Saturday!

1984 Weinerschnitzel Commercial (with Reggie Jackson)

My boss recently purchased Elite Dangerous for VR. He’s not particularly far along in the game. He’s mostly doing the “Space Trucker” thing. He picks up cargo in this space station, takes it over to that one, gets a small profit even after buying new fuel and doing light repairs, repeat, improve the ship and optimize for this, or that, or the other, do another run, then another, then upgrade the weaponry… and he’s recently started taking small pirate bounties that are worth about twice what a good trucking run used to give him.

He found a program that allowed him to put an image of his desktop in any VR game he was playing and so he puts Netflix up on his desktop and moves his desktop to where the passenger sun visor would be in an automobile and that lets him watch his shows while hes doing his thing. (I imagine that it’s easier to watch your show while you’re space trucking than when you’re bounty hunting.)

I thought that the game was really cool back when I thought it was mostly space trucking and some light bounty hunting and he showed me, no, it’s *HUGE*. The galactic map is pretty much The Milky Way. There are billions and billions of stars and if you want to find one that no one has boldly found before, you can have fun just jumping star systems and making space maps of various systems and then selling them.

He also pointed out that, hey, it’s big enough to go from here to there for you to run out of fuel. He told the story of getting to a star system and immediately running out of fuel so he had to turn on his hydrogen scoop on his ship and get close enough to the sun in this star system and stealing enough hydrogen to limp to the space station. Which, you know, is kinda ingenious (if implausible… not for the hydrogen, mind, for the shielding that could withstand getting close enough to steal a usable amount of hydrogen).

And that’s when he told me about the Fuel Rats.

The Fuel Rats are a clan of enthusiastic amateurs whose mission is to get to you when you’ve run out of fuel and get your tank topped back off. Go to their website. Press the button. Tell them where you are. They will take it as their personal mission to get to you before your life support runs out, fill your tank, and send you on your way. Between everybody in the clan, they’ve done this 40,000 times.

“How much do they charge you for this?”
“It’s free. They enjoy the challenge.”

And so this game, that has games within the game, has a handful of people who have created a game of finding people stranded out in the middle of nowhere and saving their virtual lives/ships.

Whoa.

So… what are you playing?

(Picture is HG Wells playing a war game from Illustrated London News (25 January 1913))


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Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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9 thoughts on “Saturday!

  1. He found a program that allowed him to put an image of his desktop in any VR game he was playing and so he puts Netflix up on his desktop and moves his desktop to where the passenger sun visor would be in an automobile and that lets him watch his shows while hes doing his thing.

    Oh, sure, it seems cool now, but we have laws against putting video screens where the operators of motor vehicles can see them for a reason, and you’re going to feel bad for encouraging him when he runs into a space bus full of space children.

    …I say as I’ve been playing KOTOR 2 while watching old TV shows on my other screen. Ah, the old days, back when you could play RPGs _as_ RPGs and get them to automatically switch to turn-based when combat started, instead of running around trying to spam combat.

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    • I have heard that the new and improved Battletech game is turn-based.

      Like, it uses the old tabletop rules. Like, “mom called us from upstairs and she says that we have to come upstairs to eat something and then we can come back to this as soon as we’re done” kinda ability to pause.

      I’m hesitant because I don’t want my heart broken. Again.

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      • The new Battletech is indeed turn based. It starts to get quite difficult as the game progresses though – they send you into missions where you are progressively outnumbered. They’re planning to add difficulty adjustment in 1-2 months though, so I’m looking at playing it again once that has been added.

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  2. I am still playing nothing. Computer games are few and far between for a 3-4 year old computer. That’s 2,000 years in computer years. But it runs Linu/x (stupid ektajpi plugin keeps making it Lin?), I can write and do simple image alterations. Consoles appear to be a white elephant and most games I buy are after they’ve been out for a year and there’s no real community behind them.

    Honestly, I should be writing but it’s rare to find the time because I’m easily distracted. At least I’m being distracted more by Esperanto (writing instead of learning) than browsing the reddits and *chans. The latter two are time sinks with no returns.

    There are some things I’d like to play, but either my computer’s specs are too modest or I’m wary.

    Most recently I bought RimWorld, found it to be fun for about a week then gave up because I’m not a neckbeard into micromanagement.

    Less recently, I bought Firewatch and was thoroughly disappointed by it being a lame visual novel teasing something big and huge like a Myst game with a government conspiracy. Instead I got to pick up a softball, take pictures, and learn about a little boy who died falling in a cave. Fiku vin, Kampo Santo. Fiku vin multe c/xiam.

    Also I still have no role playing/board game friends.

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    • I’d just like to interject for moment. What you’re refering to as Linux, is in fact, GNU/Linux, or as I’ve recently taken to calling it, GNU plus Linux.

      I would wholeheartedly recommend X-Com: Enemy Unknown. It was one heck of a resource hog six years ago, but if your computer is two years older than that, it should handle it easily. Turn-based combat, some light RPG elements, customization, and a storyline that holds up even today.

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    • Computer games are few and far between for a 3-4 year old computer. That’s 2,000 years in computer years.

      Not really. My computer is older than that, and I’m running modern games fine.

      I mean, my motherboard, technically speaking, is about a year old, but that’s just because the MB fried itself. I’m still running on a midrange graphics card released just over 4 years ago, and a CPU that’s 8 years old according to Wikipedia. (I honestly had not realized it was that old until I looked it up. I probably need to budget in a new one.)

      And I have yet to run into a game I cannot run, mostly because it seems like modern games are trying desperately to run at 4K, so I, with a standard HD monitor, can run them trivially. I often don’t even need to turn the graphics down.

      Granted, I’m not someone who buys a lot of games as they come out…but I did buy the Batman Arkham ones, and I still buy Tomb Raider games as they come out. I think I had to turn the latest Tomb Raider down a small bit in the graphics, but that was about it.

      The dirty secret of computers is that processors have hit the wall in speed, and are now just adding more processors. The speed of my 8 year-old AMD CPU is 3.4Ghz. The speed of the brand-new crazy over-powered Threadsmash AMD CPU? 3.4Ghz. They just threw 16 processors on there instead of the three I have.

      But computer games are notoriously bad at scaling well with additional processors. They’re getting better at multi-threading now, but considering how much of them is merely graphics and graphics is apparently hard to break up into threads for some reason (I don’t really see why, but I’m not a computer game programmer), games often are running at the max speed of the graphics thread on a single processor, and it doesn’t matter how many other processors are added.

      Now, _memory_ is pretty important. Still. Like always. People not putting enough memory in computers has been one of those weird oversights that’s existed almost the entire history of computers.

      Seriously, it’s funny, in my entire lifetime of being ‘the computer guy’ that people ask advice of, my answer to ‘How do I speed up my computer?’ has always been ‘Well, first of all, how much memory do you have?’ (Well, I guess now it’s ‘What sort of crapware did you install?’, but _after_ that.) Memory is always an after-thought, and almost everyone gets too little.

      But it runs Linu/x (stupid ektajpi plugin keeps making it Lin?), I can write and do simple image alterations.

      Hey, I’m a Linux supporter as much as the next guy, and I have actually run Linux as a desktop system twice, once way back, somewhere around 1999, when you compiled almost everything by hand, and then again more recently, probably…2010? But you’re not going to get most games for it. There’s a reason the Steam Machine died.

      The good news is that adventure games are some of the most likely to be ported.

      Less recently, I bought Firewatch and was thoroughly disappointed by it being a lame visual novel teasing something big and huge like a Myst game with a government conspiracy.

      If you can run Firewatch, you can run most stuff that runs on Linux.

      And Firewatch does, indeed, have a stupid ‘story’. It managed to bring the stupidity of poorly-written ‘mysterious things are happening but the writers are really just making up stuff as it goes along’ TV shows to the computer, which was a near trick as computer games obviously are written all at once.

      If you like adventure games that actually _do_ have a sort of mysterious story behind them and follows through on it, especially if you like old-school pre-Myst adventure games, I cannot recommend Thimbleweed Park enough. And it runs on Linux.

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      • I played Firewatch on my work computer when I was babysitting an office for a lawn care company. It wouldn’t run on my laptop, which is my only computer.

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