DangerousThing's Blog

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11:30 pm

 Science Fantasy Gaming and Poser
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I have my personal on-line role-playing game, Evergreen, to thank for my interest in Poser. At first I just wanted to create character avatars that accurately reflected the desires of the players. Also the non-player characters could have pictures also to make them more real.

I started using SIMs 2 to make the avatars, then I went to Blender, then DAZ, then Poser. Now I'm making my own models (I'm not that good right now, but I know if I stick to it I'll become decent).

That's it for the Poser content of this post. I'm now going to describe the setting of my game and invite all interested people to join this game. I'm using forum software to run what is essentially the same type of game that I used to play in person.

The overall game setting came about when I asked myself a few questions. Please remember I'm talking about a fictional game setting and I'm not telling you everything.

1. The game Traveler (a great SF RPG from the old days) had really bad computers. Why so? Did something happen to change the nature of technology?

2. In most SF stories that I grew up with (I started reading in the early sixties and haven't stopped) the culture is very similar to that of today's society. Why? The answer to this is fairly simple: it's fiction and the reader has to relate to the story somehow. I don't really believe that 6,000 years will pass and I'll still be able to recognize humanity at all.

I know that the answer to question number 1 was simply that when Traveler was written personal computers weren't available. However, such questions bother me and I wanted an answer within the game.

The answer came to me from more recent science fiction (say, the 1980s). Verner Vinge postulated the "singularity" as applied to humanity; the singularity was the time when technology advanced so quickly that humans became something else.

I called it "The Event", and it happens whenever computers and (usually) nanotech advance to a state where strong AI computers control the nanotech and in various ways help or destroy humanity. Almost all star-faring races have gone through such an Event. Sometimes many times.

In the Evergreen game right before the Event humans had developed prototypes of the technology for basic FTL travel using Jump drives. During the Event some of the AIs seemed to be on the side of humans and rapidly reproduced enough ships to save several hundred thousand humans scattered to the stars.

An Event produces several types of things:

1. Originals - people relatively unchanged by the Event.

2. Ascended Beings - beings advanced by the Event to almost godlike status who rapidly lose all interest in normal beings.

3. Remnants - pieces of technology too advanced to be produced by Original beings but still usable by them.

4. Enhanced Humans - humans with extra abilties due to biology (Metapsychic abilites, Heavy Worlders, et.)

5. Augmented Humans - humans how have used technology or biology to have themselves enhanced.

6. Posthumans - humans enhanced to a degree that they are much more intelligent than other humans.

The Evergreen game takes place around 6,000 years after The Event.

Post Event Humans

Humans are basically the same except a little better. Even with primitive medicine humans can expect to live 200 years; with modern medicine about 300 years - most of this in decent health.

Also humans seem to be resistant to diseases.

This advance in health and longevity seem to be spread by a series of viruses.

However, there are some people that are longer lived yet. There are many ways to extend one's life on purpose or by accident. One player character is playing somebody who has been alive since there were tribes of Neanderthals and he knows of a few people that are older than he is. I bring this up because the extreme longevity of the Meths (from Methuselah) can cause the gap between the rich and the poor to grow very fast (if you have time to wait, the stock market is yours!).

The Republic (it lasted around 1,500 years) destroyed itself mainly because of the corruption caused by a large group of Meths who almost completely controlled the economy. The story of the corruption of the Jedi Knights was also true, but the long-lived player realizes that it was somehow staged by another unknown Meth who either misremembered the movies or deliberately changed them for some reason.

After a dark age the Empire was born. The Meth problem was corrected by increasing the tax on unearned income (interest, stocks and bonds, etc) after the age of 300. The idea is not to punish the long lived, but rather to prevent them from controlling the economy. This is my own idea.

Another institution that was born about the time of the Empire was the Path of the Sword. Essentially this is legal dueling that goes beyond planetary law. The idea from this came from the story _The Man Who Never Missed_. This produces a lot of very skilled warriors out of people who might otherwise become big trouble. Also a number of Meths seem to "walk the path"; imagine fighting somebody who has been practicing for several hundred years.

Metapsychic Abilities

Most games call these psionic powers, but I prefer the Julian May term "metapsyychic". Psychic abilities also exist, such as object reading, precognition, and empathy; these are all passive abilities. Metapsychic abilities go beyond this into active abilities such as Telekinesis, Telepathy, and such.

The Actual Game Setting

The Evergreen is a large starship (around 20 miles long and 10 miles wide at the large end, shaped roughly like a wedge. It was built to carry a weapon that would "end war". It did: some powerful being came along and removed the weapon and took away all information above a certain level.

Since nobody needed a starship that large, somebody had the bright idea of turning it into a huge passenger liner. That was many hundred years ago and while it isn't quite as opulent as it once was, it is still the largest human-built starship.

It is headed towards the edge of the Empire and will turn back right before it hits the Empty Reaches.

The schedule of the ship has it traveling for a month, then orbiting a planet for a month. Currently it is orbiting the planet Leafbill right after an attack by many coordinated gangs which hit many of the FTL drives, life support, and medical centers. (And yes, there was a reason for the attacks that will eventually be revelas

Many types of players are needed. This is a fairly high-powered game, but I want a second group of players at a lower power level to see how that works.

OK, it's late and sleep is not just calling but actively trying to pull my eyelids shut. :)

8:50 am

 House and new Poser project
 5 comment(s)

Our house is essentially finished, with a few problems that were forgotten by the builder and one miscommunication: I thought that *all* outer doors had deadlocks on them. Silly me. :)

However, I've decided on a Poser modeling project: Shotgun Sally.

This is an SF (or Western) clothing and weapon set. This is being done for my on-line RPG, and parts of this will be given away as freebies when I get these parts built.

4:36 pm

 Building a house...
 0 comment(s)

A year ago Lee and I decided to build a new house because there were no handicapped accessible ranch (single floor) style homes in our area. And I had just spent six months looking.

Silly me, I thought that normal house-hunting was difficult. Building a house means not only spending large amounts of money, but also making all sorts of very tiny decisions ("what type of soap-dish do you want in the bathrooms?").

Since I spend time in the hospital when Lee is in the hospital, I haven't had much time for decisions. Hence the building is going slower than optimal. I'm down to "what type of lighting fixtures" so it's almost done.

I had originally thought about doing a mock-up of the house in Silo or Google Sketchup and importing it into Poser to see what it could look like. i wish I had now, but oh well...

So that's why I haven't posted anything lately. I'm getting back to blogging, really.

My current project in Poser is to make pictures out of my current RPG (an old fashioned SF/Fantasy role playing game like I used to play with paper and pencil, but this time I'm using a forum software). These pictures are in my gallery and new ones will be in there as I get to them.

More later.

4:43 pm

 A more proper introduction
 2 comment(s)

Hi, I'm the NerdBird. This comes from a nickname my wife gave my parrot (Random). It comes from the song "The Surfing Bird" which has a line "the bird, the bird, the bird is a word" with the last line changed to "nerd" Random became Random E. Nerdbird (the "E." is pronounced like a shrill screech).

If I had to claim a profession, it would be "Caregiver" because I've had to quit my job as a programmer to become my wife's full-time caregiver (Lee, my wife, is way too young to be this sick, she was in her thirties when this developed and is only 43 now).

When I was a student I did a lot of things (I worked fast food, grocery stores, inventory control, warehousing, and track man for the railroad among others). When I eventually graduated into the real world I ran right back and became a programmer for the University of Delaware. I proposed to my wife and we moved to the middle of nowhere (State College, PA) where I worked for Penn State and Lee worked for a defense contractor. Lee eventually came to her senses and get a job in a slightly different unit of Penn State, also programming.

Eventually I quit Penn State to become Lee's full-time caregiver. A position with little pay but with the perk that we've become closer than ever.

I was into robotics and wrote a book about building them. It came out late but it did earn about a time and a half the advance, which is pretty good for that field. And I hereby apologize to all who bought my book. My wife was starting to get sick and the last half was definitely not my best work.

I was on my way to becoming a machinist when my wife told me that she didn't like me spending so much time in the basement away from her.

I also run fantasy/SF role-playing games (for free - I do it because I want to do it). I'm currently running Evergreen (think of a Space Opera if H.P. Lovecraft and E.E."Doc" Smith were working together). And I *really* like the fiction of Charles Stross. And I read comics.

I needed a way to create avatars and scenes from the game. So I first got The Sims 2 which had potential for creating avatars, but wasn't good enough.

So I got DAZ Studio (hey, it was free) and then Poser 7 and was hooked.

My current programs in use are Poser 7, Silo, ZBrush, and the GIMP. I'm still working on my skills in each of these, but I'm getting there.

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