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Drone Bay Sneak Peek

Posted by Zaubermancy , 17 March 2015 · 6,210 views
Kickstarter, Development and 2 more...
Drone Bay Sneak Peek Get ready, awesome sneak peek ahead: here's the future home of your hulking Panzers, your teched-out Augers, all of your personal space-crusading death machines.

The drone bay is a 3D hub screen and tool for preserving your ships between missions.

But this hallowed hall isn't just a place to patch hull dents and scrape off molten slag. It’s where you’ll tailor Descent: Underground to your gaming preferences.

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You'll configure your ships' armaments; you’ll swap in new wings, noses, and tail pieces; paint on decals and art; make custom looks on the fly - and it will all take place in your personal drone bay.

Now is your chance to be a part of this exciting Kickstarter campaign.
Join us as we re-imagine a PC gaming classic - Descent: Underground.


If you are like us here, at Descendent Studios, I am sure you are a huge fan of the Gold Box Dungeons and Dragons games.

TSI, the spiritual successor to SSI, has just launched a brand new Kickstarter.

In Seven Dragon Saga you will shape the wild and dangerous Drakelands with your choices. Impress with noble deeds. Coerce with threats and violence. Or simply lay waste to the empire's enemies without mercy or regret.

The game will feature tactical, turn-based combat and a dramatic storyline with plenty of side content to explore. If that kind of game thrills you as well, then hop over to their Kickstarter and show those guys some love and let's get a great new game funded.

Thanks to all of you for your continued support.


First Update on a Fantastic Kickstart!

Posted by Zaubermancy , 11 March 2015 · 2,289 views
Kickstarter, Update, Maps and 2 more...
Greetings and many thanks to everyone in the Descent: Underground Community!

As the type enters this blog post, we have received $142,095 in pledges from 2,186 backers. Already we're a staff pick!

On that first day we earned about 20% of our entire goal! We're trending to an amount that will give you a stellar space experience with incredible graphics, varied and detailed maps, intriguing ship designs and customization options, and all the other aspects of a perfect space game.

The enthusiasm is rushing forward with hull-shattering force, and we have you to thank! From these beginnings, we're on track for a smashing success.

So how can you help now?

Make sure to spread the word to your friends, and keep visiting our website and Descent: Underground's Facebook page. This game needs more love and support to come to life!

Here is a little link to our Kickstarter update. Take a look, and you'll get another cool surprise: a sneak peak video of a WIP battle map.

As a side note, Zaubermancy is glad to be back!


RatKing Missile Returns to the Battlefield

Posted by Zaubermancy , 26 January 2015 · 2,145 views
Lore and Fiction and 2 more...
[font=arial]Panspermia Weekly News [/font]


[font=arial]RatKing Missile Returns to the Battlefield
By Sports Writer Hagway Dawson

Streaking by with a basket-ball sized red tracer light, the oblong missile pod drifts into cockpit view. Competitor Hao Tsu’s shouting fills the cabin. Sixteen warheads detach lazily from the pod, like dandelion seeds into zero gravity. Warning splashes flicker across Hao Tsu’s HUD. Cursing and prayers. Then, as if waking from a dream, each of the sixteen explosives streaks out in different directions. A few go for large asteroids. Two burst through the cockpit optical windows and implode, taking camera and all. A millisecond of blood spatter followed by static.

In that infamous recording, 4.25 billion sport hubcast viewers were introduced to The RatKing Missile. Destructive, cheap, and nearly impossible to avoid in contemporary craft, the innovative multi-missile delivery system brought bloody infamy to Manchester-based Black Diamond Air and Space. From its invention in 2251 the weapon was a verifiable king of warfare. And if plans go right, it may make an appearance again in the 2313 Sky Cup games.

“Truly despicable,” says veteran pilot and instructor Dan Hong. “Any pilot who flew in those days was touched by the staggering loss of life. Euro-pilots back then didn’t even have to aim the damn things; on shot and they’d leave dozens of brave contractors slaughtered. What cowards.”

Loss of personnel was great, but that alone did not motivate the weapon’s eventual ban by most corporate powers. Worse were the environmental hazards of detonation. RatKing’s were known to leave uncontrollably large swaths of destruction, reducing valuable mining regions to rubble.

In addition, about 10% of all RatKings produced had faulty fuses. Instead of correctly finding targets, some projectiles simply drift off. Unexploded ordnance only added more hazards to a sector plagued by RatKings. In one independent study, scientists estimated that one RatKing detonation cost about 1.4 million w-chits in lost revenue. The full pod, with all sixteen warheads, costs about 3000 to make.

“During weapons testing, nobody thought it’d be such a big deal,” says one ex-Black Diamond explosive engineer who chose to remain anonymous. “At our Earthside testing sites they showed fairly poor numbers. Nothing special except they made a helluva lot of noise. Seriously, it’s like God making popcorn. But nobody considered all the crap they could make in a zero-g.”

Even today, now that only drone piloting is legal, use of the missile is considered a war crime punishable by steep worldwide trade censure. But recently a modified version was deployed during a preliminary Sky Cup scrimmage match, stunning audiences yet again. Andrek Ryce, captain of team Broken Zodiac, winners of the 2299 championship, claims the design should be made tournament legal.

“We developed smaller payloads and better self-destruct systems to make a gentler, safer RatKing design,” said Ryce in a heated press conference. “We aren’t afraid to learn from the past; some people call it taboo. We call it good strategy.”

As of this time, the CPIA has yet to officially rule on the legality of the weapon.


Godfather of Mineral Sports: An Interview with Boyd Ulbrick

Posted by Zaubermancy , 18 January 2015 · 2,643 views
Lore and Fiction and 1 more...
Panspermia Weekly News


Godfather of Mineral Sports: An Interview with Boyd Ulbrick
By Colin Sward

Mr. Boyd Ulbrick, CEO of Ulbrick-Stantz Financial and the most famous personality in mineral sports, shakes my hand on the roof of his towering Red Rapids Casino. The nighttime view, the highest man-made altitude in Montana, twinkles with lights from distant settlements. With his other hand Mr. Ulbrick offers a sparkling water, easily worth a working man’s annual salary. Despite the dark he wears sunglasses. His trademark silver rattail whips around in the wind.

His welcoming smile matches the ubiquitous Boyd and Sons™ team logo uncannily well; it’s like talking to the team poster made flesh. It is both an honor and a fright to meet the godfather of mineral contract gaming.

S: Years from now, how will people remember Mr. Boyd Ulbrick and what he did for mineral sports?

U: Well it won’t be as a billionaire investment banker, that’s for sure! *Mr. Ulbrick stops to laugh for a moment*

No, I’m more humble than that. I've always been a man passionate about his loves, his nation, his women, and his sports. So I just had to be a philanthropist. There is nothing more exciting than two hotshot teams dog-fighting it out in a good asteroid match. Leaving bullet holes in each other and bringing home the water. So I divested a little from Ulbrick-Stantz in the early days, got the ball rolling on investors, sponsorships, the lifeblood and hype we needed for tournament mineral sports. And here we are. Now the games are more popular than a space heater in the Iceland Guild.

And also I hope they remember me for my boys, Boyd and Sons™. Never has a prouder team flown for the good of their nation.

S: When did you first want to found a team for mineral sports?

U: Well I was just a little nugget when I watched my first Sky Cup with my Pa. Who’d a thought 50 years later I’d hold a major stake in the CPIA*?

It was the 2283 game too, when Big Vlad took out the entire North American Alliance team with one Enoch Warhead. Just traumatic. I think my young mind refused to ever see such a thing happen again. I wanted to see us bring home glory home and fly circles around those dirty oil flyers. And now Boyd and Sons™ gets to do it every season.

S: If you could fly, how would you change mineral sports?

U: You done your research! You sneaky gumshoeing sneak thief! Lovely.

Yes, in my stud days I was one of New West Point’s youngest orbital pilot inductees. But lo and behold- I couldn't sit my bare ass on my freshman bunk one day before I got my diagnosis. Vertigo. Crippling vertigo. Nasty word. If I set one foot in a harvester they’d be scraping puke off the grav differential for weeks.

But I’ll tell you son. If I could wrangle my way up there… Ahh they’d be making folklore out of me. I’d be the last living sight of so many pilots, twisting my Grand Teton Assault Singlecraft right up into their gunsights, blowing their brains out with hot plasma, hoo boy. That’s the dream anyway.

But I get to be a legend in my own way. Thanks to me, any old shmo can pay two w-chits at a Boyd and Sons™ vid hub, watch America bring home glory from the asteroid belt. And now their kids can play BoydSports 2314 on their GameCons at home.

I bring the games to the people. That’s a better kind of hero if you think about it.

S: What direction do you see the sport going? What’s the next great ship innovation that will shape tomorrow’s matches?

U: You know what the people wanna see? It's not the namby pamby stuff coming out of Norway. All their ion nets and camo mine traps. That stuff makes the sport look like a hair pulling contest.

No, we are bringing back old-fashioned North American plasma rams. Now that’s lovely. It takes salt to fly into contact distance with a bogey, turn on the burner, and cut their hull like butter. With our sleek new titanium alloy designs, our craft should be able to outpace everyone else in the tournament too. Every Boyd and Sons™ ship will have one mounted for the 2315 Sky Cup. It’ll look like a fireworks show.

S: You recently campaigned for the annulment of The Gentleman’s Human Resource Agreement of 2260, which illegalized human piloting. Your sponsored “Tournament for Humanity” is scheduled for next year, but fringe groups are already calling it, quote, “a blood sport.” Why are human pilots important for the mineral sports league?

U: Due to ongoing trials and licensing disputes I can't talk much about it.

But it’s damn sorry we have to use machines to do a man’s work. You know, all my boys train in human piloting first, harvesters and simulators second. That’s where the real heart and soul of the sport lies, in human survival, tactics, and grit, and fighting for your life. You know back in the day mineral contracts were drafted so that men and corporations could claim the space frontiers instead of starving at home. I think we lost some of ourselves when we switched to comps.

Besides, a man's only worth the cargo he flies home. I think we should remember that.

S: What advice do you have for fledgling pilots, each one itching to bring glory home to their country?

U: You know what the best training is? Observation. Visit any Boyd and Sons™ vid hub, or one of my casinos, available worldwide, and watch the games. While you’re at it, place a bet or two. You might win a little scratch!

*Combat Prospector’s Interplanetary Association

Many thanks to Nelson, Renegade-Shank, dunkelza, and all community members. Your contributions are astounding every day.


Rama Sethu Arcology Sieged by Corporate Powers

Posted by Zaubermancy , 11 January 2015 · 2,138 views
Lore and Fiction and 2 more...

[font=arial]Panspermia Weekly News[/font]


Breaking Report: Rama Sethu Arcology Sieged by Corporate Powers

[font=arial][font=arial][font=arial][font=arial]by Staff Reporter Dante Lee[/font][/font][/font][/font]

The old maxim of war says that the one thing costlier than a battle fought is a battle won. Today the market trends speak of a new pattern. Investing analysts everywhere are clicking in agreement. War has outstripped the profit potential of peace.

A violent siege ended in the twilight hours today, a cold morning in the Indian Ocean. ZendaSlev Industrial, supported by the Australian National Navy, occupied the Rama Sethu arcology after a few hours battle. Because Rama Sethu’s original founders are the Chinese-based Heaven’s Garden Astrologistics, the attack represents history’s first armed incident between megacorporate entities.

The prospect of a global diplomatic breakdown over Earth’s limited resources has many megacorporations and surviving governments racing to respond.

Although ZendaSlev and Heaven’s Garden have declined to comment on the occupation, other megacorporations worldwide have roundly condemned ZendaSlev, particularly members of the European Union.

“With sad hearts, we offer condolences to our brothers in enterprise,” said an official spokesperson for German Lanzgrow Aeronautics. “That goes for both parties. We are especially sorry that ZendaSlev could commit such a gross error. When chaos spreads to every corner of our world and orbital space, responsibility will fall squarely on their shoulders.”

Madhav Paranjay, a civilian survivor at Rama Sethu, was taken prisoner shortly after the firefight. After escaping an Australian penal ship Paranjay gave a video interview from New Hyderabad.

“They brought battleships, marines, they even flew in orbital assault fighters” said Paranjay. “We had walls. Inside, we were ants staring down the barrel of a flamethrower.”

Rama Sethu is gutted, but still stands over the geological bridge between India and Sri Lanka. Founded years after the famed Verhoogdland arcology, Rama Sethu remains among the world’s oldest. Its design, a spherical human habitat supported on a nest of titanium legs installed in the seafloor, earned it its nickname “The Monkey Ball.” Today Rama Sethu is known as a thriving regional marketplace with a cramped population of 2.5 million. It is also a renowned hub for air and space engineering.

Despite ZendaSlev’s public silence, circumstances suggest their ultimate target was Rama Sethu’s research data.

“My background is in aeronautics engineering and EarthCore gravitational drive systems, I won’t say any more,” said Paranjay. “I know enough that the soldiers ran straight for the spaceflight and design workshop. They knocked me across the room to open that door.”

ZendaSlev rose to power in 2170 when it bought 51% market share of the Australian State government. After saving the nation from widespread rioting and unrest, ZendaSlev used its advanced orbital attack ship designs and heavy industrial resources to annex every pacific island. As governments fell under Australian control, ZendaSlev brought needed infrastructure where it never existed before. Although it filled a political vacuum for the region, Australia now struggles with a fractious political system.

“Neither Zendaslev nor the Australian State can exist in power without the other,” says Hibbert Sloane, Professor of Geopolitical History at Universidad de La Habana. “They strengthen each other in a time that Earth’s dwindling resources can support so little. However, their ongoing crusade for land and resources puts them on a dangerous train, an unending need for more conflict and more spoils. This attack on Rama Sethu may snowball across the world.”

In a later press release, German Lanzgrow issued a no-tolerance decree to armed action in the European Union.

“To protect our assets, we will be increasing our orbital forces twenty fold over the next few years. Aggressors like ZendaSlev have made it clear that peace is less valuable than securing strategic resources. So be it. Any troop that sets a boot on German soil, any craft that dares interfere with our space mining operations will be obliterated. We encourage our European neighbors to bolster themselves the same. Any theft of water, research, or orbital space is stealing from our dinner table, and in these times no one can afford to starve.”

“But what’s sickening?” says Paranjay. “A week before the attack, most of the soldiers stationed here were pulled out. We only had automated defense turrets to hold back an entire navy. The fighting only lasted hours, it took them more time to breach Rama Sethu’s blast doors. Once the fighting stopped ZendaSlev’s goons landed an orbital, parked it point blank range from the hull, and fired hadron accelerated mass drivers at us. At the residential quarters! I still feel the walls shake. I still smell the ozone.”

Heaven’s Garden has declined to comment on the absence or presence of security at the arcology. ZendaSlev has declined to comment on its tactics during the siege.

“I think Heaven’s Garden saw this coming,” said Paranjay. “And wanted to stick ZendaSlev with the least valuable resource: refugees. People are becoming less and less valuable every day. When war breaks out, it’s not going to be over people. It’s going to be over research and development. It’s going to be over engines and it’s going to be over pathways to the stars.”


Tensions Heat Up in Infamous "Meatloaf" Sector

Posted by Zaubermancy , 22 December 2014 · 2,202 views
Lore and Fiction and 1 more...

Panspermia Weekly News


Tensions Heat Up in Infamous "Meatloaf" Sector

by Alexis Doolyn

“We’re just first year inductees, but every one of us knows not to fly into The Meatloaf. Not if you want to keep your limbs.”

Three green pilots sit in the rec yard of the prestigious Vladivostok Academy. Beyond the razor fence of the school compound an acid bog bubbles in the sun. Uniformed children from a nearby school gather water from condensation collectors. It is a beautiful day.

As student Lillian Margrove talks, her peers Leon Franco and Bo Stitz joke and tell their own stories about space’s most feared no-man’s land.

“It’s like the Boogeyman. Every miner’s worst nightmare,” says Stitz. “So it’s really exciting to think, soon, people can fly into it.”

The Meatloaf, also known the BY6 Epsilon debris field, is probably Earth’s best known graveyard of foolhardy miners. So named for its 412 documented fatalities, The Meatloaf is a dizzying mass of meteoroids, jagged ice and broken ship hulls.

Daredevil treasure hunters visited frequently during the first years of the Space Race, each trying to find safe entry. Few found more than swift death.

Most tragically, The Meatloaf became infamous for ending the career of Johann Valspex. The famed fighter ace, known for his odd twin-tailed light craft and acrobatic dogfighting skills, boasted he would fly to The Meatloaf’s center for the glory of German Lanzgrow Aeronautics. His livecast solo flight brought a nation to tears. After only five minutes, Valspex was ejected by an underbelly collision. The video of his body being reduced to chunks by swirling debris lives on in national memory.

But today The Meatloaf looks more lucrative than ever. Despite past PR disaster, German Lanzgrow is leading the charge to return.

“I’m not a liberty to reveal our source data,” says Dr. Inigo Valdez, Director of Logistics and Strategic Resources at German Lanzgrow. “But it’s hard to contain our excitement about that debris field.”

With new methods of nanobot telemetry, their researchers launched recording devices into The Meatloaf’s center. Initial readings suggest that deep inside the spinning debris sits an enormous mineral core, like the eye of a storm. Mineral samples contain concentrations of water, blue to purple grade. More importantly, The Meatloaf core contains enormous Thorium deposits.

“The next person or persons to claim such a large Thorium source may be the richest living sons-of-guns on planet,” adds Dr. Valdez. He adds that market Thorium prices have reached their highest point in 50 years.

Reaction to The German Lanzgrow Report was ecstatic. In a news flurry, several global corporations held press conferences to announce upcoming contracts in The Meatloaf. Many also hinted they would soon be flying new craft in the field, ships with sturdy new armor chassis specially made to survive the debris. It is perhaps safe to say the next great battlefield in space will be the BY6 Epsilon debris field.

Back at the Vladivostok academy, pilot Stitz looks at the housing projects beyond the fence.

“I didn’t become a pilot to sit in a cushy chair,” he says with sudden seriousness. “I wanted to get out of my hellhole neighborhood. Pilots are the lucky ones on Earth, and if I don’t end up like Valspex I want to bring that motherload home for my nation.

“I’m going to The Meatloaf,” he added. “And if I can be a hero and get rich, even better.”

Thanks to AC_Black and dunkelza for inspiration and so many creative contributions to this new universe.


Tales From a Scorched Earth

Posted by Zaubermancy , 22 December 2014 · 2,133 views
Introduction, Lore and Fiction and 1 more...
Hello, happy holidays, and hope you’re excited for space flights like none other!

I am Descendent Studios’ staff writer. It’s my job to populate the STFU game world with stories and lore, to help flesh out the world you will soon be plundering/dogfighting/making your own space operas in.

There are going to be questions as this game develops. Questions like “how did Earth turn into this mess of pollution and corporate war?” “How far has technology progressed?” “What is human society like when it moves to outer space?” I’ll be trying to answer these. I’ll be working alongside the team to add color to the ‘verse and to answer your questions about story development.

Most importantly, Descendent Studios wants to ensure your ideas see life in the game lore. Already the forums are packed with gale force creative power, and your voices will be crucial to development of this creative game.

While you are keeping up with our social media and watching Wingman’s Hangout, also tune in Sundays for Panspermia Weekly News.

The Panspermia Company, in the lore, begins life as a newspaper during the earliest corporate wars and eventually evolves into Earth’s biggest media conglomerate. The weekly news column will offer glimpses into the historical origins of STFU’s corporations and fighter pilots and will hint at exciting new gameplay features in development. The word “Panspermia” is the Greek word for “all” and it refers to a scientific theory that life could exist throughout the universe, carried about by asteroids or spacecraft. We want the entire STFU universe to teem with life. It will be filled up with your thoughts and your fingerprints.

I am an Austin resident with a degree in English and Journalism from St. Edward’s University. By day I work as a freelance writer, and have loved games like Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri since childhood. Working for Descendent Studios gives me a chance to combine two lifelong loves.

After the holidays are over, we hope to make Panspermia Weekly News a weekly feature. But watch today for the first edition. Stay tuned!

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