Thursday, May 31, 2007

He ain't heavy...He's my brother

Sorry gang. Not a good week for the strip. Sayid's computer/software keeps crashing and it's midnight (almost) and my personal rule is no computer repairs after 10pm. Nothing good comes from troubleshooting this time of night.

Sayid's on vacation next week, so I'll be drawing the comic. That should be fun! Imagine your child's drawing skill, or perhaps your dog's.

It's not like you people are actual customers or anything, but I have grown accustomed to your twice weekly affirmations of my value.

See ya in the game

Oh. The photo is of my older brother Jim, and his family. Jim is just home from 9 months in Iraq, and he narrowly survived a suicide bombing attack in February. I'll get to see them all in about a month.

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Wider World

Official Comic will be up "late." Hope you guys are enjoying our little story arc. I know putting a bunch of mining episodes in a row means mojo and smeg have moved on to some new comic or just plain internet porn. But we're having a lot of fun learning how to put spaceships into our comic, so they'll just have to cope.

I don't know if any of you were following the allegations of Dev misconduct. I wasn't really, but when the news bits on the log-on screen had 3 consecutive mentions of it, I had to look in a little deeper. I didn't bother reading the threads, since I get enough flaming from my wife, but I didn't really understand the issue. I DID read all the threads during the Band of Developers scandal, and that didn't make a lot of sense at the time either.

An all-out war has been raging in our back yard for well over a month, and our best friends outside the ACU (yes, that's you Cognet guys) are in the thick of it. We are not. Since I was at work today, I'm not sure how "Fight Night" went, or whether we even had it, but the times I've been to fight have been more of a "lets play at being in a war" rather than actually getting into the mud and staying dirty until the fight was won. I try to keep up with the fighting, but even their news reports seem confusing to me. I think 95% of it, is my lack of context. This leads me to think that I'm not engaged enough in the wider EVE world. I'm starting to feel like I'm at EVE-camp, while our friends are really playing EVE.

I don't know about the rest of you, but the war-dec by the Privateers was almost 'flattering', in the sense that WE were a part of a big EVE event. Of course that's kind of like being proud that you slept with Wilt Chamberlain (thank G-d for hyperlinks on that reference).

This is just me musing. This is definitely NOT me saying lets declare war on B0B and recreate the 300, but I guess I am feeling like I'm playing in an ever-shrinking box. Stepping out might be dangerous, but it sure sounds like fun at the moment

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Vision does Not Equal Foresight

Dear Diary: Sayid's a jerk, and he makes fun of my writing. I hope the belt rats shoot him.

Despite appearences, this script was preplanned, not just thought up at the last minute. You non-miners probably think this is how we actually work: we just set the miners on the rocks and check out. This is NOT actually the case. Sayid and I spent most of the past weekend together, working on the comic. In fact, we spent all of Saturday night working on the comic, and if you think those 3 hours sitting on the outdoor patio of a restaurant overlooking a river, while a cute waitress brought us beer wasn't work, then I just don't know how to explain it.

I spent the entire day yesterday inside a 10 part storyline mission. I can't complain: I got this great piece of loot last night: Ocular Filter- Standard! My first +4, and it's worth a couple of ISK too. Still have 3 more parts to go, as well.

But I haven't actually 'played' EVE, as in interacted with any real people since last week, when Carita and I killed 2 frigs in PVP. I'd call that a rousing success if I hadn't forgotten to launch my drones. That's right, 3 million skill points in drones and I can't even remember to launch them. I just sat there wondering why this guy was lasting so long under the massive hit points that are my lame heavy missile skills (60,000 sp in missiles ftw!) Thankfully Carita was there with his usual cool manner to mop the guy up. And then this dude actually talked smack in local. It takes a lot of balls to attack someone, die and then jaw in local about how unfair it was. Not a lot of brains, but a lot of balls.

In the wider EVE-world, those of you who are interested in buying a stealth bomber had better jump on it, or wait a loooonnnggg time, while the market equalizes. The buff to bombers on Sisi, the talk of new 'bomb launchers' and the EVE-Tribune article have sent the prices through the roof. I know the price for the Gallente version (Nemesis) is up 400%. The others have jumped similarly, to as much as 30 million isk. Nice to have been slow on yet another EVE market opportunity.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Mein Covetor

Two guys I know got into this convo yesterday about whether or not to insure a dedicated mission/ratting ship. The details aren't important, but one guy mentioned he'd had the same ship for 7 months. That got me thinking and I realized my Retriever is almost a year old.

It's not the 'best' time to be a miner: the mineral prices have more or less tanked, but it's pretty cool to be able to say I've been in the same ship for a whole year. Especially in my case, since most of my ships have a life-cycle of a fruit fly. Sayid's been in the same Moa for over a year, but that hardly counts. To use the insect analogy again, I like to think of Sayid as more of a "collector." Each of his ships stays safely pinned to a little card in his hangar, where he can look at it at his leisure.

So here's to my mining ships: "Om's Little Turtle" and "De Chelonian Mobile" They have served me well and faithfully and I will fly them as long as I can. And if an eagle (or a Raven or Moa) should attack me, I will bite them in the nuts (let's see if we have any DiscWorld scholars other than Kris)

I now yield the floor to Mojo...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

EVE and the Outside World

I have not been on EVE a whole lot this week, but I have played it on 4 different computers. These 2 things are linked: I have had on-going problems with my Dell PC, and now the repair guys think the motherboard has a short somewhere. (New commercial idea: "Dude, you're getting F**ked"). So I used my wifes laptop when I could (thank you Intel Macs that run windows), and my old computer (thank you inability to throw out any electronics), and now finally my new computer. I still have to run EVE on Windows (for now), but let me tell you, at 1600x1050 resolution, even a Kestrel looks gorgeous.

So I should playing a little more this week. Sayid, alas probably will not be. He's serving a 25 years to life sentence for beating a student to death. It was understandable: Sayid is in charge of the school graduation booklet, already late for the printing shop, and some kid brought him changes tonight at 9:30. We are appealing the case on grounds of justifiable homicide, but you know how Texas is....

I would direct your attention to this weeks EVE Tribune, specifically the Corporations article. I found it super thoughtful. Not interested in getting out the soap-box tonight, but it was a great comfort to know that what we're going through is a typical growing pain for corps our age/size.

We hope this will be the end of the "are they or aren't these guys Oro and Sayid" controversy. We've had fun with these two characters and they'll be back...probably to do embarrassing things to other corp members.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Appearances May Be Deceiving

Stop me if you've heard this story...When Mojo was like, 3 months old, he had Ferox, which he thought was the baddest thing in EVE. One day he and I were finishing up a lvl 2 mission (for the record, I couldn't have done it without him) and a much younger corp mate was hollering in corp chat that he was being ore-thieved "by some guy in a cruiser." Mojo and I rushed to the belt where he was, to see a guy in a Curse baiting our mate by stealing his ore, bumping his ship... the usual. Mojo was all for charging in, guns a-blazin'. Not me, for the simple reason that I recognized that the 'cruiser' was a Tech2, PVP demon ship. I talked Mojo out of it by convo-ing the Curse in local, and asking him, theoretically, how long he thought it take to kill us. I don't recall the answer, but it was something like "ha ha ha, evil laughter." This guy boasted that he'd killed 4 ravens, at one time. We said thank you very much sir, please enjoy our ore, and moved on.

At the time, I had just enough experience at the time to know that T2 ships may have the same hull as a T1 ship, they are entirely different beasts underneath. One thing that drives me crazy in Eve is that much of the game has an "optimal" way of doing things. Each ship has a 'best' configuration of modules, and everyone uses it. At this point, any time you see a drake, you know it will be set up for tanking. Seems to me like shooting at the Drake is the dumbest thing you can do. One of my favorite recent videos is the Osprey of Doom, which I love because this guy's set-up is definitely NOT the standard. Of course you can bet that lots of people went out and set up their ospreys that way afterwards.

I'm trying to make a point here, but I'll be damned if I know what it is. Sayid doesn't know either, but he says I should always reference the comic. The point is NOT that Sub doesn't know what we look like, and the point is NOT that Sayid and I don't write ourselves into our own damn Webcomic, although both of those are true. The point is, the point is, is.....

Screw it, find your own damn point.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Innovation and Excellence

Albert Einstein wrote "insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Or it might have been Ben Franklin. Or an author named Rita Mae Brown, who wrote a very funny book about lesbians. Wow. I've derailed my own thread, and only 2 sentences in; that's not easy to do.

Anyway.....Is attempting the same task in a totally unique way each and every time you try it also insanity? Dunno. But that is what my esteemed comic partner is seemingly shooting for. After a dozen comics, we could finally say we've gotten into a rhythm. So do we knock the comic out by midnight and get some well deserved rest? Noooooo. Let's do a comic homage to Frank Miller. Sleep is apparently overrated.

Seriously, I'd like to sing the praises of the 1/2 dozen Korean wage-slave animators collectively known as "Sayid". This comic really rocked. In fact it was so good, that I wanted to remove my snarky dialog completely. He resisted, out of compassion I think. Oddly enough, I get most (all?) the praise for the comic, because I'm on earlier, and more regularly. But as my mother noted this weekend: "You write a comic? Aren't comics more drawing than writing?" (Yes mommy, thank you for pointing out that I now have a second hobby even less useful to society than playing a video game all day. Seriously I heal the sick and poor for a living, shouldn't that be enough?) But Sayid really is THE KEY to this whole endeavor. Otherwise this comic would be called, and look like the Adventures of The Badly Drawn Stick-People.

On a more soap-boxy note (you knew it was coming, admit it), I'd say that the best things about this comic are that 1) Sayid and I talk to each other every single day, in one form or another, 2) it's hugely entertaining to the two of us, and your enjoyment is a side-effect, and 3) by combining our skills we're producing something of much higher quality and consistency than either of us dreamed of. There must be some type of corp-related moral to that surely.

Oh, and in case we haven't made it clear, we think Lil kicks ass!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

First things First

Mojo stop drooling!

RL work day sucked today. Sucked. And all I could think about is how much I wanted to be playing EVE. Which then got me thinking about what parts of Eve start to feel like work. Now Sayid says that drawing a pirate hat that does NOT look like a banana is work, but I suspect that he's just being one of those whiny artist-types.

I was actually thinking about something more like, oh.... I don't know... corp mining. Now I actually am a miner at heart, and shooting rocks seems to be safer than shooting missions NPC's. For those of you keeping count I've lost 2 Ravens and 1 Myrm in past 2 weeks. But I will admit that mining, or worse yet hauling is work. So as much as I hate seeing suck-ass turnout for mining ops, it's not hard to understand. A bunch of us got into a conversation last week about how to scare, encourage, cajole, push, punish, reward, or offer cookies to get people to be more team-ish. But I'm starting to speculate that we'll eagerly participate in what feels fun, and grudgingly do what helps the cause. Again, after a hard day of work, why would anyone want more work?

So a couple questions: What parts of the game do you really enjoy, and do you spend enough time doing it? Do other folks in the corp know what you really like doing, and could we be joining you? Could the corp turn that into some sort of group op with you or for you?

Thursday, May 3, 2007

The Point

I want to follow up on Tuesdays blog, and talk some more about the direction the ACU is taking. Or directions. Or more accurately, the direction the corp members are looking. Or directions. I think we are looking past each other, like a bunch of cross-eyed hammerhead sharks, and in doing so we are squandering a huge opportunity. I'd like to encourage people to look within the corp, rather than outside the corp for resources.

For example, Mojo had to buy a rig that I have a fully researched bpo for because I haven't advertised my building skills. This meant he payed more than he needed too, and I lost badly needed isk. So many of the builders have purchased and researched duplicate bpo's that I want to tear my hair out. Carita is a ship-building machine just looking for things to build. He's got a growing business and reputation in the region. What ever the opposite of synergy is, we are currently taking it to new levels.

Here's an idea: I think our corp needs some sort of classified adds, our own internal Craig's list. The 'new' contract system is designed for something like this. Every time I look at my contracts page it says I can make "up to 500" personal or corp wide contracts. Imagine putting open contracts for ore or mins, or rigs or equipment, or ships. Going further, how about contracting someone to salvage for you. Or even tank for you, which is the only way I'll ever try another lvl 4 mission, having just lost my SECOND Domi in as many weeks, on as many missions. How much do you think Kris would charge to sit afk in his tanking Drake?

Sayid says I should get off my damn soap-box. Admittedly that last example was extreme, but not THAT extreme. Tuesday was the first time I've done a mission with a corp mate in at least a month, probably more. I learned more tricks from Mojo in one hour than I care to list, admittedly most of them AFTER I blew up. Some of us need to get hit over the head to learn. I'm one of those people. If the rest of you can't learn from my mistakes, then I'll just wait for you to learn from your own.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The Power of One

Let's talk about the power of one for a few minutes. Or the lack there-of: By my rough count, at least 6 members of this corp (perhaps 9 of us) have access to lvl 4 agents. As far as I know, only one of us is regularly doing lvl 4's because the rest of us just don't feel safe soloing these missions. This is ENTIRELY appropriate, because lvl 4's are not meant to be soloed unless you own a pimped out T2/faction, specialty mission grind-mobile.

We are, as individuals and as a corp, letting a huge resource go to waste. Some of this is understandable: most of the older guys have their 'good' agents in The Citadel, a scant 74 jumps from home. I'm not sure who else has a 'local' agent, but my lvl 4 agent is 10 jumps away from our nearest corp office. But it was not always thus: I remember a time, not long ago, when we were soooo excited to get a group together and gang a lvl 4. In fact, Mojo lost his first Ferox that way (or was it his second.....).

CCP says that in the near future it will add lvl 5 and 6 missions to the game and these will be IMPOSSIBLE to do solo. So let's get ahead of the curve. Every activity doesn't have to be circle jerk, but maybe grab a friend in a BC, and another friend in a destroyer/cruiser set for salvage and go nuts. I can personally say that a mission with Sayid as my wingman is far better than any mission solo.

Unless I get really nice loot, then screw him.