Northeast Atlanta Gaming

May 29, 2016

Luna: New Moon, thoughts on earth to moon access.

Filed under: Uncategorized — foodnearsnellville @ 7:08 pm

This is a continuation of discussions begun here.

The fastest a probe has gone from Earth to Moon is a little less than nine hours, and when that probe passed the moon, it was traveling 36,000 miles an hour (circa 16,092 meters per second). That’s a pretty incredible delta V, considering, for example, that the muzzle velocity of a M14, hardly a slow poke of a weapon, is 850 meters per second. If military weapons can achieve those kinds of speeds, or perhaps more, with nuclear propulsion, then the delta V alone makes stone (or more likely, depleted uranium long rod penetrators) a potent weapon. Why depleted uranium? It’s cheap, a nuclear waste product, with a density approaching that of osmium.

The question we’re building to is: would our AWC (aggressive Western country) have a first strike lunar capability? In my mind, it could be done with missiles, but more intriguingly, it seems reasonable to ask if they have stealth space planes. In my mind, 100 years or more of development of this kind of vessel (starting dating from when Ronald Reagan proposed these ships) would not only realize this kind of craft but would also leave them modular in propulsion. The rocket-ramjet they lift with could be replaced with a nuclear motor (and water as fuel) once in orbit. My recollection is that nuclear motors have a higher specific impulse, and therefore, greater top end speed.

A lunar colony of the kind Luna:New Moon envisions has an excess of power. The D-He 3 fusion power plant has to be common, and many processes must rely on an abundance of power. Growth is limited by available biomass, and the element limiting growth most would be nitrogen. Oxygen, by contrast, is relatively common.

In the world of Luna, the Corta process is the nitrogen source, and yields other useful gasses (so again, if the Corta process is your nitrogen source, why are you bombing Corta processing plants? Are you really that much of a closed cycle vis a vis nitrogen?).

Food is a bottleneck, and growth of food is expensive in terms of energy, water, and light. But attacking food is a way to commit genocide in a lunar war, and really, something to be avoided.

Attacks should be specific. They should be directed at the lunar “instruments of war”. The lunar colony is just too vulnerable to handle indiscriminate attack. But to start answering the question originally proposed, our AWC could lift a squadron, say, of space vehicles over the span of a day, rearm them for interplanetary combat, and assuming a top speed in excess of 40,000 miles an hour, launch an attach in several hours. The first ships may carry no weapons at all, but rather, the optical equivalent of Britain’s Window.

Directed attacks: on Earth, cruise missiles work in part because those employing them have a terrain map of the Earth down to a very fine detail, and those maps are embedded in the targeting system of the weapons. Absolutely nothing prevents the use of the same kind of technology in a “smart weapon” attack on the moon.


May 28, 2016

Luna: New Moon, and how it could affect the future Western world.

Filed under: Books — foodnearsnellville @ 8:47 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Ok, I’m going to use this article to discuss Ian McDonald’s Luna: New Moon, and work through some notions the novel may never get to. Luna is a kind of “Game of Thrones” in space, with five powerful families duking it out over the Moon’s wealth. At the end of the novel – yes, there are spoilers here – tools that are de facto mass drivers are used to destroy existing Helium 3 processing plants. The whole Moon economy is thrown into disarray as family feuds escalate to an almost warlike state.

You know, sort of what Saddam Hussein did to Kuwait.

And my reaction, having grown up in a Western country, and seen what Western countries do to people who control, oh clove supplies, or canals, or the other canal, or oil (see here, here, and here), is to think someone on the moon is cruising for a bruising.

So the question at hand is, what would it take for the Earth to take over enough of the moon to eliminate the threat of Joe Psychopath from mass driving existing He 3 processing plants to death? Or for that matter, the Earth if they get in his way?

Assume a colony exists, is doing well, is much smaller than Earth physically, and much smaller in economic size than the Earth.

Part of the issue with a lunar colony that has mass driver technology is that the gravity well for Earth is much larger than that of the moon. As Robert Heinlein pointed out in “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”, enough mass drivers in place and they could easily deliver unacceptable damage just by tossing big rocks at the Earth.

So if the Earth were stupid, and had no defenses against mass driver assaults, it would just have to give up. But we are assuming aggressive Western countries here, with full blown spying resources, some space capabilities, energy sources (H, He 4, U, Pu, solar, etc) that are independent of He 3, and are pretty frickin’ mad.

That’s item one. Item 2 is I don’t see why the social media of today wouldn’t exist in much greater fashion in the time period of Luna, and that video of the attacks would be all over the place. Twitter, or its replacement, would be buzzing and the instigators would have the worst press in the whole world. They’ve killed plenty of people over a busted wedding, mind you.

Second, I suspect the Western world would have spy satellites situated close to the moon and would be watching everything. Amateur astronomers with tracking scopes could probably have filmed a good part of the action as well.

I don’t think the guilty parties could lie their way out of this.

So, I’m a AWG (aggressive western country) and so what do I do?

First I demonize my opponents. I would have them declared terrorists, and claim their monetary and physical assets within my reach, out to low Earth orbit. That alone may be enough to stop the madness, but as this is a hypothetical exercise, we’ll continue. A war, though it risks plenty lives, can serve as an economic boost, and wars tend to make those that declare them politically popular.

The moon would be blockaded. Nothing from Earth flows to the Moon. Anything from the Moon is confiscated. This includes routine data transmissions. You don’t want the Moon messing with financial instruments during a time like this.

The moon would be cyber attacked. If the moon has a million or two folks, the Earth, by this time, has in excess of 30 billion people. For every genius on the Moon, there are 30,000 geniuses on the Earth.

I take my time extending my reach. I secure low Earth orbit. I make sure I can deflect mass driver attacks.  I secure or destroy anything at L1. I want to control stable lunar orbital locations, and from a military perspective, those are the Lagrange points L1, L2, L4 and L5. I then take L4 and L5. I then clear out L2, and set up spy satellites there.

I then do not put troops on the moon, I circle the moon with semi autonomous drones, the space equivalent of Predators. For surface operations, the modern equivalent of a drone tank would be used. And then slowly, steadily, I destroy their mass drivers, or take them over.

Peace would be contingent on Earth control of every lifting system. Helium 3 would only go through AWG controlled mass drivers. Anyone attacking He 3 plants would be ruthlessly destroyed. What government the moon forms otherwise, is really not of the AWG’s concern.

That’s the plan, in outline. Comments and other notes certainly appreciated.




March 5, 2014

Byregot’s Blessing, the 13% rule, and other notes about crafting various things.

Filed under: Online — foodnearsnellville @ 12:03 am
Tags: , , , ,

As a way point on the path to 2 star goodness, I decided the best thing I could do for my crafting characters is acquire Byregot’s Blessing. This is a level 50 Carpenter skill, with the following properties. It gives 100% quality increases, plus 20% for each additional Inner Quiet stack. It has a 90% success rate. It will eat your Inner Quiet stack in the process, so it’s a one time  only use, and you’ll need enough CP  after it is all over to complete the progress phase of the crafted item.  Almost all the links mentioned in my previous two articles that  pertain to 1 and 2 star crafts have an end using Byregot’s Blessing. Outside of the crafts you like, this one skill is perhaps the most important, perhaps even more so than Steady Hands II.

The 13% Rule

This is a rule of thumb that works. Get progress to 13% ( 8 Inner quiet stacks on a all  NQ hippogriff leather  synthesis) and  then fire off this sequence of  steps.

Great Strides -> Ingenuity -> Byregot’s Blessing

Yes, you’ll be at 100%. Those three steps cost 80 points.  It’s best to make sure you have 4 Steady Hands (II) turns before this run, as then you’re guaranteed to 100% Byregots and then 100% the following Standard Synthesis. At 347 Craftsmanship, the progress phase will go in one step.

80+22(25)+15 = 118(120).

That’s how much you need to end.  In my practice, with hippogriff leather, it works much  better with +CP food.

I did some testing, both with stacks of different size, and for a stack of 6, I replaced Ingenuity with Innovation. I had heard that you could HQ with GS -> Inno -> BB and  go from 15% to 100%. That description didn’t make much sense to me, so I tested the efficacy of Innovation. I really wasn’t impressed.

IQ stacks and BB
IQ stacks Quality Pct Quality After, using Ingenuity After, using Innovation
5 6 % 570
6 7 % 760 24 % 23 %
7 10 % 970 83 %
8 13 % 1200 (est) 100 %


On a stack of 6, Innovation gave me about the same quality results as Ingenuity, but Ingenuity has a powerful effect on progress. With Ingenuity in place, I can finish with Standard Synthesis in 10 durability. Any end move with Innovation instead will cost 20 durability. Ingenuity is just more efficient at this point.

Ingenuity 1 versus Ingenuity 2.

Taken from the thread linked below, this quote by XLauncher is worth quoting:

For raising quality, Ingenuity I and II are identical. For raising progress, Ingenuity II is better than Ingenuity I, but you can raise your base craftsmanship to the point where Ingenuity I will allow you to fill progress 100% in two Standard Syntheses, same as Ingenuity II.

My char’s current stats.

Craftsmanship 347, Control 337, CP 337. With NQ Stone Soup I have about 351 354 CP to play with.

Useful Links.

This one describes a 100% HQ 2 star pathway in detail, and because it isn’t an online argument but an explanation, might be one of the best to begin with.

Another detailed HQing guide.

Good intro to Byregot’s Blessing, giving a variety of techniques. Watch out for folks that don’t understand Ingenuity.

Another thread discussing the merits  of Byregot’s Blessing .

What’s the difference between Ingenuity 1 and Ingenuity 2? Saw it first here.

What is better, +Control or +CP foods? A discussion is here. This article is also the source of the 13% rule of thumb.

February 23, 2014

Waste Not, Steady Hands II, and a new FFXIV link.

Filed under: Online — foodnearsnellville @ 1:50 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

A new link: Arliman’s Crafting Compendium.

100% HQ video on youtube, using the classic Hasty Touch/Tricks of Trade technique.

A Byregot’s Blessing based technique to HQ with NQ materials (youtube).

A Square Enix thread talking about Endgame techniques with Byregot’s Blessing (various techniques). Don’t be surprised if these give you stat shock.

Read the discussions here (how to make crafting materia fast, kill snurbles while wearing Patrician’s gear).

Spiritbonding theory is here.

A how-to style discussion of setting up HQ patrician’s gear for 2 star crafting is here.

Over the weekend I got my culinarian up to 40, and in linkshell discussions noted that some folks didn’t know how to use “Waste Not” to craft. It’s a simpler more forceful approach than the 100% HQ method, and can be turned into a macro. It’s not as good as the 100% HQ method in terms of reliably generating HQ product, but sometimes, 80% HQ is good enough.

The main loop is

Inner Quiet -> Steady Hands -> Waste Not -> Standard (Basic) Touch -> Standard (Basic) Touch -> Standard (Basic) Touch -> Standard (Basic) Touch

The steps above can be macro’d. Don’t macro the finish of the macro, as you may want one more round of touches. Waits between steps can be 2 seconds for the first three skills and 3 second waits after the touches.

If you can afford it, use Standard Touch. One variant is 4 Standard touches and ending with a single Advanced Touch. I made macros early on that did 2 Standard Touches, 4 and 5. They were plenty handy when making stacks of commodities quickly. It is about 3 to 4 times as fast as 100% HQ.

Ways to end: you can, use Basic Synthesis, which has a less than 100% success rate, or Careful Synthesis, which has a 100% success rate. With a little more CP, you can use Standard Synthesis, which for a 100% success rate, is best matched with Steady Hands. An ending that I’ve separately macro’d uses the Rumination Skill to start the ending process. Rumination recovers CP by cashing in Inner Quiet stacks.

Rumination -> Steady Hands -> Standard Synthesis

Once you get a weaver to 50, it’s either the above macro, or some manual variant, or the excellent Careful Synthesis II, which replaces any use of either Careful Synthesis or Basic Synthesis.

Waste Not II and Steady Hands II.

Waste Not costs 56 CP and reduces the cost of a touch by 50% for four turns. Waste Not II costs 98 CP and reduces the cost of a touch by 50% for eight turns. It’s really a 50 level technique but with it, you can make a subtle improvement on the Waste Not macro.

Inner Quiet -> Waste Not II -> Steady Hands (II) -> Standard (Basic) Touch -> Standard (Basic) Touch -> Standard (Basic) Touch -> Standard (Basic) Touch -> Standard Touch

By flipping the order of Waste Not II and Steady Hands from the traditional, you get Steady Hands coverage of five touches, and you still have a 2 steps left on Waste Not II for synthesis steps. At lvl 50, this has become my “go to” macro for making HQ Dew Thread from NQ diremite web. or making HQ toad leather from NQ toad skin and alumen. Variants of this one are useful up through wool and raptor (albeit with NQ raptor and HQ black alumen).

Steady Hands II (25 CP) is an improvement over Steady Hands (22 CP). It lasts the same number of turns, but improves success by 30% instead of 20%. Particularly with the 100% HQ technique, it reduces the failure rate of Hasty Touch from 30% to 20% (almost one third to about one fifth). The 3 CP cost that you pay is well worth the improvement in technique reliability.

The only place Steady Hands II would not pay off is the Rumination based ending macro. That would be 3 CP wasted.

February 17, 2014

FFXIV: Gathering and Crafting notes for the new level 50 crafter/gatherer.

Filed under: Games,Online — foodnearsnellville @ 8:48 am
Tags: , , ,

I have a miner, botanist, weaver, leatherworker, and goldsmith to 50. Because my free company are largely dungeon hounds, I’m beginning to set up a linkshell for crafters. If you’re on Brynhildr and like to craft or gather, give Jaime Catnip a tell.


Some notes, so I don’t have to look them up so often:

Gathering locations for botanist:

Gathering locations for a miner:

A rare nodes spreadsheet is here.

An excellent crafting guide:

Gathering and crafting gear discussions:

Please read this one to the end. Cheaper alternatives appear at the end of the thread.

And look at this guy carefully:

Notes in general. Once you get to 50, you don’t have to try and buy your way to ultimate gear all at once. It’s too expensive and the difference between perception +4 materia and perception +5 can bankrupt you.

Get just what you need in terms of stats. Focus on accessories first. A great set of level 38 HQ gathering/crafting gear (plus level 43 HQ gloves) plus good level 50 accessories will get you to 1 star recipes. You can take your time, convert your old gear to materia (making big bucks off the level 3 materia you generate, and recycling some of that back into your gear). I did this more on my botanist build than miner — my miner came first and I was stupid then — and I have good enough gear that didn’t cost hundreds of thousands of gil.

Watch prices. Watch required stats. Make use of level 2 materia for builds when it just costs you a few vanity points.


Patrician’s gear analysis. *Must* be read by anyone trying to minimize materia costs.

Ingenuity 2 technique. Requires 50 carpenter and 50 blackmith skills (37 cul recommended):

All cross class crafter abilities (read this discussion carefully, please, as multiple crafting approaches discussed):

November 10, 2013

Final Fantasy XIV: Delights, frustrations, finding that good free company.

Filed under: Online — foodnearsnellville @ 10:26 am
Tags: , , , , ,

A lot of things are going on in my life, quiet or otherwise. I’m between jobs, and in the downtime, decided to take on a massively multiplayer online game.

~~ prelude ~~

My last was Final Fantasy 11. I was playing a white mage and a bard in that one. I  eventually wore out of that game, because the grind through the final 10 levels was too much for me. Pickup parties I could find, in general, didn’t have the skill sets to really function well, and the team experience wasn’t good enough to be satisfying.

In Dark Age Of Camelot (aka DAOC), my earlier MMO, I was playing a warden, a healing class that wore armor and could fight a little ( a very little, mind you). I found a good guild, and in time, became friends enough with players in the dominant guild of the server, one called Blackthorn, to help in the final days of leveling. That, and RL friends who were also playing the game. Having the right support in crucial in a team game.

I was looking for something akin to a warden in a new game..

~~ end prelude ~~

So, enter Final Fantasy XIV A Realm Reborn. It’s a pretty game with intriguing content. In many respects, it’s clearly evolved from the older MMOs. Hours are not spent finding parties. There is a Duty Finder that can put together parties for you. The game has other mechanisms to get around the leveling grind that other MMOs face. There are these spontaneous FATES that erupt, little events that if you get into, offer relatively large rewards for participation. It’s not as “grindy” as older MMOs. The class system is free form. Want to play a new class? Get your first class to 10 and you can play just about any class you wish.

Want some skills from your minor class in your major class? By the time you reach level 5, you can begin to add a skill, every five levels, to your major class. There is a good heal, for warrior types, that you get at Pugilist level 8. It’s worth it to spend some time with Pugilist if you’re leveling, say, a tank. It gives you a reserve heal in the middle of a fight.

Since I no longer use Windows on my home PC, another advantage of FF XIV is that I can play it on my PS3. But playing on a PS3 controller, not a keyboard, makes communications much harder. People do not talk much in this game as a result. They seem to talk only when things go horribly wrong. Very little effort is taken to make sure things go right from the start.

I’m to a level now where this creates consequences. By the time you reach the first dungeons, levels 15 through 1 9, tanks in particular have to know what they are doing. Well, not the first dungeon, perhaps, because I’ve been playing this game a week, played the first dungeon successfully as a tank, and I don’t really have all the mechanics of playing a tank down. I think I can hold aggro, but best practices? What are those? If you read about even the second dungeon (min level 16), you have tactics like these being employed(*). That doesn’t even begin to  get to the tactics suggested for dungeon #3.

What does this do for the person whose first MMO is Final Fantasy XIV: ARR and they’re playing a character for the first time? My daughter is growing curious about MMOs. I let her make a character on my account. She chose a  marauder, a tanking class, because handling one big axe makes the decision making processes simpler for her.

It’s not hard to level in Final Fantasy XIV: Fates, the Main line quest, and other quests all about make it pretty easy to level just by fetching goods, killing a few mobs, and answering questions. Skill isn’t required to level. Finding parties has been made much simpler with FF XIV’s Duty Finder. Want a pick up party? Just log into the Duty Finder and you’ll get one.

They have miniature party scenarios available through the Duty Finder as early as level 10, and I’ve played though those dozens of times, mostly with my healer, my conjurer.

But to play the dungeons, a lot of skill is required at the very earliest levels.

Because so many people are on PS3 controllers, not a lot of talking happens in the game. Since the phrase guild is reserved for the various classes in the game, they call them free companies, or FCs.

One of the earliest issues are the blind invites to free companies. After ignoring a few of them, I accepted one. What did I get? No website, no hello, no FC chat, no discussion at all. The FC existed for the purpose of filling someone’s ego who then didn’t do what a FC should do: give people a context within which to play the game. Needless to say, I left that guild after a few days.

I have questions about my play. I’d like to talk about these issues first before blindly rushing forward with leveling in a game where the skill to play the role defines success or failure. A free company should play a major factor in this, and by that standard, I had good free companies the first two MMOs I played.

I have yet to see a free company friendly enough to beginners and literate enough to function, really, as a company to play that role.

You can’t just have a website. Someone, preferably more than one someone, has to actually use the site. And it doesn’t even have to be forum or bulletin board based. A FC blog might be a more sensible arrangement. But there has to be a mechanism that allows folks in the FC, at whatever level they may be, to actually talk to their peers, and more so, the more experienced players and get their input and feedback.

So there are plenty of good things in this new game. But I’m at the point where I’d like some one who has done these things before to discuss the mechanics of play, and that need has yet to be addressed.

Oh yes, and if you’re low level, and try to post a new thread on the Square Enix forums, you get this:

Square Enix, your  forums suck.

Square Enix, your forums suck.

* Perhaps it doesn’t seem to anyone that there are tactics in Tam-Tara Deepcroft. But having died about five times to the Priest in Tam-Tara Deepcroft in the penultimate fight, because people didn’t pick up that he was killing the party’s healer (me), is a big functional issue for a party.

February 13, 2011

Seen at Barnes and Noble

Filed under: Board,Games,Shops — foodnearsnellville @ 3:20 pm

There seem to be harder core games appearing at the local Barnes and Nobles these days. Pictures of the game selections are below:

The selections are oriented towards Eurogames, but still, it’s a more wargames friendly set of games collections than just, say, Scrabble and chess.

October 11, 2010

Merkavas and More

I’ve been  thinking along the lines of a set of Israeli armor that could span most of the period that Israel has been fighting and for now this is it. It includes tanks misrepresented in the AIW stock set and tanks whose combat ratings should be changed, based on a modern understanding of their armor and firepower. The Merkava is the tank in most need of change, as it was seriously underrated by Avalon Hill.

Also included are 90mm M48s and 20 pounder Centurions, as these played a major role in the Six Day War. Very few of the weapons  had been converted by then. It was in 1973 that essentially all M48s had 105mm guns and the Centurions had been converted to the Sho’t. The weapons presented date from prior to 1956, but do not really include the tanks of 1948. So, yes, incomplete, but spanning more tanks and types than any post before, are the tanks of Israel.


September 29, 2010

“The Iron Cavalry” by Ralph Zumbro

Filed under: Armor,Books — foodnearsnellville @ 12:46 pm
Tags: , , ,

I like this book. At times, scenes are imagined but there is a wealth of detail and a refreshing, sassy tone to the book that makes it accessible to those of us in the modern age. In terms of history, it gets better as it goes along; the more modern the era the more compelling the narrative is.

Definitely worth looking for in the used section of the local bookstore, or perhaps Amazon.

August 30, 2010

“Chariots of the Desert”, by David Eshel

I’ve read a number of books about the various parts of this conflict, and I’m looking hard for a first person account of the Six Day War I read as a teen (all I can recall are bits and pieces, though). This book came recommended somewhere. It could be Tanknet, it could just be on the dozens of forums I’ve read looking for tank stats. This book though has to be  the best narrative that focuses on the development of the Israeli Tank Corps. It is particularly useful to the historian or wargamer in its wealth of detail. It lists all the  tanks used by the Israelis and then discusses the tanks they faced. A good appendix covers the T-62, for example.

As far as I know, the book is not in print, but is relatively easy to find as a used copy in the usual places, such as

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