Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#81)

(Obviously, my updating inconsistency has lasted longer than a week. Give me a break, I updated five days a week for years with hardly a blip, and my new residence still doesn't have an internet connection or even, really, a great computer to work from.)

801. Old Ones. The Old Ones are... well, were... the original inhabitants of the Kathol Sector, which I've mentioned a plethora of times as the center of Star Wars Lovecraft references.

Sadly, that's all we know beyond the concept that Abeloth, an eldritch abomination from stories I can't bring myself to read, might possibly maybe have been one of them once.

Rating: 2/5, mainly because I love the meta concept of "Old Ones" that Lovecraft used, even if he called basically everything that at one point or another.

802. Omwati. The Omwati are noted as being particularly adept at learning and becoming good at science-y things. Unfortunately for them, their homeworld was, oddly enough, poorly developed technologically, and the Old Republic lost contact with them at some point, leaving them without a connection to the galaxy at large. Then Moff Tarkin (as played by Peter Cushing) showed up, saw they would make great scientists, and slaughtered and kidnapped a bunch of them to indoctrinate into weapons scientists. Supposedly, at least one such scientist is where a very large amount of the advanced weapons used by the Empire would come from, although continuity's gotten fuzzy in this regard since the prequels came out.

Omwati are blue and have feathers for hair, but otherwise mostly look human. And usually rather pretty.

Rating: 3/5. Eh, not much to see here, but nothing really bad, either.

803. Ongree. Ongree have hilarious-looking upside-down heads. They look like clumsy, awkward aliens, but are purported, at least, to be extremely agile. At least one was a Jedi during the Clone Wars.

Rating: 3/5. Put a lightsaber in the hands of a silly-looking alien, and you have an idea that I can get behind.

804. Oni. Apparently, Oni (which, for reference, is the name of a kind of legendary Japanese ogre/demon/giant/troll thing) are known for being militant, and Oni women, at least, also have organs that allow them to store and discharge electrical jolts.

Avoid making obvious joke.

Avoid making obvious joke.

Avoid making obvious joke.

Rating: 2/5. I'm sure that's a turn-on for somebody. ...AAARRGGG.

805. Oodocs. Oodocs are apparently large, spiky, burly, and dumb. Stereotyping!

Also, Han Solo called one an "it" in his internal narration, meaning either they're genderless or Han Solo couldn't tell guydocs from girldocs.

Rating: 1/5. Tired stereotyped alien type is tired.

806. Oolids. The Oolids had a senator at some point (SURPRISE) and also are native to the planet Oolidi, which is a name that makes me smile for some reason.

Rating: 2/5. Eh, I like the planet name. Nothing else to go on, though.

807. Ootoolans. The Ootoolans had a "purist" rebellion at some point, wherein their Revolutionary Purist Council murdered their traditional monarchy other than a single surviving member who escaped and then were hunting that last survivor. The whole thing sounds pretty disturbing, especially since that surviving princess (who is young and adorable in the story) coldly orders somebody's murder at some point.

I say all this without mentioning that they're fish people of some sort.

Rating: 4/5. I like their design quite a lot, and the rather odd storyline involving them is such a humanocentric thing that it's amusing.

808. Opquis. During the Caamas document crisis, they were against the Bothans and sent six ships to the Bothawui blockade.

Rating: 1/5. There's not much to say here that I haven't said numerous times already.

809. Orfites. Orfites are rather ugly, and apparently female Orfites can only be told apart by their thick eyebrows or something. Unless you're an Orfite, who tell each other apart by pheromones. Apparently, their advanced senses of smell meant that they used special masks to take in smells for... some reason or other. These masks would be adapted by other species to take in intoxicating fumes without bothering others. They apparently also need power harnesses (i.e. some form of man alien strength amplifiers) to visit worlds that we humans would consider to be of normal gravity.

Rating: 3/5. It reminds me a bit of those aliens who use cake flavoring as a narcotic.

810. Orgons. Orgons are plant/animal hybrids that look like nothing so much as tentacle clams.

Say it with me now: Tentacle clams. Tentacle. Clams.

They trap prey with their tentacle( clam)s and emit an irritating goo for no clear reason. There apparently is/was a corporation that wanted to capture some for study, but with little success; presumably this was partly because they didn't entirely realize that tentacle clams might be sapient creatures that would know how to avoid traps.

Rating: 4/5. Tentacle clams. There's just something rather beautiful about that phrase.

-Signing off.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Random Video Post

Still don't have regular internet or significant blogging time, but I just thought I'd put this up.

That sure is an accurate representation of video game inventory and equipment, isn't it?

-Signing off.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Still Moving

(And still working on getting an internet connection.)

So I don't leave you with a no-content post, here's a little chunk of some kind of DC Comics-related thing called "Farm League," which is a very silly animal-based take on the Justice League.

"I want whatever it is that wombats eat!"

-Signing off.

Friday, February 15, 2013


Sorry I haven't been on here the past three days. This is the first time I've had an Internet connection since Tuesday, and Tuesday was a busy day.

So I don't have much.

But I was packing things today, and I saw something that reminded me of the old Dark Forces computer game. (Remember when people still used that phrase?)

And it compelled me to do a search on YouTube.

Sadly, the above video (which I have not listened to, so I can't say if it has game audio or, more likely, some guy who swears a lot-oops, yeah, should have mentioned that first) was the best match on YouTube for my search, "punching probe droid dark forces."

See, punching probe droids was something you probably weren't supposed to do in that game. But you could.

And it was awesome, because they were flung twenty or thirty feet away much as happened to most enemies you punched (seriously, Kyle Katarn is mad strong-have I mentioned he punched out a stegosaur-sized dragon/lizard?), usually straight up because they float high in the air and the only way to punch them is to get underneath them and look up, and then they only very slowly travel back down. And you can punch them again.*

And it's hilarious.

Wish I still had a computer that could play that game.

*You wouldn't be dying because of being shot by probe droids because you'd be cheating with the invulnerable shield. Well, I would. It's less unfair than it sounds, because guys with axes and slightly long drops still kill you.

-Signing off.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#80)

(MODERATELY IMPORTANT NOTICE: I'm in the process of moving at the moment, and there's a good chance things will be picking up over the next couple of days. This is already part of why my updating has been a little... lazy lately. As such, this week's posting schedule may have issues.

Also, holy cheese as of this post I've done brief profiles on eight hundred alien species.)

791. O'reenians. O'reenians are near-humans who are explicitly a human offshoot, which sorta does and sorta doesn't answer some questions about humans and human-like beings in the Star Wars galaxy. They live in the Unknown Regions, which makes them neighbors of the Chiss, and like the Chiss have their own sovereign space nation. They apparently opportunistically attempted to expand their influence and steal technology to improve their lot during the Yuuzhan Vong crisis because everybody else was distracted.

Apparently, their technology had fallen well behind the rest of the galaxy, and they have a regimented society where social class is determined by military service.

Their skin is orange and their eyes are supposedly black, which... actually makes them sound like inverted Chiss.

Rating: 2/5. Get out of here, you Chiss wannabes.

792. Oasis mothers. Oasis mothers are sapient predatory plants native to the deserts of a world called Endregaad. That is an awesome description and an amazing name for a planet.

Oasis mothers are huge amoral trees (also an awesome description) that create oasis children, which are mobile and hunt down prey for the mothers (which telepathically control them), and which seemingly serve no other purpose in life. They drag what they catch back to the pools around the mothers, which suck the blood and other fluids out with their roots and then turn the rest into mulch.

And if that's not disturbing enough for you, apparently at night the oasis mothers can travel short distances.

Rating: 5/5. Telepathic amoral night-walking vampiric predatory trees. Frikking metal.

793. Oblee. Oblee were three-armed, four-eyed guys. Apparently, their sets of eyes could come in different colors. Four-eyed plus three-armed is even sillier than four-armed plus four-eyed.

Anyways, apparently the Oblee went extinct from playing with a Sith artifact called the Darkstaff, which unfortunately is prone to both causing extinction events and inflicting time travel on Star Wars stories, and their ghosts wander the galaxy feeding on life forces of sapient beings and possessing them.

Whether this is somehow connected to the Oblee "[spreading] their DNA throughout the galaxy" and a lone Oblee somehow being born (thus meaning they're not quite extinct) is both unknown and a disturbing (albeit hilarious) thought.

Rating: 3/5. I'm not really quite sure what I think of them, so I'll go for a score down the middle.

794. Ocsinin. The Ocsinin are apparently known as skilled explorers, and their close neighbors, the Corporate Sector Authority (the biggest corporate interest in the galaxy, tasked by the Old Republic with developing an uninhabited region constituting about ten thousand planets) values the information they possess.

They're described as near-humans (sigh) who are distinguished by being "too slender" to be human and having black, pupil-less eyes and translucent skin and complexions.

The picture of one on the page is decidedly not too slender to be human; she's just about exactly the right amount of slender, actually, if you know what I'm saying.

Rating: 2/5, for not being completely terrible.

795. Odenji. The Odenji are natives of the same planet as the Issori, who are horrible evil practitioners of eugenics and also rather ugly. The Odenji look interesting... and basically all we know about them has been covered by what I just said.

Rating: 2/5, because my interest has been piqued. How has Odenji society been shaped by them living on the same planet as that bunch of jerks? Sadly, we don't know.

796. Offen. They apparently were new to space travel during the New Republic (post movie) era, and probably weren't really encouraged to familiarize themselves with it more because their queen died in a starship accident.

I'm sure she lived a full life; she was six thousand years old.

And... that's all we know.

Rating: 2/5. Piqued interest once more.

797. Ogemites. Ogemites are near-humans (...) who have feather hair and are supposedly known as traders. They also apparently have comic book anatomy. And comic book clothing.

Rating: 1/5. Fail.

798. Ogres. Ogres are merely one of many, many largish sapient species that live on Endor. That planet forest moon, man, that forest moon. The one known individual stole various glowing things because he was afraid of the dark; eventually he got coated in glowing stuff, and was thus fine.

Incidentally, his name was Gantu, which immediately made me think of the Lilo & Stitch character.

Rating: 2/5, partly for positive associations. Loved that movie.

799. Okfili. The Okfili are apparently very religious, and an important artifact of theirs was stolen by pirates. Oddly enough, this makes me think of an episode of the Star Trek cartoon.

Unfortunately, that's all that's in the article, though there may be more information on them somewhere.

Rating: 2/5. Associations.

800. Oku. The Oku are primitive white-furred sapients native to a planet called Tokmia. A mining corporation temporarily set up operations on Tokmia, and its employees would carelessly give the Oku handouts. When they left, a cargo cult naturally appeared, and they arranged sacred fires in the shape of landing light patterns and told prophecies of the eventual return of the ships.

Rating: 3/5. Hey, realism.

-Signing off.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Yeah, That Other Iron Man Trailer

The "extended look" gag is actually pretty funny.

...Still need to watch Iron Man 2...

-Signing off.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Do you see what you have wrought, anthropomorphic animal people cartoons of the '90s? DO YOU SEE?

(NOTE: The following contains cartoony violence, including blood.)

I'm not saying it's a bad thing, per se... It's just silly.

(Note that the Mechawhales are also toys adult collectibles.)

-Signing off.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Chess-Related Games (Are A Thing I Like)

So, with the help of the Java applets at the Chess Variant Pages, I've learned the basics of how to play shogi, the Japanese game most closely related to chess.

(Never mind the fact that the English-speaking users of the site call shogi and the other games I'm talking about "chess variants" like a bunch of ethnocentric butts; when they say "chess," they mean "game played on a board with pieces that move geometrically," not "the western game descended from a game from India which was originally just another variant itself." Chess players take themselves awfully darned seriously for people obsessed with a game that can be played more effectively by a mathematical pattern than a human brain.)

I've had a fair bit of fun playing shogi this way.

I've also learned the basics of playing xiangqi, the Chinese game most closely related to chess.

I've also had fun playing xiangqi this way.

I've learned the basics of playing janggi, the Korean game which is mostly a lot like xiangqi.

I... haven't had much fun playing janggi, because I hate the elephants. But I won't go into that too much, because I don't feel like dwelling on my incoherent rage. (The cannons also aren't nearly as fun as in xiangqi. Yes, xiangqi has cannons. It's kind of awesome, and they're the whole reason I play it.)

I've also, thanks to similarity between the games, played some yitong, which doesn't have a Wikipedia article, presumably because it's not actually much of a game.

Whether this game is an accurate recreation of a particularly popular game or not is irrelevant; what's relevant is that the red army, which you might notice is down quite a few pieces, probably will always win when a player is of reasonable skill. Why?

Chess has several kinds of pieces; the most powerful piece in modern international chess, the queen, is the combination of the two next-strongest pieces. An even stronger piece adds the knight's movement to become a piece so dangerous that it could take on most of a chess army by itself.

The rook (actually a chariot) that the red army retains from its original lineup is three combined pieces, the chariot/rook, the horse (a knight that doesn't jump), and a cannon. The thing about adding a cannon to a rook/chariot is that the only thing that holds back a rook from being unstoppable is that pieces block it; a cannon can and must jump a piece to attack, and so this is a nearly unblockable rook that also attacks a wide area. This piece would arguably be stronger than the aforementioned queen/knight hybrid piece, and as long as you don't do anything stupid, you can checkmate quickly and easily with that piece.

While it's not much of a game, though, it's still fun. Stupid fun, but fun regardless.

*I can't, as I noted in the title text, tell pieces in shogi, xiangqi, or janggi apart well. Unfortunately, whoever edited the shogi article there thinks that pictorial representations on shogi tiles are stupid and irrelevant, and so I couldn't form associations with pieces until I played with the Java applet, whose programmer had no such snobby ideas. It's awfully hard to get interested in something where someone marginalizes you for not being able to read the language they're using. The article says that the pieces can be told apart by size, but that's not helpful either. Fortunately, the Chess Variant Pages are friendlier about pictorial representations in general.

-Signing off.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#79)

781. Norak Tull. Norak Tull are sapient insectoids. If my recollection of reading the books involved serve (the entry is basically empty), they're quite large and rumored to be telepathic, though there's little evidence they actually are. One was a commodore in the New Republic's fleet during the Yevethan Purge, and he was a relatively interesting character if for no other reason than because despite his appearance, the narration treated him absolutely no differently than any other character. (Once again, if I recall correctly.)

Rating: 3/5, at least if my memory is correct.

782. Nord. They apparently are "dwarf-like" and live in a harsh environment, to which they are adapted. No, really?

Rating: 1/5. Considering all the short guys that already exist in the Star Wars galaxy, I see no reason for one with no distinguishing features.

783. Nosaurians. These bipedal reptiles have several completely silly features, among them the ability to sense when their sun is setting based on their own biorhythms, which drives them to "sing it down" in a loud, braying fashion, and the fact that their biorhythms don't match most worlds leads to them making noise at random and sometimes unfortunate times. They also apparently have the ability to generate light with the insides of their mouths brightly enough to light a room or blind someone (!).

They distrust offworlders because Corellian traders inadvertently wrecked their economy. Then, they chose the wrong side in the Clone Wars, were made an example of by the Empire, and then were afflicted with a plague by the Yuuzhan Vong. That's like a triple threat of cruddy stuff happening to them right there.

Rating: 4/5, mostly for the amusement value of their weird traits.

784. Nothoiins. The Nothoiins have gold-colored skin that apparently flakes a lot, and are known for having "innate" piloting ability. ...Wait, what?

Are they genetically modified or what?

Anyway, they have a subspecies, "Cogennan" Nothoiins, who have even more pronounced innate piloting abilities.

...Yeah, whatever.

Rating: 3/5 for the probably unintentional implication that they're genetically modified or something.

785. Nuffins. Nuffins are rather cartoonily harmless-looking aliens who are known for being gentle, friendly, and clean (heh). One was kept as a slave by someone who was none of those things to lull people into a false sense of security over communications.

Rating: 2/5. Not really anything noteworthy.

786. Nuiwit. The Nuiwit are the second of two species that may be known as Altorians. (The first are the Avogwi.) The Avogwi traditionally preyed upon the Nuiwit (the Avogwi are basically birds of prey while the Nuiwit are essentially gecko-like lizards) and saw the Nuiwit as weak because they're herbivorous.

When offworlders showed up, the Nuiwit established trade while the Avogwi ignored the outsiders as weaklings, leading the Nuiwit to have an economic and population boom that would lead the Avogwi to forcibly withdraw to isolated areas, despite the fact that the Nuiwit never practice violence on them, being pacifists.

As I previously noted when talking about the Avogwi ages ago, I find this amusing.

Rating: 4/5. The Nuiwit are somewhat interesting for a number of reasons, not least because they're pacifistic gecko people.

787. Nuknog. Nuknogs are ugly and bad at long-term planning. They also have a stupid if amusing name. When an offworld mining corporation showed up, they sold their planet in exchange for being allowed to work in the mines for food.


Eventually, they were freed from effective slavery by the Jedi, and then became an impoverished world dependent on Old Republic aid. Eventually, interest in aid dried up and they pretty much had nothing, making the Nuknogs poor, angry, and resentful of the galaxy at large.

Rating: 3/5. Poor ugly guys.

788. Nulls. Nulls are near-humans who may actually be humans, but it's unclear. So I can't really say there's any interest there.

Rating: 1/5.

789. Nyemarians. They... may also actually be humans.

Rating: 1/5. Darn you.

790. Nyriaanans. More near-humans? These at least are supposed to have adaptations to low-light conditions or something. Blah blah peaceful blah blah distrustful of outsiders blah blah boring.

Rating: 1/5. On the other hand, the largest "plant" life on their planet is apparently some kind of fungus tree. Awesome.

-Signing off.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Trailers Come Out Too Early

Okay, this is short but neat. (On the other hand, how much of this movie is going to appear in the trailers?)

The really great thing, though? Somebody on YouTube with the username "Tony Stark" commented that he needed to add more seats to the armor.

-Signing off.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Java: Bad At Chess

So I was playing Java applet chess, specifically a variant called "Dead Square Chess," wherein pieces explode and destroy squares they're sitting on and nearby pieces when they do so.

Turns out that the simple chess AI that operates the variant... is COMPLETELY TERRIBLE at the game.

Also, it's possible to checkmate with a pair of bishops while the bishops are under attack and aren't defending each other. (Trust me, this is a pretty big deal in chess. And yes, that's a checkmate.)

If you're wondering just how bad a player the computer is: Despite the rules making pawns proportionately the most powerful pieces (since you can just throw them heedlessly at the opponent because of their numbers), the computer repeatedly used stronger pieces with better moves to try to stop my pawns from advancing.

I'm a nerd.

-Signing off.