Return of the Son of the Ether Part II

Gotham Knights:

DC?  Is he serious?  Hasn’t he had a bellyful of DC thanks to that monster, the DCUG?  Well, yes, I pretty much have, but there is one thing that I’ve wanted to do for a very, very long time.  I’ve simply never had the chance or the time.  Years ago Dr. Mike completely changed the face of Freedom Force by introducing freeroam capability into what was a completely linear game.  It really seemed like there wasn’t anything that this game couldn’t do…at least in the hands of our resident coding guru.  With Patriot City, many of us hoped that we’d soon see a number of emergent mods take advantage of the amazing possibilities this new option presented, but it never really seemed to catch on.  Several of us had ideas for freeroam mods, but nothing ever came of them.  I was certainly one of those who dreamed but never acted on the concepts of that wishful thinking.  As a matter of fact, before the DCUG had really begun to take shape, I toyed with the possibility of putting together a Gotham City mod.  It seemed like the perfect concept, the Batman game I’ve always wanted was one in which he was free to roam around his city, cracking the skulls of wrong doers, driving the Batmobile or flying the Batwing.  However, the DCUG took over, and the years passed.  I’ve been thinking more about it lately, and although I’m not likely to return to the DCU anytime soon after I finish my magnum opus, I may get to it one day.

It would give me a chance to tell a wide variety of stories and not have to worry too much about creating a carefully crafted overarching narrative, as the players would be filling in many of the blanks themselves.  I would base it, of course, on that best of all possible bat-worlds, Batman: The Animated Series.  If I could swing it, I would include both Bats and Robin as your playable characters, and allow you to recruite Batgirl and Catwoman eventually.  You’d also be able to team up with a few DC heroes, just as Dr. Mike’s sample campaign allowed you to team up with Freedom Forcers.  The real fun part would be the chance to use the simple choice plugin for EZScript to create some actual detective work for the players.  You’d get a clue, maybe about the Joker’s next big crime, but you have to figure out where to go to find him.  Maybe you could ask the Batcomputer about unusual power usage in the town, or maybe you could just patrol in the Batmobile.  Killer Croc would haunt the sewers, Poison Ivy would lurk in the park, The Penguin would rule the docks, and you’d never know where or when the Joker might pop up!  This would also give me a chance to create some DC characters in the same vein, level-able, that I’ve been working lately.  That would be a lot of fun, methinks.

And Make That Three

All three of my little projects are now out to the testers, and the first one I sent out is pretty much done.  Now all I have to do is tweak things.  Yay!  It’s a shame that there have been no guesses.  I guess folks don’t like to comment on these types of things, but I do hope I’ve gotten y’all wondering.

Return of the Son of the Ether

Project Superpowers:

Some months back I walked into my local comic book store and asked them if they had any new independent books that I might like.  After talking for a few minutes with the proprietor, who is always the model of a good shopkeeper, he suggested Project Superpowers.  He said that Jim Kreuger and Alex Ross, two of my favorite creators, were behind the series, and that it was free of much of what I detested in mainstream books.  I liked the idea of a whole world of new heroes, heroes without sixty or seventy years of bad continuity, so I picked it up.  While the book was a slow start, it eventually grabbed me and wouldn’t let go.  I found myself really liking these new characters, and the overarching story was definitely interesting.  I especially love the Black Terror.  This guy is dangerously insane, but in a strangely heroic way.  You just can’t beat that.  I love the way this book plays with themes of patriotism and h0nor.  Captain America would be proud of the way they refuse to accept simple answers to hard questions, but at the same time never lose sight of what true heroism is….sacrifice.

Then, lo and behold, it turned out I wasn’t the only one who had taken notice of this excellent book.  A talented skinner on FR, Sioux City Dynamo, started putting out some excellent versions of the Project Superpowers characters.  I’ve been eagerly watching as he fills out the roster, because I would love to give this story a try in FF one day.  These characters and this setting just lend themselves so well to this, greatest of superhero games, that it seems like a perfect match.  I think that it would be great fun to try and design a more traditional campaign for these guys than I did in the DCUG, in which the characters actually level up, and I pay some attention to prestige cost and such.  I got a bit of a taste of that in PCT, but I wouldn’t mind a more expansive shot at it.  I would attempt to just translate their story to FF, since it would fit so well.  Hopefully I’ll be able to find some time to do this one day.

EZScript Script-Off Winner!

It’s decision time, my friends!  Well…actually, it was decision time earlier this week, but that’s the way things go.  Either way, I’ve played each of our two submissions a few times, and I’m ready to announce a winner.  I had hoped to see more people participate, but I was still really happy to at least see some interest.  I’ll review each entry, and then announce the winner.

Reich Around the Clock by Yellow Lantern:  This was a fun mission, with the Blitz fighting Nazis and running over hill and dale to punch the soldiers of the Reich.

Nazi Punching can quickly become an addiction

You jump right into the action, with civilians that need rescuing from a blazing fire.  We don’t get much set-up, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but knowing next to nothing about the character, I wouldn’t have minded a bit of context or character building.  There is a nice variety of encounters, going from that fire rescue to stopping the Nazis from tearing down some homes.  Then you’re fighting in earnest, first just soldiers, but then a pretty challenging encounter with a pair of tanks!

Something about this doesn’t seem quite right…

I found this the highlight of the mission, because you’ve only got one attack that can really hurt these behemoths, and it was tricky to maneuver around them long enough to build up the charge necessary to toast them. I thought that the mission was going to end after this encounter, especially considering how banged up I was, but imagine my surprise when I went from the frying pan into the fire. I just managed to defeat the tanks, and all of a sudden, the sky is filled with Eyes of the Reich…and The Blitz without a decent ranged attack to his name!

Alright, this hardly seems fair….

This is where the mission takes a turn for the impossible. I tried a couple times, but couldn’t get past the Eyes. With a little creative cheating, though, I managed to get through to the final encounter where I faced…Blitzkrieg himself! ‘Ol big brain is guarding a bomb that kills non-aryans, which I thought was a nice touch, and you face a pretty desperate fight against him and a passel (gaggle, flock, herd…what’s the term for a group of these guys?) of Killarillas.

Tanks and flying brains weren’t enough, now I have to be pummeled by monkeys?!

All in all, this was a fun, creative mission with a bit of witty dialog and some challenging things to do, but it is also one that becomes downright impossible by the end. The Blitz himself was fun to play, and he had a nice variety of powers. The difficulty and lack of context do hurt it a bit, but the overall effect was still pretty good. I give this one four unconscious Ratzis out of five.

The Test, by John Jr.: Here we have a Superman adventure in which the Man of Steel finds Metropolis under siege by mysterious forces. JJ gives us some simple but enjoyable bits of characterization as Supes uncovers the alien menace in their midst.

Man these guys are ugly!

It turns out that these diabolical spacefarers are testing weapons on the people of Earth because they are similar to the great enemy of their race. I thought that was a pretty neat motivation for the bad guys to have, and JJ makes good use of the built in FF aliens. Of course, Supes doesn’t take that too kindly, and he starts to hunt the invaders down.

Yeah, you’d better run!

The mission ends with a showdown against Praetor, who proves admirably resistant to a Super-thumping. However, these aliens are, in general, fairly ineffective against the Man of Steel. Their shields may stop his heat vision, and they may be resistant to crushing damage, but it still only takes him a few shots to drop them. More importantly, their weapons just aren’t much of a threat to Supes.

Let’s see your shield stop THIS!

That isn’t much of an issue in the first part of the mission, where the real danger is to the civilians you are saving, rather than to Superman himself. It is pretty challenging to get to the aliens and take them out before they can blow the citizens of Metropolis to kingdom come, but when you go after the alien’s leader, there isn’t really much tension to the encounter. This mission had some good characterization, but it needed a bit more in the way of challenge. Still, this was a fun mission, and after having slaved over DC characters for so long, it was something of a breath of fresh air to play a nice, simple adventure like this. There is something rather zen about hurling a car at an evil alien. I give it three and a half hurtling automotive missiles out of five.

The winner by a nose is Yellow Lantern! I want to stress how close this was, as these missions were, in some ways, mirror images of one another. Where YL’s entry was too tough, JJ’s was a bit too easy. Where the first didn’t have enough context, JJ’s had a nice bit of characterization. It was a pretty close call. I hope that y’all enjoyed this contest, I know that I did! I’ll be putting up a page for YL’s entry sometime this week, and I’ll come up with something for JJ too, as a consolation prize. Thanks for playing guys, and I hope you’ll have more company next time!

Elementary My Dear Watson….

You know, Holmes never actually says that….anyway, I’ve been plugging away on project number three today, and I was wondering if anyone out there has figured me out.  I thought it might be fun to see what people think I’m doing (those that care, at any rate).  If you’re curious and you’d like to take a guess, then please feel free.  I’ll point out whoever was closest to the truth when I get to release day.  I’ll give you a hint, I’ve talked about two of the three already on this blog.  So, feel free to comment and make a guess as to the list of projects that I’ve been working on!  I’m really curious to see if anyone has any inkling of this third project, which I haven’t breathed a word about.  In addition, which, if any, of the ideas I’ve mentioned would y’all LIKE to see developed?  You never know, if there is a lot of interest (unlikely considering how many people are reading this, I know) I might be persuaded to take something up that I hadn’t seriously considered before.

Two Down…

I’ve got two of my little projects done and sent off for testing, which leaves an undisclosed number left.  I think I’d like to have three different things to release together, so I’ll probably wait until next week to spring them.

Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3….

Okay, one something is finished and is being tested, and another is almost finished.  Hopefully I can send it off to be tested tomorrow.  There is a third something that still needs some work, but it is coming right along.  Also, progress is being made on the DCUG.  The troubleshooting continues, and problems are being solved….however, my luck is such that there are still plenty left to go.