FicSave: For when you want to carry FanFiction with you

For those that don't know what I'm talking about, here is a blog post someone wrote that goes into great depth on the matter (it's also where i got the image for my post from.)

To put into my own words for people that don't want to click through? If you had to put a gun to my head and force me to condense down the entire essay I want to write but am too lazy to? Fanfiction takes something that already exists, be it Harry Potter, Star Trek, NCIS, or even Days of our Lives; starts with the question 'What if?' and then gives you what the author thinks the answer would be.

An example of this runs with the idea of 'What if Megaman were a novel?' It takes a video game with next to no real story and runs with it full tilt with complex characterizations, story arcs, hope, despair, and all manner of trappings you'd normally associate with over-all good storytelling. Another favorite of mine asks 'What were the humans like in phantasy star 2?' Again we see complex motives, good intentions, betrayal, insanity, faith lost and restored, personal triumphs and heartbreak, and takes what were one dimensional 'we're bad guy' people, and turns them into well fleshed out elements in a larger story that they simply are the focus of.

Is all of it good? Hardly! Most of it is poorly written, gets the characters wrong, is written more because the author wants to put their special snowflake self insert into a setting than to tell a good story, and even if you could publish by traditional means most would end up getting thrown into the incinerator. Also most have content or 'romance' that is ... eye-bleedingly bad. I speak of things that make Twilight look well researched, or the 'romance' in Fifty Shades of Grey look healthy and stable. There are things out there that will make you wish brain bleach was a thing and you could pour it onto your eyeballs.

However let's say you find some rare gem that not only feels like it belongs in Firefly, or Dresden Files, or Warhammer, or whatever. Say you find something that does that and is smartly written and you want to keep reading. Sites like have been around since the 90's, deviant art is full of the stuff, and you can find niche archives all the live long day. Thing is if the right people get in a twist, such as Disney, and want to send lawyers to do busy work they can shut these places down, or the site simply can't afford hosting. Now what? Once a site is down you're sorta out of luck, but for and a few other places that use similar frameworks, there is an option.

Enter FicSave. Drop your story's link in, select the format you want, optionally enter an email address, and it'll sit and convert things for you, hopefully anyway. This is good since doesn't allow you to copy/paste text from stories. I don't know why but that's how it is, which annoys me because through the badly written mess, self inserts, Mary Sue characters, and other things you won't like there are those rare and wonderful gems. Maybe you'r afraid the site is going to get pulled. Maybe you just want an e-reader friendly version. This tool will help you on that front. It's not perfect since it only works with a few sites, but the sites it works with are the 'big' sites that deal in this sort of thing.

I am a fan of local media. Sure I'm someone that appreciates that 'The Cloud' exists but I have had internet hiccups, outages, and other stumbling blocks happen often enough I prefer content I can access when the Cloud evaporates. This is why I like that little piece of software. That it saves to plain text is great since maybe a writer did a thing well, but you keep getting distracted by spelling errors, or want to make your own edits and changes because a part happened you hate but the rest is awesome (fanfiction of fanfiction. YO DAWG!)

What if you don't want to have to hassle with the problems of raw text? What if you want formatting, and something your tablet or e-reader can handle? FicSave also handles pdf (for desktops,) Mobi (for Kindle,) and ePub (for Nook, Kobo, Android, and IOS.) What if the metadata is messed up though? How do you sort all these stories? Enter Calibre as both library organization tool and the ability to edit metadata, add cover art, and help you sort what you want to offload, keep, and allows you to sort by file format. It's an organizational tool I love for its flexibility, the fact it runs on windows mac and linux, and it has a lot of options.

The absolute best part about both of these tools? They demonstrate why Open Source is inherently awesome. Calibre offers, and has offered for the longest time, organizational tools that nicely compliment whatever device you read on (even if you read exclusively on a desktop.)

Amazon & the Brick and Mortar Store

All this is in response to news that Amazon opened up a physical bookstore in Seattle. Frankly I think the concept is more than a bit stupid since they're doing the opposite of what Barns and Noble did. it might be different in detail but in concept same thing. Now you have all the minuses of a physical location that you have to contend with in the form of overhead, stocking fees, paid staff, dealing with permits, and so on and so on.

To me what they should do instead is help sponsor Libraries.Think about it for a minute. Libraries are perpetually underfunded institutions whos budgets tend to be pretty early on the chopping block and often have to have sales of their older less used and or donated material along with other events to generate funding alongside more normal donations, local budgeting, and any grants they might qualify for.

Why is this not a thing? Amazon gives different library money, possibly books/dvds/etc to stock shelves with, and if we're feeling very adventurous guidelines on how to set up a wifi hotspot and share service so kindle owners can read books either for the duration of being connected to that hot spot, or for x amount of hours after leaving. No need to pay staff, have to deal with building insurance, or anything other than help out already existing institutes that need funding to get a little of the usual crunch taken off their backs.

Maybe there's some glaringly obvious thing I'm missing here but it seems like a good match, at least for books/cd's/DVDs. Granted i'm sure this Seattle bookstore is going to heavily badger customers to buy kindles and kindle products but still, it just seems odd and a little bit counter-productive.

Then again I'm just someone that sees libraries as always needing more funding and attention than they receive.

Starsiege Tribes: RISE FROM YOUR GRAVE!

The current rights-holders to the Tribes franchise are giving away a sizable chunk of the franchise. There doesn't seem to be Stella 7, hunter hunted, Cyberfront, or a few others, but while Tribes 1 and 2 were made free as a tribes Vengeance promo, Earsiege and Starsiege are now also available along with Tribes Vengeance.

Curiously they're going with ISOs of everything rather than attempting to incorporate community patches, meaning you're kinda on your own where actually getting things to work are concerned. Also as of the time of this post the Tribes 1/Starsiege combo ISO only has Starsiege. That may get fixed in the future.

My first online FPS experience was with Tribes 2, ditto with my first attempts at mapping, modeling, and working with a group to actually do things. It is a game that has a lot of fond memories and I'm sorry that it's been reduced to a 'en it's there' state that has barely any players. However it's a game from 2001 and time marches on. Still, it's a game that y default allowed you to have 64 people on the same server, and one serve near the end had 512 people on a map, which was utter and total madness, but it happened. Let that sink in for a bit. A first person shooter had a server population that rivals what an MMO can do.

Hi-Rez hasn't released the entire franchise, likely because of rights issues no matter that Dynamix had done their level best to weld a lot of different games together into a single continuity. However it is rare that companies go 'we're not making money off this. Let's let the public have it to do with what they will.' It's better than Ross's 'Go Fuck Yourself' option that most gaming companies take.

Of course given the URL name I'm wagering this is to try trolling for interest for a future game that's more of an MMO than microtransaction hell. Even though my box cannot handle it, I'm interested and want to see where it goes.

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The Games

The following instructions are mostly courtesy of Reddit.

After installing DOSBox you can then use the Sierra installer to get Earthsiege I to work. I can confirm that it works. The page also has a link to run Earthsiege II on modern 64bit systems. I could run it but ran into an audio issue, something about _INMM.DLL. People have reported being unable to play even with this. Hopefully this can get sorted because while Earthsiege is in the era of 'super crappy live action cutscenes' it's still a pair of games worth playing.

Starsiege: How to get working on a modern box (instructions are for windows 7.)

Mega link (advise that this gets mirrored.) No-CD Patch

Replacement Master Server.

Tribes 1:
Frankly you're better off going with PlayTribes. Playtribes is an update that was in progress after InstantAction had bought the franchise rights after Dynamix shut down and had intended to launch a quake-live like service that let you play the original tribes 1 from a browser window. This version includes better support for higher resolutions, OpenGL, and other minor things or possibly not so minor because I dunno what they are. Sadly the project got scrapped... when Hi-Rez bought the franchise. However someone leaked the code for what was done, which was basically everything workable so far as I'm aware of, and put it on the internet. This is the superior version of tribes 1.

Tribal War thread about PlayTribes:
Tribal War thread about the 1.141 'after hope' patch:

If those do not do anything useful please discuss, will edit as I can find new information. It is weird o'clock here.

Tribes 2: will have both game, and patch to get going with the community master server. That site's version is the installer distributed as promo to tribes vengeance whereas the tribes universe link is for an ISO.

Areal Assault: 
This is a PS2 game. I'm not sure why they're releasing the ISO and i have no idea if a community server exists. If anyone knows how to rip assets from this please share your wisdom since this is basically the ps2 version of tribes 2 with a few different vehicles, different turret behavior, and a different set of tutorial missions.

Tribes Vengeance: That site will have basically everything you need to get going between setup, general tutorials, and I think they've got mapping utilities up it's been awhile.

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Reddit Thread about game lore.

 The Exiled's Wiki is back up and functioning proper. Also as a note their site offers downloads for Playtribes, Tribes 2, Vengeance, and probably others. This wiki covers everything the franchise has to offer. I'm serious it is the most exhaustive document I've found on the web about the in universe as well as out of universe material on the franchise all in one place.

This needs backing up if it hasn't been already. Wiki ISO's, and other media need uploading to for the sake of making sure it doesn't end up dying off.