Fanfest 2011 – Day 5

It’s not often I come across anyone that genuinely makes me take a step back to evaluate my chances at surviving a personal and direct encounter them. Then I met Petur.

Standing at nearly seven feet tall, and roughly four feet broad at the shoulders, he was a behemoth of a man, leaving me feeling like a small child by comparison.

As I reached out my hand to shake his, I was ready to fight dirty should things go wrong quickly. I don’t know if the close-cropped mohawk he sported, or the nicely braided and jewelled beard, or the intensity of his piercing blue eyes, but he was an intimidating figure.

As he clasped my hand, nearly crushing it in his, I was ready; then he smiled a warm, gentle smile and told me he was a huge fan of mine, and was truly happy to meet me.

Petur was a gentle giant, and was the true highlight of my day.

I didn’t place in the CSM elections, not even as an alternate, and that was ok; given the composition of that year’s council, I think fate had spared me a horrific experience. It made me snicker and laugh at Seleene.

Being the final night of the convention, there was a massive party with over 4200 people crammed into a space that could accommodate 2500 if they were lucky. To say it was overcrowded was an understatement, but it wasn’t really a bad thing. As was customary, most capsuleers preferred the isolation and warmth of their pods, tending to shy away from real interaction with the fairer gender. This left a ratio of about 5 hot Gallente women for each 1 Capsuleer who did attend.

My neck wasn’t the only sore by the end of that night.

The next day, I would be heading out via commercial flight back to Dal.

Fanfest 2011 – Day 4

It was becoming increasingly difficult to recall the details of that particular trip; I suspected the amount of alcohol I was consuming was the primary contributing factor.

Day 4?

I remember several young, scantily clad Gallente women serenading me while I sat in a hot tub. It’s a good memory.

I remember that I somehow made it back to the quarters I was staying at.

I honestly don’t remember much else.

Fanfest 2011 – Day 3

I could’ve been completely blind and still known I had arrived at the capsuleer center by the smell alone. Had capsuleers spent so much time in their pods that they had forgotten the basics of personal hygiene and how that affects the olefactory when gathered en masse? No wonder regular mortals had such mixed opinions of us. At the moment, I certainly did as well.

I was surprised how many other capsuleers had heard of me, and as I made my way around the conference, I had the wonderful opportunity of meeting a great many people, and a plethora of beautiful female fans. Ladies, I appreciate your enthusiam but there’s only so much Roc to go around at once. 

Maybe I need to make a trading card of myself or something, I thought to myself, as another incredibly well endowed beauty threw her arms around me. I love women. All of them. Period.

It was really an ordinary day for me, except for one small incident that occured in the evening:

I was famished by the end of the conference, and as I walked along a cold, winter street within the station, I noticed a rental vehicle with the CVA Alliance logo plastered to it. I wondered if they had simply used an adhesive for the print, or if it was magnetized to the door. Turned out it was magnetized directly to the door, so I removed it and took it with me, later leaving it in an obscure place at the convention center with an Ushra’Khan logo over it.

Then I attached a small note: Dear CVA, I stole your shit. If you want it back, look up.

They never did find it.

Anyway, after that it was off to the thermal pools for some relaxation time, then some beer with my  Brutors at a local pub.

Fly safe.

Fanfest 2011 – Day 2

5 AM local time

Another round of pushups. I could feel my muscles cramping. What the hell was wrong with me?

7 AM local time

Enjoyed eight plates of breakfast. There’s just something to be said about a buffet, whether it’s good or bad, it’s limitless food.

9 AM local time

The snowball hit me in the back of the head. The Gallente station had gone with a winter climate for this gathering of capsuleers; an odd choice I thought.

I could feel the snow running down the collar of my jacket, melting against the heat of my back. My face contorted as I spun to face my assailants; a group of playing children. I was barraged with another volley of snowballs, but managed to dodge most of them, gathering up the snow around me. It was perfect for packing. I ran my bare hands around and around, hardening the snow into ice; if they wanted to gank me, they were going to pay.

Fifteen minutes later it was me in full retreat. Children just don’t know when to give up, let it go and go home. Within that context, Goonswarm suddenly made a little more sense.

I walked along the station promenade, casually shopping for anything that caught my attention. There was a festive shop with two attractive employees; my attention was caught. I walked inside. By the time I had left, not only had I learned about the local winter festival tradition involving a mountain witch that would come and snatch you as a child if you were bad all year (and cook you in her stew), but I learned about the thirteen yulelads, a group of mischieveous yet good hearted elves – candle beggar, door sniffer, shoe stealer and other equally fun filled names. I even purchased a candle beggar tree ornament by the time I was done.

My NeoCom buzzed. “You’re go with Roc.” I said. It was something I heard recently on a local talkshow, and I found it hysterical, so had started answering my NeoCom that way. So far, I don’t think anyone had any idea what the hell I was talking about, which made it even more entertaining to me.

“What? Why would I know that? Fine. Yeah, there’s one nearby, hold onto your ass a sec.” My crew chief had called. He wanted to know if the rumours of high fuel prices in this region was true, and I hadn’t been bothered to look. I did so then, and man, those were the highest fuel prices I had ever seen. I conveyed my sentiment to my crew chief. He whistled through the NeoCom. “Yeah, it would cost a pretty isk to refuel here. Makes me happy I’m not a civilian. Ok, well technically I am, but you’re missing my point. No, I get that, I’m just saying. Ok, you know what? I’m hanging up now. You take care and I’ll …” He had hung up on me. Jackass.

I spent most of the day taking in the history and culture of the region through various station tours, as well as doing a lot of research gathering of things that would probably remain best left unsaid.

My evening was meant to be a relaxing visit to a thermal pool, accompanied by the most beautiful woman I had ever laid eyes on, even though it’s important that every woman you’re with believes that. I did manage to spend some time with her, and it was well worth it, but ultimately duty called.

There were several pilots getting together at a local pub, and they had invited me along. Who was I to say no to a night of free beer and cigars?

My pool date agreed to go back to my hotel room and wait for me there, and I headed for the pub. It was the best decision I had made all day. It was as if I had been transported to the land of free flowing blondes and thigh high boots.

Seriously ask any pod pilot there about Rachel. Garters, thigh high boots, tall … I saw more than one pilot crash and burn attempting to engage her in conversation. I chuckled from where I stood at their failed attempts, and continued to engage in several conversations I was enjoying on the back porch, all the while enjoying a good cigar or two.

3 AM local time

Eventually, the night came to an end and I staggered back to my room. I had forgotten I had a lovely there waiting for me. She was passed out in the bed. I stank of booze and smoke, so like any well-mannered Brutor, I splashed some water on my face, rinsed my mouth, then climbed in naked beside her. Being the romantic I am, I gently caressed her arm, and as she responded, gently waking up and reciprocating, I had to forcefully restrain myself from puking.

I quickly made my to the bathroom, focused on some deep breathing, drank a few glasses of water. Once I had calmed down and was sure that what was down was staying down, I headed back to the bed.

She had fallen asleep.

I gently caressed her arm, hoping to pick up where things had left off. She woke up a little, and spoke to me lovingly,

“Don’t even think about it.”

I rolled over on my back. You’re getting old, Roc, I thought to myself. Can’t even your beer. My thoughts were interrupted by the rush of chunks to the back of my throat, and I ran for the bathroom again.

It was going to be a fantastic night.

Iceland Press

Was looking at my blog stats earlier today and noticed quite a few hits from an Icelandic website. After a little digging, and a little googling, it turns out to be a news review of Fanfest, and I’m mentioned in it. Very flattering.

I also managed to become very ill upon returning to Canada, one of my computer drive arrays failed (with no backup, d’oh!) and I lost my keys… but most of the drama has passed hopefully.

Look forward to me getting back in character soon.

ICELAND PRESSAN

Iceland 2009 – Final Entry

Dust … beyond awesome! CCP … so much coolness. So … much … beer. Too … many … djs. Roxor!

2 cents per kilowatt for energy … need energy.

Miss … wife … love you. So … tired … hungover… iClone bought me drinks … incredible nice people … even Goons. Players … rock!

Black Lavender = Michael Williams … training to be UFC fighter. Kudos!

Ozzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!!!

Mmmm … Shae …

Autographs … mind-blowing … charity … fun. Tall … sexy … Caldari.

Soon … blue lagoon … hahaha … rhyming.

Fanfest 2009 … the best time I won’t remember!

Fly safe.

Iceland 2009 – Entry #8b

Hmmm, only a few moments before I have to go eat breakfast then over for the movie matinee… ohhh, good place to start!

INCARNA

No fancy walking in stations video this year. Instead, they opted to show a really nice cinematic of a pilot exiting his pod in a station, and his inner thoughts about the entire process.

It really reinforced the elitism that capsuleers feel, and how much better than the rest of the society they are convinced they are. No matter how arrogant any of us think we are ingame, we’re nowhere near the mark set by this CCP video.

ROCK BAND

Well, Sam and the Rockettes (see what he did there?) made their debut at Fanfest. We had good fun (aside from really annoying group of Goons in the back, GOD they are asshats when they get together as a herd, except Black Lavender, everyone loves Black Lavender) and placed 4th in the competition.

Somehow my sweater came off for the second song, and I was left standing in a muscle shirt, the deafening roar of the ladies present very distracting. Hmmm, looking back, it may have been laughter, but either way, *shrug.

WHATS NEXT FROM CCP?

Planetary Interaction. Saw some nice screenshots of this. Think orbital bombardment with planetary grid control of the surface. After that comes Incarna, then Dust 514, which I am totally excited about seeing more on today.

Also, CCP is currently around the 400 employee mark, and is actively looking to fill another 88 roles. So if you have any interest at all, check their website for details.

Overall, EVE Online is going to have an incredibly strong year.

RANDOM ROC

  • I got interviewed by Iceland Channel 2 News
  • Met Wollami from DOTLan
  • Met Serenity Steele (who is not the hot chick I thought she was!)
  • Met the iClone developer, then proceeded to ask him if he knew we were going to crush his application. He took it all in good fun (ha ha?)
  • Met a guy that has actually been using the EVE API and Cache Data to form an educational hypothesis and simulation generator for the spread of disease and virus outbreaks within New Eden using jumpgate travel data, population densities, etc, etc. It is the single most fascinating use of the API I’ve ever heard of. Very cool stuff my friend.
  • Went to that giant burger restaurant again with Chris and Tennille.
  • Found out the Sisters of EVE tour rocks. I can’t wait to bring my wife next year for this.
  • Shoved my way past a fat Amarr.
  • Oh, and this one is interesting… in fact…

NEW NPC AI ENVIRONMENT PITCH

So I got talking to one of the CCPers I am getting to know fairly well about an actual gaming mechanic I’ve been working on for about eight years. I won’t go into details here simply because he was REALLY interested, and said it was actually inline with something they were trying to accomplish and sounded like a viable solution to that issue.

How cool would that be if one of my ideas made into the game itself? Anyway, just wanted to say that if you see the factions starting to behave in a new and self-aware, goal driven way in the future, you read it here first.

Iceland 2009 – Entry #8

“Capsuleer fucking rocks.” – CCP Oveur, Opening Ceremonies

Those three words, used together and independently, pretty much sum up Day 2 of Fanfest. Seriously.

My recollection of it all when trying to organize this post is failing. It’s all hitting me at once. There was just too much cool stuff.

So let’s start down this random journey as best we can.

COSMOS = NEW EDEN

COSMOS was apparently the codename for the project, which is now officially known as “New Eden”, as New Eden is the place where all players converge, ingame and out; we are making them a part of our universe.

Personally, and even though I now know some CCPers read my blog, I found both many positives in their strategy, as well as a few negatives, and you all know me, I won’t hold back.

THE GOOD

The overall framework and initiative on CCP’s part is brilliant, cutting edge, and really will infuse a lot of positives into the EVE Online universe. From a mobile strategy, to hosting corporate and alliance blogs, forums, killboards and more on their own secured, controlled servers, there will be a plethora of sanctioned tools to help every player leverage the EVE Online experience to the max.

Well done.

THE BAD

As I said, it is an initiative and a framework. To me, and again this is just my opinion, it almost seemed as though while CCP knew the direction they want to head with the game and the business development, their not entirely sure how to get there.

This could be under the good, as their not just pre-emptively saying “This is what we’re going to do.” and then head down a path of inexperience and bad decision making.

The reason I put it under the bad is simply because with all the hype surrounding COSMOS, I honestly thought it would be a bit more fleshed out, ready for the world to see. It’s not.

PLANETS

My jaw hung open for a good five minutes after see night side city lights on planets, as well as moving storm systems, then seeing gas giants with bands that also contained storm systems and movements within them.

Add to that atmospheres, multiple layers of shaders, two mixed normal maps, colour tints, cloud control, impact hits from the big ships, craters, ocean depths, sunlight reacting shadows on all of it, procedurally generated algorithms to create unique textures for each of the 50,000 planets in EVE, as well as the 240,000 moons PLUS the unique textures for each of the prime faction planets… phew, that was one long sentence.

Utterly breath-taking.

CALDARI MODELS

Two male and two female Caldari were dressed in fully authentic Caldari uniform. They were very militant, and far better looking than any Caldari I’ve ever met, but were actually fun to see.

I want to comment here.

One of the Caldari women was easily 6’3″ (and reminded me of Mynxee oddly), BEFORE putting on heels or having high hair. She was simply an amazonian goddess in the most flattering sense of the phrase… they got Roc autographs of course.

EVE API

I found this to be a most interesting round table discussion, both from the CCP developer side as well as the third-party app developers side. Really it was a flurry of note-taking on CCP’s part, as every developer present had plenty to contribute, and CCP calmly and professionally took it all in, and renewed their commitment to giving the API more love, stability, and power to meet the needs of app developers. Good times.

Bah, my laptop battery says 10%. I gotta go.

One more item of interest before I go.

Oveur likes horses. Sexually.

That is all.

Iceland 2009 – Entry #7

9:30 AM – FANFEST – DAY 1

It’s actually a beautiful day today in Iceland. The sun isn’t shining, but it isn’t particularly cold. The wind shifted, however, and the smell of sulfur is brutally strong. I almost want to gag.

Met a few fans of the Capsuleer app while standing in line with Chris (it ended up being a trend throughout the rest of the day, which is flattering), shared a derogatory laugh at the expense of some poor Player Volunteer (“So that would be a no then”), and got a few stares as I was decked out in full Tribal Liberation Force Combat Pilot gear, right down to real, burn polished combat boots.

Upon entering Jita IV – Moon 4 – Caldari Navy Assembly Plant, I quickly experienced what it’s like firsthand to be a Minmatar, that is to say, I was completely blind. The Fanfest locale was dimly lit for that dark, scifi, Eve type of feel, which was fantastic, but how the hell does a Brutor see in that light?

On the one hand, I didn’t want to break character, as Roc never takes his shades off. On the other hand, I nearly walked into three people within minutes of being there. Practicality versus immersion was a battle I fought all day long, particularly thanks to Shae, whom reminded me of my character at the most inopportune times, usually right when we were entering the darkest areas of the station.

I met Chris from Battleclinic, whom I recently did some 3D animation work for, and the end result turned out fantastically, and will be hitting their website next weekend.

It’s basically a tutorial video series on Amarr frigates. There is a small “picture in picture” display featuring an Amarr female narrating the various video pieces. I did the animation and voice synchronization for that.

Yeah, I know, I know, had I known it was for the Amarr originally, I would’ve told him where to stick it also… but, I did manage to get him to agree to a pretty nice deal.

The next series will be for Minmatar frigates, and the narrator will be none other than Matar Colonel Roc Wieler. I get to do the voiceover work and the animation. In return, my name will be printed under the caption, and be featured on Battleclinic, which receives about 2.5 million hits per month. Pretty cool if you ask me.

Shortly thereafter, one of the CCP devs I met the other day grabbed my attention, took an autographed picture, and introduced me to more of the CCP team. I just want to note how incredibly head trippy it was today as pretty much every CCPer I met today was happy to meet me, partly because of Capsuleer, partly because of my blog, a few even knew my music, but all were ecstatic about the autographed picture. The word “epic” was thrown around a few times.

Speaking of autographs, Shae got a very “special” message on her picture. I’m sure she’ll share it with you all when she’s ready.

I attended some fantastic fiction writing and content sessions today, as well as other informative sessions on Factional Warfare, ship design, and more.

The day finished off with a bit of a surprise.

OmberZombie had arranged a “Celebrity Deathmatch” between him and I in the PVP Tournament area… lovely.

Fortunately by that time in the day, the tournament had just finished, and the crowd had thinned.

We were given All Level 5 Skill characters, and T1 frigates with T1 equipment to fit them with.

The fight went on, and on, and on, and on, in my favour. Sadly, I just couldn’t kill him. How does anyone actually fly T1 fits? It was nearly ridiculous.

The judges had to call it, using the crowd opinion to declare a winner, and I’m happy to say that yours truly, Roc Wieler, am still the undefeated celebrity blogging, T1 fit flying champion?

Meh. It was all in good fun.

Chris and I did some walking around downtown, then headed over to Sweet Chili for dinner (that place with the giant burgers).

The meal was still good, but something smelled in the restaurant. I couldn’t figure out what the stench was until I finally noticed a large group of Goonswarm TShirts.

That explained everything.

Chris and I finished up our meals, then headed out, making sure to yell loudly before we went “Goons suck!” How could we resist?

I ran into some bank card trouble too… like I needed that. Knowing my bank, and their overzealous security program, my card was probably locked the first time I used in Iceland for possible fraud. I mean really, who would go to Iceland, right?

So now I’m going to finish my blog, open roaming charges on my phone, and spend about $30 – $40 on hold, waiting for my bank, simply to tell them they’re idiots, and to stop doing this to me every time I travel. It’s just embarassing after a while.

Did I mention the two Amarr in robes that tried to trash talk me today? It wasn’t their cheap robes that let me know they were Amarr; it was the fact they were both obese and carried themselves with a sense of entitlement. The only threat they presented was to the food supply, so better luck next time fellas.

Anyway, got to go deal with this. Tomorrow promises to be even more interesting.

Roc out.