project, an MMO aimed at being the spiritual successor to the online superhero game City of Heroes.

This campaign was successful and I am glad of it. It was run by a tiny team of individuals who began working on the game in their spare time whilst trying to balance home and work life alongside. This was a true startup campaign and it is my belief that without this money they would have never had the funds to get as far as they have (and you should see what they've done! Utilising the U4 Engine is a great move for them).

Following on from that was Blackmore: A Steampunk Adventure Game. This was being developed by the team who was behind my favourite game of all time; SNATCHER and so it was obvious that they would get my support.

Sadly however their marketing campaign was non-existent and it failed to fund.

Next up was Bio Syndrome: A Survival Horror Tabletop Wargame. Like those before (in particular City of Titans) this was a true start up campaign. It was a single guy trying to create a ruleset with custom cards, art and a single 'novelty' miniature.

Bio Syndrome was a success, however that was largely down to the small asking requirements for the campaign and the fact that the rewards were all digital apart from the single novelty miniature.

The creator of this campaign was realistic with his expectations and did not promise the world with his campaign.

After this came something that I am unable to talk about right here, as I pledged for a double pack and when it arrives I'm gifting one of the packs to a friend of mine who reads the blog, so I need to keep that quiet.

What I can say however is that this was a campaign I wasn't entirely happy with backing. I wanted the product; yes, and apparently it would not be shipping without KickStart support, however the parent company is a well established publishing company, one that I know does have the capital to push this to market by themselves.

Moving on...

Next came We Happy Few, a survival horror set in an alternative England. Again we are looking at a truly indie game that would be very unlikely to reach funding without public support, plus it looked awesome! Backed and funded!

Next up is something different for me; the first time I pulled out of Kickstarter - and this one is still going on and passed it's goals on day 1.

In this case we're talking about The Others: 7 Sins by CMON.

I was initially torn by this game. CMON do not need to go to KickStarter, we all know that there is the demand and capital available. In the miniature-boardgame world, it's the equivalent of EA Games starting a KickStarter. However ever since I first saw the Pride sculpt I had wanted it, and figured i'd give it a go and ride the CMON stretch goals.

As time went by however I got more and more uneasy with all of this. As more got released I noticed a distinct decrease in quality of sculpt and conceptual ideas and watching people scramble to add $30+ to their pledges just for additional dice which 'apparently' they were not going to reduce later just left me with a pit in my stomach.

Here was not a company who needed my pledge and me pulling out would not hurt them in anyway, I had yet to see any real ruleset, and the example of play video I saw had blaring gaps in rules. All of this tied with the knowledge that it was a sizeable amount of money £60 for the base game then additional add-ons you may want, for a game that I had not tested, and would probably play once a year, if at all. It just wasn't worth it.

So out I came.

At the same time the campaign for Allison Road, a survival haunted house horror game similar to the infamous Silent Hills: PT on PS4 began and again, we had a small team who with backed support will be able to release a project that they may not be able to without. Pledged!

Then today I saw The Icarus Project another scifi skirmish game with some very nice models that when I first saw I plugged in the @FLOverride account as proxies.

As it stands they are currently at £10k out of £30k with 11 days to go. The owner has stated, even if they do not reach their goal then he will still continue to develop the game but with releases at a much smaller rate, because for him this is a personal project of which he has already sunk £6,000 of personal investment.

Again we are looking at a campaign that needs support and backing and is offering fantastic looking models for their range. So yea I have gone in for a small amount, mainly because after reading about the project I would like to see it succeed, and I guess in a way I can relate to the creator.

I hope all of you who read this will check out that KickStart and if it looks like something you like, you'll give it a small backing, as currently reading the comments it looks like they are residing themselves to defeat, and that would be a true shame.


So why is this the case? Why is it some games that look like great campaigns but do not have the big name behind them either only barely make their target, or fail altogether?

Why is it that brand recognition works so well on KickStarter for some, but for others like me it acts as a dissuasion (on principal alone I will never back a Mantic KickStarter).

Sometimes it seems obvious, that the campaign creator has promised the world straight from the word go and has either been unable to follow through, or due to a lack of brand familiarity has not picked up much speed early on, meaning weeks into the campaign they are still promising the world through stretch goals when even meeting a funding target looks doubtful - and let's be honest, this is one hell of a turnoff to backers!

Then we have the breakout successes, things like Guildball.

What was it Guildball did differently that others who failed to fund or just nearly scratched by didn't do?

For me the answer is simple: marketing!

Without good marketing, support from podcasters, twitchers, youtubers and Joe Public, you do not have ANY brand recognition. People need to know what the product is before they shell out their cash which in some cases can be seen as a Catch-22 situation: you need to show product to get the pledges, but you need the pledges to get the cash in order to make product!

That is where we are going with First Law: Override.

I'm currently doing the rounds again trying to arrange follow up interviews on podcasts now that our latest full colour rulebook has been simmering in the public forum for a while and am making arrangements for public demos to get people interested.

I know how the game looks, I wrote the initial rules and on paper it looks good but it isn't until you get your head down amidst the miniatures and start to roll the dice that you start to see how splendidly cinematic the game plays.

What this means, is that if I ever want to see any sort of crowdfunding pushing for an actual print run of the rulebook, then I will need to follow suit and market the game to hell and back, but ensuring to follow the right avenues so the right people see it at the right time, all the while not shoving it down people's throats so they are sick to death.
- Unless of course that last boat has already sailed...

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

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

How things are going: FLOverride & General stuff)

Greetings friends!

So just wanted to put out a little general update post today, nothing major.

First things first, I'm currently building up a small collection of suitable PC games for my Game of the Year 2015 award in January. Got a few real gems of some games in here.
- Saying that part of me wonders how much of them are true 'gems' or if I instead feel a little starved of truly great games this year.
The past two year's GotY (DMC and Alien: Isolation were both games that I think blow this year's competition out of the water, and while other games might be great, they are not truly as great, or they may not (currently) qualify. Take Life is Strange, a game I've recently started playing and am loving, but being episodic, and still missing Episode 05, if they do not release that final episode before January, then for me it doesn't qualify. Likewise there are plenty of games that are great which are currently in Early Access (Layers of Fear, ARK etc) but are not due to have actual release dates until 2016, therefore currently count as 'beta'. I am not convinced that when put up against the games of 2016 they will stand up.

Got a few plans for First Law: Override! Oh yeah I haven't forgotten about that baby! Still am in need of painting, and I would like to set myself the goal of getting all 2.5 forces I have fully done before the new year.

Tom and I are currently playing with a new build that makes some small but very significant changes to Hackers.

If you are curious as to the current rules, as always you can download them from firstlawoverride.com and if you are curious as to these new rules, then I am afraid you will need to wait like everyone else, however if you had signed up to the Ghost Project you would already know as all Ghosts get privileged information before general release!

I'm also looking to do a little bit more PR and we'll be contacting a few casts in due course, but if you would like us on your show or you have already had us and would like to talk about how things have developed and how much you love the rulebook then drop me a line at richi@firstlawoverride.com

One thing I am looking to do is record a player Q&A, possibly to be featured on Hobby Sofa if there are no other mediums. If you have a question then fire off an email to the address above and we'll see if we can answer it!

That's all for now, and so until next time; stay safe and be excellent to each other!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Monday, 14 September 2015

Code Black: Classes?

Greetings friends,

So here's a question for you all; should Code Black use classes?

In a traditional RPG classes are things we see all the time ranging from the tanking Warrior and Healing Cleric, to the DPS Rogue and Archer. These are all tropes that are used as nauseam.

Of course Code Black will not use these fantasy style classes, but it could use others.

Looking at possibilities, there are two ways I see a character could be created to begin with:

1). The WoW Model.
This is what we see with a lot of MMOs, most famous being World of Warcraft.

First you pick a Race, that will give you certain stat benefits and deficits, and maybe access to a skill or two that are treated as 'Racial'.

Second you pick a Class, this could be determined to a degree by Race, so for example the Red Claw are less technologically advanced than the rest of the Outer Fringe, so perhaps the Mechnomancer (example) would not be a Class that would be available to them.

Once race and class is determined you have a rigid progression of skills as you earn XP and level up.

2). The Free Form model.
With Free Form you pick a race for starters, and you may or may not pick a class depending on if they are available, but then you have a large pool of skills available.

Now if you take this model you can go down the route of having classes, in which case skills are blocked together, maybe say 25 skills available for every class, but you only get 1 skill per level and there are 10 levels.

Or you can try it another way, having no classes and instead a pool of skills available to all, so if someone wants to pick a skill that would normally be a 'tank' skill and marry that up with a 'heal' skill and a 'DPS' skill, then so be it!

The first of these would be restricted free form, while the latter is true free form.

I am personally drawn towards a free form model myself, but whether to restrict it or not is still undecided.

One thing I would like to look at, and this is a knock back from my original design plan of Override is to include Combo Powers. That there are certain abilities that can only be learned after you have learned others:

Bull Charge: You run 10 feet in a straight line knocking anyone your Height or less and who is not Steadfast in your way to the floor.
Requirements: Sprint skill, Toughness skill

Conduit: Any data access point becomes a potential weapon for you. By standing next to the access point and touching it with your bare hands you are able to release a discharge of electricity in a 90 degree arc of you choice up to 6 feet.
Requirements: Electrical Resistance, Data Affinity


You see, since day one of mentioning the Mantiverse I've talked about how the Hackers are the superheroes of this place, and this is how that is realised.

Pick the right sets of skills and you could see yourself turning into Neo from the matrix, or at least in one or two ways.
What we will probably see is a progression tree, where every 'level' you get something, but you should only end up with maybe six skills total, of those 4 might be base skills, which in turn unlock 2 additional skills.

But what if it went further? What about if you could pick unlock able skills, but get the right combo of unlockables and you then get another.

We've already mentioned as an example the Unlockable skill Conduit allowing you to unleash energy from a data point. What about if there was another Unlockable that allowed you to generate energy from nothing at all, by itself this would be useful for countless reasons, but in this instance would combine with Conduit allowing you to fire off bursts of energy almost whenever you wanted!

Creating these skill combos would require both planning and time from the player, but that is why I'm the Mantiverse there is belief in the existence of those capable of superhuman feats, but little to no proof: because they're few and far between (and probably all working for Code Black).


So what are your thoughts? Is this something that would interest you?

Let me know!

Until then; stay safe and be excellent to each other!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Thursday, 10 September 2015

GeekShave II

Greetings friends!

So a short one right now, but just to let you know this November I will most likely doing #GeekShave again raising money for ProstateCancerUK.

Last year we raised just over £250 if I remember correctly, and it is with hope we can raise double that this year!!

That's right, I'm setting the bar higher and saying that if you want to see your short, fat, furry Richi P to be just as short and fat, but less furry then we'll need to raise a big £500!

I don't know exactly what stretch goals I will be using at this stage, however I do know that unlike last year I will not be touching anything until the first goal has been met.

As before, there is the Big Spender goal of the full whack (£500 this year) if I can receive this in a single transaction, then the sender gets to dictate a certain style of facial hair that I have to grow and maintain until 1st December!
- Notice I say a single transaction, it doesn't have to be one person, only that it needs to come in at once.

Anyway, that's all for now. More on this year's #GeekShave as we get closer to the month in question.

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

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Code Black - Why now?

Greetings friends!

So following on from my previous post some of you may have had some questions about Code Black. Most importantly you may have wondered: Why now?

It's a good question.

FL:Override is still in beta and we are still making tweaks, the current tweaks we are looking at is how to supercharge the hackers. We'll have more of that in the future, but we want to see more Program use with greater usage of Interferance, Blackout and of course Hacker Duels (did we rename that? I forget).

I've been quite public in wanting to do a 'fluff book', something that is not needed to play the game but goes into greater depth about the world of Honos, the development of the AI, the AI War, the Hydan & the Kratel, and the more I thought about it and the more I made both mental and digital notes, the more it was turning into a source book the kind we would see with a P&P RPG the kind that White Wolf would put out with racial source books and the like.

It was then that it struck me; that was what was actually needed! Don't put in something like a RPG source book, create an RPG sourcebook!

Of course I was currently experiencing a slight issue - through the writing of the short story Wetware (which you can read as part of the rulebook for FL:Override which can be downloaded from firstlawoverride.com) I have established Technomantic Space as it's own location, a place that I wanted at some point to explore.

Note: this was never intended, nor was it on purpose. I have said before that I do not write my stories and lore, but that they write themselves, and the same is true about Technomantic space.

It would be impossible to fully explain the world of Honos where Hackers have the ability through 'Mantic abilities to cause as much (if not more) damage to an industry or corporation than an man with an RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade, not Role Playing Game... Could you imagine a follower of the Gygaxian Church standing outside the HMC HQ trying to 'spread the word of their Lord'? Ok that would be freaking cool!)

Anyway, I could not explain one without explaining the other, especially when it comes to the Hydan Wraiths and Raider Ghosts.

So I started thinking and planning, and I knew that with some tweaks and shifts it would be more than possible to create an RPG (back to the Role Playing Games now, likewise I do not own a missile launcher, nor do I plan to) for which these source books could work with. In doing so allowing players to experience the First Law: Override Universe from a person eye view rather than the 'God view' that we are treated to in a tabletop skirmish game.

So then came the awkward moment: how do you work that? Would an RPG be set on Honos? Would it allow for full exploration? Would it let you jack into the Mantiverse?

Well the answer seemed obvious to me.

Set it fully in the Mantiverse.

Treat it like you would with us as players being the physical form of the characters, but your character is your Mantic Avatar, your PC, your Toon or Char!

Things began to fall into place.

As wargamers, geeks, nerds and/or dorks, many of us are used to being the butt of the joke, the laughable excuse for a subterranean hermit, but in our games we can be superheroes!

This is what life is like for the Hackers in FL:Override! They are the physically weak Force members who can not fire an Assault Rifle even if they wanted to (literally) and will fall over at the slightest breeze (figuratively), but in Mantic Space they are superhoes! They can manipulate the actual world of Honos, opening doors, stealing data, battling AI all within a blink of an eye in the real world.

So the next question must be Why the Shadow?

Why not?

Those familiar with White Wolf's works may have recognised The Shadow's type as similar to WW's Gehenna, The Wyrm and The Apocalypse, and on the surface it is very similar, but ultimately what we are looking at is a simple Doomsday scenario. Those who are in the know, they know that the Mantiverse is shrinking, that people are disappearing while jacked in, and they know that locations are being corrupted, appearing instead as dead code that spreads at a slow, but ever increasing rate. This is not a new idea, and because of the philosophical nature of Mantic Space, who is to say it doesn't simply exist because enough people say it does? A thought form if you will.

You also have to remember, this is something that is a bit of a sidewise step for the universe. In source material I will be going into great detail on history, events and locations on Honos, and a lot of major events in the Mantiverse will be chronicled, but what happens from this point is up to you the players!

Yes the events due to unfold on Honos will effect Mantic Space, if the UEF carpet bomb Free Port, then everyone in Free Port will be dead and unable to effect Mantic Space, but the events in Mantic Space do not need to effect the world of Honos, especially when entire hours can pass in a matter of seconds.

More importantly, it allows the GM to create a world entirely to their taste.

Yes certain locations like Akira Avenue will continue to exist, but the GM will have free reign to create almost whatever circumstance they wish.

I mentioned earlier that The Shadow simply represents the Doomsday phenomenon present in almost all modern and historical cultures? Well what if that went further?

What if people believed enough in the 4 Horsemen? And if you as Code Black members were told to investigate that rumour? Fancy bringing down Death himself with a Turbo Charged Heavy Plasma Rifle?

But then there are the deeper questions. What people believe, IS, in Mantic Space. But they have to truly believe, they must expect 100% that it is true.

So what about God? If people in this time and place truly believed in 'Him' and that He was everywhere and in everything, then He must be in Mantic Space. Likewise, so would Lucifer as well.
- But what would happen if as a rest of a Code Black expedition it was found that He did not reside in Mantic Space, that for reasons unexplained people did not expect 100% that He truly was real and present?

This is the philosophical conundrum that Mantic Space creates. In theory, every single deity which is still believed in at the time should be present in Mantic Space, ranging from Jesus, through Ganesh to Krishna, they should (in theory) be wandering around somewhere, pure thought forms born from the expectations and belief of millions of Mantic Space users, but would these creations be the real thing, or would they be no different from an AI construct NPC?

On that note I will leave you for now. Stay safe and be excellent to each other!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Monday, 7 September 2015

First Law: Override - Adventures in Mantic Space

Greetings friends!

Taking a short amount of time from my daily commute here to talk to you about something brewing in the dark confines of my brain:

First Law: Override - Adventures in Mantic Space, a working title which for the time being will be summarised as First Law: Override - AIMS or just AIMS for short.

No doubt you are wondering what AIMS is supposed to be? Is it a board game? Another skirmish game? Maybe it's an army scale game?

Nope! AIMS is a pen & paper RPG!

If Override - The Skirmish Game is exploring the events on the world of Honos, AIMS is exploring events in Mantic Space also known as Technomantic Space or the Mantiverse, something that for those of you familiar with FLO lore will know is our game's version of the Internet, or the Matrix or God knows what else!

It is a realm of infinite possibilities, where streets and roads are defined by the beliefs and expectations of Mantic Space users.

In AIM, you the player will be playing a Hacker who can be a member of any Override playable race and any playable faction. So if you want to be a Human in the Accord, or a Hydan in the Reavers, so be it, and depending on how development goes, you may not be tied to the existing faction organisations.

But as players you will need to work together to reach your goals.

There is a Shadow spreading across the Mantiverse, a devourer of thought and belief. Some say that it has always existed within the Mantiverse, it's purpose to destroy and eat the Belief Trails that flow throughout the Mantiverse's digital flow. Others say it is because of this belief that the Shadow exists.

To date no one has ever seen The Shadow itself, but they have seen it's effects, as digital constructs and even users themselves have disappeared from Mantic Space altogether only to later reappear as a corrupted version of themselves.

It is for this reason that within the confines of Mantic Space the Accord and Reavers have for the first time in Outer Fringe history worked together, creating a secret division comprised of members from both Factions working together to eliminate The Shadow once and for all.

This division known only as Code Black (which in hindsight probably makes for a better name than AIMS) is where you come in!

Explore the Mantiverse! Investigate disappearing users and constructs, gain abilities and talents only possible within the limitless possibilities of Mantic Space and liberate yourselves from The Shadow!

But do not let your guard down, for rivalries within and between the Factions do still exist and while your primary goal may involve the investigation of a sector of Mantic Space recently corrupted by The Shadow, it is not unreasonable to assume that a rival organisation may have offered a substantial sum to a member of your team to ensure that they, and they alone are the ones who can report back success!


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

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Into The Great White and beyond

Greetings friends!

So a couple of developments for you all, firstly I have gotten started playing the new Mad Max game, and oh what a game! I'm about 1.5-2 hours into it, but having a great great time so far!

Depending on how the game goes you should expect one of 3 things:
1). I love the game and feature it in my annual GotY awards.
2). It takes a turn for the worst and I feature it in a Second Opinion post.
3). It takes a turn for the worst but is not anything worth mentioning, in which case you'll never hear of it again.

What I can say at this point is that it feels awesome to play.

There are a lot of people who have compared it to Shadow of Mordor, but I've never played that.

Personally I would compare it more to the latest Batman game; Arkham Knight (only without the poor framerate and terribad optimisation).

If you have played the recent Batman games, with the Y button being 'parry' and X being 'hit' and combat consisting of a combination of the two, then you already know what combat is like in Mad Max. And while it seems and sounds shallow, those who have played the Arkham series will agree I am sure that it is actually a really complex combat system that is easy to pick up, but relies heavily on timing and combo-making.

Add to that beautiful wasteland vistas and freak-style storms and you have what I have experienced of the game in a nut shell!

I'm loving it! It's like RAGE only prettier, with more backstory and (a lot) less ammo!


I've also been thinking hard about where First Law: Override is going.

As it stands we are now in Public Beta, and for the next few months a lot of my work has quietened down. Book 1 is pretty much written, now it just needs more testing and balancing. Which is where you guys come in!

But I'm not going to be sitting on my thumb all this time, as there is one part of Book 1 that I really wanted to include, but in order to keep things concise it just wasn't practical. That is the lore and fluff.

So as of now my primary focus is on getting the lore and fluff stamped out onto page. This will be in the form of a sort of 'player's guide to Honos'.

We'll be looking at a dual run timeline, showing the events of the Hydan & Kratel in the Outer Fringe running alongside human history which leads to the AI War and when humanity reaches the Outer Fringe and both separate timelines merge into a single one.

There will be narrative covering the events in detail, as well as proper exploration into the races and cultures present within this game.

In no way is this a small undertaking, and I would expect you to find me nose into books for some time now as I prepare to get this written. But the end result should provide you with everything you need to know of the 'behind the scenes' of Honos itself.


With hope I can give you more info in the near future. Until then stay safe and be excellent to each other!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley