Continuing submitted by
He still came around making trouble, but oddly enough, our little cul-de-sac corner was more-or-less Batshit Crazy-free for the next 34 months.
After that, things sort of calmed down. Well, one of his older boys thought it would be fun to attack Khris, push her off her bike, and try and steal the Uzbek sapphire amulet I had gotten her years earlier.
Khris is not a small girl; she is a corn-fed daughter of the vast cow-pocked hills and rolling pastures of Baja Canada. She didn’t take lightly to some weasely little Arab probably future pole-smokers trying to steal from and assaulting her.
It took more than one punch, but Khris coldcocked the elder of the Guano Insano clan and laid him out so an undertaker could have taken easy measurements. Oh, he was still breathing, but I nevertheless think he was shammin’, playin’ possum until Daddy Dearest could come and rescue him from the rage of wrathful Wisconsinians.
Liam and I were sitting in the porch area of his villa, smoking cigars, drinking our sunrisers, watching the tableau unfold. We both thought Khris handled the situation well, particularly the outcome. The miscreant was out cold’n a foundered mackerel and Khris didn’t heel-stamp him in the chuckle-bits nor curb-stomp his head even though he had initially, and without provocation, punched Khris in the head.
Major stylistic points, Khris.
After 6 or 7 of his offspring rant to alert him, Señor Srībaśita Inasēna came over to shovel his insensible frogspawn up off the tarmac. He was ranting and raving, screaming and splitting the air with threats, dark oaths and other forms of bad noise.
He headed straight for Khris to administer a smackdown, as Khris resolutely held her ground.
I merely stood up and asked Khris if she needed some help.
She replied in the negative, stating that this fool wasn’t going to be much more of a challenge than ‘his idiot kid’
I swear, he went, even more, batshit crazy. However, something clicked and Señor Srībaśita Inasēna looked over his shoulder to see not one, but two near-identical way-more-crazy than he extra-large people standing there, both with cigars and icy cold drinks. He suddenly seemed to experience a spate of total recall how one of the large apparitions said he’d begin him on his journey toward room temperature if he so much as sneered in our direction.
He scooped up his unconscious spawn, muttered something none of us could make out, and scurried back to his loathsome piece of home real estate.
That was more or less the end of our run-ins with Señor Srībaśita Inasēna and his extended tribe.
Swing forward to the late summer. The weather calmed a bit and one’s skin didn’t immediately bubble every time one went out to collect the local morning news-rag. Things were going well for the cul-de-sac; jobs were advancing apace, children were doing well in their various studies, people were, oh what was that word? Ah, yes, happy.
Happy people do fun things.
So, it was decided it was time we have a block party.
Of course, Liam came up with the brilliant idea that we should have a pig roast.
“Umm, Liam”, I ahemed, “In case you forgot, we live in an Arabic Muslim country in the Middle East. Pigs and pork and porcine parts are sort of verboten
around here. “
“Ok, Rock”, Liam laughed, “I know that, you know that, my hat knows that. But we Brits must have our bacon, sausage, and chops. It’s in our DNA. Besides, I can get one flown in through my company; under the wire. I could sneak him over here easily. We’d just have to keep him under wraps until bar-be-que time rolls around. You’re from Texas, so…”
“Adopted native son” I corrected.
“Right”, Liam continued, “But you were from Baja Canada first, so you must know how to cook a whole pig…”
“That right, I do, but…, I said, “…you want to bring a live pig in here, and keep him for a while until we can sort out the cooking necessities. We can’t use the industrial-sized stoves in the rec center at the pool. That’d raise a few eyebrows…”
Es and Cassandra wander over, listen for a bit and exclaim “Are you both out of your tiny, little minds?”
I had to admit, as I poured Liam and myself a refill, that the idea did have a certain ‘Up Yours!’ mouthwatering bacon-scented charm.
So, all four of us sat outside and over beer, vodka, and white wine for the ladies, we brewed up a perhaps passable project for our pig party.
The thing was, I’d be gone offshore for a couple of weeks and the pig would have to live at someone’s villa, under wraps, for that time; which actually escalated to 3 months.
Esme, surprising as always, volunteered to take on the task.
Might have been the white wine talking, but she admitted to missing bacon as well.
“OK, but we’re going to need a bar-be-cue pit. Where and when?” Liam asked.
“I’ll talk to Shiehk Gungan and secure permission for a Hawaiian-style pit bar-be-cue for someone or other’s fake birthday. If we can get Vonn and Honey Bee on board, their villa’s backyard backs up to a tall brick wall bordering the alley behind the City Centre. I could put in a pit there easily, and it would be out of the purview of prying eyes.” I said.
“Good”, Casandra said, “Let me get the gin and tonic makin’s and get Vonn and Honey over here as well as Dane and Dyad. Gonna have a block party, make sure you invite the entire block.”
Over the term of the afternoon, we had our plans.
Liam would secure a pig for us; approximately 200-300 pounds, on the hoof. It’d stay in our backyard under both our sun tarp and Esme Srs.’ care until Pig Killin’ Time. Liam, Vonn, and I would handle that little chore. I’d get permission to ‘dig’ a pit and install the bar-be-cue pit in Honey and Vonn’s back yard. Liam and I would handle the actual roast, and we’d all chip in for charcoal and wood smokin’ chunks, and whatever else we could find.
Dyad said she knew many, many farmers it the area and many had fruit trees, in various stages of repair. Certainly, some of that would smoke up a treat. Persimmon, pomegranate, fig, mango, durian, banana…all the earmarks of a weird pig roast.
So we had a date, a plan and the ingredients for a complete fiasco. Since Sr. Guano Insano was no longer part of the picture, and as we had few interlopers, this might actually work without all of us being tossed into the hoosegow.
I’d liberate a bit of pit diggin’ materials from work, just a small amount of dynamite, C-4, and Primacord; I already had the blasting machines. Vonn and Liam would lay in the charcoal and wood for the actual pig roast and well, Bob’s your uncle.
I went offshore to complete the 12th well on the platform and had to deal with all the logistics, bureaucracy and other sanctioned horseshit that comes with the territory. It took almost exactly 3 weeks, and at that time, Esme’s initial negative reaction to pig-sitting had changed considerably.
She had named the critter and found it to be a rather clever, and even sociable, beast. She even allowed it free reign of our house.
The name she chose was one from an old, endearing structural professor: Prof Pinkus (Prof. Pink-ass).
This was an unforeseen complication.
“Es, remember, “ I said over the phone, “That pig is not a pet. It’s not your buddy. It’s not going shopping with you. It’s going to be the guest of honor at a block party. Perspective, please.”
“Oh, Rock”, Es gushed, “I know that. It just makes it easier to keep up with Prof. Pinkus if you treat him like a pet rather than livestock.”
“Es!”, I yell, “He IS livestock. Soon to be deadstock. Soon to be crisply pit barbequed to a crackly crunch. He’s not your friend, he’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner!”
“OK, love you too.” Es says, ignoring me, “See you soon. Safe flights. Keep the shiny side up.”
I hang up. “Oh, shit. This does not bode well.” I mused on the flight shoreward.
I have to admit, pigs can be personable animals. Canny, inquisitive, seemingly intelligent. But even so, that does not trump them being delicious, appetizing, and delectable generators of bacon. Prof. Pinkus is going to be ham, bacon, and sausage soon. Not a boon companion.
The next day I ‘dig’ the pit for the barbeque. I used a shovel for exactly 2 minutes and dynamite, C-4, and primacord for a few more. Vonn was astonished that I not only dug a 6’x6’x4’ wide hole in less than an afternoon, but that I did it while smoking a cigar, drinking an, ok, several icy adult beverages, and never even breaking a sweat in the hellish late summer heat.
The Bobcat with the mounted backhoe, which I had ‘borrowed’ from work, helped a little.
Liam wandered over after the pyrotechnics were done. He didn’t care for them as the noise ‘offended his ears’. Truth be told, he had seen enough pyro jobs go south in his line of work and wanted nothing to do with them. I assured him I was a licensed Master Blaster as well as the one and only Motherfucking Pro from Dover
, but it took some time to get him up to speed on the use of explosives for fun and profit.
We let the pit settle, as it was in mostly in desert sand held together with a bit of aeolian clay, or loess. We kept it wet and covered with sheets of canvas. It’d be fine for our pit barbeque in the days hence.
Vonn, Liam and I fabricobbled a cover for the pit which was made of thatched palm fronds supported by ½” pine furring-strips frame along the outer surface. Dane found a hunk of tin stove pipe and we fashioned a nicely workable chimney for the cover. Once the fire was going, and the pig in its new home, we could set the cover over the pit, shovel earth over it to seal it off and use the iris-valve in the chimney to regulate airflow.
One looks at it now, it would almost appear that we knew what we were doing.
Probably nothing was further from the truth.
We needed to ‘season’ the pit, but first, we needed to line the pit with rocks. This serves to hold the heat, and will even out its distribution. But, all we have to use is limestone around here and if limestone ever gets wet, there might be water in the fractures of the rocks. Heat that up to over 1000C
and you’ve got yourself a nifty little bomb.
Of course, this will not do…
So, I get on the phone with several ‘exotic’ marble companies in the big city of Duhu. I call around asking if they might have some scrap sheets of granite, quartzite, granodiorite or marble.
Sure, for a price.
However, there was this one
place where I knew this guy…
He took in huge, and I mean 4m x 5m x 5m blocks of exotic rock from the subcontinent; black granite, “Reaping Equinox’ black and white ‘granite’; most all these ‘granites’ were granodiorites, Inferno Granite, Black Sunset granite sliced thin into façade facing dimension stone, it was absolutely gorgeous in cross-section. However, the best stuff was igneous-metamorphic, tougher than a $2 steak, and just laughed at diamond carbide saw blades.
“Oh, sure now Mr., Dr. Rock”, Mr. Prakash Dongerkerry, the owneoperator of one particular lot I scavenge for Esme’s continuing lapidary hobby, “I’ve got some beauty stuff here for you. But I need some help with these couple of blocks I received from Kerala. Great rock, very pretty, but too tough. Burn out many saws, boss. You can help maybe?”
“Sure, Prak”, I replied, “I can help, no sweat.”
So, next Friday Liam and me, we eased over to the granite factory, C-4, blasting caps and Primacord in hand. Prak was a little apprehensive about using high explosives in a densely populated area, but after Vonn reminded him that he was working with the Motherfucking Pro from Dover
, he relaxed some.
I crawled all over those blocks, marking with orange spray paint the nature fractures, flaws, and features of each block. Asked Prak how he’d like them split, and he indicated parallel to the major axis.
It couldn’t be easier. There was a main body-fracture system normal to the σ1
stress direction. The one’s parallel to the σ2
were minor and nowhere near as clearly developed.
I smooshed some C-4 into a test fracture, primed it and shot it without much ado. It was surprisingly quiet for a detonation. A cute little C-4 POP
A large slab of rock fell off the main block, severed as nicely as a hunk of cold butter from a hot knife.
Prak was thrilled. I only had another 12 or so shots to go.
They all more or less came off as planned. One or two busted when they bounced, even after the addition of old car tires below where I was blasting.
Prak, good to his word, showed us a huge pile of 1.25” thick sawn quartzite slabs that were rejected for mostly cosmetic reasons. It takes a bit of math, a bit of doing, and a lot of C-4 to extract slabs enough to line our fire pit from stem to stern, top to bottom.
Once installed, the pit was a tad less wide, a bit less deep, and a smidge less long, but it was the only Precambrian-quartzite lined bar-be-que pit in this or any other known galaxy.
We celebrated the initial fire up with whiskey and hors-d'oeuvres. I stuck with vodka, ice, lime, citrus stuff, and a Jamaican cigar.
The pit flared from the amount of dry wood we initially used. It burned very quickly into a pile of glowing embers. Now, we added some local lump charcoal and popped on the top, now sporting an exhaust chimney with a rather large, intrinsically-safe, unusually commercial-looking dual-temperature thermometer that somehow just appeared out of the ether.
We took it all the way up to 1,000C.
Although it was designed for ‘low and slow’, we wanted to see how it would perform under alternative conditions.
We let it simmer for a few hours, then decided to kill the fire by closing the iris valve. Thus deprived of oxygen, given a few hours, the pit would be cold to the touch.
The next day, we opened the pit and shoveled out the dead embers. The pit was well and truly cold. Upon examination, it seems that the quartzite had fused to the sand on the outside of the pit. Also, sand had filtered down into the cracks around the pit, like in the corners, along joints, and been fused there as well.
The damn thing would now hold water if we wanted. We had a natural glass-lined fire pit now. We decided to try out some racked & stacked chickens first before we slowly made our way pig-ward.
We staked split chickens out on various levels in the pit. We had worked up a series of adjustable metal frames where we could lay the staked-out poultry. The racks popped right in place and after a couple of hours, hey presto
bar-be-qued peri-peri chicken. And hot-butter roasted chicken. And for the uninitiated, roast chicken with smoked Hungarian paprika and Indian ghee. A real Iron Chef fusion-style mixture.
Liam and I took his Grady White out on the Persian Gulf and managed a couple of dorados, or Mahi, a largish shark, and a couple of kingfish off the deeper shipping banks. Fileted up and tacked in place, we played around with the smoking woods. Mango was just weird. Fig was weirder, almost vinegary; but not terrible. Pomegranate/tangerine tree smoked Mahi, seasoned shark steak, and Kingfish was the hit of the week. So easy, yet so tasty. It went well with Es’ famous Navajo Fry Bread.
We were gaining confidence. Prof. Pinkus’ days were numbered. We decided that the Eid al Fitr would be the time that we’d been preparing our porky pit pig production.
How’s that for cultural sensitivity? Break the Ramadan fast with a pig roast.
about cultural sensitivity.
Anyways, we hemmed and hawed over the methods of dispatching our soon-to-be-delicious 325 pounds of Professor Pinkus.
One wag suggested we have it OD on tranquilizers, trip him out a la
Heath Ledger. Use loads of Nytol®,
oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam, and doxylamine."
It was straight out of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers©.
We all agreed it was funny as hell, but that it probably wouldn’t work.
Then we thought we might go all Halal, just slit the pig’s throat with a very sharp knife, and let it bleed out.
Rejected as to being too thrashing, too noisy, too Arabic, and just plain uncivilized.
I thought I could get hold of a 12 gauge shotgun and some Foster Deer slugs. But again, noisy and messy. Besides, I’d have to borrow a shotgun, and that might raise some eyebrows.
We’ve managed to keep Prof. Pinkus under wraps now for almost 3 months. Hate to blow it right before the feasting was to begin.
In the end, all it took was an 18-pound maul and a solid whack to the right side of the head. More sensitive viewers might want to skip a dozen or so paragraphs ahead. Just fair warning™.
I was elected to deliver the coup de grâce
After walloping a bound and gagged Prof. Pinkus upside the head and basically caving in the skull, severing the skull-spinal cord connection at the atlas/axis connection, it was instant lights-out, he felt nothing.
We had already apologized to Prof. Pinkus, and thanked him for his contribution.
Seldom before has lunch ever been so noble.
Prof. Pinkus freezes and collapse, the legs give way, and the neck goes rigid. We picked up the extraordinarily sharp butcher’s knife sitting there, one hand under the chin and pull the head back. The other hand takes the sharp, stout knife under the neck and slices across the neck back to the bone of the vertebrae.
The knife hand loops around to the poll of the head, pushes down and forward while the hand under the chin pulls back and rearwards, so the neck vertebrae connecting tissue cracks. Knife hand back down under the neck, chin hand slides up and a finger hooks into the trachea and slice between the separated vertebrae.
With our previous practice and experience, 10 to 15 seconds from hammer strike to the semi-decapitated head.
Grisly but necessary.
Hanging the beast by its back hocks, well out of sight of any casual interlopers, we bleed the animal out into 5-gallon buckets, saving the precious juice. Vonn and I have visions of homemade blütwurst, blood-n-tongue sausage, and zultze or schwartamaga; lovely, lovely headcheese.
But that’s for later. Vonn gathers the blood in gallon-size freezer zip bags.
Now to scalding the corpse, scraping off the hair and external epidermal debris. We had a tub of boiling water into which Prof. Pinkus went. It was a boring, tedious, annoying repeated dunk-soak-raise-scrape-return until the carcass was clean and smooth and removed of all nasty gunk on the outside.
Now comes the really icky part™,
gutting and scraping out the carcass. Before opening the abdominal cavity, it was required to de-bung the animal. Cut around the anus, go in deep but not too, pull the bunghole out, seal with zip ties, and cut and discard. Now the lower GI tract is sealed from leaking when the rest is removed. We also have to remove the male dangly bits in a similar manner as Prof. Pinkus was a boy hog.
Still hanging, we open the hog from sternum to groin, letting gravity aid us in helping Prof. Pinkus literally spill his guts. Right down into a waiting gut-bucket, or galvanized 50-liter steel tub. The chest region is split open further and the lovely and delicious major organs are singly removed by hand. Heart, liver, kidneys, etc., lungs, gall bladder, spleen, pancreas, and a few other organs are discarded.
With that, we open the hog to where it will lay flat on the roasting rack. It is then hosed off and generally cleaned up before we give a good going over.
After it dries, the whole gutted critter is washed in wine. Evidently, it’s a French thing according to Honey Bee.
We wrap the hog in burlap, soak it down in cheap-ass wine and let it sleep 24 hours or so in Liam and Cassandra’s freezer chest.
The next day, the fire is started in the fire pit. We have lump charcoal, bucket after bucket of fruit tree chunks soaking in water and probably half a rick of firewood to keep the party going the next 24-36 hours.
We retrieve Prof. Pinkus from his cool, not frozen state, say hello and proceed to arrange him staked to the cooking frame in a belly-down, butterflied posture. Internally, he was well seasoned with dry rub after the obligatory internal rubdown with Napoleon brandy. We placed 40 garlic bulbs, kosher sea salt, olive oil, black pepper, and liberal amounts of Old Bay, to taste beneath him.
So, it was up to me to get the external goo ready for the pig. Kansas City-Style Sauce? Eastern North Carolina Vinegar Sauce? South Carolina-Style Mustard Sauce? Piedmont or Lexington-Style Dip? South Carolina-Style Mustard Sauce? Texas-Style Mop or Basting Sauce? Alabama White Sauce? Wisconsin Drunken Religious Experience Sauce?
“Ah, the hell with it!”, I venture, “Sauces come much later. Too early; they caramelize, crystallize, and burn. We’ll go for a good rub instead.”
I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a good rub now and again?
Anyways, which fucking rub? Kansas City Rib Rub? Mustard Rub? Spare Rib Rub? Memphis-Style Rib Rub? Porker's Rib Seasoning? Best Odds Rib Rub? Carolina Dry Rub? Texas Dry Rub? Jamaican Jerk Dry Rub? Classic Pork Dry Rub?
Too much choice! Seasoning overload!
I call over everyone involved in this little soiree and instruct them to come up with a rub we can all enjoy. I had to kill and gut the critter, it’s about time I go all Subsurface Manager, and delegate out some parts of this project.
So, over beer, G&T’s, vodka and lime soda and various Froggy wines, ‘my’ crew came up with a rub that was simple, tasty and ironically reflects some of the culinary aspects of the region we’re currently defiling.
• Smoked Hungarian Red paprika
• Brown sugar
• Caster sugar
• Black pepper
• Kosher salt
• Cayenne pepper
• White pepper
• Chili pepper
• Dehydrated garlic
• Dehydrated onion
• Red Cardamom
• Garam masala (Cumin, Coriander, Green and Black Cardamom, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, Bay leaves, Peppercorns, Fennel, Mace, and dried Chilies.)
They went to the co-op, bought buckets of the individual spices and played the rest of the day at getting to that one perfect combination for our resting porker.
I don’t remember the exact breakdown of the proportion of the spices, but whatever it was, it tasted brilliant. Now we had about 8 or 9 pounds of the stuff. We were ready to go.
Prof. Pinkus was set on the cooking rack, belly open and down. He was doused internally once again liberally with cheap Indian Napoleon brandy and secured to the rack atop all the garlic, celeriac root, boudin, and small new potatoes.
He was tied in place with heavy organic hemp twine and had his mouth propped open to facilitate circulation of the pit’s heat and convection. He looked very Pink Floydian. One almost expected him to take flight.
The exterior of the porker was treated to a nice rubdown. I swear I saw him smile once or twice when Honey Bee insisted on a sensual massage to make the resultant meat that much more tender. Olive oil infused with lime oil and garlic after a thorough wash with more brandy. Followed by a liberal rubbing of dry rub.
Finally, ready to go, we tented the porker loosely with industrial-strength silver aluminum foil. The frame with its cargo was lowered and locked into place for at least 24 hours. Probably closer to 36, as we’re going ‘low and slow’.
We take turns, between hands of poker, cribbage, and Schafskopf, as well as numerous G&Ts, Yorshs, and vodka and lime drink cocktails, to check on our prized porker. We kept the temperature right at 2050
F as best we could.
The voluminous smoke coming off the barbeque pit was our one concern. It packed an amazing aroma and filtered around the whole compound, dragging in expectant pikers, leeches, and other forms of human ectoparasites.
We told them we were smoking a whole camel, Texas-style, a la filét de hump
, and wouldn’t be ready for another couple of days; so piss off. That seemed to get rid of all but the most insistent. We finally got rid of him by using a leaf blower and directing a stream of high-velocity roast-pork laden smoke his direction each time we had to add more fuel to the fire.
Time marched on and the time finally came: the deep internal ham’s temperature hit 180 degrees F.
Prof. Pinkus was ready to make his debut. But first, we needed to get him out of the barbeque pit and over to Vonn’s garage to rest a while.
More futzing, more aluminum foil, and more beers later, Prof. Pinkus, in all his delectable roasted glory was cooling out from atop a pair of sawhorses. Of course, he had to rest after his ordeal, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t manage a few samples.
He was done to a turn. It was incredible. Crispy-crunchy-crackly over lean, moist and insanely flavorful meat. Not bad for a bunch of bumbling international mugs on their first Middle Eastern pig-roast pit-roast endeavor.
Everyone made up their own version of sauce for sandwiches and dipping. We decided that we’d never all agree on one sauce, and 4 or 5 on one porker would be just too damn many.
So, please yourself. Just do it, yourself.
Behind closed doors, Liam and I were once again elected to reduce Prof. Pinkus to primary parts. We were hopefully disguising the fact that here sits 185 pounds of delectable roast pork in a very Muslim country on one of their highest holy days.
So it was a bit unnerving when Sheik Gungan showed up and asked: “What was that wonderful aroma?”
We said smoked beef…lamb…camel…turducken…Tyrannosaur
… anything other than what it really was.
He asked for a sample.
What could we do? We couldn’t well refuse now, could we?
We gave him some of the best bits to try.
“Lovely, gents, just lovely. Next time, for reference, more garam masala, and a little more rosemary. I find it really brings out the subtle flavors of pork.” He smiled, wiping his pork-sticky fingers on my HGGTG™
“You old fraud”, we all smiled at once.
“What?”, he shied, raising his eyebrows, “It’s for scientific evaluation purposes. It’s therefore allowed. Now, do you have any cold beer, gin-n-tonics, or vodka and lime, which I’m hearing is very nice together, that I might also scientifically sample?” he smiled toothily through his long white beard.
We had made another powerful friend. Although it cost us one smoked Boston Butt, actually off the shoulder, that’s butcher’s for you, and a half a liter of homemade Texas-style barbeque sauce and another of Esme’s homemade fennel and caraway-infused coleslaw.
Everyone on the cul-de-sac now had a freezer full of pit-roasted pork. The Brits got their sausage once Vonn and Liam figured out how to use the Osterizer®
Stuffing Horn. That was almost as much fun as doing the pit-barbeque. Never leave to Brits what Baja Canadians can better do.
We distributed the bacon and hams, and the rest divided whatever was left. Which was a lot of pit-roasted pig pieces and parts.
The bones made their way into gaily wrapped gifts and were posted anonymously to Mr. Guano Insano. We hoped he appreciated all our effort.
I used Esme’s great-grandmother’s old German recipe for Headcheese. Basically, boiled smoked pork head meat in aspic jelly. With dill pickles. And pickled eggs. With special spices.
Well, I don’t give a shit. We like it.
Anyways, summer slowly slid south and the temperatures during the day got slightly more tolerable. Liam and I decided to forego his boat for a while, as launching and recollecting required us to put Liam’s boat in the water HERE and recover the boat THERE. It was trucked, via road, from the recovery place to the launch place.
It only cost something like US$5 to ship the boat back to the launch area and they actually did a good job hosing and steam cleaning the boat before parking it back in its rental dry dock. These were still the early days before gas was king in Qutur, so things were still ridiculously cheap. There were exactly 3 high rise hotels back then, as compared to the insane silhouette presented by Duhu’s current evening sun.
I had flown over some likely looking flats that might hold snook, grouper, and tarpon on my last flight back from the rig. I translated that onto whatever road maps we could find here, as most everything was a state secret, ground verification was a must.
Liam and I tossed a couple of surf rods, a cooler full of beer and some bait into the back of his new diesel Mitsobitchy Prago™,
and we were off to the north of town, the least developed chunk of Duhu real estate to date.
We drove down a rip-rap
road that was more just a pile of random rocks trucked into the bay area and dumped into something that resembled a straight line.
I was less than confident that we weren’t going swimming today, but Liam relished every bounce, bolt and jolt. He confided in me that one of the big reasons he took the job here in the Middle East was that he’d never in a million years be able to afford a truck like this back in bonny Scotland™.
He confided that he couldn’t have even afforded the fuel for this diesel-slurper back in the UK, it was that dear.
So, down the path we rebound. I was watching the water on both sides of the narrow groin, and saw it was getting deeper, but very slowly. I looked at my GPS and saw that we’d driven some 3.5 km out to sea at this point.
“Liam”, I said, “That’s a fuck of a long way to reverse.”
“Ah, Rock”, Liam assured me, “ No worries, Doctor. It’s all a loop. We can just drive our way out of any trouble.”
I remained unconvinced.
We came to a breach in the ‘jetty’. There was some heavy marine equipment mounted on barges. They were working a large cut, ostensibly for cargo ships to pass through. There was to be a swing-bridge built after they cleared the channel, but with all these loose rocks, it was putting paid to their scheme.
We parked and wandered over to who appeared to be the head guy.
“G’Day”, “Liam says, “What’ the big fucking holdup? We’ve got fish to catch, mate.”
Liam had previously spent a few years down in Australia as if it didn’t show.
“Oh, hello”, the natty clad black man said, “We’re having a bit of a time with loose rocks here. Supposed to be angular to lock in place, but by the time they get here from the quarry, they’re a sharp as bowling balls.”
I introduced myself and Liam as he was back in the boot snaking a beer. The black feller introduced himself as Zafir Djaballah, a civil engineer late from Algeria.
“So”, I said to Zafir, “If I’ve got this straight, you cut a channel and want to line it with rip rap. But the rocks won’t stay put. How deep are you cutting and what’s the size of the channel?”
“Oh, 35’ east-west, 15’ north-south. About 15 meters deep.” He relates.
“And the road metal? Where’s that from?” I ask.
“Arabia”, he tells us, “They quarry it there and transport it here. It’s costly, but that’s about the only option we have.”
Liam looks to Zafir. “Hey, Zafir?”, Liam asks, “Y’ken who this guy is?” as he points to me.
Zafir shakes his head “I just met Dr. Rock.”
“That’s not all who he is”, Liam smiles widely, “That, my friend, is the Motherfucking Pro from Dover! If he can’t fix your little problem, he can damn sure make it go away…”
Zafir looks to me as if to ask: “What the fuck, sir?”
“Well, Zafir, “ I say, “I’m a bit of a dab hand with explosives. This sounds like a really simple problem. Drill a grid of 2 meter centered holes, and prime them with a waterproof explosive. Detonate together electrically and there you go. Channel dug and already filled with angular limestone blocks. Easy-peasy.”
Zafir looks over the water and puzzles and puzzles.
“But sir’, he says, “Where would I find such explosives and such expertise?”
“Well…for starters”, I said, “You could ask me.”
He leads us over to a company trailer, where Liam and I drank beers, smoked cigars and told the superintendent of our plans. The Egyptian superintendent, Qaaid al-Zahra, later ‘Randy’ (Quaid?…never mind) scrutinized all our identification. He was actually very impressed when he came across my Blaster’s credentials.
“Doctor”, Qaaid said, “I do like your plan. The drilling is no problem, the problem is obtaining the explosives.”
“Look, Qaaid”, I said, “Leave that to me. You’re working for a government company, I’m working for a government company. What difference does it make? How long to drill the grid of holes Liam and I laid out?”
“Oh, probably about a week”, Qaaid said.
“OK, how about this?”, I said, “Liam and I will be back out here unless the weather’s being stupid and we’ll set and prime the charges? After which, we’ll make certain everything’s green and blow this little project for you?”
“If you can, Inshallah.”, Qaaid said.
“Even if we’re out of shallah”, I said back to Randy.
That Sunday, after Liam backed us down the 3.6 km or bouncy un-turn-around-able path he drove us out on, I ordered some Kinepax™ liquid binaries, as it came in easy-to-use 1-meter threaded lengths in various diameters. Qaaid was drilling 3.5” diameter holes, so the 3.00” nominal OD threaded length would be a breeze. I ordered a couple of spools of shock tube, comb connectors, deflectors, and tie-ins, and a 25 kilo box of ‘Elephant Shit’.
We make sure each hole was blown clean with a high-pressure water hose. Since the water here was only 8 meters deep, we could get by with regular lightweight skin diving gear. I could leave my wetsuit, diver’s helmet and all that heavy-duty ice-diving gear at home for this trip.
Liam and I would pre-form the charges, each exactly 6 meters in length, to match the depth of the drilled holes. Individual 1-meter units just screwed together, pin and box style, it was the utmost in simplicity. Rather like Seismogel™, but packed a considerably higher wallop. All told, we would be setting off some 36 nodal points, each 6 meters deep with 6 meters of binary which weighed 5.3 kg/meter.
Turn the crank and we’d be planting approximately 1,145 kilograms or 2,524 pounds of high-energy binary explosive.
Hmph. A new personal record.
Like Guinness even cared.
So, once we got the high sign from Randy that the shot holes had been drilled and cleaned, the next part of the project was up to us.
We were both PADI-certified. Liam had done some oilfield related diving in the North Sea some years ago. I was a veteran of the Ice Wars from the days of Future Passed back in Baja Canada.
The waters here were calm, gin-clear, and warm.
The dives here weren’t work, this was a paid vacation.
I had liberated a trailer for all our pyrotechnics and Liam was elected to use his Prago as the tow vehicle. We bounded our way out to the Liam’s Pass, as we had dubbed it, with a work trailer containing some 2,750 pounds of high powered, binary explosives bouncing behind. I also had all my explosives paraphernalia there as well: new waterproof galvanometer, which in and of itself, is rather the achievement. Pliers, spare batteries, couple pair of blaster’s tools, the usual.
Lia and I had our dive gear in the back of his Prago.
A couple of single tanks, backpacks, regulators, hoses, and a few belts full of divers weights.
These must have been of Islamic origin as they are specifically prohibited by the Bible. Deuteronomy 25:13, “Thou shalt not have on thy belt divers weights, a great and a small.” And Proverbs 20:23, “Divers weights are an abomination unto the LORD; and a false balance is not good.
Why there should be proscriptions against SCUBA gear in ancient, desert-dwelling, shepherding Iron Age writings is what keeps Biblical Scholars up at night.
Although I agree, a false balance underwater keeps your Swimmer’s Ear from healing up.
At the pass, we park and call over for a half-dozen ‘helpers’. They were nominal employees of the company, but more indentured servants. Today, they were going to earn their water wings. We had a couple of large pneumatic rafts that we’d use to transport he charges to their final water resting site but damned if Liam and I are going to swim laps every time we needed to set a new charge.
So, indoctrination and Explosives For Dummies.
Safety first, second and last.
Who here can swim?
You guys can stay. OK, the rest of you blokes, bugger off.
Here’s the deal, Sparky. There are 36 lengths of Kinestix with primers already set. Those go last, as that’s where I tie in to detonate. The rest of the 1-meter long tubes are identical. Pin on one end, box on the other. Thread them together and use a single ‘O-ring’ between each. Snug them up good and tight, but don’t go too crazy. Those are binary liquids, and I’ll give them a good smack with a hammer before they go into the hole. I really only have to do the last one as once initiated, these liquids can mix in milliseconds, but I’m all for safety and doing things right the first time.
OK, so, one raft will carry the 36 initiators, that is, the last bits to go. The other rafts will carry the 5-meter long strings of connected explosives. Liam and I will be down on bottom and you guys just stay up on surface, dog paddling or treading water, but slowly feeding the lengths of tubing down to us. When you reach an end, pop on one of the other lengths, the one with the primer.
To be continued.
I couldn’t sleep the first night. Who could? They put me up in a room that had nearly all the amenities, TV, desk, computer (no internet but plenty of pre-installed games and programs), some kind of digital stereo with preloaded streams of all kinds of music, dresser & closet, private bathroom with a supply closet filled with soaps, shampoos, & conditioners, toothbrush, toothpaste, no razors, but then, I didn’t need them, I maintained a nice beard and had no intention of hurting anyone. I wondered why they gave me such a decent set-up until I realized; it wasn’t for me, it was for the “me” who’d be staying permanently once the other “me” crossed the boundary. I almost destroyed the room in a fit when I thought about it. Instead I laid on the bed staring at the ceiling with the stereo turned to the most abrasive screeching metal I could find. Halfway because it was what I liked, halfway because if I annoyed the other residents all the better. submitted by
They didn’t come for me in the morning like I thought they would. The clock on the wall showed it was nearly noon before I tried the door and found it unlocked. Outside, the man from before was waiting in a folding chair reading a magazine- the New Yorker, by the looks of it.
“Were you just going to wait for me to come out?”
“Yeah, pretty much. I knew you’d eventually get hungry, but we’ve found the first night is usually the hardest, most don’t sleep. So, we let you come out at your own pace, when you’re ready rather than forcing any kind of schedule on you.”
“Is it like that for everyone?”
“No, we do have schedules, tasks & chores to keep us busy, but none of that is really your concern.”
“Uh-huh… Has to do with the purpose this place is put to, eh?”
“Sometimes, but you’d be surprised how much free time we get around here. We have our primary purpose, but we have side projects as well, things we’re asked to do or told to do, plus all the things we get up to that we want to do.”
“Well, as you imagine this place is kind of special. So, we get a lot of requests to do experiments with the boundary. There’s an entire think-tank up on Oyster Island dedicated to trying to figure it out.”
“Hoping to help people get out?”
“That’s one long term goal, yes. But also how to suppress it or end the effect permanently, recreate it if at all possible, relocate it, expand it, contract it, or limit its effect…”
“But its binary, isn’t it? I mean, it either works or it doesn’t?”
“…based on size, remember the gerbils? If mammals smaller than gerbils are unaffected than there might be some way of making it so it only effects mammals bigger than a man, or maybe so it only effects things smaller than a man, or something like that.”
“I thought you said the effect wasn’t effected by any known means?”
“Every experiment thus far has been completely ineffectual, yes. But, it keeps us busy.”
“So what are you ‘keeping busy’ with today?”
“Honestly, dealing with you. New arrivals are always a bit on edge about things, especially if they’ve yet to transition back across the boundary.”
“I’m dreading it.”
“That’s about normal. Not knowing if after the transition you'll be on the outside, or trapped within.”
“Well, today is about maybe helping ease that dread.”
“We’re in a unique situation, and the US Government knows it. We’re essentially locked in a prison that there’s no escape from, without ever having committed a crime. So, every effort is made to cater to our needs, desires, and comfort.”
“All the entertainment options.”
“That’s just the tip of the iceberg, distractions really. You have anything you’ve ever wanted to do with your life?”
“Well, basically anything but travel. Have you wanted to put together a kit car? We can have one brought in. You want to write a novel, we’ll be supplied with the best research materials and uplinks to interview anyone you need – strictly monitored and on a time delay for security purposes, of course. You like to paint? A Gym nut? Hedonistic porn addict? You want it, it’ll be supplied, no questions asked, no reasonable cost refused. You won’t get the real, actual Mona Lisa shipped in for your pleasure, but you could get the best reproduction money can buy, for example.”
“You make an enticing case.”
“Follow me, let me show you a few things.”
With that, I was led away from the residential rooms adjacent to the big room on the first floor and to a small room that my host accessed with a keycard and his handprint on a scanner next to the door. Inside, my fingerprints and retina were scanned before he let me choose a pin number and he printed off a new keycard to let me access the parts he cleared for the time being. Then we went to a different elevator, where we both swiped our cards and had our hands and eyes scanned before it powered up. Instead of a set of floor buttons, it had a keypad with a number buttons and a screen. The screen showed a small text line reading “Current occupants have shared authorization for levels 1 through 5”.
“We’re on level one, residential, level two is the gym, dining area, and kitchen, how are you feeling about breakfast?”
“I could eat, but I’m not starving.”
“Well would it bother you if we made a quick stop there for me to grab a bite? I was waiting for you all morning and missed breakfast.”
“Not at all.”
“Level 2 it is, then.”
With that, he keyed in “02” on the keypad and pressed enter. The doors closed and the elevator descended for longer than it should have taken to move one level, either the elevator was slow, or the distance between levels was unusually great, I couldn’t tell. We exited into a hallway running left to right and were immediately assaulted by an amalgamation of odors. From the left, I could smell soap, leather, and sweat, the sign indicating the gym and locker rooms supported my assessment, from the right, the smells were far more tantalizing, combining several delectable perfumes. I could smell something spicy, like a simmering chili, something savory, like some kind of beef roast, and sweet, like funnel cakes or glazed donuts baking. My stomach gave an audible rumble as I realized I was hungrier than I expected to be.
“Heh, I guess I’m not the only one hungry, c’mon kiddo, let me show you what we’re working with here.”
I followed wordlessly as he led me down the hallway and into what resembled nothing less than a museum. All over were displays of antiques, Model T’s, old biplanes from WWI, arms and armor decorated every wall, uniforms, flags… By god, there was a tank in the corner! My erstwhile captor-cum-host took a bemused view of my gawking around the room.
“Kind of hits, you, doesn’t it?”
“What the hell is this place?”
“This? This is the mess hall. These are just a few of the items we store here, away from prying eyes or anyone who could steal them.”
“But, why, I mean, there are museums…”
“-and museums get robbed, heck, you hear about that little art museum in France? I can’t remember the name, specialized in some artist from the same town? They did an insurance evaluation a couple years ago, they found out that more than half their exhibits were fakes and frauds, forgeries and replacements. One piece at a time nicked and replaced by thieves.”
“No fears about that here, I guess.”
“Well, sure, I mean, you could try to roll out of here with any one of these items, and it would go with you, but we’d have a version of you here who we’d be able to interrogate until the end of time to figure out where you took it or who you were selling it to.”
“But what do you do then? You can’t just keep the copy here forever.”
He pretended not to hear me as he approached the counter where the food was laid out. All kinds of food in steamers, crockpots, or wrapped in foil, neatly labelled and laid out as if for an army. We were the only ones in the room.
“So, who prepares all this, I mean, none of this matches the ingredients I saw getting loaded last night.”
“Well, no, those are our personal stores, things we request special for us to have anytime, at our convenience. This, this stuff is prepared on Oyster Island and delivered daily right alongside our water and power, through a sealed delivery system in the tunnel.”
“Why not use that for your wish lists?”
“Too suspicious, this comes from the Mess Halls on the Island, prepared right alongside the food prepared for the Sailors and Marines there by a private contractor, they just get special orders, supposedly for officer’s mess, but really it comes to us. If the officer’s mess suddenly started ordering ridiculous and varied things not on the menu, it’d get questions asked. This way we get the best of both worlds, first class food on the regular, plus all our little perks.”
I could tell he was lying, but I had no way to really call him out on it. I selected a steak from a warmer and a couple of easy over eggs, toasted some bread and buttered it, and grabbed a cup of coffee from a carafe and heavily sweetened it and added vanilla creamer. Sitting down under the looming barrel of a piece of artillery used in Korea, we ate and discussed the rooms decorations and their historical significance, a way of avoiding the elephant in the room- exactly what this place was really used for.
2016-11-21_20:21:20 GMT Horsejoke: We have plans for a lot of small servers, we can scale really quickly based on population. submitted by
2016-11-21_20:23:23 GMT Horsejoke: I'm just answering a few rapid-fire since I came in to post that lore line, I'm neck-deep in this localization stuff right now and I'm about to drown tbh, so I can't hang in here very much today
2016-11-21_20:36:28 GMT Horsejoke: Sorry about that, we haven't announced anything on player-run severs yet, so I can't c/d anything about it.
2016-11-21_20:37:08 GMT Horsejoke: There are enough players per server to warrant the kinds of faction / guild relationships we have in place.
2016-11-21_20:50:41 GMT Horsejoke: 1.7~ years at Snail and 1.7~ years in the industry.
2016-11-21_20:51:04 GMT Horsejoke: Not technically my first job out of college, but close enough.
2016-11-22_18:49:20 GMT Horsejoke: My response about news on Tuesday was in response to someone asking about the Elf settlement
2016-11-22_18:49:25 GMT Horsejoke: Sorry if it got misconstrued ðŸ˜¦
2016-11-22_19:10:45 GMT Horsejoke: Nah I totally get it, maybe if I send that Conan trailer over to my team in China it'll light a fire under them.
2016-11-22_19:14:32 GMT Horsejoke: Haha, I think it's an awesome trailer and it may get to some of them, but it's probably pretty different than DnL at its core (physical combat > exploration compared to exploration + world-building > combat?)
2016-11-22_19:14:52 GMT Horsejoke: I think the titan and that big ol' snake looked awesome though
2016-11-22_19:19:08 GMT Horsejoke: some of the dragons in DnL are absolutely enormous, but I'd say the titan they showed in the trailer is probably 1/6th larger than the dragons I've seen in DnL
2016-11-22_19:20:08 GMT Horsejoke: I haven't seen the light and dark dragon they showed before in-game though, only a more common breed
2016-11-22_19:20:31 GMT Horsejoke: Red!
2016-11-22_19:21:56 GMT Horsejoke: Wait did we show a dragon in the teaser?
2016-11-22_19:22:05 GMT Horsejoke: I know we had the wyvern for most of it, but I don't remember any dragons
2016-11-22_19:22:20 GMT Horsejoke: Unless my brain is addled from all this translation
2016-11-22_19:22:54 GMT Horsejoke: Oh that's still the wyvern
2016-11-22_19:23:20 GMT Horsejoke: Yeah our wyverns are way smaller than dragons
2016-11-22_19:24:14 GMT Horsejoke: I'm colorblind so maybe I'm missing something, but the thing in the teaser doesn't look red to me, the red dragons in-game are extremely red
2016-11-22_19:26:00 GMT Horsejoke: Yeah that's the wyvern
2016-11-22_19:31:10 GMT Horsejoke: I can't c/d taming dragon rules right now, they may have something special about them that I'm not sure about
2016-11-22_19:32:04 GMT Horsejoke: Absolutely, that's the whole point!
2016-11-22_19:43:50 GMT Horsejoke: They're asleep though ðŸ˜
2016-11-22_19:44:42 GMT Horsejoke: Since I have a massive backlog in <#240204914314182666> and this DnL localization is my top priority right now, would you mind closing the channel for comments for now?
2016-11-22_19:44:53 GMT Horsejoke: that way I can work through it once this is done
2016-11-22_19:45:33 GMT Horsejoke: If not then that's fine too, but people asking questions now may have to wait a while before I can get to them
2016-11-22_20:20:35 GMT Horsejoke: Also something to satiate people's curiosity to complement the Estel reveal, we got a new build in today which:
2016-11-22_20:20:59 GMT Horsejoke: So quests are expanded a bit beyond just tutorial stuff now
2016-11-22_20:22:11 GMT Horsejoke: It's mostly tutorial stuff for now, but it's a framework that we can expand on if necessary
2016-11-22_20:22:57 GMT Horsejoke: This is game development and why we don't make 100% certain statements at any point during the early stages of the development process, things change all the time
2016-11-22_20:25:17 GMT Horsejoke: I've got a ton of questions to get to, I have a goal of 1000~ more lines to localize / edit by the end of the day so I actually need to get back to that for now
2016-11-22_20:31:15 GMT Horsejoke: Also spoilers I already snuck a horse joke into the game
2016-11-22_20:31:19 GMT Horsejoke: I'm abusing the hell out of my power
2016-11-22_22:51:01 GMT Horsejoke: Yes
2016-11-22_23:22:33 GMT Horsejoke: Man this place is crazy
2016-11-22_23:22:59 GMT Horsejoke: I mean it's not exactly hard to find me, I'm not hiding anywhere
2016-11-22_23:24:06 GMT Horsejoke: I'd get doxxed even if we had a million gameplay videos out, it's alright
2016-11-22_23:25:03 GMT Horsejoke: Just busy, taking a few minute break from translating / editing
2016-11-22_23:25:42 GMT Horsejoke: Here's the last thing I did:
2016-11-22_23:26:41 GMT Horsejoke: wish I had accompanying screenshots but ðŸ†
2016-11-22_23:26:54 GMT Horsejoke: Yes, yes you will
2016-11-22_23:27:05 GMT Horsejoke: pretty sure it's an eggplant
2016-11-22_23:29:34 GMT Horsejoke: Here's another thing, a skill tree (or Knowledge Node) description I did earlier:
2016-11-22_23:30:30 GMT Horsejoke: Not yet, I don't have any info on faction names in the current build
2016-11-22_23:31:56 GMT Horsejoke: I don't think it's implemented in the current build, maybe in a separate test client with our dev team, but right now it's like pick a starting city and make a character
2016-11-22_23:32:11 GMT Horsejoke: Most of it is translated, but not localized
2016-11-22_23:32:22 GMT Horsejoke: It's a separate process
2016-11-22_23:32:50 GMT Horsejoke: Translating is just taking the language and making it another language, localization is making it make sense to a particular audience that speaks that language
2016-11-22_23:32:57 GMT Horsejoke: translation is a part of the localization process
2016-11-22_23:33:12 GMT Horsejoke: I'm doing some stuff that slipped by, but most of it is already done
2016-11-22_23:33:21 GMT Horsejoke: California, born and raised
2016-11-22_23:33:26 GMT Horsejoke: I don't think we existed when Yankee was a term
2016-11-22_23:34:30 GMT Horsejoke: This chat is so hard to keep up with, things are all sorts of crazy around here nowadays
2016-11-22_23:36:22 GMT Horsejoke: Nah I'm not looking for an echo chamber
2016-11-22_23:36:40 GMT Horsejoke: I think it's a good thing, when the game comes out we need some raw, angry feedback
2016-11-22_23:37:02 GMT Horsejoke: It looks like we'll be getting that in spades here
2016-11-22_23:38:37 GMT Horsejoke: Alright getting back to the grind, have fun y'all
2016-11-23_00:01:18 GMT Horsejoke: No half-elves, at least at launch - no discussions have been had yet regarding additional races after launch
2016-11-23_00:05:10 GMT Horsejoke: We try to fit online in there instead of multiplayer, but yeah
2016-11-23_00:05:59 GMT Horsejoke: Funny enough, my coworker also identifies as an attack helicopter. Unfortunately no, China hasn't reached that level of progressiveness yet - binary gender options.
2016-11-23_01:44:45 GMT Horsejoke: Little more frequent than that
2016-11-28_19:31:36 GMT Horsejoke: Thanks! Hope everyone here who celebrates Thanksgiving had a great holiday too
2016-11-28_19:38:37 GMT Horsejoke: I caught a few of those, EA / Steam Store launch on Dec 15th isn't confirmed by SGUSA, I heard that there's some "stuff" happening in December but I haven't received official word on either of those things.
2016-11-28_19:39:18 GMT Horsejoke: I understand that, the wording was very deliberate.
2016-11-28_19:39:30 GMT Horsejoke: SGUSA can't confirm that right now, that's just me being honest.
2016-11-28_19:40:23 GMT Horsejoke: Basically, but I heard the rumors from here first ðŸ˜›
2016-11-28_19:41:02 GMT Horsejoke: Well just unconfirmed, I'll sync up with some folks today and see what rumors we can put to rest one way or another.
2016-11-28_19:41:40 GMT Horsejoke: I'm in charge of a lot of stuff on this project, but I don't actually communicate with Steam myself, that's a whole other side of the business.
2016-11-28_19:44:15 GMT Horsejoke: We publish a ton of stuff in China, I'm checking on that too
2016-11-28_19:44:34 GMT Horsejoke: I think we're the 3rd largest tech company over there actually, behind the newly-crowned king Netease and Tencent
2016-11-28_19:46:46 GMT Horsejoke: I'd expect to have a big announcement and a bunch of details about what that entails (on the store but "coming soon", on the store and ready to play, pricing, etc.)
2016-11-28_19:47:15 GMT Horsejoke: But I don't know for sure, I probably wouldn't be able to confirm it today just due to the time difference and slow communications.
2016-11-28_19:48:38 GMT Horsejoke: It's moving along, I'm still working on stuff now but the bulk of it is done to a level where I'm somewhat satisfied - waiting for the changes to be reflected in the next build early this week.
2016-11-28_19:53:15 GMT Horsejoke: Well as a traditional Thanksgiving gift (???) which kind of skill tree are you interested in: Combat, Survival, or Construction?
2016-11-28_19:53:29 GMT Horsejoke: I'll reveal one from one of those trees in one minute
2016-11-28_19:53:37 GMT Horsejoke: lotta ones
2016-11-28_20:00:47 GMT Horsejoke: Alright then, one of the fundamental trees that everyone will be incidentally leveling up while doing pretty much anything is the "Staff" Node, which grants access to crafting recipes for higher-tier staves that can be fitted with various crystals to allow the casting of different spells.
2016-11-28_20:02:38 GMT Horsejoke: That was some pre-launch lore talk, the factions haven't always been very open to each other.
2016-11-28_20:02:52 GMT Horsejoke: Gotta wait for the EA launch to learn more about that.
2016-11-28_20:03:35 GMT Horsejoke: fixed it for clarity, thanks!
2016-11-28_20:04:17 GMT Horsejoke: Go ahead and siege Zaharul if you want, (just try not to poke any of the guards).
2016-11-28_20:04:27 GMT Horsejoke: They're kind of OP right now.
2016-11-28_20:06:45 GMT Horsejoke: Not really anything to gain from it right now, just for fun.
2016-11-28_20:07:29 GMT Horsejoke: We're still working out faction restrictions for things like Houses (Guilds) and whatnot, so I don't have a definite answer for you, sorry!
2016-11-28_20:12:20 GMT Horsejoke: Not quite yet
2016-11-28_20:57:19 GMT Horsejoke: Wait I'm confused, maybe I confused everyone too
2016-11-28_20:57:34 GMT Horsejoke: Skill trees in DnL are called "Nodes"
2016-11-28_20:57:49 GMT Horsejoke: Within the combat grouping, there is a skill tree for Staves
2016-11-28_20:58:11 GMT Horsejoke: So it's a whole tree, that was just a high-level look at what leveling up that tree will get you, it's more than just one skill.
2016-11-28_20:59:15 GMT Horsejoke: Most skills manifest as crafting recipes one way or another, and then you kind of create skills and spells and equipment, it's a pretty unique system.
2016-11-28_21:01:29 GMT Horsejoke: You need materials to craft anything, including the catalysts for spells
2016-11-28_21:02:22 GMT Horsejoke: I mean
2016-11-28_21:02:25 GMT Horsejoke: that's always the case...
2016-11-28_21:02:58 GMT Horsejoke: There's a kind of mana system, but you won't usually require anything more than that.
2016-11-28_22:18:31 GMT Horsejoke: We don't have any spell customization at the moment, abilities need to be readable and flashy, having a bunch of colors for the same spell would be super confusing.
2016-11-28_22:29:22 GMT Horsejoke: Temperature definitely, you can cause some extreme conditions in small areas for short periods with fire / ice spells, but no large-scale weather changes at the moment.
2016-11-28_22:30:53 GMT Horsejoke: Ok
2016-11-28_22:31:26 GMT Horsejoke: Nope, gave you a pretty nice line directly from me that should explain things pretty well.
2016-11-28_22:31:44 GMT Horsejoke: I can't give a number, but it's definitely bigger than 1k KM2
2016-11-28_22:32:46 GMT Horsejoke: Well we still have Hanukkah and Kwanzaa and Decemberween
2016-11-28_22:33:29 GMT Horsejoke: It's an upgradeable stat.
2016-11-28_22:35:01 GMT Horsejoke: We're getting new builds left and right, and things are getting ironed out a little more clearly as development continues to ramp up.
2016-11-28_22:35:14 GMT Horsejoke: Everything is still all subject to change but I can give somewhat more solid responses now.
2016-11-28_22:36:00 GMT Horsejoke: There has only ever been one good game, and that is Crazy Bus.
2016-11-28_22:38:27 GMT Horsejoke: Yeah I got you, I just wanted to mess around a bit. I think it's cool and there are a bunch of unique and ambitious mechanics that I haven't experienced in any other game - the way leveling works now is cool because, much like TES, it rewards you for doing the stuff you're already doing instead of just killing infinite goblins to somehow level up your basketweaving.
2016-11-28_22:39:24 GMT Horsejoke: I can't say that I'm unbiased because I'm too invested in the game professionally, but I think it has potential and people who understand what they're getting into will enjoy the game a lot.
2016-11-28_22:39:31 GMT Horsejoke: For a long time - a lot of the meat in the game is based on player interaction, so if they invest in it, it'll give returns.
2016-11-28_22:41:32 GMT Horsejoke: Taming is a pretty big deal, even though you definitely don't have to do it. Having a bunch of pets and mounts makes you feel pretty awesome. Goblins aren't tamable, but you can still interact with them in ways that don't involve putting on your robe and wizard hat and turning them into a fine mist.
2016-11-28_22:44:14 GMT Horsejoke: UE 4 is an awesome engine, and we're working hard to make it as fluid as possible, but as an online game, latency is obviously an issue, and because of how many interactive objects there are, it's even more of a concern. It's not as smooth as a single-player action game, but it runs well enough on a decent setup and we're continuing to optimize it.
2016-11-28_23:23:31 GMT Horsejoke: It's (as of now) mostly third-person action combat. There are a lot of big spells, including damaging / CC-focused spells, melee and ranged weapons, and a few other things. 1:1 PvP won't be as common as larger engagements or guerilla warfare, but if you go around looking for lone players to fight you'll probably have to lead your attacks since spells / attacks aren't targeted, and a lot of dodging and tricky movement.
2016-11-28_23:26:56 GMT Horsejoke: It defaults to third-person right now, I think they had issues balancing the two perspectives. First-person is in for some things, but not everything. I think a major issue they ran into was managing spell effects in first-person; a lot of them are pretty flashy, so if you're holding a glowing stave in one hand and running through a bunch of spells it's literally impossible to see what's going on.
2016-11-28_23:29:23 GMT Horsejoke: Yeah, there are a bunch of effects for offensive spells, even in 3rd person it can get overwhelming in big fights.
2016-11-28_23:30:41 GMT Horsejoke: You can, but I'm not sure if we'll be allowing a menu option for default 1st person for just walking around at EA launch. First-person is in for riding mounts and (I think) a few other things, but we'll be looking for feedback from players about how they like the perspective.
2016-11-28_23:33:12 GMT Horsejoke: Not that specifically, but issues like that are what informed the decision to default to third-person.
2016-11-28_23:33:55 GMT Horsejoke: We'll see how players like it - it's UE4 so technically it shouldn't be difficult to implement a first-person option just to have it, but I don't know the design team's feelings about that right now.
2016-11-28_23:34:29 GMT Horsejoke: Like I've said before, if there's something you (and other players) are passionate about that you don't like after experiencing it for yourself, we'll always be looking for ways to improve the game.
2016-11-28_23:44:17 GMT Horsejoke: It's definitely slower than BDO, the combat is also completely different from BDO
2016-11-28_23:44:54 GMT Horsejoke: Changing default perspective in UE4 is also super simple, so it wasn't like we had a team slaving over the implementation for weeks.
2016-11-28_23:46:38 GMT Horsejoke: They were always the same, since it's just the camera changing places.
2016-11-28_23:47:00 GMT Horsejoke: Does ESO have unique animations for first-person too, or just Skyrim?
2016-11-28_23:48:25 GMT Horsejoke: That's pretty cool - I'm not sure we have the capability for that and it's definitely not a priority at the moment. Animations have always been the same for first and third person in DnL.
2016-11-28_23:58:34 GMT Horsejoke: Can't C/D instanced dungeons at the moment, but most of the content involves being in the same world as everyone else.
2016-11-29_00:00:42 GMT Horsejoke: It's actually fairly linear in that you'll unlock skills in individual trees in a linear order, but D&L can be as deep as you want to make it. If you want to live in a city and buy everything with in-game currency then that's totally up to you, or you could make some crazy volcano villain base and command an army of (insert creature here) if you want.
2016-11-29_00:01:26 GMT Horsejoke: Invoking the name of the mountain is a dangerous gambit
2016-11-29_00:01:29 GMT Horsejoke: proceed with caution
2016-11-29_00:02:36 GMT Horsejoke: Eclipses are random events that cause stuff to get real crazy, not sure what else there may be at EA launch.
2016-11-29_00:09:41 GMT Horsejoke: Not solid date yet, sorry!
2016-11-29_00:10:23 GMT Horsejoke: No seasons at the moment, but random weather effects are in. Social interaction is limited ATM, it'll be something we look into expanding during EA.
2016-11-29_00:11:26 GMT Horsejoke: Thanks! I had a great Thanksgiving, I cooked a ton of food. I always try to find interesting things to do with turkey so I broke down and sous-vide a whole turkey over 24 hours and pan seared it in butter.
2016-11-29_00:11:34 GMT Horsejoke: Crystals everywhere
2016-11-29_00:12:12 GMT Horsejoke: There may be some parallels, but you won't get stuck on a boat for 8 real-time years in DnL, don't worry.
2016-11-29_00:15:37 GMT Horsejoke: Probably ESO, though I haven't played much of it myself.
2016-11-29_00:16:32 GMT Horsejoke: ESO mixed with The Culling and other combat-focused survival games maybe?
2016-11-29_00:16:39 GMT Horsejoke: It's hard for me to come up with a satisfying parallel
2016-11-29_00:20:12 GMT Horsejoke: Yeah that's probably fair, I don't think it was a very good comparison to make. H1Z1 is probably more appropriate.
2016-11-29_00:20:47 GMT Horsejoke: The range that we have right now is Under 40k KM2 but much larger than 1k KM2
2016-11-29_00:21:08 GMT Horsejoke: Official numbers coming closer to the Early Access launch
2016-11-29_00:23:53 GMT Horsejoke: It's a big world, but starter cities are meant to function as hubs for players to meet up and form groups, which should alleviate the issue of randomly spawning in a big world with no clear direction, like NMS.
2016-11-29_00:24:46 GMT Horsejoke: No fixed numbers just yet, and most likely some shifting throughout EA.
2016-11-29_00:30:03 GMT Horsejoke: Snail has 3k+ employees globally, in the US office we have <20 people
2016-11-29_00:30:20 GMT Horsejoke: Which website?
2016-11-29_00:32:35 GMT Horsejoke: Oh yeah the US team never actually had control over the CMS for that page, it was a corporate initiative to create a unified brand, but they just stopped updating it after a while.
2016-11-29_00:32:56 GMT Horsejoke: Each game is its own entity now pretty much, each game also has its own dedicated CS team.
2016-11-29_00:34:35 GMT Horsejoke: We're not really worried, we're more interested to see how things go once players get a hold of the game.
2016-11-29_00:35:08 GMT Horsejoke: Players interested in PvPing will PvP, so we'll see what we need to change to make it more accessible / frequent if necessary
2016-11-29_00:36:28 GMT Horsejoke: People do crazy stuff to enable PvP leagues in games where it was never really meant to exist.
2016-11-29_00:37:43 GMT Horsejoke: The souls series is a good case study on community PvP development, people just developed their own rule sets, decorum, arenas, etc. with a super janky online system
2016-11-29_00:38:39 GMT Horsejoke: You'll need to track down certain materials, but you won't need to murder an ent every time you want to refuel your fireplace.
2016-11-29_00:41:32 GMT Horsejoke: Not with the way the leveling system works now, there should be no need to respec unless you put all of your attributes into your mana pool and you never plan on casting a single spell.
2016-11-29_00:42:05 GMT Horsejoke: Yeah, that's always been the case
2016-11-29_00:43:33 GMT Horsejoke: Portals, flying mounts, good old fashioned elbow grease
2016-11-29_00:44:13 GMT Horsejoke: No official release date just yet, so I can't comment on that right now.
2016-11-29_00:48:33 GMT Horsejoke: No wings at the moment.
2016-11-29_00:48:59 GMT Horsejoke: Item bar, some of the info I provided about catalysts earlier today may give you some idea about how spellcasting may work.
2016-11-29_19:42:18 GMT Horsejoke: Going alright, except the weather here is being super weird and it's switching from somewhat cold to somewhat hot randomly. How about yourself?
2016-11-29_20:05:59 GMT Horsejoke: Fact
2016-11-29_20:06:37 GMT Horsejoke: I'm glad we've been able to share screenshots outside of press releases, but there's been a dry spell of info and I'm taking a break from localization right now so I'm getting back to doing a Q&A
2016-11-29_20:06:46 GMT Horsejoke: hopefully I'll have it up by this evening PST
2016-11-29_20:07:19 GMT Horsejoke: Well there actually hasn't been a dry spell, we've been sharing much more info than we have in the past recently so... I'm just doing it to do it
2016-11-29_20:07:46 GMT Horsejoke: Good question Asher, announcement eventually.
2016-11-29_20:10:37 GMT Horsejoke: I have access to the latest build now and I've been messing around on it trying to break it and offering pre-EA feedback to the dev team. Because it's a test environment though, it's pretty often that it's not live most days.
2016-11-29_20:11:17 GMT Horsejoke: Yeah, we've shown Vardo before so I've been prioritizing the other cities.
2016-11-29_20:11:47 GMT Horsejoke: But yes it is the human city, even though in the lore Vardo is the Elvish word for protection.
2016-11-29_20:18:05 GMT Horsejoke: Yep
2016-11-29_20:21:23 GMT Horsejoke: We aren't fully ready to commit to an answer on that just yet, the faction / race system is in a bit of flux right now as the team is iterating. Remember that this is still an Early Access launch, so while that may seem like a fundamental thing, we're still expecting a number of changes between EA and full launch.
2016-11-29_20:26:22 GMT Horsejoke: No official confirmation on anything for the 15th, the 2p article is legit.
2016-11-29_20:39:53 GMT Horsejoke: They... don't really share my sense of humor. I'm not particularly invested in the Conan canon (Conon?) so I don't have much interest in it myself.
2016-11-29_20:40:13 GMT Horsejoke: It looks pretty neat though.
2016-11-29_20:46:58 GMT Horsejoke: It's just a quick impromptu one, any heavy questions I'd just leave for another time. I'll finish up the ones here and then just do the stuff from <#240204914314182666> in the Q&A later today
2016-11-29_20:57:23 GMT Horsejoke: There are a bunch of different components and material tiers for constructing a house, but you'll only be able to use like materials within a structure (wood to wood, etc.), so you'll be able to make more than a shack out in the wilderness, but probably nothing quite as grandiose as the main castle in a city.
2016-11-29_20:58:44 GMT Horsejoke: I have played Dwarf Fortress, but I usually make elves or humans in fantasy games
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