Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Spaceman, Spaceman

The 40th Anniversary of Traveller this past weekend is just one of the Science Fiction goings-on that are going on in my brain.

What? Um...OK, let me be more specific


I recently saw...Valerian and The City of a Thousand Planets








The movie is beautiful, with fantastic visuals from design, to execution. Not just 'special effects' in the modern, CGI sense, but the aesthetics of everything from the uniforms of the Earth military, to the planetary environments was absolutely breathtaking. 

The look of the film goes hand in hand with the world building of the setting. THIS is a universe I want to game in. I want to go to these planets, meet (or be) these aliens, and fight crime across the galaxy as a special agent of the Galaxity Council (OK, that's more from the graphic novels, but I like the name). 

The film opens >>MINOR SPOILER WARNING<< with the origin of the City of a Thousand Planets set to one of my all time favorite songs. That sequence is practically worth the price of admission to the movie. It was that good. I wanted a detailed breakdown of who each group was, and when they arrived so I could have the info available if/when I get the chance to run a Valerian and Laureline RPG.

The film isn't perfect by any means, and its weaknesses lie mainly with the main actors, and the characters they play. While not poorly acted per se, they were a tad flat. The dialogue doesn't give them much to work with, as much of it is shallow, and cartoonish. It actually reminded me of what a comic book from France, badly translated into English, and then read aloud would sound like. 

That's a shame, as that is not how the Valerian and Laureline comics read to me at all. Corny perhaps, and definitely molded from Space Opera clay, the dialogue of the graphic novels came off a bit more nuanced (especially Laureline), and complex. 

I thought the story was interesting, whereas many critics designated it a mess, and incomprehensible. I definitely have to disagree. While not necessarily fine literature, the story worked, and made perfect sense to me as a Space Opera plot. 

Overall I enjoyed it. I don't feel the need to see it again on the big screen, but I would definitely get it on DVD, or a similar format just to review the universe, and its curious inhabitants.


On a very different note...





People of Earth has returned for a second season!

I don't know if I've mentioned this little gem of a show before, but it's a very clever, oddball comedy, with a Sci-Fi twist that puts it right up my alley.

I find myself attracted to this show primarily because of its premise; A news magazine reporter decides to do a Human interest piece on a support group for people who believe they've been abducted by aliens, only to find out he may have been abducted himself. 

The premise is further expanded upon as we see the aliens' side of the story, something I didn't really expect going in. 

As some of you may know, UFOs and alien abductions are a favorite subject of mine dating back many years. I was a big fan of Project: UFO, and one of my all time favorite films is Close Encounters of the Third Kind. 

Having come out with my first professional RPG product, The Googly Eyed Primetime Puppet Show RPG, I am considering what my second one should be. An idea I've had on the back burner for a very long time is something called Visitors from Space, which definitely shares some similarities with People of Earth.




   




Well, off to my day job. I'll be back soon with some cool updates on my current gaming situation. 

Until then, Watch the Skies...

AD
Barking Alien






Monday, July 24, 2017

Time Will Crawl

Yesterday, Sunday, July 23, 2017, marked the 40th Anniversary of Traveller.







I've told the story before of how my first encounter with the game did not exactly endear it to me. It seemed a very lackluster vision of the future to someone who, at the age of 10 or so, was enamored with the kind of Science Fiction found in Star Trek, Star Wars, Space:1999, the Legion of Superheroes, and a number of SF novels above my grade level (I was an advanced reader).

Traveller was more akin to Alien, or Outland (which would come out after I first played the game), and that just wasn't how I saw Space Adventure Sci-fi, or how I wanted it to be. It certainly wasn't the universe I wanted to live in as a character in a Role Playing Game.

For the next 7 years I basically ignored Traveller. It wasn't even on my radar. I only got back into it on the recommendation of my friend Jason (shout to Big J!), and the release of MegaTraveller in 1986.

Fast forward to the present, and it is one of my all time favorite RPGs. 

Granted, I play it a little faster, and looser than most people probably do, and although I try to adhere to the Hard Science aspects of it, a solid dose of Space Opera finds its way in to my campaigns. I love that the game can handle that. I love that it has a simple structure that is easy to use, or modify as needed. 

It feels like only yesterday that I didn't like it, then rediscovered it, and then made it one of my reoccurring, go-to games.

Happy 40th Anniversary Traveller! Clear skies, and keep on flying!






AD
Barking Alien







Saturday, July 22, 2017

Funny Business

If you're wondering what I've been doing with myself this past month, or so (I know I have), then you might be interested to know that among the things that's kept me busy has been putting together my first, self-published role playing game - now available on Drivethrurpg.

It's called...





Yep. That's a real game, really made by me, and really available right now for purchase.

It was inspired by my love of those very particular puppets seen on television, in movies, and in many other entertainment formats over the past 60+ years.

It also celebrates all puppets, and puppet programs like theirs, from Rags on the Patchwork Family, to the Gary Gnu of The Great Space Coaster, and the characters of more adult fare such as Avenue Q, and Netflix's The Fuzz.

If you've enjoyed that sort of wanton craziness in the past, and would like to try it as an RPG, please give it a look-see. 

Thanks.

AD
Barking Alien





Thursday, July 20, 2017

Out of Mothballs

The door to the Barking Alien blog bridge, control room, and coffee bar lounge opens only part way with a slow, deliberate hiss. Adam and Barkley stand at the doorway tentatively, each pulling out a small flashlight and moving it slowly across the room. 

A thin layer of dust - the exact origin of which given the life support systems, and artificial climate is unsettling at best -  covers everything in sight.

Adam walks across the room, accidentally stepping on a droid part here, an empty nutrient-pack there, until he reaches the main display interface. He runs his hand, fingers outstretched, over the screens, a forlorn look on his face.

Suddenly there is a low beep, a hum, a quite series of music notes, and the entire interface, from floor to ceiling comes alive. 

Looking about every which way, he finally fixes his gaze on Barkley, his paws 'index finger', firmly on the 'Power On' button. A smile beams on his furry, snouted face. Barkley moves his gaze from Adam to the 'Command Chair' and back again, as if to say, 'Go on. Sit down'.

Adam stares as the chair for what feels like an eternity, then sits stiffly, uncomfortably, like being around old high school friends you haven't kept in contact with while at some sort of reunion. Barkley just shakes his head. He saunters over, clicks on the mic, pulls out the keyboard, and points to it. 

"Just write. Write...what's on your mind."

Deep breath. Here goes...



Hi all!

I've been away for a bit, dealing with some real world issues that have luckily been resolved, and the results include my living in a new apartment, in a great neighborhood, within easy walking distance of my day job. 

The added free time (though it has still been at a premium) has given me the opportunity to complete my first, honest-to-goodness, for sale table top RPG product! Well...sort of...

I'm really passionate about RPGs. I mean I love them, and I want to write them, and...yeah. My problem is, there are a whole boat load of other skills that are needed to really do them right, professionally that is, and frankly, I don't really have those skills.

At present, the game is complete and has been uploaded to DriveThruRPG. It takes a day or so for them to approve it I guess. We'll see what happens. 

I thought I'd be super happy when it was done, but during the process I felt rushed. It was partially my own fault for announcing to people that I was doing it before it was really done, done, but then people just kept asking me if it was finished, and...well...sigh. It's done now. Hopefully people will like it enough to buy it. The artist in me feel it could be a thousand times better.

What can you do?

Well...Hopefully one thing I can do is make the next product even better. This one was pretty special to me, both because of the subject, and the fact that it's my first, but next one is going to benefit from the mistakes made this time around. I hope.

When I know for sure that it's available, I will link it's page here.

In the meantime...

Barkley and I have a lot of repairs, and cleaning to do to get the blog back up and running. We're low on dilithium crystals, there are mynocks, and frackles practically everywhere, and the trouble alert keeps blinking '12:00'. 

We'll be here working until late, so stop by in the comments and let us know you missed us. Heheh.

Don't worry, we'll be back to normal soon.

Peace,

AD
Barking Alien






Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Declaring My Independence

I am working really hard to get my Soon-To-Be-Published RPG product completed, though the more I work on it the longer it seems to be taking. 

I haven't yet reached the point where I wish it was just done already, but yeah, I'm getting close to that mark.

I'm going to watch some fireworks, cheer myself up, and keep at it. 

Happy Fourth of July, American Independence Day everyone!






AD
Barking Alien







Saturday, July 1, 2017

Where Are We Now?

I have moved into my new place.

It has been a pretty crazy week, ending a pretty crazy month, and generally speaking, it has finished on a positive note.

For the past two years I've been living in a pretty crumby neighborhood, on the sixth floor of a steep staircase walk up. Every day, several times times a day, for the past 730 days, I've had to walk up and down six flights of stairs. It sucked, and not just because I walk all day for a living as a professional dog walker.

The building was often dirty due to neighbors who didn't care. The streets around the building were the same way. The supermarkets all had crappy selections unless I walked really far from my apartment. At the same time, they were more expensive than similar grocery stores in other parts of the city.

I tried very hard to see the positives, but after two years I just hated it.

It's been tough on my self-esteem, my drive, and my peace of mind.

Things have greatly improved.

I am now in a much nicer neighborhood, in a much nicer apartment, with better shopping, cleaner hallways, and people who say hi, and tell me how beautiful my dog is when they walk by. I am closer to my clients, and get to walk my own dog more often.

Best part so far? I'm on the third floor, and there is an elevator.

I don't tell you, I'm pretty happy.

Somehow, in the last two weeks, I've run a Dungeons and Dragons 5E game, two sessions of Mobile Suit Gundam/Japanese Anime-Style Giant Robots, had a session zero for an upcoming Ars Magica mini-campaign, and discussed with my buddy Dave a possible new Superhero campaign (likely Champions 4E).

Lastly, I am a day or so away from releasing my first professional RPG product on DriveThruRPG. I think it has turned out pretty good, maybe even damn good, and I really hope you will all give it a look see (I won't lie - I need the money - the new place set me back a ways). 

Well, that's where I've been, and where I am. Further updates will be forthcoming, and of course I will announce my game's official release when it happens. 

Thanks for checking in. 

More to come.

Happy Fourth of July to my fellow Americans, and Happy Canada Day to my friends in the North.

AD
Barking Alien