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Monday, December 31, 2012

Night City in all its glory...

The hosts are still tits up for DF2020, the site is displaying, but I cannot get into it via ftp to upload the updates, and the host for the forums/file project is still down completely.... man fuck 110mb.com.... do not use them for anything, ever... except as an example for absolute shit in customer service and reliability.  But none of that is what I am here to talk to you about today... I am her to talk about this:
That my friends is the Night City Amalgamated map printed out and sent to me by my new favorite fan, Mr. Gee.  The map is so huge that this is only at 70% of its actual size.... at full size it would be pretty much impossible to hand.  The map arrived back in mid November, as 6 AI sized sheets.  I would have made this post thanking him sooner, but first I had to get it trimmed, laminated, assembled and hung, which I only was able to get around to doing just recently.  The pictures are a bit fuzzy, blame my unsteady hand... but the detail is absolutely perfect.  It is absolutely amazing. I am sorry Mr. Gee, that I waited so long to thank you properly, but know that you have my eternal gratitude and respect.... you are the man now dog...

Here is another shot... for scale I don't have a measuring tape handy, but its at least 5 feet x five feet...Mr. Gee is awesome indeed.... and did I mention its printed on Photpaper.... the gaming room has a new centerpiece...


If either of the hosts ever get their shit together and I can get the updates posted I will anounce it here.  In the meantime to pass time, and to take a break from relentless flavortext and fluff writing, I am working on an update for Miracle Mile... not only adding new vehicles, but fixing the stats, especially the prices, and re-organizing the whole thing so the vehicles are ordered by type and top speed. So should make it easier to sort through while looking for something just right for your character.

Wisdom000

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Well damn.... Both my servers are tits up...

Ok, so everything has been finished basically since the last time I posted.  The Night City Guide Vol 64: The combat zone is ready in both PDF and HTML format, and as an added bonus the important maps from the books are each given a 2 page version in PDF for home printing.  I have also updated the links, and given the front page a slightly altered new look.  However its all for naught right now, since both my hosts, the one for Datafortress 2020 proper, and the host for the File Project and forum, are down right now, with no signs of when they will be back up...

Nothing I can do right now but wait, and hope that the benefactor who offered to host my site comes through.... but he is a busy man and I don't want to bother him right now.  As soon as a change in the hosts happens, I will anounce it here.

In the meantime, remember, if you need any of the files form df2020, e-mail me what you need and I will shoot them back to you.

Sorry again for the inconvenience.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A few more steps to the next finish line...

The writing for the latest Datafortress 2020 update is done... all but a few credits to add, and I need to decide whether to do a table of contents, is all thats left of the writing bits.  I combined the Guide to the Combat Zone with Gangs of the Combat Zone (other sections of the city will have much fewer gangs, so it makes more sense to just have all the information in one place.  The only really awful part left to do is cut it all up and convert it to html format for the website version (its easier to write for pdf, then convert, much less tricky with formatting).

Glaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah this one took soooo bloody long.  Gonna need a break after this.  Not a break from the site really, just gonna have to work on something else for a while before I get to the next Guide entry.  Maybe I will update Autumn Blade, or Miracle Mile... I dunno... but I know my brain needs a break from trying to be clever.

And before you start, yes I know, the site is all kinds of messed up, still waiting to here from someone who offered to host the site, but if I don't hear from him soon I am just gonna finally break down and buy webspace.  With unemployment coming quickly to an end, and jobs still eluding me, that's kind of a pipe dream at the moment though.

Anyway, just sharing the good news, will give an official anouncement when things are done and I can release the goods.  Thanks everyone for being patient.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Nostalgia of an older anime and comics fan...


I haven't been able to get into Manga for a while now. When it first started making an impression here, back in the old Studio Proteus days (first with Eclipse then with Dark Horse) and Viz days, I couldn't get enough. Appleseed, Xenon, Fist Of The North Star, Cyber 7, Area 88, Mai The Psychic Girl.... Manga was the stuff I had been looking for my entire life. I was buying everything, and for the most part it was all good. (granted I was like 15 at the time). Then some time around the mid 90's, what was being brought over changed dramatically. It's partially because Japan wasn't really producing the type of sci-fi that really appealed to me, the hard core cyberpunk that didn't rely on mixing genres, and partly was because the American audience suffered a major shift. Anime and manga that appealed to me started getting more and more sparse, or maybe just lost in the tidal wave of new material.

Suddenly trying to find anime was like trying to find something decent on tv. The more channels you add to your cable subscription, the harder it is to find something you actually want to watch. Finally it just became such a pain to find anything that appeals to me I just gave up. For every Cowboy Bebop or Black Lagoon, there are hundreds of things that have no interest to me. Maybe its because I have gotten older and much more discerning, or maybe its due to the hipster effect, being on the fore front, loving something before anyone else has heard of or understands, and then it explodes in popularity, and suddenly your massive collection is irrelevant, because they can buy it all at walmart now. Gone are the days of introducing anime to someone who has never seen that animation could be more than children's media, or at best juvenile attempts at something more (Heavy Metal) or standard sitcoms hiding behind animation (The Simpsons). I used to wish it was easier to get anime and manga here, then it was... be careful what you wish for I guess. Where once I was on the forefront of the scene, starting clubs, trading my hundreds of already poorly dubbed bootlegs with other fans, introducing people... now I am so out of touch as to be completely irrelevant.

And in a weird way, I am cool with that.

It passed me by, it out grew me and my interests. I still scan the anime selection of Netflix, and I watch the anime recommendation threads in the hopes that someone will recommend something that appeals to me, but its really gotten to the point that I pretty much own everything that would really interest me. The only thing I am really waiting for is the latest Appleseed, in the hopes that they will finally do something that does justice to the original books, but I am not getting my hopes up. As much as I loved the visuals of the big budget cgi film, its spot as number one on my list of faves is more due to nepotism than the actual quality of the film. I watch it thinking what it could have been, not what it actually was.

American are reaching the same point with me. I buy a lot of trades, but up until recently, I was still doing my part, buying the original issues first, to support the industry. My budget on comics has dropped significantly, 4 years ago I was spending 50 bucks a week on comics, then it dropped down to 100 a month as I started ordering online (which with the 40% discount comes out to about the same). But as the economy grew tighter, as we started having more and more financial crisis's at home, my budget for comics is $50 at the absolute most. And honestly, it was an easy transition to make.

Marvel titles had been losing my interest for years, pretty much since Civil War and the continuous tie in event crap that followed even to this day. DC was just as bad with the tie-in nonsense, but they seemed to actually be going somewhere with it, so I gave them more of a chance. Then, after slogging through all of Grant Morrison and Dan Diddio's revisionist crap, they up and went the whole New 52 route.... and that was pretty much the end of my association with DC proper.

With Marvel I just gradually found less and less titles that interested me. I was still holding on to Daredevil, Deadpool, Punisher, and X-factor, as well as some of the ultimate books... but one by one, I just stopped caring for the direction they were taking. As series ended only to be rebooted, I just dropped them. With DC, right up until the new 52, I was still buying dozens of titles. Birds of Prey, Jonah Hex, Secret Six, they were my must reads every month... Then 52 came out, and virtually every title, every character I really cared about in the DC universe was changed for the worse. on top of it, New 52 was such a backwards ass reboot of the universe, that suddenly it became impossible to have a clue what was going on. Say what you will about Crisis On Infinite Earths, but back then DC made great effort to catch people up and clue them in. They made great efforts to ensure that the stories were better... at least for a few years. New 42 just kind of shits all over everything. They took Barbara Gordon, one of the best female characters in comics, a role model not just for women, but disabled people... who had outgrown being just another derivative with tits character, and had become one of the most pivotal and important members of the superhero community despite being a behind the scenes player, and just slapped her in tights and a bat symbol again. And it wasn't even necessary, there was already 2 Batgirls running around, both of which were more interesting as Batgirl than Babs ever was, and a Batwoman... the quote for "Batman but with tits" was more than filled. Jonah Hex went from being the hard core western.... to Jonah Hex as Batman in a cowboy hat, completely with taking place in Gotham, and giving him a sidekick that ties into the batman lineage. Birds of Prey got a new line, but was ridiculous. Secret Six was swept under the rug. The new Suicide Squad had my interest, until I saw they turned Amanda Waller, one of the coolest, most intimidating background players in comics, and turned her into Halle Berry (Fuck you Smallville, I blame you for that one... I love Angela Basset, but fuck you). I could go on... like suddenly Batman is in his 20 again, but somehow has still had time to be solo, take on Dick Grayson, Grayson to go his own way, Jason Todd to come along, get killed, Tim Drake to come along, Damien to come along... I don't have a clue what the fuck is going on....

Hell, just the return of Bruce Wayne, even before new 52, caused me to stop buying the batman family of books pretty much as a whole...

Anyway, with new 52, I pretty much stopped buying DC altogether...

And now, I buy pretty much just trades. My order that arrived yesterday had to single issues, 6 trades. One was the last Ultimate X0men on my que, and the other was a book that caught my attention called freelancers.

With DMZ and Scalped done with their runs, I don't buy any Vertigo titles anymore...

So mostly what I am doing these days is buying either older trades, more independent or creator owned trades, or, on rare occasions recent trades from marvel or DC just to give what they are doing a fair shot, only to find that 9 times out of ten, my misgivings were completely correct. Blackhawks had an interesting premise, but ultimately sucked, Red Hood and the Outlaws... just sucked... if it were just Arsenal and Red Hood being vigilantes, I would probably dig it, but the super powers, the depiction of Starfire as a a nymphomaniac alien crossed with the forgetful fish from Finding Nemo... just fucking awful.... I am giving Suicide a second chance and getting the second trade, because it was at least interesting, even if Waller was ruined... but I am not keeping my hopes up. I don't mind cheesecake, and I am a fan of fanservice. Hell I own some anime just for the abundance of panty shots. But the rampant blatant misogyny, especially from DC bugs even me. Marvel does better, but Marvel has just become boring to me.

In the end, its kind of weird feeling so disconnected from something that has been such an important part of my life for so long. I have a ridiculously huge comic collection. Every road trip ever taken with my family as a kid, mom get me a stack of comics to keep me behaved, even better she read comics of her own (Richie Rich, Little Lulu, Disney comics, and Archie Comics). I remember the first times I spent my own money, made the trips to t)he comics store on my bike. I remember feeling connected to my father in new and exciting ways when I would find my comics on his bed stand, and he would even buy his own (big fan of Savage Tales Magazine in the 80's). He bought me, without any clue as to what I actually liked and read, the Claremont/Miller Wolverine trade, Samurai, Son Of Death, and Night And The Enemy for me on my 16th Birthday. That not only legitimized comics for me, but it connected me to a man who I often felt very little in connection with, at a time when that connection was dimming fast due to his alcoholism. Hell comics got me through every tragedy I had as a kid. I read old Powerman and Iron fist comics in between visits with my dad while he was dying in the hospital. The point is, comic books have been a very real, very visceral part of my entire life. I can connect so many events in my life to them, to what I was reading at the time. And now...

Now I feel that interest waning, slipping away. I still love comics, I read them every day. I have a large collection of old duplicates I cycle through in the bathroom, I have a large collection of trades... but overall, they don't hold the importance, and I simply don't have the interest I once did.

I don't know if I like or not, it certainly makes me a little sad... but overall, its something I am ok with, and that makes me sadder than anything else.

Anyway, sorry to ramble on for so long, but I had a thought, and wanted to share. Hell it could be I am just depressed, the economy, my lack of a job, unemployment running out at the end of the month (year), my family situations... its a tough time. But unlike other tough times, its not comics that are getting me through it... And its not a matter of not wanting to find comics and anime interesting, I do... its just that like it or not, no matter how much I look, there is just so little that does anything for me, my tastes have become so narrow and there is just so little that appeals to me anymore...

Oh well, to anyone still reading... thanks for listening.

As for Cyberpunk news, sorry I haven't been posting more updates.  The good news it, I am almost done with The Guide To The Combat Zone, what will be the first part of my efforts to create a guide for every district on my Amalgamated Night City Map.  After this first section is done, I think I will take a break though, work on something else, maybe update miracle mile or weapons or something.  Just to do something simple to recharge my batteries as it were.  you will understand when you see the Guide To The Combat Zone and the Gangs of the Combat Zone companion (which may end up just being merged, haven't decided yet).  Either way, I know I have been silent, but trust me I have been hard at work.

Hope to talk to you soon with a more relevant update.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cyberpunk 2077

Ok, its not Cyberpunk 2020, it's Cyberpunk 2077... I can live with that.  It seems a little too far in the future, but its definitely doable, and an advancement in the timeline was necessary to make the level of Cybernetics acceptance commonplace, to give cybertech legacy as it were, and to have a city as new as Night City be believably the sprawling metropolis we all see it as.

There is a new website for the gamer, and it looks beautiful.  It's too early to say conclusively, but it seems a very real possiblility that this game is going to fullfill all my hopes and dreams for what I want a video game to be.  What I want, what I almost need from a Cyberpunk video game, is easy to say, it won't be easy to accomplish.  I want a sandbox as big and diverse as San Andreas.  With nomads as a prime and very popular role (my favorite personally), there needs to be some type of open wasteland expanse outside the city.

I want the character and vehicle customization of Saints Row 2, and I want the game to not only have an immense array of vehicles and weapons, but I want to be able to store and organize them.   Character customization at least as deep as Saints Row 2 is also a necessity, as I want to play my favorite characters from my own cyberpunk games.  Cybernetics as a cosmetic option, as well as cyber providing mechanical bonuses are a must.  Vehicles are a must as well in a game like this, because in Cyberpunk, as well as any other near future game, discovery, exploration, choice, and action are the backbones of the game.  A large amount of vehicles to choose from almost becomes integral, for reasons of personal style.  AV's of course are a must.

The game also has to have at least a passable form of hand to hand combat, something along the lines of Sleeping Dogs would be ideal, but I understand the game is already straining as is...

Its important to me that the game not be first person perspective.  I want to be able to see my character being awesome, I don't want to be limited to looking at a gun barrel or a pair of hands.  3rd person perspective is the way to go. 

I know a lot of people are all about multiplayer... but I really think this game is better served as a single player game... however, that being said, what would be truly amazing, is a four player co-operative play mode and free roam... something like the Saints  Row series does, only with more than one extra person.  I say four person, because that is the size of the average tabletop group.

Oh, and for the ultimate experience, Mike Pondsmith's smooth husky voice needs to be given voice credit work as the games narrator, so it feels like the game is being referee's by the main man himself...

Now of course the reality is, that I want, no I crave these things with every fiber of my being, CDPR may not go in this direction with even a single of my desires... only time will tell.

But what they have said has made me hopeful, and if you want more information for yourself, incluiding word from Maximum Mike Pondsmith himself, you can now keep tabs on the game at the official website:
http://www.cyberpunk.net/

You can also follow the game devlopment on their official facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/CyberpunkGame

I am so very very excited...


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fanzines lost to antiquity...

Does anyone out there have a copy of Punk 21 issue 1, or Input Output, or Edgerunner issue 1? These are all very very rare Cyberpunk 2020 fanzines, long out of print, some only distributed very locally... but I am desperately trying to get my hands on them.
 If you have access to them or just know someone who does, please get in touch with me...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Video Games... and I lament

I finally procured and recently finished playing Deus Ex, and while the graphics, premise, and overall feel were simply amazing... it had its share of problems.   It claims open world, but this is false, and there seems to be no way to accumulate all of the ulockable items in the game in any meaningful way.  While each level is presented in an open format, you cannot freely travel between the levels.  So in the end the whole thing really becomes pretty linear.  A railroad adventure with tracks that are just a tad wider.  Also it suffers from something I find enfuriating in games, end bosses who don't have to follow the same rules of physics and reality that the main character does.  The main bosses must be defeated in a pretty specific manner unless you have somehow managed to become extremely powerful, or are able to store and save all your really powerful guns and the ammo for them.  Of course doing so often means you have to leave the cooler guns behind, which means you won't get to keep them for the next level, unless you remember exactly where you dropped them.  And the end of the game is pretty dissapointing as well, in that it does not offer a choice of replay+, nor does it offer anything to do other than a dlc package which strips you of everything you have, and has no real connection to the rest of the game. 

Also, a minor gripe... the arm blades are cool, but they are way too long to be concealed in the character forearms... they make the same mistake with wolverine most of the time. 

My next video game will be Sleeping Dogs, I only pray its able to wash the dissapointment of SR3 out of my mouth.  SR2 was the greatest sandbox game since San Andreas, and I was looking forward to SR3 with more excitement than I ever had for a game before.  It was going to be bigger, better, and full of cyberpunk elements like Aerodynes, virtual reality, clones, ooo lala... And it has all those things, but they came at a serious and often unnecessary cost.  The customization was nerfed across every aspect... clothing, cars, character... its all at about 50 percent of the options you had before, in the case of clothing the choices are merely a fraction of what they were in SR2.  The storyline is a bi-polar incoherent mess.  The city is uniformly bland, with little to no difference between different parts of the city, and the seas and skies are devoid of life.  The amount of vehicles and items you unlock is lessened, and if you don't like them you can no longer delete them from your garage, nor can you delete DLC vehicles.  Not as big a deal since most of the DLC is worthless in my eyes, but more on that later. 

The game does have its good points.  The new engine makes for stunning graphjics, and the driving phsyics are vastly improved, although you cant bring a car to a dead stop... The new hand to hand animations are awesome (except for one where the MC poses after performing a takedown), but no one in the game will actually fist fight you, so it seems like a waste.  It has a great new option to save, import, and trade your characters, which is a bit of brilliant design.    But again, all this comes at a cost.  Mnay of the much loved activities are gone, like fight club and Fuzz.  There are no races at all, nor are their any taxi, police, firetruck, or minigames of the like.  There are very few enterable building, and very few shops in comparison to previous games.  The endings to the game are extremely dissapointing as well.  I could almsot forgive all of that, but the game seems to focus way to much on juvenile humor, and its lost its edge completely.  Instead of continuing the story from the previous games in any sort of believable manner, the game goes out of its way to be silly, with a gang of mecian pro-wrestlers as the main antagonists, and a Mascot and his army of furries as a main focus on the entire theme of the game... it gets even worse with the mission DLC's, all of which continue to take the game further into silly juvenile nonsense.  The non story DLC is the biggest slap in the face of all, as its all disc locked content... meaning you have to pay for things that are already on your game disc.  They have already announced SR4, and it appears it will continue in this manner.

In the end, Saints Row The Third is the best most dissapointing game I have ever played.  I have lost any desire to support Volition and THQ in the future, and with the exception of the Cyberpunk 2020 game coming from CD Projekt Red, I will never again pre-order a game.

But at least I have GTA5 (who hopefully have learned their lesson after the complaints about GTA4) to look forward to, and of course, my dream come true, the Cyberpunk 2020 video game.

Gamers On Games: Upcoming Mike Pondsmith interview

My pal Dave Simpson (and friends) and his video blog "Gamers on Games" has an interview lined up with Mike Pondsmith. They are asking for questions on RPGNET:
http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?652305-Interview-with-Mike-Pondsmith

So if you ever wanted to know anything, or have questions about the possible future for R. Talsorian games, please feel free to submit a question of your own.

On the DF2020 side, it seems that the File Project and forums are down again.  110.mb is the worst host I have ver seen.  Almost zero customer support and ridiculous downtimes.  I am still waiting on news of a site move to a new host from a friend who offered, will keep you posted.

I am still hard at work on the Guide To The Combat Zone, its coming along slow but steadily.  So glad I am getting this out of the way first, as its the largest and most crowded (location and gang wise) section of the city as it relates to my Amalgamated Night City Map.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Get your NC Amalgamated maps here...

Ok, while the File Poject and forums have been down, I have been receiving a ton of requests for the full Sized Night City Amalgamated Map.  It is too large to send via e-mail, but thats ok, I have a new dropbox account, so anyone who wants it can simply go here:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/yq1l5tjw4hwlgto/Cyberpunk%202020%20-%20Datafortress%202020%20-%20Night%20City%20Amalgamated%20Map.jpg

This should make downloading it easy.

If you are wanting any of the other files from the File Project (like the latest version of Interlock Unlimited), just shoot me an e-mail at wisdom000(a)gmail.com, or reply to this post with your e-mail, and I will get them to you.

I have finished the Gangs section of the Combat zone, it alone is 124 pages... I am working on finishing the rest of the Guide to the Combat Zone now, it will be the first of many guide sections, which will hopefully detail the entirety of the new map.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hello everyone... I wanted to apologize for my absence and let people know whats been happening.

Firstly, I apologize for the Forums and the File Project being down, they are on the same server, whose host has been down for over a month.  I recommend never using 110.mb.com for anything.  I would have moved them already, but I am waiting to hear back from someone who made an offer about possibly hosting the entire site.  So until I hear back on that, I ask that you be patient... if you need a file from the File Project, get me your e-mail and I will try and get you anything you need.  Warning, some files are big to send via e-mail, like the Night City Amalgamated map, and I am looking at alternatives.... but if you need the latest version of Interlock Unlimited, or any of the other files, just contact me and I will e-mail it to you.

Secondly, I would like to say I am sorry for being silent for so long... my grandfather died recently, my mother has been having some health problems... and for 2 months the temperatures in Arkansas were hitting an average of 106 every day.  Since I keep my computer in my garage/gaming room... using it was kind of torturous, as I could not see the screen past the dripping sweat in my eyes.  Also, unemployment is starting to get to me.

But now that the temperature has gotten nice I have been hard at work again.  I have pretty much finished the Gangs of the Combat Zone section, now I am working on detailing the Combat Zone itself.  As part of the ongoing project of creating a guide for the expanded night city map, sort of a Night City sourcebook update, I have gone through all of the canon published books and adventures, and will be including all of the viable NC locations and and gangs mentioned in the books.  If you have a location or gang you would like included in the project, please feel free to e-mail me with its details, and I will ad it to the project (giving you full credit of course).  (Combat zone gangs are pretty much done, but if you have a location in the Zone you want included then act fast.).

Also, to everyone writing me and asking me if I am part of the Video Game, or of the New edition of the RPG (anounced here), no... while it has been a lifelong dream to be published in connection with this game, sadly neither Mike Pondsmith, nor the CD Projekt Red team have contacted me in regards to participation in either project.   Mike did tell me he sent the VG developers to my site though, so I can always hold out hope that something I created may show up in the game, or be referenced...

Anyway, thank you all for being patient, I hope to be updating the site with the new material soon.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Monday, June 11, 2012

My history with Cyberpunk 2020

I didn't mention it when I announced the update to the site the other day, but in addition to Night City Amalgamated and updating the link list, I also added a page dedicated to all the Cyberpunk games I have ever run or been a part of, dating all the way back to the beginning.  I didn't mention it on the front page of the site, or in the announcements because its more personal, not something that anyone else outside the people I have gamed with would really find important, and I am not really sure why I felt the need to right it all up other than impulse.  It was actually while I was finishing this up that Mike Pondsmith got ahold of me last week, so I thought I would share this anecdote, just a footnote really, to my experience with the game.

Since 1989, I have been running or playing Cyberpunk in one for or another on an almost weekly basis.  Sure there have been a few dry spells, like the first 6 months after I moved from Kansas City to NW Arkansas, or when Dungeons and Dragons 3rd edition was new and no one wanted to play anything else.  But as a whole, Cyberpunk was the game that got me into gaming, it has remained my one true gaming love all these years, and even now I am involved in 3 games a week... running two and actually playing in another.  Sure I play in other games as well, occasionally I even run them... but there is no game I would rather be playing or running than Cyberpunk, though we use Interlock Unlimited rules now.  And since it is pretty bloody rare that I am at a shortage for excellent players, I imagine I must be doing something right when it comes to running games.

Some of my friends, and several people I know online aren't as tied down as I am, one game to them is much like any other.  One of my other friends, one of my oldest gaming friends in fact, has what I like to refer to as Gamer ADD.  He is always on the hunt for a new game, a new system, a new setting.  He has a massive library of games, but has never played or even attempted to run 90 of it.  When he does convince himself to run a game, it rarely lasts more than a few sessions before he gets bored and he abandons it to stare dreamy eyed at whatever new purchase he has made.  I have a friend who refuses to play anything but Dungeons and Dragons, and only the newest edition... which means that I haven;t gamed with him since they switched to 4rth edition.  I could grin and bear it with 3rd and 3.5, but 4th edition is most definitely a system I cannot enjoy even on player basis.  Not knocking it, just saying it has nothing to offer me.

But for me, its always Cyberpunk.  The setting of Cyberpunk, and the Interlock system (well updated to IU) are so perfect for me, the hit me on such a visceral level, that nothing else even comes close.  Hell, my love for the system was what led to the creation of IU in the first place, because I wanted to be able to use the system to run other genres every now and then.

Anyway, so on a whim, I decide to throw up the history of the campaigns I have been involved in, the vast vast majority of them as GM, just so I can have something to look back on and reflect.   If anyone is interested, they can find it under the references section of the site, or they can just go here:
http://datafortress2020.oliwy.net/datafortressgamehistory.html

Sunday, June 10, 2012

06-09-12 Dafortress 2020 Updated

Datafortress 2020 has been updated.

Night City Amalgamated.  This is the first part of my ongoing project to expand and re-examine Night City.  The material in this project will work in conjunction with and greatly add to the published material.  Night City Amalgamated presents the new greatly expanded Night City Map, which was created by using the Night City map from the new German edition, and copying different parts of cities from around the world using Google Earth, and pasting and compiling them into one huge map, representative of Night City as a whole.  Posted is not only the enormous new map itself, but a smaller version, broken up and detailing the individual districts within the city.

Also, the Hyperlinks page has been edited.  We gained a couple of new sites (or at least ones that shad somehow escaped my radar), and we lost about 2 dozen... which is just sad.  Sadder still is news of an old site webmaster, Micheal "Deadlock" Masten, who passed away a few years ago... I wish I had known sooner.


It makes me wonder the fate of many of those whom I could not contact for the archive.  I hope they are all happy and well.  It also makes me doubly glad I could save as many things from all the Cyberpunk 2020 sites as I did for the archive.  The thought that all I have written and all the material I have collected could one day be lost is worrisome.


But I take heart, because the future may be brighter than that, watch this space for possibly big news in relationship to Datafortress 2020 coming in the near future.


In the meantime I am still hard at work on the first section of the Expanded Night City guide, the Combat Zone, specifically, the gangs of the Combat Zone.  Its the section of this city with the most gangs, so I am getting the hard stuff out of the way first.  Its been a beast, but I am for the most part almost done with the major gangs, and the smaller ones should be a breeze... hopefully... wish me luck...

Deric "Wisdom000" Bernier

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Maximum Mike Pondsmith is the MAN!

So... according to the man himself, Mike Pondsmith, the reason Datafortress 2020 exceeded its bandwidth, is because he told the members of CD Projeckt Red, the guys working on the official Cyberpunk 2020 video game, to check out my site.

That is the greatest compliment I have ever received.  The idea that something I have written may be used as inspiration in the game has me jumping up and down and grinning like an idiot.

He also made me an offer I would be an idiot to refuse, but I am gonna keep that one to myself until it actually happens.

I am never going to be able to sleep now.  Back to work on the Gangs of Night City....

Friday, June 1, 2012

Cyberpunk 2020 - Official video game anounced

Okay, an announcement has been made that has the online CP 2020 community soiling themselves and myself, well... lets just say whats filling my pants is even more unspeakable.

CD Projekt Red, the company behind the VRPG games Witcher and Witcher 2 have just announced that they will be putting out a Cyberpunk game based directly on our favorite pen and paper RPG.  From what I have heard, the Witcher games are plenty awesome, and were a breath of fresh air in how RPG's are handled.  I can't say for sure, because I have never played them, but it sounds like they are one of the few companies I would trust to do this...

The best news is that not only was the main man Mike Pondsmith himself there at the announcement, but he is going to be directly involved with the project as well.  Some of you may recall Mike was involved with another video game no one ever heard of, a little game called Halo...

Here is the video footage of the announcement!  They announce development of the game at around the 12 minute 38 second mark, but it gets amazing at the 18:17 mark when Mike Pondsmith takes the stage and rocks the mic like a vandal.... I never imagined he would have such an awesome voice...



At the presentation it was promised that the game would be mature, non-linear, and feature a host of weapons, gadgets, implants and toys.

If this doesn't invigorate the line again, I can't imagine anything will.  For years I have dreamed the dream of having my name published in an R. Talsorian book, and after V3 that dream looked not just foolish, but hopeless, as R. Talsorian went pretty silent on the silent.  But now, for the first time in years, a tiny candle has been lit that makes that dream just a little less foolish than it was yesterday.

I cannot wait for this game.  Saints Row 3 had me more excited than I had ever been for a video game, it was to be the closest thing to a perfect video game the world had ever seen, and as near to a Cyberpunk 2020 game as I thought would ever come about, what with the aerodynes and all in a GTA style sandbox game.  But Saints Row 3 utterly disappointed me by being so ridiculously silly and juvenile.  It left me pretty depressed about video games as a whole and the direction the industry is headed  Little did I know, that I would be soon staring at a future where an official Cyberpunk 2020 video game would be a reality.

I am now more excited than I have any right to be... I only pray that by non-linear they mean its going to be a sandbox style game, and that vehicles will be available to drive.  If that turns out to be the case, no one may ever see me outside my house again...

For more coverage of the announcement, go here:
Forbes

Kotaku

Gamasutra

Rock Paper Shotgun

Wisdom000

Datafortress 2020 is back online!

Somehow, on May 22nd 2012, Datafortress 2020 was hit for over 2.14 gig of bandwidth in one day.  I have no idea how this happened, as I have never seen anywhere near that amount of traffic in a month, much less in one day.  So the sight was temporarily suspended until Yesterday.  But we are up again and running, and all is well.

I was also receiving messages that some people were getting warning errors for malicious content when going to my site.  I have gone through and deleted anything that even looked like it might even think about causing an issue, and I am happy to say that according to my sources the problem has been solved.  Hoooray.

I would have posted about this sooner, but I just got back from a trip to Steamboat Colorado.  Steamboat itself was awesome, but the best part was the two 19-hour Cyberpunk 2020 sessions I ran for my friend on the trip there and back... talk about some old school hardcore gaming...

Anyway, things are up and running again, enjoy and sorry for the inconvenience.

Wisdom000

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Feeling Lucky... You damn well should!

There are billions upon billions of stars in the universe.  No one knows if there is life on other worlds or not.  But of the unfathomable countless planets we find ourselves on Earth.  Life, if you believe the latest scientific theory, began millions upon millions of years ago here from single celled organisms.  Over time, some of those organisms, deep in the primordial sea, evolved at odds unimaginable, into primitive lifeforms, with brains and nervous systems.  Further still some of those organisms evolved skeletal structures.  Then some of those life forms developed limbs, first as fins and tails, then limbs... and the organisms left the sea behind.

Time passed, life changed further.  As some of those organisms adapted to best survive environments, the brains grew larger, the nervous system became more complex, appendages changed and so did the blood.  Down through time the changes kept occurring, tails were lost, apes and monkeys emerged... then miraculously man.

Over the course of millions of years, against or in spite of, the insurmountable odds against such a thing happening, Man evolved further, to become the dominant species of this planet.  To develop the ability to communicate, to become self aware, to create, to desire more than basic survival.

But the miracle does not end there, no, that is only beginning, it is the way point where we can measure just how truly lucky we, all of us, individually truly are.

You are the product of your mother and father, and they the products of their own parents, who in turn again were the products of their descendent drifting back through the centuries, through the millennia, through the eons... 

A woman is born with between 1 and 2 million eggs in her ovaries.  Each of which is similar but unique, and roughly once a month after puberty an egg matures enough for fertilization, where pregnancy becomes viable. If no fertilization occurs the egg is flushed from her system, and a new egg matures.  This happens until menopause.  Of the 1 to 2 million eggs a woman is born with, only 400 will ever reach maturity, and become viable for fertilization.  Of those 400, only one was fertilized to become you...  From your mother you had a 1 in 2 million shot of becoming you.

A post pubescent male will produce around 12 billion sperm a month.  Over the course of his life a man is said to produce about 400 billion sperm.  Each sperm is similar but slightly unique.  Every ejaculate contains about 300 million sperm.  Of which only about 200 will reach  the egg, and only one will fertilize it to become you.  From your father you had a one in 400 billion chance of becoming you

You had a 1  in 400 quintillion (that's 18 zeroes) chance that the child born of your mother and father would be you.

But it doesn't end there.  Your mother had the same chances of being born, as did your father... and their parents before them, falling back through time to the beginnings of modern man, roughly 5,300 generations ago, and before them the early man variations stretching all the way back as estimated 83,000 generations into the past.  Before that, the numbers lose any meaning...

From the dawn of mankind, if you are alive today, if you exist and are reading this, it means you beat the odds at 33,200,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 to 1.

Remember this the next time you feel unlucky.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Netrunner is back.  It seems Fantasy Flight games is releasing a revamp of Netrunner as part of their Android line.  The original CCG had a huge following, not quite as big as Magic, but I think at the time it ran a pretty healthy second place, or not... I gotta admit I was never into the CCG scene... but I do remember it being hugely popular with extremely loyal fans, and remember Pyramid praising it to the rafters.  If the art we have seen so far is any indication, the game is georgeous.  I am not familiar with Android, other than the premise, it being a cyberpunk boardgame borrowing heavily from Bladerunner, but the whole line seems to be incredibly polished with fantastic art and layout.

It appears that when licensing the game from Wizards Of The Coast, they neglected or didn't bother to license the setting from R. Talsorian, which is disappointing.  The game instead drops the Cyberpunk 2020 universe for the Android universe.  Honestly, I am not sure how they managed to keep the name Netrunner, since that was a core Role name of Cyberpunk 2020, and I am pretty sure R. Tal still owns it, but maybe R.Tal never got around to trademarking it, or maybe they sold the trademark to WOTC.  I really don't know.

What I do know is that the beauty of the original Netrunner is that with the release of the Cyberpunk 2020 supplement Rache Bartmos's Brainware Blowout, you could use the orginal netrunner CCG as netrunning rules for you Cyberpunk 2020 game.  It was a brilliant move, and an incredibly fun replacement for the actual games horrific netrunning rules.  I don't know if the new game is going to retain any semblance of compatibility, but perhaps someone out there can find a way to make it work.  Honestly, from the looks of it, the new game won;t even be compatible with the old one, and I know that under the new setting many cards will have been dropped or renamed.

None the less, the new Netrunner looks amazing, the art is astonishing, and the whole android line now has me intrigued.  The price tags are a little on the steep side though.  The core Netrunner set is 39.95, and contains 252 cards.  I don't know what the boosters will run, or if their will be boosters, but that's a pretty large investment to make for a card game...

I will definitely be keeping my eyes out for this. 

These Things I Know

This I know.  Between every moment, the universe rebuilds itself, when you have lost your keys, or your cigarette lighter, or the remote, that YOU KNOW WAS JUST FUCKING THERE.... you lost it because the Universe forgot it, like a typo, when it rebuilt the reality. That's why you never find it until you kick and scream and curse and ask everyone you know, even people who weren't even there if they have seen the item... that's how you remind the universe to correct its mistake... but the Universe does not want you to catch on to it, so when it puts the item back it does so only in a different room, one you have already searched... but sometimes, the universe REALLY wants to fuck with you... so you leave the room, and it puts it back, in EXACTLY the place you remember it being... Or worse... If it really wants to fuck with you, the universe slips it in your pocket... just to make you think you are stupid and or crazy...

Also, I am positive that Bag Fries (the fries that fall out of the container and into the bottom of the bag) are the best tasting fries of the the batch... they have escaped the tiny confines of their cardboard cages, only to be confined again... their brief sense of hope, suddenly overcome by abject dismay over their impending doom sends endorphins throughout the french fry body and saturates them with deliciousness...

Oddly, this effect is exactly the opposite for tater tots, who become disgusting and stale at their hint of freedom... I think they are agorophobic, and suffer isolation anxiety when away from the safety of the herd for too long... Bag Tots are sad little things...

Onion rings who get a taste of freedom will secrete a corrosive oil, that weakens an opens the bag, freeing not only themselves, but everything else in the bag as well... Bag Rings have spirit, and yearn to be free.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

MCA...

While I loved License to Ill, when it came out it was pretty simple musically, Paul's Boutique hit the streets and everyone realized that the B-Boys were not one-hit wonders, they brought the FUNK, and they did it at a time when funk was almost forgotten...



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yr1Qe2m8oOA

Their flow, their choice of extremely obscure songs to sample from, all done masterfully...  The references they made, spanning everything from personal histories, burgeoning pop culture, and philosophical and spiritual concepts, it was unlike anything that had ever been heard before.

When Check Your Head was released, I flipped out, no way could any band understand music this well... So Whatcha Want became my theme song for a year, I would answer the damn phone with "So Whatcha Whatcha Whatcha want?  I played it so much that my friends would bitch at me because the tape was always in the car stereo, the CD was always blaring when they showed up to my house...  It is without a doubt my second favorite Beastie Album...



When Ill Communications hit, it felt like such a natural progression from the previous albums, it was smooth, it was hard, and it was a statement... a statement provlaiming loudly, we are the fucking B-BOYS, and we don't miss a step...

Everyone raves about Sabotage, but its not my favorite song on the album, I love the song, its hard frenzied beat is anthem to every cyberpunk game I have ever payed... but its not my favorite...  My favorite song on the album, perhaps my favorite Beastie Song of all time, is Get It Together, featuring Q-Tip, from Tribe Called Quest, my favorite hip-hop group after the Beasties... The song is 4 absolute masters of rhyme and vocabulary at the absolute top of their game, the pinnacle of their skills, and they are just having fun with it... and its fucking magic...




Hello Nasty was them taking to the next level, they continued to experiment voraciously, and each song on the album seems to be coming from a different place.  It was too studio for some, but to me that was just taking the next logical step in honing their craft.  The songs were polished and perfected, and goddamn they were fun... The album hit right as Yauch was forefront with his Milrepa work, but they didn;t ever let the serious messages they were putting into their music override the joy of listening to them.  It remains the perfect party album...

I think what really made the album special, what really set it apart, is it came at the twilight of the golden age of hip-hop... where it seemed to me at least, that widely distributed hip hop was in its last days of lyrically intricate, sophisticated, message laden works of art, be they silly or serious, and the genre was making the transition to catch phrases repeated ad nauseum by illiterate thugs.  There were some holdovers, and I am assured lyrical mastery and vocabulary are making a comeback in the underground scene, but Hello Nasty was one of the last really great hip=hop albums... Like all the B-Boys albums before it, you could listen to every song on the album, and every-time you heard it, you picked up on something you missed the first go around.




To the 5 Burroughs was my least favorite album by the Beastie Boys... I understand what they were doing, getting back to their roots, taking their sound back to the basics... but it always sounded to me like they were underutilizing the talents of Mixmaster Mike, and the lyrics seemed kind of rushed, a little too simple for what I had come to expect, especially after the long hiatus... but its still a Beastie Album, and I still love it... the worst Boys album is still head and tails over anything that was coming out at the time...  And Check It Out remains an amazing song...


The Hot Sauce Committee pt 2 was the Beasties back on top of the game... and a high note that Yauch should feel no shame going out on... They were a band of 3 kids who understood hip-hop, who transformed hip-hop, and who never once took themselves too seriously, while at the same time never once forgot that they had a message, and they had a venue that could change the world.  Adam Horovitz replaced John Berry in 1983 while the group was still a primarily a punk rock garage band... and the core three members of the Beasties remained unchanged for almost 30 years... They don't have the volume of albums some bands have who haven't been around half as long, but all of them were of top quality... there was never a case of buying an album for one song and the rest was garbage, every song on every album is known by heart to its fans... You can't leave behind a better legacy than that...  It is a sad coincidence that his death came a year and a day after their last album, Hot Sauce Committee Part 2, was released...



Of course none of this mentions how musically brilliant they were from a technical standpoint... Their instrumental albums, The In Sounds From Way Out, and The Mix-Up, say all that needs to be said, and rank among my favorite jazz/funk albums of all time...


Goddamn I am going to miss that sound... The sound of 3 Jews From Brooklyn... Three Wise Men... spreading their message of love, respect, and good times to us all...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Movies from a Cyberpunk Gamers Perspective

Ok folks, since losing my job I have been watching a lot of Netflix lately...

Now for some reason I have a strange addiction to 70's exploitation flicks, and I have watched every thing from the awesome (The Monkey Hustle, Bucktown, Sugarhill) to the abominably awful (Bamboo Gods and Iron Men, Switchblade sisters) and everything in between.  And that's just the Blaxploitation flicks, don't get me started on all the godawful motorcycle gang movies of the 50's, and 60's... christ I am convinced that they all suck... they all seemed to be a cross between Billy Jack ham fisted social commentary and beach blanket bingo... where at least once in every movie the tough as nails bikers do the twist with bikini girls to god awful music... how did bikers ever get the reputation as tough guys I will never know... but its important that you know that these are the majority of flicks I have been watching, so you know where my mind is at...

Now, I haven't been wasting all my time in the past, I have also been watching as many near future and post apocalypse movies as I can.  Or at least as I can stomach... now some of these are ones I overlooked for whatever reason back in the day at the video store, but others are newer films that completely slipped under my radar.

Its those newer flicks that I will be focusing on here.

HARDWIRED

I want to start with the one freshest in mind, a little cyberpunk flick I had never heard of called Hardwired.  Now, I am a fan of low budget films, especially in the cyberpunk genre.  Hell for my money the best cyberpunk flicks ever made were done on tiny tiny budgets.  Things like Hardware, the first Nemesis, Split Second, etc... So if you don't like those films, you definitely won't like Hardwired.  Hardwired stars Cuba Gooding Junior, who actually does surprisingly well in an action role.  He isn't the best action star in the world, but he doesn't embarrass himself either, at least not here.  It also stars Val Kilmer, who was probably my first man crush... who does embarrass himself here.  It also stars a staple of half the cyberpunk films ever made, at least the good ones, Micheal Ironsides... which always validates the movie for me. 

Now the plot is kind of nonsensical, a corporation is testing out a new implant on people without their consent, the implant is keyed into their optical and auditory nerves to force them to hallucinate commercials.  It doesn't seem to have any benefit, but hey, evil corporation doing evil things.  Cuba plays a guy, a former special forces guy, who loses his memory in a car accident, and gets one of these doohickeys implanted in his brain... and spends the rest of the movie trying to hunt down the corporation that did this to him.  Like I said, its a pretty ridiculous premise...

But the movie is not without merit.  I see this a lot in films of the genre, but in this one its really evident... they almost had a brilliant movie, they were so close to something magnificent that you can almost taste it, if it weren't for the overwhelming flavor of warm runny licorice shit the plot leaves on your palate... like drinkjng Jaegermeister.  But beneath the plot, there is great stuff here.  The hackers are pure fucking awesome, at least in the manner in which they work.  The manner in which the hackers use the implant to relay information is awesome.  The cityscapes full of advertising are kinda cool too, although a little understated for the message they are trying to send, Idiocracy did it better, but it was a nice touch.  Ironsides displays a sentimental side you rarely see from him, and its kind of nice.  Cuba was good in the role, though every time he went to a blank stare when information was being displayed to him via the implant I couldn't help but think of his performance in Radio.  Val, unfortunately, just kind of phoned it in, and did so with hair that would make Nic Cage say "what the fuck?". 

All in all it was pretty good, a fun little flick, I wouldn't recomend watching it to most, but if you are a Cyberpunk gamer, you will get some great inspiration from it.  Oh, and in a still frqame at the end, possibly trying to set up for a sequel, the give you a shot of another Cyberpunk Staple, Lance Henrickson... which was nice.  They were definitely catering to fans of the genre from the 80's.  Not many of us left you know, so cool.

SHANK

An absolute gem of a cyberpunk flick.  I would best describe it as a British remake of the Warriors.  The world itself is remarkably similiar to that in District B-12, and if you are a fan of the atmosphere from that film, you will love this flick.  There are no actors I recognized in this flick, but it was directed by the same guy who did Kidadulthood, which it makes frequent reference too in the form on movie posters on the walls.  In a shitty near future world, food is the scarce commodity, and the streets are overrun with youth gangs.  The movie follows the exploits of Junior and his gang, as they set off across London to track down the gang that killed his brother.  Along the way they encounter other gangs, which definitely gave me a Warriors vibe. 

The gangs and characters are all pretty unique, and definitely stylish.  The world the movie creates is rich and interesting.  The director takes some wierd comedic liberties, but they kind of work... the dog fighting scene, where you don't actually see the dogs fighting, but instead watch the onlookers faces while health bars straight out of a fighting video game drop down, or the animated dream sequence... it works well.  When you do see violence, it is pretty bloody brutal.  Unfortunately most of the fight scenes, of which there are disappointingly few, overuse the whole shaky cam nonsense to the point where you can't ever tell whats going on.  But thats the only complaint I had. 

Overall Shank was a great flick, and i definitely recommend it, especially if you are running a gang based Cyberpunk type game.  Tons of inspiration here.  And watch for Whisper, if you don't feel the urge to have him appear as an NPC in your game, you are dead inside.

NATURAL CITY
I also got to re-watch Natural City. Commonly advertised as the Korean Bladerunner.  If you haven't seen this film, you are only hurting yourself, and the souls of your ancestors weep for you.  It is positively fucking brilliant.  All the deep philosophical issues raised by Bladerunner, plus all the action and violence of ... well of a Korean action flick...  It is flawlessly executed, and highly visually stimulating.  Seriously, see this movie, I cannot recommend it enough.    But I am not going to go into detail on it, because I have vague recollections of doing that already a while ago.

DEAD END DRIVE-IN
Now this is an oldie, but I had never gotten the chance to see it.  Hell I hadn't even heard of it until recently.  An Australian movie from the 80's, it is kind of a weird little movie, but it offers a great look into a combat zone... albeit a small one.  Hooligans who visit the drive in have their vehicle disabled, locking them inside the drive-in walls, which serves as a makeshift prison for juvenile delinquents.  Unlucky movie fans aren;t the only ones who get locked in here, the police also shuttle in illegal immigrants, along with junk heap cars for them to live in, which causes one of the major plot conflicts, and touches on the evils of racism in an interesting way. 

I am not gonna lie, the premise is pretty thin, but that's never stopped a movie from being enjoyable before.  And this movie is pretty darn entertaining.  For a budget that must have been miniscule, they make every penny go as far as they can, and like any decent Australian flick from the 70's and 80's, they manage to throw in a fantastic car chase and an amazing car jump.

I definitely recommend this as a popcorn flick to watch with your mates, adding some booze to the mix won't hurt it either.

I still have some cyberpunk flicks that somehow slipped under my radar, or ones I have put off watching for years because they looked so bad that I couldn't justify spending the money to drive them back to the video store, much less for the dollar rental fee... But I have Netflix now, and plenty of time, so I am finally getting around to watching this crap...

Oh, speaking of crap... I watched one I wasn't going to mention, but I must, both as a warning, and to share with you what at one time was the most hilarious, and most disturbing bit of dialogue ever to be uttered on film... The movie is called Prototype X-29A... and it is fucking awful, by anyone's standards.  The body suit for the Prototype X-29 is kinda cool, except for the stupid helmet, but the move itself is just plain garbage.  However, one of the main characters is a prostitute, and this sets us up for the greatest worst line in cinematic history.  The prostitute finishes giving a client the sloppy pocket on what looks like a loading dock surrounded by his gang.  As she jumps immediately up to put her clothes on, the client stands, demanding that the prostitute also service his main man "Action"... She responds by telling him first he has to pay, and he has to wear a rubber.  The client, in a scene of inspired madness that will leave your skin crawling and will become an inside joke to share with all the friends you force to watch this movie is:

 "Hey Action! You can use my SKIN!"

This is accompanied by the "just above the waist" imagery of him pulling the tip of the used condom he is still wearing, stretching it out until it pops off his member complete with a wet, sticky, SCHLICK sound!

I had to watch that, and now I am compelled to share it with all of you, you are welcome...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Names, backstory, and wanting to stab yourself in the brain...

One of the most boring parts about writing this gang supplement for DF2020 is coming up with names and backstories for the multitude of NPC's that are invovled.  Unlike with other sourcebooks, where most of the characters have real names, or a few nicknames... with gangs nearly everyone has a colorful nickname, and to be honest I am just not that creative when it comes to this stuff... I run into this problem with every sourcebook... but with this one it seems compounded... because with gang members, their backstories have to be pretty similiar for the most part, in at least they share the same goals and outlook... but how many times, how many different ways, can you say "This guy is a violent sociopath who wants to rip your face off and chew on your lungs!" 

At the end of the day I continue to slog through it, finding myself distracted as much as possible, often fooling myself with the excuse of "maybe this will give me some inspiration" before my random boredom has me looking a t pictures of cats for an hour...  I will get more focused as the project continues, I always do... but until I can see the end, usually about the halfway point of the project, I never can be totally focused on it...

I have noticed one thing though.  When I first began doing sourcebooks and articles for Datafortess 2020 they were purely online affairs.  Simple HTML, using netscape (then later Seamonkey) and the built in composer.  But a few years ago, I converted all of it to PDF for ease of use.  Now I write the articles in word, writing for the PDF you could say.  And then convert the article to HTML.

Writing for one format is vastly different than writing for the other.  They both have pros, and they both have cons.  Writing for HTML in a composer, it allows you too keep and work on the sections seperately, without screwing up the format and layout of the entire project.  Its a much more organized way of doing it.  Unfortunately when you keep everything in separate folders (curse you OCD), it means you end up spending a lot of time recompiling everything when you are done so the images and links match up correctly.  Writing to a document for PDF, its all their, which is nice.  You have a lot more simplicity when it comes to layout and formatting, both due to the standardized restraints inherent in page size uniformity, and the fact that the tools for creating tables, image placements, and so on, are much simpler to use overall.  Placing images is a simple copy paste awesome sauce.  Unfortunately you lose a lot of the format, and the images are renamed when converting doc to html. Converting either format to the other is such a massive headache, especially when it comes to the images, that it is easily my least favorite part of any given project....

Trying to think of a new way to approach this... maybe doing them both simultaneously.

Of furious anger and joyous exultation, the recovery of lost files...

Lost files... It happens to anyone who spends a significant amount of time working on something on your computer.  Sometimes its as simple as not saving your work regularly, and having the program or your computer freeze up, or making a long post only to have the connection time out as you hit the post button, and the entire thing is lost.  The small moments are infuriating, but you can usually live with them... the bigger problem is when you lose a project you have been working months on.  Sometimes it happens because your hard drive gets corrupted or frizzles, and other times... its because like an idiot, you trash it yourself.

So for months now, I have been working on a Gang Sourcebook for Night City, to tie in with the eventual Expanded Night City sourcebook, centered around the new Night City Map I compiled using the map from the latest German version of the Cyberpunk core rules (I won a contest promoting the book, and Games-In were kind enough to send me a high resolution printout of the new map they created).  If you follow the link to see the small version of the map, the dark portion in the upper right hand corner is the German map... the rest of the map was created but carefully cutting and pasting sections of the city using Google Earth.   The German map is the same basic map as the one found in the English core rules, just much prettier looking.  The map that came with the Night City Sourcebook comprises just the top half of the German map... just to give you a sense of scale.  But I am digressing like crazy here, so let me get back on track...

Anyway, this gang sourcebook, I have spent months compiling images... this is the first stage of any sourcebook I do for Datafortress and it can take quite a while before I have enough images to feel comfortable moving forward.  One of the core concepts of DF2020 is that everything is illustrated... some would probably say over illustrated.  But I get much more inspired personally by an image, than I would at any amount of flavor text.  A picture is worth a thousand words, and why talk about it when you can show it right?  Some of the images sit on my hard drive for years before I finally get a chance to use them. 

I had finally gotten enough images (though I am always adding more) to begin writing the sourcebook.  But while writing I have been using the images for NPC's during the one of the Cyberpunk games I have been running which heavily ties in to the gang scene. 

I recently picked up a wireless receiver that allowed me to move my PC from my bedroom out to the gaming room.  Huzzah.  This would save me the problem of having to hook up my laptop, which is kind of a pain, to run games in the gaming room, as well as giving me access to the much larger hard drives in my PC which are full of music.  However, in doing so, it was necessary to move all the files from my current project onto my back up portable hard drive (the HD from my old laptop in a shell, not very much space but more than enough for what is needed.). 

The problem lies in that I already had an old back up on my portable hd.  So I go to erase it, holding shift-delete... cause I roll like that... only to realize that I was deleting the current version on my laptop, instead of the version on my portable HD.  FUCK....

I cancelled the deletion immediately, but the damage had already been done.... half the images were gone.  Hundreds and hundreds of images, and countless hours spent scouring the net, making screencaps from films, scanning images in... gone... because I roll like an idiot...

Eventually, I was able to recover the images from the protected files, but the file names had all been changed, and I was sifting through thousands of files.  Luckily the older copy on my portable HD wasn't that old, and by combining the two I was able to retrieve most of the images, and get them back into their original organized folders.   Also luckily, the images that were permanently renamed, which I had no backups of, were screen caps and film stills... so while I lost the artist name for a few images, luckily I can still provide proper credit.  Giving credit is a big deal for me, and from the beginning one the bottom of every page of every article or sourcebook I have done for DF2020 I try to list the artist or origin of every image I use.  I can't always track down the artist, as some of the images I find have just been posted to forums, or are from newsgroups, or in photobucket or image shack albums, etc... but I try and make the effort at least.

I think I should be ok, its pretty rare that I just find one image from any given artist, so everyone should be credited.

Just glad I was able to recover the images.

And I wish I could say I learned a lesson... Like look before you leap... don't get rushed when trying to make room on a portable hard drive, keep more backups, don't always hold down shift when deleting something... but the truth is, I probably haven't learned a damn thing other than how to recover lost files and what a pain in the ass it is...

Monday, March 19, 2012

Maintaining the Datafort

Greetings Programs,

Ok, so here I am... Wisdom000, or as real people know me, Deric Bernier.  I have run the Cyberpunk 2020 based role-playing game website, Datafortress 2020, since 1996 (Christ thats a long time and now I feel old) when I took it over from Paul Minor.

What originally started out as a relatively small website has become the single largest source of original material on the net for the game, as well as hosting the largest archive of Cyberpunk 2020 material in the world, gathering all the relevant material from nearly every website for the game that ever existed

Of course long before I took over for Paul I had been playing the game.  While I had some brief encounters with roleplaying games in the 80's with Dungeons and Dragons, it wasn't the best of experiences and it kind of soured me for years.  I aquired several gaming books over the years, but it was mostly for the art or the ideas behind them, as I didn't really have anyone to play with.  I did however start creating rules for them even before I really understood what RPG's were... when my brother and I used dice to decide the outcome of our elaborately staged action figure battles.  Finally, after years of avioding Dungeons and Dragons, a friend convinved me to play with him... so I spent a long night before the game with him making up a character... and then when I showed up to play,it wasn't DnD, but Cyberpunk.  I thought "What the hell", I came all that way, might as well play it.  Christ... that was 1989, and I haven't looked back since... the game became such an obsession with me, that it was ten years before I even attempted to run anything else.  Oh I played in a few other games, but nothing ever hit me as close to home.  Now, since the millenium change I have branched out quite a bit but after the oughts, I decided I was really, at heart, a one system kind of guy... other settings still held interest for me, but no other set of rules really encapsulated what I wanted as well as Interlock.

I have written a lot of material for this game over the years, several full sourcebooks, tons of weapons, gadgets, and other goodies.  I have created maps, character sheets, and endless other fiddly bits and compilations.  I spend hours searching for images to use with the articles, every awesome vehicle, weapon, or piece of tech from any film, cartoon, tv show, comic book, or whatever, that could be remotely believable in a Cyberpunk 2020 setting can be found, statted up, somewhere on my site.  And sometimes I draw them myself... in addition to drawing every PC that has ever been played in one of my games.

A few years ago, after 15 years of playing the game, I realized that I had changed, replaced, or added so many rules to the core Cyberpunk 2020 rules system of Interlock, that I could kinda re-write it... especially with the combined knowledge of the View From The Edge Cyberpunk forum, as well as some of the old school website owners I am proud to call my friends.  So after getting permission and brainstorming, I embarked on my biggest project to date... re-writing the rules for Interlock.

The goal was simple, not only repair and expand the rules that were broken or didn't cover everything, but streamline them and add new rules to cover the situations left unexamined.  In addition, the goal was to make Interlock a Universal system, that could handle any setting, any concept...

What I, with the help of many contributors and friends, came up with, was Interlock Unlimited.  A living evolving system, one that does everything I need it to do, and if a situation arises that it can't handle, rules are created and added so that it can.  I am not quite sure how many people use it, the truth is Cyberpunk 2020 is a dying setting, even though it was far more popular than its successor Cyberpunk v3 (which changed the rules to Fuzion, a hybrid of Interlock and Hero) and still has a shrinking but diehard fanbase, there is no official support for the game.  I do know that its been favorably reviewed on several blogs, its frequently suggested on RPGnet and other forums, it was the subject of a Sideways Tower podcast.  I get a lot of e-mails about it as well.  Unfortunately, I can't really look at the dowload numbers for it as being anything representative of its popularity.  I mean the numbers say its been downloaded over 3000 times... but the thing is, Interlock Unlimited is an evolving system, the core rules have been changed several times, so I don't know how many people are downloading it each time its updated, or downloading it once, or what...

I do hope that the people who have downloaded it are enjoying it.  Interlock Unlimited is a fan project, by fans, for fans... and while it operates with the unofficial but public blessing of Mike Pondsmith, owner of R.Talsorian games, creator of Cyberpunk 2020, it is something I give away for free out of love for the game and its potential.

Anyway, thats who I am and why I do what I do... as for this blog... Blame my friend from VFTE and longtime contributor Companero.  He suggested this blog, saying it would be a good way to get attention for the site, Interlock Unlimited, and Cyberpunk in general.  So here I am.

I am not going to promise to update this place regularly, I am not going to even hint at anything remotely resembling a schedule... what I am going to do is use this as a sounding board for  Cyberpunk 2020 and Interlock Unlimited  projects I am working on for Datafortress 2020, opinions about cyberpunk related entertainment like movies and comics, general gaming insights, rants, raves, and whatever other wierdness I feel like posting... I will try to keep it mostly gaming related however. I will post whenever the mood strikes me, that way it won't ever feel like work or a duty...

I freely encourage discussion on anything I post, the more feedback I get the better I get... so don't be afraid to rant back.  Sure there are the Datafortress 2020 forums, which you are all encouraged to join, but send me an e-mail if you want to register.  Due to the mamoth deluge of spam I get everytime I open registration, I generally only do so if I know an actual human being who plays the game wants to join... the e-mail to reach me at for registration is wisdom000 at gmail.  Feel free to write me there about anything connected to gaming, the site, or just to tell me I am sexy.

Anyway, to anyone who has made it this far, thanks, and I hope this works out.  Forgive any typos, and have a nice day...

Oh and be sure to visit Datafortress 2020, the largest most comprehensive Cyberpunk 2020 site in the world at:
http://datafortress2020.oliwy.net/
Also be sure to check out the Datafortress 2020 File Project, which is home to PDF and other downloadable file versions of all my material, the Interlock Unlimited Files, the Cyberpunk 2020 Archive (largest archive of Cyberpunk 2020 material available), and my personal art gallery at:
http://datafortress2020forums.110mb.com/filegallery/4images/index.php
And if you want to join in the discussions, check out the Datafortress 2020 Forums, be sure to send me an e-mail if you want to join and I will open up registration long enough for you to get in...
http://datafortress2020forums.110mb.com/