Issue #7 - Saturday 6th August 2011Introduction
As you may have noticed in the last Stellar Dawn Central Post, we've been working on the layout and content since we recruited new staff. Thanks to the new graphics team, as well as the new writers and researchers for their input on that. We would also like to give a special thanks to EliteZeon who designed the new flourishes, and the illustration. Not that he's the only one, Ren has done a great job at arranging the fonts and plenty of others have pitched in as well.
This week we're introducing a new style of SDCP. The research and editorial articles will remain, but we're alternating the more serious article-based issues with "lighter" ones; a comic and a short story this time. In the future we might mix it up a little, with shorter or informal articles, and maybe even some videos. We're calling these 'B-type' posts, but if you have any suggestions for another name we'd be glad to hear them. Feel free to share what you think of these posts, what you'd like to see and anything else.
Hope you enjoy it
-Alex (and the rest of the SDC staff team!)
Story By Alex
It was laid as a pale egg. The seed of a city. The plastic ball, deformed by the vast force of the impact it had endured. Dropped from space, it had burned through the atmosphere until the milky white outer coating glowed a burning orange colour and a streak of vapour left a scar in the sky. It finally finished its journey by hitting the ground with enough heat and force to melt the soil and rock and leave a small crater behind, as a mist of molten plastic shavings settled like snowflakes.
It didn't yet have eyes to see or ears to hear, but quickly the sensors on the probe sprung into action to rectify this. It followed the instructions it had been given when it was built, and started analyzing its surroundings. It was one of seven probes, seven identical machines used to test the possible sites for the first settlement on the planet. The preliminary results gathered from space were all good, the planet was habitable. The geophysical scanners on the escape ship had set to the task of finding places to live, and seven were seen as possible sites. The probe's task was to gather enough data to decide between the seven.
The tests it could carry out without movement were complete. All was good, the data was beamed back up to the ship. It sat idle while the computers calculated the most viable areas to live, and the people decided where they wanted to live. A day passed, lasting less time than the people on the ship were used to but not outside acceptable bounds. Four of the seven sites were eliminated - too hot, too cold, salted water, bad soil.
The next phase of the test begun. The location beacons of the probes already on the ground guided down some assistants to help them survey the area more thoroughly. Eight plastic pods studded the landscape forming a circle around the original probe, reaching out to each other with tendrils of radio waves and greetings of clicks and beeps. Each of the eight pods splintered apart: opening up like flower petals to release a payload of a dozen hovering miniature scanners which glided past each other in a complex weaving route. Between them, the entire area of the proposed settlement and its surroundings was mapped, logged and recorded.
A few more days followed once the result had been sent off. One of the remaining three sites was struck off upon closer inspection due to a mazelike system of caverns underneath the rock that the ship scanner couldn't penetrate; it was far too risky - the area might collapse under the weight of buildings or the caves could be a sign of tectonic activity. It was impossible to tell; the scanners malfunctioned due to magnetic interference inside. The sensors were dispatched to assist at the other two sites, adding streaks of explored territory to the map as they travelled. Of course the regions of the planet, as well as lots of information about the rock type and chemical composition were observable from space, but apart from the unmanned drones there had been nothing on the ground. Fuel was too scarce to return people to orbit or manufacture the copious amount of drones needed to flood the planet and find out everything, which was why they needed a settlement with manufacturing plants up and running as soon as possible. Even once a settlement was built, the tight rationing of resources would mean that some frontiers would go unexplored for years.
The data was all there now, it was time for the decision. Both of the remaining sites had good temperatures, good humidity, good soil... both would provide just fine for the people on the escape ship. The deciding factor was the landscape: one site was within the huge caldera of a long-dead volcano, the other on a simple flat plain. The caldera would be harder to build on, as the flat inner area would have to be preserved for farmland, and the space for expansion was therefore a lot more limited, but it was a very strong defensive position. The plains were wide open to attack, but the flat land meant the city could expand easily with no worry about preserving farmland.
It was an illogical decision, there was nothing to suggest that the people on the ship would be attacked. There was no evidence that there was any hostile life on the planet, it was just paranoia and the element of reassurance that appealed to people. The machines told them it was the wrong choice to make.
The machines later proved they weren't to be trusted.
"Why MechScape Was Really Cancelled"
Comic #001 - By Flatypus
Jagex and Community News
- Ren has created a thread where you can vote for your preferred T-shirt size, in case we ever hold a contest where T-shirts were the prize. You can vote for your preferred T-shirt size here.
- Unique has had the idea of asking which prizes you would like to see in future competitions. You can say which prizes you would like to see here.
- Ren has also posted a thread in which you can tell him what contests you would like to see in the future, so if you're sick of seeing all the art and writing competitions (or if you love them) you can tell him what you would like to see here.
- Some CM switching has been happening in Jagex, and as such Spaceone is no longer the Stellar Dawn CM. Instead Kat has taken his place. Let's hope that she's as awesome as Spaceone was! Other notable changes include Mod Captain now being the CM for Transformers Universe. You can read up on the changes here.
Previous Stellar Dawn Central Posts
- SDC Post #6 - 27 July 2011 - Fen Research Limited
- SDC Post #5 - 14 July 2011 - The Future of Stellar Dawn Central
- SDC Post #4 - 18 June 2011 - Stellar Dawn: A Vision of What it Could Be
- SDC Post #3 - 26 February 2011 - Jagex, Microtransactions and RWT
- SDC Post #2 - 11 February 2011 - The State of Jagex
- SDC Post #1 - 19 January 2011 - FourthScape: Jagex's New(ish) Fantasy MMORPG
Contributors: Alex, EliteZeon, Flatypus, Killrrhubarb, Laurie, Max, MC, Pliigi, Ren.
Disclaimer: Views expressed by members of staff do not necessarily represent the view of Stellar Dawn Central.