Friday, July 3, 2015

Insidious - Part 1

Fiction Friday! Escape pod here.

I have an idea! I don't know if it'll work but between man-flu and being the filling between in a two large SUV's sandwich (when the one behind me didn't want to stop at the red light) I've got nothing else. This is likely to be a multi-parter into August.


Insidious - Part 1

Marerlur huddled in the dark, dank cargo hold holding his wife and daughter close. Others were near. Fellow refugees from the war on Hrondmund III. The two major tribes had been fighting for years and hostilities had intensified recently. A game of almost one-up-manship of atrocities had started a few months ago. An Inferno surface to surface missile had been mis-targeted and struck a school. The images of burning children had enraged the other side who started to target civilian areas in retaliation. The other side then did the same. The Republic Government and Sisters of Eve had tried to broker peace but the planet had slid further and further into the dark. The leadership of both sides were wanted for war crimes but they didn't care. Their only priority was to destroy the other.

Where there is desperation, there are men looking to profit. Although far from their normal operating area, the Serpentis Syndicate had dispatched several convoys to the system. As well as transporting a large shipment of the narcotic known as 'Crash' they were offering passage to the Federation for a small fortune. With the levels of atrocities committed by both sides in the war, there were no shortage of people willing to hand over their life savings to save their families and escape the horror.

Marerlur was thankful he was prepared. A respected lawyer with an interest in geopolitical science he saw the war coming long before the first skirmishes started. In a small safe at home he had kept a portion of their savings in gold and valuable gemstones. His wife was a cloning doctor so they were very comfortable and were able to keep tidy sum for emergencies. A few days ago their daughter Deiked was sick. During that day an off-course attack drone had crashed into her school and spilled its payload of razor beetles. These lab-grown weaponised beetles were half a meter long and very aggressive, attacking without provocation. Their pincers could snap through 5cm tritanium bars. Human limbs were twigs in comparison. 30 children died that day and many times that number were crippled or mutilated. When Marerlur got word there were some pirates with shuttles on the outskirts of town offering passage to Federation space they had fled.

The shuttles had landed in a sports field on the outskirts of the town. A ring of armed pirates kept people away from the ships. Large Ishukone assault rifles pointed at the crowd. The bodies of several who had ignored warnings lay on the ground between the guards and the desperate populace. Most now kept a respectable distance waving hands full of cash from afar. As Marerlur expected the pirates didn't care for local credits from a war torn backwater planet. An older smartly dressed man walked past inspecting what people were offering. When he glanced inside the bag Marerlur opened for him he smiled and told his two guards to allow the family to board one of the shuttles. That was three days ago. They'd been huddled in this corner of a cargo bay of a Iterion class industrial since then. It was cold, it stank, it was dark. However they were on their way to a new life.


The ship rocked. There were murmurs of concern from the families in the hold. This was followed by a violent shudder and the dim lights of the cargo hold flickered. Raised voices could be heard. Marerlur looked up and saw some of the guards in the catwalks above running for the exits. He heard raised voices but could only make out a few words above the screams and shouts of panic around him.

"Ambush"
"Capsuleer"
"Abandon"


People were stood now. The guards who were keeping them in the corner of the cargo hold away from the freight containers were gone. Marerlur rushed to the door. It was sealed. The ship rocked again and the main lights went out. Screams of panic echoed around the cargo hold in the pitch darkness. The red glow of the emergency lighting activating did little to calm people. He grabbed his wife and daughter and ran to the stacked containers. They had been told anyone approach those containers would be shot with no warning. With no guards left and a ship clearly under attack Marerlur didn't care. He opened the first container. They were each about 2m long and 1m square. Typical small goods containers designed to be handled by two people. The container was filled with potatoes. As a lawyer Marerlur knew full well the Serpentis Syndicate had not gone into fruit and vegetable sales. He pulled some out and found bags of white power beneath. Crash! He tipped the container so it spilled its cargo and righted it. He picked up his young daughter who started to protest.

"What are you doing?" his wife Toldori cried.

"There containers are tough. Designed to survive. We cannot get to the escape pods with the doors sealed. These are our only hope." he said closing the lid on his protesting daughter.

He emptied another. "Get in!" he said to his wife.

"I'm not leaving you!" she protested.

"I'll be in the next one. Now get in!" he said forcefully as the ship shook.

She begrudgingly lay down in the cargo container. Her husbands face appeared above her.

"I love you!" he said. Before she could say it back there was a huge explosion and a roar of rushing air. Marerlur struggled to stay on his feet, gripping the lid of the container his wife was laying in.

"No!" Toldori screamed as Marerlur pressed down to close the lid. He smiled at her as the container lid mechanics took over slowly closing the lid. She saw him take to the air, blown away by the escaping atmosphere just before the lid closed.

It was pitch black in the cargo crate. There was then a deafening rumble and she felt the container accelerate.

-o0o-

Agent Yverens reviewed the Raven class battleship's logs. The original intelligence was right. A Serpentis convoy carrying a large shipment of Crash was exactly where it was supposed to be. Dozens of pirate ships had been destroyed including the four transport ships carrying the contraband. Unfortunately things hadn't gone exactly according to plan.

"A smartbomb? You equipped a smartbomb and activated it on a mission that required you to retrieve the contraband intact!"

The small hologram of the capsuleers isomorph stood in the projector field. He said nothing. His arms crossed defiantly.

"The contract was specific. The shipment of Crash needed to be recovered. You got barely a tenth of what we were expecting. Now we have no idea if it was on those ships and destroyed or if it wasn't and its still out there!"

A smartbomb was a capsuleer weapon that radiated a damaging pulse from their ship. Short-range and indiscriminate. Anyone or anything near took damage no matter whose side you were on.

"Sorry but as per the contract we cannot offer you a reward. We needed to know how much Crash was on those ships. I would suggest you remove that smartbomb and use more precision weaponry next time."

The hologram vanished without a word. Yverens wasn't too worried about upsetting a Capsuleer. They needed him as much as he needed them.

"Idiot newbie" Yverens muttered and looked at the report again. Apparently two of the smuggled containers that were recovered by the egger shockingly contained people. The first one had the body of a teenage girl. She was around the same age as his own daughter. The shock-wave of the smartbomb had caused a small fracture in the container. The atmosphere had leaked out and killed her. The other was that of a middle-aged woman. The report assumed it was the girl's mother. Her container had been struck too but had remained intact. The plasma blast had heated the container had given her serious burns to fifty percent of her body but she had survived. The Sisters of Eve were looking after her now. The report detailed that as well as the drugs, the pirates apparently were smuggling Matari refugees. As they were locked in the cargo hold during the attack they couldn't get to the escape pods. They all perished in the attack. The bodies of over 300 Matari had been recovered by the Sisters rescue ships.

"So much for the fucking intelligence." Yverens growled angered by the needless loss of life. There was no way he'd have ordered the ambush if he'd known that they were trafficking people as well as the drugs.

He shook his head. So much death. So much destruction. He fired a quick message off to the security section who had tipped them off, blasting them for not knowing there would be refugees on-board. 

Four more years and he'd be out. He would have his 20 years service and given that capsuleer agents were paid so well he could almost retire before his 45th birthday. 


To be continued, four years later....

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

BB64 - Missile? Denied!

Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 64th edition! For more details about what the blog banters are visit the Blog Banter page.

Torpedo! Torpedo! Torpedo!
With the Aegis release we will see missile boats get their own version of the tracking enhancer and the tracking computer. On the forums there have been calls for new 'missile defence eWar' to counter these new modules. Is this needed? Are smartbomb 'firewalls' enough? Do defender missiles need an overhaul to make them actually worth using? Do we need the missile version of the remote tracking disruptor? Or do we go all Star Trek and have Point-Defence Phaser Banks? Banter on!


BB64 - Missile? Denied!
I can recall a very good fight I had with a Drake once. I was in a Hawk and he agressed me on a gate. His big fatty missiles were no use against my smaller, faster hull. Eventually as his shields started to fail and mine were still high he dropped aggression and retreated through the gate. My DPS just wasn't enough to finish him off in the sixty seconds he needed to deagress and jump. With these new modules it might have been a different story. Scripting the new computer with an explosive radius script could have been a lot more painful for my little Assault Frigate. Rapid heavy missile launchers with a scripted computer may become a serious threat to even small tackle. So what can be do about it? Does anything need doing about it? The issue is we don't know. Missiles still might be the poor choice in PvP or it may become OP. We'll see after these new modules are released. However, if it becomes OP, what can we do about it in future?


Defender Missiles.
A particularly pointless system currently. You lose your own DPS. It only protects you and isn't very good at that. So what to do? New mid-slot module "Missile Interdictor Launcher Facility". Fires off defender missiles that actually do their job! To stop it being too OP it could have a small capacity and a reload timer like a ASB or AAR. You can significantly cut incoming missile only DPS for a short while then its useless for 30 seconds or so as it attempts to reload.


Tracking Distributor Missile Script
To introduce the above MIL.... oh wait a sec, that would spell... never mind... would need to drop the 'facility' from the name of that proposed module, anyway puerile jokes aside, this would mean you would fit your ship for defense against one or the other. Do you take anti-turret eWar or anti-missile eWar? I suppose that is Eve. Make your choice and live with it. Whilst discussing this topic with a colleague who also plays Eve he made another suggestion. A script for the tracking disruptor. I thought about that and it could work. Unscripted it debuffs turret tracking and range. Traditional scripts max one or the other. How about a new script only for missiles?


The Gallente hacker group, Rampant Camembert, developed this ingenious software to counter the Caldari reliance on missiles. This script causes the disruptor to form an (invisible) bubble around the ship which disrupts incoming missiles guidance systems*. The missiles will still hit the ship, but not optimally.

This could give a debuff to explosion radius and explosive velocity of incoming missiles.

So we have two very different solutions there. On the one hand a module that only helps against missile ships and the other one an eWar module that can be scripted against either turrets or missiles. I think I'd prefer the MIL. Eve is not generally about one thing that does everything well. In Eve you make your choice, undock, then spend ages worrying if you made the right one!




*OK this causes a lore conflict with unguided missiles such as HAMS and Rockets. Sure with a bit of thought we can come up with something!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Eve Blog Banter 64 - Torpedo! Torpedo! Torpedo!


Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters, the first hosted here at SCAS as Kirith has handed over the baton, and our 64th edition! For more details about what the blog banters are visit the Blog Banter page.


Torpedo! Torpedo! Torpedo!
With the Aegis release we will see missile boats get their own version of the tracking enhancer and the tracking computer. On the forums there have been calls for new 'missile defence eWar' to counter these new modules. Is this needed? Are smartbomb 'firewalls' enough? Do defender missiles need an overhaul to make them actually worth using? Do we need the missile version of the remote tracking disruptor? Or do we go all Star Trek and have Point-Defence Phaser Banks? Banter on!


Sunday, June 28, 2015

SCASSSS - The Hecate

The final Tactical Destroyer, the Hecate, is on the test server. Tried several fits fromm shield to armour to hull. Active tank and buffer. Sniper and close range.

The hull tanked, MWD blaster boat with twin webs is a beast. 10k EHP and 550dps... and I'm only at level 3 skills! I expect over 600dps when at 5!





Friday, June 26, 2015

Keres in the Machine - Novelette.

Fiction Friday. Escape pod here!

Last week I previewed the start of a novelette, Keres in the Machine. At 12,000 words I'd usually do that in 4-5 parts here. However it does feature some bits that some might find not suitable. It's a sort of Eve Online mash up of Law Abiding Citizen and the Final Destination series.

A research outpost has made a starkling breakthrough in entosis technology. The ability to not just project an isomorph of a person's consciousness into a remote computer system but to actually transfer it. However, the valuable antikythera element they are working on has attracted the attention of a pirate gang. One that leaves no witnesses.

Two weeks after the raid one of the gang is killed, soon followed by a second. Can the Captain figure out what is stalking and killing his crew? The Gallente have a name for a vengeful spirit. They call it a Keres.


You can download the PDF here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The New Home of the Eve-O Blog Banters

You may notice there is a new page on this blog:- Blog Banters. After two years of holding the baton, Kirith Kodachi of Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah has passed it to yours truly.

I'm intending to change pretty much nothing. Things have been a bit quiet lately but I'm hoping a bit more shouting can get involvement up a bit!


What are Blog Banters? Well they started back in 2008 by Crazy Kinux (now @socialdaveCK on Twitter). It was a shared topic for all Eve Online Bloggers to discuss and offer their viewpoint on the subject or question posed. Seismic Stan (of Freebooted fame) took over in 2011 until 2013 when Kirith took the helm.

Seven years down the line and here we are.

If you'd like to be involved you can either watch out here for the monthly topic or drop me a mail either in-game or drackarn at gmail dot com and I'll add you to the mailing list. The topic is usually sent out out a few days before to allow you to prepare in advance.


Also if you think of any good topics for future Banters you can do the same. I hope I can be just the custodian of the Banters and keep them running. I'm looking to you guys and gals to suggest the topics.

Looking forward from hearing from you all!

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Thrasher WiP - My View

OK I didn't do my usual and leap in with a ragey post. I waited, I chatted to some people, I pondered the redesign. My calm and collected view on the work in progress Thrasher redesign CCP showed us last week is...


I LOVE the Thrasher. There are loads of posts on here about Thrashers and the varied fits I use. I just love that ship. The redesign WiP I have nothing against generally as a ship. It is going a bit more Generic Starship Type B which is a direction CCP seem to be heading. Eve Online ships tend to be unique. Most people can spot an Eve-O ship a mile off if they've played it and might not have even seen that model. Eve Ships are generally recognisable. Elite Dangerous, Star Citizen Eventually and the others tend to have similar generic sci-fi designs. Here's some concept art from E:D, SC, ME along with one from Eve Online. Which is which?


Easy life! Lets look at the new Thrasher WiP. If you take away the heat sinks/solar panel things and what is it? Give me, someone with terribad Photoshop skills, 20 minutes and I'll give you...


A new Caldari Destroyer!

Lets look at the current Thrasher. Its an iconic ship. We love the Thrasher.



It looks nothing like the new WiP. Whilst I'm not against a rework of the Thrasher to bring it up to date, it has to look like a Thrasher!

Its a bit stumpy.
Its rusty.
It looks like some shortcuts were taken here and there especially in the middle section.
It has frills.

So please art guys, don't take our iconic Thrasher. The WiP looks a good ship and I like it. However, it is not a Thrasher so save that for something else. New ORE ship maybe? Looks a bit on the industrial side. Lets keep our Thrasher looking like a Thrasher. Pleeeeassssseeeee!


P.S. Look how serious I am on this. Not a single demotivational here!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

SCASSSS - The Thrasher Redesign

Mmmmmmm. I don't know about this. CCP are redesigning the Thrasher.

I saw the concepts and cried when I got to E.


Thank Bob that they didn't go ahead with the mini-Bowhead. Whilst its better than E, I'm not sure about the current direction they are taking it. Looks more Caldari and WHERE THE HELL IS THE RUST GUYS?


Time will tell if I need to slip Rixx a couple of billion to run the Save the Thrasher campaign!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Keres in the Machine

Fiction Friday. Escape pod here.

This is the opening two sections of a new novelette. It is a horror story and a cross between Law Abiding Citizen and Final Destination, obviously set in the Eve universe. Given some of the subject matter in here I thought it best to do it as a separate thing from the blog. PDF will be up next Friday. If anyone wants to volunteer to proof read it I'll chuck some ISK your way if you can do it by Wednesday (12k words so not that long). Just remember, if what has happened to Sansa and Jon Snow in GoT this season really upset you, this won't be the one for you. We have a lot of nasty people doing nasty things in here!


Keres in the Machine

Ebrens’ eyes fluttered open as the metallic silver cap slowly withdrew automatically. He heard the ripping of the velcro straps that held his arms and legs to the chair.

"How was it?" a voice asked.

"Amazing" he said croakily, still unable to see properly. "I wasn't just in the systems, I was the system. It is difficult to describe. Its not like a capsuleer type isomorph, you are pure data, your consciousness is at one with the code. It was incredible."

His vision started to return and his wife's face appeared before him. He smiled up at her.

"Can you lift your arms for me?" she asked.

He raised his arms up, then his legs as they went through the procedure. The chance of total mind-lock was very low, but it was always a risk. A person’s consciousness leaving the body and then returning always carried some danger. That is why Capsuleer training was so difficult. When your mind has expanded to cover an entire battleship it can be difficult to shrink it back down to a human body. Doctors Ebrens and Tyl were working on the experimental Entosis link. A high-tech method of planting a person’s consciousness into a computer without a physical hard-link. Capsuleers wanted to use them for hacking, but Ebrens was looking into other uses. Their modified version didn't project a consciousness, it physically relocated it. The body was still alive. Core brain functions in the brainstem were not affected. The heartbeat, the lungs breathed. However if the link was severed the body would be to all extents and purposes a vegetable. The person’s consciousness would still be alive technically in whatever it had been transferred to. Their work was on the very edge of what was considered legal. CONCORD had a remit to control all Empyrean technology and they were in that area. One of the reasons their small research company was being used and not some mega-corp that would have CONCORD inspectors monitoring them 24/7.

"We saw the test ship move a few kilometres, we assumed that was you."

Ebrens smiled.

"I couldn't resist. Not that I could do much more than boot it up and fire the engines currently. I didn't have access to some systems. We need to look at the link spread. I think we need to tighten it up. Focus the beam more." he said excitedly.

His wife laughed.

"Tomorrow darling. Let’s go back to our quarters now. I need to test everything is working on you." she said with a smile.

-o0o-

"A research outpost? As in scientists and laboratories and shit?" Ralken asked.

The Captain nodded.

"I know its not our usual heist but command has word they are working with some very valuable tech." the Captain explained. "We are going to steal it."

"What tech?"

"Something called antikythera elements. Apparently they have a decent stock in a secured hanger on the outpost".

"Auntie Kathera?" Ralken repeated.

Amda laughed. "Its not another relative for Ralken to shag is it?"

A plastic cup sailed through the air in response.

"Its Jove tech. Command want it, we're getting it. Plus a grade two bonus for you lot of fracking pirates."

A cheer went up from the assembled crew.

"So what's the plan Cap?" Maison asked.

The Captain started to run down the heist. The pilot who did the monthly supply run to the research outpost was on the pirate organizations payroll. He was the one who had found they were working on the antikathera element. As they had good intel on the outpost and it was to be an easy job.

"Right. Assignments. Ralken, your job is to get us in there. Our friendly supply-ship pilot planted a virus in their docking system when he visited yesterday. It'll see our transponder and give us docking permission without sending any notifications. Unless someone is looking out of the window, they'll never see us coming until we're inside".

Ralken was ex-Caldari Navy. A hotshot pilot who was dismissed for punching his wing commander in the face during a poker game. He'd been Kamaala's pilot for the last five years. An expert in frigate class ships, he'd managed to get them out of tricky situations many times before.

"Tweeks. You'll head for the command bridge. Hack into the system, unlock the secure hanger and then delete any security footage and logs. We were never there. Use your delayed virus to make sure any logs of us leaving are also destroyed."

The two brothers nodded in unison. They were Caldari too, twins. They looked identical, dressed identical and even wore their hair the same. The Captain couldn't tell them apart. They had been arrested for hacking into the State Bank and stealing millions. The brothers had been lucky that the prison transport had also been carrying a lieutenant in the pirate organization they now worked for. When the transport was intercepted he had offered the twins a choice. Stay on the transport and go to prison or come and work for the pirates. Given they were twins and a pair of geeks the abbreviation Tweeks had stuck.

"Maison. You're with me and Mael. We'll head to the secure hanger and wait for the Tweeks to open us the door. Then we'll load the booty and GTFO."

Maison was Gallente. She had worked for the Serpentis Syndicate until her boss tried to stab her in the back. Quite literally. She had killed him and fled. Knowing she couldn't go back to the Serpentis she'd hooked up with this smaller pirate clan. Mael was Chief Engineer. Whilst the Tweeks worked inside the system, Mael worked on the system. He was as useful getting a couple of extra mega-newton’s from the ships engines as he was bypassing the security system of a locked door with a power-shunt. Between him and the Tweeks, anything could be opened.

"Amda, you're our eyes. Keep a look out on the scanner for anything incoming. We'll land 30 minutes after the last security patrol so technically they won't be back for nearly 12 hours. However, you see a couple of Atrons within 2AU of that place you holler OK?"

Amda was the only Amarrian on the ship. She had fled the Empire after killing her husband who had been chosen by the family. Amda didn't know much other than he was a violent drunk. One night Amda wasn't going to have another trip to the medical centre so had armed herself. His first blow that night had been his last, ever. A fugitive from the Amarrian Security Services she had slipped in Caldari space first and then into the Gallente Federation. Unlike the Caldari State, the Gallente would not extradite her. On a normal ship she'd be classed as the Science Officer. On board a pirate ship she was more a combination of scanner operator and field medic.

"What about us two boss?" Utren asked.

This was the bit Captain Kamaala wasn't looking forward to Utren and Varl were Matari. They had one job as part of the crew and they really enjoyed it. In fact they enjoyed it too much.

"Situation normal. No witnesses."

Varl jumped into Utren 's lap and kissed him excitedly.

Captain Kamaala had killed many, many times in his career. Some from range using the ships missiles, others up close and personal with pistol or knife. As a pirate operating in the space-lanes most were kill or be killed situations. Others were more execution style during his line of work. Ensuring no witnesses was sometimes required. However when he did it you simply got a bullet to the brain. It was not something he took pleasure in or did unnecessarily. Utren and Varl were different. They loved their jobs a bit too much. Utren was a Brutor. Six and a half feet of rippling muscle. He shaved his head to make him look even more menacing. Varl was the opposite. She was much shorter and very lithe. Graceful like a cat. However they were both borderline psychopaths. He only put up with their antics for two reasons. Firstly they were horrifically effective at what they did, killing. Secondly they terrified everyone who knew them. A handy pair to have on a pirate ship. There was limited danger whilst these two were on your side.

"How many boss? Any security?" Utren asked pulling away from Varl.

"Its why we are hitting it today. Two of the outposts crew are getting married and nearly all the usual staff of 30 are going planet side for the wedding. The two Lead Scientists are staying to keep the place running so that's all we are expecting according to the intel."

"Only two?" Varl pouted disappointingly. "That's cutting our fun time down a lot!"

"No guards?" Utren asked ignoring his whining girlfriend.

"No. They have a contract with a local security firm who send a patrol twice a day to check on them. We have their schedule so have a nice long window to get the job done. Now any more questions?"

The assembled criminals shook their heads.



Full novelette out next week.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Eve-O Podcasts

This is an Eve-O post, just give me a moment! Back in 2014 I was at my heaviest by far. Bloody hell, look at Sindel on my back. I should be shouting "I ATE A BABY!"


Every year I'd start a health kick in January, by mid-February I'd fallen off the wagon. The problem is I love food. I do all the cooking at home and really enjoy food! Living in the Middle East is not helpful either. Whilst you might not think the desert is a major culinary hotspot, it is. Regional cities I visit for weekend breaks away have some of the best places to eat in the world. Dubai being the best (worst for my waistline)! As a curry fan its amazing here. No curry power, paste or ready-made sauces for me. My shelves are stocked with cumin, coriander, fennel and other seeds. We buy turmeric, garam masala, paprika and cinnamon in bags! I love cooking!


So as normal in January 2015 I tried again. Hey, 10th time lucky? This time I had seen a diet called the "Fast Diet". Its also known as the 5:2 diet. Basically for two days a week I limit my daily intake to only 600 calories. Rest of the time I eat normal. Providing I don't go crazy over 2600 on the other days, I should still be down 4000 calories a week (20% down basically). So rather than being careful every day and limiting to 2k, I just go hard on two days. Its Mid-June and I'm I'm still going! As I draft this I'm hungry. Oh so hungry. However tomorrow I know I can eat what I want (within reason) and the weight is still falling off me.

So what has this got to do with Eve? Well, as well as the diet I've also started exercising and going for a slow jog/fast walk. This gives me opportunities to listen to Eve podcasts so I can lose weight and geek out on Eve at the same time.


So far in 2015 I've lost over 2 stone (16kg). I'm 6kg off what I was in 2003 and as well as that, I've listened a lot to the following podcasts:-

Podcast: Crossing Zebras
Style: Down the pub with your mates for some cheeky banter and a pint.
Quality: Very high. Obviously plenty of post-production here. Erms, ohs and silence appear to be edited out. Voice levels equalized. Music generally good other than Xander's taste in boy-bands. High quality.
My favorite podcast although it is a close call. From the Tron intro music intro to the wild swings between insults and man-love between the presenters. CZ has it all! Plenty of news and tinfoil hatting. Probably one of the best to keep you up with whats happening in the game. As Xander says a lot "I fucking love that!"


Podcast: Hydrostatic
Style: After School Discussion Group
Quality: Very high. Obviously plenty of post-production here. Erms, ohs and silence appear to be edited out. Voice levels equalized. High quality. Plenty of musical segways.
A close second. I use to think of myself as a bit of a Eve Geek. I know how Old Man Star got its name. I know about the Broker and the Macaper (sic) Prophesies. I am bloody John Snow (I know nothing) compared to these guys. The undisputed king lore-based podcast. If you want to know about lore and backstory as well as current events, this is the one for you.


Podcast: Fly Reckless
Style: A car enthusiast group meeting down the pub.
Quality: Same as the above. Fed up of copy and pasting ;)
Fly Reckless is a great podcast and tends to concentrate on the playing of Eve. You get a lot more talk and discussion on mechanics and how to, and how not to, play the game. Probably the best if you want to improve your game.


Podcast: Cap Stable
Style: Somewhere between CZ and FR
Quality: As the above, its extremely high. Love the Thunderbirds intro!
Another quality Eve podcast. Can be heavy on the news side of Eve but with a good mix of other topics. Kill of the week is always "interesting"!


These are the four I really listen to mostly. Am I missing any good other ones out?

Monday, June 15, 2015

SiSi Hacks I'd Like to See

CCP have implemented a few "hacks" on the test server to help players test Eve. This has included the 'moveme' command so you can quickly move to a set list of systems and a 'standings' one to allow you run missions for agents you didn't have standings for. In the past they've used bots to help you for example when they have us all titans and supers to test gate travel and needed to give us the skills to use them in order to test them.

I use the test server a lot for "art". However there are a few things that would make my life easier. I spoke about these at Fanfest to some others and generally got good feedback.

Green-Screen Preview for Ship and Items.
We have it for characters already as an option in the settings, but ships have a space background on their preview and turrets and the like have a hatch pattern. This makes it a bit more difficult combining items. If we could have green screen option on SiSi that would be brilliant.


Sometimes I want to take an item and place it in another scene. This picture from Friday is a good example. My plan was to set the scene on SiSi and take it as one screenshot.


Have you ever watched a fighter in space, even one who is abandoned or their carrier has been destroyed? The never bloody stop moving! They keep flying no matter what with their bloody barrel rolls and fiery engines! I needed a stationary fighter with no engine trails. The best way I found was to preview the fighter, angle it right, take a screenshot and then superimpose it on the background scene. A green screen preview would have saved me a lot of time.

Clipping Off
The good old FPS hack. It would be ace to be able to turn off clipping in the Captains Quarters and be able to "fly about" to get better angles for screenshots. Spin around your ship rather than spinning your ship so you have a view looking back over the ship to the CQ gantry. Visit the pod! 


Obviously your big fat head will be in the way, and on that subject...

Invisibility for Toon
A method for making your character invisible would also be awesome. Occasionally we get it with glitches but the ability to take a screenshot without your head in the way would be amazing!


This will allow for better screenshots and videos without having your toon spoiling the view in the CQ.

Yes these are improvements that will only be wanted by a small percentage of the playerbase and do not justify any real time spending on them. However I would guess most of this is already in place and just needs turning on. They would certainly help a section of the community with their work.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

SCASSSS - My Astero is Blue

For this 'Sunday Short' I bring you a few shots of the new Astero Sanctuary SKIN.





Friday, June 12, 2015

Scooped

Fiction Friday. Escape pod here.

I was flying about on SiSi the other day and came across a group of abandoned fighters on a gate. That made me think about a mass brawl in Kedama a few years ago that had escalation upon escalation. Afterwards I had my alt running back and forth in an industrial scooping all the fighters and bombers that were left on field. That got me thinking, what happens to these abandoned fighters and fighter bombers, well not them specifically, the little guy inside....


Scooped

"Well this is just fracking Dandy!" Bakkata thought as he watched a huge chunk of burning spaceship slowly spin past his cockpit. He'd been watching the flaming wreckage for nearly an hour. At first he was expecting one of the hulking pieces of flaming capital ship would spin into his fighter and end his life. However he seemed doomed to drift endlessly in space. Perhaps a worse way to die.

"Fracking eggers." he cursed.


Bakkata tried the controls again. He knew it was pointless but he had to do something. The Dragonfly one-man fighter he was flying was a good ship, but only when its commanding carrier was still in the system. When it was not, the navi-com lost its signal and the engines would shut down without the short-range carrier signal. The capsuleer Archon class carrier had was assigned to had jumped out of the solar system as it was receiving structural damage. He had been trying to get back but the recall order had come too late for him and several of his wingmen. As the Archon he was speeding towards jumped his fighter immediately lost propulsion and he was a simple spectator for the rest of the battle. 

The battlefield was empty now, only burning wrecks remained and the tiny drifting escape pods. They were the lucky ones. The Sisters of Eve would turn up to rescue them. However his much larger fighter wouldn't fit in the rescue ships. There neither was anyway for the S and R craft to extract him from the cockpit without exposing him to the vacuum of space. 

He reached out and ran the tips of his gloved fingers over the picture of his girlfriend. She was safe at least on the carrier that escaped.

"Mother fracking eggers." he cursed again.

-o0o-

The loud clunk woke Bakkata with a start. He had drifted off to sleep and had no idea how long he had been out. He glanced around to see if the fires would give him an indication but all he saw was metal. A vast wall of gun-metal grey covered his field of vision from the cockpit. His ship slowly span around, the blue light of the short-range tractor beams of a ships cargo scoop righting his ship to fit into the cargo bay. As the ship turned he saw it was a Badger class industrial. The cargo bay doors swung open and his fighter was pulled inside. It was dark. There was no lighting in the cargo hold. Bakkata looked at the sensors. There was no atmosphere either. It was a freezing vacuum outside and his cockpit would not open in these conditions. He thought back to the academy. He recalled Major Kilori behind the podium.

"Once your carrier is down or has jumped out of the system you are fracked five ways to Divinities Edge. Either you'll die of dehydration after a few days or you'll be scooped. There are only a few people who can and will scoop you as normal search and rescue craft cannot deal with the larger one-man fighters. So if you are scooped it'll be either by the Navy or a capsuleer. With the Navy its simple. If its our guys you'll be back at base and in a new ship within 24 hours. If its the enemy Navy then you'll be a prisoner of war."

"What if its a capsuleer?" one cadet had asked.

"Then you're fracked fourteen ways to Divinities Edge. Those bastards don't give a shit about anyone's life, certainly not anyone one of us who had been likely shooting at them just before. They think in numbers. You are nothing but a line on a spreadsheet to these guys. I know that many of you will end up after Navy service flying for the Empyrean's. Shit, the money is so good even those one or two of you who have two braincells to rub together might even consider it. Therefore being scooped by one of these Angels of Destruction is likely. They'll take your ship and might give you a choice whether to join them. However if you fly for the enemy, you'll be a prisoner of war with frack all rights. These bastards are untouchable. They will be able to do anything they want to you! Expect a long walk along a short garbage shoot."

Bakkata felt the ship vibrate, the Badger was entering warp. He swallowed hard thinking about the Majors words. He was flying for a State Protectorate aligned Capsuleer and the fight had occurred in Gallente territory. Things didn't look good. He wondered if he was going to be given a new assignment or extracted from his fighter forcefully and then flushed into space.


-o0o-

It had been dark and still for some time. Bakkata glanced at the sensors. It was still a vacuum in the cargo hold. How long would they keep him like this? He was convinced that the Gallente had him. Friendly forces would have let him out by now. 

The sudden light hurt his eyes. He quickly snapped his helmets visor down and looked around. He was indeed in the hold of a Badger class industrial. The floodlights illuminated the cavernous cargo hold. He could see the sensors showing that the hold was pressurizing. However he could also see the dozen suited soldiers with Isukone Assault Rifles taking up position around his ship. He touched the sidearm mounted on the side of the cockpit and then pulled his hand away. He stood no chance. Even if by some miracle he escaped the cargo hold where would he go? He was more than likely on an enemy station now. 

The light on the canopy flashed green. He pulled the lever and the cockpit canopy hissed as it opened up. The soldiers raised their rifles and Bakkata raised his hands rising slowly from the seat.

"Hi boys. Don't suppose you guys speak Caldanese? Eh? No speako the lingo?" he said at the silent troopers with a broad smile.

One of the lead soldiers twitched his rifle indicating for Bakkata to get moving. A ladder had been placed against the fighter and Bakkata slowly climbed down. He was instantly surrounded by the armored soldiers.

"Any chance of a cell with a planet-side view?" he joked as he was roughly pushed towards the open door.

-o0o-

The tray of green paste lay half eaten on the steel table, the plastic spork sticking upright. Bakkata couldn't stand any more. His life had taken a serious downturn since being captured. After exiting the Badger he'd seen rows of other fighters in the stations hanger. They had been salvaging all the Dragonflies they could. He'd been locked in this 6x8 cell for two days. A simple metal bed with thin mattress, a single pillow and sheet and basic toilet facilities. A silent warden bringing him a tray of nutrient paste three times a day with a metal flask of water. Despite Bakkata's best attempts at banter he'd never said a word.

He heard the door unlock. It wasn't time for food. Instead of the warden a thin balding man with a briefcase entered.

"Hello. I'm Arameki. Please do not get up."

The man sat at the table and opened his briefcase. He pulled out a strange device and placed it on the table. Lights blinked on the egg-shaped device.

"Do you prefer cats or dogs?" the strange man said.

Bakkata looked at him puzzled.

"Do you prefer cats or dogs?" repeated.

"What the.....?"

-o0o-

Bakkata pushed the plate to one side. He couldn't finish the juicy steak, it was too big. He did however finish the beer in its plastic bottle. The last 6 hours had been puzzling. The older man had asked irrelevant question after irrelevant question. Some of the ones had seemed to make sense then he'd be asked some other completely random question. All the time that strange egg-shaped device flashed various coloured lights. A while later an armed guard had brought him here, inside a ship of Amarrian design. Another cell certainly, but a spacious one with a comfy bed and entertainment. He'd just learned that the food and drink was a lot different too. It had to be a battleship or bigger to have such quarters.

He heard the door open and turned expecting to see the guard coming to collect the plate. It was not the warden. She looked Amarian. Glossy black hair cascaded over her shoulders. The clothing was not a uniform but expensive.


"Hello Mr Palken."

"Hello yourself gorgeous. I have to disappoint you though, I'm already taken." he said with his most charming smile.

The woman gave a slight smile and raised an eyebrow.

"You fly-boys are all the same. However your girlfriend is not here and the way things are looking you'll not be playing docking games with her for a while if ever."

Bakkata's mood soured at the harsh words.

"Well I take it I'm on a Frog station so I might be as well as dead. What's your story anyway? Thought the Amarr were supposed to be on our side."

The woman shrugged. "The Empire is, I'm not. Here, look at this." she said tossing him a datapad.

He looked at the datapad. "This is a contract." he stated. "A military service contract!"

"Your extra sharp perception skills are clearly why we want you!" she said sarcastically.

Bakkata read through the contract. It was almost identical to the one he'd had before. The Capsuleers obviously shared a standard one. However this one was slightly better than what he had before in terms of pay.

"Three days ago I was shooting at you guys. Now you are offering me a job? That's a bit risky isn't it? Giving an enemy combatant a combat ship?"

"You're not an enemy combatant, your a mercenary who does it for the money!"

Bakkata shrugged.

"We've checked the background and tested all the pilots we've captured. We have some honorable men and women come through here. Your not one of them. Many of your fellow pilots believe they are fighting for a cause. That the Federation should be subjugated by the Caldari."

"Hail Heth?" Bakkata joked.

"We don't think you do. You're just an asshat who like flying fast fighters and earning lots of money. We can use a man like you!"

Bakkata shook his head. "You are serious?"

"Deadly"

"If I refuse?"

"That is another totally different type of deadly."

Bakkata laughed. "One might say your negotiating tactics leave a lot to be desired. Join us or die. You are not worried I'll just say yes to survive and turn on you in battle?"

"No. As I said you are a asshat, an utter asshat who like flying fighters and lots of money. We are offering both at better rates than the competition. Think about it, we'll speak again in the morning." she said turning to leave "We offer all kind of perks!"

She walked to the door which slipped open automatically, as she exited a scantily clad Matari woman entered with a seductive smile on her face.


-o0o-

Bakkata walked down the corridor shaking his head. He'd signed the contract the next morning when the Amarrian woman had returned and let the Matari woman, who had been amazing, out. After signing she'd simply let him out of the cell and told him where to find his quarters. He was walking through a Archon class carrier, unescorted, that four days ago belonged to the enemy. This Capsuleer must have been crazy. He could do anything, he could go down engineering and try sabotage the ship. Was the Captain that trusting?

He reached quarters 1423 and pressed the open button. He stepped into a spacious and well furnished quarters.

"Well I'd be a furriers uncle!" he muttered in surprise at the large size and high quality of the accommodation and furniture.

"Bakk?" a voice called in surprise from another room. He heard running footsteps and his girlfriend burst into view.

"Oh my god! Bakkata! You're alive!" she cried breaking into tears and running up to embrace him.

"How did you get here?" he asked as she bear hugged him.

"They threw me off the CalMil Firestorm when we docked. Said you were probably dead and needed the quarters for your replacement. I was getting a shuttle back to my parents when a stranger gave me this."

She held her hand out, it was the watch she'd bought him as a present last year. It had been taken from him when he'd arrived at this station.

"What's happening?" she sobbed.

"I suppose I've been, well... head-hunted." he replied with a smile.

-o0o-

"Hows it going?" the man asked, his feet on the desk.

"One, three and five are confessing all to their partners. Usual story, they thought they were here forever and that they'd never see them again. Same crap." the Amarrian woman replied looking at a number of screens on the wall.

"What's four up to?" the man asked casually between sips of his Gallente vodka. 

"He's looking guilty as hell but not admitting anything to her" the woman replied. "yet."

"Cut one, three and five loose. They are obviously too loyal and therefore a threat. Keep an eye on four but he's touch and go as far as I'm concerned. Was I right about two?"

The woman pressed a few keys and the large screen on the wall illuminated. It showed a naked Bakkata on a large bed making love to his girlfriend in their quarters.

"How the hell you can predict these fly-boys is beyond me." she said shaking her head. "You said he was the most likely to be a bastard."

"I have an eye for these things. That man is not just a bastard, he's an utter bastard. He spent the night banging a high-class Matari escort and now a few hours later he's making love to his long-term girlfriend. He has no loyalty, he can switch sides at ease. He's in it for the money and the adventure. A man after my own heart and certainly not a risk to us with regard to sabotaging us for the sake of his previous employers. Get him on the combat roster. He's our man in this pitiful catch."

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Jackdaw - The 8bn ISK Fit + More

So the Caldari Tactical Destroyer has been out for a week. How are people flyin' and dyin' in it?

Trawling through the killboards there are no shortage of losses. At the time of writing the Jackdaw had killed around 3000 ships in its first week for 550 lost. A 5.5:1 kill/death ratio. In the ISK war it was 333bn destroyed for 73bn lost. Slightly less efficient at 4.5:1.

I'll start with someone who had no F's to give but did have a ton of money. Ladies, Gentlemen and Capsuleers, I give you the EIGHT BILLION ISK Jackdaw:-


Highs -
5 x T2 Rocket Launchers
1 x Sisters Probe Launcher

Mids -
Pithum A-Type EM Hardener
Republic Fleet Small Extender
Pithi A-Type Small Booster
Coreli B-Type 5mn MWD
Pithum A-Type Adaptive Invulnerability Field
Imperial Navy Cap Recahrgers

Lows -
Chelm's Modified Power Diagnostic System
Khalid Navy Ballistic Control Unit

Rigs -
T2 Rocket Fuel
T2 Hydraulic Thrusters
T1 Polycarbon

40k Rockets in the hold.

Balls deep man, balls deep! 

I wondered what difference the PDU made. In EFT PG is not an issue with this fit. Uses 41.25/77.66. So for the cap? 14m 52s of cap. For the shield? EHP of 13,944. What happens with a T2 PDU? 3m 29s of cap. EHP 13,721. Yeah, the cap it is!

Pro tip, drop a missile rig for a T2 Semiconductor Memory Cell rig and use a T2 PDU. Cap stable AND 6bn ISK cheaper!


Obviously thats silly and very few people are going to spunk a 6bn ISK power diagnostic system on a sub-100m ISK hull. People will aim for 500m max surely? Not the next guy who lost 2.3bn

Highs
5 x T2 Light Missile Launchers
1 x Sisters Probe Launcher

Mids -
Phased Weapon Navigation Array
Pithi A-Type small shield booster
2 x Pithum A-type Adaptive Invulnerability Field (theres 1.6bn just here)
Compulsive Ion Field ECM 1
'Hypnos' Ion Field ECM 1

Lows -
2 x Caldari Navy Ballistic Control Systems

Rigs -
2 x T2 CCC
1 x T1 CCC

Whilst those two destroyers tip the scales at 10bn ISK, most of the others are fit sort of similar. Either MWD-Kite or Scram/Web-Kite fit. Few are pure in your face brawlers. This one caught my eye as it stood out from the crowd. Not an expensive fit but with the right implants and boosters I think it probably can tank like a..... well, a tank!

Highs -
5 x T2 Rocket Launchers

Mids -
3 x Medium ASB
Y-T8 MWD
Faint Warp Disruptor
Fleeting Web

Lows -
2 x T2 BCU

Rigs -
2 x T1 EM reinforces
1 x CPU rig

Three ASB should keep his shields running for a while. Unless he meets a Succubus that drains his cap so a Merlin can kill him. Then it won't end so well. I tried this but he must use fitting implants. 7 CPU short even with the rig. Swapping a BCU for a Overdrive and dropping the CPU rig I was able to run a Forsaken Den easily, manually using the three boosters and letting them reload. So many rats. People do this for fun?

You can check these and more over at zKill - https://zkillboard.com/ship/34828/losses/

Monday, June 8, 2015

T1 Fits, T1 Fits Everywhere

I logged on yesterday to find a Frog in local and a few reds. I undock to find a Worm, Incursus, Atron, Rifter and Tristan flying about in space. Using D-Scan it appeared that a number of them were jumping plex to plex as the Worm chased them. I jump into a Cockbag Thrasher and sat on one of the Plex hoping to catch one of them as they landed. The Rifter landed near but slid in to the plex before I could lock. As its a Novice Plex my fat-ass Thrasher cannot get in so I swapped to a Kestrel to go after him. Landing back on the Plex I find he's no longer inside. Before I can decide what to do, he lands on me. FIGHT TIME!


My orbit gets me stuck on the acceleration gate, but it doesn't matter. He goes down quick even with an active armor tank. Why? His entire fit is T1. From the 'Scout' autocannons down to the 'Counterbalance' gryo. Only one rig fitted in the three slots.

I go back, repair the overheat damage (I pre-overheat), drop off the "loot" and head back out as there is another Frog in system.

Back into space and I find an Atron and a Tristan in a Novice plex. I give it a minute. Both still there so may be a Frog and a neutral working together? Now, can my Kestrel take them both? I could ship-up to a Faction Frigate but they might run at that. Oh smeg it, lets have a go with my trusty Kessy!


I enter the plex and find the Atron is on the warp-in beacon with the Tristan some 20km off. I tackle the Atron and open up, locking up the Tristan as I deal with the Atron. The Atron melts. I mean really, really melts. Three rocket volleys and its a wreck. The Tristan is on top of me so I try and make some range and overheat my rocket launchers. It looks like a win with his armour dropping faster than mine until I hit his structure. Things then slow up substantially. A hull tanked Tristan? That was unexpected. Anyway he might have been a real man for hull tanking, but he was a dead real man. As I was entering structure (no DCU so didn't have a lot of tank there) he popped. A good, fun 2v1 there.

Right?

Wrong.

I looked at the killmails.


The Atron I killed was fit with... wait for it.... three tech 1, meta 0, bog standard, run of the mill warp core stabs and nothing else. No highs. No mids. No lows. No rigs. A 400k hull with a few WCS.

The Tristan was actually a bit better fit. Bulkhead rigs, DCU II and drone damage amp IIs with low CPU meta scram, web and AB. Assuming he was tight for CPU as the JB5 and X5 are very useful in that regard.

In all the three ships I killed in that few minutes were worth 9.2m ISK.

Its one thing I don't get. Clearly some of these guys are here for the PvP. The Rifter came at me, getting first lock as I was burning into range. So why the cheap-ass fits? Personally I'm not bothered about the value of the loot. Its the challenge for me. Perhaps I should stop fitting T2 and move down to trash fitting my frigates? Don't get me wrong, I have cheap fits. When defending or taking systems attrition warfare is a legitimate tactic. Sniper Kestrels, Attrition Thrashers, Kite Tristans are all ships that can be fitted dirt cheap to Leeroy into the enemy and wear them down.

But for small gang and solo? You are going to be at a massive disadvantage against a T2 fit ship of the same class.