Fine, I’ll shut up about it. Quartertothree has been a useful way to vent as I attempt to navigate the biggest crisis of my life so far, but I have apparently worn out my welcome.
Awww, don’t go Gordon.
See what you guys did! Who are you going to make fun of now? Oh… wait.
Well Gordon, I mean if it’s organic with respects to the subject at hand in a given thread is one thing, but you’ve partially derailed many threads seemingly out of nowhere with this stuff. There’s healthy venting and there’s unhealthy fixation, you know?
I guess I’ll have to break it down.
I make a good wage at a job I love, +5
… but I work with a bunch of elitist french assholes. -3
I live in a shitty city, whereas Gordon lives in California -3
I’m generally happy +4
I don’t own two monitors -2
I wouldn’t be able to beat Tom at any RTS -1
My apartment has a kitchen +2
My school was a giant scam, and cost me $30k -3
… but unlike most people in the course, I managed to teach myself most of what I needed, and succeeded anyway. +5
I’m not as well read as Gordon is -1
I managed to quit WoW without hating it +2
Gordon owns a car, I do not -3
Gordon owns a laptop -2
… but so do I +2
Total on the relative to Gordon Cameron scale: +2
What is interesting to note, is that if I simply didn’t own a laptop, my life would be as bad as Gordon Cameron’s.
Don’t shut up about it Gordon.
We can feel your anger.
Use your aggressive feelings, boy!
Let the hate flow through you!
The liberal arts advocates are defenseless.
Take your law degree.
Strike them down with all your wealth, and your journey to the Republican Party will be complete!
Every full-time employee is now an enemy of the Republic (of Gordon Cameron)!
For those of you tallying your Gordon Cameron Relativity Scale LifeScore, there are a couple of factors worth considering, and I don’t think Gordon Cameron has brought them up:
Gordon Cameron is currently working as an editor on a movie that I would totally rent. I don’t know how much has been officially announced, so I’ll just say based on what little I know, it makes the Leprechaun movies look downright high brow.
Gordon Cameron might be doing some freelance work for a place that won’t even hire me anymore!
Gordon Cameron would probably kick your ass at tennis. You’re better off not even trying to play against him.
Be sure to factor those into your Gordon Cameron Relativity Scale LifeScore.
Shit, I can’t even believe how good my life is right now. So, yes, it’d have to be better than someone who gripes a lot about their life on any level whatsoever.
Seriously though Gordon, I’m sure you will prevail. At least you’re not insane, since you’re not doing the same thing forever but expecting different results.
It pays more, so that’s a plus. But my last two jobs had no dress code whatsoever, while this one makes me tuck in my shirt. Which makes me want to jump off the building. I’d say it’s a toss-up.
I was pretty lucky to find a job right away, though, and it really took the pressure off. Now that I’m established in the area, I may do something crazy for my next job.
Well, where the hell has all this good news been hiding? See, here’s my point.
That’s awesome Gordon! Congrats. :) I’m envious. Hehe.
A 30k scam is -3, right? And not having a laptop is -2?
There is only one possible answer:
You bet it is.
Tom vs. Gordon #1: Sins of a Solar Empire
Two guys go head-to-head in the PC’s most popular competitive games.
Centrifuge is a small place — a lone solar system, to be exact. Lush Terran dreamworlds are strung along the periphery, but the inner reaches are a desolate wash of asteroids, barely able to support life. Beyond the baleful red star lies a foreboding skull-like fortress belonging to the galaxy’s relentless pirate raiders. This place wouldn’t be worth fighting over if it weren’t for the precious purple crystals and yellow gobs of metal that drift through the rockfields, waiting to be claimed. This scenario has no AI players (besides the pirates), no time limits, no rules of engagement, no provisions for surrender. It’s a brutal fight to the death. May the best space imperialist win!
In space, no one can tell you which direction is north. I have arbitrarily decided that my homeworld, which I rename Bluescreen in honor of the difficulty I had getting the game to run on Vista, is the Northwest Pole. Maps in Sins are flat, though, so the Z-axis is safe from me… for now. For my faction, I’ve picked the Advent, a nasty bunch of space zealots with amazing ability synergies. They’ll be strong rushers and crushing endgame opponents.
The first thing to do, as befits Sins’ RTS elements, is secure a basic supply of resources. Like classics such as Total Annihilation and Dawn of War, resources in Sins are mostly about map control. When I build my homeworld’s two metal extractors and one crystal mine, I’m really just tagging my capture points. The third resource of Sins is credits, which are produced by population. Unlike a more domestically complex 4X game, Sins populations grow automatically based on research and a very simple planetary improvement option, but with clever balance and implementation that the makers of the disappointing Sword of the Stars could have learned from. To make sure I won’t fall short of credits before I get Trade Centers, I upgrade my home planet’s capacity right away.
This is a three-player map divided among two players. I don’t know if Gordon knows what that means, but I do: it’s a race for the empty spot. Those delicious Terran planets will serve as population centers that dwarf the feeble asteroid colonies near the star, which are also going to be absorbing most of the pirate attacks once the pirates ramp up to being late-game powerful. These “extra homeworlds” will even give me more logistics slots to build research and economy structures. It’s almost like cheating.
The Vasari are interstellar rejects. Some nameless horror is chasing them through space, destroying every planet they ever had. They’re left with absolutely nothing, which feels comfortably familiar. I don’t have much experience with this game. Does Ironclad expect players to get a lot of practice? Do they think we have rich social lives that revolve around MP games where we can learn how to excel at Sins? They are way off. I am a lonely single guy living in a tiny apartment.
Before you can be a harmonious member of a society taking part in the wondrous miracle of democracy and basking in the fruits of culture, you need to have a roof over your head and food in your belly. Otherwise you are nothing, a zero, a ghost among men, regardless of how much cocktail party conversation you can generate or how informed a voter you are. So it’s time to build civic infrastructure on my home planet.
I also send out Jikara Navigator ships to see if I can find new planets to colonize, and start building toward a basic fleet. This costs my whole budget. I wish I could afford a few more Skirmishers. Okay, I’ll keep my mouth shut and be grateful for what I have. Wouldn’t want to rock the boat or anything. I would like to live in an apartment with a kitchen someday, but as that would require canceling my health care, I guess I will just have to suck it up. I’ll control my cash woes by not investing in research. This way, I’ll dodge Crippling Horrible Life Mistake #1 (“get a squooshy liberal arts degree”).
Excellent, a Terran planet next to my homeworld. Its defenses are strong enough that I have to scoot my Seeker out of there right away, but Gordon can’t beat me to it, and once I have the fleet to take it, it’ll provide me with extra income and a backfield site for research labs — excuse me, this is the Advent, so they’re research temples — for most of the game.
My initial capital ship is a Progenitor Mothership. The Motherships aren’t popular first capital ships, because their combat ability is limited, but the Progenitor has an ace up its sleeve: the Shield Regeneration ability, which dramatically increases the survivability of its companion fleet. In true Advent fashion, I’m mixing this with another sleeve ace, the Disciple. Disciples are just basic frigates, until you research Steal Antimatter. Then they become endless antimatter batteries that stop your opponent from using abilities while keeping your own ships fully charged. This combo means almost unbreakable shields, which will help me storm through the system core to the good planets in the number three spot.
I just saw one of Tom’s scout ships. I have no idea where he is, so he’s got the drop on me. Well, my life at the moment is a complete catastrophe, so it can only go up from here.
I’ve got a bead on Gordon. He’s in the east, which puts the empty spot to the south. I’ve jumped my fleet into the asteroids and claimed one called Ophelia. The other nice thing about a Mothership is that it can colonize planets, so there’s no need to worry about having a fragile, fleet capacity-hogging colony ship in the early game, when 100 supply makes for a stiflingly low unit limit.
Tutorial bored me to tears and I couldn’t get through it. I blame WoW for destroying my attention span. Somehow, my finances are running on empty. I think there’s a lot about the economy in Sins that I just don’t understand. I think it’s awesome how everything keeps getting more expensive while my income remains the same, or lower. I love how the economy works!
I had to go on some crazy buying sprees in the game’s commodities market, which can be punishing since prices fluctuate with demand. I was initially delighted to see the abundance of crystals in the asteroids, but after taking Ophelia and Orpheus and another one that starts with O, I realized that they were leaving me short of metal, which is usually as easy to find as evening Seinfeld reruns.
The next phase of my plan, now that I’ve jumped up a tier or two in fleet upkeep, is to crank out more fleets. With capital ships, the first one’s free, but the rest are quite costly. Each one is costing me 400 in metal alone. I’m filling my fleet out with Battleships, which are good for killing other capital ships. Without his own cap ships, Gordon and his fleet will be helpless before me.
I’m colonizing asteroids. They aren’t making me any money. Money may not buy happiness, but the lack of it definitely buys misery in my experience. Asteroids in this game are completely barren and worthless. Nobody wants to live there. As for me, within the next two months I have to decide whether or not to go to law school and basically chuck 10 years of working in the film industry. I’m leaning toward doing it, because there’s nothing happening for me in my current job, and you can only delude yourself with “someday I’ll sell that screenplay” for so long. However, such a big change is not pleasant to contemplate. I almost feel like I’ll be annihilating myself.
I have another surprise cooking, now that I’ve stolen those lovely, empty Player 3 worlds. Iconus Guardians take a little research, but they do the same shield trick the Mothership does. And what better way to capitalize on that shield trick than with swarms of fragile, high-damage-output Illuminator beam frigates? These things are splendid capital ship killers; a swarm of them is really just a distributed Battleship.
Each race has its own slant on techs that help you deal with the pirates. To keep Gordon busy, I’ve taken the Advent tech that makes my bounties worth more money and put a hefty, Terran-planet-financed price on his head. The pirates will get my money for killing his ships. This makes the pirates more dangerous, but I intend to keep them attacking Gordon for the whole game, so that’s a good thing.
As a kid I was rampantly into piracy (back when piracy meant handing off copied 5 1/4” floppies to buddies). Now, I generally frown on it, and buy my games/movies etc. When I was in college, I had total contempt for frats and never dreamt of pledging. I suppose that was the beginning of my dazzling success at networking and schmoozing which has stood me in such good stead over the years.
That was sarcasm. I can’t seem to network with these pirates at all. Incidentally, not all lawyers that are at good firms and make good money “sacrifice everything else.” I know some who seem to have lives, and they make a fuckload more than I ever have. Whether that qualifies as “good money” by attorney standards, I don’t know.
I’ve renamed my best Battleship the SpartaaAAA, since it’s going to be leading the charge into Gordon’s homeland. I hope he appreciates the humor. More importantly, I hope he focuses his attention on the ship with the custom name. Battleships are a lot tougher than Motherships, and if he kills the SpartaaAAA but leaves my Mothership alive, I can use another of the Mothership’s sneaky Advent abilities to transfer its crew (and its experience) into a new ship.
The tech tree is a lot of work to put yourself through if you don’t enjoy the leveling process along the way. I’m still avoiding it. It feels too much like “deferred pleasure.” If I’m deferring pleasure while playing a videogame, something’s wrong. (Yeah, I’ve already done that when grinding for an epic mount, but at least I can trance out while farming.)
It’s time to gear up for serious antiplanetary operations. It takes forever to bombard colonies down to nothing, because only capital ships and specialized bombardment frigates can do it. It hurts to tie down my capital ships for that long, when they could be out capital-shipping, so I’m making a fleet of about 20 Purge Ships. They’re shaped like toenail clippings, and their weapons are “launchers.” What launchers launch isn’t clear, but it’s purple and glowing, and one thing science fiction has taught me is that glowing purple things are dangerous.
I also get paid to synopsize and critique. And I would advise you not to get into this racket, at least as a full time thing. It seems to have no future, notwithstanding the vicissitudes of the WGA. Companies pay less and less for the work and many just farm it out to interns who will do it for free. I also hate the job market, and I have a college degree. College needs a shitload more gunmen before it will be one-tenth as scary as the real world.
As yet another ace in the hole, because the Advent is basically a hole full of aces, I’m building a Culture Gun. Well, that’s not what the game calls it. The game calls it a Deliverance Engine, but it doesn’t play the banjo, so it’s really a Culture Gun. It briefly makes an enemy planet produce my culture. Culture can “flip” planets to a culturally dominant player’s control eventually, similar to the way it works in the superb Galactic Civilizations games, but what I’m really getting it for the boost it gives to — you guessed it — my shields. With the new cultural research I’m doing and the new communion temples I’m building, the will of the Unity will render my fleet as deadly and unstoppable as Anton Chigurh.
I just saw Tom’s flagship as he moved in to kill one of my colonies. It’s called the SPARTAAA or something. I’m glad Tom derives so much amusement out of the fact that my career is in the shitter, I have no money, and my prospects for a decent future are rapidly approaching nil… despite the fact that I have worked my ass off nonstop since grade school. Other people’s misfortunes are just an unending source of hilarity to Tom, huh? Ooh, attitude, attitude! Soo snarky! He sure told me off! I want to be just like the ill-mannered, miserable rodent who typed up that particular screed. I have better things to do with my time than willingly take abuse from internet strangers. Like, y’know, hammer nails into my winkle.
I feel like a man-child, actually. Not because I’m not married, but because I’m fucking broke all the time. In a society in which $50k per year is minimum to acquire any real financial independence/stability and have even the whisper of a dream of ever owning substantial property (at least in urban type areas), it doesn’t cut it to be limping along from paycheck to paycheck. Knowing how to write is obviously a disastrous job skill. It’s just way too replaceable.
It’s time to jump into Gordon’s heartland. I assemble my fleets, led by the SpartaaAAA, for the big push, making sure to set them to “jump grouped.” Sins lets you leave your ships on the default jump orders, trickling into enemy territory one at a time, but I don’t recommend it.
Five capital ships!? What is Tom, a millionaire? Having a big fleet is supposed to lower your income. Well, the last time my income was that low I… wait a minute, my income has never been that low. I dream of the day when my income is that low. Purplez are a pretty good motivator, but yeah, in the end, dollars are better.
I know they give you the first capital ship for free, but they should all be free, because I’ve been making NO money. Yeah, that probably makes me a communist. Well, fuck y’all then. I’m tired of slaving away to make shit money while all around me the cost of living goes up. Civilization is about people pulling together, not throwing each other to the wolves. By some standards, the U.S. barely qualifies as a fucking civilization. I’m tired of getting smacked around by the goddamn Invisible Hand and being expected to smile and say, “please sir, may I have another kick in the crotch?”
It’s not petty. The obnoxiousness and childishness of about 70% of Tom’s ships is a big strike against fighting them for me, probably enough to keep me from winning. And some kind of bug just started making my home planet produce Tom’s culture. I didn’t realize this was going to be such an unfair game. Whining about the unfairness of life is a reasonable way to effect change, if enough people whine at the same time, preferably while marching down a wide boulevard carrying signs. Or if they whine in letters to their representatives. Now that I think about it, the Declaration of Independence is mostly whining. 90% of it is this tedious list of nasty things George III is supposed to have done, as justification for the colonists taking their marbles and going home. Dr. King achieved wonders through whining.
My fleet is ticking over like a finely crafted watch. The Battleships zap enemy capitals with an effect that turns their antimatter into internal explosions. The Disciples steal antimatter from Gordon’s ships, letting the Battleships fire the antimatter converters again and again. Damage done to the Battleships is partially converted to more antimatter by one of their low-level abilities. The Illuminators use their Illusion ability to create false duplicates of themselves, leaving Gordon to waste defensive fire on phantoms. Iconus Guardians shield-tank for my Disciples and Illuminators like something out of EVE Online. And the Mothership floats through the battle, recharging shields and casting Malice, which makes any damage done to Gordon’s ships do a little bonus damage to all of them. The Advent is a well-oiled machine, dispensing death like Freespace 2’s Shivan Juggernauts supported by Protoss Shield Generators.
Tom is here. He’s burning everything. My core worlds are being bombarded and destroyed. It’s probably the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced, though it isn’t so much pain as persistent discomfort. I have killed untold quantities of ants in my day, though when insects are invading your home there’s not much you can do but kill them, especially if they are the type that exist in vast numbers. Ants are not going to go somewhere else, and it’s pretty difficult to live with them crawling all over the walls and such. That’s what Tom killing my ships is like.
The unit loss messages are delivered in a voice as rough as the job market for college-educated script readers. It reminds me of the time I had kidney stones. I was writhing around for many hours and finally when I couldn’t stand it I had a friend drive me to the emergency room (had to have her stop the car so I could puke on the curb along the way). They gave me some IV painkillers that really helped and some Vicodin to go home with. Good bye and good riddance, 2007. Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.
The noted American scholar Robert M. Hutchins can blow me. My education was woefully inadequate in providing me with useful fleet-combat skills, to say nothing of education in interplanetary finance. I have more general knowledge than I know what to do with, and yet my battle station’s hit points are appalling. 16 years where I did nothing but study, and yet out of all that, I came out of it completely helpless in a modern 4XRTS, unfit to do anything but menial unskilled tasks. What a colossal waste of years, effort, and money. Our educational priorities have an air of Lewis Carrollian absurdity about them.
It looks like this war is just about over. Glowing purple things are raining down on Gordon’s last planet. His orbital defenses are floating wreckage. His side, the Vasari, could salvage the wreckage, but to my Advent war machine, it’s just colorful ticker tape for my victory parade. I’d accept a concession if we hadn’t forbidden surrender at the start of the game. Good thing I have 23 Purge Ships, because otherwise, this might take a while.
I ate cat food last night.
Check back next week for more Tom vs. Gordon!
This is the most amazing thing I have ever read.
Seriously. Makes me wonder who the professional writer really is.
My life is currently better than Gordon’s but only due to the effects of beer and Rumpleminz. And Goldschlager. Mustn’t forget the Goldschlager.
Here I thought this thread couldn’t deliver.