When Life Overwhelms You

So this past weekend I was contemplating, amongst the immense amount of company we had at the house, how to best organize the site and what I was planning to do with it. Between the channel, and the site, I have given myself quite the additional load to keep up with. Not a complaint mind you; I have enjoyed this adventure so far, and believe that I will continue to in the future. There is the issue of trying to keep everything organized, however, and that is something I still could use some work on.

So a few things to expect in the coming months on the site, as I increase my digital footprint and expand my “fief” in an effort to provide you, my readers and viewers, the best content I can:

First, I plan to organize pages in the site so that you can find my short stories, books, and other literary contributions easily; I will evolve the various menus as I go so that it works efficiently for the site and for both you and I. I plan to move my Entropia short stories out of the blog and into their own part of the website, so that they don’t mix in and you can easily find them if you decide to read them again. I’m hoping to have that done this week.

Second, I intend to start embedding my various YouTube series into pages here on the site as well; to start, I’ll be embedding each new Entropia Universe video as I post them, and adding an older EU video to the archive as I go. It may not seem like I’ve done a lot so far, and to be fair I haven’t when compared to more prolific YouTubers and Twitch Streamers, but everyone starts somewhere, and it still 74 videos as of today, just for Entropia Universe. That counts a few I have published to YouTube but still waiting for release.

Third, I have begun work on what I’m going to view as a production draft of my second book, Hunting the Jackal, which I also co-wrote with Rachel Morningvale. It was the only other completed manuscripts we wrote together, and it needs to be polished and finished. After that, if I decide to continue writing in the Dead World universe, they will strictly be my works.

Finally, a pledge: to always do my very best to provide the best content possible.

Advertisements

A New Colonist’s First Hunt

An Entropia Universe Story

Errol checked his Sollomate Rubio one more time as he walked away from Camp Icarus.  He was a new colonist, having just arrived from Earth, and nervous about what his new life was going to look like on Calypso.  After all, the ads spoke of the wonders, the possibilities and the opportunities; the recruiters spoke of possible fame and fortune, but the training at Camp Amundson made it plain that it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. The flora was beautiful, but all of the planet’s fauna was hostile.

He walked through the Nawa Field that prevented vehicles from getting too close to the Camp and into the area known as the “parking lot”.  Couldn’t imagine why, as there were roughly six Sleipnir jumpships all clustered in the area, along with several SUVs and cars. Although the CDF issued you a Valkyrie dune buggy when you landed, part of the incentive package, Errol hadn’t invested in the Premium package Omegaton offered at a discount when you move out this far from home.  As he walked out, clad in the yellow jumpsuit that marked him as a new colonist, Errol wished he had reconsidered. Still, 700 PED is a lot of money when you’re trying to start a new life.

As he cleared the congested “parking lot”, he gasped at the view.  The Icarus Plains stretched before him, the greens and reds of the grasses and trees vibrant in a Calypsian Summer.  Actually, Errol wasn’t entirely sure what season it was; from the information packet, the temperature difference between summer and winter on Calypso was only ten degrees on average.  Still, the colours were vibrant and the wind warm; and stretched out before him was a massive herd. He hit a few buttons on his Omegaton Digital Inventory System, which had been issued at Camp Amudson, and the Rubio digitized to be replaced with the Investafoe he had purchased at the camp.  He scanned the first creature one he came to, being careful not to get too close. He had no idea if the creature was aggressive or not, and the large, bony head, framed like a leptoceratops with six eyes; violet skin that was scaley from what he could tell. It calmly munched on some grass.

“Caudatergus Puny,” he read aloud off the scanner.  “Danger level is minimal. Good, don’t want to die on my first day here.”  With a few button pushes, the Investafoe digitized and was replaced with his Rubio once again.  The guide at Camp Icarus had stated that keeping the herd pruned was essential to keeping the Icarus Plain from being overpopulated; and the nature of Calypso meant that they were filtering in all the time.  It was also apparently the primary food source for colonists. “I’ll have to ask the local biologists what the breeding cycle on these things are,” he commented as he hit the charging button on his rifle.

Taking careful aim, he squeezed the trigger and a lance of energy hit the Caudatergus in the side.  The creature screamed in pain and charged at him! Backpedaling, Errol wondered if it was a mistake shooting such a large creature with a rifle that couldn’t put it down in one shot.  He continued firing at the Caud until its charge connected with Errol, the pain hitting him hard as he made an effort to keep firing. A second attack from the Caud hit him as well, and he thought he felt a rib crack under the pressure.  This isn’t going well, he thought.  The third time, he was ready, and deftly dodged an attempted bite.  As he circled and dodged, he started to pant; he wasn’t used to having to handle things like this.  When you hunted on Earth, it was either a kill, a miss, or you had to chase. This was like hunting an angry bull!

Finally, the Caud slowed down, sank to its knees, and closed its six eyes.  In a way, Errol felt guilty for killing the creature, who to its credit was a simple grazer; but the colonists had to eat, and only a fraction of the population hunted food creatures.  Most hunted the more dangerous predators that would hurt Colonists, or the local tribes of Feffoids, humanoid creatures that were roughly on par with Chimpanzees as far as anyone could tell, and were not shy about attacking human settlements.  There was a more intelligent brand of Feffoid called a Maffoid, he had read, that had a village somewhere to the North, but they were dangerous only if you invaded their territory.

Using an extractor, he pulled the shrapnel from his charge shots, and a bottle of muscle oil.  He deposited both in his ODIS. Then he hit a button on the extractor, and the carcass was digitized and teleported back to the food storage vault at Camp Icarus.  From there, at least according to the guide, it would be processed and transported to any number of locations or cities across Calypso, to feed the Colonists in their various roles on the planet.  Pulling out the Fast Aid Pack he had been issued, he quickly healed himself, feeling the rib mend and the bruises fade, the muscle aches dulling and then disappearing as the Chikara nanotech did its work.

Stretching the still-stiff muscles, he pulled his rifle back out and got back to work.

Two Short Messages

I have two short messages for today, that I want to make sure everyone that comes here, hears:

  1. Ghosts of the Past, my book written with Rachel Morningvale, is now available for free in its latest edition, as a PDF download! You can find it in the link above for Ghosts of the Past.
  2. Some motivation: no matter what happens, no matter what resistance you meet in life, keep going. You only lose when you give up. Let failure, even failure due to an impossible situation, teach you rather than diminish you. To quote Master Tora Taka, the head of the fencing school I’m a member of, “keep going! You have more in you than you even know!”

Being the Little Fish

So this is the end of February and it marks the end of my eighth month as a YouTuber. It has been an interesting ride, trying to keep up with my own schedule, what I’m trying to accomplish, and my normal schedule as a Father, an engaged boyfriend, an SCA member, a Mason, and a member of the Vermont State Guard, along with working a normal 40 hour a week job. As of this morning, I have 58 subscribers on YouTube, 7 of which are close friends or family; and I consider this a success.

Unsurprisingly, my greatest success has been around my Entropia Universe content; after all this has the largest under-served market. I’m up against some pretty big fish in that particular pond; and that’s how I like it. After all, you don’t get better by competing with people that you are better than. Much like the SCA fencing community, that competition is much friendlier than you might see in normal business; we sometimes collaborate on a video or live stream, we all watch each others videos. Needless to say, when some of my favorite YouTubers started watching my vids it made me squee a little bit.

Lately I’ve been watching a lot of motivational videos, trying to keep myself going in a time of personal strife, and it’s mostly working. I even tried making one of my own for last Saturday’s Vlog, which received some love from my subscribers, so I want to say thank you. As the little fish in this big YouTube pond, both as an EU content creator and a content creator for other games (currently still working on the two, I had no idea that “We Happy Few” would be this long!), I’m looking forward to seeing where I can swim to; and I will continue to strive to provide better content than I have in the past. After all, we’re either getting better, or we’re stagnating. I never accept stagnation.

Entropia V16

So if you haven’t watched my Entropia Release Version 16 video yet, please go watch it now. The interface has been significantly modernized, and I’m impressed by the amount of work that MindArk has put into the modernization of their interface. For a game that’s 15+ years old, Entropia continues to evolve and keep up with the needs of modern players, perhaps even better than industry monoliths like WOW and EQ.

I’d urge players to keep in mind that the game is designed, implemented, tested, and deployed by humans; no body is perfect, and as a demographic gamers tend to be a lot harder on those that produce the things we love than those in other industries. The game is going to continue evolving, and it will continue to get better. Sometimes we won’t like changes, but perhaps overall a change some of us don’t like is for the best overall, or was done to be compatible with a new operating system or engine version or update. Remember that MA uses Cry Engine, and that’s not a static program either.

A Not-So Quiet Drone Hunt

Jack materialized inside the walls of Fort Sisyphus, the desert heat blasting him immediately.  It was a base in the middle of nowhere, its walls a bulwark against both nature and the constant drone attacks that marked this as an area that was still largely in the control of the Robots; machines once built to make the colonization of Calypso possible now the greatest threat to its colonists.

A nod came his way from the CDF Sergeant-at-Arms standing by the depot building in the fort; it was normal for colonists to take duty shifts fighting the robots on a regular basis, to keep the tide of the machines back and the majority of Calypso relatively safe for its population.  Jack accessed his Omegaton Digital Inventory System, and after a few button pushes his Sollomate Onyxo materialized in his hands. Checking to make sure his crimson CDF-issue armour was secure on his body, he stepped out of the massive gates of the fort and into the open desert.

Per usual, the immediate area around the fort was clear; the fort’s auto-turret defenses kept the majority of threats around the fort at bay, although trouble happened when the dust and dirt jammed up sensors and other mechanical systems; it was not unusual for the robots to test the fort’s defenses during regular maintenance cycles.  As he crested the first dune, the robots came into view; drones armed with lasers, machine guns, and a lot of attitude. Shouldering his rifle, Jack took aim at the closest drone and opened fire.

Laser rounds started streaking toward the drone, and the drone responded in kind.  The heat from the drone’s laser splashed against his armour, and he could feel his skin heating under the barrage.  As the drone approached, his body lurched under a burst from the drone’s machine gun; two of the BLP rounds penetrated and he felt his shoulder burn from the injury.  He continued to pour fire on the drone until it dropped, flinching as a final laser blast from the drone seared his knee, the burn making him yelp.

Accessing his ODIS again, he pulled out his Fast-Aid Pack and hit its activation switch.  The FAP’s energy tendrils poured over him and he felt the bullet wounds from the BLP rounds, already reliquified, and the burn on his knee mend in the course of a few moments.  With the technology that Omegaton, and to a lesser extent Chikara and Genesis Star, brought to the Calypso system, warfare itself had reduced its gravitas and not only injuries, but even death had much less weight than it used to; after all, the activation of the Revival Terminal System meant that at death a colonist was rematerialized at the nearest terminal, alive, if injured.

Turning toward the next drone, a klaxon alerted him to a problem in his mask.  Sisyphus was undergoing a maintenance cycle, and the drones were already marching toward its gates.  As he looked up, the mass of drones before him started marching forward and he made haste back toward the fort’s gates.  As he approached the massive doors, he felt a burst of BLP rounds glance off of his shoulder armour. The gates opened for him as laser rounds streaked past him, and he saw the armoured faces of other colonists as they mustered to the CDF’s emergency beacon.

Twenty colonists had answered the call, and a barrage of laser rounds streaked out from the gate as it opened, drones dropping as he joined the line.  Bringing up his rifle again, he added his firepower to that of the colonists around him. The drones continued to push forward, and the first in the line dropped under a hail of BLP fire.  Two more quickly followed as he started to fall back with the line. The drones continued their advance as the line fell back, breaking through the gates and continuing toward the fort’s supply depot.  As he turned to check the integrity of the line, he felt a laser blast hit him in the side of the head, and he spun toward the blistering pain. A blast from his Onyxo took the drone down, but two of its companions hit him with BLP blasts that tore into his chest.  He felt blood well up in his chest and he coughed, blood spewing into his mask. His legs gave way and he collapsed onto the ground.

As his grasp on life began to fade, he felt his body dematerialize.  The pain was immense, but momentary. He rematerialized in front of the revival terminal set up in the wreck of a ship near the Fort; a fall-back position that the base used in an emergency.  He coughed heavily as his lungs, now emptied of the blood that had started pooling there, started breathing normally again. The pain from the injuries were still in place, though the injuries themselves were mended.  He pulled out his FAP and hit the activation switch. He felt the underlying injuries start to heal as he sat on the ground, taking a sip from the water-straw inside his mask. Moments later, his injuries healed, he took his rifle back out and marched back toward the battle.