Friday, July 29, 2011

Star Turtle Officially on Sale!

         Thanks to hard work, late nights, and support from the family, I've been able to get this month's PDF out on time!  I can't tell you all how pleased I am with the new layout.  Thanks to Obsidion Dawn's awesome tech brushes for GIMP, I've been able to really improve on the general look of the book and make something I can truly be proud of.
I love the new look!
          This will probably be the last update for a bit, as well.  As you already know, we're moving, and we've reached a point where we'll be doing all of the furniture and heavy stuff this weekend.  With luck and back-breaking donkey labor, we'll be sleeping in our new house Sunday night.  At some point, the computer will be packed and moved, then at some future point unpacked and set up.  That's about as precise as I can get right now.
          I'm planning on getting some nifties put up on either the OpenD6 Forum or D6Universe soon (or both), and I will be doing an interview for the Cinema6 Blog at some point as well.  The nifties will include stats for the stuff I showed off a few weeks ago, and stats on some of the auxiliary vehicles mentioned in the Star Turtle PDF.

 That's it for now, RocketFans.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

New Polity: The Southern Territories

         By popular demand (and logical argument), I am featuring a brief notation on a new polity in the Black Desert setting:  The Southern Territories.
         The Southern Territories are featured in August's PDF, Ships of the Black Desert:  The "Star Turtle" and are made up of Antarctica, Australia, and New Zealand.  The polity is a minor power, whose main concern is the Chinese Alliance to the North, which constantly threatens to absorb the Territories in their bid to become a mega-state.  The deserts of the Territories' Australian Outback is home to the largest enclave of Native Martians on Terra, whom are sponsored by the Consensus. The Martians are experimenting with terraforming the charred Earth's surface using their bio-synergistic techniques.  Antarctica is home to a booming business in DNA harvesting of extinct plants and animals under the now much thinner ice sheets.  These "new" DNA strains are revolutionizing bio-diversity trading throughout the Inner System. 

       That's all I've got so far; suggestions are welcome.  BTW, it's looking good for the PDF to come out on time, August 1st.

       Enjoy, RocketFans!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Star Turttle Graphics Done!

         And just in the nick of time, too!  We'll be moving starting tomorrow, so sometime in the next ten days, between packing up our entire lives and my wife's work schedule, I will get the copy and layout done.  That's the plan, anyway...

         Oh, well.  Enjoy the pics RocketFans!  You can find them on the Star Turtle's thread on The Cartographer's Guild website.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Star Turtle Interiors

That eye-thing in the center? It's an AI!
         It's Monday again, RocketFans, and I've spent most of this weekend cleaning and packing.  When my back would lock up and I'd have a break I worked out some of the details on these interiors.  These two plans together are only Deck One!

          Part of the reason that this thing is so big is sheer physics;  In order to do all of the crap it's original designers intended, the beast had to be huge.  The main reason, however, is part of my dedication to making spacecraft that are good adventure locations in and of themselves, not just plot devices that get characters to the action.  Like last month's offering, the Command Module, this spacecraft is designed with the Spacecraft = Dungeon concept in mind.

Spacecraft = Dungeon is an idea that I've discussed a few times in these posts, particularly when talking about my ideas for space combat.  Using some insights about dungeon design I unearthed on Ye Olde Internettes, I made the Star Turtle's interior according to the following principles:

  • Branches: The interior has three different entrances on two different levels.  Because of their locations (like the main airlock in the pic on the left), The Characters automatically must make choices on which direction to go, not knowing if their chosen path doubles back or dead-ends.
  • Circular Routes: Obviously, there are several circular routes built into the Star Turtle. The central one, around the airlock, has multiple branches, while the command section (above) is a self-contained cul-de-sac that offers multiple rooms off of the main path. Both types of circular plan offer isolated areas in the larger "dungeon" that can be explored before returning to the main branches.
  • Sandbox: Hot off the presses, the Star Turtle is a complete dungeon.  Thanks to the robots and teleoperation, GMs have lockable doors, maze-like conditions, and a small squad of ready-made henchmen available to resist greedy PCs and their nosy-ness.  BTW, a preview of the robots section of Chapter Five in The Black Desert Core Book is available in Issue 2 of D6 Magazine here. It contains stats for the Mk 9 AstroBot, Robotic Cargo arms and basic Anthroids.
      Anyway, that's all I've got today, RocketFans. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

New Coverpage Design!

...Thanks to Obsidian Dawn, whose awesome brushes were used to make this image.  Her brushes are also being used to produce background art for all future products.  I love the way it looks so far...It's like I'm making real RPGs or something!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Lunarian Freebrawler Template

  Please note that this is only a draft.
  This is a Character Template for the Lunarian FreeBrawler, one of the iconographic character types in the types in the The Black Desert.  She is one of the Inner System's elite melee an unarmed combatants in low-gravity and free-fall.  Hope you enjoy, and as always, comments are welcome.

More Ship Pics...

...Well, one more, anyway.  I completely the line work on the "Star Turtle's" port elevation and wanted to share.  She's a lot more pug-nosed than I originally intended, but I like it.  It kind of invokes the DC-3 in profile without plagiarizing. At least, I hope it does; as I've said before, iconographic spacecraft design is good design.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

July Updates...

The descendant of my new house...
         Hello again, RocketFans!

         I'm afraid that posting in the merry month of July will be a bit light (like June wasn't!) but there is a very good reason for this.  We're moving!  My lovely family and I will by the end of the week be the proud owners of our first home.  We must be moved out out of our current residence by the end of the month, as it's new owner wants to get settled before the fall. I have no problem with this; the idea of moving into a home we own outright is so exciting that it almost overrides the stress of moving itself.  Sure, the new place is just a 1993, 16x80 single-wide, but it will be ours.  The difference, for those of you who don't own homes, is profound.  For one thing, the aquaponics experiments that I had to cut short due to my illness can finally continue, and I may even start working on some solar power experiments.

          But that's another story.  My main priority, other than moving, for the rest of the month is to get the latest Ship of the Black Desert finished and in the can before the computer must be packed up.  I'll post updates on the project, but that will probably be it.  In August, I hope to be able to do more speculation on zero-gravity martial arts and other speculative projects while moving forward on the core book.

           Anyway, I'd love to stay and chat, but I've got to pack...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

July's Ship of the Black Desert Preview

It's name means "Star Turtle" in French
         I don't have much in the way of content ready to go right now...we're moving at the end of the month and the preparations are eating into available time.  Because of the deadline, I've been working on this month's PDF early in hopes of not being caught out again.  This spacecraft has a bit of a twist: There is another thruster bell in the belly that allows it to fly in the proper orientation (deck perpendicular to the thrust) while in space.

          By the way, the next issue of D6 Magazine should be out on the 13th.  An excerpt on Robots from the BD Core Book will be in it, for those who want the info.  Also, there is a bonus article with full deckplans of the MaCO from our Ships of the Galaxy series.  It uses some map elements from the SW Miniatures game from WoTC, which of course is not available for professional use.  For an article in a free magazine it way dandy; the maps really have a Star Wars feel.  Hope you like 'em, RocketFans!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th!

        For my American RocketFans, Happy 4th!  For everyone else, we have barbecue!
May the 4th be with you!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Stuff and Guns and Stuff!

         Happy Monday RocketFans!
         Turns out my nausea is caused by a sever sinus/ear infection.  How fun is that?
         This hasn't prevented my from getting some work done on The Black Desert Role-Playing Game core book, fortunately.  What follows are the fluffy bits from some of the entries in Chapter 5: Weapons & Gear:
Bruce Lee meets Arthur C. Clark

Combat Broomstick
        Luna was home to some of the most intense infantry fighting of the Great War. FreeBrawling, the no-holds-barred, low-gravity martial art that evolved from these struggled have forged the warriors of Terra's largest satellite into the most dangerous unarmed and melee combatants in space. No weapon symbolized this unique fighting style better than the Combat Broomstick.
         Like many martial arts weapons, the Broomstick is an adaptation of common tool found in low- and micro-gravity environments. The Combat Broomstick appears to be a simple tube, 150 centimeters long, with a broad pad on one end and a hard knob on the other. In the center of the tube two grips and a series of control buttons. The main body of the Combat Broomstick is made of light-weight, thermal resistant ceramics.
        One button fires an air cannon that propels the knobbed end of the Broomstick two meters outward with enough force to crack the ribs of an adult human (3D damage). There is a spring in the tube that retracts thee knobbed end after it has been fired. A ratcheted locking mechanism arrests the spring, allowing the tube to remained extended.
        The padded end also has a spring within the tube, but its use is more conventional. By pressing the appropriate button, the padded end of the Broomstick extends two meters, propelled by the spring. This spring must be manually retracted to collapse the padded end of the Broomstick. By pushing off of a surface with the spring-loaded pad, a normal-sized human can propel themselves in free fall at a speed equal to their normal move speed and then come to a gentle stop by absorbing the motion with the collapsing spring. Some versions use more powerful springs, enough to propel a human with equal speed while under Lunarian, or even Martian gravity.

 Lunarian Stunner
This cheap weapon is much more dangerous than its innocuous name suggests. By using Pulsed Energy Projectile (PEP) technology to to modify common Utility Lasers, the Lunarian freedom fighters came into possesstion of a truly formidible weapon. The PEPs themselves, which consist of brief, high-energy blasts of laser energy that vaporize material on contact, create a plasma burst strong enough to break bones and warp metal. In addition, electromagnetic pulses generated by the stunner cause incapacitating pain in any victims unfortunate enough to be shot. These EMP pulses are just as debilitating to robots, as their outer shielding is often vaporized initial PEP strike.

Utility Laser
        Just as the Colt .45 and Winchester Repeater defined the American West in the 19th century, the Utility Laser has come to define the Black Desert in the 23rd. Most often used as as a cutting or heating tool in space, the Utility Laser is nevertheless a capable sidearm in anything from full Terran gravity and pressure to vacuum.
        One of the most useful features of the Utility Laser is its SmartScreen. The 5 cm screen, mounted just above the handle, receives data from the laser's reflex aiming sight and can display visible or thermal images. The placement of the screen also protects the users' eyes from laser attacks by forcing them to look down.
         Another useful feature of the Utility Laser is its self-contained cooling system. Mounted just under the SmartScreen, a small cartridge of compressed gas vents after each shot from the Laser, cooling the sensitive electronics. The cooling system can be turned off when not needed.

        The Skinsuit is a tight-fitting coverall that uses mechanical pressure to protect people from the rigors of vacuum. While thin enough and light enough to be worn under loose clothing, the Skinsuit is made up of a complex sandwich of durable dirt-resistant fabrics, nanocarbon filaments, and integrated electronics.
        Skinsuits are fairly easy to put on and wear and are available in many sizes. This ease of use is only possible because of the suit's complex electronics. The nanocarbon filaments built into a Skinsuit are normally relaxed for everyday wear. However, they automatically contract around the wearer when the suit's integrated computer detects a drop in air pressure. Using stored data about the wearer's body topography and ergonomics, the nanocarbon strands can not only exert the correct amount of tension to prevent decompression, they can also adjust to take into account unusual body positions, wounds, and even weight gain.
        Even the most basic Skinsuits have integrated leads that constantly monitor their wearer's heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, and other vital signs. This data, when downloaded by a medical professional, allows any Medicine or Medicine: First Aid Skill Checks to be made one Difficulty Level lower than normal.
         All Skinsuit designs have a rigid collar built into the neck of the garments, which are of the same size and configuration no matter the size of the suit or who the suit's fabricator is. These collars will accept standard vacuum helmets and allow the Skinsuits to be used in airless environments. Gloves are also provided with most Skinsuit designs, but are usually only worn when needed. The suits almost always have integrated footwear, usually in the “tabi socks” style. More rugged footwear can be worn over the suits, protecting the feet in tougher terrain.
        Skinsuits are truly thought of as a “second skin” by their owners, who will often only remove them for hygiene purposes while in space. Because of this, most space suit designs place padding over certain areas for modesty.