Saturday, January 2, 2021

State of the Blog 2021


Executive Summary:
Congratulations, traveller! If you are reading this you survived 2020, which reminded us of the dangers of adventuring on a mid TL, balkanized world during a global pandemic.  Red Zone classifications exist for your safety and the safety of others. Here's hoping for critical success rolls to those with Science, Medical, and Leader skills so the IISS can lift the interdiction. I've got a starship mortgage to pay and you can't jump when travel is restricted. When this is all over let's meet at a seedy startown bar, divvy up our treasure and plan our next adventure.

The events of 2020 had a detrimental impact on the amount of blogging and content creating I was able to do. Hardly worth mentioning in a year racked by COVID-19, economic upheaval, social and racial unrest, the impacts of climate change, and political shenanigans. In an act of defiance and hope I spent Holiday (yesterday) commemorating the founding of the Third Imperium and drawing spaceships. A small act, meaningless in the big picture, but the blog is still here and more content will come.

The Boring Blog Stats:
Total page views: 333,724 as of today. Wow. That's a third of a million! Average monthly page views for 2020 jumped from just over 5,000 to over 7,000. Were you guys stuck indoors most of the year or what?
Not surprisingly, the most viewed posts continue to be the Starship Geomorphs books and the starship deck plans.
The primary source of traffic to the blog continues to be Google, with Reddit beating out Facebook for the first time for the #2 slot.
Visitors to the blog continue to come from all over the world, with the United States, the U.K., and Canada leading the charge. Oddly, Turkmenistan made its first appearance on the list, edging out "Other" for the #9 slot. So greetings to my new Turkmenistani friends! Sorry to hear about all the ethnic discrimination, religious zealotry, police brutality, and political corruption in your country. I'm glad I don't live in a place like that.

Highlights of the Year:
The release of the Starship Geomorphs 2.0 PDF was kind of nice and I appreciate the enthusiastic response from so many people. In particular I want to thank Shawn Driscoll for his YouTube shout out  and Jeff Koenig and Bob Loftin of SAFCOcast.com for their mention in Episode18. Your kind words help keep me motivated guys, so thanks.

In related news, a print version is coming (really!). Marc Miller did a test print of the pre-final version and I received this email from him in October: "I made a hardcover of your book. It looks beautiful." I just need to make a few minor tweaks for it to be ready for the the pubic. Soon.

I really enjoyed seeing the Traveller community come together virtually. For a hobby that was built around tabletop social interaction, it was great to see so many work together to make virtual tabletop gaming more commonplace. I'm also grateful for all those who took the time to convert my geomorphs into other graphic formats to make them more accessible to the virtual gamers. Thanks again, everyone.

In May I participated in the Traveller Charity Stream in Support of the Carcinoid Cancer Foundation, put on by Patrick Kanouse and hosted by David from High Shelf Gaming and Hugo from The Death Die Club. They ran the Classic Traveller adventure A Murder On Arcturus Station. It was a great event and fun to get involved with others in our community to do something charitable, not to mention an awesome way to celebrate May Day! Great job, guys! I'd love to see something like this become a regular May Day event.

Lowlights of the Year:
Let's give this one a miss this year, shall we?

What's in store for 2021 (and beyond)?
It's sad that I could basically copy/paste my response from the 2019 State of the Blog. Too many ideas for Traveller content and just not enough time to do them. I'd like to make a commitment to finish existing projects before starting new ones, but as many of you know, when the creativity bug bites you have to scratch that itch, and Traveller has a way of inspiring creativity.

Best of luck for a safe and prosperous 2021. Happy Travelling!

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Xboat Fanzine Issue #3

 

 

The new issue of the Xboat fanzine arrived in the mail a couple of days ago, this time with a couple Traveller cards. Gotta love those freebies! Sorry, the Ako Dice are not included. Congratulations again to Rob Eaglestone for his great work!

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Even More Images!


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Update 8/27/2020
Eric Smith has created over 150 new custom bridge tiles, using images from the Starship Symbols book and overlaying them on various rounded and pointed nose configurations. I'm impressed by how well the original bridges and the new "nose cones" work together. These images are available at the original links below. Also, keep checking out Eric's blog as he continues to add more ship designs. Among others, he's added full deck plans for a  9,000 dton, four level Luxury Liner. Great job, Eric!
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Today I received another collection of images converted from the Starship Geomorphs 2.0 and Starship Symbols books. Eric Smith took on the Herculean task of erasing out the standard square grid and creating PNG images with transparency. This is great news for those of you who want to use these with VTTs and variable grid styles or GURPS players who specifically want a hex grid.

Additionally, Eric made quite a few of his own custom geomorphs and customized a lot of the bridges from the Starship Symbols book. He also took the time to create multiple color versions of many of the vehicles, so those of you looking to run your Traveller-Car Wars crossover now have dozens of tokens to choose from. Not enough for you? He also created a couple starship layouts and several floor plans for an apartment complex and then converted my starship deck plan collection into grid-less PNGs as well... and also Photoshop PSD files for those who want to get creative and make your own variants.

Seriously... my head is spinning from the amount of work that he has done and made available.

I highly encourage you to check out his blog post and read about his process and tips for assembling geomorphs using Paint.Net, a Photoshop plugin for Paint.Net, and TR's PseudoSnap! plugin to help align the geomorphs to a grid.

>> CLICK HERE TO GO TO ERIC'S GEOMORPH BLOG PAGE WITH 7-ZIP FILES <<

For you GURPS players, Eric also has another page filled with all kinds of GURPY goodness.

>> CLICK HERE TO GO TO ERIC'S GURPS PAGE <<

If you are not a 7-Zip user I've added a link to standard .ZIP files of Eric's work. Be advised these are mostly high resolution images and there are several thousand of them.

>> CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD ERIC'S WORK IN STANDARD .ZIP FORMAT <<

Thanks again to Eric and the others mentioned in the previous post who have spent the time converting the geomorphs and symbols into a more usable format and making them available to their fellow Travellers. I'd tip my psi shield helmet to you but you know those damn Zhodani are everywhere.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

More Images!

This is a follow up to my post from last June regarding Starship Geomorph images. I've received new collections of images from both the 2.0 version of the geomorph book as well as a collection of images taken from the Starship Symbols book. I've included a brief description for each. I've decided to group all the ZIP files into one directory to make the images easier to find.

 A big thanks to all those who contributed. I'm sure the Traveller and VTT communities appreciate your work!
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David Gillespie: V1.1 book pages converted to .PNG, 8.5"x11" at 200ppi
ZIP file includes various colored vehicle tokens, starship deck plans, and music from his "Yacht My Problem" campaign

Manfred Pane: V1.1 standard, edge, and corner geomorphs converted to .JPG, trimmed to the edge, 200 ppi, 400 files

Nicole Beach: V1.1 small craft, standard, edge, and corner geomorphs converted to .JPG, trimmed to the edge, various ppi, 471 files

Netrunner_2020: V1.1 small craft, ships, standard, edge, corner, and specialty geomorphs plus V2.0 ends, aerofins, and other V2.0 items, 576 files

Netrunner_2020: Starship Symbols book converted to .PNG individual images, trimmed to the edge, 2,093 files

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>> CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE COLLECTIONS (ZIP FILES) <<


>> CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE ORIGINAL BLOG POST WITH TRAVELLER MODS FOR VARIOUS VIRTUAL TABLE TOP SYSTEMS <<

A collection of images from the Starship Geomorphs 2.0 book
A collection of images from the Starship Symbols book

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Starship Symbols Book

I've compiled a book of the symbols and room blocks I created in AutoCAD for the Starship Geomorphs book into a PDF for anyone who has an interest in that sort of thing. I'm also including the AutoCAD .DWG file and .CTB lineweight file for those who may want to try their hand at drawing their own starship deck plans in my style.

>> CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE STARSHIP SYMBOLS BOOK AND CAD FILES <<

Enjoy!

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UPDATE 8/05/2020 - The CAD file is saved in AutoCAD R2004. I've added an additional
file in R2000 for those with older versions of AutoCAD. I've also added an 8 1/12" x 11"
Starship Deck Plan Template PDF.
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Sunday, July 26, 2020

Starship Geomorphs 2.0

The Starship Geomorphs book has been revised and expanded and is now available for free download.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD STARSHIP GEOMORPHS 2.0.

The biggest change is the addition of two new types of geomorphs, Ends and Aerofins, which will help make your geomorphs layouts have a more streamlined, sci fi aesthetic.

The new book features...
   Over 50 new pages, fully bookmarked and hyperlinked!
   Over 80 new geomorphs and geomorph accessories!
   Over 1 new illustrations!
   Very slightly modified cover!
   Same low price!
... and who knows how many little anal-retentive tweaks! For the meticulously curious, my marked up copy of version 1.1 changes can be found  >>[HERE]<<.

I will be working with Marc Miller to produce a Print On Demand version. It is my hope that over the next couple weeks the Traveller community will review this version for spelling, grammatical, and graphic errors and give me feedback so that any corrections can be made before before the print version becomes available.

Coincidentally, the original geomorphs blog entry from October 2018 just passed 20,000 page views last week. I have no idea how many actual downloads that might be, but I'm delighted the community has shown enthusiasm for this work. Stay safe and Happy Travelling!

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Traveller Referee Emulator - Update and Part 3


It's been almost three years since I uploaded my Traveller Referee Emulator Excel spreadsheet. I add to it from time to time when something new catches my eye and I feel it would be beneficial. It's still organized chaos in the front and a hot mess in the back, drifting into entropy as the years tick by. But if you've enjoyed using this in the past - or have never seen it before - here it is in its most recent glory.


It should work for versions of Excel 2013 and newer and is geared toward generic Traveller or other sci-fi RPGs, and would have some utility for RPGs in general. There's a lot of stuff packed in it.

A list of all revisions since the last release can be found on the Table of Contents tab.

Part 3 - Story Cubes
This Story Cubes box can be found in the lower right hand corner of the overall spreadsheet. In addition to adding my interpretation of all the story cubes I could find I've added a couple of my own Traveller story dice sets as well as a generic sci-fi story cube set. The gray boxes are pull down menus to access the various cube sets. You can also set them to Random if you like, but it can get kind of weird when you start getting Batman villains and dinosaurs.

These can be used to stir your imagination, like any story cubes. I tend to look at them as a group of nine, like the ones shown above. Alternatively I may just look at the first line from each group I've selected.
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UPDATED JUNE 13, 2020:
Click here to download the [Traveller Referee Emulator]. The ZIP file contains both the  Excel spreadsheet and the Starburst Pips font file, which will need to be added to the appropriate Windows directory.
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