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Jeff's Gameblog
Wednesday, 17 March 2004

Finally got my head shaved.

Got a lot of good work done on the AlphaTech template last night. All the standard letters I had examples of are on the template. I modified an E to make an F that looks pretty similar to the F on the cover of BattleForce. I also modified a U to make a reasonable J. That leaves K, Q, and Z to be done. I'm not anticipating any real trouble with Z, since it is basically a sideways N. I really struggled with making a K last night, trying both a V and an A to make the arms. Neither looked right.

I also got one of the special characters on the template, the kooky E from Battledroids. The Y from the interior of the second edition rulebook is done, but I am waiting to place it on the template until I see what other special characters I am going to use. The newer A is a work in progress, but shouldn't be a major hassle.

Got a call from Pat last night. His friend Loren (who is also in Dave Hoover's Savage Worlds game) was clearing out his game collection and Pat scored some nifty old school loot, including some Judges Guild products for himself and a copy of the Boot Hill boxed set for yours truly! I have long wanted older copies of Boot Hill and Gamma World since the 1st edition DMG has conversion rules, but so far I have balked at the collector's prices on eBay.

It occurred to me this morning that the old Star Frontiers scenario "Day of the Juggernaut" (from an Ares section in an old Dragon magazine) would be eminently suitable for a adaptation as a solitaire Starmada scenario since the Juggernaut is a robot operated ship.

Posted by jrients at 9:14 AM CST
Tuesday, 16 March 2004

So I finally ordered myself a copy of Savage worlds from shop.rpg.net. I also got some d20's marked 0 thru 9 twice for future Star Fleet Battle Manual gaming. I'm sure my buddy Pat will help me get them properly inked when they arrive.

Posted by jrients at 5:07 PM CST
Great Space Battles Throughout History
This Starmada campaign would be played as a multi-player multi-round round-robin tournament. Between each round you would advance the timeline and build new factions using the DP system in the Starmada Compendium. Each round you would get more DPs and more technology would become available for purchase.

Round one would feature a near-future interplanetary-only setting with extremely low technology. Factions would mostly be real-world political factions (NASA, ESU, and Chinese vessels, for example) and possibly extraterrestrial polities (The Free Asteroids, for example). Maybe start players out with negative DPs so that they are forced to take lower tech levels to buy nifty guns. battles at this level would be extremely small, say use the "small battle" points column but only roll d6+1. Only tech items that are arguably realworld extrapolations may be used. (I'd obviously have to draw up a list.) Each player would then fight one "key battle from history" with each other player, giving each player 1 point for a minor victory and 2 points for a major victory.

Each succeeding round the battles would get a little bigger, more technologies would become available, and each faction would get more DPs. I imagine that new factions would be created regularly. Perhaps the lowest scoring players would assume to have their factions destroyed while the higher scoring factions could opt to run a new faction.

My gut instincts tell me to run at least two rounds before introducing aliens into the mix. Certain technologies could be reserved for the aliens (e.g. organic hulls).

Posted by jrients at 1:16 PM CST
Updated: Tuesday, 16 March 2004 1:23 PM CST

Last night I got some real work done on the AlphaTech font. A, B, C, E and H are all templated. I still don't know exactly what I am going to do about J, K, Q, and Z. I think I have good examples of all the others. I have a small graphic showing a very plain J on the cover of Jumpships & Dropships, but it is obviously a later development of the original BattleTech logo work. I also need to figure out what characters I'm going to map to the one thru zero keys. The Battledroids E and the BattleTech Manual A are definitely in. There's an early Y in the 2nd edition rulebook that also looks interesting. The logo for MechWarrior uses decidedly un-stencily looking M and W, probably to avoid confusion, the M from the 2nd edition rulebook looks confusing to the eye. That W was also used on the cover of the Succession Wars, IIRC, so it's not exactly an 'alternate' until I develop an extrapolated predecessor. But it looks like A, E, M, and Y all have useful variants. I'd really like a full 10 alternate letters if I'm going to pony up the cash for a 36-letter font.

Posted by jrients at 9:24 AM CST
Monday, 15 March 2004

The first Mech write-up I want to do for my BattleTech page is a version of the Ostroc that actually matches the old illustrations from CityTech and the TRO 3025. This version would have missile 4-packs in each arm, instead of the single RT/head-mounted SRM4. I'm tempted to use this little project as an excuse to try out the Medium Range Missiles and Auto-Lasers from the Battledroids Variants article. If I went this route I would make two versions of the "original" Ostroc, a 2750-style model with "lost technology" and a 3025 model with plainjane SRM4's and large lasers. I'd also need a jump-capable Marik variant of the 3025 model.

Posted by jrients at 1:31 PM CST
Updated: Monday, 15 March 2004 4:54 PM CST
Sunday, 14 March 2004

Well, despite my himming and hawing earlier I managed to get a new article up on my BattleTech page.

Edit to add: Well, I got a new page up at the Erol Otus Shrine, too.

Posted by jrients at 5:17 PM CST
Updated: Sunday, 14 March 2004 9:18 PM CST

Working on a website, even an amateur hack job like mine, seems to be fraught with peril. Mainly I'm thinking about the "one more page" syndrome. Lately each page I've developed has spawned ideas for further pages. While I would normally consider this a good thing (as it shows the creative process has become a feedback loop), some of these new page ideas work best if fully integrated into a current project. For example, I'm working on an Otus Shrine page for the old AD&D supplment The Rogues Gallery. All fine and dandy. Otus did the front and back cover and a half dozen or so interior illos. Perfect material for a new page on the Shrine. But Otus also submitted an excellent character for the "Personalities" chapter. I'd like to put the stats for this guy up on its own page, with a link from the general rogue's gallery page. Not a big deal, except for the fact that I feel like I need to complete both before posting either of them. I'm running into a similar issue on the BattleTech page as well. As I think I'm getting closer to finishing this article, I keep coming up with more stuff. I hate to whine over having too much material, but there things are starting to snowball.

I downloaded S. John Ross's custom fontmaking startup package this morning. It looks pretty easy and not that expensive. I'm down to four obstacles to getting my "AlphaTech" font made:

1) I'm about 4 letters short of a full load of characters. I might have to just plain make them up.

2) I need to produce a template for S. John to work off of.

3) S. John needs to have the time available to crank out my font.

4) He needs to be willing to make me a font that uses obviously appropriated imagery. I'm not sure anyone cares about the old BattleTech logos from an IP standpoint, but who knows?

I think I will complete the template before I email him to see if he's interested, if only to establish to myself that I am willing to see this project through to the end. Hopefully if S. John is unavailable or unwilling to do the job I can still make some use of the produced template.

Posted by jrients at 9:30 AM CST
Saturday, 13 March 2004

So I'm not nearly as depressed today. Eating a meal, playing with my daughter, and getting a good night's sleep put me back on an even keel.

I've put the scanner to work today. I've got a couple of new pages in the works for the Erol Otus Shrine, as well as some prelim stuff for improvements to the front page (which desparately needs an upgrade) and the DDG section.

I'm also hoping to get a new BattleTech page up soon. Speaking of BattleTech and scanners, I finally scanned some examples of the old BattleTech logo font. I'm still not sure whether I should produce the font myself (which would mean it would be crude and possibly a .fon file) or have my friend Pat help me (he has a professional font program of some sort) or just pay S. John Ross to do it right.

I've gotten some more nice comments on my BattleTech scenario over at BattleTech.com.

Posted by jrients at 6:05 PM CST
Updated: Saturday, 13 March 2004 6:10 PM CST
Friday, 12 March 2004

Godammit, but this situation with Goph and Dave is depressing me. These are not just two old gaming buddies, they're like my two oldest and bestest friends. We go back to grade school, we were in each other's weddings. I just wanted to get try to arrange to get together and game, but Dave is objecting to all my ideas while presenting none of his own and Goph seems to be blowing us both off. And I feel like a twice-damned fool for trying again after the last attempt to get together totally fell apart. If these were just two game goobers I've played with I would have gave up on this whole thing a long time ago. I don't know whether to get mad or cry or go home and drink some liquor and try to sleep it off.

Posted by jrients at 4:58 PM CST

So Pen & Paper updated last week and added the Lords of Creation info I submitted, though the pic seems to be absent. Ah, it was a losey pic anyhow. Now that I know I didn't screw up the submissions process, maybe I'll do some more stuff.

I like teeny little volunteer opportunities like adding to the Pen & Paper database. It's a niece peicemeal way to help support the larger gaming community. Doing these little projects also helps me get jazzed for tackling a lrger effort, such as another submission for this nifty site.

Posted by jrients at 11:58 AM CST

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