Showing posts with label Sci-Fi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sci-Fi. Show all posts

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Science Fiction - 000 Armor

This evening I read Population of Loss and was struck by the character Signalman.

He is a sort of mystical entity in a steampunk world. That is epic.

The image to left is a rendition of suit of armor from a reoccurring dream I used to have in the mid-1990s. While I believe my dream was trying to represent a version of me inside a high tech suit, all of my recollections of it are colored by a demented sort of dream-logic, which can seem a bit mystical.

Being from a dream, the suit does not have a name, but for the purpose of this post, I will call it the 000 Armor.

There are three tanks on this armor. The two tanks on the back of the armor contain a substance which is much colder than absolute zero. It shouldn't make sense, but mathematically, that substance should be hotter than hell while the area around it is intensely cold. To regulate that power, the small tank on the front contains an anti-matter reactor. It doesn't provide power to the suit, it keeps the irrationally cold meta-material in check. That work provides the power to the suit, mostly as an afterthought. The wearer's eyes are closed because he is frozen. Only his brain is working at incredible speeds due the cryogenic coursing through him.   

Being frozen, moving fingers are impossible, so the hands are protected by a pair of cestus-like weapons. The wearer cannot "see" light, but the suit is pouring in data from all across the em-spectrum. Moving in a traditional sense isn't really possible. The suit shambles like a zombie when it has to, but it's main motive power is provided by the super cold, meta-material. The suit possesses a property of non-locality. It simply shifts from one place to another. It can't sit idle, it tends to shift from place to place like the disruption of circular waves on a pond by a second rock. Seemingly random, but not really.

The suit's energy needs are met by the differential of temperature between it and the environment and this is moderated by the anti-matter reactor. Its meant for space but on the surface of a planet, it is barely balanced for basic operations. There is an area of alternating bands of temperature which has tendency of destroying everything around it. Plus, the suit is dumping hard radiation into the environment. Most things which come into close proximity to the 000 Armor are vaporized and rain down as an ash-like material over a vast area.

The suit takes moments to put on, but requires an incredible amount of technology to remove. The process takes weeks and is often fatal. While it can handle air, it has great difficultly when contacting solids, vapors and most especially, liquids. Falling in a body of water can drain the entire suit in short order, killing the occupant.

Should the suit start to fail, the operator can open their eyes. Ominously, the 000 Armor's heads up display will show a series of recordings, usually by loved ones, urging the user to fight to stay alive. You would think that this messages would be a digital and wholly fictional creation, but they are not. The operator is required to attend the recordings, so they understand that they must fight or die in these circumstances. 

The suit is tasked with fighting large robotic entities. Picture a city bus standing on its tail and mounted on top of very large tank in place of the turret. These robots have all manor of lasers, grenades, machine guns and missiles, which can wreck a city block or aircraft carrier in moments. It has 2 dozen missiles which are very peculiar in operation. They lay flat inside the main body and are forced out the top of the robot, at any angle. Picture a vertical launch tube on a submarine that can project a missile in any direction from straight up to completely flat. The robot has a small dead zone around it where the missiles cannot strike. Perhaps 40 meters around. The secondary weapons guard this area.

These weapons are all ineffective against the mobility that the suit provides.

The robot entity contains and carries a massive swarm of locust-like drones, which are supposed to collect data and repair damage. They also provide the motive force for the missile launchers.

It turns out that simply ramming the 000 Armor with drones is more effective than any of the robot's  weapons. In the image, you can see that the armor has been knocked around a bit by the drone swarm. The main reason is the swam can cover an area larger than the suit's non-locality function.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Solar System files - Background Information on Unnamed Project

I think I have crossed over to the point where my unnamed project is going to need a name. Its writing itself.

The characters are colonists of the Epsilon Indi system. I collected some data on this solar system, and it does seem to be a real solar system with planets and stuff. Pretty interesting, but also complex.

As of right now, Epsilon Indi has 3 known objects in orbit. There are a pair of brown dwarfs at 1460 AU from the star and hints that a Jupiter-like planet orbits the star. The most recent data indicates this Jupiter Analog is between 8.5 and 16 or 17 AU from its host star.

Heaven help me if they discover more companions to this star, because I went and invented a bunch of my own.

This is a chart of my fictional system:

This chart obviously has no scale and is wildly different than the actual system. I decided that the colonists have named the planets after Roman gods, specifically from the list Di selecti by Varro. The brown dwarfs are named after Sabine gods, as Varro was of Sabine descent. This has created an in-universe problem where if the colonies wish to continue the practice, they must reuse some names of the Earth's Solar System. That would be confusing, so the naming process stopped at the seventh planet. 

The characters are bound for the eighth unnamed planet. Their ship's AI thinks that the humans are being dumb and cheekily names the eighth and ninth planets Urbian-Adams and Kawal, for astronomers responsible for discoveries in our Solar System. It wouldn't do to have an adventure around an unnamed planet. 

The system is full of tiny planets, only Iuno Regina, the Jupiter Analog and Urbian-Adams are bigger than Earth. The smaller bodies in grey are airless. The blue body is Terra Mater. It has a earth-like atmosphere, made up of CO2 and nitrogen. There is a small moon, Bacchus which has a very dense nitrogen based atmosphere at a higher pressure than Earth's. 

If you would like to use this template for your writing or your games, feel free to download the Google Drawing from my drive. 

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Title: Crash on Volturnus
Code: SF-0
Author: Mark Acres, Tom Moldvay with Doug Niles
Rule Set: Star Frontiers: Alpha Dawn
Year: 1982
Pages: 30
Number of characters: 4-8
Levels: 1
Rating: ★★★★★

Crash on Volturnus is one of my favorite modules. The player start of as passengers on the Sierra Dawn, where they first encounter trouble en route to Volturnus. After an epic battle and escape, players move on to phase two, an incredible hex crawl on the planet of Volturnus culminating in a final(?) battle with the pirate forces on the planet. Aided by the local inhabitants of the planet, surely the players will win the day.

This module was released with the Alpha Dawn rules set and to my knowledge, was not released independently of that set. I received my set of Alpha Dawn rules peice meal and ended up with two copies of the module. The whole boxed set includes giant maps and wonderful counters, which makes SF-0 a snap to play.

Crash on Volturnus is the first module in the series and was followed up by SF-1 and SF-2. The other SF series modules are unrelated, but are valuable as they are set up for characters to continue their adventures in new settings. The series was also brought back to life by the Endless Quest book Villains of Volturnus in 1983. It was published in relatively short time frame making the series rock solid in game play and feel.

Having played SF-0 several times, there are few game breakers built in to the scenario. First, when the escape pod crashes, the characters only have time to get the survival packs. Several of my players started out with standard equipment packs and used the coveralls as a makeshift backpack tied across their chests before seating themselves. Since the equipment was attached to them, I couldn't justify taking it. The players also started with 4 medical kits, which made them neigh unstoppable in combat. They kept pulling back to heal. Of course, these were the same players who tied their equipment to their chests. I kept running them against random encounters to try to eat up resources, but that was unfulfilling. Eventually, I figured I'd let them run in god-mode and kill everything and everyone. Many of the challenges they faced were thinking scenarios and not fighting scenarios, so it really didn't change the outcome. 

All and all, I found this one module to be the best of the best for Star Frontiers. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

The whole shebang is available over on DriveThruRPG.

Alpha Dawn with SF-0
SF-1 Volturnus, Planet of Mystery
and SF-2 Starspawn of Volturnus

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Robotech: Battlecry (2002) - The Unreview.

Thanks to the blizzard conditions, my son busted out a game that is older than he is: Robotech: Battlecry.

On our 50" TV, the image is a bit blurry but the game is still fun. I always liked this game because it didn't use the 'gon crunching graphics, instead going with the flat looking color pallet of the comic books and TV shows. The voice acting was excellent and the imagery memorable. The story nosedives into a pyrrhic victory, which is forgivable since the game did an admirable job of staying in canon.

The game featured a good story mode and the 1v1 battle mode on a variety of maps. Progress through story mode unlock various Veritechs and paint schemes for a (limited) customized feel.

The game's combat system seems glitch filled at first, but you are in a Veritech. Enemies will hover in your blind spots, behind you or dead ahead and under your nose. If you let them stay there, they will kill you. Enemy bosses are overpowered and you face them after wave upon wave of enemies, with you armor depleted. How can you survive?

Change and adapt. A Veritech is a fighter jet, a hovering vehicle and a flying robot. Jet mode is quick and has the most long range missiles and powerful guns. Gerwalk or Guardian mode can dodge left and right while flinging missiles and gunning down enemy missiles. And of course, the Battloid mode is a killer robot.

By shifting from one mode to another in rapid succession, you can capitalize on the advantages of one mode while actually in another. These tactics don't seem obvious until you play 1v1, which is a little crazy. Starting in fighter mode, you lob missiles, boost for speed and then deploy counter measures before switching to Guardian mode. In this mode, you can strafe, lob missiles and shoot incoming missiles with your gun before going to Battloid mode to hose enemies and missiles will automatic fire or precise sniper fire. You'd do all of that in less than 5 seconds, over and over again.


Oddly, there are no melee attacks.

No console game would be complete without a choice of cheats. Cheat mode can be entered by hold L1 and R1 and pressing left, up, down, X, right, triangle, followed by start. A keyboard appears to enter the codes. 

One shot kills - BACKSTABBER
One shot kills in sniper mode- SNIPER
Quick weapon recharge - MIRIYA
Inverts controls - FLIPSIDE
GU-X ammo recharges faster - SPACEFOLD
Invinicibility - SUPERMECH
Missiles recharge faster MARSBASE
Turns off ALL cheat codes - CLEAR
Unlock all levels - WEWILLWIN
Unlock all Veritechs, Maps and Medals - WHERESMAX
Unlock all multiplayer levels - MULTIMAYHEM
Unlock new paint schemes - MISSMACROSS

These cheats are preserved though saves so be careful. Re-entering a cheat turns it off, which is less than obvious. CLEAR of course turns them all off, too. One thing to keep in mind is that the one shot kill codes can ruin your fun, especially in missions where you need to rescue or keep someone alive. One accident shot and they are dead.

The game contains many glitches, one of which is fun for the user. Completing a space mission with the Super Veritech allows the player to continue to use that loadout on missions which it would be precluded. The moment you save, that option is gone.

I would love to rate this game, but since it is my favorite despite all of it's warts. I won't. I'll just say I won by playing out my favorite children's show.

Do you have any favorite games that have been passed from one generation to next? Let me know over on Mewe or right here in the comments.

Monday, November 12, 2018

I Just Can't Stop...

I just can't stop.

While organizing my desk, I happened upon a book by Robert Pearce. It is an incredible set of ship plans for Traveller. Sure, it says "Traveller", but it could be used for any game system. The detail and scope is amazing. It is campaign fuel for sure.

 Why not take a look yourself.

I know I will be pouring over this book for days to come. For some odd reason, it isn't even for sale. It's free.

Damn. A mighty big thanks to you Mr. Pearce, you made my day.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

A Spaceship Study

Here are some draft ideas for a spaceship, perhaps a snub fighter. I will ink this one at some point but the design idea was fun verse realistic.

The initial design was rather slight.


A few details that I wanted to look at where the cockpit and shielding for the crew. The movable panels came from details of the drooping nose on the Concorde.


I decided to make the ship beefer. Those rounded rectangles are fuel tanks, not engines. Although parts are rounded, this ship is not aerodynamic. 


Each square is about a meter, so the ship stands 8 meters high. It is loaded out with 14 missiles, a centerline minigun and two large wing tip pods. There are 4 retractable radiators, the items with the 2x3 grids on them.


I hope to revisit this design again with ink, smoother lines and better proportions. This ship would be good in several rule sets like Traveller or Star Frontiers.