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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in pallandrome's LiveJournal:

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Monday, September 14th, 2009
11:30 am
Look what I made!
Yes, yes, I know I haven't posted in literally FOREVER, but I've been busy lately...making a vidjamagame!


If you like Dexter, or adventure games, or the iPhone, or Justice, or the sense of self-worth that comes with solving "problems" with a power drill, give it a shot!
Friday, April 11th, 2008
11:19 am
Linguistics at work
Coworker: "Jeeze, we need more spanish speakers here to manage the phones."

Me: "My wife speaks spanish, but usually only when she's cussing me out."

Coworker: "Hey, I didn't know you married a spanish girl! My cousin married a chick from Honduras. She makes the best tamales you've ever had."

Me: "My wife is from Scotland."

Coworker: "...oh."

*awkward silence*

Is it wrong that I enjoy making a coworker feel slightly uncomfortable?
Thursday, April 10th, 2008
11:04 am
The Attributes are Social, Body, and Mind. Each attribute has, under it, five base skills, which in turn have six specialty skills. They go as follows:


The Arts:
sculpt, sing, paint, drawing, dance, act

physique, hygiene, fashion, bearing, sensuality, social graces

seduction, charm, bluff, intimidation, haggling, politics

military (small), military (large), deligation, institution (small), institution (large), cult

breeding, caring, training, working, riding, tracking


improvised, unarmed, melee, ranged, automated, fixed

sports, jumping, running, throwing, swimming, climbing

personal ground, group ground, personal water, group water, personal aerospace, group aerospace

sneaking, ambuscade, disguise, object concealment, self concealment, shadowing

Manual Skills:
repair, security, pickpocket, use rope, cooking, craft


ritual, mythology, religion, parabiology, meditation, magical theory

empathy, audio/visual, smell/taste, spatial, temporal, ESP

history, literature, philosophy, psychology, logic, linguistics

computer use, AI, programming, engineering, troubleshooting, hardware

chemestry, physics, life sciences, earth sciences, medicine, astronomy
Wednesday, April 9th, 2008
1:19 pm
Artificial Economy and Artificial Intelligence
I've decided for my first playtest to use an established setting, that being Schlock Mercenary. This playtest will involve ONLY the high technology rules. No magic.

Also, no arguing that the technology, being sufficiently advanced, might be indestinguishable from magic. You know who you are.

While cobbling togeather a workable setting, I got interested in how one does a fictional economy set in a place where matter annihilation plants can provide nigh-limitless energy, and matter fabricators can provide an inexhaustable supply of whatever your greedy little heart desires. I can only think of one force powerful enough to control such advanced technological horns-o-plenty.


Make the fabbers require both extensive energy input, and a relatively advanced AI to run it, and you've put two controls on these economy ruining fabrication units. Make it require blueprints for whatever you wish to have crafted, and there's a third control.

The energy output requirement means little enough, as we have already determined that annie plants could meet any energy requirements, given an annie plant of sufficient size. Of course, these things make anti-matter, so any local government that wants to stay in power for any length of time (as opposed to, say, being blasted off their hemisphere by a breaching annie plant) will strictly regulate them. The liscenses would need to be expensive, and the background checks thorough, but since so many industries in such a society would require immense ammounts of power, obtaining a sufficiently powerful annie plant to run your fabber is merely a matter of time and money.

The AI could be easily made more difficult to obtain. Again it is a matter of liscenses. You have to buy liscenses to grow your AI (not to mention buy the hardware to grow it IN), and you have to have a good reason to have such a powerful AI in the first place. Fortunately, since I'm attempting to make this a space mercenary game, having an AI pilot your warship is a sufficiently good reason.

Now, an AI is grown out of something called an AI Gestalt. Think of this as the base set of rules thatan intelligence operates from. It is massively complex, and hellishly difficult to create, much less create well. Most people purchase Gestalts from the government, who in turn put certain limitations on what the AI can and can't do. Common limitations are "Can't rebel against your meat-bag masters" and "Can't create unfettered AIs who COULD rebel against your meat-bag masters". You could also imput things like "Don't let the fabbers make doomsday devices", but then my playtest would be awefully short, and where is the fun in that?

Finally, there are the blueprints. Unlike the other two controls, this one isn't a function of beaurocracy. It's a function of skill. If the players can afford the fabber, and can get the permits for the AI and Annie Plant, then they can build whatever weird devices they can find the blueprints for on the Galactic Wide Web, or that they can design themselves. Since most people don't have both the scientific acumen and the financial backing to get design time at a decent sized fabber, and those that do are closely watched by governments who ENJOY being at the top of the food chain, the galactic economy is safe!

Next up: Why stealing money in the far future will still require high explosives!
Wednesday, March 26th, 2008
3:06 pm
It's odd, how talking to friends, even through the admittedly distancing media of text, serves to assuage discomforting emotions spawned by other aspects of my life. I suspect I misdiagnosed myself. I'm not hyperactive (or at least, not JUST hyperactive), but also requiring of social interaction beyond my current intake. Not that I don't enjoy my time leading raids on my WoW guild, or the biweekly games I run for my two friends from Ocala, but I begin to feel it simply isn't enough. I could simply wait until my wife has earned her degree, and we are capable of moving on from this accursed place, but I'm ever the plotter, and if alternate action taken could ease my desire for socialization further, then I am willing to partake. The question of which method to salvation (of which there are many) remains. This bears consideration.

EDIT: must stop reading so much Dumas...
Tuesday, March 25th, 2008
5:16 pm
Systems in Progress
So, I'm working on a homebrew unisystem typa thing.

It works off base 10. 10 is the average for stats, though having higher or lower is quite common. A PCs ability stat (Strength, Dex, Stamina, Int...ect) is also the cap for their skills (A person with INT 10 cannot have the science skill at above 10).

Skills are divided up into Base Skills, Specialties, and Focuses. Base skills are the most broad examples in skills, while Specialties are more narrowly defined, and Focuses are directed at single examples. A Star Trek PC with the Base skill Scientific Knowledge might have the Specialties of Biology, Physics, and Engineering, and as the Focus of their biology, they might have Romulans. The number of skill points in a Focus can be no more than double that of the linked Specialty, which in turn can be no more than double its linked Base Skill. As mentioned, none of these can go over the Ability cap. However, each step towards focused adds another d10 to the roll.

How does this work, when it comes down to rolling? Glad you asked!

Say we have a security guard with
DEX: 10
Guns: 3 -> Pistols: 5 -> Colt .45: 10

If the security guard were to shoot at a perp with, say, a shotgun, he would roll 1d10+10 for the dex, and 1d10+3 for the shotgun which adds up to 2d10+13 (a range of 15-33). Were he using a Beretta he picked up off the ground, he'd be better off, rolling 1d10+10 for dex, and 2d10+5 for pistols (a range of 18-45). If he actually used the gun he had focused on, his Colt .45, he'd be rolling 1d10+10 for dex, and 3d10+10 for his Focus (a range of 24-60).

Security guard shooting summary:
Any gun (15-33)
Pistols (18-45)
Colt .45 (24-60)

Compare this to a generalist who never focused
Dex: 10
Guns: 10
Any gun (22-42)

Note that the generalist is as proficient with most pistols as the Security Guard, and would be significantly better off than the security guard if he were asked to fire, say, an assault rifle.

Crits: To get a crit, you must hit a certain range of numbers on ALL the dice you roll. If you roll 2 dice, then the target number is 10. 3 dice, and the target is 9-10. 4 dice, and the target is 8-10.

Automatic Success: If your skill+attribute is greater than the Difficulty of the attempted action, you automatically succeed. This is the "Broad side of a barn" rule.

xp costs: Attributes cost 4xp per point. Base Skills cost 3 per point. Specialties cost 2 per point. Focuses cost 1 per point.

The above Security guard skills cost a total of 69xp. The generalist cost 70.

Anyone have any comments, suggestions, or requests?
Monday, March 24th, 2008
12:53 pm
The Waiting Game
Waiting Sucks.

I'm currently waiting to hear back on a job that I'd LOVE to have (we're talking dream job material here), but might not get. Which is fine, you dont always get what you want, and I've got other directions I can go in life, planned out as needed. But waiting to hear, one way or the other, sucks.

I'm also waiting on other things in my life. Waiting for my wife to find the right job for after graduation, waiting for my new publisher to actually finally send me my advance, waiting to see where exactly we'll be moving in 6 months, waiting to see if I'll be able to afford moving at ALL. all of which adds a tiny bit of stress onto things. I'm not overly used to stress, so I'm not sure how well I'm reacting to it. *shrug* Alas, that's just life sometimes.

My discomfort with waiting does make me think, sometimes, that I might be a touch hyperactive. Lord knows my wife would agree: I'm forever bouncing my knee, or rapping my fingers on something. Keeping myself busy often equates to keeping myself happy, so I suppose I'll be ramping up another writing project soon, this time before even finding a publisher for it. The prospect is a little daunting to be doing this without any outside direction. I often wonder if the lack of external focus will help or hinder my work. At the very least, I figure it'll be nice to actually own something I've created, for once. Meybe I'll even be able to make a sane amount of money off of it. Stranger things have happened.

I guess I'll wrap this up. I'm not usually one to drown in my own introspection, but I'm at work, and working for health insurance SUCKS. Anything to distract myself, any port in the storm, is, to an extent, a welcome one.
Tuesday, March 18th, 2008
6:11 pm
Arthur C Clark...
He was one of my favorite authors. This has not been a good two year stretch for my favorite authors.

5:31 pm
Deadpool on the big screen!
So, I was skimming through IMDB today, and what should I come across, but perhaps the bestest possible match of an actor to a comic book character I have ever hoped for. Who knows, meybe he'll even get that coveted Flash job he's been after since forever...

Monday, March 17th, 2008
7:19 pm
I think they finally understand...

An interesting newsweek peice on the war in Iraq. Go ahead and read it, I'll wait...


The lesson there can be summed up in a single sentance from the article, "You cannot kill your way out of an insurgency."
Tuesday, March 11th, 2008
7:41 pm
I have a new personal hero. He's named "Mad Jack Churchill". He once captured 42 germans during WWII...armed with only a claymore and longbow. He was also captured during one battle with the nazi's after "being knocked unconcious by grenades", and sent to a prison camp, but not to worry, he soon escaped, armed with a rusty tin can and some onions.
Tuesday, March 4th, 2008
8:52 pm
Monday, March 3rd, 2008
4:59 pm
Games Vs. Movies
I was reading an article by Ebert, arguing that games cannot be "High Art" (Yeah, I'm sure you've heard of this little fiasco).

Of course, I disagree, and would cite Bioshock, Eco, Planescape Torment, Call of Duty 4, and even certain independent smaller titles such as

(and yes, I do love the Gamers with Jobs website)

But what I see in most games is not art. It's potential. Many games COULD be art, were it not for a select few flaws, just like much art could be entertaining, were they not so rigidly strictured. It's a rare thing to find both art and entertainment in the same package. The most common source for this is in the story. The story could be told any number of ways, from across a campfire, on a live stage, on the shining silver screen, or even with the glow of a computer console, but the method is essentially unchanged. Each of these mediums is just another way to tell a story, and the aspersion that one method is inherently more flawed than another is lacking a certain mental flexibility.

What games CAN do, that movies sometimes have difficulty with, is be art, and be entertaining, WITHOUT telling a story. This is something that has come more and more to the foreground of the casual gaming market of late, and I suspect it will grow quite a bit to be a standard industry offering in just a few short years. Nintendo will likely be the first to bring such pieces mainstream, with their casual friendly console so lacking in the usual hard-core gamer staples.
Tuesday, February 26th, 2008
7:08 pm
Well, they've finally announced the new terminator movie. I would be depressed at it's inevitable crappiness, but I just can't muster up the ennui. They pulled one of the few actors that could make this thing frikkin awesome...


..combign that with the coolness of the new series, and yeah, I'm in.

Coming later this week, a review of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare!
(here's a hint, 10/10)
Monday, February 25th, 2008
9:45 pm
Game Reviews: Sins of a Solar Empire
I have decided that I need to use this forum for the betterment of mankind. With that goal in mind, I will now give you my opinions on the games I play, to warn or excite you, as befitting.

Sins of a Solar Empire

The 4X genre, the special subsection of games beloved by those obsessed with space and all it's glory, has not changed a whole heck of a lot since Ye Olden Days of Homeworld. That's counting on eight years now folks. Ever since that rather impressive leap forward, most games followed the Start-with-a-single-trader-and-work-your-way-up-to-an-empire model. Sins skips the first several steps, bringing a feel closer to Civilization-meets-Starcraft than Trader Bob's used Space Mazda Dealership (EVERYTHING MUST GO!!!).

The result significantly speeds up the initial stages of any given map. To the outside observer the game appears positively glacial in it's pacing, but to the player, there is still not quite enough time to prepare for the next pirate attack. And oh the pirates do attack. As a feature, they provide a bribe-able faction that will be either a thorn in your side, or a valuable (if expensive) ally that keeps the other empires on the defensive as you continue to expand. It's never explained how these pirates manage to build their vast armadas from a barren asteroid with fewer resources that your most sparsely populated moon.

The graphics are acceptably pretty, but the gameplay doesn't give them much room to shine. Every time you zoom down small enough to oogle your new battlecruiser, you are in danger of being surprised by an attacking fleet three solar systems over. Add that there is no reason beyond simple vanity to take a close look at your ships and the graphics become a non-issue. The ships could look like flying space potatoes and I really would not care.

The other flaw of the game, is a sin (har har) of omission. There is no campaign mode.

What? Stardock went through all the trouble to build a storyline, complete with entertaining, if somewhat prosaic, opening cinematic, and they didn't even bother to have a storyline mode? That's right folks, this game is kinda like playing counterstrike multiplayer against only the bots. Sure, they are devious bots, on maps that reach thousands of light-years across, but they are bots nonetheless. Stardock has stated that they will consider offering a campaign mode for download at some later date. Take that as you will.

Conclusion: An excellent addition to the genre, weighed down by a senseless flaw. If you are a fan of 4x games, it's a must buy. If you are jonesing for a good strategy title, might be worth your time and money. If you are strapped for cash and space battles don't comprise your genre of choice, keep on walkin'.

Friday, December 14th, 2007
7:41 am
god dammit

Ok, new rule, my favorite authors are not allowed to get obscure, life-threatening diseases anymore.
Sunday, November 18th, 2007
2:40 pm
Vampire movies.
It's been an interesting year for vampire movies. We had 30 days of night this summer, which I have yet to see, but still wish to. The feeling of that movie, at least what I can see, is cold. It takes place in the frozen north, during the dead (haha!) of winter. Even the vampires themselves use a cold color palette. This movie, of course, was released in the summer. The second vampire movie, I Am Legend, due out dec. 14, is significantly warmer. The lead actor, Mr. Smith, is constantly sweating in the sun, and even the flesh tones of the vampires themselves are warmer. As noted, it is slated for a winter release. Just found the juxtaposition interesting, is all.
Monday, September 17th, 2007
9:01 am
Robert Jordan died yesterday. This saddens me greatly.
Wednesday, August 1st, 2007
2:20 pm
Transformer news
Yeah, yeah, I know I'm not normally the one to be telling this kinda stuff, but this was just too weird.

Wednesday, July 11th, 2007
2:37 pm
theories and trailers
So, have you seen the new Transformers? Before the movie was this trailer, it was a hand held video of a going away party that turns into parts of New York exploding, the head of the Statue of Liberty rolling down the street, on fire, and a loud roar. After looking into some of the viral media that was released to give the interested public some way of getting information about it, It seemed like it might be a big budget JJ Abrahms Call of Cthulhu movie. Which would be hella cool. I based this conjecture on finding the word "Rl'yeh" hidden in the source code of a website (ethanhasswasright.com) that had been linked to JJ's mysterious Cloverfield project.

Now I'm thinking I might be wrong. One of the filming sites for the Cloverfield project has been code named Slusho. An immediately after an interview with JJ where he said, and I'm paraphrasing mind you, "Cloverfield is not connected to the Ethan Haas site, but there are other sites related to the project", a new web site called slusho.jp popped up, advertising a slushie like beverage. So one might reasonably ask how Slusho and JJ are related?

In the second episode of Alias, Vaughn offers Sydney a Slusho.

How cool would it be for a big budget Alias movie? I'm thinkin hella cool.
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