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Archive for April, 2007

Last day of class

Posted by wars128 on April 25, 2007

Today is the offiacl last day of classes. All that is left is exams. YESS!!!!but I have to take exams so BOOOO! :). This weeks show will be very big, and I will also post last weeks show that I haven’t gotten around to yet either this week or next week. I also did a research paper on the Jihad, and here it is:(Its meant for people who don’t know BattleTech)

Sam Franklin

Dr. Biedenbach

English 1020-018

25 April 2007

In the 80s, a science fiction board game known as BattleTech came about. It was soon after followed by novels and books, which brought more life and depth to the universe. Now, however, those books have caused controversy. The way that the BattleTech universe is going, not everyone likes. The specific idea that is causing this controversy is called the Jihad. It is a part of the plot and basically is where a bunch of crazy people go on a rampage. I am one of those people who do not really like the way the universe is going, but I can also see the positive aspects in the Jihad.
Here are some terms you might need to know before you start reading this paper:
Star League- Think of a U.N., but across the universe, with only about 5 members, and just as much arguing and fighting.
Blakist/Word of Blake- crazy technology worshipers who started the Jihad.
Tharkad and New Avalon- 2 capital planets of two vast star empires.
When the last sourcebook before the Jihad ended a while back, the year was 3067, and the BattleTech universe was at an uneasy peace. Then, the sourcebook Dawn of the Jihad came out, and changed everything. You can tell things are going bad just by looking at the cover, which shows a crazy man staring at a nuclear blast. An example of the text: “ “Traitors to peace and prosperity, you will pay for your transgressions unless you immediately reconvene the Star League Council, as was foretold by the Blessed Blake” Blakist WarShips transmitted that message before they moved into orbit around Tharkad and New Avalon, seemingly from nowhere, preceding there orbital strikes against Tharkad City and Avalon City,”(Bills Dawn 25). In the Sequel, 3070, it all just gets worse. The Blakists use all kinds of terror weapons, from nukes to chemical and biological weapons, which were formerly banded from being used, to try to take over the entire galaxy. Most everyone is fighting back and not wanting to be under their rule, and the war will last for many years. What’s worse, is that several high political leaders and well known and liked characters, some that have been in the universe for pretty much all of its 25 plus years the stories have been around. The history of BattleTech is vast, as the timeline covers from the late 21st century to the year 3070, and so cannot be fully told here, as the scope of this document is not to tell the history of the BattleTech universe. To say it simply, the universe all consists of people from Terra (Earth), who had spread among the stars and founded new empire, just much more vast than ones found on Terra. For a more in-depth history, you can go to http://www.classicbattletech.com. Here is a short example: “The history of human life among the stars, the creation of the great star empires and the formation of the human society known as the Clans began with humanity’s first steps into space. Among the ancient nations of Terra, the dissolution of traditional alliances and enmities in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries created an era of unprecedented peace and cooperation, in which all human societies turned their energies toward the advancement of the human race. By 2020, the groundbreaking research of two scientists – Thomas Kearny and Takayoshi Fuchida – led to the development of a fusion reactor capable of powering a starship. In 2027, the Alliance starship Columbia, powered by the first Kearny-Fuchida fusion engine, made its historic journey to Mars. With that brief voyage, Man’s migration from Terra began.”(CBT.com).
There are many reasons why the way the BattleTech universe is going is both good and bad.
Many great and well-loved characters have died or will die in the Jihad. Orson Scott Card, a well known Science Fiction writer, once wrote in his how to write book Characters and Viewpoint: “By the time they finish your story, readers want to know your characters better than any human being ever knows any other human being.”(Card 4) Two major characters, both which were quite well liked, have been killed, with yet more carnage to happen. It does need to happen, to help transition to the new era, but it still is hard to see people some players/readers have known for most of their entire lives disappear. Yes, characters have to go sometime, it’s just sad to see them go. So far, one of the greatest fighters in BattleTech history, and a famous Politician has died, with still about 2 to 5 years to go in the war. These characters that have been picked to die have been around for the entirety of the series, and die before their time, in ways that do not show the impact they have put into the BattleTech universe. They deserved better
There has not been a truly universal war that has been playable in this game. There have been a couple fairly big wars that players could participate in, but nothing in this magnitude. Nearly everyone gets to fight someone else, which many players have been itching to do. BattleTech is about battling, right? So, in the past couple flare ups, only a few factions have gotten to participate, leaving a lot of people out in the cold, so to say. Now, however, with nearly everyone fighting and choosing sides, a given faction may fight as many as 3 or 4 other big factions.
A few years ago, Wizkids(the owners of the BattleTech License), came out with the MechWarrior: Dark Ages series of novels. These are a continuation of the Battle
Tech line, and the happenings in the new series are directly caused by the Jihad. If there was no Jihad, all the faults in these new books would never have manifested themselves. It starts 60 or so years after the sourcebooks stopped before the Jihad (The year3067). Based on the books in this series I have read, which is enough to give me a general view of how the universe is, these novels simply do not have enough Mech on Mech action, which is a hallmark of the BattleTech line. That’s why we read the novels and play the games: the big fighting robots! There are big fighting robots in MWDA, but most of them are not meant for battle, they are just jury-rigged civilian machines just given weapons. That being said, after reading all these Classic BattleTech books for many years, reading a Mech vs. Mech fight in a MWDA novel is horrific. Here is an example of each:
Classic BattleTech: “When Victor came around the side of the barricade, there was Niels in his Caesar standing just opposite him. Niels was quick to act, twisting his Mech around on its turret-style waist to bring the right-arm PPC to bear, but still to late. The energy whip drilled into the right side of the Striker, but found no critical components that could turn Victor’s newly claimed advantage.”(Coleman 27 ).
MWDA: “Austin grunted as he fought to keep the Mech upright. If he tumbled over, he knew he was dead. Autocannon fire and more missiles would end his life in a flash. He couldn’t even eject. Such safety devices weren’t even included in a basic MiningMech.”(Vardeman intro)
Here is another example. Imagine that you are a professional racecar driver, and at this moment in time you are driving a brand new, top of the line, high tech, Porsche. You race for a while, until you crash, the car dies, or something else that ends up with the car being destroyed or not worth fixing. You then go out to get a new car, you find that the government is trying to be anti racing, and there have not been cars meant for racing for quite some time. So, you are stuck with a jury-rigged Pinto. That is what the transition is like from Classic Battletech to MechWarrior: Dark Ages. The books themselves aren’t bad, I have enjoyed one quite a bit, its just that its fine to read a book that’s mostly about something, say, James Bond-esque, when it finally gets to the fighting robots, it should be good, and most of the time, it isn’t. The history of BattleTech can be compared to that of our world history: There was a time of a great Empire, a la our Roman Empire, which fell and mankind plunged into a dark age ruled by feudal lords, and the experienced a Renaissance period, which gave humanity back all of the things humanity had lost before. After this Renaissance period in the BattleTech universe comes the Jihad, followed by a new, but smaller star empire that is much more peaceful and eventually stops producing weapons of war. That is why the battles in MWDA aren’t as good as those in Classic BattleTech. Another thing that some people don’t like is that a couple factions(Countries/star empires in the universe) get destroyed/taken over/ combined. Whenever that happens in the books of BattleTech, it leaves many players without a home. People love their factions that they choose to play with. They may go far enough to even talk like them on message boards. It is sad to see someone whose faction has been destroyed, and during the Jihad several factions, not minor ones, but some are iconic and very well known, were or will be either absorbed or destroyed. Also, there is still one more sourcebook to come out for the Jihad, so who knows which group will be gone next? It is sad to be on a forum, and to be reading someone’s posts, and seeing that were part of a faction that got destroyed. People immerse themselves into their faction, since normally that faction is like them by nationality, ideals, way of fighting, etc. You will be one of the lucky ones if your faction makes it through the Jihad. I can certainly sympathize with players who have lost their faction, but I also agree with other players who say that things such as “Somebody’s got to lose” and the like. It’s just an unfortunate side effect of the game.
For a few years now, the plot has stagnated, being stuck in the year 3067. But now, with the Jihad, the universe is finally moving forward in time. The players are getting many source books, and loads of fiction covering the war. If the plot did not move, BattleTech would be very boring, since at the year 3067, all the fighting had died down. Even though I do not really like the plot, it has some good aspects to it, like in the source book Jihad Hot Spots: 3070, it has some very good fiction in it, introduces some very nice new designs for people to play with, and also lets the players use nuclear weapons, which normally aren’t used. If you don’t like the plot a huge amount, then just go make up your own. I can assure you, from my own experience that making up an alternate timeline is no easy task.
So what can be done? Well, since the Jihad is in full swing, you can’t get the publishers to stop the entire project, but you can do something. If you severely dislike the Jihad, here are a couple choices of things that you could do:
A. Come up with your own alternate Timeline. Who says the Jihad has to exist anyways? Just make up your own alternate timeline, the way you want the universe to go. Unfortunately, this is almost not worth all the work, and you can only really share it to other friends that play in your alternate universe. Oh, and did I mention that its really hard to come up with a good alternate timeline? I had gotten one from someone a long time ago, and his is just massive. His is over 250 pages in a PDF document, and took a year to make, and he didn’t even change much!
B. You can stop playing BattleTech at all. But why would you, just over a something like this? People have left BattleTech before over much more serious reasons than this, and many eventually have come back. For a lot of people, BattleTech is a big part of their life, so to forfeit a big chunk of your life just over happenings in a plot?
C. Or you can do what I do, and just suck it up and enjoy the good parts of the Jihad:
a. Many people get to fight an almost universally hated faction, besides their own members, of course.
b. You get to play around with new toys. Many new weapons of war are being made now.
c. Besides, the Jihad(the current part of the plot that a lot of people don’t like) has been in development for years now. Read herrings and many other hints in a lot of books have lead up to this. It cannot be stopped now.
If you like the idea, your fine, you don’t have to do anything. That’s all well and dandy. The proposed actions will change current affairs in that maybe a few more people will see the good things in the Jihad, and stop complaining about it. My proposals are not very different from others, as there is not much you can do about the Jihad, since it is already set in stone (i.e., put in to books). These same ideas have probably been put forth already. So even if you think that the Jihad is the stupidest idea in all of writing, which I do, give it a try. It’s better than totally forgoing BattleTech itself. Overall the Jihad has some bad things in it, but has enough good parts to warrant its continuation, at least in my opinion. When I started this paper, I was whole against the Jihad, but now that I have done some research and thought about it, I now can see the pluses of it, and can see why the other side likes it. The authors have put a huge amount of effort into the Jihad too, with many detailed sourcebooks and short stories, so even if they might make something not everyone likes, they try to make it well.

Works Cited

II Beas, Herbert A., et al. 3070. FanPro LLC, 2005.

II Beas, Herbert A., et al. Dawn of the Jihad. FanPro LLC, 2005.

Fan pro’s Official Classic Battletech Website, 2007. 27 Feb. 2007
.

Phillips, Donald G. Star Lord. Penguin group,1996.

Vardeman, Robert E. The Ruins of Power. New American Library, 2003.
I wish I could make it be double spaced, but I don’t know how…oh well, tell me what you think of it!
And if you like the podcast, tell a friend!
Sam

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Sick

Posted by wars128 on April 23, 2007

I really wanted to do a show over the weekend, but the Flu had gotten in the way. I’ll try to get the show I already have recorded up sometime this week.

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Next Show

Posted by wars128 on April 19, 2007

You may get two shows in one day next week, inc eim not sure if I will be able to put out a show this week. Things just havent really gone my way this week. Hopefully things will be better next week. I’ll leave you with a poem/Haiku thingy I wrote in 6th grade:
A man tried to steal a JagerMech
Instead it turned out to be a Urbanmech
The mech was piloted, and the man was ignited
By the hands of the Urbamech

I started Battletech pretty early, didnt I?
Sam

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Great Day

Posted by wars128 on April 8, 2007

Today was a great day. I did get around to recording a show, which is over 17 mins before muisc. sweet, huh? Also, I learned today that I will become an uncle for the 11th time(9th biologically…. its complicated) in October. So yea, I’m happy. Show should be out sometime tommorow. And yes, they do call me uncle Sam, haha. I don’t have the white beard and top hat though, not old enough for that. Also, this means that theres only two of my dads kids who haven’t had kids, me and my twin sister…Guess they’ll be starting to pressure me to have one now(just kidding, hopefully). An happy Easter to those of you who celebrate it too! almost forgot about that!
“Uncle*11” Sam

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Next Podcast

Posted by wars128 on April 4, 2007

I don’t know when the next podcast will be made, but I have started on it and looks like a great one.

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Many wierd happenings today

Posted by wars128 on April 2, 2007

This has been a very wierd day.
My internet in my dorm room is incredibly slow, like 26k/second or so, which makes things like uploading the podcast take FOREVER. And its not even a big file. I’m trying to download this 404mb file. Guess who long it says it will take? Right now it has done 27.8 of 404, with 2 days, 14 hours, and 125 mins left. This is just unaceptable. I also had to explain some workings of itunes for some cops. Seems they dont know about the sharded library part..but i’ll quit my complaining,lol. Show just got posted, its a short ne, but hey, it is one.
Sam
P.S. Oh yea, and its our Resident Expert’s birthday today so leave some comments on this post wishing him a happy birthday!!!!!!!

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