Go Homeling on a Budget

by SealWyf, HSM Editor

Kassadee Marie has graciously allowed me to borrow the formula of her popular “on a budget” series, so I can celebrate a new article in Home: the Homeling Head Extenders from Lockwood. These Fluidic noggin-enlargers arrive in the x7 store during this week’s update. Next week they will go public, and the distinctive Homeling look will be available to all Home users, regardless of organizational affiliation. And, best of all, they are completely, totally free. You can’t get more “on a budget” than that!

Lockwood has been negotiating with the Homeling Collective for some time about producing Home’s first Homeling-branded virtual goods. A rough paraphrase of our complicated diplomatic and legal inquiries follows:

Lockwood: We would like to make these. (Displays photograph.) Is it all right if we call them “Homeling Head Extenders”?

Homeling Generals’ Council: Really? OMG! Yes! Yes! Yes!

I think you can see why we pushed ahead with our trademark initiative. If anything was going to be called “Homeling”, we wanted to make sure it referred unequivocally to us, and not to some hypothetical group of the same name.

The inflated-cranium look is new for us, but only because it has not previously been available. Until now, we have had to settle for removing our fur (the follicular infestation you humans call “hair”), and exaggerating our facial features. The Home avatar engine is powerful, but it was never designed to create space aliens. Adding this new chrome-dome to our tool-kit opens up all sorts of possibilities.

One of the questions we routinely get from possible recruits is, “What does that suit cost?” Soon they’ll also be asking the same question about the Homeling Head Extender. The purpose of this article is to show that you can, indeed, go Homeling on a budget — because the essential gear is absolutely free!

Our uniform, the Echochrome Suit, is one of the best bargains in Home. You win it by playing the free-to-play Echochrome arcade game, found in the Bowling Alley and Indie Park. And unlocking the suit is not hard; 2000 points in any level gives you all four pieces: top, pants, hands and feet.

The fact that every Homeling has won his or her own Echochrome shows that the game is not all that difficult. But if you get stuck, there is a simple way to cheat. Level B includes an isolated platform, where the enemy shadows never come. Just put your character on this ledge and keep him there for half an hour, occasionally moving the cursor to keep the game from timing out. This should unlock all the rewards, including the distinctive Echochrome Suit, an Echochrome logo tee shirt, a small statue of the Echochrome character, and a table. Or, you can just practice the game until you master it. It’s a lot more satisfying to win your costume honestly.

The Echochrome suit is all you need to dress as a Homeling. And, indeed, for our lower ranks it is the sole acceptable attire. But you may want to dress it up a bit by adding some accessories. Just keep in mind that we maintain a slightly humorous sci-fi look in our accoutrements — the famous “Homeling aesthetic”.

Sparklers are very Homeling, and a number of them have been given out as free rewards. Check your Hand items to see if you own any. You can also carry weapons if they fit the sci-fi look (ray guns yes, automatic pistols no), or swords that have a magical glow. LucasArts’ lightsabers are glorious, though rather expensive. Magical glowing hands are also within the limits, especially if they are green, as are sci-fi boots and gloves, and the glowing Auras.

Goggles, reflective glasses or glowing eyes can be used to dress up your Homeling face. There have been a number of free items in this category. The Bronze steampunk style goggles from Aurora are an excellent choice, and they are free. Glowing eyes can be purchased from Lockwood at $.49 a pair, or $.99 for a set of three. The most popular colors are toxic green, and the whiteout and blackout eyes.

Once you have dressed your Homeling, you will probably want to get him or her a sci-fi style apartment. This is the place to blow the budget if you can afford to. The LOOT Space Station apartment is the quintessential Homeling space, and is well worth the $9.99 it will cost you. It comes with LOOT’s signature “plugged-in” EOD, Flickr and Twitter screens. During the current Open House, you can buy the apartment bundled with an insanely large number of decorative, furniture and active items for only $14.99. It’s well worth the price.

If you can’t afford the LOOT Space Station, or if you simply want to get another sci-fi themed apartment, there are a number of less expensive choices. For the basic apartment cost of $4.99, you can choose from the Nebula Air Ship, Silicon Lounge, Novus Prime Officer’s Quarters, Anime Style, Planetland or the Post Apocalypse Apartment.

Of these, I recommend the Novus Prime space, because it includes a zero-gravity simulation. For a few dollars more, you can add your own private launch point for the Novus Prime game.

Another benefit of the Novus Prime space, from a Homeling perspective, is that it is very easy to glitch. It’s simple to make your way through the floor (Hellfire Games doesn’t seem to mind) and float among the stars. You can’t get more Homeling than that!

If you want to go a bit more upscale, take a look at the new Digital Leisure Space Station Apartment, for $6.99. This space includes several humorous interactions and a challenging asteroid-shooting game. Owners and guests are awarded a number of free items, including a charmingly retro flying saucer companion, which makes the price quite reasonable.

If you really need to stick to a tight budget, remember that almost any space can be made sci-fi with the right furniture. You can even turn your Harbour Studio into a little outpost of Fluidic Space! If you’ve been in Home long enough to win the Saucer Pop chairs and tables, look no farther. If you haven’t, the unlockable furniture items from Sodium 2 are completely free, and have a great gritty-realist sci-fi feel.

Your sci-fi space needs appropriate music, and Home offers two choices: the Novus Prime and 8-Bit music players. Each can be purchased for a reasonable $1.99. However, you might want to wait for LOOT’s portable radio to be released, and get a much wider music choices. And of course if you purchased the LOOT Space Station, the radio is included.

A proper space alien should have a companion, and Home has many candidates. Consider adopting the free Bacon Companion, recently introduced by Lockwood as a Gift Machine exclusive. Homelings are famously obsessed with bacon, so this humorous animated item is highly appropriate. And, since it costs nothing, it is definitely “on a budget”. Ask a friend who owns the Gift Machine to send you one, if you don’t already have it.

If you are feeling more serious, you might prefer to be trailed by a flying saucer. There are two good candidates. One comes free with the Digital Leisure Space Station apartment. The other, available from Mass Media, is the Unidentified Following Object, which looks quite similar. It costs $1.49, which makes it one of the cheapest companions in Home. For $1.99, you can invest in a Baby Robotic Cat from Sony Originals, or Sijed and Bijel, the robotic cobra and jerboa from Lockwood’s Sodium line. But keep in mind that most stationary Homelings are accompanied, not by companions, but Home’s free Bubble Machine.

All in all, being a Homeling can be surprisingly inexpensive. We planned it that way. Many of our members are on tight budgets, and we don’t want anyone to feel left out because they can’t afford the proper costume.

The new free Homeling Head Extenders are very much in the tradition of Homeling economy. We invite all members of the Home community, Homeling or not, to acquire these new expanded noggins, and join us in Fluidic (and inexpensive) glory.


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