Game of the Week – 30/01/2017

It’s times like this where I get very confused. Times like this I look at my life and wonder what the hell is going on. It’s times like this where I can’t comprehend the situation.

I have not played much this week.

Seriously, I haven’t really played any games this week as I spent most of my free time preparing for the Stars Without Number game that I have now started. Cyberpunk 2020 came to a climactic end last week, so I had to ensure that my Stars Without Number game was ready to go by this weekend.

So this week’s Game of the Week is, I think, VoidExpanse.

VoidExpanse is a 2d indie space sandbox game. You create your portrait, choose your starting skill package and get dumped into a starting system in a randomly generated sector, which can range from relatively small to abso-friggin-lutely huge. The goal of the game is to get back to Federation space, after being cut off when an attack against the Xengatarn, the game’s main alien antagonists, failed miserably, resulting in the destruction of the Suppression Force, a huge fleet of advanced ships.

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This is the smallest sector you can have… There’s some extra off screen as I couldn’t zoom out enough!

I’m currently playing a more trader style build, buying trade goods low and selling high. I’ve also put some points into mining, so that I can level up that way too. I am also playing on hardcore difficulty, which involves perma-death, so I have opted for a very small sector.

The game play is pretty good, though it can become a bit repetitive in a larger sector. You go from point A to point B, doing missions to level up and joining one of the factions available: Freedom, a more mercenary/smugglery group, Order, a military group of ex-soldiers and scientists, and Fanatics, an alien worshipping cult. I’m joining Freedom, as I like them the most out of the three, though I’ll probably do another quick playthrough on not-hardcore difficulty with the others. I do like the ships and the equipment system, where you get your ship’s hull, then upgrade it with  various pieces of equipment that increase upon the hull’s basic capabilities. Weapons are fired with the three mouse buttons, though multiple weapons can fire with the same button. I am running “Breaching the Core” total conversion mod, which adds a lot more ship hulls and equipment items, to further increase the flexibility of potential builds.

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The Brick: It flies at things and doesn’t take damage.

I have yet to complete the game, because as I said earlier I have not played much at all this week, but I’ve been enjoying the game so far. If you’re looking for a game you can just pick up for an hour or so each day, this is a great game. However, the repetitive nature of it means that if you play it too much, it’s going to start feeling like a grind and get boring fast.

The Meta

I think the thing that really irritates me about teacher training is the conformity. “As a teacher, you are always on show. As such, you have to be a professional both inside the classroom and out,” was something that we were told near the start of the PGCE, along with “make sure your online presence is totally professional and private because parents and students alike will Google search your name.” Now, I understand that to a point; after all, no one wants to have a teacher who goes out on a bender every weekend and passes out in the gutter, or has a public Facebook profile covered in photos from that hedonistic holiday to Marbella.

However, like all things to do with this course, it goes to the extreme. I’m the kind of person who prizes my individuality. I love being me; one hundred percent pure, unadulterated me. I like my (cyber)gothic style, I like my strangely coloured and/or designed contact lenses, I like my (limited due to hereditary hair volume. Women who complain about having too much hair should really consider themselves lucky…) out-there hairstyles. What I don’t like is having to slot into what I am going to call the “teacher meta” where you have to be as generic as possible so you don’t scare parents into thinking you’re incompetent and unprofessional. To eternally present this image of the perfect role model. I’m never going to be the one to go out partying and get drunk and act like a buffoon, but really? My individuality makes me unprofessional? Specifically, my individuality in my own free time makes me unprofessional? My individuality makes me a bad role model? I have a younger sibling, and this is the last thing I would want them to see. Not me being an individual, but the idea of individuality being seen in a negative light. As a budding fantasy/science fiction author, I know dystopias, and this is really starting to feel like I’m living in a dystopian society.

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Okay, rant over. I have come up with a new revelation this week. That revelation is that dice hate me. Last weekend, I managed to roll a double 1 in Stars Without Number, used a psychic power to re-roll and… rolled another pair of 1s. Double snake eyes? Really? Not only that, but on the Sunday, despite having ludicrous numbers amounts of talents and skills and stats that make my Imperial Envoy a social god (and utterly incompetent at just about everything else), an NPC managed to charm my character by rolling incredibly well against my utterly atrocious dice rolling, which basically made my character appear useless. For most of that session, nobody came to my character for anything. At all. Even when we had a diplomatic situation later on, the intelligence officer took it and nobody thought to contact the actual diplomat. What am I even around for? It was a rough weekend for roleplaying, but at least I manage to perform well in pathfinder, though as a sorcerer I don’t really have to roll to hit or anything like that; most of my spells auto-hit with enemies having to make saves to avoid damage, thus removing my utterly terrible dice luck from the equation.

I’ve also gone back to SWTOR, but as a totally new character so nobody in the galactic starfighter community knows who I am (apart from one guy that I told who is very nice and shares my views on both gunships and overly-competitive pilots). It’s great being the new player; there are no expectations to do well, no victimisation where half the team comes after you. It’s liberating and, dare I say it, fun. I’ve also been playing a lot of VoidExpanse recently as well. On hardcore mode. Permadeath is very worrying, but the way the game is designed it wouldn’t be too harsh if I were to lose and have to start again. I’m playing a trader type, so a lot of my XP comes from buying resources on the cheap, then flying them elsewhere and selling them for large profits. The XP gains for this are pretty decent and it doesn’t take too long as you can just autopilot and minimise; most of the time it doesn’t bite you in the backside. Come to think of it, I’ve been in a real “space” mood. Space is pretty cool though… I wish I had the time to work on my science fiction…