Names

I’m somewhere around half way through writing a book, and I just realised I still don’t have a name for it. Sometimes, names are hard.

In Other (Gaming) News…

So, today marks a week of Anthem(tm) and last night I did the final mission in the initial ‘critical path’ storyline. According to the Xbox achievement, 1-in-5 players have got to the same point (I think it was about 16% last night; going up fast). It’s not exactly a long story, but it also drops a heaving, massive hint of things to come in the future.

There’s been a lot of noise about how bad Anthem is, especially on YouTube. Then again, according to a lot of YouTube gaming channels, the entire game industry is about to collapse and all the games being released are bad (except for that one they like). Since people have been predicting the end of EA (for example) for at least two decades, I’m taking most of this with a pinch of salt, but I have to admit that Anthem is not exactly a perfect example of software production. But what is? A little while ago, I started a playthrough of Rise of the Tomb Raider, which went really great until it crashed right at the end and corrupted the save data, making the game unplayable. My other game of choice at the moment is Destiny 2. For all the talk of Anthem‘s endless load screens and connection issues, I have far more problems with lost connections in D2, plus D2 has load screens just as long, they’re simply hidden better. And the amount of bitching about random loot drops in Destiny dwarfs the noise about Anthem‘s loot, and the same people are probably complaining about both being ‘the worst.’ Sigh.

My opinion (should you want it): I like Anthem. I enjoy the gameplay. I enjoy the interactions with NPCs in Fort Tarsis; there’s a real Mass Effect feel about some of the characters. It could certainly be better, but I have reasonable hopes that BioWare are going to make it better. More, I have reasonable hopes that the kind of better they’re aiming at is what I want to see. That last point is important because…

As luck would have it, Bungie put out the ‘reveal’ trailer for their Season of the Drifter content in the last day or so. It turned up in my YouTube recent videos list this lunchtime. Bungie are listening to their ‘core players’ when deciding how to develop Destiny. Unfortunately, that means listening to the minority of their players. Back to the Xbox achievements. I have one achievement for Gambit (D2’s PvP-lite competitive gaming option): ‘High-Stakes Play.’ You get it for winning one (1) match in Gambit. It does not take a great player to achieve this. I suck at any form of PvP and I hadn’t tried Gambit until very recently when I joined a clan (guild, league, whatever player groups are called in your favourite game) and was dragged into a Gambit match. Even playing with random pick-up groups, I’ve been on the winning side in Gambit. 16.05% of Destiny players have High-Stakes Play. I also have ‘Belly Of The beast’ for completing the Leviathan raid (which is now about 2 years old and I got recently). Me and 13.16% of players have that, which means that’s a load of end-game content Bungie have produced for 13% of their players. And now, those who yell loudest are controlling the development of Destiny. I don’t think I’ll be getting D3 or the next season pass, or whatever they go for next, because they aren’t really developing the game in the way want to see it developed. I don’t think they’re developing it the way most players want, just the loudest 20% or so. And I’m being generous with that 20%.

And in other (not exactly gaming) news, yes, Anthem has popped an idea or two into my head I’m developing for the book after the next Princeps Venator book. Well, Anthem and a bunch of other random influences. When I’m ready to reveal more about it, I’ll be dropping some concept art and such.

Fox 10 Art Dump

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Click on the image to go to my ArtStation site for a few concept pictures I did for Dance with The Devil.

Dance with The Devil (out now)

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Dance with The Devil, Fox Meridian 10, is out now.

A Dance with The Devil (cover)

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Dance with The Devil, the tenth Fox Meridian book, should be out in the next day or two. Hopefully, Amazon won’t complain about a hint of shadowy, naked Devil butt cos I really quite like how this came out.

Change of Plan

I know, I was surprised to learn I had a plan too.

was planning to follow up the next Fox book, Dance with The Devil, with the start of a new military sci-fi series. Fox 10 is still happening (on time barring unusual circumstances; mid-February), but I’ve got a problem with the military thing which is going to take too long to work out, so I’m changing to a third Princeps Venator book with Dione, Mike, and the gang at SCU. I’m working through the plot at the moment and I’ll start writing tomorrow.

Unfortunately, that means there’ll be a longer-than-usual wait for the book after Fox 10. Hopefully, you’ll all survive without a new book from me for an extra month and, hopefully, I’ll catch up later in the year when I get the sci-fi thing sorted out and finished.

Also hopefully, Anthem turns out to be not as good as it looks. It’s the new release from BioWare (in case you didn’t know), the creators of Mass Effect. I’m going to end up buying it (I have Christmas money burning a hole in my Amazon account) and Mass Effect sucked a good three or four months out of my life back in the day. On the other hand, binging ME got me to write the first Aneka book, so Anthem may prove inspirational. OTOH, early reports of the VIP demo going on this weekend are not exactly sparkling with reports of crashing servers, glitches and bugs abounding, and other issues, so it’s quite possible the game will be unplayable at launch. Something of a problem for BioWare. They’re likely to die an undignified death if they mess this up as badly as Mass Effect Andromeda (which I actually liked, but I didn’t play it until months after launch when all the bugs had been ironed out, and it was also discounted a lot).

The Sojourn

I don’t normally advertise competition, but this looks like it could be an interesting thing, and you can get in on the ground floor! (That was cringeworthy.)

Some of you may know the YouTube channel ‘Spacedock.’ They do analysis videos of science fiction films, TV series, game worlds, etc. I couldn’t say I always agree with those analyses, but the videos are generally entertaining and make some good points about the practicality of the settings and especially the ships from those settings. Spacedock is currently running Kickstarter campaign to fund a planned audio novel series (with 2D/3D artwork to illustrate it), called ‘The Sojourn.’ If you check out the campaign (link above), you can watch the pilot episode and see if you think it’s something you might like. If you’ve got some spare cash, consider backing them. It’s funded to the second stretch goal at time of writing, so it looks like it’s a done deal, and the makers seem pretty motivated to produce what they say they will.