Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Rad Astra status and players companion blog

YES, work continues on Rad Astra. The pace is a bit slower than I'd like (the kid is now 9 months old!) but we're still plugging along. :) I'd considered a Kickstarter at one point (or a donation button), but I think I'd rather do something more on my own--though that will take longer to produce.

My two big tasks right now are polishing some rules on magic (which I'd prefer to playtest before releasing) and finding some illustrators. I've been curating an image file for inspiration and to use in pitching to artists. Playtesting will need to be done outside my regular group as they meet rather infrequently and I need to get this ship moving if there's any hope of getting the setting done by the end of the year!

In the meantime, you may recall that a while back I set up a separate players' companion blog for Rad Astra. I'm less concerned with players cheating and checking out the real blog as much as I am just overloading them on info. Regular readers will see pretty much what they've seen here, but in some cases pared down. Exonauts will still be the go-to for those looking to run a game in the setting including adventure hooks and stats for monsters, etc.

Currently the PC version covers classes and the premise for the setting, plus a few other tidbits. But I'm thinking it (eventually) will have:
  • A storefront/where to go to get stuff (equipment, weapons, etc.)
  • Things they can do (e.g. gambling/carousing at space casinos and dives) 
  • Tips about certain interesting areas of the galaxy to explore
  • Want ads (basically a job board of missions)
So there you have it, many irons in a slow, but still burning fire!

Monday, April 21, 2014

BIG news for space opera: Star Wars Rebels, Farscape, The Expanse, and more!

Looks like there's a ton of great news after Wonder Con (in Anaheim, CA) this weekend. Disney/Lucasfilm released some amazing concept art that hearkens back to the ol' Ralph McQuarrie aesthetic from the original movies. This followed a quick glimpse at a scene from the show:

Man, it's great to hear some classic John Williams Star Wars again! Here's a selection of the concept art:


Farscape isn't so far away

Meanwhile in another corner of the galaxy (the Wonder Con convention hall), Farscape creator/producer Rockne O'Bannon confirmed an earlier report that a Farscape film will be happening. So now we've heard it from the man himself!

SyFy wakes "Leviathan" for new series

In other news, the SyFy channel has picked up the rights to develop the space opera series of novels set in "the Expanse" by James S.A. Corey (the pen name for collaborating writers Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck). They're calling their approach to the series"A Game of Thrones" in space. The source material is already pretty well developed and includes "Leviathan Wakes," "Caliban's War," and "Abaddon's Gate," with a fourth title due in June, "Cibola Burn". Time to get to the bookstore folks!

"Ascension" series announced at SyFy

This is welcome news, as there seems to signs of a shift from inside SyFy to return to developing more space opera-focused stories for television. They'd previously announced back in March a new series called "Ascension" which also takes place in space. and they describe as:
Part Battlestar and part Downton Abbey, it follows the 100-year-long space shuttle of colonists fleeing an Earth threatened by the early Cold War.

Just to make sure your head goes full supernova, here's the latest behind-the-scenes clip for Guardians of the Galaxy:


Star Wars images via  io9.com and StarWars.com.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Trove of retro scifi illustrations!

Looking for some gonzo space art to inspire your players at your next game? Those crafty devils over at Dark Roasted Blend have posted a space cruiser-worth of incredible covers of 50s British pulp adventure stories! This is just a sample:

If you're Pintrested, I've posted them on the Exonauts Retro SciFi board for easy sharing.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

VIDEO: Story hints abound in latest Jupiter Ascending trailer

This follow-up to the first trailer aims to make up some ground in giving us some hints about plots and characters. Honestly, this should have been the first one. I think space opera is a genre that needs more story introduction than most. (I'd lump John Carter in there as well--the marketing for that film did it no favors.)

The new JA trailer is lush with incredible visuals--like a sleek version of Star Wars or a space-trippy version of Shadowrun. The Wachowskis are never ones ones to disappoint when it comes to eye candy. But I'm also looking forward to learning more about the story, including the (apparently) massive spacefaring civilization that exists around the planet Jupiter. And what's this "industry" that Earth is a part of? (Please, please don't let it be growing humans as batteries!!)

And was that Sean Bean? Space Ned Stark might be worth the price of admission alone!

I will say that I'm totally unimpressed with the posters though. I have zero photoshop skills and these look like they were rushed:

Here's hoping that the movie outshines its (up until now) awkward marketing sprint. Still, lots of well-rendered high-tech gadgets, fantastic art direction, and beautifully conceived space scenes are helping to give it some legs!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

First Ringed Asteroid Discovered!

NASA announced today an intrasolar oddity--a Centaur astroid called Charilko looks to be the first ever ringed asteroid system. The rings are likely made up of ice drummed up from another object impacting the asteroid, which sits between Saturn and Uranus.

From Wired:
At 155 miles across, or about the length of Massachusetts, Chariklo is the largest known asteroid in its neighborhood. Looking to get a better idea of its exact size and shape, astronomers trained their telescopes on the giant space rock as it passed in front on a distant star in June 2013. As Chariklo performed its eclipse, researchers noticed something odd: The star’s light flickered just a bit immediately before and after Chariklo’s pass.

The reason for this darkening was the asteroid’s two dense rings, which had briefly blocked the starlight. The thicker inner ring is about four miles wide, while the thinner outer ring is a little less than two miles. Spectroscopic analysis of the starlight also revealed that the rings are composed partially of water ice.
Pretty sweet discovery--and it doesn't sound like astronomers had expected it!

Click to enlarge:

Arist conception by artist Lucie Maquet

More coverage: