Thursday, December 12, 2013

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Starbound Beta Diary: A Girl, a Ship, a Planet, and a Blood-Vomiting Alien Bird

Starbound Beta (48)
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

If you ask me, the worst time to be part of a species whose planet has been completely obliterated is around the holidays. My family's been devoured by an abomination from beyond the stars, the cold void of space is a pretty poor replacement for the invigorating nip of a frosty morning, and I'm pretty sure humans were the only bipeds in the universe self-destructive enough to invent instant hot chocolate with those tiny gritty delicious marshmallow pellets in it.

Oh, also, I might be the only intelligent lifeform in this star system, I have no food, and my ship is out of fuel. That stuff's all really bad too.

Lost In Space

Starbound Beta (61)

I wasn't always alone in this empty little tomb of a ship, though. As is written in the ship's codex, I was one among a crew of humans looking for a planet to settle on after Earth was destroyed by a less-than-friendly alien creature. An unrelated (but equally unfriendly) alien creature then found its way onto our ship and, long story short, the spunky redhead in the denim overalls was the last one left standing.

The ship ran out of fuel near Alpha Beta Com 0021 II a, a forested satellite to a gas giant and its moon. My supplies were limited to a handful of seeds, a flashlight, a battered sword, and my trusty matter manipulator. I retrieved the lot and beamed down to the planet's surface to look for food, wood, coal, ore, and maybe even friendly lifeforms. If ABC 0021 II a proved hospitable enough, I intended to establish a base there.

The Planet That Actively Hated Me

Starbound Beta (43)

Let me tell you right now, I wouldn't set up shop on that planet for all the space tea in space China. I'm not sure if it was the toxic vegetables, or the numerous poison lakes, but I quickly decided to stay on Alpha Beta Com only as long as was absolutely necessary.

Starbound Beta (76)

It may also have been the half-duck/half-dragonflies that belched streams of bullets or brilliant red vomit (depending on their mood I suppose) at me and anything else that moved. I could have gone my entire life without dodging alien bird barf, but here we are.

As hostile as this world is, my first death comes to starvation. Poor planning on my part really. I'm quick to till some soil and plant my seeds before proceeding much further. Ideally by the time my wheat and corn have sprouted I'll be ready to leave.

ABC 0021 II a is also surprisingly mineral poor. There are trees to chop down and build with, and massive flowers whose fiber I can weave into bandages to counteract the vomit damage I'm regularly receiving, but when it comes to the coal I need to fuel my ship or the copper and iron I need to make better equipment, the soil has little to offer me.

And it turns out there's good reason for that.

Curiously Unattended Valuables

Starbound Beta (37)

Someone's already been here.

Starbound Beta (38)

And they've left a lot behind. Dozens of crates, each one containing materials and items. 

Starbound Beta (42)

My luck had turned around. The entire compound is conspicuously absent of guards or anyone who might prevent a spunky redhead in denim overalls from robbing them blind.

Starbound Beta (39)

Soon I'm well-stocked with wood, ore, and money, the three most important commodities for a space settler to have. Oh, and the crates. So many crates. Crates, and chairs, and tents, and lamps... I certainly wasn't going to just leave all those perfectly good storage solutions behind on some shitty poison planet. I have a spaceship to furnish, after all.

Starbound Beta (48)

After a trip back to my ship to upgrade my gear, cook some food, and of course decorate, I continued surveying the planet. I stumbled across numerous chests as I did. More ore, more money, a dulcimer (though it sure looks like a guitar to me), a tech blueprint containing the vital ability to double-jump, and even a few new weapons.

After mulling over (radomly generated) weapon choices like the "Wobbly Junk crappyspear", the "Useless Annoyance crappyaxe", and the "Decrepit Tickler uncommoncrappyaxe", I replaced my old sword with the "Laughable Whacker", an "uncommomcrappybroadsword" with a poison effect on the blade. With a name like that, you'll have to take my word that it was an upgrade.

But anyway, back to this horrible, horrible planet. It turns out that the storage bunker wasn't the only facility on ABC 0021 II a's surface, nor was it the only eerily abandoned one.

Curiously Unattended Buildings

Starbound Beta (73)

As I continued on, I soon came across an abandoned Apex lab. For the unfamiliar, the Apex are something of a cross between the titular apes from Planet of the Apes and the society explored in 1984. The facility was modest enough, but not an Apex in sight. Who am I to turn down a free banana poster? I don't have anywhere to put it now, but I can always scan it into the ship's 3D printer for later.

It's not long before I find a second Apex site, decidedly more sinister than the lab.

Starbound Beta (74)

":) Thought Reassigment :)"

Did you think I was kidding about that 1984 stuff?

Starbound Beta (75)

From a practical perspective, this building is a goldmine. It's loaded with containers of money, and there are windows and metal platforms I could use for an eventual base of my own (on literally any planet other than ABC 0021 II a). I gut the place much like I gutted the others, though I leave the sign (and the torture bed lurking in the basement) untouched.

Starbound Beta (71)When I make it all the way around the planet and back to where I beamed down, I find that my wheat and my corn have sprouted. That means it's almost time to leave. I do a bit of digging to see if I've missed any easily accessible minerals, but other than a few more chests and a section of caves striped with mushroom walls that look like good salami or bad anything else there's little of interest.

Starbound Beta (70)

I dig my way down to an ominous chasm before deciding it's finally time to get the hell off of this toxic death orb.

To The Moon And Definitely Not Back, Ever

I have enough fuel to leave the system, but I won't. Not yet. I can't land on the gas giant that's been looming large on the horizon, but I can venture over to Alpha Beta Com 0021 II b, the nearby moon.

Starbound Beta (85)

With the FTL drive engaged, I kick back with my dulcimer guitar and relax. After all, how could a silly little moon possibly be worse than a poison planet full of blood vomiting alien bugbirds and a core made of salami?

Mixed reality iris 2013Iris Ophelia (@bleatingheart, Janine Hawkins IRL) has been featured in the New York Timesand has spoken about SL-based design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan andwith pop culture/fashion maven Johanna Blakley.

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Valaria

Hehee! Awesome, so many different adventures can be had on this cute little pixelated game. This author shares the adventure in a great storyteller fashion, maintaining the immersion of the games lore in an entertaining way and makes me want to play more. :)

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