The two metal behemoths charged through the hatch as it hissed open. Both were mere men, but the two tons of robotic armor than encased them transformed them into the super soldiers of the Olympus Mons Technocracy. The metal claws of their left hands were open ready to strike in close combat. The right arms of the suits ended in the thick barrels of man-pack lasers and tracked back and forth, up and down. Around them the cargo bay, normally full of crates and equipment, was empty. No crew could be seen.
“Area clear,” the trooper on the left said.
“Moving,” another voice said over the comm.
Another trooper appeared through the hatch from the airlock. His armor was a carbon copy of that of his comrades except for the Chief’s rank adorning his helmet.
“Advance to the bridge,” Chief McIntyre said. “Wagner, left. Lin, right. Make sure to check high.”
“Aye chief,” came the response.
The magnetic clamps of their Titan power armor suits made their footfalls heavy and loud in the bay. The resounding thump of their steps rose the blood pressures of the Olympian troopers, but not enemy appeared.
Chief McIntyre had almost reached the hatch leading to the ship’s central spine. This was an old ship from when man began to conquer his solar system. The bridge would be at the “top” or “front” of the ship, depending on one’s perception.
Just before the three troopers reached the next hatch it opened on its own.
“Chief?” Wagner asked.
“Wasn’t me,” McIntyre replied.
Suddenly two people in old, ratty armored space suits swung into the open hatch, each wielding heavy machine guns.
“Contact!” McIntyre yelled.
* * *
After almost a year and a half I’m back. A lot has been going on with work and life. Not a lot of writing (though there’s some of that on the back burner).
My latest work:
SHIP STRIKE – The game of space-boarding combat in the 24th Century.
Above is a picture of a partial game board layout. From left to right: bridge, centrifuge/gravity deck, cargo deck.
In Ship Strike players battle one another to achieve their objective, whether that be annihilating the other player, taking the ship/space station/habitat, finding lost technology, or even setting the vessel’s self-destruct. Along with fighting one another and achieving their objective, players have to navigate ships without gravity.
At the moment there are five factions to choose from:
Olympus Mons Technocracy (located on Mars)
Elysium (located on Mars)
Lakshimi (located on Venus)
Star Folk (space nomads)
The reason minor states/pirates are a single faction is two-fold. First, many minor states may revert to piracy to meet their resource/monetary needs. On the other hand, pirates that build bases may find themselves the leaders of small or proto-states due to the number of troops, support personnel, hangers-on, and slaves in their camp.
It’s just 79 days until GenCon 2014! This will be my first EVAR GenCon, and my first evar wargaming convention (though I have been to Dragon*Con and other comic conventions). I’m super excited. The younger brother, my fiance and her daughter are going with, though the fiance and her daughter will not be participating in GenCon itself. They’re there for moral support/shopping. 🙂
Why do I mention GenCon 2014?
Ship Strike will be previewed at GenCon. Either officially, in the First Exposure Playtest hall (if my application goes through), or off to the side (if my application does not go through). I will have at least two playable copies of Ship Strike at GenCon. Three or four ideally. If you’d like to help playtest, please comment below or shoot me an e-mail.
In addition to playtesting, I will also be taking part in the Publisher and Designer Speed Dating put on by Minion Games! In a speed dating-style event, designers (like me) will pitch our prototype games to major publishers with hopes of getting our games published! I’m REALLY excited for this and will be putting a lot of work and effort into getting ready for this.
I will be posting a lot more development and playtest updates as I go with plenty of pictures, so keep an eye out for that!
As many of you may know I love miniature war-games. Not that I play many of them these days – work, my Master’s program, and running around and creating havoc in Omaha and the Continental United States take up most of my time. I wanted to go to a local shop, Orcs 4 Hire, and play a rousing game of Warhammer 40k…may not happen.
But I digress.
In my love for tabletop wargames I have the desire to create my own. This is no easy feat. Rules must be created, play tested, rewritten, play tested again, re-rewritten. Miniatures must be sculpted and then mass produced, they have to be packaged, and then a distribution system, paired with a marketing strategy, must be created.
But most of that is down the line. Right now working on the game is that “miniatures sculpted” section. Hiring a sculptor is expensive. Currently the quote is $400 PER MINI. $8000 is where we’re sitting if we pay a guy. And for a small start-up that can be debilitating.
There’s another option that has become more and more viable over the past few years: 3D printing.
3D printing has really taken off in the last decade. Instead of companies using giant machinery one can now purchase a desktop 3D printer for $3000 or less, and the plastic material is $50 or so a spool.
I give you MakerBot. MakerBot manufactures some excellent, affordable 3D printers for companies, or for the average user. The MakerBot Replicator is a rather affordable $1,749. http://store.makerbot.com/replicator-404.html
It’s upgraded sibling, the MakerBot Replicator 2, is a bit pricier at $2,199. http://store.makerbot.com/replicator2.html
Whichever model, they are a much cheaper alternative to paying a sculptor.
But there ARE drawbacks. Instead of having a sculptor do all the work, one (namely me) would have to learn to use CAD or the MakerBot program, MakerWare. This is time consuming, and not prefferable if working to meet a certain deadline, whether that be a shopping holiday season or pre-convention.
Still a bit expensive though? There are some great Kickstarter Campaigns pushing small, very affordable desktop 3D Printers. Like this one here:
For a backing of $1,395 you can get a very nice, all metal 3D printer.
Creating your own miniatures, toys, or parts is more affordable than ever, and the entrepreneur-on-the-cheap that needs one for their operations can find a list of affordable 3D printers on the internet. It’s something I’m looking into, for sure.
Until next time . . .
Dragon Con is quickly approaching! This Thursday I will be flying from the small city of Omaha to the wild, bumpin’ metropolis of Atalanta, GA for comic books, video games, animes, and regular nerdish fun.
More info on Dragon Con can be found here: http://dragoncon.org/
It should be a blast. I’m already signed up for a ton of the parties, and I’m told by my friend that I am required to party until 7AM or I drop, whichever comes first. Though in all honesty she’ll be the one struggling to keep up. This ginger always brings his A-Game.
Will I be cosplaying? No. I don’t have room in my bag, and I’ve never really been into the whole dressup thing. Besides, there aren’t a whole lot of notable ginger characters in popular culture. Popular cultures fears we soulless beings.
Will I nerd out? Oh hell yes. I’m taking three pairs of pants and twice as many pairs of underwear just in case.
Will I be there as an author? Technically, no. But I guess I never really drop the label of self-published author. I will not have a booth or set-up. It’ll just be me enjoying my Dragon Con experience. But feel free to say hello. 🙂 And if you’re a fellow self-published author I’d love to talk shop.
Will I be there to plug the miniatures game? No again. The fantasy miniatures game is still in the works. We’re trying to hash out the rules and miniatures, and are still working on getting the loan. Running a business is expensive! But I will have more on that in the coming weeks and months.
Will I party hard? Oh hell yes. If you wanna hang, you had better be ready to stay up till 7AM, and then wake back up at 1PM to do it all again. No excuses, play like a champ! A-Game people! Like Andrew W. K. says, “When it’s time to party, we will always party hard!”
And, of course, I will post updates from the con as I get the chance. Probably as I drag myself out of bed at 1 or 2PM in the afternoon and am dragging at whatever caffeinated drink I can find.
Should be a blast. 🙂
Until next time . . .