Monday, 31 March 2014

653: Nails In The Coffin Of Space

Cool title eh? This was meant to be called "Failing to Relax by Moonlight" and then things escalated.

Well. I needed to calm down a bit obviously. In keeping with by inner 'bear character I abandoned my pursuit of flight status (don't fly angry, remember?) and went back to wandering around high sec, doing some aimless clicking, listening to the football on the radio, mining and "interacting with the meta" (reading Twitter).

My main achievement for the weekend - figuring out how to look up to the sides and ceiling in the docking hangar.

Eventually I tired of mining. I thought about seeing how far I could get a Venture. I'd get the relaxing clank of the mining lasers and the adrenaline laden nerves of low sec at the same time. Given my mood I'll save that lark for another day.

There was something I'd been meaning to do and that was to continue my aborted investigation into the Sisters of EVE ships from Day 584. Was it really that long ago when I went mildly RP and discovered not only no trace of Valsas en Dilat but also a Randian quote on Ripard Tegs biography?

Time needs making up. I leap into the newly assembled White Witch.

My initial intention is to compare the output from the cylindrical structures. I duly go about this task.

I quickly reach the conclusion that I'm missing something. Possibly interest. I can't tell anything purely from the output and I feel I'm missing some vital clue in the structure or markings on the hull. I'm no lore master either. Again I should call on Rhavas or Mark726. The latter is too busy trashing up space elsewhere presumably. So much for science, though I guess that's how Penicillin got discovered.

I decide to fly the Astero on a tour of the systems moons. Nosing around and using its ability to use a Cov Ops cloak should prove a good field test. I quickly find a new use for the Covert Ops cloak. I can warp around and not see the ship. Here's the thing. The Astero gives me the willies. It scares me. Something about it does not like the exploration fit I've given it. At first I thought it was just the hygienic, almost acerbic, hull paint scheme but realised it wasn't. The hull gives off subtle hints of aggression. Alien aggression. At one point I couldn't shake the medical bay scene from Aliens from my mind. There is an element of almost unstoppable biological aggression radiating from the Astero hull. I'd delve into it a little deeper but I have the fear and concentrate on our tour of the local moons.

I catch sight of these two sunbathers along the way

Travelling from moon to moon, or actually stopping at planets and practising my dscan techniques, I come to three conclusions

  1. It annoys me that Overview tabs share sort order. Let me keep the sort order along with the selection.
  2. It annoys me that moon numbers aren't zero padded for sorting (Moon 2 comes after Moon 19)
  3. There are dead sticks everywhere

Somewhere in the space around virtually 80% of moons there is a POS. A Player Owned Starbase. I'd say at least 50% of these were inactive. They were still anchored and so, in hisec, untouchable without a wardec to hand. They simply didn't have any force field, meaning that they had abandoned or deliberately unfueled and left to hold the space for future use. Once anchored it requires no further effort to claim that space. An incoming war declaration would warn you to go and sort stuff out. So basically in the meantime you have to do nothing. I took offence at this for a second until I realised I'd done the same. I'll go and take that thing down. Then avarice took over and explained in patient terms to my role playing head (which I appear to have put on today) that it it was unfair that this space should be so statically claimed so easily. How unlike EVE that you can so easily claim something and have it made so difficult that it can be taken from you. If you aren't putting any effort into keeping it then it should be easy to take it. War Dec? Don't make me laugh. The wardec cost is cheap at the price for harassing care bear corps and uneconomical for effort and the potential gain involved in taking one of these things down.

Once my tour was complete I realised something else. At several offline starbases I saw defence and offence modules, at one of them I saw quite a few. At none of them did I see an industrial module. None. That means the towers production power, the central reason for it being in hisec in the first place, has been taken down on purpose and stashed away. These towers aren't abandoned, they are rock solid claim notes on moon space that take no effort to maintain. Presumably some low, or probably null, sec corp likes to make things safely every now and again. Just leave the tower there. Doing nothing for nothing. Like a nail in the coffin of space.

This gets me riled and sends me to Twitter to see what people think. This rapidly gets out of control because in WH space this thing is a bit of a bigger deal than my latent avaricious trashman role. See Rhavas feed for an example, and for a non WH perspective also read this and follow Sugar Kyle . Trust a Noob to put his foot in it. Or his Astero.

What could CCP do about these dead sticks? They've admitted the POS code is scary and that deployables are the iterating means to replace them. That means complicated solutions are out. My favourite, using Hacking, preferably where the POS owner had designed the defence matrix themselves, is right out. Timers seems to be the order of the day since, as Morwen Lagann pointed out, there is a difference between offline and abandoned. In W-space I can understand that. In K-space, particularly Hisec, though these things have been abandoned on purpose.  There has to be some timer that can't be confused with the Strontium timer that has to be easily implemented. A week without shields? Abandoned. Maybe. Like maybe I'll get my dirty, greedy mitts on what's inside anytime soon. I'll have to have a think about it after I've stopped thinking about another random thought that's been bugging me in one way or another. So if you don't like the thought of dead stick removal then think about this and let me know what you think

"What would you do with a hi sec alliance of a hundred corporations that only had one member each". Who would form such a rag tag bunch of individualists and to what purpose?

It's at this point I realise that the fever I have isn't a scotch hangover and that I had better stop thinking. I'm off to read Dark Eden which I've been putting off.

EVE Track of the Day

Too Late - Larry Williams and Johnny Watson

(originally dedicated via EVE Radio to all those who fled EVE simply because they heard about the Bonus Room)

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Day 651 : I Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry

I swore I wouldn't write about the Bonus Room incident but it's got to me and it's got me raging in the oddest of ways. I might upset someone. I got upset and I hold some odd views at times. If my response upsets you then I apologise in advance but I've reached the point where some barely reasoned cathartic venting of opinion is required.

 If you don't know what the Bonus Room incident is then I suggest you avoid it all together or read up using the first opening shots over at Jesters and then use Coffee Rocks handy collation of the various response sources. My stance? Lets get it over with.

The Perpetrator and his henchmen

Well. You took that too far didn't you? Didn't expect this storm? I should imagine your real life has been impacted negatively in some way by now. I'm sorry about that. But, well, that's what you get for abandoning civilised behaviour. That's what you get for turning a game into a weapon. That's what you get for adding another small stanza to the litany of vile practices the human mind can come up with. That's what you get for sadism. That's what you get for checking your humanity and empathy at the door. Oh, you're a sociopath? Then you will have to have to check your behaviour with your mind rather than your empathy. Can't manage that? Then we'll have to lock you up, away from us, the humans, the same way we'd guard against any other "thing" that's dangerous.

I think your behaviour is terrifying and vile to the extent that I almost pity you, but that's just my opinion. I might have missed that sadistic pleasure was "in" right now.

The Victim 

I feel only sorrow and frustration. I hope you manage to walk away and become stronger and wiser for the experience rather than letting it consume you any more than it did during the event. I get the feeling you might have broke a rule or two yourself. I'd pick another game.

The Victims detractors

The victim turned around and used threats after an hour and a half of mental anguish? Well, good golly gosh, there's a bloody surprise. Next time I'm being tortured and am screaming my lungs out I'll remember to get you to cite me for breaking some noise ordinance laws.

I'm not going to call you out on tacit support of sadistic torture because you already missed the entire point so I doubt you'll get the implications of anything I say.

The "Free Speech" advocates

Free speech is a necessity. It comes with a price. That you be a guardian of the value of it. You don't incite violence with it. You don't use hate speech of any form, whether that be racist, homophobic, or any of the other myriad of innovative ways human beings have come up with to describe someone else as unequal for the most trivial of reasons.

"Free" speech is not licence to use language as a weapon against the wellbeing, soul, mind or body of another, for your own amusement or just because you can.

The "Can't ban" advocates

I really don't have any idea but my down the pub reaction would be something like:

Bah ha ha ha ha. That's good. CCP owns whatever you do in this game. It's their game. They can probably ban you for looking at them the wrong way should they ever feel like it was a good idea. The EULA constrains them? I bet it doesn't. I never felt that any game EULA enshrined my rights to play a game despite what the owners of the infrastructure say. I'd need a lawyer to make sure but I wouldn't run around holding it up as a document that prevents CCP doing anything it wants to players it doesn't like in their own game. I know if I ran a game and had a EULA I certainly wouldn't be held to much more than agreeing to provide a service for as long as I felt like it and that wouldn't include looking after freaky evil people. Corporate law isn't there to look after you. EULAs are for restricting your rights to a hazily defined set, not for protecting you.

The "Shouldn't ban" advocates

What's the benefit to not banning? That someone who performed an act that's been almost universally denounced as horrid should carry on being associated with us through the medium of a game, for most of us consider ourselves "gamers" don't we? Oh, it didn't happen in game did it? It began in game, the MO (apart from sadism) was game assets, the people involved carried identities over from the game. The only thing that's missing from the game is a starry bloody background.

I'm not even going to go into the damage it could potentially do economically to the company owning the game, though to be fair it was pointed out to me that capitalism is just as amoral as the perp' and probably nothing would happen. Probably. It's worth the gamble isn't it? Isn't it? Yes. Lets gamble with the future of EVE....

The morality lawyers

The thing that bothers me most about this is not that they have a point, in that we should always check ourselves before launching accidentally into some awful moralistic crusade that turns pogrammatic, but that most of the people asking the questions sound like they're asking them because it's a purely intellectual puzzle. This isn't a petri dish of the mind. Even worse, some people sound like they're just jumping on the liberal-intellectual bandwagon and asking to stand with the smug and the holier than thou. I can almost hear the snooty tone of voice when they ask their questions in text. "Oooooh but who are youuuu to decide". Had a good think about it. My approach is common sense and harms no one really, while yours just brushes the problem under the carpet so other people get hurt. Enough?

In the end a human being came to harm of a form that was in no way deserved or asked for. Don't give me that tripe about greed or I hope you fall over on the way to buy a lottery ticket. What grey area were you talking about?

The "it's not Cyber Bullying" advocates

I'd buy a dictionary if I were you.

The "Victim of his own stupidity" advocates

  The rights of the individual have nothing to do with their apparent level of intelligence. I'm not even taking into count varying types of intelligence. I've met people that could intellectually stomp me into the ground in academia that would have fallen into the scam we're talking about. Your effective estimation of a persons worth and access to security by only what you regard as intelligence sickens me. One blogger and CSM candidate that I usually agree with used this argument (and an amusing early attempt to paint himself as an authority on the definition of torture). I greatly disagree. You're entitled to your opinion. I'm sure I've been guilty of this opinion before now (I think I'm doing it somewhere above which is stupid. Arggh! I did it to myself) and it sickens me too that I might have at some point in responded in the same way. I'll scourge my own soul, you deal with yours. Till then I'll wait for the ballot box.

In the end though, you know what made me really, really angry? None of the above. That just made me shake my head, rant a bit and feel a little sad. What really got me angry were:

The people saying they are taking a break from EVE because of this.

That's great. That'll solve the problem. Perhaps next you'll advocate giving assets to them in game to keep them quiet? That policy worked so well for Neville Chamberlain as I recall. Oh. It didn't? You cowards. Running away from bullies never solved anything. Thanks for leaving us in the lurch. Don't let the jump gate hit you in the arse on the way out.

Or is it a ransom demand to CCP? Ban them or I leave. Well that's so much better.....

The people reporting that they knew people who left or never wanted to play because of this.

Don't tell us. This isn't valuable information, unless you count valuable as meaning "just as harmful to the game as the scandal" or "this is what I am going to hijack the situation with". Why don't you spend the time using the almost excessive examples of EVE gameplay that don't involve scams to convince the people otherwise. Why don't you spend the time pointing out that this is an anomaly, an exception.

You know what I feel that these latter two do in addition to the things I've already mentioned? I feel that they are tarring me with the same brush they used to tar the perpetrator, which brings me to the other person I'm angry at.


Look at that rant. It might be too late but I wouldn't read it if I were you. Half of it is probably backlash from watching a racist little Englander in a debate on British TV the other day. Look at me elevate an event that could be ignored as an anomaly or resolved with common sense into a furious argument. I think I hate myself more than I do anyone else. I think I need to calm the hell down. I might have to go mining which calms me down.

I guess that's the best response to this particular perp. You drove me to mining. Well done.

EVE Track of the Day

Walk the Line - Johnny Cash


No ones mother was asked to listen to The Bonus Room during the writing of this blog post.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Day 646: Money Grabber

Well, another EVE aim complete. I can get back to actually doing stuff.

There's lots of talk about how stupid it is to save ISK, to generate a serious amount of liquid ISK. If it isn't working for you then it's dead, it's nothing but a score. It's not like we've been playing video games for just scores for years or anything. Nevertheless I tend to agree. Your liquid ISK buffer should be a disaster fund. It should be able to get you back on your feet (well equipped feet) within a day. That's about it. The size of the buffer depends on the size of your feet. I don't have caps or anything like that so my buffer needs are fairly small. Still, real life interruptions handed me the opportunity to play EVE Farmville so I did. To the tune of ten billion ISK out of small scale industry. I wanted to do it. It was a target. It was a target I cordially hated by the end but a target that had to be completed.

Within an hour 5% of it had gone and 50% would have gone had I not flipped when I saw PLEX prices. How I'm not seeing rampant inflation in the module market is beyond me. There are a couple of odd signs but they could also be from the current meta in the area of the markets I sell into. I don't do economics so if anyone can explain what's going on, please do.

So mostly my liquid ISK will shrink back to an emergency fund of around 1 billion. My industrialists will slow down, and probably try some other ISK making endeavour just to see how it goes. Level four missions or trading using some of the ISK I've obtained. Probably missions first as I feel the need to shoot things rather than right click things. T2 industry is an RSI lawsuit waiting to happen.

So what of my main, the actual Space Noob? He's back out there learning to fly again. It's a good job I can derp T2 fits until kingdom come. I'm bad. I'm bad at EVE but that's no surprise since I'm bad at all computer games and have been since I started playing them thirty years ago. You get used to it. I was a bad priest in Warcraft (well. bad-ish. I could have tried harder). I was bad at Civilisation. Well, in the sense that I raced to nukes all the time to wipe people out and have swamp warfare. I didn't care about the score if you can believe that after what I told you at the start of this post. Once game I was fairly good at, for no reason I can discern, was Silent Service. Mabrick reminded me about it . Perhaps the first hints of an EVE mentality?

Anyway, learning to fly to a standard that everyone else would regard as terrible is going to be a process. I'm four T2 fit frigates in. I've relearned gate guns, I've relearned the slingshot (though have yet to employ it successfully), I've relearned not to fly when you have five minutes to play and a lack of modules. The latter comes from throwing together a fit out of any old thing. Search out my killboard. By next month there should be a about a billion ISK in losses on it. A man has to learn.

At this point I'd like to thank the Stay Frosty guys in the area I was roaming. It was good to know I could be bad without someone being an asshole about it afterwards. In particular an old friend who now flies with the frosty gang, SeaElder4. He was kind enough to meet me at the sun for a duel and tell me off for doing that last minute fit. Still. I got a fight in before I had to dash down to the pub. Also - dude I remember when you used to fit Exequrors with guns in order to get an edge at the start of a fight. You are Mr Wacky Fit. I remember these things! In fact meeting you reminded me of brawling with Tuskers at the sun over a year ago. Fun times. Fun times I should get back to.

So what's on the cards for the future?  A horrendously busy RL week. Well quel surprise. I'll attempt to work around it. Here's the plan

  • Learn to fly again. There is no way I'm going out in a T2 frigate or Navy cruiser fleet with skills at this level.
  • Visit some landmarks. I'm an explorer by nature. There are some things I need to see.
  • Get down to the Brave deployment area. I owe it and them a visit and some effort.
  • Have the alt try missioning. I've dusted off the old Space Potato and donated it to him. It will go badly.
  • Spend all those lovely ISKies on nice things and projects. Here's one of them already:

I'm bad, but I've finally got some bling. I'll be spinning that till I'm dizzy as fuck.

EVE Track of the Day

Money Grabber - Fitz and the Tantrums

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Day 641 : Check check

So I haven't been flying. Not what most of you would call flying anyway. I've been space mooching. Dawdling down the trade lanes on alts, mindlessly meandering though belts, constantly configuring my PI. Leaving my main characters skill quietly ticking away (it's a horrible twenty dayer).

I've mentioned it before and it has to end, my targets aren't targets I want any longer and so, happily, that phase is about to come to an end.

 (Don't talk to me about stupid ass subconscious plans to get 10 billion liquid ISK. I've done it but it's split across characters and my brain still won't shut up about it. I know it's stupid but good ol' neanderthal fish brain back there isn't having any of it. I've a plan in place to deal with it. At the weekend it all gets spent on a list of new targets and projects.)

I thought I had better get flying properly. Realistically I should be down in Catch with the rest of Brave Newbies but two things get in the way

  1. Lack of flight time. I'm rusty.
  2. Fear of the CTA. Time based Call To Arms. 

The former can be solved and so I've set about a plan to solve it. Somewhat amusingly, it involved even more logistics than my last couple of months of Space Farmville. At least I was well trained in surviving the boredom of long jump times. Thank god for warp speed mechanic changes on large ships. Everybody hates it. Me? I can get a page of a book read between gates. Bonus.

The latter, the fear of the CTA, is an old wound. I once swore, after a last pointless evening wasted hammering against some heroic level WoW boss with people that only half turned up, that I would never again run home for a particular time to game specific content. I would never not eat because I didn't have time before things started. I would never again consider not going out in the Real because of some organised content in the Virtual. It's a series of radical declarations that I mostly broke straight away. My friends in the Virtual are friends in the Real and sometimes I'm anxious to meet up with them. Still, the wariness of timing persists. I don't want a game to demand my time, I want it to demand my desire.

Brave Newbies are down on the border of Catch, causing trouble in null space and having all kinds of fun no doubt. For me, null sounds like too much trouble, too little fun per hour (not that I've been up to much of late myself). Too much requirement for large fleets. Less content available simply by undocking (unless by content you mean getting torched by a perma camp). All this might be, probably is, my rusty wariness and a lot of FUD. I'm probably just being a coward. Add to this though the logistic hassle of getting ships down there, or even buying down there while alliance level logistics is still hammered by demand and the market still in it's infancy. Add to this my disdain and contempt for what I shall call the "legendarily amoral vocal tendencies" of certain partners comms in the HERO coalition. Add to this the old fear of the CTA. The math adds up at a Space Noob stranded back in Placid, stalking semi abandoned space lanes and using too much alliteration. Someone talk me out of it.

Until someone does talk me out of this cowardly attitude then I need a project. That project is, as I said, solving the flight time problem. It's going really well. I've learned, or relearned, my first lesson in less than an hour. Good piloting begins before you undock. You should have a preflight checklist. Before today mine had somewhat degraded into a checklist resembling the following:

  • Clone check
  • Ammo check
  • Drone check
  • Repair check
  • Ridiculous expensive thing left in cargo hold check

After today I'm adding this list

  • Flight plan check
  • Response plan check

What are these?

The "Flight plan check" is to grasp where you are going, and more importantly who might be there. I neglected to remember that I'm (ironically given some of the above) in Brave. Space is littered with enemies who will gradually become aware that you are randomly flitting about and plot your demise. That's after you get unlucky and crash a camp or fleet that was sat there anyway. Hi Sec is often more dangerous than other space. I forgot.

The "Response plan check" is to have a mental plan of responses to various situations you might run into. What do you look for? What will you aim to do? How will your current ship support you in doing this? How will you fly it? Sprint back to the gate when you drop into space full of bads? Target the leader or the weak point and fight until your glorious demise? Sit there slightly dumbfounded, stare myopically at the screen and maybe launch the wrong drones? The latter isn't a plan. It's what I did.

I was casually setting up a project and thought that "one last ship" moved before retiring for the night would do it. I was reduced to hulls fit for an old set of implants so I could only fly one ship I had ready. I jumped into it. It looked interesting and I could look into using it after it was in position. WRONG. I should have slapped myself on thinking this and gone to bed instead.

A couple of jumps away from the station, half awake and paying less than half the attention I had available, I dropped into a cloud of flashy red. I sat there dumbfounded and with half a glance at a missorted Overview decided to run for the next gate on my route. I didn't check the layout in space. I didn't prep anything. I didn't have a strategy. I'm not even sure I had an IQ that registers on the scale.


Amusingly torched by a flock of Battle Ventures with a couple of backup ships. My apologies for the lack of a "gf" in local. Adrenaline reached my brain at around 50% hull and I managed to use it to bounce the pod off the sun and get the hell out. The Corax followed me to the sun and if I hadn't been an idiot and warped to zero then would have probably caught me. There's no planning for what an idiotic Space Noob will do next, especially since podding me would have resulted in me getting where I was going faster and going to bed sooner.

So. In future I will hold to my preflight checklist. To it I will add the flight and response plans. I may also add to it

  • Don't fly late on Monday evenings, you idiot.

7o to the Battle Venture roam, thanks for the reminder. Lesson learned.

Up next, people are answering my other questions so I had better have a go too.

EVE Track of the Day

Don't Fear the Reaper - Blue Oyster Cult

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Day 638: Return of the Fatman

Going visual ( and rapid as you'll see by the image widths I made a mess of ) today as I prep to watch the entire last day of the Six Nations rugby.

 Rubicon 1.3 arrived this week and with it, among many other exciting things, came a change to the look of an old favourite. The Tristan. Possibly the oddest looking of the frigates, I always had a fondness for it. Aside from anything else you always felt that you were flying around in a Transformer. The new look is beefier, losing some of the anthropomorphic layout of struts and modifying them into shielding. There was a small sense of loss on realising that the agile little fat man had become a beefy couch potato. This soon vanished when I flew it out and went into warp. It has to be seen, and hopefully some equivalent effect retro'd back onto other ship types.

Here's where I really put the nerd into "spaceship nerd"


"Is that a Velator cockpit?"

Face Right

"Fatter yet sleeker"


"Agility vs Power"

Back Angled Northwest

"Wasp vs Bee"


"Strut vs Shield"


"Circles vs Hatches"


I kind of miss the thin struts that gave the Tristan personality, sort of miss the lit circles under the top wings and the almost insectile look of the original from the top. On the other hand the new Tristan is built like a tank, adds animated running lights in several locations, has shielding instead of struts, has shielding that animates in and out of warp and, for some reason I can't figure, I like the detail of what I assume are drone docking hatches on the underneath. Shame they aren't animated when you release drones.

In short, looking good CCP though if I could I'd buy one of your new skins/paint jobs to get a retro version for nostalgia reasons. Speaking of which, I must dash off and see how cheap I can get a Police Comet paintjob.

EVE Track of the Day

Sheriff Fatman - Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Day 635: Ride on the Valkyrie

 No, that title is correct, and no I haven't suddenly had the opportunity to socially meet large breasted mythological warrior women from Valhalla. I'll get round to explaining in a bit.

 An extremely tough day at work yesterday was brightened by two events. The first was a prize. I won something! I never win anything so it was with some delight that I came a surprising second in The Ancient Gaming Noobs "Show Me The Planets" contest. Head over there to see my entry. I'll add the three I sent to this site at some later point.

 I was a bit behind on my blog reading and found out about the competition late on so it was a scramble to compile three screenshots. The one that came second I took when I was but a week old Space Noob, on Day 8 I think. Now I'm sliding towards two years in the game and am, thankfully, still a complete Space Noob. The other entries in the competition are great and TAGN keeps a regular stream of interesting shots from our most gorgeous galaxy over at

 The second event that got me through the day had been planned for. CCP were in good old London town, hanging round the usual EVE meetup pub near Tower Hill and packing a rack of EVE Valkyrie demos. I've been keeping my eye on Oculus Rift progress in general and Valkyrie in particular. As has my pal, Alec, at work who, while not an EVE player as such, is regularly bombarded with tales of EVE. So at exactly 5pm we leapt up, abandoned several data loading processes and dashed out of the office heading for Tower Hill. We aimed to be there early, ahead of the inevitable queue.

 When we got there the pub already had a fair sized contingent of fellow space nerds and there were eight or nine people already queued up in front of three chairs set next to glowing blue PC cases. We grabbed a beer and fell into the line which soon doubled in length. A few minutes later and we were ready for our first three minute match.

 I was wary because the game is played using a console controller and not only have I not used on in about five years, I also suck at playing video games. I enjoy them, as you can tell, but inevitably I'm terrible at them. I attempted to memorise what I was told about the controls and so came away knowing only where the accelerator was and a vague idea about missiles. I sat down and put the Oculus over my head. Reality as I knew it vanished.

 The headset is light. So light in fact that you ignore it. I'd dreaded some kind of weight that would drag my head forward but you could wear this thing as easily as a pair of swimming googles.

 I found myself in a red lit hangar, surrounded by basic displays and the frame of a cockpit. I looked around. It was SEAMLESS. There was no lag, no perceptible lack of synchronicity at all. I forgot I was wearing the headset after a few seconds. I could have cheerfully sat there and looked around amazed had I not been so aware of an imminent launch.

 It says something about the seamlessness of the experience that within ten seconds I'd looked down to double check where the buttons were on my controller and was amazed to find some other persons legs there. There was no sign of the controller. I'd become immersed in the experience in the space of a few seconds.

 Suddenly there was a burst of movement and I was shot from the carrier into space. This was followed the quickest three minutes of my life as I struggled to gain some sense of what was happening and how to effect it. Halfway through I realised that the autocannons were rubbish and, with my flying skills, unlikely to hit anything. I kept my thumb jammed on the accelerator which was probably a bad idea.

 I only had a loose sense of how fast I was travelling and where I was. This is likely more due to the nature of the experience than the game itself. There's almost an element of sensory overload to it as you are thrust into combat right away and with time limited there wasn't any option to orientate myself and calmly evaluate anything.

I did realised how the missile system worked after a couple of minutes. It's all about where you are looking. I spent the rest of the game flying while looking all over the place, getting locks on enemy ships and releasing missiles. It became instantly natural to track enemies in space, even following them as they vanished behind you and became obscured by the back of the cockpit. There was no sensation of neck ache afterwards. You are just moving your head and there is little added weight on it. I'd get more neck ache from using a couple of screens on my home PC.

In short, a stunning experience. I must have one. It's the future. I managed to queue up again later in the evening and get another three minutes and somehow do worse than the first time while feeling that I did better. It'll take some mastering, as you'd imagine suddenly being a high octane combat pilot would.

While normally I set my monetary input in games to around £1 an hour, I would cheerfully fork over ten times that, maybe more, for just the Oculus and Valkyrie. That's only one game. There are going to be other games with Oculus Rift support. I will have one. We discussed the danger of being early adopters but in the end, pardon my French, fuck that. I'm going to have to wait too long as it is. Buy It and Fly It is now my mantra.

The rest of the evening was the usual EVE meetup brilliance, running into old friends and new, finally meeting some people in the real that I'd talked to virtually. EVE has a great community, in game and out, and CCP Games looks after us. I had free beer. Free beer. On top of Valkyrie. They also raffled off an entire table sized pile of EVE related stuff. What a day. Added to this I was somewhat overwhelmed by CCP Guard's admiration for my custom designed Space Noob Tshirt (quick Space Noob, to Cafe Press!). I also got to watch my friend Alec steal the show somewhat by being pictured attempting to play Valkyrie with a horses head on. You can see the pictures from the evening here

I'm off to revisit the gorgeousness that is EVE, break out of my now two month long hibernation and also contemplate dragging all my shit halfway across the universe to help HERO destabilise Curse. As if Russians didn't have enough to worry about at the moment.

EVE Track of the Day

Ride of the Valkyries - Richard Wagner

(what else?)