Construction & Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
With the weekend almost over, dear reader, it was time to clean house. Let’s get down to brass tacks, which in this day and age, is possibly the most under-used of all hardware commodities.
The above is a quickly-flatted piece I’ve been working on for Operation Stanley. Still much to do, lines to clean, perspectives to tweak and colours to figure out, but it’s coming along. One of those arduous scribblings that never had the luxury of an indulgent single or double session to render on paper, thus was pencilled and inked in spits and spats over the course of a week or two. There is still much more to do, with an entire composite background and other features yet to be added – still existing elsewhere in scrappy 2B form. Fingers crossed they don’t ruin the affair by botching the perspective. That said, as a fellow who revels in the finality of creating linework in the olden style – ala, never digitally – there’s a certain element of rumination about positing the next addition to a composite piece. Anyway, enough of that.
So, I owe you an ALIENS: Colonial Marines Technical Manual spiel. Here it is:
Buy this book.
If you’re a person who found themselves reading through pen and paper RPG supplements, or fastidiously studying technical concept art compilations, Lee Brimmicombe-Wood’s surgical banquet of hard sci-fi, using the tools of the ALIENS franchise, is for you.
Brimmicombe-Wood is actually a leading software engineer and game designer, which perhaps explains the clinical attention to detail. From the internal workings of the M56 Smart Gun computer targeting array – mentioned in an earlier post – to interstellar naval combat and the individual systems aboard ships such as the Sularco, Brimmicombe-Wood writes with a fervour not only to simply flesh out James Cameron’s film, but to inflate a universe that is only briefly inferred by the films.
And it’s a fascinating universe from a strictly hardware point of view. Getting to know the history and variants of the UD-4L Cheyenne dropship (in the pipe, five by five) was terrific. Even more so was reading about evolving infantry tactics in the Colonial Marines, coupled with advances in firearms and associated technology. The classic ALIEN/ALIENS androids and their use when embedded in USCM detachments. All given tangible legitimacy through Brimmicombe-Wood’s successful attempt to pad out what has, ultimately, turned to somewhat of a pop-culture cliché. I generally accommodate any sort of space marine archetype, on account of having a morbid fascination with military hardware, earthworks and heavy machinery, as well as sci-fi hardware, but there is no shame nor excuse made when one rifles through ALIENS: Colonial Marines Technical Manual.
I would recommend everyone, even those with a passing interest in either the movie franchise or science-fiction in general, check it out…but it’s not really a coffee table book. If learning that the M577 APC’s RE700 20mm gatling cannon has the option of firing AP fletchette rounds – caseless ammunition fed into a revolving chamber, sprayed with hypergolic binary propellants and ignited – doesn’t appeal, then perhaps stick to broader fare.
Personally speaking, dear reader, such mechanical detail leaves me unashamedly tumescent. Many thanks to DM Scheer for his vision and kindness with this one. The man can read me like a book.
Hmm, surely I can cram a tail-end slice of inanity in.
Well, contrary to these loathsomely narcissistic posts, I generally hate to self-promote. Calling it an insecurity would be conservative, but it can get rather grubby. That said, I’ve been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to write a nice little column over at GamesAreEvil, specifically on strategy gaming. Now, as much as I’m a gross pretender when put against geniuses like the great DM Scheer, I’d like to think an everyman’s perspective is as warranted as the views of the true armchair generals. So, here’s the lowdown thus far:
Reign: Conflict of Nations
…Set in the aftermath of the Black Death, the great pestilence from the East that exploded in Europe in 1349 and took out up to sixty percent of the continental population, we find ourselves in Marienburg overseeing a fresh-faced Hochmeister and his fortified city of righteous Teutons. Of course, there are plenty of other Northern kingdoms to choose from, but who could deny themselves a mandate from the Holy Roman Empire to cleanse the West Baltic regions of those Old Prussia heathens? Of course, it also took a Polish invitation, but the Germans appear to have a habit of turning up before the invitations are sent out. In the spring of 1350, von Kniprode made his first move…
Creative Assembly’s alarmingly broken Stormrise – a game so thwarted by its own inability to grant the player any worthwhile control that I call it the strategic misfire of the generation solely by that deficit. Reluctantly so, mind you, as there’s some great ideas within.
Wargame: European Escalation
Remember the M60A2 Starship? Anyone? You know, that strange Patton MBT variant? Well, truth be told, neither did I prior to playing Eugen Systems’ Cold War opus. But that’s the thing about gaming and the inherent pedagogical propensity. I had just spent command points to unlock this curiously-turreted beast and was losing them in untold numbers across the green vales of the Rhineland. Just what was this Starship and why was it so terrible?!
Real Warfare II: Northern Crusades
“They be fatter than them we saw above Starkenburg.” the knight beside him observed, looking at Leuthold before joining him in looking at the birds. “Though I wager neither flight felt much the Lord’s own famine. These? Gluttony by way of Masovian flesh.”
“Sir Herwyn, had only the call of the chroniclers beckoned before the sword.” Leuthold said, turning to face his brother-in-arms.
“A man’s fate other than my own, Komtur.” Herwyn laughed. “Allow me prediction; the ravens roost amongst the corpses by nightfall, their bellies too full for heaven’s reclaim.”
Leuthold pressed his horse forward a few steps, squinting across at the treeline. The shadow of troops moving to the edge of the forest, the near-inaudible clank of arms their herald. He looked back at Herwyn, then along the mercenary lines. “By the grace of God, let us prepare them a feast.”
Also, after reaching out to some brilliant indie developers, I’ve snagged a couple of terrific interviews with more on the way. As follows.
Enough, they cried. Dear reader, I have bored you enough. Go on, toddle off. Enjoy the last few hours of your weekend, unless you’re in New Zealand or Australia right now, where Monday’s talons are already sinking deep into your slumbering forms.