Archive for July, 2007

Stylish Wiki, Stylish Character

July 30th, 2007 | Category: VE Wiki

Haven’t created your character’s wiki page yet? Or perhaps it looks so bland compared to others that you tend to ignore it, hoping that people don’t visit it much? No matter what your situatution, this article is designed to spice up your character’s wiki page!

Step One – Create a Page

If you already created your character’s page, you can skip this part. If you have not, then this is where you should begin. Creating a page is very easy, you simply use the search box on the left side of your screen:

Search boxIn this box, type your character’s callsign. For example, Riqimo is my callsign, so I put ‘Riqimo’ in the box. Then you can either press ‘enter’ or click the ‘Go’ button. (Note: Search will not allow you to create a page.

If the page genuinely does not exist, then you should see something similar to:

Does not exist
To start working on your page, click ‘create an article with this title’ and get right to editing.

Step Two – The Basics

Before anything else starts, you should be aware of the basics of wiki editing:

Making an Internal Link
An internal link is a link that takes a user to another page within the wiki site. To create one, simply put double square brackets arounf the text you wish to be an interal link. For example: [[Eclipse]] will display as a link to the wiki page ‘Eclipse’

Making an External Link
An external link is a link that takes the user to a page outside of the wiki, it is created with a single square bracket in the form: [http://link TEXT] You start with the opening bracket, then type or paste the link then you type a space before typing the text that you wish to be displayed as the link in the wiki article.

[ Something Here] is a link that will display as ‘Something Here’ and when clicked will take a user to (Note: You MUST include the ‘http://’ part of the link)

Making Bold Text
You have two options to make your text bold, you can use normal html codes: Bold Text
Or you may opt for the special method on the wiki, surrounding your bold text with three apostrophes on both sides: ”’Bold Text”’

Making Italic Text
There are also two options, firstly html: Italic Text
Or yet another wiki code, this time using only two apostrophes on both sides: ”Italic Text

Step Three – Standard Template Useage

Every character page should employ the ever useful Player Character Template. Mine for example is shown here: Riqimo Player Template

This is using the Male Player Character Template, alternatively there is a Female Character Template, and the much more bland normal Player Character Template that most ordinary people use. Needless to say, the normal one has less options for your character.

To insert a template into your wiki page, use the following code:

{{Template Name|

For the one shown at right, I used this code:

{{Male Player Character|
division=[[Stormtrooper Corps]]|
rank=[[Army Ranks#Enlisted Ranks|Sergeant]]|
name=Riqimo Pershaw|
nick=Doc, Riq, Riqqi|
weight=96 lbs.|
species=[ Human]|
age= 25|
hair=Light Brown|
facial= Trimmed Goatee|
skin = Well Tanned|

Step Four – Organization

Make your page Easier to read! Divide it into logical sections by using the easy use headers.

To make a header, you simply put equal signs (=) around the header name. Preference is to start with 2 equal signs on each side as the main headers and divide those into subheaders by adding another equal sign to both sides for further organization.


==Main Headers==

===Sub Header===

====Sub Sub Header====

===Sub Header===

==Main Header==

===Sub Header===

And so on… you can see a nice example of headers used at my wiki page.

Step Five – Images

Inserting Images is made simple with two templates to choose from, one that will right align:

image=Image Link|
topic=Image Title|

And one that will left align:

image=Image Link|
topic=Image Title|

Step Six – Tables

Tables allow you to organize complex data into an easy to read format. They are also fairly easy to make!

{| cellpadding=”2″ cellspacing=”0″ border=”1″
! Column 1 Title !! Column 2 Title !! Column 3 Title !! Column 4 Title
|A1 || A2 || A3 || A4
|B1 || B2 || B3 || B4
|C1 || C2 || C3 || C4
|D1 || D2 || D3 || D4

You are not limited to a 4×4 table, you can make tables inside tables, 1×1 tables, and extremely large tables holding tons of data.

Step Seven – Making Your Page Accessible

Although these are only recommendations, they make your page so much easier for others to find and use. They require little effort on your part and can go a long way.

If you are an Stormtrooper Corps Soldier, then you will wish to have your name shown here. At the bottom of your wiki page, add the code for that:


Alternatively, if you are on the Navy side of things, you will want to be here by adding this code:


You can also share your wiki page through your comnet signature. I suggest linking your name in the ID line directly to your wiki page.

Step Ziltch – Unable to Do It?

Riqimo will be more than willing to help you set up your wiki page, just send him a comnet message asking for assisstance.

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VET Stock Analysis of July 2007

July 20th, 2007 | Category: Stock Tips

On the 20th of each month, the VE Today will present an analysis of the current market and give a prediction of how the stocks will change in the coming month. This is the first of the Stock Analysis articles, the start of an entire series of informative articles designed to increase your profits!


Safe Pick of July 2007
ICS ~ Imperial Center Store

Imperial Center Store Chart

Steadily climbing for over a year, the Imperial Center Store has caterred to the needs of virtually every Imperial in Vast Empire space.  With the expanded wiki page for it, the ICS may see some a rise in its stocks, by making parts of its operations, namely the ICDF, public knowledge.

Although the ICS may grow profits slowly compared to many stocks, it does not take a roller coaster ride to get those profits, and more conservative inverstors tend to make ICS a staple of their portfolios.


Gambler’s Pick of July 2007
HNET ~ FES Holonet Stock (Thanks to Aeos for the suggestion)

FES Holonet Chart

The FES Holonet stock recently took a steady decline, flatting out for a while before engaging a very nauseating roller coaster ride that can drive the investors that fear the slightest drop in value insane.  If one times it properly and pays attention, it is even possible to buy the stock and sell it within 24 hours for a profit over 5 Imperial Credits per stock purchased.  The true potential of this stock however lies in the long run. 

With a large member count, the Holonet has its times when that it will make rapid gains before crashing once again.  It will be steady for a while then crash once again, to see this, view the two year chart at Imperitrade Financial.


Most Undervalued Stock of July 2007
DJBND ~ Dark Jedi Order Bond


Although it may have a hold period of 90 days, which tends to discourage many investors, the DJBND is primarily undervalued for the simple fact that it covers the most secretive organization of the Vast Empire.  There is no sure way to know the activity and membership of the Dark Jedi Order, at least there was not a way to do so.   Yes, their boards may still be hidden to the prying eyes of hopefuls, but with the introduction of the Comnet Statistics, one can see a general overview of the activity within the Dark Jedi Order.  At time of publication, there were 14 posts total made by six DJO members in the past seven days.  All 14 of these posts were on boards hidden from the public.  Looking at the chart for this stock, we can see that these 14 posts raised the stock approximately a quarter of an Imperial Credit.  Although this may not seem like much, the activity was once higher as can be concluded from the chart.  This stock should see some profit in the coming month, and even more before the 90 day hold expires.  I estimate at least 15% profit by 90 days.


Crash and Burn Stock of July 2007
CNET ~ Comnet

Comnet Chart

Perhaps an unusual choice to make for a crashing stock, the CNET is a popular stock to be kept for excellent, if not decent, profits.  However, the comnet stock seems to follow an interesting pattern, rising for a couple months, then falling for a couple months, before repeating the pattern all over.  The CNET has approached its alltime high and it is beginning to drop.  By August 20th, I predict a drop of 15 Imperial Credits (to about 115 ICs per share).



Suggested Portfolio of July 2007
With a mere 2500 Imperial Credits to spend, I decided upon the following porfolio for the month of July 2007:

  • IMTF ~ 10 shares ~ 87.80 each = 878 ICs
    • With the increase of attention towards stocks, IMTF promises a reliable profit.
  • PPC ~ 9 shares ~ 84.53 each = 760.77
    • Pay Per Click generally provides the shareholder the easiest way to improve his or her stock.  You simply click and vote, all while getting paid for the vote and helping the stock.  No purchasing, or writing involved.
  • DJBND ~ 5 shares ~ 55.95 each = 279.76
    • Although it is a 90 day hold stock, its low price and decent potential (see Most Undervalued Stock) make it a good choice for the investor that does not mind waiting three months
  • HNET ~ 5 shares ~ 108.46 each = 542.3
    • Though I normally tend to stay away from stocks that have a share value over 100 ICs, I also tend to try a little risk even in a conservative portfolio to try and increase my gains.  (See Gambler’s Pick)

TOTAL = 2460.82 ICs
Suggestion:  If you have more than 2500 ICs, say 5000 ICs, try doubling the amount of shares to fit your investment fund.

(Trading fees are ignored for simplicity)

The VE Today, its authors, the Vast Empire, and any asociated party of the Vast Empire, henceforth refered to as ‘advisors’ are not responsible for any loss of credits, personal possessions, life, or any boredom that may result from tracking stocks daily by any who follow the advice given in this article, henceforth refered to as ‘those wanting advice.’
Those wanting advice accept all risks, stated, implied, and non-implied in following advice given by the advisors.  Under no circumstances may the advisors be attacked, verbally or physically, threatened, lynched, hung, or hassled in any form due to the advice they gave in this article.
Thank you and have a good day.

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Writing Tips ~ Part Two :: Character Development

July 17th, 2007 | Category: Star Wars Role Playing,Writing Tips

“Your thoughts betray you, father. I feel the good in you … the conflict.”
“There is … no … conflict!”

But that lends great depth to a character. Conflict. Whether internal, against another person, against an entire planet, against his or her siblings … according to cinematic and theatric tradition, development comes fundamentally from conflict, and the resolution of that conflict. Consider Revenge of the Sith (Episode III) and the aftermath of Anakin’s slaughter on Mustafar. We have these horrific scenes, bodies lying everywhere, and then we move to Anakin, looking out over a sea of lava, his eyes full of rage, a triumphant master of evil … and then that wonderful, wonderful slight movement of his head which reveals the glint of tears on his cheeks. Look at Return of the Jedi (Episode VI) — Vader after he meets Luke again, outside the AT-AT. Think of Vader’s slouched, helpless stance as he says that melancholic, almost wistful line”

“Obi-Wan once thought as you do … “

then clenching his posture again, and that bitter, agonised line

“You don’t know the power of the Dark Side … I must obey my master!”

This is not necessarily a call to make your characters angsty or constantly bewail their existence; it’s simply an indication that with conflict there is usually a desire, or at least an impetus, to resolve that conflict. Luke, innocent farmboy, the epitome of “The Good Guy,” is in conflict pretty much throughout all three films, too: In A New Hope (Episode IV) he’s in conflict against the Empire. He’s also in conflict with Han — a conflict which is resolved in spectacular fashion by Han saving his and the Rebellion’s collective butts! In Empire Strikes Back (Episode V) he’s in conflict with his own loyalties: does he complete his training, or does he save his friends — which brings him into conflict with Yoda, his own teacher. In Return of the Jedi (Episode VI), he’s obviously in conflict with himself — can he kill his own father (which brings him, interestingly, into conflict with the ghostly Obi-Wan on that.)

So my point is: Look for conflicts!

What’s your character’s relationship with his or her parents? Brothers or sisters? Squad? Friends?

How do your character’s goals fit in or cross paths with other characters?

And most importantly, look for conflicts not just for the sake of having them, but as wheels upon which to drive your characters forward.

Remember, the purpose of the development is the resolution of conflict, not the conflict itself!

Another method of development can be your character’s personality. What sets two gamblers, thugs, or other more-or-less identical character types apart and makes them individuals are their personalities? Even little details about appearance and mannerisms can help your players not only to visualize two otherwise identical characters but also distinguish between them- even though two characters may have exactly in anyother perspective.

The three basic tools for individualizing personalities are appearance, mannerisms, and motivations. if you even assign one distinct quality from each of these categories, and then play these characteristics up in your portrayal of the character, you can bring a character alive in the readers’ minds. Fortunately, it doesn’t take any preparation- improvisational comedians have been doing this sort of thing for years 😉 In fact, the only tough part is remember how you portrayed a character previously, but with a few quick notes, you’ll have enough of a memory jog that you can quickly recall the character and play him again at almost a moment’s notice. (The wiki is most excellent for this)

It can be as simple as a few quick notes:
(“basso voice, acts superior, cracks knuckles when angry”)

Or some short headings:
(“Appearance: basso voice; Personality Traits: acts superior; Mannerisms: cracks knuckles when angry”)

With these simple tips, you will be on your way to better writing in no time at all!


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Stocks for Dummies

July 16th, 2007 | Category: New Recruit Tips,News,Stock Tips,VE Today

Simply put, I usually stay away from those that requires a certain hold time period, in case there was any sudden drops in prices, it won’t hurt me a lot. But occasionally, it would be smart to buy certain division stocks such as navy or army when you know that there’s going to be a period of high activity coming up, i.e.: ESC. Those are almost guarantees that the prices will go up. But when those times come around, those stocks go fast, so you gotta buy fast, else they’re gone before you know it. Another thing i watch out for is the actual prices when I buy them. I try not to buy anything that’s over 100 ICs, unless there’s a good reason for me to. Much less ones over 200. There are very little growth on those stocks that are that high. The idea is to buy them when they’re low and then sell when they’re high. The Quotes section provides very good information to how the stock has been doing in the past. If a certain stock has always been high, and it suddenly starts dropping, then that would be a good time to start watching it, and once it flats out, that would be the time to buy it. I would usually give a stock a week or so to make sure that it actually does flat out instead of keep dropping after a couple of days. The same goes for when to sell the stocks. Given that it’s a 0 hold time stock, it’s a good time to sell it when it flats out for more than at least a week.


But that only goes if the price is based upon activity. As you all know, another way the prices change is based upon the number of shares in circulation. The more people buy, the higher it goes, and the more people sell, the lower it drops. And that greatly changes when people with a large number of shares buy and sell stocks. For example, Kadann, Talon, Fury, or Japheth, these four hold the most shares in some stocks. When they buy or sell, you can usually tell. They are the ones that are buying or selling millions of shares at once. And once they do, then it would usually be a good time to follow. When they sell, it would probably be a good time for you to sell as well, given that you hold the same stock and are sellable. Same goes for when they buy, it’s a good time for you to buy. Because the prices on the stocks are bound to change when that many number of shares are sold/bought. But how do you tell when they’ve bought a stock or sold? You look to the Quotes section. When you see that the number of shares for sale is more than the number of shares in question, then those were sold, if there’s less, then they were bought. And even if you don’t catch up to that, the prices will probably change within a day, or at least by the end of the day. But even if they do sell a large number, it’s usually a good idea to hold it for at least half a day or so. From my experience, stock prices tend to go up a bit, even if shares were sold, solely from the influx of activity of the stock.

And if all else fails, do PPC. It is what provided as the financial base for me. By the time the new Imperitrade was opened, I only had less than 3 million ICs. I was able to use that to climb to 5, 8, 10, 15, 20 million, and later onto 30, 40, and now, over 60 millions total.

What contributed greatly to that was back when the stocks first started, they started low, usually around the 20’s and 30’s in price, and have climbed to over 100 in some. Unfortunately that doesn’t happen all the time anymore. So you’ll just have to go with the lowest ones possible sometimes, which is around 50 or 60 ICs.

In conclusion:

  1. Stick with 0 hold time stocks.*
  2. Buy low, no higher than 100ICs in stock price.*
  3. Sell/buy when the stocks have flattened out. See quotes for info.
  4. Look out for big sale changes.
  5. Last but not least, be smart, think for yourself. I’m not the greatest stock broker, so my experience may not be the most money productive.

*Unless given a good reason to act against those two basic principles.

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Writing Tips ~ Part One

July 11th, 2007 | Category: Star Wars Role Playing,Writing Tips

Firstly and most importantly of this multipart series, it might be wise to outline some suggested methods as to how you may be able to increase the quality of your posts, your Vast Empire experience and the quality of your interaction with other players and/or characters.

Before I continue, I’d like to make a note that these are my own personal opinions. As such they might not be shared or widely accepted by our fellow members at the VE. My intention is to provide advice. Whether or not that advice is adopted is another matter entirely. The choice is ultimately yours. It is my sincere hope that suggestions such as this will not be ignored, but rather taken to heart and used as a reference to growing as a trooper or pilot.

If you’re just starting off and you’re unsure as to how to post in stories, don’t be afraid to ask some of your fellow troopers for advice and/or tips. I’m sure that most, if not all, would be willing to take some time out to help someone in need.

Good Writers are made, not born. Just because someone else might be better than you at writing, it doesn’t mean you can’t do the same thing. With time and effort becoming a Veteran writer is quite an easy task.

Most importantly don’t be intimidated by your fellow troopers/pilots. Watch and learn from them. They can often teach you more than you’d be able to learn if you were alone.

Never give up. While in some cases there might not seem to be solutions, facing defeat is something you’ll deal with sooner or later. It’s how you deal with that which is important. You always have a new story coming or even a storynet thread that would welcome you to learn from the mistakes you made in the past.
One of the most important pieces of all, is to remember it is a game. You are there to have fun and to interact with other characters and writers. Don’t take things too seriously and remember to always enjoy yourself.

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Create 3D Graphics – Easily and FREE!

July 01st, 2007 | Category: Graphic Tips

Ever wanted to create 3-D graphics, but was always held back by the high cost of software? If you actually had several hundred to invest in one software package, imagine what you could do! Design a building that a mission will take place at, make your own starships, weapons, etc…

Before you rush out to purchase a full powered, and highly priced 3D modeling application, consider a FREE alternative. I discovered Google Sketchup about three months ago and here is a sampling of what I have managed to make:


TIE Fighter


Google SketchUp is a fast, flexible, and fun 3D modeling application that allows you to quickly mock up designs of objects, buildings, or anything else you dream up. Being Google, you can expect the interface to be very user-friendly. Google even broadens the power and novelty of this program by enabling you to share your creations with the public online; just upload your designs to Google’s 3D Warehouse Web site or drop them into Google Earth. In turn, you can view models made by other SketchUp users all over the workd and save them to integrate into your own designs.

You can download this mere 19.11MB app for free (here) to a PC running Windows 2000 or up with at least 128MB of RAM (512MB is recommended). Installation took me just a few minutes on a Windows Vista computer.

Most 3D software is complex and confusing for newbies, but immediately after loading the free Google SketchUp, I swiftly mastered the basics by finishing its three short tutorials. There’s not a drop of difficult CAD terminology, and you can leave open a neat, context-sensitive, animated Instructor panel for additional help if you need it.

Google SketchUp’s no-frills interface consists of a large, central canvas flanked by a single toolbar containing most of the icons needed to build models, with the rest of the features available from the Main Menu atop the screen. This compact setup leaves maximal space for drawing; however, if you wish, you can display up to 12 floating task-specific toolbars, such as those for Drawing, Construction, and Camera.

SketchUp is intuitive; just drag around the mouse to draw rectangles, arcs, segments, or circles, then select the Push/Pull tool to extend shapes into the third dimension. The tools do most of the heavy lifting for you. For example, as you draw freehand, with straight lines, or with the pencil tool, SketchUp guesses where you want endpoints to meet and snaps them shut for you. SketchUp even highlights the edges and the centers of shapes when the cursor passes over them, making it painless to draw with accuracy. Similarly, guidelines appear when you cross the cursor over another line, so you can visualize how your object relates to the rest of the scene. Unfortunately, you can’t easily push or pull curved surfaces to produce rounded objects, such as a TIE cockpit.

SketchUp helps you color in your models instantly via a Paint Bucket tool or by choosing from the more than 100 swatches, including vegetation, glass (yes, transparent), and metal, in the Materials palette. Once you draw, say, a small three-flat building, you could detail its red bricks, ivy-laced walls, and gravel driveway in a matter of minutes.

Want your design’s blue-sky setting to evoke high noon on Tatooine? The Shadow Settings palette is especially cool: just use the sliders to set the time of day and the month to add the properly angled shadowing effect to an object. Other neat features include the ability to display a transparent version of your model, inspect hidden geometry, walk around or orbit the scene, and rotate objects in all directions.

Once you’ve finished your model, you can upload and share it with other users, thanks to the unlimited, free storage space at Google’s 3D Warehouse Web site–where you can also grab other people’s models (I dropped the Taj Mahal into the center of the Pentagon 😛 ).

Google SketchUp’s support Web site offers a searchable knowledge base, FAQs, and a contact link to reach technical service via form e-mail. A user group and detailed video tutorials provide extra assistance should you still need help.

The simplicity of the free Google SketchUp makes three-dimensional drawing possible even for those who lack knowledge of design or perspective.

I hope to see some of our creative minds here at the Vast Empire share their creatins with the rest of us, maybe even use some of their designs as Competition Entries.

Just to get you started, here are some Star Wars Source Files you might like to use (designed by myself):

(click for zip file)


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