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Samuel Penn
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Once a software developer, now a development manager, as well as part time dungeon master, wargamer, programmer and science fiction fan.
Once a software developer, now a development manager, as well as part time dungeon master, wargamer, programmer and science fiction fan.

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I start getting worried when, whilst playing Delta Green, the GM gives us access to a stash of weapons including a fully automatic grenade machine gun, flamethrower and anti-material rifle, as well as various automatic weapons.

I do quite like the look of the flame thrower though:
http://xm42.com/

Now to hunt down the fungoid 'star child' babies...
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The latest effort on my SciFi random world generator has gone into improving what the surface maps look like. This is a sample EoGaian world, with barren land and oceans filled with floating microbial mats (the most advanced form of life).
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It turns out that placing the starting quest in the Fallout boardgame radically changes how the game plays. We started a new game this afternoon, and (mostly) got the rules right. This meant not only did we have the starting quest, but we got all the quests that followed on from that, making for a much more interesting game. I did find it easy to lose track of what the current quests were, possibly not helped by the cards for them being on the other side of the table. A few could also do with a bit of clarity on how they're played. There's nothing on the vault quests to say you need to be in the vault to do them for example, so either we're missing something or it's a bit weird.

It can seem quite random - it's possible to do several quests and get zero XP, but then you get one which gives you 4 XP for no risk - which can lead to some unbalanced progression. But then I did manage to get some power armour for the cost of just a few rads, so I suppose it evened out.

It took about 2.5 hours to play through with two players, and my girlfriend ended up winning by a couple of points. We're both keen on trying it again sometime soon, and with a better sense of how it flows it should be easier to play a bit more tactically, rather than just doing what seems easy or interesting.
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We tried our first game of Fallout the other night, which was relatively easy to setup and get playing. It's a non-cooperative game where players don't have a direct impact on each other - everyone is playing against the environment.

We missed the fact that you really need to do quests to win, and got part way through before realising that. Since we were both exhausted at that point, we decided to shelve the game and try again (with a better understanding of the rules) later.

As a game it seemed to worth quite well, and the explorations were quite interesting in how they work - when you explore a location, another player reads out the background text and a number of options, which you have to chose from (such as try to disarm the obvious trap, or ignore it and explore another room). Depending on the option chosen, determines what happens and what skills you need to check against.

It was definitely interesting, and captured the feel of the computer game (especially after I found an album of Fallout 4 music on Google Play Music). We will try again when we have a bit more energy.
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Charles Stross Trigger Warning

How the race to the bottom accelerated after 1995. The mistake was to fund the build-out of the public world wide web—as opposed to the earlier, government-funded corporate and academic internet—by monetizing eyeballs via advertising revenue.

The last few paragraphs are terrifying.
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Completed the Lego Saturn V this afternoon. It's a pretty good model, and the various stages disassemble as necessary. It's current resting place is beneath our TV, along with another set of NASA inspired Lego.
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After suffering from flu all week, actually trying to do something constructive today. Not sure how far I'll get before needing a rest.
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Another successful launch and landing by Space X.
What a wonderful thing technology is... and scary too, and deadly... but amazing non the less...
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Ever more interesting, the interstellar asteroid Oumuamua that's passing through our solar system is found to be "wrapped in a thick coating of carbon-rich gunk"

“If the surface layer is a few tens of centimetres thick, then any ice underneath would not have been heated enough by the sun, because it takes time for the heat pulse to travel through.”

Last week there was an attempt to listen for emitted radio signals, but the asteroid was silent.

An intriguing object nonetheless.
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On the naming of planets. The planet naming system I use (in my world generation software) makes use of roman numerals as suffixes to the system name, or order of distance from the star. e.g. Earth is "Sol III", Mars is "Sol IV" etc. Moons use a lower case letter suffix, so The Moon is "Sol IIIa".

(as an extra complication, multi-star systems add an Alpha, Beta, Gamma... etc to the star name, so "Foo Alpha III" would be the 3rd planet around the primary star of the Foo system, and "Foo Beta II" would be the 2nd planet around the secondary star of the same system).

It's not the way real world astronomy names things, but I think it has more of a science fiction feel to it, and I'm generally happy with it.

However, I'm starting to question how asteroid belts should be named. Until now, asteroid belts have used the same nomenclature. So our asteroid belt is Sol V, and Jupiter would be Sol VI (ignoring complications like Ceres for now). This is mostly because an asteroid belt is represented internally in my world generator simply as an object of class Planet with a type of 'AsteroidBelt'. It's just another row in the 'planets' table.

So though it makes sense in terms of software implementation, is it something that would make sense to the Imperium Scout Service? Should asteroid belts (and, for that matter, oort clouds or even planetary rings), have a nomenclature that is different to that of planets? If so, what? I'm thinking maybe "Sol Belt A", but I'm as yet undecided.

Has anyone else thought about this, or have any ideas they'd be willing to share?
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