Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Voice chat destroyed my inner child.

So Many of you will know I've been an avid fan of the half life games for about 9 years. The strong point for these games is that they let users change the universe almost however they want and release the new game online for free (to anybody who alreayd owns the origonal).

One of my current favorites of these is called "Eternal Silence". In it you play a marine on a large ship in the middle of a feild of astroiods. Each team has its own capitol ship, 3 support ships and an unlimited number of smaller fighters, bombers, and interceptors (the last three being controlled by other players). The result is an epic space battle in which you launch wave after wave of fighters (one of which is controlled by yourself) at the enemy ship, weakening its defences untill you can land a carrier inside loaded with marines and tear apart the internal systems.

So what does this have to do with voice chat and my inner child? The latter half first. Ever since seing starwars there has always been a romantic notion of the grandure of fighting in a large space battle. ES does a good job of fulfilling this desire. Then the voice chat comes in...

*** The clak, clak, clak of military boots sounded rhythmically as the five marines ran from there deep sleep chambers to the hanger.
"If we make a good first run we can take out there corvetes while our shields are up." the leader yells.
The first two two to reach the hanger jumped into the sleek looking bomber, one in the center of the ship, focusing on the main thrusters and the large payload bombs, the other in the crane like turret has the job of shooting enemy fighters and missiles out of the air with the twin vulcan cannons. Two more jump into boxy looking fighters loaded down with cluster missiles till they look like some sort of bizar antenna array. The last marine swung himself into the cockpit of an interceptor, low on fire power and looking a remarkably lot like a stainless steel gillet razor if not for the 6 foot arc of plasma out the back. The interceptor is so fast that fighting it is alot like trying to kill a fly with a 22. rifle. For most pilots of the interceptor, lacking force powers, flying it is just as challenging. We would shortly find out that this pilot didn't just the have reflexes of a 14 year old (without all that uncourdinated walking into walls business that comes with the rapid growth of that time.) but also the bedtime of one. For the time being however, he may have been the only one in a parsec that could handle the ship.

As one, all four fighters thrust out of the ship, twirling hullwards as the artificail gravity gave one last tug on there aft sections. They began to accelerate, space appeared tranquil, they were on the wrong side of the mothership. The behemoth mass rolled past them and beams of searing heat appeared in a cone pattern from an area miles away. The cannons on their own ship glowed in anticipation of their own next volley.

"lets sneak in on the glow from the cannons" the leader shouted over the voicecom. the exuberant pilot of the interceptor was already shooting ahead in a blur of blue when the first lance of light shot outwards. Their own ships cannons were powerful but this early on in the battle the enemies shields were still holding. The rays of orange light faded and then abruptly disappeared in the distance as they intersected blue ion shells. Still, the light show was sufficiently bright to hide the incoming ships and with nothing else to worry about the pilots had an easy time bobbing away from the beams as they arced across the sky.

Suddenly a voice squeaks "Incoming!!" over the radio. The interceptor had spotted three enemy fighters trying to hide in the same firelines.

The two missile fighters which had been hugging the bomber peeled off, lurching at incredibly speeds behind a cloud of asteroids that felt almost as if it were there just for this purpose.
seeing an unprotected bomber, the enemy fighters thoughtlessly unloaded all of their own missles. a round dozen set of particle propelled explosives zipped towards the bomber, who's own gunner immediately began picking the projectiles out of the air with a nearly solid stream of magnetically accelerated metallic flechette.

before the bays on the fighters could be loaded with another volley of missles the two friendlys from the astriods swept out of their cover and peeled in besides them. at nearly point blank range the enemy fighters had no chance to destroy the oncoming projectiles or even dodge. they disappeared in a series of short flashes.

Unfortunatly for the bomber ship these fighters demise did not mean the end of there missile atack. The pilot had rolled out left and shot past the missles, burners at high, a single missile exploding off the left side of the ship leaving a black scar accross it. but the missles were manueverable and flipped almost instantly to follow it, the gunner picked off one, then two more but it was obvious that at least some of the remaining missiles would impact, probably with deadly results.
Just when it looked like the groups bombing run would be left hopelessly bombless the interceptor zipped in. green lasers, generally too weak to take out a ship, flashed out, superheating the shells and vaporizing them in an instant.

This was starfighting at its best. coordination, deadly speed, combined with the beauty of billions of killowats of firepower unloading accross thousands of miles of space. Then the unbearable happened.

"hey guys," the interceptors pilot squawked, "my mom says i have to go to bed, c'yall".

Suddenly without any physical harm the interceptor vanished from the world.

"oh man, is it that time" the bombers pilot intoned in a decidedly more marine like voice. "i better get my kids off to bed too." suddenly the bomber dissapeared also, accompanied by the shrieks of his copilot who had been sent back to await respawn when his ship had dissapeared from around him.

The two fighters drifted on forward, but the charge was lost. I was consumed by one thought as a second wave of enemy fighters, enabled by the intelligence of the first group and now outnumbering us left my digital vehicle a pile of high speed scrap in out space. Irony, we were killed by real life.

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