Strike a Pose

Have you ever noticed in the Star Trek universe that when someone fires a phaser they, well they strike a pose! i mean even the ships seem to be doing it. They dont just shoot, they pose. The ships tend to pirouette and rotate or stand menacingly over the foe while raining down destruction. But the actors, well i can only assume that it is something that is taught at the academy. “now cadets today we will learn the various stances involved when firing a phaser.” star_trek_cosplay___phasers_by_eloquium-d67hphp

Not that i am saying that all poses are like the one performed by the cos player above. But they do strike some remarkable poses. in fact i was thinking about it today and as i had a certain piece on music i decided to do something, which in itself lead to me creating the new Trek News and Views You tube channel.

Go easy on me its my first go…..

click on me

 

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My BFF

  
William Shatner has written many books, while also being an actor/producer/director and on occasion a documentary maker. But this book unlike any other of his creations is a very personal insight into a personal relationship. 

Not many of us can say that we have had a friendship that has lasted 50 years, a lifetime in some cases. I know I certainly can’t. My longest friendship outside of relationships would be 8 years. But these two men who have figured in my life and viewing pleasure since i was a child, managed something that few of us can. It’s brave of William Shatner to put his friendship with Leonard Nimoy up for public scrutiny. The glare of Star Trek fans as well as the press was always bound to be focused on this book, advance orders hit Amazon as soon as it was made available. But it was all the more poignant because this was not just a man telling the world about his friendship. This was and is a man, in his own immutable style, paying his own tribute to not only his friend but also an icon to Star Trek fans and a well established and respected person in the field of entertainment. 

  
So how does Mr Shatner go about this? Well he does so in a heart felt and thoughtful way. He could so easily have gone down the sensationalist route. But no, he starts off by laying the ground of their  forthcoming friendship by showing the similarities of both men’s early lives. Now if you’ve read Leonard Nimoys biographies, as well as William Shatners various books about himself. Then the first portion of the book won’t tell you anything new. It is in essence the early part of both men’s careers. But what he does do, is show how they overlapped in various ways, how they went through similar experiences. He draws a narrative and a picture in your mind about them, enabling you to see how and why they ended up as friends. 

But his also honest, he tells how in the early days of Star Trek they didn’t immediately get on, how he upset Leonard with his casual cavalier approach to acting, which was the opposite of Nimoys methodical character driven style. He openly admits to having upset Leonard when they filmed the Horta scenes, because Leonard Nimoy thought that Shatner was making fun of him in exchange for a cheap joke. But then you see the other side of the relationship with the banter and the practical jokes, including one about Nimoys pushbike suddenly finding itself hanging from the rafters.  

 
The book contains some wonderful photos from across the 50 years they have known each other, some of which are true reflections of friendship. It’s nice to see that despite the well published and well known animosity that existed on the Star Trek sets, these two managed to forge a friendship and understanding. An understanding that helped them both, albiet in different ways. For instance Shatners tells the story of his wife who was an alcoholic, an addiction that ultimately and sadly led to her death. He uses this to weave in Leonard Nimoys own alcohol addiction, Which Shatner was unaware of for years, but which helped him talk to Nimoy about his wife to be and her own demons. Common ground, it may be from two different perspectives, but it helps when you can talk to someone who understands. Even more so when they’ve been there themselves. It’s this and other stories in the book that indicate how strong and open their friendship was. 

  

  Of course there are insights into what went on on set. The view of not only working with each but also directing each other. He comments on the rumour mill and media frenzy that circulated (pre Internet), about Spocks death and why Nimoy viewed Spock in very different ways throughout his career. 

But all through Shatner, while taking various chances to tell you more than a little about himself, conveys how important Leonard Nimoy was to him and his life. How in a business where everyone pretends to be your friend for as long as your working together, true friendship and camaraderie is rare. 

  

They have both had ups and downs and both have suffered marriage break ups, they’ve polarised people on various topics. Been involved in many ventures and have very varied outside interests and passions. Leonard Nimoy is an accomplished photographic artist. William Shatner a successful horse breeder and dog lover. But they have a passion for acting, for entertaining and that shared interest and passion was what brought them together and held them together. 

It’s ironic that despite all the movies and tv shows that they’ve both been involved in, it was the convention circuit that forged the bond. Being on the road and turning up at various venues at the same time. Meant that they spent a lot of time together, this allowed them time to talk to each, share life and grow a friendship. The fact that Shatner at first didn’t understand the clamour of the fan base, makes the fact that this was where a friendship was born. All the more poignant.  

 
Alas as Q said, “all good things must come to an end.” And sadly Leonard’s other addiction to cigarettes ultimately took him from us. Shatner conveys his pain about this In the book, plus the pain that at the end of Leonard’s life he and William where not on speaking terms. He tells us how he is at a loss as to understand why, even reaching out to Leonard via a letter only a month before he passed. It’s true that for people with terminal illness certain things do get left, perhaps he intended to contact William Shatner. But we will never know. 

What I do know is that they shared much and had much in common. To have had any true deep friendship in life is a blessing. To have enjoyed that for 50 years, is truly something to be thankful for. 

Leonard Nimoy has been Spock in my life for decades, his last outing in that role in “Star Trek Into Darkness,” Is something I treasure. He and Spock are the reason I got into Star Trek. His portrayal of the character and his acting where both sublime and powerful, he was a true giant in the field and an inspiration to millions. 

I hope that somewhere his doing something he enjoys, because to me, he truly deserves a glorious after life. 

There are two quotes that to me sum up this friendship; 

Spock Prime: “Because you needed each other I could not deprive you of the revelation of all that you could accomplish together, of a friendship that will define you both in ways you cannot yet understand.” 

And of course. 

  
Live long and Proper đź–– 

Star Trek timelines pt 2

So I have been playing Timelines for a few weeks now and thought I’d share my thoughts.  

 
I’ve worked through various missions on “normal,” and have found quite a few problems. The first and most apparent one is the small amount of missions you can run in one go. Your chronitons  can take a while to fill up, but you can burn through 40-50 of them in no time. Especially when your chasing loot. This means you end up playing periodically while you wait for them to refill . The other alternative while waiting for this is to run faction missions, which you buy via merits, which you earn by running missions, which need chronitons…you can see where I’m going.

The other alternative is to buy merits with dilithium which you buy with real money. So while waiting for your chronitons, you can buy merits, using dilithium, which use real money via in game purchases. You can then run faction missions which may or not drop the loot you need to rank up a player.

Which brings me to the next problem. Ranking up.  

 
I’ve have been trying to rank up my command staff and my engineer staff, in order to complete the next mission. A mission I have been stuck on for three days now, simply because my officers are to low. My engineer (Mr Tucker no less), needs one item to rank up. I have ran the mission to get this one item 57 times, I kid you not. 57 times to get one thing for one player. One of four I need to complete one mission. Jayneway meanwhile also needs two components. When not running the missions for Tucker I run the one for Jayneway. Just to lighten the intense boredom. Jayneway is now on 42. So that’s 57 times for one thing for Tucker and 42 times for one piece for Jayneway. This is not unusual, pop into the chat stream in game and a lot of people are stuck and unable to progress & so are getting frustrated. You do not endear your self to your player base by making it difficult for them to complete even the lowest levels.  

 
Still no pvp in game so alas I cant comment on that, but I can comment on in game purchases. A complaint amongst the players is that they’ve made in game purchases and not received them. 

In a attempt to boost chroniton delivery you can make an in game purchase and get a VIP level. You also get in game advantages such as better daily prizes. I personally made an in game purchase and received…nothing. 

Off to the support forums to ask about my in game purchase and…nothing. I’ll give them till tomorrow I thought. Tomorrow came and still nothing. Back to support, yet another email and…nothing. 

This took a week to resolve and has totally put me off in game purchases. I play Star Trek online, in game purchases in STO happen immediately. You click confirm and its done and immediately available. Also in STO, you can play missions without endlessly running something over and over in order to gain one item, of many items you need. 

The other problem with timelines is the fleet system, it simply serves no point. You gain absolutely nothing from being in a fleet. Sure you have a chat room. But you also have that in the main game. I can’t see any advantage from being a fleet member. You can’t run a mission together, you can’t send each other equipment, you can’t share anything apart from tips, which again you can do via the normal in game chat. Fleets are just there. 

As it stands timelines is ok as a casual phone based game and the graphics are good. But the game play is frustrating, the grinding is terrible and at times soul destroying in its repetitive nature. While in game purchases need speeding up and also need to actually happen.

On a scale on 1-10 I’d give it 5, shows promise by needs a lot of work. 

Star Trek Timelines

  
As some of you may be aware Star Trek timelines is now live on the Apple and Andriod store, well yours truly has been a beta tester for this app and so I’d like to give you a heads up on it. 

  
You start of the game with the basic ship which you can see in the image above. The ability to upgrade your ship and crew forms just one of the many segments of the game. The choice of ships is impressive from a Steam runner class, all the way up to a Borg cube. You improve your ship by finding and collecting schematics, these are “drops” in certain missions or you can buy them from the dilithium store. Obviously buying them means you get your hands on your desired ship quicker. But it is possible to get the schematics by grinding missions, although this takes a while.

  
  
Now once you’ve got your ship you hit Warp and travel to various places in the galaxy to run faction missions, see above. The faction missions reward you with credits and item drops. The credits you accumulate and can spend in the ingame store, when you perform tasks in games you also earn chronitons. The chronitons are a second ingame currency, these you use to buy away team slots and or equipment to upgrade your officers and ship. They are also another way to get ship schematics. The time portal is in the ingame store for credits, chronitons you spend at “home planets, I.e Earth for the federation. A tip on credits, you can spend in two ways, one that’s costs a small amount and one that costs a significant amount. Save up and buy at the higher cost. The rewards this generates are bigger and can also include an officer. The third currency is the afore mentioned dilithium. This costs real money via an in game purchase. Which is a crucial point, although this app is free to download at some point your going to have to part with money in order to achieve certain things. But as they say, no such thing as a free lunch. 

  
Your officers have slots seen on the image above, the missions you run give “drops.” These drops go in the slots when you have filled four slots you officer can rank up in ability and skill level. This part can be annoying. I once ran a mission 14 times to get the desired item I needed. Which depletes your in game energy and meant it took me the best part of a day to get one item. This increases in frustration when your officer needs to rank up to complete a mission. You see they move up in blocks of ten. I had to have an engineer with lvl 50 engineering skills to compete a section. So effectively I was stuck until I achieved this. Which brings me to faction missions and your team. 

You need a varied team, some faction missions for instance need an engineer, a scientist and a medic. Others need command officers and so on. But you only have four slots per mission and your officer roster also has a fixed number of slots. This of course means you only have a fixed number of officers to choose your four “mission” officers from, well unless you buy more slots, which yes you guessed it costs real money. 

  
The game also involves ship battles which can also be affected by the officers you choose. You start off with one slot and as you rank up you gain more slots. To get to two slots as shown above you have to be level 15 ingame. Later on they’ll also introduce pvp so you may want to make sure you have a good slot selection and ship before taking on other players. 

The final element is away missions. These are linked to factions and you select officers to complete a mission, load them onto a shuttle and off they go while you carry on with the game. At the start these are quick say 30 seconds to 10 minutes. As you progress they take up to 3 hours. Keep that in mind, because you sometimes have to send your best officers on away missions in order to complete them. I ran them while I slept or started them prior to work. You officers are then available to you when you need them to run other missions. 

  
Over all I enjoyed the game, yes it has some things that need working on, I felt ship battle was lacking. But my advice, it’s a free download so you have nothing to loose. Try it and you’ll find you can do a lot without spending money. If your enjoying it and seeing where it’s going then what you spend and how far you go is up to you. 

One final thing, you need access to the Internet, so if your not in wifi watch your data limit. Oh and John de Lancie is your guide as Q. 

2016 

So another has come and gone and although we never gained flying cars or hoverboards, from a Star Trek point of view we gained the revelation of a new series. 

  
In 2017, as I’m sure your aware,a brand new series will be available. Although the details of the show, in relation to settings,cast,ships and so on are unknown. It hasn’t stopped our minds ticking over with thoughts,conjection and many discussions on social media.

Also an unknown is how they plan to make the series available outside the USA. Although many European TV companies immediately launched into action to try and be “The,” distributor for their particular country. 

Also at the end of 2015 a promo video was released for the next movie. This promptly made social media once again become a fever pitch of differing view points. Some saw the clip as realisation of their worst fears, “They’ve made fast and furious in space!, there’s even a f****** motorbike doing a jump!” Was one of many comments that I saw. Many held out little hope for the film, which prompted the director and writer to take to the air waves and try to alleviate people’s fears.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XRVD32rnzOw
The one thing that did jump out at me in the clip was the fact that the Enterprise is apparently destroyed. This I have to admit I was dismayed to see. Sure the flagship of the Federation has been destroyed in movies before. What I was shocked at, was the fact that they included it in the trailer. Something as major as that, I felt sure would have been best left for us to see in the cinema. Not going into the film knowing its demise is inevitable. Still at least Deanna wasn’t flying this time. 

2016 is also the 50th anniversary of our beloved franchise. Having spawned a plethora of tv,films,books,games and cos players. It’s still going strong. Alas we have sadly lost some favourite actors during 2015, including my particular favourite the awesome Leonard Nimoy. His portrayal of Spock was the thing that hooked me into Star Trek, along with the utopian view and the fact that the persecuted would be freed. 

    
The clamour for tickets for Vegas, despite the obvious and blatant exploitation that creation are undertaking (they make the Ferengi look generous), bodes well for the future of the fan base. Which in turn bodes well for the future of the franchise, the box office returns of the last two films, $385.7 million and $467.4 million worldwide, means paramount has no hesitation in planning for a fourth film in the new universe, before the third has hit the screens. This and the new series means we have plenty to be hopeful for in regards the future. 

  
As for Trek News and Views, well when I started the podcast way back way, after nurturing the idea for a good 6 months, it was a very uncrowned market place. Now you can’t shake an IPod with hitting a Star Trek podcast. For example when Chris owner and the man in the big chair as Trek.fm asked me to join, there was only the Ready Room, which I see as TNVs cultured and less chaotic big brother. As well as the hyper channel, while Chris mulled various other ideas in his head. Whereas now Trek Fm has 22 podcasts in its feed, of which I’m glad to say I created 3. 

Podcasting is something I enjoy and although due to ill health I no longer have an active podcast, I still enjoy appearing on other peoples shows. The Lou Trek Show have been very active is inviting me on and I do enjoy podcasting with Lou and   James. http://www.trekmate.org.uk/category/the-battle-bridge/

The Battle Bridge is also part of another network where I have made guest appearances on a variety of shows, the Trekmate network.

Along with Trekmate,Trek fm and other friends in podcasting such as The Gatecast Podcast http://gatecast.co.uk and the awesome Treknologic http://www.treknologic.com, the Scifi Diner podcast & The Babylon Project  I’ve been blessed with both friendship and podcasting opportunities. 

  
These oppourtunities manifested in 2014 with Frak Stars thanks to HoloSuite Media, http://holosuitemedia.com/home/frakstars/ 

So I was able to keep my hand in so to speak, while my co hosts made it easy to have time of for various medical reasons as and when needed, of course Steve is a Borg and Drogyn never appears to take off his racing helmet, but it’s part of the charm. 

But I digress and also I’m waffling a bit. 2016 is a year I’m hoping will be a good one, free from death and other soul sapping instances. One of joy and fun and opportunity, one where this blog will be more active and one where I hope to return to Star Trek podcasting, my head is still full of ideas and thoughts. 

So here’s to 2016 and may the wind be at your backs.