Before listing these, a minor rant.
Online gaming is one of “those” areas with me that I can never quite decide on. It’s not whether the games are any good, a large number of them are excellent, but rather it’s the attitudes of many of the players. It’s gone beyond competitiveness to the ridiculous in many ways, especially with the amount of “players” who are more willing and proud to cheat their way through online games than they are to just enjoy playing them, or be petty and vindictive about other players for no other reason than because they can hide behind the anonymity of the ‘Net.
I can never understand why a minority of idiots always feel the need to do such things. I can only assume that they are just miserable untalented individuals who can only gain any form of self-validation through the dubious practices above.
Having said that, there are a few online games that I enjoy playing, despite the presence of such “players”, primarily because the majority of the players on these games are people who actually have some level of self-esteem and don’t have the urge to try to feel better about themselves by making other people’s online lives miserable.
Underlight was one of the few games online I believe is legitimately entitled to call itself a “roleplaying” game, bearing in mind how long I’ve been involved in roleplaying game design (over two decades). The current “fad” buzzword for games is that they be “MMORPGs” (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games), but the large majority of those available claiming to be MMORPGs have little to no roleplaying involved. They’re online adventure games more than roleplaying games, in my opinion.
Underlight was different. Not only did it allow you to assume the complete persona of a character you invent in your own head, it required you to stay within that character whilst in the game. As a roleplaying game designer, a roleplaying game player, and an author, I believe that this facet of Underlight is both unique in the MMORPG arena, and is the primary reason why Underlight lasted so long against more graphically “pretty” systems.
The graphics of Underlight were dated, the combat system could be clunky … but the game still lasted, because those things were tools for advancing the roleplay, they’re were not the game. The game was the roleplaying, and Underlight more than provided for that.
I was a player of Underlight, a teacher within Underlight, and then joined the Game Master team. I handled the Underlight web presence, adding extra features in that I, as a player, would like to see, and it was a lot of fun!
I was also able to work with Lyra on the next Underlight-themed game, Reclamation. This was a wonderful opportunity because it allowed me to have a hand in shaping the game, both from a player’s perspective as well as a Game Master’s perspective. Unfortunately, development of Reclamation has since ceased
Magestorm is another one of those games that are older, graphically inferior to todays offerings, but it doesn’t matter because the gameplay is more than sufficient to make up for such minor things.
Magestorm was actually one of my ways to rest and relax from the stress of the day. It’s uncomplicated, all you have to do is select what spell to use then lob it off at the opposing team as fast as you can, whilst trying to avoid them doing the same to you. Pure, simple, multiplayer combat. It can get complicated if you want it to, with tactics, trapping areas, working co-operatively and the like, but at the end of the day if you just want to go charging off towards the enemy firing as you go, you can. On days when I feels like that, I call it “letting the girl in the corner loose” … And if you don’t understand the reference, tough
Thanks to the persistance of Dan “The Nose” RomBurns, I was a member of Strike Force, one of the Magestorm teams, or “Guilds”. I still can’t help but wonder if this wasn’t a plot by SF_Lazer to get me to stop blowing him up with my bombs all the time though …
Not that it helped him
One of these days I should go take a look at Guild Wars, the latest realm Strike Force is busy demolishing
Spellbinder – The Nexus Conflict takes the principles behind Magestorm to a new level, both graphically and in the range of spells available. This is a faster, but more complicated game than Magestorm. Unfortunately, the way the controls are configured for this game, it’s pretty much impossible for me to play any more, but she strongly recommends it to anyone looking for an enjoyable game.
I’ll write something more about this free online Flash-based game soon, but for now as a teaser, here’s a copy of my currect character stats, courtesy of AQStats.com (Updates daily).
Wolf’s Lair MUD
Wolf’s Lair MUD is a text-based adventure game using a customized AFKMud codebase. This is a long term project I’ve been working on for longer than anyone can remember, but ‘Lair is finally approaching the stage when builders will be sought. In the mean time, I need to get around to adding it to the web site here!
Contrary to a widely held belief of certain individuals, I do not exist solely online, but in fact have things I do offline too Whilst it’s true that a lot of the things I enjoy are now either difficult or impossible for me to do, I still list them here because I enjoy them even if I can’t do them any more.
What? There’s nothing in the rules says an author isn’t allowed to read as well as write!
As is to be expected, I like science-fiction and fantasy works best. It’s the same attraction that drives me to write about the worlds inside my head, the universe of the Legions, the desire to think of places that are so different from this planet we have temporarily borrowed that they remind us of what we have right here and now. It’s just as pleasant for me to sit back with a good book about a far off place where damsels are in distress or starships are travelling the emptiness between planets as it is for everyone else.
In no particular order, those authors I enjoy the most are listed below. I won’t bother saying “I have been influenced by so-and-so an author”, mostly because I believe that they’ve all influenced my writing (and in some cases my life) equally.
Anne MacCaffrey, James A Moore, Robert A Heinlein, Graham Watkins, Frank Herbert, Gordon R Dickson, Jack Williamson, Stephen King, Brian Lumley, Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, Walter Jon Williams, Neal Stephenson, Terry Brooks, David and Leigh Eddings, William Gibson, Harlan Ellison, Arthur C Clarke, Isaac Asimov.
The list isn’t exhaustive. If you’re one of the ones I’ve missed, you can ping me at Con
Paintball and Laser Games
As long as I was able, I was an avid player of Laser and Paint ball games. A friend of mine in the UK, Colin, and myself gained and held the South West England Pairs championships in both Megazone (laser game) and Skirmish (paintball). We were somewhat hated for this fact *grin*.
Colin and I were also part of the design and testing team for a new version of Megazone laser games that was being developed independently by the Operators of the Megazone franchise we regularly played at, but I don’t know what happened with that, because I moved to the US before it was completed.
It’s kind of annoying to me that I can’t do much paintball playing, I had splurged on getting a seriously tricked out splatstick just before things started getting strange in my life. It’s gathering dust in a corner right now, although given some of the dogs in the neighbourhood, it’s always semi-ready as a deterrent just in case. These are some mean dogs …
Why “practical shooting”? Because it wasn’t Marksmanship. This was an offshoot of both my service days and my time doing close protection – it was for a practical purpose. It’s very difficult to do any of the range work involved with practical shooting any more, since most ranges seem to think that a chair is a safety hazard. I doubts ranges are likely to ever reach the top of the list of accessibility advocates any time in the near future, so I’m stuck without any way to have fun
For the record, my personal favourite sidearm is an IMI Jericho 941, which was the proud parent of the somewhat daftly-named “Baby Eagle”. if there are any ladies out there looking for a good, easy to handle, comfortable sidearm, look for a Jericho.
Piercings are another hobby of mine, both getting them (and, while I was still able to do so, performing them). My personal collection is: Left Ear 12 (Top 2 Cartilege, Tragus, Lobe @ 1/2″), Right Ear 12 (Top 2 Cartilege, Tragus, Daith, Lobe @ 8ga), Left Eyebrow 3 @ 14ga, Bridge 1 @ 14ga, Left Nostril 1 @ 16ga, Septum 1 @10ga, Lower Lip 3 @ 16ga, Tongue 1 @ 1/2″, Tongue Web 1 @ 16ga, Nipples 2 (1 ea. Left and Right @ 10ga), Navel 1 @ 14ga
There were more planned *grin*, but unfortunately, this list (compiled for a previous site), is slightly out of date at the moment. Piercings and head MRI’s don’t go well together, and it’s a pain to spend 30 minutes before each visit taking them all out, and another hour afterwards putting them back in, so I’m down to just one in each ear and my tongue for the moment. Once the need for regular MRI’s is done, I get to go back and get them all again
As an aside, if you ever consider getting any piercings done, please take my advice and go to a professional piercer, not someone working out of a mall with an ear piercing gun!