the Junkyard: Eric

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Eric "Nabterayl" Lowe Spotlight

Eric "Nabterayl" Lowe

Posted by: Mhaddy on Tue Mar 22nd, 2005 at 6:55 PM
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Name: Eric Lowe


Moniker: Nabterayl

Sex: Male

Country of Residence: USA

Education: BA in classics (Greek and Roman) from Stanford University; I'm currently in the middle of my first year at Stanford Law School. My classics degree focused on ancient Greek. I have a particular interest in classical military history, particularly on understanding the dynamics of close-order formations by understanding the experience of the individual soldier.

How would we know you: I was extremely active over at Tribesroleplayers/Starsiegeuniverse during the Tribes 1/Tribes 2 era, writing roleplaying fan fiction and expounding the universe (particularly the military aspects) with fellow enthusiasts. That was how ConfigSys.boy! and I met Hexabolic. You might have seen Nabterayl (who was born Shana Terayl, warnom Dawn Fury) in Prophecy of Tears, the unfinished novella that Hex was writing for Dynamix about the Seventh Firetruce and the events surrounding the start of the BioDerm invasion in 3941. I was one of several Tribesroleplayers denizens who got a chance to contribute to the canon of the Tribes era, particularly to the shape of the Seventh Firetruce. I also collaborated with Hex on the Arms and Armor packet Dynamix released, in particular on making sure that the official explanation for tribal military technology was not only consistent with the existing canon but flowed naturally from the closest chronological depiction of the military establishment, which was CyberStorm 2.

That connection to Hex and Config was what got me onboard Starsiege 2845's writing team. Because my personal interests run in the military history direction, and because of my experience working with this universe's military history in particular, I'm usually the guy who ends up taking the lead on things like vehicle and weapon descriptions and making sure we have a plausible account of where 2845 fits into the overarching narrative of how war is waged in this universe. I also work on mission screenplays for the single-player campaign.

Favourite Games: My favorite games at the moment are Rome: Total War, Sid Meier's Pirates!, Republic Commando, and (shortly) World of WarCraft. Some of my favorite games of all time are Earthsiege 2, MissionForce: CyberStorm, TIE Fighter, Half-Life, Jedi Knight II, MechWarrior 2, MechWarrior 3, Knights of the Old Republic, the whole WarCraft series, Sid Meier's Gettysburg!, and of course Smash Bros. Melee.

Gaming Roles: When I look for a game I generally look for one of two things: a realistic depiction of a plausible military situation, or a highly developed sense of style and narrative. Modern multiplayer games rarely hold my interest for long because there are most of them are more concerned with making things "fun" than forcing their players to adapt to the tactical problem, and you're almost always going to get a greater sense of style and narrative in a single-player campaign than in a competitive multiplayer environment. When I do play multiplayer games though I'm an objective-oriented player. Usually that means sneaking into a base or trying to keep things running in my own. I'm happiest when I can complete my objective without firing a shot, because ultimately the opposing force is merely an obstacle between me and my objective.

Gaming Rig(s): Athlon 3700+, 1 GB RAM, Radeon 9800

Gaming Groups / Squads / Clans: At the moment, none, though I'll be running with some friends in World of WarCraft in the near future. Back in the Tribes 1/Tribes 2 era that I was talking about earlier, I wrote and played with the Sons of Thunder.

Favourite Sites: Starsiege2845, Blizzard, LucasArts, and Penny Arcade.

Favourite Book: If we're talking about single volumes, Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield. If we can include series, David Weber's Honor Harrington series or Tamora Pierce's Tortall books.

Favourite Movie: That's a hard one. My enjoyment of a movie bears only a tenuous relationship to how good a piece of cinema I think the movie actually is. By far my favorite bad movie is Dungeons & Dragons. My favorite good movie, though ... that's tough. Let's say Moulin Rouge or Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Favorite popcorn movie, Pirates of the Caribbean.

Hobbies / Activities / Interests: I mentioned military history already. Add to that radical vintage dance, cross-country skiing, acting, singing, reading aloud, paintball, and computer games.

Accomplishments / Achievements: I think I've already listed all the ones that are particularly interesting.

Blurb: Before I could say, "Go to law school," people used to ask me what I intended to do with a classics degree. One of the answers is "write science fiction." I've talked a little bit about this in my dev journal, but I think the basic rule of good franchise management is to treat your franchise historically. All of your games, all of your manuals, all of your supplemental stories and packets need to be treated as pieces of historical evidence, and you sift through those to figure out what the universe actually is in the same way that I'd sift through Plato and Xenophon to put together an argument about who Socrates actually was. This does two things for you. First, it gives you flexibility - because you're treating your sources as evidence rather than inspired texts, you're free to say things like, "Well sure, in the game a blaster bolt only moves at 500 m/s, but using that evidence I can make an argument that in reality a blaster bolt would move a lot faster than that." Second, it gives you coherence, because pretty soon you aren't just waving your hand and saying, "This is what it's like in the 29th century." Instead, you're looking at the existing canon of evidence and saying, "Based on what I already know about the universe, this is what the 29th century would look like and here's how I know." Of course there's room for argument, and every time you make a new game you'll be putting your foot down on certain details which hitherto have been undecided. But it gives you a set of logical constraints that actually tie the universe together.

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