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Topics - RusVal

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Off-Topic / [WH40k] Happy New Year
« on: July 06, 2017, 08:05:19 AM »
So, don't know if y'all know, but the newest edition of Warhammer 40k is here.  And with the continuing update of the ruleset, comes jokes about the ever unchanging setting that is 40k.  After all, it's essentially been New Years Eve of the year 40,999 for years now, with the ever stagnating Grimdark Grimdark of the Imperial Grimdark, there is only Grimdark.

Only... it's not now?  Roboute Guilliman, Primarch of the Ultramarines, has been... revived?  And he's... reforming the Imperium?!?!  Whaaaaaaaaaaat?!

Yes, it seems that Games Workshop has finally decided that the Dark Future should now finally, finally move forward in time.  So yes, the Papa Smurf of all Papa Smurfs has returned, and now there's new stuff coming out of the now greatly damaged Imperium.
For one thing, Primaris Marines, aka Space Marines 2.0!  Yes, another new elite Space Marine faction.  But it's okay, because they have actual new stuff instead of old stuff only with more bits on it!  Like a new armor design!  And an even bigger Bolter!  And... dual-wield machine gun jetpack troops.  And a hover tank with a honkin' big Gatling Bolter as a hatch weapon...
Ok, that is actually kinda awesome.  And while it's rather easy to roll one's eyes about more even better Space Marines, they actually look kinda cool.  I'll admit it, I might be actually possibly be considering getting them.  Like, in the faaaaaar back of my brain, with a low likelihood of actually happening, but it still says something that it's there!

Of course, I'm just waiting to see how the Imperial Guard can get even further screwed over.  Oh wait, Cadia's been officially completely destroyed...

Off-Topic / [Weird Possible Setting] World War II 2
« on: July 01, 2017, 06:28:13 PM »
Alright, so stop me if you've heard this before: in an alternate history, the Allies have lost World War II, leaving the Nazi Reich as rulers of the

Off-Topic / MIA Real American Heroes? (GI Joe)
« on: June 22, 2017, 06:21:50 PM »
To clarify right at the start, I'm not talking about the Spycraft 2.0 setting, I'm talking the actual GI Joe franchise.  Which is ironic, since the fact that I need to clarify that is the part of the point of this thread.

I mean, let's be honest here, when I say "GI Joe", most if not all of the people here know who I'm talking about, right?  They are such an ingrained part of US culture that they are a saying in and of themselves.  "Playing with your GI Joes, eh?"  "That guy looks like a walking, talking GI Joe."

So I'm in Wall-Mart, and just out of a case of nostalgic curiosity I decide to check out the action figure section (and totally not because I was looking at LEGOs beforehand and got bored), and I was greeted by the expected brands.  Transformers, various superheroes, a few movie-themed ones... But then a thought dawned on me, so I looked closer.

No GI Joe.  Admittedly, one can easily assume otherwise, because there was a prominent display of military action figures right in the center.  But these weren't GI Joes.  They were one of those more budget-y action figures, like the kind you would find in a Dollar Store, or hanging around randomly in a grocery store to help parents keep their kids quiet.  Admittedly these were of a bit higher quality, but their name was painfully generic.  Corps Force, or some such thing.

Now that's weird, I thought, I know for a fact that GI Joe is still around.  There was that big comic book cross-over event, and I REMEMBER seeing some figures in a store not too long ago.

Naturally, being the rational person I keep insisting that I am to people (;)), I immediately thought that I was probably just failing my search check, or the store just didn't have any in stock that day.  So, when I got home, I decided to do a web search.  Went to Hasbro's official website, went to the products section, clicked the very obvious GI Joe logo, and...

You can see yourself.  As of this post, 0 items found.

Ok, not necessarily weird.  Not the first time a non-video game website has been a bit behind on it's own news (not sarcasm, this is actually a thing).  Back it up a bit, Google GI Joe.  Ah, Toy's R Us.  Gotta have a nice stock, right?  One "zombie" figure, a bunch of Vinyls blind boxes, a "Pimp Daddy" Destro bobblehead (I am not kidding), and some DVDs of the most recent movies.  Wal-Mart official site?  Ah, naturally, they have all sorts of stuff.  Must have been out of stock.  And yet... as I sort through it, nothing really jumped out as "new", just a bunch of random stuff from the last couple of years.

Now now, this is the internet, just need to know where to look.  Ah, YoJoe and an "official GI Joe Club".  So it seems there's a bunch of conventions that are still going, with figures released exclusively at each.  And there's a few newer figures in the "regular" line.  And yet a lack of ones "for sale".  And I don't remember seeing many of these listed on the Wall Mart site.

Twitter, gotta be a Twitter, everyone's got Twitter.  Nope.  Got one for the convention, but not the Joes.  Hasbro has one nice and steady, and while Transformers is focused on the movie release, that's at least something.  Facebook?  GI Joe Retaliation is the last update (specifically Channing Tatum's birthday, but still the connection).

Ok, Wikipedia.  Updates like molasses, and you need to double-check everything, but someone might have updated recently.  After GI Joe Retaliation, there was the 50th anniversary series, and that's about it for info.
...and clicking the link to the official website boots you to the Hasbro homepage.

...What the heck?  Where are the Joes?  It's not like there's no market, there's literally a knock-off brand right there in the aisle.  And right around the corner are Call of Duty Megablocks.  And next to that are Halo Megablocks, which we know half of is the USMC IN SPACE!!  Was that it?  Competition?  Call of Duty's so big, that it's toys killed off the brand?  That can't be it, since there is still a market for more classic military action figures, because there's literally a knock-off brand right there in the aisle.

Was it the failed movies and video game?  Ok, that's fair, Hasbro has a very cruddy record when pushing outside their comfort zone (action figures and kid shows).
...But they shouldn't have.  I mean, even just putting aside the obvious bandwagon that was the glut of modern military shooters, there's also XCOM, a game where the developers literally called the style "GI Joe-like".  And okay, the top-down shooter you did bombed, but it could still work.  Y'all see Renegade Ops?  That mustache don't lie, yo.  Though considering the sales of that game... yeah, maybe staying away from top-down stuff would be better. :P

So has GI Joe gone the way of Starship Troopers?  A franchise that has provided inspiration for so much modern entertainment, only to find itself falling ever deeper into obscurity, failed revivals, and the rare cameo?
...Actually, that sounds like an episode outro.  To the worst cliffhanger in history.

Off-Topic / Little Painted People: Miniatures News
« on: April 08, 2017, 10:47:46 PM »
Decided to start up a miniature thread in the Off Topic section, so it doesn't necessarily get buried somewhere else.

So anyway, Corvus Belli's got a number of awesome minis in their Infinity Wargame range, mostly in the style of cyberpunk and sleek mecha design.

Not to mention a *Cough* interesting take in biomechanics.



But anyway, while the setting is very much sci-fi, it also comes with a unique twist in that it also includes a "transplanted" 21st century world of Russians, Scots, French, and Americans who also have to deal with werewolves.  And two years ago they finally released the American faction (USARF) to much acclaim.  However, this being Corvus Belli, they tend to take a while in releasing sculpts for all of their options.

They've now released info on the new Minutemen weapon options.  And they look badass.  Definitely something work considering for a SpecOps team in a Spycraft game.

Off-Topic / Augment-less: The Next Stage of Cyberpunk?
« on: March 22, 2017, 04:24:20 AM »
So I'm mulling over the new Utopian goals in the upcoming Stellaris expansion, thinking about all the story possibilities, when a weird thought occurred to me:  In new media that can be considered in the "Cyberpunk" category, or at the very least heavily influenced by said genre, have you noticed a distinct lack of actual cybernetic implants?  And before you jump in with examples, I would like to clarify "new media" as stuff without direct connection to a previous franchise.  The Robocop remake, the Deus Ex prequels, etc. have certain expectations to meet.  What I mean is stuff that is fairly recent that can be considered "new IP".

For clarification, the stuff I'm thinking about include:

- Neill Blomkamp movies (Elysium and Chappie in particular)
- Titanfall 1 & 2
and plenty others that I'm sure someone will bring up.

In addition, now that I think about it, there's also franchises that have "changed" into the cyberpunk genre, without "needing" to add those elements:
- XCOM 2 (after all DLC in particular)
- Call of Duty: A&IW(will dive deeper into this in a bit)

Now, to be clear, I'm not saying that Cybernetic augmentations, implants and replacements, are going away completely.  On the contrary, with the large number of remakes and sequels to classic Cyberpunk franchises, it's safe to say that they will be around for a good long time.  There's even Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, with it's "modern" take on cybernetics.  However, what I'm suggesting is that there seems to be an interesting evolution of the genre, one that is remarkably lacking in limb replacement.

Think about this for a minute: In those examples I gave up above, what is usually the source for increased physical capabilities?


Sure, some of them require a surgical connection to a nervous system to function, but usually that's the extent.  People still have their flesh and bones (or in CoD: Advanced Warfare's case, a rather meh arm replacement), they just help them a bit with a robot shell.  Even Deus Ex, the quintessential Cyberpunk staple, introduced the extensive usage of exo-suits in their most recent game as a sort of counter-culture to the previous one.

And what about this: What element is most common in all those examples above?

Robots.  Mostly with droids, but sometimes with one struggling with human level self-awareness.

Probably the best example of this shift comes from a game that usually isn't used in the same sentence: XCOM.

Now I know what you're thinkin', "ooooh RusVal's talking XCOM, what a surprise", but hear me out.

In EU, the aliens had a clear example of cybernetics in the Floaters, which one character even calls out about.  Similarly, even the aliens that could be considered "robots" (Cyberdisk, Sectopod, and so on) are implied to have some form of biological element to their processers, possibly even being a silicon based lifeform (I think I spelled that right).
In EW, they introduce MECs, which require the implicit chopping off of human limbs to function.  And they include the alien version of it, with the Mectoid.  They even go out of their way to change Shen's (the said character's) line about it.

Then comes XCOM 2, a game so heavily Cyberpunk it hurts.  And yet... Okay, a chip in the brain in the ADVENT grunts, a chip for civilians... the Archangel is definitely a cyborg, but it's to an extent where its hard to tell were the bio ends and the metal begins.  The Berserker has shed their armor, and seem to be running on injection ports.  The robots are definitely robots now, with no implication that there's anything organic inside them (and at one point they even say that Sectopods don't actually have a pilot, despite what the troops had thought).  And over in XCOM, MECs have been replaced by SPARKs, a completely robotic unit with an advanced AI, one of which is the very much self-aware (yet *ahem* reformed) Julian.  And for the squishy meat-bags, a nice new set of EXO-suits for them to wear!

So I hope y'all get what I'm trying to get at, in that it seems that Cyberpunk seems to be going in an interesting "Post-Post" direction.  Any ideas why that might be, and what do you think about it?

Off-Topic / Tantalizing, Yet Unused, Story Threads
« on: September 25, 2016, 04:35:17 PM »
You've all probably come across something like this at some point at least once.  You're watching a show/movie, playing a game, reading a story, and something pops up.  For the purposes of the story itself, it is rather minor, or it is major, but despite holding potential, is never brought up ever again.  Either way, you can see something that would be awesome, something grand, if only the ones holding the purse weren't so blind to it.

And, y'know, sometimes you need somewhere to vent.  Maybe someone will see this, and do something about it, or it'll just stew in this little corner of the net.  But I say, to heck with it.

What little story threads have you come across in your trip through pop culture that you believe would make an awesome idea, but were never explored?

Off-Topic / POW! BAM! BIFF! Comics 2016
« on: August 21, 2016, 11:14:07 PM »
Huh.  Did you know that Hasbro's getting into the "Shared Universe" game?  I just found out when I checked out the GIJoe trope page.  Naturally, there is no MLP.  Though the XCOM fanfic crossover does make the idea seem interesting.  And hilarious under the right circumstances.

Off-Topic / Happy 240th, America!
« on: July 04, 2016, 04:25:23 PM »
And here's praying for a miracle that will let us see the 241st! :P

Oh well, have some cool America related internet stuffs to celebrate:

Corvus Belli recently revealed the Unknown Ranger, a hero character for the USAriadna Ranger Forces in Infinity.  He's basically Captain America.

Spoiler: show

“Old Rangers never die, they regroup in hell and kill the enemy twice.”
Supposed motto of the Unknown Ranger.

The Unknown Ranger is a legend born in the trenches during the Separatist Wars. A story told by soldiers, at night, by the tenuous light of cigarettes. The story of a Ranger officer who saw all of the men under his command die during a special operation that failed. Wounded and left for dead, this Ranger made the solemn oath to consecrate his life to honoring his fallen comrades and to help any USAriadnan soldier who needed aid. Crossed off of the list of actives, and with his face always covered, no one knows who he is or what he looks like, he has become a symbol that represents all of the anonymous Rangers who have fought for USAriadna. An unknown hero, a deniable resource for the Department of Defense, invisible to the system, nonexistent in the registries, the perfect asset. An isolated operative is the incarnation of the doctrine of the Special Operations Command of the USARF: “a Ranger in the right place, at the right time, can affect the entire course of a war”. The legend says that he is immortal and that although he has been seen to fall on the battlefield, he will always return from death at the moments of his country's need, raising his shield to protect his brothers in arms. The Unknown Ranger is credited with breaking the siege of the Decatur base during the Separatist Wars, the death of Chief Ice Back in the Second Antipode Offensive and the success of the defense of Deadwood at the end of the Ariadnan Commercial Conflicts, but his legend and reputation go further still. Many claim to have seen him in the middle of the heat of battle, when defeat seems inevitable, taking command and turning the tables of combat, converting a desperate situation into another victory, and disappearing in the smoke when it had all finally ended.

And you thought I was exaggerating.

I also want to take a chance to highlight a few songs from the Tom Clancy's Endwar Online soundtrack.  Namely, ones (Freedom on the Horizon and Overload) composed by Jeff Broadbent.  If you don't know, he's done work in a number of games, including Planetside 2, with tracks such as the very American NC main theme.  They are all awesome.

Happy 4th of July, everyone!

CIA recently released declassified documents detailing investigations into extra-terrestrial life.  They even split up the documents into two categories: Mulder and Scully.

Found out about this via XCOM twitter, so it's probably legit.  Probably. :P

Off-Topic / Once more unto the Holiday Breach!
« on: December 25, 2015, 02:34:20 PM »
Happy Winterveil, ya sneaky bunch of pretend spies, you!  Pretty mellow over my way, aside from me getting help getting a new computer (yay!).  Hope everyone here has a safe, happy holidays.

A company is a military unit, typically consisting of 80–250 soldiers and usually commanded by a captain or a major. Most companies are formed of three to six platoons, although the exact number may vary by country, unit type, and structure.

Firaxis has doubled down on character customization in XCOM 2.  Correction, they have quaded down on character customization in XCOM 2.  If you want a quick glimpse at all the options available, look here (6:45).  Add to that you have full control of what gender and nationality your soldier is, a way to determine what class they become, the ability to create not only engineers and scientists, but mission critical people (VIPs, enemys, etc.), as well as save your characters into a pool for future playthroughs, and you suddenly have a self-modifying single-player RP experience in a box.

Now when XCOM: EU hit, I had made a token attempt at getting people to post up some characters to share for each other to possibly use.  Reaction was... mixed.  For sure we all posted some versions of ourselves and out favorite creations, but for this second outing, I'm shooting higher.  Much, much, higher.

I challenge the creative minds of the Crafty Games forums to (collectively) create a Company-sized worth of XCOM troops.  Make them as colorful as you want, for Firaxis has provided us the tools to go wild if we so wish.  Use past RP characters if you want, or go completely new, for the goal, as the quote above stats, is 80-250 people.

Surely we could come up with 250 people.  ;)

Just a few things to take note before we start:
- We do not know all the cosmetic options we will have available.
- We only know about 4 of the 5 classes we will get in the game, and even then only a basic outline of what they will be able to do.
- We only have the starting equipment to plan for, as well as a smattering of upgrades we can give people.

So we might want to add or modify as more information trickles in.  Don't be afraid to edit an old post if a more fitting portrayal of a character comes along.

I am currently running in my head the structure we should probably use:

Spoiler: Name of a squad of 4 • show

-Name of character, [M/F] Nationality Class (or Subclass if you have a specific idea)
"Character quote"
Spoiler: visual stats (pending for now, until we actually get the options) • show

For simplicity:
Race- x
Voice- x [accent or foreign]
Head- x
Hair color- x
Skin color- x

Description and Background.  Be as in-depth or vague as you like, but try to give a general idea of personality and look.  How does your character do their hair?  Do they like hats?  Are they allergic to sleeves?  Do they wear a monocle (for real, that is an option)?  We even have a "personality" option to choose from, so are they happy-go-lucky, or a bit twitchy?  Go as nuts as you want, since we have "Civilians, Combat Vets, and everything in between" to choose from.

All right, that's all my brain can handle for now.  Let's get ready to take back the Earth, shall we.  ;D

Spoiler: Skill Tree Videos (By ChristopherOdd) • show

Beaglerush Customization video

Off-Topic / Nations. In. SPAAAAAAAAAAAAACE
« on: February 01, 2015, 02:38:43 PM »
So, Stars and Stripes Raynor's flavor text reads as thus:

While the United States Space Force successfully rescued their colonists from the Koprulu sector, Colonel James Raynor couldn't shake the feeling those monsters would follow them to Earth.

And the general reaction is "haha, look at that guy, all covered in the American flag and everything", in a generally friendly way.  Wink wink, nudge nudge, Team America World Police reference.

The thing its, when you think about it: how many space sci-fi settings do you know where a modern nation is a major driving force in general.  Sure, we have multinational collectives, we have expies with the serial numbers barely scratched off, and we have complete replacements.  But how many can you name off the top of your head that has America, Great Britain, Russia (in whatever form), China, etc. still going on about their independent business, only the business has spread out into outer space?

I'm willing to bet you can only use one hand to count: Aliens (United States Colonial Authority), a tabletop game based on Aliens... and I'm blanking at the moment.  Civ: BE's factions are close, since they are still regional, but they are also multinational. Halo's UNSC and Mass Effect's Alliance has the nations essentially turn over all control to this overarching collective, so they don't count.

I mean, sure, it would make sense that once humanity reaches the stars, the world will be different than it is today.  However, one thing people forget is that, while Great Britain is not nearly as powerful as it was 200 years ago, it still exists, and is still a player in the global arena.  And sure, it will probably be better for nations to pool their resources if we hope to make it to the stars, but it is possible for us to go there while still maintaining our current national identities.  Might not be likely, but its possible.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

Off-Topic / Reaperwatch 2015
« on: December 31, 2014, 08:53:15 AM »
Nothing to see here yet.  Move along.

Off-Topic / [Discussion] Overlapping Masquerades
« on: November 08, 2014, 10:13:00 PM »
Don't you find it interesting how, whenever a setting has a masquerade that hides some form of supernatural element from a "normal" world, that the masquerade is... remarkably all encompassing, no matter how varied said supernatural elements are.  If you happen to be the lucky ones who are "in the know" it is a good chance that you will find all of it eventually.  And, strangely enough, said elements will all "fit" together in one unifying whole, no matter how unrelated they would seem to be at first glance.

For instance, if a setting has an established off-world presence, then almost all supernatural elements will be, or will most likely be, related to space aliens of some type.  Gods are aliens, strange creatures are aliens, wacky science will be well known and catalogued by aliens.
If the setting is more "fantasy", however, suddenly nothing is from outer space.  Gods are actually gods, strange creatures are mythically terrestrial, and all wacky science is actually magic of some form.  Even space aliens are actually terrestrial creatures that have been "mistakenly mislabeled by a faithless modern world".

Really, the time that this really struck me was an episode of Grimm that deals with their version of "the Greys".  In it, the Greys are actually a very rare type of Wesen who are able to glow in the dark.  Their wives also get... really weird pregnancy cravings, hence cattle mutilations.  While I was watching this episode, it struck me that they were essentially closing the book on any possibilities of UFOs being alien in nature, even going so far as to portray UFO hunters as actually actual hunters of this specific Wesen. 
In fact, I think the actual chance of aliens of any type to show up to be around 0.000000000001%, and that's probably going to mark itself as the "jump the shark moment" for the show.

But as I sat there, watching that episode, I thought to myself: "What if the SG-1 program existed in this universe?"
What if, all the while that those Royals were doing their little conspiracy shtick, with the heroes trying there best to keep things together in an increasingly strange world, that tucked away under a mountain is a secret military program are doing their best to protect the Earth from an overwhelming alien threat with little to no connection, and possibly little to no knowledge, to what's going on with the former supernatural elements?  How would that work?

Then I tried to worldbuild such a setting and realized that it was a time-saving measure.  It's one thing keeping track of those who "know the secret" and who "don't know the secret", but when it comes down to "doesn't know", "knows secret A", "knows secret B", and "knows secret A & B", then it becomes a lot more complex.

However, there's a bunch of smart people on this forum, most probably a lot smarter in the matters of keeping secrets.  How do you think such a setting would work?

The rules:
1.) There must be a normal, modern day world that is in the dark.
2.) There must be at least two world-wide fantastical elements in play.  I used a Fantasy/Sci-Fi dynamic example because it's a classic clash, but it doesn't have to be that.  For instance, there could be Werewolf covens and a Wizarding community, or inter-planetary travelers and a super-science military war.  Or even all four at once.
3.) The fantastical elements must play little to no part in the other elements.  Werewolves were not created by wizards, aliens, or a military science experiment if those elements are separately in play, for instance.
4.) The fantastical elements must, by and large, not know about the other elements.  Some individuals might have a clearer view of the "whole picture", but the point is that these are completely isolated worlds, yet are strangely connected to this one.
3A & 4A.) That is not to say that you can't mix together elements if you want.  Wizards might be able to travel to other planets, and Werewolves might be an integral part of the secret war.  However, there must be at least two that are unrelated to each other.  So those planet-hopping Wizards don't know about the Werewolves piloting MECHs around the shadows of the muggle world.

So what are you fine people's thoughts?  Is it as difficult as I think it is?  Could you come up with a setting that follows those rules?  Do you have examples of such settings that already exist (and I'm sure someone's going to point out comic books)?

Off-Topic / The Third Decade
« on: August 10, 2014, 10:16:18 AM »
I shall be starting it one year from today.  Around-ish.  Congratulate me.  Please.

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