2H15 A Good Time for Geeking Out

I have to say the last half of this year is a great time to be a space/sci-fi/RPG nerd:

  • July: New Horizons successfully completes Pluto Flyby
  • August: Shadowrun HongKong by HareBrained Schemes comes out
  • September: HareBrained Schemes planning to launch a Kickstarter for a Battletech tactical Mech combat game for the PC
  • October: The Martian movie hits the theaters
  • November: Not sure, but possibly the SpaceX return to flight, and maybe if we’re lucky their first successful F9R first stage landing?
  • December: Star Wars Episode 7 hits the theaters — hopefully JJ Abrams does a better job with this than Lucas did with the prequels…

I’m sure there are other things that ought to be on the list, but we have at least one serious geek-out moment per month this year. That is all.

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Jonathan Goff

Jonathan Goff

President/CEO at Altius Space Machines
Jonathan Goff is a space technologist, inventor, and serial space entrepreneur who created the Selenian Boondocks blog. Jon was a co-founder of Masten Space Systems, and is the founder and CEO of Altius Space Machines, a space robotics startup in Broomfield, CO. His family includes his wife, Tiffany, and five boys: Jarom (deceased), Jonathan, James, Peter, and Andrew. Jon has a BS in Manufacturing Engineering (1999) and an MS in Mechanical Engineering (2007) from Brigham Young University, and served an LDS proselytizing mission in Olongapo, Philippines from 2000-2002.
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7 Responses to 2H15 A Good Time for Geeking Out

  1. Nathan Brooks says:

    Jon, for some reason I didn’t have you down as into games at all 🙂 So what makes shadow run special?

  2. Nathan,
    I’m not into a lot of the more popular games of the day–never got into MMORPGs or most first person shooters. But I’ve always been a sucker for RPG adventure games–stuff like Knights of the Old Republic, Quest for Glory, and now the Shadowrun games. I like games where mashing the keys fast isn’t the key to winning, and where you have to use your head a bit.

    In the case of Shadowrun, I ended up really enjoying the creativity of the setting and of the adventures. You take high tech/cyberpunk and mix in magic/fantasy elements. So you can play a Elf hacker/wizard or an Orc techno-shaman or things like that. And the adventures, while right about on the edge of my “dark” limit were really creative. The first one is in Seattle, and is about getting hired by an old friend to track down his killer (a modern day Jack the Ripper) and bring him to justice. The second one takes place in New Berlin, and is trying to solve a mystery revolving around a murderous dragon who was supposedly killed decades earlier and finding the missing dragonslayer hero. The third one takes place in Hong Kong where you go to answer an urgent request by your foster father only to find that the local police have labeled you terrorists and are out to kill you, with a triad boss being your only hope to survive long enough to solve the mystery and find out what your foster father had wanted your help to solve.

    Lots of fun. I’d highly recommend them. They take ~30-40hrs of game play to beat, but you’ll find yourself wearing a goofy grin at the cleverness of it all most of the time.

    ~Jon

  3. Pug Sanchez says:

    Never understood the hate for the prequels. I didn’t care for Jar Jar Binks or very young Anakin, but they didn’t stop me from enjoying the prequel trilogy. I thought Darth Maul was an awesome antagonist, we got see Yoda lightsaber duel, and the opening space battle of Episode 3 is one of my favorite space battle scenes. Lots to like, in my opinion.

  4. Jonathan Goff Jonathan Goff says:

    Pug,
    I don’t hate the prequels per se (well #2’s attempt at romance was pretty cringe-worthy), but definitely feel like their acting wasn’t anywhere near as good as the original trilogy. Lightsaber fighting was better, and I mostly liked Episode 3. But at its best (Episode 3), the prequel trilogy didn’t compare well with even the weakest of the original trilogy (I think Episode 6 is the consensus there). What I’d love to see is something with excellent action and visuals, and great acting/dialogue/character development. We’ll see if JJ Abrams and his team can deliver.

    ~Jon

  5. Paul451 says:

    Pug,
    “Never understood the hate for the prequels.”

    Lazy writing, bad plot. Bad acting, terrible directing. Things like that takes you out of the moment and make the seemingly trivial stupidities more obvious and the annoyances more annoying. The original trilogy had plenty of flaws, but the adventure was so fun and the characters so interesting that you had to make a concerted effect to see the weaknesses.

    (Lazy writing is one of the things I hate about modern “blockbusters”. Likewise the reliance on the “idiot plot”, ie, the need for everyone to be utterly stupid in order for the plot to work. The Star Trek reboot was a classic example of both, which bodes ill for JJ Abrams and Ep.7. )

    Lucas even failed at the most basic film-making, for example:

    “I thought Darth Maul was an awesome antagonist”

    Maul was a minor side-villain on the scale of Jabba or Boba Fett, killed off in the first film, not a true antagonist like Vader. However, the crazy thing is that Maul could and should have been the ongoing antagonist for the prequels, at least until Anakin fully turns in the third film, instead of introducing the completely random General Grevious and Count Dooku. Maul would have instead created a unified symbol of opposition to the Jedi, and presented Obi Wan with a clear ongoing rival, one he has history with, the guy who killed his master and friend.

    Likewise, who was the protagonist in Ep.1? It wasn’t Anakin. He isn’t introduced until a third of the way through, and has no character arc, nor involvement in major events. It’s not Qui-Gon, as he is killed off in the first film; and as a mentor character, he is not a relatable character for the audience. It’s not Obi Wan, since he is sat out of the entire Tatooine sequence…

    But, again, Obi Wan clearly should have been the protagonist, his story-arc was already 90% there – the journey from apprentice to master.

    And that small change would have in itself eliminated some of the dumber plot elements. How much more sense would the Tatooine sequence have made, if Qui-Gon stayed with the ship to protect the “Queen” and sent his apprentice on the less important errand to collect some ship parts. And how much more sense would it make if Obi Wan, the apprentice, was the one taking more risks, rather than the experienced Jedi Master?

    So now you’ve got the perfect scene set for Maul to attack the ship on Tatooine, perhaps sending in local mercs as cannon fodder to distract Qui-Gon, then Maul ambushes and kills him, before slaughtering the “Queen” and her staff. Obi Wan returns to the ship to find a bloodbath. (Amidala can then reveal that she is the real Queen.) The desire to avenge Qui-Gon allows Obi Wan to be later influenced by Amidala to return to the planet to save her people (against his orders), and then once there he goes chasing Maul which further distracts him from the main battle. That opens up a bonding moment for Anakin to save Amidala at a key moment. (Provided Anakin is played at the same age as Amidala. I mean, Lucas knew he was going to make them a couple, how frickin’ obvious is it to make them both similar-aged teenagers. A gangly, cheeky, risk-taking, trouble-making teenager, the sort of kid you’d find living in those conditions; instead of a soft-faced cherub. “Are you a space angel?”, are you retarded?)

    You can even replace the achingly longwinded and stupid pod-race scene with a much tighter action sequence where the gang are attacked by Maul’s minions at the junkyard. Forcing them to flee through the junkyard, backstreets, markets, docks, rooftops, etc. Until they steal a transport and make their escape from the city; returning to the ship to discover the massacre.

    Start solving some of the dumb things, and you see a much more coherent plot evolve which then solves more and more of the dumb things. Lucas just had to not be lazy.

    [Likewise, Lucas’ desire to shoe-horn in as many references to the orig-trig as possible, but never to think them through in any way. For example, he wanted to introduce R2 and C3P0… so he has the protocol droid built by the kid in the spaceship junkyard, while the astromech unit is introduced in the Queen’s ship. It really occurred to him to simply flip those around? To have the protocol droid travelling with the Queen (and providing the comic relief on Tatooine, saving us from the apparent need for Jar Jar), while the unusually adaptable and customised astromech unit is built from spare-parts in a junkyard. And at the end of Ep.1, when given the opportunity to join the Jedi, Anakin abandons R2 without a thought, giving us insight in his essential character weakness. His selfishness. Which will be exploited by Palpatine. Amidala, otoh, adopts R2 into her retinue, which also shows her character.]

  6. Nathan says:

    Looks like it is 6 for 6 🙂

  7. Nathan,

    If I had a better crystal ball, I would’ve put down the Blue Origin successful suborbital flight for November. But yeah, it looks like 6 for 6.

    Have a very Nerdy Christmas!

    ~Jon

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