Thursday, September 29, 2016

17 to 01: The Slaver Weapon


The galaxy is about thirTEEN billion years old. Not three to four. Sorry. At least that inaccuracy distracts from the continued weirdness of Star Trek and cats and women. Institutionalized beastiality? Women who can't consent? Women who can't not consent? Uncomfortable.

Heavy Metal was released in 1981 and Voltron was 1984 so they're not contemporary, but Scooby-Doo's 1969 air date very much is.

Also it turns out that Kzinti were going to be included in Enterprise before it was canceled. That almost makes Enterprise intriguing.

17 to 01 is available on iTunes. It updates Thursday mornings at 2:00 AM ET / 1:00 CT. We're also amazingly on Stitcher.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

TRO: 3087 - Ifrit

3087 is a Battletech alternate universe where The Jihad never happened. Instead, political fracturing continues in the wake of the technological and military upheavals of the 3050's. Its history is told through the pages and designs of TRO: 3087. With any luck this series will be the last anyone hears about 3087.

Ifrit (Block 4)
Overview
In just under twenty years, The Wolf Dragoons expanded from a sophisticated and successful mercenary unit to The Dragoons Pact, a proper government half the size of The Terran Hegemony. The region’s defenders morphed from ad-hoc militia and mercenaries into the only force in the Inner Sphere to rely on Clan technology for over half of their war materiel.
The Ifrit, and vehicles like it, are one of the ways those two massive shifts were made possible. Unlike many of the other ‘Mechs fielded by the Pact, it includes almost no advanced components except for its weapons, power, and targeting systems.
Its integration of simple parts have allowed new suppliers to start up in the region while older factories have received incentives to upgrade parts to higher specifications used in more sophisticated machines like the Durendal and Zemus.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Thursday, September 22, 2016

17 to 01: Yesteryear


The episodes of The Animated Series are kinda short. "Yesteryear" shows how that can be used as a strength. This is a strong start but the content we're watching is gonna have a long slide in quality until we hit the good Star Trek movies.

I was almost right about the hard cuts. A hard cut is a scene transition without a transition effect. So no scenes in Star Wars ever. Also, Juno Beach was the Canadian landing zone on D-Day. The American beaches were Omaha and Utah. The UK beaches were Gold and Sword.

17 to 01 is available on iTunes. It updates Thursday mornings at 2:00 AM ET / 1:00 CT. We're also amazingly on Stitcher.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

TRO: 3087 - Catapult

3087 is a Battletech alternate universe where The Jihad never happened. Instead, political fracturing continues in the wake of the technological and military upheavals of the 3050's. Its history is told through the pages and designs of TRO: 3087. With any luck this series will be the last anyone hears about 3087.

CPLT-L5 Catapult
Overview
While Capellan engagements outside of the Confederation have been limited in the last twenty years, there’s no indication they have started fielding any new battlemech designs during that time. Instead, a number of reliable, natively-produced ‘Mechs and vehicles have been upgraded and refined to fill roles as needed.
The Catapult is one such ‘Mech. The CPLT-C3 variant with paired artillery pieces is still produced, but so is the new -L5 is based on the Star League-era -C1 model. Added stealth armor and pulse lasers have made it operate closer to the front lines while retaining its fire support abilities. 
The reasons for the change aren’t known, but it’s suspected that it was made to ensure that there are fewer privileged combat roles where a MechWarrior no longer has to risk engaging the enemy directly.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Westworld

I've never seen Westworld, but I ought to. The trailer seems like it's trying a little too hard, y'know? Either delve into the in-universe commercial that slides into the everything-goes-wrong narrative or pitch it as a movie about the same while you show all the deaths in the movie (because apparently someone thought that was worth doing).

Yeah, I'd watch Ed Harris wasting entire villages, but once Anthony Hopkins reaches up and grabs the "I wouldn't say that at all" box from The Shelf of Cliched Dialog, my interest wanes.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Make Stellaris Great Again, Part 2

So last week I griped about a video game called Stellaris (link here). Today I'm finishing up on all the ways that a great game that's lost its luster could become great again.

Or Simplify Diplomacy. Last week I lobbied pretty hard to have the complicated diplomacy system improved. The thing is, I don’t actually want verisimilitude when I do diplomacy in a 4X game. I only need to know a few things about them: power/weakness, farness/nearness, do they like me, what do they have, what do they want, are we at peace, and how can I change those last four? I don’t know if I need a bunch of buttons telling me what I can’t do.

What I’d like are political packages which read “Make the Imarians Hate Me Less,” “The Rurthar Want Terraforming Gases and We Aren’t Using Ours,” “Special Project: Do Science with The Beldross,” or “The Yamacera are Dicks; Let’s Spend 400 Influence and 1,000 Energy to Steal a World of Theirs.” I need, “These Guys Hate Your Fucking Guts And Will Never Join Your Alliance” to “Here’s The Ludicrous Price Tag That Will Make These Guys Wanna Put Their Fungal Dicks in Your Small Intestines While Barry White Plays In The Background.”  

I only need to know how they feel about me on a scale of one to five. If I’m going to do something that will move allies into the negative on me, those better be big things. I mean big. It should be rare enough that you feel comfortable with throwing a pop-up on the screen asking if I’m sure every time I’m about to do one of those things. I should be able to choose and move toward changing those numbers by doing big things.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

17 to 01: Season 3 Supplemental


This is not the end: We'll be around for The TOS Era: Supplemental after watching Star Trek IV: The One With The Whales.

Suggested Eras for Star Trek:
1966-1986: The TOS Era
1987-1993: The TNG Era
1994-1999: Maximum Trek
2000-2008: The Lost Years
2009-Present: NuTrek

17 to 01 is available on iTunes. It updates Thursday mornings at 2:00 AM ET / 1:00 CT. We're also amazingly on Stitcher.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

TRO: 3087 - Zeus

3087 is a Battletech alternate universe where The Jihad never happened. Instead, political fracturing continues in the wake of the technological and military upheavals of the 3050's. Its history is told through the pages and designs of TRO: 3087. With any luck this series will be the last anyone hears about 3087.

ZEU-10S Zeus
Overview
The ZEU-10S is the latest in the venerable Lyran mech’s long line. In the testing phases during the First Jade Falcon Incursion, prototypes were rushed to the field via mercenary units in an effort to stem the rising tide of Clanners.
The prototypes’ performance gave Defiance Industries exceptional data and the Jade Falcon halt just short of Coventry gave the Commonwealth ample motivation for producing the perfected final version.
This new, more powerful version was initially circulated to politically influential units and individuals. Few were on the front-lines for the resumed Falcon operations in ‘79 and units who received Zeuses from their crash redeployment showed marked improvement in repelling the Falcons. Sadly, that improvement was not enough rapid enough to save Coventry, the line the ‘Mech was created to hold.
Despite ever-shorter resources, the Lyran Commonwealth has gone to great pains to keep it in production. This has included incentivizing the relocation of facilities which produce its gauss rifle and advanced structure. These efforts have been kept quiet out of concerns that they would undermine the defiant messages flowing out of Tharkad about the Commonwealth’s inevitable victory over the Falcons.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Realtime Facemapping

Can't wait 'til my next birthday when I can start being afraid of new technology.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Make Stellaris Great Again, Part 1

If you’ve never heard of Stellaris, it’s Civilization meets Spaceward Ho!, which I will assume is a comprehensive description suitable for everyone. It’s everything me and the guys ever dreamed of in a space game. You get to colonize planets, do some diplomacy, and build big fleets that have beautiful battles in space. You even get to make some moral decisions and do some research...y’know, Star Trek stuff. It’s great and we loved it.

But the luster has worn off quickly. The lifetime of a video game is pretty short and despite being excellent, Stellaris only had an average run with us. This isn’t an open letter to the devs or anything because I don’t know anything about game development. It’s not a list of bitches about the game because nothing is less productive than that. It’s nothing more than a vague plan offered for free with an offer for a red hat as a $25.00 upsell that simply reads “Make Stellaris Great Again.”

Quit animating every ship. It’s beautiful when I’ve got a fleet of 15 guys who shoot lasers and missiles in an asynchronous display of attempted murder by hard vacuum. I see the shots glance off of shields. But eventually I’ll have to destroy every other civilization in the galaxy and I’re going to need a pretty big fleet for that. Probably bigger than everyone else’s.

There’s a fleet cap of 1000 points worth of ships, but it’s only a guideline. After 1k points, I simply pay higher upkeep on ships above that limit. That means even more massive massive fleets, which I’ll get to later. The system can’t handle those numbers and significant fleet actions begin causing the game to slow down, space out, or just plain freeze up.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

17 to 01: All Our Yesterdays


The only multi-episode story arc of Star Trek is resolved here. There's so much to like about this episode. I mean, yeah, part of the conflict is caused because people won't stop doing things for sixty seconds to explain to one another what's going on. And yeah, Kirk ends up treading water for the B-plot, but...

It's good, okay? Trust me, it's good.

A BAFTA is a British Academy of Film and Television Arts award.

17 to 01 is available on iTunes. It updates Thursday mornings at 2:00 AM ET / 1:00 CT. We're also amazingly on Stitcher.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

TRO: 3087 - Orion

3087 is a Battletech alternate universe where The Jihad never happened. Instead, political fracturing continues in the wake of the technological and military upheavals of the 3050's. Its history is told through the pages and designs of TRO: 3087. With any luck this series will be the last anyone hears about 3087.

ON2-MC Orion
Overview
The Diamond Shark trade mission into the Inner Sphere entered the Free Worlds League a little over a year into The League’s civil war. Their intent to negotiate with the League at Goth Khakar was thwarted when both sides of the war attempted to secure exclusive negotiation rights. 
The Sharks had to clear their own landing zone and force both parties to the negotiating table. Any industrial output promised to the Clan from one side could have been a legitimate military target to the other, limiting what League governments could offer. However, resource and exploration rights to lands held by the former Atreus government were on the table and the Sharks walked away with mineral-rich enclaves while both sides of the Civil War enjoyed advanced upgrade packages. 
The Orion ON2-M was chosen as the recipient of this package because it was new enough to be compatible with cutting-edge technology, but old enough to have the kinks worked out of it.

Monday, September 05, 2016

The Takedown of Star Trek: Insurrection

So a while back I laid down a thorough description of why Star Trek V: The Final Frontier wasn’t well-received. In that same breath, I maybe offered offered my services as a shitter-on-things for hire and was immediately asked to do a similar takedown for my favorite movie from The Next Generation era: Star Trek Insurrection.

There’s very little I could say about Insurrection which hasn’t been said by Red Letter Media. RLM is a set of hack frauds who actually make movies and they cover the technical failures of the movie in terms of effects, stunts, plotholes, and costumes.

If you’ve already seen it or if you don’t care to watch a Star Trek review punctuated by random screams and jokes about an alcoholic murder killing women, I’ll continue.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

17 to 01: Turnabout Intruder


This episode plays with a lot of Star Trek elements, but it never coalesces around a central theme because it doesn't know what its angle is. The mind-swap is cool, but the "insane woman" part completely contradicts it. At best, it's accusing women who don't behave the way women "should" of being solely responsible for their lack of achievement. That's not good.

I think this is the second or third time in the original series that ubiquitous video is used as an important part of the episode. Do these plot conveniences imply an angle to Federation society that is somewhat dystopian? Does a society where people are generally good not need safeguards on privacy?

Commissioners. I was thinking of Federation commissioners. 

17 to 01 is available on iTunes. It updates Thursday mornings at 2:00 AM ET / 1:00 CT. We're also amazingly on Stitcher.