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As Dangerous As Usual

It's been a full week since the last entry, and I blame the holiday season.  I don't mean to a scrooge, but so much hustle and bustle is tough on introverts like myself!  Truth be told, not a whole lot happened since the last entry:

Still Playing: Elite: Dangerous

I am not sure how long I have been playing this game, but long enough to have nearly 1,500,000 credits of in-game assets to show for my spoils.  About half of that was earned from in-game bounties, as I have done quite a bit of pirate hunting.
ErosMadeKing doing a lot of what I did in my Cobra Mk III.

I am not exactly a goody two shoes of a bounty hunter, though, as about a quarter was earned off of the black market.  I was not actively attempting to trade illegal goods, it just so happens that anything I cargo scoop is marked "stolen," and I tend to find a lot of expensive cargo canisters floating around in deep space.

On the way up the ladder of available ships in the game, I have sampled five of them so far:
  • The Sidewinder you start out with.   It is little more than a squat tetrahedron with a couple of spots to put some peashooters of a weapon (hardpoints) but it is nimble enough to be a handful in numbers.
  • The Eagle Mk II adds a third small hardpoint, and is slightly less armored, but it is the most agile ship in the game.  It feels a lot like you are piloting a 21st-century jet fighter, having a similar-looking avionic frame.  Great little ship for keeping in the blind spots of foes, but it can not take much punishment before folding.
  • The Viper Mk III is a specialized space superiority fighter, and it shows.  Though not as maneuverable as the Eagle, it is still quite dexterous, and has the highest cruising speed of any ship in the game, and should still be able to end up in the blind spots of most foes.  It carries a mean sting of two class-two hardpoints to join two class-one hardpoints for four nicely balanced weapons overall, but it doesn't quite have the reactor to pull off big beam weapons, and is rather short-ranged when fully armed.
  • The Cobra Mk III has a place in the hearts of many Elite fans' as being the only ship you could pilot in the first game.  In Elite: Dangerous, it upgrades the Viper by adding enough internal component space to power all that firepower without overloading the system.  The upgrade in cargo space and hyperjump range feels like a graduation to being a true spacer.  With enough upgrading, the Cobra Mk III is a potential threat to anything.  (Personally, I like to install a couple of huge-looking class two guns in the hood and watch them go to work on my target.)
  • Though the Lakon Type 6 Transporter is technically the next most expensive ship after the Cobra, it is comparatively downgraded to only having two hardpoints, small-sized, so it is really only good for cargo transport (with roughly twice the potential cargo space).  I found that the Type 6 had better maneuverability than I expected for a cargo ship, but there was no point in "upgrading" from the Cobra because this ship simply loses out on too many other opportunities.
Now, the real grind begins.  The next ship upgrade is an Asp Explorer, valued at around 7 million credits.   I am going to be stuck in this Cobra for a week, and I am not sure if I really feel like doing that.  I might just wait around until Braben and company get around to adding some more ships, as only 15 of the intended 30 different playable ships are currently implemented.

Frankly, I'm getting tired of seeing the same old Sidewinders, Eagles, and Cobras as enemies, we need some more variety!   Not to mention an upgraded Cobra would seem to be effectively invincible against any silly AI pilot short of a heavily-armed Anaconda (though I managed to be done in by three Eagles once when I was being distracted by a phone call).

Watched Again: Best Student Council.

I rated this anime a mere 7/11, "Good" on the Anime News Network scale, and I sit by that.  But, though no masterpiece, the adventures of the ridiculously overpowered student council of this all-girl school are so fun as to have a higher replay value than most anime series I have seen.
Best Student Council is campy, but it nails a satisfyingly good kind of camp.
The plot doesn't look like much.  The main character is Rino Rando, an orange-haired silly klutz who arrives on the scene with a  puppet sidekick attached to her hand.  (The puppet, Pucchan, never leaves... in fact, it could be argued that he is the main character!)  As the story begins, Rando arrives by mysterious invitation to an elite girls boarding school.  It turns out to be run by an incredibly influential and kind high school senior, also the leader of the student council, who immediately takes a liking to Rando.

At the heart of the series is the titular Best Student Council, a group of students with incredible talents, each capable of shaping the world in their own way.  Quite a bit of politics unexpectedly enter the picture, a reflection of just how powerful this student council is.  Inexplicably, and to the chagrin of the average student at that school, Rando is quickly inducted into the Best Student Council, and high jinks ensue.  Each episode is usually about fleshing out the back stories of one of the student council members, with Rando's bumbling often proving to save the day.  Towards the end, the formula is soured a bit with a supernatural angle, but it does not drown the fun completely.

Though Best Student Council has sappy moments, this show is not high drama, it even deliberately lampoons its own dramatic scenes periodically.  However, something about this show is just extremely easy to watch.  It's not that the girls are particularly sexy, just passably interesting and likable, if anything this anime would seem to be about amiable sisterhood amongst this little sorority.  It helps that the off-the-cuff humor hits surprisingly high marks at times.

Perhaps it is the lack of extremes that make Best Student Council work so well.  It is a shame they only made a single season of it back in 2005, we will not be seeing anything more like that for awhile.  Although Hayate The Combat Butler comes close, and the second season was even made by the same studio!

Watching Now: Fruits Basket.

In the typical harem anime, the male protagonist is useless and the women who dote on him are all such incredible beings that he ends up overwhelmingly carried by them.  In the reverse harem anime, the female protagonist ends up the most useful person in the production because she is capable of helping the men who dote on her realize their faults and become better people.

Hey, Japan, I thought I heard you guys were traditionally patriarchal?   Then why it is that your reverse harems are so much more interesting because the female protagonist is that much more admirable?   It happened in Ouran High School Host Club, and it's happening in Fruits Basket as well.

Granted, I am not entirely sure what she sees in the objects of her affection, as they're largely maladjusted animals.  Literally: the gimmick here is that our female protagonist, Tohru Honda, ends up involved in a family of people who have been cursed to temporarily become animals from the Chinese zodiac when they are embraced by members of the opposite gender.  The situational comedy is just the tip of the iceberg, as they take the curse seriously for narrative purposes.

At about episode 5 into the series so far, I'm not too impressed by the show yet.  However, I do like about an anime is when it has clever direction, and this series employs lots of clever cuts and other cinematic tricks to spice up what is otherwise a slightly-out-of-the-ordinary high school drama.

I hear that it gets a bit more interesting as the show goes on.  It should, as I can not see why it would score among the top 6% on Anime News Network's user ratings unless there is more to it than that.

Game Development: Forthcoming, maybe.

Well, it's not looking like Construct 2 is going on sale any time soon, so I will probably buy it as soon as I feel I have an opportunity to use it.  That won't be this week, because it is looking like the next ten days or so will not be my own.  However, maybe the second week of January.

It is a solid decision.  Even though I am pretty sure better products will be realized with libGDX and a lot of painstaking work, Construct 2 is unbeatable for quick prototyping purposes, and perhaps playing around with it a bit will get me in the mood to do something more serious.


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