Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Thursday, October 25, 2018
Saturday, October 20, 2018
One of the songs was actually recorded for Greatest Hits - No Green, No Envy - was moved to this album because I couldn't get in touch with the lyricist, Angelo Aversa. Angelo was the drummer in my band Carnelian, and we wrote a lot of songs together. Volcano, Teenager, and The Stylist were also written with Angelo and recorded for this album, as I have been able to talk things over with him. I replaced No Green, No Envy on Greatest Hits with the song Carnivores, which was recorded for Rockets and Dreams, so that song should point in the direction I am going in the new album!
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
I laid down a riff against a click track on Thursday. It was sloppy. This was a song I had written over forty years ago, and it was not jelling. I redid a few bots, patched a few others so the riff was functional. Then I laid a quick vocal over it. The vocal sucked, but it was a placeholder. I dicked around with Loop Designer trying to come up with a beat that matched. I was utterly unsuccessful! The song was a swing thing, and Loop Designer was designed for electronica. It can do more, but I was barely able to get something merely WRONG after wrestling for several hours. I left it where it was and put it to bed.
Friday, I cleaned up the riff better, and laid a few more tracks down to beef it up. Sounded something like a song now! I re-did what I had just done, this time more competently. I played around with the mix and put various effects on, took them off, changed them, and maybe removed them altogether. The day went like this, each iteration inching closer to the song in my head, being dragged will he nill he by dint of sweat and curses. It was now a crap song, but at least it was a song.
Saturday I poked and prodded at the sullen thing, attempting to wrestle Loop Designer into making something like a swing beat. It was not pretty, but if I mixed it low and didn't look too hard at it, it sounded OK. Maybe! It just wasn't swing! The good part is I mic'd a far better set of vocals. I sent it to Klaxon, my son. He is not a musician, but has an unerring gut feel for music. He said the song was fighting with the beat... and losing. Crap!
Sunday I was busy all day. On-line RPG over Discord till 6, watch Red Sox and Patriots. Yay!
Monday I got down to work. I listened to it once more and decided Klax had nailed it again. I was never going to get Loop Designer to give me swing. It wasn't possible. I pulled out Beat Box 2. Compared to Loop Designer, Beat Box 2 is primitive and awkward, but I got an actual swing beat from it! I put that into place, laying down breaks where needed. The drums sounded much more fake than those in Loop Designer, and the structure was simple, but it was definitely a swing beat! I tweaked what had to be tweaked, and I was done! I sent it to Klax and he had problems with the sound of beat Box's drums, but it all worked. I smoothed out where I could and the sausage was made!
Tuesday I nailed everything and had the next song in the can in one day. Go figure!
Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Then I put together a drum loop. I played around with different rhythms and kits, none of which worked, then laid one down that seemed ok. It was a bit... plain. Then I remember Adam Ant's version of the Burundi Beat, a complex polyrhythmic beat from the African nation of Burundi. Adam's band The Ants performed the Burundi Beat with two drummers in full kit, with lots of rolling toms, and was behind some wicked songs like Goody Two Shoes and Antmusic. So I superimposed a second loop over the first, this one with lots of tom tom action. The interaction between the two was what I was looking for!
Now I had to sing it! I played back the riff with the new beat in a loop itself and improvised sounds to it, which gradually began to morph into coherent phrases, so I used these phrases as key phrases and wrote the rest of the lyrics around them - this is a method I have used many many times, and always seems to work well! The song turned out to be a song about a space ship leaving one star system and jumping to another, eventually to a cloud city on a gas giant. Cool! I love surprises!
I recorded the new lyrics, but they were meh... I tried different amounts of roughness and smoothness, different tonalities, and different phrasing. What finally clicked was a full on Sinatra phrasing with a smooth, deeper voice, though the song was in moderately high in my range - when I was 20 I could easily pack two octaves on top of my current range if I needed to, but that was long gone. It was exactly right!
Now for the final guitar overdubs. So far this was a lotta drums, that Spirit In The Sky-ish riff, and the single Sinatra vocals over all. I had some nice ideas, but I was curiously reluctant to add anything more. I sent the song as it was to my son Klaxon - who is always my first bounce listener - and he agreed. Add nothing. It was fine as it was. He recommended a few small changes, which I incorporated, but nothing was added. And I was happy! This almost never happens the first day! Everything worked and sounded RIGHT!
Tuesday, October 2, 2018
I was just about to call you a liar When outta the dark come that laser fire I couldn't help but think it's more than it seems Not just your ordinary red light beams Like rockets and dreams Just like rockets and dreams
Here's the cover - the same as my StarCluster 4 - FTL Now game.
Saturday, September 29, 2018
Had an encounter with a giant raptor bird with a 14 foot wingspan while repairing the high tension wires - nest was built in the tower, and Roxuty took the three giant chicks to raise as hunting 'falcons'. Roxuty is an animal warden, and downed the mama with a drug gun, without killing it. We also almost got caught in a stampede of feathered dinos being chased by a huge bird dino down the street, but most everyone was able to climb trees out of the way, except teeny three foot tall Torrey the Norn, who was too small to reach any branches. Roxuty pointed her to a storm drain, which she was able to jump into seconds ahead of the stampede. The dino bird tried to fish her out, giving up on the fleet herd, but Roxuty shot it with a drug gun twice while Joelyn distracted it by throwing pine cones. Good times were had by all! Next up, they plan on sending power to the Commercial Espionage treehouse and seeing what information they can find there.
Sunday, September 23, 2018
Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Saturday, September 8, 2018
Wednesday, August 29, 2018
I had the most difficult time trying to describe the album. It ranges over a lot of territory! And yes, I used the cover of Wavefront Empire as the cover for the album! I thought it was about perfect for Carnivores! :D
And yes, the album title is supposed to be a joke! :D
Thursday, August 16, 2018
Wavefront Empire is now available for purchase!
Precis Intermedia in pdf - http://www.pigames.net/store/product_info.php?products_id=962
Lulu in print - http://www.lulu.com/shop/clash-bowl...efront-empire/paperback/product-23760919.html
and RPGNow/DTRPG in pdf - https://www.rpgnow.com/product/249888/StarCluster-4--Wavefront-Empire
Saturday, July 21, 2018
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Saturday, June 23, 2018
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Thursday, June 7, 2018
Friday, June 1, 2018
Thursday, May 31, 2018
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
I'm working on a new StarCluster 4 Magazine 4. I'm collecting articles and am more than half way done. I'm also working on a StarCluster 4 Toolbox - Toolbox 6: Psionics. This one should be interesting! I'm still working on StarCluster 4 - Wavefront Empire, so that's coming along! This one has a LOT of new material along with a very different social structure. My next game after Wavefront Empire will be In The Beginning, but I am just blocking that out. I will be releasing it with a Print-N-Play board game to set it up - which will also be available separately! That is, in fact, complete, and I should have it available soon!
My Saturday game is Star Wars-ish - No More Jedi, using a highly modified StarCluster4 system. I have been having a bit of trouble with this because of the way I set it up, and we have just made a big retroactive change that should change everything for the better! This one is set during and after the Last Jedi.
My Sundays have two games, on every other week. One is Roos and Ruins - a StarCluster 4 - Out of the Ruins game about a cheap-ass attempt at exploring a new system before the official expedition. This one has been just spectacular! We even spent three weeks on an improvised murder trial that had everyone on the edge of their seat. Great stuff!
The other Sunday game is The Lucky Break - our ultra-long running game building on things set in motion back in 2003. The main characters from that meta-campaign made a mis-jump into Jeshen Space - where I was testing out StarCluster 4 - Zero Stage. However, they left behind the four girls they rescued and adopted about a decade ago in both real and game time, who were away at college. These girls find a possible reason for the mis-jump, and how to replicate it, then they buy a starship yard and make a ship to follow their "Aunties and Uncle". Also an amazing game! They are now about to make the deliberate mis-jump, hoping to duplicate their family's jump.
On Tuesdays I have been running Sabre & Bird - A group of young Californians fly their plane on a camping trip to the Alaskan Panhandle, and pass into the world of Volant - with its crazy floating islands and monster infested surface. They have claimed a fragment a dozen miles by seven, and are exploring and fighting the monsters that infest it, while planning how to create a new scientifically grounded culture in this world. Tis one has been a blast! We are using the Volant setting along with the Fragments of Air and Stone supplement, and using the StarCluster 4 - Sabre & World modified system, thus with the giant riding birds of Volant, becoming Sabre & Bird. This has been great fun!
There you have it - my excuses for not posting more! That's my story and I'm sticking to it!
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
In Harm's Way: Pigboats was released on July 27, 2012. This game is about American World War II submarine sailors in the Pacific, fighting a silent war beneath the waves.
Volant - Kingdoms of Air and Stone was released on March 29, 2013. Volant is set on a world where some types of stone float, and the mountains tear themselves out of the ground and fly through the air, and people ride giant birds through the sky, with sailing ships built from floating stone, and monsters inhabiting the earth below.
Lowell Was Right! - A Very Different Now was released on May 23, 2014. Lowell Was Right! is an alt-universe SF game set in a universe where western science as of 1880 was basically correct, and all newer changes were wrong, brought up to the present day, like a Hard SF sort of Steampunk.
High Strung was released on December 7, 2014. High Strung is a game set in the 1970s through mid 1990s, where the player characters are rock musicians trying to make it.
The Necklace was released on May 29, 2015. The Necklace is an instantiation of the StarCluster 3 game set in a particular place within the Cluster, that being a gas torus orbiting a neutron star, with a billion kilometer long artificial river twisted about it. The River is a gravitic construct designed to carry water and gravity throughout the otherwise gravity-less torus. On July 30, 2016 The Necklace was updated to StarCluster 4 system.
StarCluster 4 - Zero Stage was released on July 30, 2016. Zero Stage is an introductory game for the StarCluster 4 system. It is set in Jeshen Space, a ten-star system region ruled by the Jeshen, and alien species. Humans are also present - they came into Jeshen Space as refugees from Earth, and were welcomed and given their own worlds as Jeshen allies. Now, almost 500 years later, changes are percolating through Jeshen Space.
StarCluster 4 - Cold Space was released on July 30, 2016. This is the Cold Space game of 2005, re-released with the new StarCluster 4 system.
StarCluster 4 - The Necklace was released on July 30, 2016. This is The Necklace game released in 2015, re-released with the new StarCluster 4 system.
StarCluster 4 - Free was released on August 16, 2016. This is a free to download, print at cost version of StarCluster 4, and comes with the StarCluster 4 Developer's License.
StarCluster 4 - FTL Now was released on September 1, 2016. This is the FTL Now game of 2006, re-released with the new StarCluster 4 system.
StarCluster 4 - Dark Orbital was released on September 15, 2016. Dark Orbital is an ancient space station, once a sub-light colony ship from earth, and re-purposed into an orbital city. Now, in the Flats and Mirrors of the undercity, the old workers still live on, digging through and recycling the trash from the glittering society above into new things for themselves. Punk returns to cyberpunk!
StarCluster 4 - Sweet Chariot was released on July 30, 2016. This is the Sweet Chariot II game of 2008, re-released with the new StarCluster 4 system.
StarCluster 4 - Out of the Ruins was released on December 8, 2016. Out of the Ruins is all about successor cultures to the missing humans, who are new to FTL technology. And their Holy Book is the Silmarillion.
StarCluster 4 - Sabre & World was released on March 3, 2017. Sabre & World is a "Sword and Planet" genre game, like the John Carter series. It features a generated setting and new mechanic twists.
Also released support materials:
Toolboxes contain tools you can use with StarCluster 4
StarCluster 4 Toolbox 1: Peoples
StarCluster 4 Toolbox 2: Setting Tools
StarCluster 4 Toolbox 3: Starships
StarCluster 4 Toolbox 4: Engineer's Guide
StarCluster 4 Toolbox 5: Characters
Magazines contain articles and stories about things within the StarCluster game
StarCluster 4 Magazine 1: Social
StarCluster 4 Magazine 2: Technology
StarCluster 4 Magazine 3: Time and Money
Fragments of Air and Stone for Volant
Helkaraxe for StarCluster 4 - Out of the Ruins
Merchanters and Stationers for StarCluster 3 - a free setting generation kit to create a setting like Cherryh's Union/Alliance/Compact Space (ask me for that because it is not linked to anywhere. Done out of love, not a desire to step on any toes!)
Thursday, March 29, 2018
A had Little Dictators, getting extra points for pushing North Korea, Kazakhstan, and Ethiopia - looks like only North Korea made it to the finish line, with a mostly stable colony on Orbital 3 around Earth, and partly stable colonies on Mars Orbital 2 and Oberon orbiting Saturn. Kazakhstan was knocked out early and Ethiopia never was drawn. Nice try, A!
B's secret agenda was Huddling By The Fire, getting extra points for founding colonies in the Inner System, inside the Belt, and there are indeed a lot of them! 14 colonies inside the Belt! Well played, B!
C's secret agenda was The Stars Must Be Free!, getting extra points for making colonies independent. There are independent colonies on Earth Orbital 1, Deimos circling Mars, Acidalia Planitia on Mars, Ceres in the Belt, and Elara around Jupiter. Nice job C!
D's secret agenda was Royal Legacy getting extra points for boosting the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The UK started off as a Great Power, but was knocked out fairly early, but Australia is a Great Power with a fully stable colony on Callisto, a mostly stable colony on Venus Orbital 3, and a partly stable colony on Belt Orbital 7; and both Canada - with mostly stable colonies on Mercury Orbital 1 and Ibrium on Luna as well as a fully stable colony on Phobos - and New Zealand = with its partly stable colony on Mars' North Pole and new unstable colony on Neptune Orbital 2 - are Lesser Powers. Excellent work D!
The furthest out colony turned out to be the Iranian colony on Eris in Trans Neptunian Space!
What happened to the starting lineup of great powers? Only Russia is left from the 2020 starters! War and pestilence and socio-economic disasters have churned them all under. The log would tell us, but it doesn't really matter!
The board was printed out at Staples full size on card stock, glued to a folding backing board, and taped up with duct tape around the edges. The chits and cards were also printed out at Staples on card stock. The National Power chits were pasted onto laser cut cardboard chits from the Game Crafter. The other chits and cards were left as is after being cut out. The Colonial Stability markers were hand drawn and colored directly onto laser cut chits from the Game Crafter. The game chits were circular, and hard to cut out. I may change that in the future. Maybe diamond shaped chits?
Sunday, March 25, 2018
Link to full sized drawing: Breakout
Friday, March 23, 2018
This this is the result, designed by the players using the StarCluster 4 ship design rules in Toolbox 4: Engineer's Guide, and drawn up by me. They have allowed for their parent's ship to be brought back, sitting on top of the hanger deck. The Lucky Break looks like a beer keg with bung pump attached... Big StarCluster ships not made for entering atmosphere seldom look sexy! :D
First up, the Control Tower. Only the bridge is shown in plan, as the other levels are pretty boring. The top of the tower is a clear trapezoidal plasteel "dome". Unlike most ships this size - 1500 tons - the bridge crew can see out without sensors.
Link to full size drawing: Control Tower
This is the Hangar/Cargo Deck, with their Lighter, the Breakout (nicknamed Arkanoid) and their A-Grav Shuttle.
Link to full size drawing: Hangar/Cargo Deck
This is the Jump Deck, with the massive special Jump Drive and EM Bottles to serve as gigantic Capacitors to store the needed energy. This is approximately the center of mass with their parent's ship attached.
Link to full sized drawing: Jump Deck
This is the Quarters Deck, with the PCs' (and partners') luxurious living quarters. They share a hot tub, yes! Around them are a Sick Bay, an Operating Suite, a Healing Vat, and the slightly less sybaritic quarters for the rest of the crew.
Link to full sized drawing: Quarters Deck
This is the Main Deck, with the Pool - which doubles as a water injection boost for their main fusion drive - Lounge, Galley, Fuel Generator- which makes deuterium from hydrogen using a multi-stage weak force process - Conservatory with fruit trees and other plants, and the water farm, which feeds everyone.
Link to full sized drawing: Main Deck
This is the Engine Deck, with the main rocket nozzles, fusion reactor coils, and water boost injection pumps.
Link to full sized drawing: Engine Deck
Monday, March 12, 2018
At the beginning of this year, they found a possibility - an accident could have propelled their family ship into a mega jump out of known space! And there might be a way to replicate it and follow them!
The girls have brought two physicists into the family who have cracked the megajump puzzle. Now their "aunt" - a semi retired member of the crew named as executor by the family - has bought a spaceship manufacturer in trouble, and a ship is now ready to make that megajump into the complete unknown. The four girls and their friends and lovers will have to be prepared for anything! Aiens? Slavers? A looming evil star empire? A black hole? They have no idea.
Saturday, February 24, 2018
Monday, February 12, 2018
Wednesday, February 7, 2018
Before 2000 years BBY humans expand into the galaxy using sleeper and generation ships. Many are genetically tampered with, eventually forming most of the humanoid species - Twilek, Togruta, Wookiee, Chiss, Zabrak, etc. On various worlds non-human alien species evolve. Along the way, humans meet various aliens, and also are infected by Midiclorians, which sensitizes humanity to the Force.
c. 2000 BBY precursors to the Jedi order form on various worlds, as people attempt to deal with the Force. They discover hyperspace in their experiments, and a few ships were created using these pre-Jedi as living hyperspace drives.
c. 1800 BBY Duros create artificial hyperspace drives and begin expanding into neighboring systems. Tey eventually run into Humans who somehow acquire the technology - buy or steal - and in a cascade, the hyperdrive is spread across the galaxy. At this point, hyperdrives would be rated at 20 or so on the current scale.
c. 1600 BBY the Jedi Order takes form on Jiddha, Atch-To, Tython, and other worlds. At this time most Jeddi are Gray, and Light or Dark Jedi were treated as unbalanced.
c. 1500 BBY the Old Republic is formed. It is one of several moderate sized empires founded about this time.
c. 1400 BBY the Sith Order splits from the Jedi. The Jedi order purges itself of any use of the Dark side, and begins a reformation process.
c. 1350-1050 BBY the Old Republic, which soon allies itself with the Jedi order, engages in a series of devastating galactic wars with the mandelorians, the Sith Empire, and other star empires. By this time, Hyperspace drives would be rated about 10 on the current scale.
c. 1050-1032 BBY the Old Republic is almost defeated when the allied Sith and Mandalorians Empires take Coruscant, but the occupation is short-lived, and in 1032 BBY, the Old Republic is transformed into the Galactic Republic after finally defeating the Sith and Mandelorians. The Sith Empire is utterly destroyed. Darth Bane, last Surviving Sith Lord, institutes the Rule of Two.
112 BBY Invasion of Naboo. The fastest hyperdrives are rated 1
104 BBY The Clone Wars begin with the founding of the Confederacy of Independent Systems.
99 BBY Empire Founded. Jedi driven into hiding or killed. Massacre of the younglings.
20 BBY Construction of the first Death Star begins.
19 BBY Ezra Bridger, Luke Skywalker, and Leia Organa born. Luke and Leia stolen from their mother, Darth Vader's concubine, by Obi-wan Kenobi. Vader finds Obi-Wan on Mustafar. In a duel, Obi-Wan defeats Vader and leaves him helpless, but he lives, sealed in his armor from this point on.
11 BBY Hera Syndulla and Kanan Jarrus join forces
5 BBY Kanan Jarrus takes on Ezra Bridger as a Padawan.
~4 BBY the Alliance begins to form from separate Rebel groups
0 BBY. Jedha City destroyed by Death Star. Battle of Scarif. Luke Skywalker leaves Tatooine with Obi Wan and Han Solo. Alderaan destroyed. Leia rescued. Battle of Yavin.
2 ABY Poe Dameron born.
3 ABY Battle of Hoth. Luke trains with Yoda. Han Solo encased in Carbonite.
4 ABY Han Solo rescued. Jabba killed. Battle of Endor. Second Death Star destroyed. New Republic established.
5 ABY Battle of Jakku. Empire defeated. Both sides disarm. Much of Imperial Navy retreats into Unknown Regions. Ben Solo Born
c. 6-10 ABY First Order begins taking shape in UR.
11 ABY Finn born.
15 ABY Rey born.
28 ABY Leia Organ leaves Senate, forms Resistance.
c. 32 ABY New Jedi Order destroyed. Luke goes into exile, Ben Solo becomes Kylo Ren.
34 ABY Rey meets Finn on Jakku. Hosnian System, New Republic capital, and all Hosnian wolds destroyed by Starkiller Base. Han Solo killed by Kylo Ren. Starkiller Base destroyed by Resistance. Stellar Knights Order created. Battle of Crait. Death of Luke Skywalker. Current year.
Monday, January 29, 2018
Monday, January 22, 2018
Friday, January 19, 2018
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
They have come across what may be a back door to the First Order, and now are wondering what can be done with it. :D