HEART OF GOLD

“Reload the… hatchet?”

Ah, what words, those. What toasty memories.

I said those words a number of years ago during a session of DayZ, while it was still a mod for good ol’ ARMA, and not a standalone game. It was terribly buggy though. Incredibly buggy. And yet… it had a certain charm that’s difficult to put into words. It was another open world, sandbox type game, the twist being that you were simply dropped in an obscure territory somewhere in Russia and expected to try and live as long as possible. The game became a breeding ground for trolls and player hunters, but it was the crazies who always made for the best stories.

The street signs were all in Russian, and so was the map, which didn’t indicate where you were on it. Instead, you simply had to run around and try to match terrain and landmarks that corresponded with points on the map, like an airport or the shape of the coastline or peninsula.

Downright draconian, eh? 😉

You could join a server from a long list, but unless someone had bothered to fill out the description field or title, you usually didn’t know what you were getting into.

While playing on one server, I found that, for whatever reason, I could only swing my hatchet once. Subsequent attempts did nothing. I could left click as much as I wanted, but the hatchet remained locked in place.

It was hours and hours of gameplay later that a close friend of mine discovered that, inexplicably, the server admin had seemingly flagged the hatchet as a weapon which needed to be reloaded after use, just as you would with a… well, normal gun.

Stuff like that was typical of DayZ.

As another example, it might be a server where it was perpetually night. You’d spawn next to the coast, with the sound of waves crashing against the shore, and within a few moments you’d hear the groaning and shuffling of a scattering of zombies nearby. I remember crawling on my belly into a house, in an attempt to remain undetected, which was only partially successful. I crawled through the house, and exited the backdoor to find myself in a small yard.

I’m in the clear! *whew*

I looked sideways, still on my belly, just as a bush *shuddered* a few feet from my face. There was a small muffled noise, and the screen went red with blood.

Someone in a ghillie suit, I realized far too late. I didn’t even know such a thing was possible. Here I was, purged from this mortal coil, so soon after spawning, in a random backyard, on my belly, at night, by a man covered in goddamned GRASS.

I was enthralled. This was a challenge. This was new.

Things changed from there. I quickly learned there were dedicated folk out there, driven, proficient and patient. It made me think of a great line in an Al Pacino movie from 1995: Heat, in which a detective’s wife, Justine Hanna, tells him:

“You don’t live with me, you live among the remains of dead people. You sift through the detritus, you read the terrain, you search for signs of passing, for the scent of your prey, and then you hunt them down.”

Dark stuff.

Many of the folks who played DayZ were often of the same mien and disposition. But there were other types. Other breeds. Some who would, for instance, attempt to lure an unsuspecting player somewhere on the map with the promise of aid, or an alliance.

I called such souls Anglerfish, personally.

What type of player was I?

I suppose I was an opportunist, and wary enough to stay alive in instances where others grew careless or inattentive. Vigilance, it’s called, and it’s the same reason I wouldn’t dream of turning my back on an open doorway or an avenue of approach.

Distractions can be costly, and even the best weapons meant nothing if you were caught from behind. In a way, it makes me think of those hunters in India who began wearing masks on the backs of their heads to dissuade Bengal Tigers from attacking from the rear.

Anyway, at the moment I’m having VLC convert a .mkv file to an .mp4 file, since the recording software I made use of uses the former format, and the editing software I’m trying out apparently uses the latter. To be clear, this is so I can post the timelapse of the shortsword I did for yesterday’s post. I’ve got a bunch of modifications planned for a model I’m working on, one which I mentioned in a previous post.

Here’s the good ol’ rundown.

Also, by this weekend I hope to have the subscriber functionality re-enabled. I disabled it awhile back, because bots will swarm a site likes flies to carrion if left unchecked, and absolutely flood your inbox with bogus subscribers sign-ups, although sometimes the names they generate to counter the spam filters are amusing.

Awhile back I was watching a documentary where undersea cameras showed footage of a whale carcass drifting to the ocean floor, and the events that followed. The ocean floor itself was mostly sand and a few rocks in that location, but overnight a massive ecosystem of undersea creatures converged on the carcass. Sharks arrived on the scene first, having smelled the blood, but my favorite part was the footage of all the obscure species of crabs marching across the ocean floor together towards the dead whale. Some came from miles away. So many sizes, colors and shapes… seeing all their antennas flopping with the swell of the current was… well, memorable.

The timelapse will have to wait, I suppose. Friday’s just around the corner, and as usual, there’s much to be done.

Until next time, friend.

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