EVE Off-Line

By turns EVE On-Line remains both the best and worst game I’ve ever player, a true example of the sandbox game with player driven emergent gameplay. To get the most from the game you need to devote at least a couple of hours a day, preferably more, and be an active member of an active corporation. If you can’t find this spare time you end up playing solo as most player groups demand active participation and, let’s be honest, EVE’s solo player experience is rather limited. Unfortunately I’m rather time poor these days and as a result EVE ends up at the bottom of the pile of stress relief displacement time sinks. Despite that I still like the game and want to keep my account active, but I can’t justify the monthly subscription charges for, effectively, a space themed and poorly implemented instant messaging client.

To the rescue comes PLEX — the ability to purchase subscription time from other players using in-game currency. This feature was originally introduced to stop ‘gold farmers’ from selling in-game ISK for real money yet satisfy player’s desire to ‘buy’ success in-game with RL cash. While it has not eradicated that practice it has stemmed it somewhat. CCP win by selling subscription, the seller wins by gaining in-game currency in exchange for their real world money and the buyer wins by gaining play time without spending their own cash. Further, CCP do not lose out on subscription revenue as the original subscription time still has to be purchased (at a cost premium) from CCP by the selling player.

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Farewell EON

It was with a little sadness, but no great surprise, that I read EON, the paper-based Eve On-Line magazine, has come to an end. Published quarterly the magazine contained news on Eve developments, short stories and guides on various facets of the Eve universe. Unfortunately the information included in the magazine was usually out of date before each issue was shipped. This, coupled by the availability of the same info on the internet and compounded with an eye wateringly expensive price tag always limited the appeal of the magazine. It is a testament to the producers that it lasted as long as it did.

Early on in my Eve career I accidentally volunteered to write an ‘Insider’s Guide’ to mission running. In the end this ended up being spread over two issues and was followed up by further articles on Fleet Warfare and Gangs. The Mission guide ended up forming the majority of the Eve Wiki on the subject. With the demise of EON, I’ve now uploaded the drafts of each article back onto the site, in many ways closing the circle on why the website was first set up.

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An Alternate View

Towards the end of 2012 Telegram Sam, a player-character in the Eve On-Line game, decided to host an Eve fan fiction competition. It proved to be a popular event and attracted official support from CCP games and EON magazine. In the end there were nearly 100 entries and some standout stories. You can find links to all the submissions on Sam’s blog and the results on the Eve Forums.

I had a half started piece of Eve fiction back in 2006 but abandoned it when other things got in the way. The competition acted as a motivator to finishing it and closing off the story. After much clacking of keyboards the piece was submitted and my first complete story since English ‘O’ Levels some 26 years ago was finished. I enjoyed the writing and may do more, but on my own terms and not in anyone else’s imagined universe.

Much of what I’d originally written was reworked but the opening line remained intact:

“Cracked holo projectors running the latest Scope skin flick filled the bar with pink and neon, the images distorting every few minutes as the aging hardware struggled to keep up with the pirate feed’s rolling encryption.”

Read the full short story here.

M1 Panther II MDCV

Another of my more successful builds is Dragon’s 1/35 scale M1 Panther II Mine Detection and Clearing Vehicle (MDCV). I added the Eduard etch set for this, along with an RB Models replacement M2 barrel and a bit of additional details scratched up from lead foil and styrene. The stowage items are a combination of Accurate Armour, Tamiya and D-Toys, with some scratch built items. The figure is from Alpine Miniatures.

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Kröte Panzer Aufkalärungs TW-47

I am not a prolific modeller by anyone’s standards. While I may start quite a few models I only manage to get three or four finished each year. The last model completed was an old Nitto 1/20 scale “Kröte Panzer Aufkalärungs TW-47”, one of the models from the Maschinen Krieger universe.

The base kit was updated with quite a few bits from the spares box, along with scratch built smoke dispensers and a bucket load of bolt, plate and pipe work.  It was finished primarily in LifeColor acrylics, with a good selection of various pigments and washes. The fuel barrel is a home-made resin cast of a 3D printed custom-designed barrel.

The original build log for this can be found here over on the Model Armour forums, and photos of the finished model are below.

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