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Signal GK

Signal GK (Tom Cusworth)

This website was reviewed 6 Sep 2006. Geocities has ceased operation; we do not have a current address for this site.

Yet another Geocities site, and in the familiar high contrast white text on black background. Tom's site supports and chronicles his Traveller PBeM game. On arrival the page that greets you has a simple description of Traveller and an FFE-approved site-wide disclaimer (good). On all pages there is a menu on the left. Actually, on all pages there is the FFE notice, which is unnecessary ... only the first or main page of a site needs it, a simple copyright notice is sufficient for all other pages.

The Spinward Marches - Here is a J6 map centred on Regina. The map (made with Traveller Universe) uses the black text on white background option, which can make some of the names of systems on the J1 main hard to make out. (As the author of Universe I guess that's my fault.)

Characters - This is a set of several characters. Titled "The Crew" (of what?) they have stats of "Fig", "Hed", "Nim", "Psi", "Spd", "Str" (what system does this use?). There are some interesting characters, though the descriptions are sometimes a little difficult to follow: for example, Captain Nasser is described as divorcing his wife in term 6 (nice bit of back story) but this is the first time it is mentioned that he was even married. The page is let down by inconsistent layout (most character names are larger font than rest of text but not all, most attributes are bullets but not all, etc).

Chronicles - This is a short but detailed campaign log. It reads more like a fanfic than a log. On some pages (but not all) there are more than one "Chronicles" entry on the menu: each actually points to a different chapter of the log. I've found 4 chapters so far.

Traveller Library Data Site - Broken link.

Map of Known Space - This contains a scan of known space from one of the LBBs.

Skills in use - This is mainly just a list of some skills available for characters, but it does state the system in use as "Roll Call".

Merchant Ship Crescent Moon - This page contains a brief description of a Beowulf class Free Trader and a large graphic of the deckplans. The deckplans are curious, they look like they've been shrunk down and then expanded again (plenty of detail ... bed covers turned down in staterooms, etc) but heavily pixelated and looks like it was reduced to 256 colours?

Star Warsesque Nonsense - Not Traveller, not serious, somewhat sureal. This appears to be the story of Star Wars II written phonetically as if read by the guy who does the voice-overs for Big Brother UK.

Summary: Captain Nassar and his crew appear to be interesting characters (having an Arab captain is certainly refreshingly different). However I'm not familiar with the Roll Call system so introducing them into IMTU could be a bit difficult. But my curiosity is peaked so I will investigate this further.

As I see it the site has 2 problems:

First, despite being divided up into straight forward sections the material is not clearly organised. It wasn't clear what rule set was supported until the "Skills in use" section was accessed. It wasn't clear how the characters knew each other (other than being part of some crew) until other parts were accessed. Even within sections (for example the characters, it wasn't apparent a character was married until mention of his divorce). You are forced to access the whole site to understand it, not just dip in to the sections that might interest you.

Second the HTML. Not just inconsistent layout, but the menu even conspires to hide content (oops, I've just found a links page).

To improve this site some remedial steps need to be taken: (1) learning the basics of HTML is a must, (2) fix the menu, (3) re-organise the material, (4) some parts need rewriting with the same skill demonstrated in the Chronicles.

At times I felt a bit like I was looking at a half-finished pot on a potters wheel: there is a tantalising promise there of something, but it doesn't quite deliver ... yet.