When it comes to gaming legend Steve Jackson there are as many opinions as there are gaming professionals , but I will tell you this:
- He knows the business
- He knows his market
I’ve not always felt that way and didn’t shy away from saying so. We spent two weeks arguing via long-distance phone calls over the best weapons mix for an armed ground-effect vehicle: To my line of thinking a combat capable GEV wouldn’t look much like the ones we see now and would depend on weapons mounted on remote-control turrets or in vertical launch system boxes. Steve disagreed, maintaining that gamers would be more likely to buy a product with recognizable vehicles and hand-held swivel weapons like those used by the B-17 waist-gunners we saw on Twelve O’clock High .
He was right.
I adapted that JLC (just looks cool) concept for my creative tool box. Sometimes when I design I strive to be as real-world as possible but sometimes I just try to make things that appeal to my inner fifth-grader. Such is the case with my reworked XL5. As I wrote in an earlier post: “ None of that victim crap with Steve Zodiac…Fireball XL5 (the ship itself) looked, flew, and fought like a freaking F104 Starfighter jet rather than wallowing around helplessly like most other cinematic spacecraft at the time” – which is why I came up with the wing-mounted weapons and a manned turret covering the aft quarter , both of which continue the JLC line of thinking. In the original series the ship’s main weapons were missiles oddly dubbed “interceptors” but I have tweaked that idea changing the interceptors into recon probes with folding wings that can be sent out to the edge of sensor range to increase the area of observation.
…and the transparent globe-y thing in back? Graham Bleathman’s marvelous cross-section drawing of Fireball XL5 includes a “Velot Space-fold hyperdrive generator” which is a transparent globe-y thing just under the trailing edge of the main fuselage vertical fin. It was such an interesting image that it seemed a shame to hide it so I gave it an exterior mounting , the technical aspects of which will no doubt be explained to me by countless numbers of convention attendees after trapping me in front of my panels in the art show.
My inner fifth-grader just thinks it looks cool.