It’s time to ramble on

I don’t know why I feel like I should write something here.

Obligatory “It’s been a while”. The end of the semester is nigh, and of course that means there’s papers and projects to do, tests to take, and all sorts of other fun things.

Meanwhile, at work, I can’t think of any particular upheaval, but there’s some schedule changes due to people moving to different shifts. I am unaffected, thankfully, but it’s different. Change is the only constant in life, I guess.

I have less than two hours before work, and I don’t know that I feel like writing about recent interaction with my ex-girlfriend right now. I might make that my next entry. We’ll see.

As far as relationships go, I don’t know if I feel like life would truly be easier if I had a girlfriend right now, but it would be nice to have someone to talk to and cuddle with. I don’t remember if I’ve written anything here about the girl I went on a few dates with – that can also be something I write about in the near future. Heh.

This seems like a particularly scatterbrained entry with no point. Suffice to say, I should probably be productive instead of thinking about story ideas. At the moment, I have three main projects in mind: finishing the Stellaris AAR I started a couple months ago, writing a story set in the post-apocalyptic Ozarks (inspired by a CK2: After the End game), and possibly finishing another Stellaris AAR I started last summer.

Gods, that seems like a lot, and that doesn’t even include all the junk I need to do before the end of the semester. I know I’ve been thinking about including things from recent interaction with ex-girlfriend in a story, though I’m not sure how I could (to say nothing of it seeming, while not unoriginal, maybe too personal?).

Anyway, expect more posts in the near future. I like the idea of trying to make another post this week – maybe even two.

 

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So long (in various senses)

Once again, the time has come for me to write here. I hadn’t realized until I logged in and read my notifications that my last post was nearly a month ago- I guess I forgot.

Near the end of last month I realized that my summer was about half over, which was somewhat sad, and I have about a month and a week until my fall semester begins August 21, so that doesn’t help. Unfortunately, my computer has not been working for roughly the past two weeks, so my plans to play many hours of Stellaris have hit a roadblock and I’ve been badly suffering from withdrawal. Well, not really. Unfortunately, my most recent game of Stellaris (featuring my custom empire of theocratic xenophobic militaristic Space-Elves, and the story I had/have been planning based on the game) has suffered; I hope that I won’t have to completely reboot, but it’s possible that I may have to format the hard drive that all of my personal files were installed on, and I may end up losing some things. Continue reading

Current writing projects

As promised, I’ve decided to briefly write about my current writing projects. Unfortunately, being a full-time student and working part-time interferes with my productivity, though doing one or the other would probably be manageable. Of course, if I didn’t work I’d have to find some other way to pay my bills, and that might be an issue from a financial standpoint.

Crusader Kings 2: After the End mod

I’ve written here before about Crusader Kings 2 and the After the End mod, which takes the feudal mechanics and gameplay of Crusader Kings 2 from medieval Eurasia and North Africa and throws them into North and Central America and the Caribbean, starting in July 2666. At present, I have a couple projects related to this setting, as well as ideas for more.

The Americanists, who worship the Founding Fathers and other important figures from Old America (i.e., the United States before civilization as we know it ended about 600 years before the game starts [somewhere between 1945 and 2077]), have believers scattered around America, including near Mount Rushmore, in Texas, and are the predominant religion of Central Florida, Virginia, Maryland, south New Jersey, and parts of Pennsylvania.

The project I may have made the most progress on thus far (even if only in terms of game progress) is my as-yet unnamed game as Elias Waltney, who is Chief of the Mouse in central Florida when the game starts, and (soon) his successors. I have yet to actually start writing the “history”, but in-game Elias Waltney is in his mid-60s, and so probably within a few years of passing away.

The other After the End project I’ve been working on lately is a game as the ruler of Springfield, Missouri. This is, admittedly, primarily because I’ve lived here for a couple years, and I’ve already played a game as the ruler of where I’m originally from (a few versions ago, I admit, but that game is the Chariton game I post about here on occasion). A slight difference from “the Florida game”, as I’ve referred to it, is that I’m trying to write this as a narrative, from the perspective of various characters, as opposed to a more historical and scholarly perspective.

Europa Universalis IV: Super States mod

I don’t have many projects currently going for this game and mod. My current project is as California, which (as of the 1460s) has annexed Baja California and quashed a Baja Californian rebellion, in addition to various other entertaining oddities such as Washington conquering Oregon, New York conquering Vermont and northern New Jersey and northern Pennsylvania, and Minnesota losing land to Iowa, Manitoba, and South Dakota. I’m not sure if I’ve firmly decided on an end for this one, but I think, and have thought, that a history of North America between 1444 (when the game starts, shortly after the American, Mexican, and Australian states and Canadian provinces found themselves thrown back in time) and European contact (1494? probably the 1490s, anyway, assuming a roughly historical timeline).

As with the After the End mod for Crusader Kings 2, ideas here are fairly easy to come by. I’m a Missouri native, so I think playing Missouri at some point would be interesting, though unfortunately in-game Missouri is rather boring and only produces Grain (while California, for example, produces Wine, Naval Stores, Grain, and possibly a few other goods). My current idea is that I might try Missouri in either the next version of the mod or after I’ve made some significant headway on California – maybe after a halfway point is reached or something.

The Fall of Summer

Meteorological autumn is upon us! Not that you would know that from the weather today, but it does tend to take at least a couple weeks for the weather to start cooling down (or, conversely, warm up in the spring and summer). Of course, in about a month it might be more autumnal and significantly less summery. In any event, I’m looking forward (as I have been since probably March) for the weather to cool down again. Fall and winter are, by far, my favorite seasons, because I’m not a fan of being outside, I don’t like warm weather, and there are significantly fewer annoying insects in the dead of winter than there are in the “dog days” of summer.

Weather discussion aside, it seems like I usually feel a desire to start some kind of new project as a month ends and a new one begins. Today I’ve thought it was interesting that I haven’t really been thinking about anything along those lines recently, though I suspect there may be a few potential causes (existing projects, being busy with classes and work, spending time with “F”) for recent preoccupation.

As far as existing projects go, there are certainly options if I feel like working on one for a time.  Continue reading

summer and strategy

Apparently I haven’t written any posts here for almost two weeks. I suppose I should change that, shouldn’t I?

I don’t know that I can think of anything recently that’s particularly exciting, since I’m still working, taking a writing class, and corresponding with F (the young woman I’ve been texting since late February).

The night of the 4th of July wasn’t as busy as I had expected it to be, but of course the next day, when I had the kitchen to myself, was the day that more people decided they wanted pizza. I managed, and I’ve heard that my hard work is appreciated, so that’s always good to hear. Days off are always nice, particularly this week – I had last Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday off work, worked Friday and Saturday night, and then I have three days off this week, which I just realized are about half over, since I had Sunday (for once), Monday, and Tuesday night off.

Last Tuesday I drove to campus and sat outside the classroom for several minutes before one of my classmates pointed out, as he was leaving, that there was a sign posted that class had been canceled. I had received a wake-up call from my mother that morning, which meant I was awake 45 minutes to an hour earlier than usual, and I later saw that the teacher had sent the e-mail canceling class around 8:30 that morning. Driving to campus only to find out that class was canceled was slightly frustrating, but it was nice having class canceled on a day off (even if I had trouble imagining being ill in July, as the teacher apparently was).

I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned Europa Universalis 4 or the Super States mod here before, but I’ve been thinking about it lately. Europa Universalis 4 is a game from Paradox Interactive (the company that makes Crusader Kings 2) that allows one to play as any country between roughly 1444 and 1820. About a year ago, I discovered that someone had made a mod (the Super States mod) that allows you to play as a US, Mexican, or Australian state or Canadian province that somehow wound up in 1444. Now, of course, there are a few additional scenarios, but playing as a US state thrown back in time has appealed to me. I’ve thought before that it would be interesting to play a game with that mod and then write a history from “the beginning” (1444) to European contact in the late 1400s/early 1500s. European interaction with the new world would be very different if there are equally advanced states of European descent occupying the New World.

Previous ideas for writing this “history” have included Missouri (because I’m a life-long native of Missouri) and California (because it offers more interesting opportunities, like the possibility of having a navy and Pacific colonization and exploration). The creator of the mod, however, has been busy with vague “real life” issues, and has not been able to keep the mod updated for the current version of EU4, since several expansions had been released since the last mod update. However, an update for the mod was released on July 4, which unfortunately wasn’t working but did get me thinking about the interesting possibilty of a strategy game, like RISK or Diplomacy, set in the United States. Or perhaps I should say the Divided States.

Initially I thought it would be interesting to have the players playing as different states, and that led to the idea of having the players start by fighting over a particular state, uniting it, and then moving on to try uniting the States in their image. I drew a few rough maps of Midwestern states (Missouri by hand, Iowa and Nebraska on the computer) for this game, but it’s somewhat hard to do that when you’re not familiar with an area of a state and there’s not much in a region. It’s fairly easy to designate a metropolitan area as a “territory”, or to draw a shape around a town that’s obviously going to dominate an area due to having the largest population in a particular area, but beyond a certain point I feel like it would be difficult for aspiring governments to hold on to territory beyond a certain distance if they’re limited to pre-modern technology.

I’ve also been thinking about the After the End mod for Crusader Kings 2, probably because thinking about the Divided States and pre-modern technology reminded me of it. Lately, for some reason, I’ve been thinking it would be interesting to play in the southern US – I’ve never been east of Chicago, but lately I’ve been thinking Florida, the Carolinas, or Virginia (among other places) might be interesting to play because of the possibility of naval combat. Who doesn’t like ships, right? At the moment I’m considering a project, similar to my Chariton after-action report, for somewhere in Florida, but I don’t think I’ll start that until some time after the Horse Lords expansion is released tomorrow and the After the End mod is updated with whatever new mechanics they decide to integrate.

Summer is a-coming in

I haven’t been doing anything particularly exciting of late – work, occasional writing, playing computer games, and so on. Of course, now that I say that, I can think of a few different ideas for potential posts, like being called in to work last Friday five minutes before a tornado warning went out, or some tabletop roleplaying ideas, or recent interest in the After the End mod for Crusader Kings 2, specifically the tribal game I recently re-discovered. For that matter, I could also write about the dream I had this morning.

Maybe I’ll do a bit of each. Continue reading

A few ideas

I know I haven’t written here for a while, but I haven’t had much to report. Texting until 5:30 AM is enjoyable, but (at least earlier this week) it means sleeping until 1:30 PM, which, like every time I sleep past about 10:30 AM, makes me feel like I’m wasting the day. Today I only was texting until about 5 AM, and got the 5 hours of sleep I was desiring. With 2 cups of coffee, and writing 1849 words for my Crusader Kings 2 after-action report of Orkney beginning in 769, I feel like I’ve had a reasonably productive day.

Playing Windward, a recently released game on Steam where you control a sailing ship and can do quests, trade between towns, or hunt pirates (or, I suppose, possibly turn pirate yourself), has put me into a maritime mood, and made me want to write something involving boats, ships, and large bodies of water. It would be difficult to integrate that into my ongoing game as the Duchy of Chariton in the CK2 After the End mod, considering, with the exception of the Missouri River and a few other minor rivers in the region, there aren’t many major bodies of water in the lands known as Northern Missouri. Orkney, by virtue of being some islands off the coast of Britain in the North Sea, has slightly better odds, but I’ve decided to consider starting yet another idea.

For a while, I’ve considered writing an “after-action report” involving Sardinia, Corsica, and/or the Balearic islands, in the Western Mediterranean. At one point I actually did start one for the original Crusader Kings involving Sardinia, but that fell by the wayside due to computer issues, loss of interest, or other reasons after about 20 years of gameplay. I also tried starting one for Corsica at one point, but, again, that didn’t happen. I’ve tried playing games in Sardinia and the Balearic islands, at least, in Crusader Kings 2, but I have yet to actually start an after-action report. I thought it might be interesting to write a “narrative”, much like my Master of Magic project, where I write it more like a historical fiction novel and less like a history written by a monk.

According to my historical research, the Balearic islands were colonized by the Phoenicians before they were taken over by the Romans. The Vandals took the Balearic islands shortly before the fall of the Western Roman Empire, and the Eastern Roman Empire took the Balearic Islands back in the 530s (around the same time that Sardinia and the province of Africa was taken from the Vandals). After Carthage fell to the Umayyad Caliphate in 698, the Byzantines effectively lost the Western Mediterranean, and in 707 (per Wikipedia) the islands submitted to the generous terms of a Muslim fleet, which rendered them, in name, both Byzantine and Umayyad.

This is the last thing written in the Wikipedia article before mentioning that they were sacked by Vikings in a 859-862 raid. As I’ve been thinking lately, Crusader Kings 2, as I suspect of most video games, doesn’t handle multiple overlords very well. There are other historical examples of lords that had to choose which liege lord to obey, but in Crusader Kings 2, in the 769 bookmark, the Balearic Islands, like Sardinia, is Catholic and considered part of the Byzantine Empire, ruled by an Iconoclast emperor (considered a heresy of the Orthodox church). If I’m not completely mistaken, the distinction between Catholic and Orthodox didn’t really happen until the Great Schism in 1054, but it would vastly complicate things to add that in, and there were probably differences in practice before that point anyway, if I remember what I’ve read correctly.

In general, in Crusader Kings, I seem to be fascinated by alternate history, obscure rulers that didn’t historically exist, and, in general, playing as obscure, weak rulers and changing history. For example (though I haven’t done it for a while), playing as a Welsh ruler and becoming King of Wales, or uniting Ireland. Where’s the fun in playing as the Byzantine Emperor or Sunni caliph when you can play as the lord of a desolate bunch of rocks in the North Sea?

Anyway, as for my nascent Balearic game, I haven’t had much happen in the first 4 years. I’m not really sure how I’d write the whole “being de facto independent”, considering that isn’t really an option in the game (and no rebellion for independence yet), but I’ve already thought I may have to make some stuff up about the Byzantine navy and government, so what’s a little bit more fabrication? They do, after all, call it “historical fiction”.