Newsletter June 2017

Alysianah’s World of Star Citizen Subscriber Newsletter

NEWS

Female Avatars are Coming

Over the past couple of months, we’ve been seeing more and more about CIG’s progress on character customizations, which has also yielded glimpses of the female avatar. As a woman that “plays” her character in games and writes fiction-like tales about my adventures, having a female avatar is paramount. Even with the limited customization, we’re likely to see initially, I’m delighted about the prospect of selecting and customizing a female avatar.

As I’ve said before, my journey in MMOs is always a personal one that manifests itself as blog posts, stories, and pictorial vignettes. Seeing a representation that I picked and suits my tastes is an important element. Thus far, I’ve been using my EVE avatar as my character’s likeness. It will be great to finally create her first iteration in Star Citizen.

Route Planning – Know Your Limits

When I’m doing the logistics included in my short stories, I endeavor to make them factually accurate according to the current configuration of the ARK Starmap. I, of course, use my own tool, the Route Planner on Aly’s World because the ARK Starmap doesn’t actually return all possible paths. I could figure it out manually using one of the maps various other content creators have made but you might be surprised to know how many paths there are between two star systems.

Doing research for Journey to Stanton, it finally hit me that you can’t arrive at all UEE systems without traveling through unclaimed or dangerous ones. This may become problematic for players seeking a PVE focused experience. For example, getting my character from Tanga to Stanton required that she travel through at least one unclaimed territory. As such, it’s a potentially more dangerous star system.

In a scenario for another story, it finally dawned on me that large ships simply can’t reach all destinations. I suppose that’s like “Duh!” but the realization hadn’t set it yet, as someone who owns larger ships. To date, we don’t know the actual size criteria for small, medium and large ships to correspond with the jump point sizes, other than the Freelancer is supposedly the largest in the “small” category.

These size limitation will require lots of logistics planning for ship captains. Not only will it determine where you can’t take that ship but it impacts the number of star systems you must traverse when you can only utilize medium or large jump points. This, in turn, translates into more travel time and fuel costs. I would also think that traversing more star systems increases the probability of running into an aggressor.

I was researching a story involving the 890 Jump and was planning to have Helios as one of the ports of call. Only to realize that depending on how the 890 is classified in terms of jump point size, it might not be technically possible. Helios only supports up to medium sized ships. So while there are 893 possible routes to get from Sol to Helios. That’s an insane number, isn’t it?? You can’t get there with a large ship. You also can’t start in a UEE system and get to another UEE system only passing through UEE systems.

I’m intrigued by the impact jump point sizes will have on travel logistics. AND how the community will react to those limitations once the realizations hit. Are any of your plans likely to be impacted by ship size? What will you do if your ship can’t go through the gate required for your ultimate destination? I can think of a couple of things, neither of which will be quick or convenient.

COMMENTARY

Small Ship I’m Most Excited to Own

Without a doubt, the Drake Herald is the small career ship I’m most excited about flying. There isn’t even a close second anymore. This ship and my fascination with it, speaks loudly about how I often play MMOs.

Confession time, I solo MMOs and I profoundly enjoy doing so. I know. I know. This preference is anathema to more traditional players. I don’t ask or expect the game mechanics to be changed to accommodate me. I don’t kick people in teeth for inviting me to do group content. I’m not antisocial. What I am is on a journey that is best served alone – a good bit of the time.

I like doing my own thing, at my own pace, enjoying the story that evolves in my head. I often take the scenic route versus the fastest. I like to figure things out for myself versus looking them up on the internet. I want to enjoy the ride not hurry to max level. I need downtime after work and family responsibilities and then, I have the time and desire to do content with others. But I will always leave time to end a gaming session doing something alone.

All that said, I have a large fleet of multi-crew ships that excite me more than the Herald. I can’t wait to travel the ‘verse with family, friends, and org mates. I look forward to the group shenanigans we’ll invent. However, when it comes time to do my own thing, I plan on doing that in the Herald.

As a professional in the Business Intelligence field for many years, first as a practitioner and now as a senior product manager, I’m fascinated by the idea of being an Info Agent. I’ve always believed that information is power with the ability to make or break. I’m curious to see how the mechanic will be employed in Star Citizen. Although my natural alignment is chaotic good, I’m willing to at least stretch into chaotic neutral during my adventures.

I like that the Herald can be run solo and that’s the plan for the most part. However, it’s equally great that I can take a friend along if someone’s interested and I have the time. Equally compelling is that the ship can also serve a reconnaissance and/or electronic warfare role in group operations. It’s the best of all worlds in flexibility – solo, duo, and group opportunities. Here’s crossing fingers, eyes, and toes, that the mechanics are implemented well. This is likely the first career I’ll pursue in the released game. As a career, I think the output has the strong potential to inform other careers such as science, exploration and resource collection which benefits a wide variety of other ships. What’s your favorite small career ship? What career do you plan to take on first when Star Citizen releases?

Inspiration Behind Journey to Stanton

I consume a lot of science fiction and fantasy content. Books, audiobooks, movies, cable shows, and podcasts are staples in my entertainment collective. In recent years, I’ve become enamored with narrated drama podcasts because they’re serialized, designed to be consumed in small bites and can be enjoyed while performing other tasks.

My Star Citizen content takes on many faces, two of which are narrated fiction. CIG’s fiction that I record from their Discovered series and my own fan-fiction on Nightbus. On several occasions, I’ve considered dramatizing these in the style of old-time radio to produce what’s now being called audio drama, by amping up dialogue aspect, collaborating with others for voice-overs, and including meaningful sound effects. It would take considerably more work to produce the show. It’s time I barely have but the idea wouldn’t let me alone.

I knew that I wanted to write a story that continued Cami’s tale from Chop Shop and move the story closer to the star system we all know the most about – Stanton. I also wanted it to be a different listening experience than the first time. After much consideration, I decided to dip a toe into the audio drama realm by including different narrators. This would make the production more complicated so I tried to simplify that by keeping the audio for each person in a single block. Hence the strategy of writing the story from four distinct perspectives. The story/script is now with all of the character narrators. I’m excited to see how this all turns out. Depending on the response I might continue this particular story in an audio drama format, as a trial. You can read the short story, Journey to Stanton, in the Fan Fiction section on Aly’s World.


Newsletter May 2017 - Piece by Piece

Alysianah’s World of Star Citizen Subscriber Newsletter

ALY’S WORLD UPDATES

Prod Schedule: Piece by Piece

I’m starting a new series of articles that will run exclusively in Star Citizen Nightbus. The articles will be a deep dive into the Star Citizen Production Schedule. As Alpha participants, the schedule is what’s driving the content we are going to experience in the coming months. It’s the angel delivering the ships and features we’re all excited about. The hammer raining down blows of disappointment when things shift out. The war drum echoing shouts of despair when aspects aren’t explicitly included.

Because of the power it wields over what we get to experience and when, I think it warrants a detailed review, versus a high-level glossy treatment in a quickie video. In the series we’ll discuss the work being developed by month and feature type, delving into what that means for game mechanics and new content, and pay special attention to the timelines that are bundled into release candidates.

My aim is to present the Production Schedule material in an educational and entertaining format. The first of this series will appear in The Star Citizen Nightbus Episode 5.

Producing Episodes More Frequently

I’ve been blogging about the games I play for 15+ years. I enjoy writing guides and tutorials to help players get the most out of their gaming experience. Many of us are busy adults with demanding lives. We don’t have time to fumble around in the dark during the time we’ve allocated for entertainment and relaxation.

For Star Citizen, I’ve expanded what I normally do by creating Alysianahsworld.com and producing two YouTube shows. I’d like to do more – more shows, fiction, and lore. However, like everyone else, there are only 24 hours in my day, part of which belong to career and family. Math being what it is, I can’t do more unless some things start taking less time.

Surprisingly and quite unfortunately, it takes more time to produce the shows than writing and recording them. Editing audio, gathering relevant images and footage takes twice as much time as writing and recording. However, they’re necessary elements for my vision.

To help cut back on one aspect, videos and images, I’m starting to build and catalog as much as I can in advance. Particularly, trying to find game footage that’s generic in nature but pleasant to look at. Methods of focusing on minutia in an interesting way that can be shot for longer durations since the content available to us at the moment is limited. So far it’s proving painless to gather the footage as I’m able to do it whenever I have moments to spare versus trying to setup specific scenarios. I need to review a tutorial on using the new camera options too so I can use those techniques to add visual variety. Hopefully, viewers find this approach acceptable in exchange for being able to have episodes released more frequently.

Upcoming Shows

  • Nightbus EP5 – Production Schedule Piece by Piece series & The Exterminator: Part One
  • Nightbus EP6 – The Exterminator: The Conclusion
  • Causal Citizen EP29 – Cold Case Files and Review of Flight-Ready Bounty Hunter Ships

COMMENTARY

Tone Deaf

Oh CIG, if there’s a loose thread you unravel it. A wobbly floorboard you trip and fall. Sometimes it’s too evident that passing years and what should be lessons learned, still haven’t steadied your feet. The cringe is real. I’m here for the game so little else matters to me but it sure would be nice for the non-development gaffes to end. CR’s wonderfully expressed and inspiring emails can’t cure all ills.

CIG marketing efforts at times come off as being tone deaf to the fact that they have an extremely vocal, emotional and fickle backer community. And while we should concede all quality of life issues and bugs in the game at this point in the development lifecycle, marketing shouldn’t still be in alpha mode.

The latest gaffe is the 2017 Referral Program Contest. Backers have been waiting for and hearing that an exciting restructuring has been in the works. I think most expected new ranks in the existing program, options for different rewards for the existing ranks and/or something fun that a majority of backers could work toward. Unfortunately, that’s not what was unveiled.

I think if the lower ranked rewards announced had been added into the existing program many would have been happy. Or at least not as WTF outraged about them being included in a timed event. I think if the top rewards for the contest had been announced separately – on its own as part of an annual contest for the referral program it would have gone down smoother. And if the coupe de gras misstep of then promoting the codes of a handful of people hadn’t occurred, fewer pitchforks would have been raised. Unfortunately, when you combine all of the above into one colossal misstep, it seems as though you don’t know this community at all. And when that’s followed closely by a price change twice on the BMM within days of each other because the first increase communicated was wrong, one has to ask WTF are you doing?

It seems as though CIG has learned the type of information the community at large wants to hear about and see in the weekly shows. Bravo! Anyone who’s still complaining about the shows needs to f— off. Every episode can’t be Christmas. Now it’s time for the people involved in marketing and communications AT ALL LEVELS rise to the same level. There’s a bubble up there that needs bursting. They need to consider what they’re doing from this side of the aisle BEFORE they do it.

They have Evocati for testing. Perhaps they need to preview marketing type stuff under NDA with a handful of backers as well. Most any of them could have told them that the Referral Contest wasn’t going to go down well after being touted as a restructuring of the referral program itself, which it was not.

I love CIG – the passion, commitment and hard work that’s easy to see. However, that doesn’t blind me to areas that need improvement — and quickly.

THE ‘VERSE

Excerpt from The Exterminator

On a dilapidated space station, a by-the-book bounty hunter’s personal ethos is challenged when he arrives to conduct a routine vagrant arrest.

“John James, plain name, simple life,” John introduced himself. Followed by “Or you can call me JJ. I’ve no preference.” He reached across the bar toward Maggie and gave her hand a friendly shake.

Maggie immediately warmed to his disarming smile. Was it a trick of the light or did his eyes sparkle? “On drugs more like,” she thought to herself. Shit! She might have to find someone else. But he’d come so highly recommended. She stepped from behind the bar to join him on the other side.

Maggie was deep into her fifties with spiky gray hair she kept long on the top and cut close on the sides and at the back. The lines on her face and circles under her eyes aged her beyond her years. But the fact that she’d been a beauty in her youth was evident.

Maggie and John were standing at the bar of Maggie’s Red Dragon pub, a popular hangout on Grim Hex. The public space was a large rectangular room divided into distinct quadrants. The decor was a cheap gaudy attempt at the Asian Revival decor that had been popular two or more decades ago. Circular black and white rice paper chandeliers with missing panels hung from the ceiling. Scarred wooden dragons acted as vertical beams, the blood red paint chipped and faded. The once gold and purple lotus patterned carpet was now threadbare.

To be continued…

Star Citizen fan-fiction set on Grim Hex, debuting in Star Citizen Nightbus Episode 5.


Volume 1.1: 2017 and Beyond

Alysianah’s World of Star Citizen Patron Newsletter

STAR CITIZEN COMMENTARY

IS IT ENOUGH?

I often wonder if a science fiction MMO is going to be enough to satiate my gaming needs. To date, only fantasy has held that position.  Although  I’ve played EVE Online on and off for many years, it has never risen to being my primary MMO. There’s something personal, exciting and visceral about combat in fantasy games. Whether it’s sword-and-board or magic, it’s your character that is the star of the action. There’s very little between you and your foes. For my own tastes, I always partake in crafting and the economy to help ground my character as a citizen of that world.

In science fiction, advanced technology is required. It’s the star of the encounter, much more so than the avatar. And the weaponry can be rather mundane – fancier rifles and pistols. I don’t play FPS games. Those types of encounters don’t appeal to me.

I’m sure that Star Citizen is going to rise above any other science fiction MMO that has ever come to market in terms of having fantastical worlds, creatures, and settings.  Our adventures will vacillate between deep space and planetary.  And still, I have this small concern that I won’t feel the same attraction as I do, to the organic interactions of fantasy settings. I’m certainly hoping that’s not the case. I putting a lot of eggs in this basket. I don’t have any other MMO on the near horizon that I’m following or looking forward to getting. The genre as a whole has stagnated. Here’s hoping that Star Citizen IS enough!

MISTAKES WERE MADE

I didn’t think I wanted to keep the Caterpillar as a full-time member of my ship fleet. Even for all its versatility, the modules duplicate roles readily available in my other ships. And I’m not particularly a fan of Drake ships in general. I melted one of my floater ships and kicked in the additional $90USD needed to get on temporarily, by upgrading from the Gladius I was rewarded by the referral program. It’s the first time I’ve done so. I don’t want the Gladius per say and it’s just sitting there so why not?  I often get the new ships coming in a patch temporarily to do a ship review and provide more variety of in-game footage for my vidcasts. So doing this much wasn’t unusual.

The first problem reared its head when I couldn’t refund (melt) the Caterpillar when I was done. I was like WTF??? It appears that melting is disabled on ship upgraded from a reward ship but there’s nothing that warns you about that during the upgrade process. Hrm. With the Caterpillar duplicating what I already had, I wasn’t very keen to keep it, especially since I’d melted something else for it. In a bit of panic, I reviewed possible holes in my fleet for what I could upgrade the Caterpillar to that might provide me more value. The closest was the Starfarer which although not excited by it, it could be a good addition for supplying my own fuel and testing out the mechanic when it’s introduced into the persistent universe. So I upgraded to that… And then I remember fudge, I have the LTI version as a buy-back option, so why on earth do I want this one that I’m not excited about when if I want it in the first place, I might as well have the LTI version. *Sigh* Mistakes were made.

I put in a Customer Support ticket to ask about not being warned that you’re stuck with a ship if you upgrade from a reward ship and if that can be credited back to my account aka please melt this thing for me. I’m hoping they can oblige. I’d just as soon have the ship I melted to play with the Caterpillar back anyway versus the Starfarer. If they can’t, meh, it’s not the end of the world.

STAYING ON TRACK

My friends and my boss at work constantly ask me how I get so much done in my personal life. They know the demanding job I have, my family responsibilities and yet, I have time to accomplish quite a bit with my hobbies. I credit this ability with being very organized and a bit anal about keeping task lists. However, I think my ability to go above and beyond in 2016 is due to keeping a Bullet Journal.

I ran across this tool in mid-2016. It’s like a more personalized version of using the Franklin Covey system, something I practiced for many years of my career. Bullet Journals run the gambit of being glorified tasks lists to being life planners. I went the route of life planner.

I read somewhere a long time ago that if you’re not working on your future plans today, they’ll never be realized. I organized a Bullet Journal that looks at Life Goals, 5-Year Goals, 2-Year Goals and then has objectives from each of my things to do This Year Plan, where the detailed tasks reside. In 2016, I found this to be an amazing method of accomplishing important tasks while also ensuring that I was working toward where I want to be, in addition to keeping “today” on track. I credit my Bullet Journal for getting Alysianah’s World off the ground and steadily moving it forward to my dream end-state.

My 2107 tasks use the same formula of pulling goals from my forward-looking desires while keeping this year on track in my personal life, gaming life and hopefully broader voice over narration hobby. If you’re looking for something to help you stay organized, give Bullet Journals a try. My Journal is a Google Sheet so that I can have ubiqutious access to it.

ALY’S WORLD NEWS

WELCOME 2017

Although the Star Citizen universe is celebrating the arrival of the year 2947, my feet are firmly planted in 2017. I have two big initiatives planned for Alysianah’s World that I hope people will enjoy and appreciate.

Aly’s world 1.0 released in August of 2016. Since that time I’ve done 3 major updates to the site features in an effort to continue evolving the use of the physical world represented in the official ARK Starmap, combined with the official lore and canon, to aide backers in logistics planning for player careers. Making the lore more easily accessible, is also helpful for those interesting in it for entertainment purposes. As well as using it for reference material when working on fan fiction.

In 2017, I want to refine what’s currently available by enhancing its usability and improving the website’s overall performance. The one big feature update currently on the drawing board is to add a more flexible Jump Planner module. While this type of feature isn’t needed in the current alpha, it will take quite some time to build my particular vision of one. For that reason, I’m starting early.

Another huge focus will be providing more content – more news, information, articles and lore turning it to an entertainment resource for all things SC related. For the majority of 2016, most of my time that was allocated to the website was for development. This year, I want to shift that to providing more actual content. Providing content is what I enjoy most and huge incentive for creating Aly’s World in the first place. It’s time to start furnishing the rooms.

In December I was able to launch The Star Citizen NightBus, a more casual vidcast about Star Citizen that uses an Op-Ed format and includes fan fiction. I’m also looking into doing an internet radio channel of sorts via Twitch somewhere around the 2nd quarter of the year. And I’m also collaborating with the SCLoreCast group to narrate more official lore and fiction.

Thank you so much for the support during the journey. I’m looking forward to continued growth and the adventures that lay ahead in Alpha 3.0 and beyond.

FIRST COLLABORATION WITH SCLORECAST

A couple of months ago, I was asked to collaborate on producing lore narrations with SCLoreCast. SCLC is a group dedicated to bringing Star Citizen lore to life by narrating the official dispatches and fiction published by Cloud Imperium Games. I’m looking forward to an on-going relationship with this very talented group, all of whom are members of the SC community.

You can listen to the episode here.  Please support their labor of love by subscribing to their YouTube channel, where they’re also running their first contest.

IMAGES FROM THE ‘VERSE


Volume 1.1: Hello 2017 and more

Alysianah’s World of Star Citizen Subscriber Newsletter

NEWS

WELCOME 2017

Although the Star Citizen universe is celebrating the arrival of the year 2947, my feet are firmly planted in 2017. I have two big initiatives planned for Alysianah’s World that I hope people will enjoy and appreciate.

Aly’s world 1.0 released in August of 2016. Since that time I’ve done 3 major updates to the site features in an effort to continue evolving the use of the physical world represented in the official ARK Starmap, combined with the official lore and canon, to aide backers in logistics planning for player careers. Making the lore more easily accessible is also helpful for those interested in it for entertainment purposes. As well as using it for reference material when working on fan fiction.

In 2017, I want to refine what’s currently available by enhancing its usability and improving the website’s overall performance. The one big feature update currently on the drawing board is to add a more flexible Jump Planner module. While this type of feature isn’t needed in the current alpha, it will take quite some time to build my particular vision of one. For that reason, I’m starting early.

Another huge focus will be providing more content – more news, information, articles, and lore, turning it into an entertainment resource for all things SC. For the majority of 2016, most of my time that was allocated to the website was for development. This year, I want to shift that to providing more actual content. Providing content is what I enjoy most and huge incentive for creating Aly’s World in the first place. It’s time to start furnishing the rooms.

In December I was able to launch The Star Citizen NightBus, a more casual vidcast about Star Citizen that uses an Op-Ed format and includes fan fiction. I’m also looking into doing an internet radio channel of sorts via Twitch somewhere around the 2nd quarter of the year. And I’m also collaborating with the SCLoreCast group to narrate more official lore and fiction.

Thank you so much for the support during the journey. I’m looking forward to continued growth and the adventures that lay ahead in Alpha 3.0.

FIRST COLLABORATION WITH SCLORECAST

A couple of months ago, I was asked to collaborate on producing lore narrations with SCLoreCast. SCLC is a group dedicated to bringing Star Citizen lore to life by narrating the official dispatches and fiction published by Cloud Imperium Games. I’m looking forward to an on-going relationship with this very talented group, all of whom are members of the SC community.

You can listen to the episode here.  Please support their labor of love by subscribing to their YouTube channel, where they’re also running their first contest.

COMMENTARY

THE MALOGOS RANTS

Planning to explore the competitive side of Arena Commander? Interested in understanding the underlying mechanics of combat as of Alpha 2.6? Malogos of the SC Reddit sub-community has a two YouTube videos you may find enlightening.

He’s been collecting data on how the components of various ships behave during combat and has compiled suggestions to improve balance. They’re titled as “rants” but they’re not really so don’t be put off by it. They’re actually very informative. You can find them on his YouTube channel here.

STAR MARINE RADAR IN 2.6.

If you’re among the brave and fearless shooting rifles and lobbing grenades in Star Marine, you’ll find a new video from Twerk17 very informative. He has an excellent overview of how the current implementation of the radar feature works – what it supposed to do vs. what it does do. Most of the matches I’ve watched are very competitive which is to be expected of players who enjoy FPS. Don’t be left in the dark because you don’t understand the radar mechanic. You can check out the video on his Youtube channel.

YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ANYONE ON THE INTERNET

The only thing worse than “shit posts” are the posts demanding people stop making “shit” posts. People really need to get a grip on themselves and realize what’s shit to one, is a treasure to someone else.

I find it comical that people actually exert the energy to write a post telling others what not to post on the internet. I mean really people??? That was easier than simply scrolling by the post? Or downvote it if you must? So what if some like to celebrate every million dollar funding milestone. It’s no more a shit post than pictures of SC themed birthday cakes, pictures of a toddler behind a joystick with SC on the screen. Let’s all relax and let each other be.

THE ‘VERSE