Quick Look: System Shock Infinite

How to surprise someone that has played System Shock 2 since 2004:

Take System Shock 2, add Groundhog Day, mix with a lot of fan devolution, and shake well.

This mod isn't a new game in that it uses the same levels longtime fans are familiar with and the basic story of SciFi Haunted House, yet it makes it so much.... More. Don't believe me? Here is a promo trailer from a few versions back.

For starters we get a halfway reasonable feeling explanation on how we got here with SHODAN somehow having a pod from beta grove traveling faster than light without engines, why she's on the box even though she doesn't show up til a third of the way in, and we get a sense of dynamism as Marie Delacroix goes from leaving logs here and there to outright actively helping you as a psionic 'ghost' of sorts. Even better is we get a sense the crew is still alive and fighting here.

There are multiple endings depending on actions you take ranging from standard good/bad, to a 'how we got here' easter egg ending, and even a 'now for something completely different' end. However that isn't even the best part! This thing isn't even done and the next series of updates adds in old school 3D cyberspace segments for several key events to further separate them from the more mundane types of hacking, an expanded path branching system where you can choose to actively side with SHODAN, the Many, go for broke to make everything right, or even... Well. That would be telling wouldn't it? There are smoothed out and expanded animations, more scripted events, and it's just packed to the gills with things that make even fans that've had this game since 1999 feel like it's something fresh without being completely unrecognizable.

There is all new voice work, a rebalanced weapon system, further incentives to explore, story twists, and for the most part outside of voice work it is one guy putting all of this together. Don't get me wrong the community at large has been helping with feedback, suggestions, even writing a few segments here and there, but this is one guy in his spare time giving us not just an expanded story that feels like what Looking Glass and Irrational might have done if they had more time, but also a look at what the fans of the franchise are able to do with the new more stable editor that the NewDark update gave us.

Give it a spin, put your thoughts down, and Embrace the Chaos.
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My thoughts on Iraq, Syria, ISIS and all.....

I am going to go with a child's question here. Why can we not all play nice?

In all seriousness I've grown tired of anything to do with faith on account of people using it as an excuse and justification for doing things that faith is supposed to take a stand against just because you want to be king of the mountain.

Think about it. Iran is asking us for help. Same country that has had problems with the US for what started as legitimate grievances because we did some super shady things and has since turned into religious dogma for them that america is the great evil in the world.

....and they are willing to not only work with us but are asking us to come over. That should tell you just how bad things are.

I'm going to sit out on the whole 'should we' thing on account of me being unable to go. I'm instead going to just agree with the point the video wants to make. This cycle of one group responding to oppression with violence until they are in charge and then oppressing other people until they are overthrown needs to stop. It's turned the region into a general hellhole.

An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind, and this ongoing cycle of oppressed killing til they're in charge until they become oppressors proves those words as true.


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Why I think Disney's RFID 'Magic Bracelets' aren't Terrible

Work with me here guys. We arne't talking 'number of the beast' or any sort of black chopper fantasies.We're talking about what's effectivly your hotel keycard and putting it on your wrist where it's less likely to get swiped and you're able to put your wallet somewhere that people dan't just bump into you and grab.

Is It perfict? Nope. No security system is perfict since no matter how good the automated systems are humans can be connec into getting around the system for you. That does not mean get ridof the people and have your perfict automated system take over since automation reaks down for any nmber of reasos and it's always good to have a person in the loop to step in and go 'Uh you don't look like a mary... Sir.' 

Plus in the case of automation I'd hate for the computer to decide I really do need to pay again for a second time and no that last time doens't count we won't let you get your things out of your hotel room because now the system has deactivated your armband.

This is a problem with existing systems. Magnetic Cards can be cloned if some bright bub puts a scanner between you and the thing you're sticking the card in and you don't realize it, or you can get your RFID card scanned while you pay at the pump. Then again there's always the time honored tradition of sticking a gun against somebody and going 'please swipe wristband here please sir.' Granted that's very un-sublte ut whatever right?

More likely you'll have guys dressed in very official looking uniforms using the fact we're trained to follow directions from people in uniforms to please scan here we are trying to locate someone and we don't wish to raise a fuss. Oh no worries no need to be alarmed we have everything under control.'

That is what I find to be the most likely scenerio outside of getting an employee to give up their skeletn key.

On the flip side say you have everyone in the park wearing these gizmos. Your child wanders off all you have to do is alert one of the park people please my kid's wandered off and because those bands look to be made of stuff you can't just rip rip and get rid of it's not like little Timmy can accidentilly pull the thing off or somebody intentionally try making off with your kid for whatever reason. Child will be found and all should be well.

Of course Disney has invested a billion dollars into this thing so it had better work. This then leads into 'when will we see this kin of thing elsewhere?'

Probably inside of a few years. These things won't replace the cards in your wallet but I can see businesses or at the least other parks having the option for people to wear these things and offer some sort of incentive over dealing with cards.

Cosmos for a New Generation


I wasn't around when Cosmos first showed. However I saw it during rebroadcasts since I'd only missed it by a few years and it was still fairly relevant. This time I'm getting to see it as it happens, but Cosmos isn't for me. Sure I'm a science nerd and found the experience fairly enjoyable, but Cosmos isn't for us geeks. It's for those that aren't sure of this whole 'science' thing and need a gentle nudge to see what they've been missing. Granted your typical lecture about Infinity or Zero or whatever is about as interesting as watching paint dry, but that's where Doctor Neil Degrasse Tyson really shines. He's a man that engages and brings a human element to his talks simply by being excited about the stuff he's talking about. This is also where Carl Sagan excelled and the reason eight year old me found the original show fascinating wasn't just the facts, but that these facts were given to me by someone who was excited about the whole experience. Trust me after having puttered around trying to absorb whatever bits of interesting I can, failing college because I got bored and distracted, and constant frustration at History and TLC turning away from education to 'Reality' TV I understand how big a difference presentation makes. This show nails that part down pretty hard.

Sadly with TV being what it is almost a third of the hour long time slot Cosmos was given is trying to sell you something, and the constant break for commercials after every single little transition was quite jarring.Sad really, but I suppose one takes what one gets and frankly I'm grateful Fox has put forward the sort of effort they have at trying to put forward a show going on at how important Science is when they're a network I at least mostly associate with wing-nut politics that take the stereotypical anti-intellectual christian stereotype and run with it. Sure I suppose with shows like Fringe and Too Human that really shouldn't be the case, but on the whole it's a network I associate more with Family Guy than Fringe.

Speaking of, Seth McFarlain (guy that created Family Guy) stuck his neck out pretty far to make sure this show got made and aired. Seth, I might think Family Guy is a steaming pile, but dude I gotta respect you for getting this show on the air. Thank You.

It isn't perfect and the commercials constantly broke immersion for me, but they did well enough that I want to see more. Fortunately it will be showing on a weekly basis on Fox every Sunday at 9 Eastern, and again on Mondays at National Geographic plus Hulu and there's already an upload of the first episode on youtube (that I'm hoping gets left up, but if they took it down to make room for it on Google Play I wouldn't be overly surprised.) I want this show to do well because I want a new generation to be inspired to look up down and all around while asking questions about everything around them.