Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Just about there

Well, I should be ready to upload somethings tomorrow afternoon/evening for release on Thursday. The (slight) problem is that I'll be heading out of town with the family sometime on Thursday and won't be back until Saturday. I suppose this is good because it will prevent me from nervously checking to see if anything has been downloaded or sold but it will also keep me from responding to any message board posts or trying to solve any problems.

If I upload Wednesday evening the free intro release should automatically be pulled into the next OBS/Drivethru/RPGNow newsletter mentioning free releases. At least that is what I have been told. DS#3 has not been doing well so I have been focusing my time on having the .pdfs ready for release rather than the much needed website update. I really need to get that done as well. It should all come together during the next few days.

Monday, December 29, 2008

More Progress

Well, I have made some more progress on several different fronts. I really haven't started the "advertising" on message boards yet but I am probably going to start making posts tomorrow or on New Year's Eve day.

I feel like I am not completely on the ball with the advertising of the "opening" but I do have a list of ideas for other things to do throughout the year. Some will just be added pictures or little "comics" on certain holidays along with special prices and/or new product introductions.

I guess this is the news for now. I should have another update to the website done sometime tomorrow. This will include some new submission guidelines for those that might be interested. I am waiting on the updated 4e GSL that should come out sometime soon (um, right) before making some final decisions on some other product lines. I have some ideas that could be folded into the Sparks line or possibly be done as "4e compatible" products without needing the GSL. It would be much easier to make them 4e GSL products though. If the GSL info doesn't come soon I'll have to make a decision one way or the other.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

GreatCreators

Well, I have been working a bit on the layout of some of the GreatCreators books. Particularly some Jules Verne. I find the history of his novels very interesting. His work started out in French and was published during a time when there was a big push to increase literacy in France. Well, even those people that were somewhat literate didn't have a complete mastery of reading so editors tended to include far more illustrations in their books than were seen in English or even Spanish books of that time. The more illustrations one had, the wider the appeal, and therefore, the greater the number of sales.

What does this mean? Well, the original French versions of Jules Verne's books are pretty heavily illustrated, sometimes having as many as one illustration every 5 pages. The English translations, well, some translations included some of the illustrations, but must didn't, or included only a few. Why? That is an interesting question. I am not certain of the "real" answer but I am guessing it had to do with ownership of the artwork/engravings at that point in time. You can find some of the illustrations online, but most of those scans are lower resolution and don't really compare with some of the original artwork. If your public library has a large, central branch with foreign language books you might be able to see some better illustrations. Some university libraries have copies as well. Often they are in archival sections of the library and you can look at them but not check them out. The first releases we do of Jules Verne won't have illustrations (sorry) due to the work scanning, doing the layout, etc. I hope to be able to offer the illustrated versions sometime as well. Those might cost a bit more due to the time and effort involved. I might even have those as print versions available through Amazon but that is a tale for another day.

One of the reasons I set up this company was to learn new things. Not only do I get to learn new things about doing layout, playing with photoshop and other programs, but I also get to learn about some of the earliest "science fiction" and "fantasy" authors and stories. I know, boring to some, but the history of some of these things is truly interesting to me.

Okay, so far we know that I'll be doing stories from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Jules Verne. Yes, there are more. Yes, I'll talk about some of them soon. The truth is, I have had some huge help with this product line, help that makes it even possible. I am hoping to have that help (JTJ) post to the message boards (JTJ) when they are up and going (JTJ) even though he refuses to post to message boards (JTJ) or blogs (JTJ). Hey, I didn't mention any names, exactly ...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! More news should be up soon. Until then, I hope everyone enjoys the holidays.

Take care,
Patrick

Monday, December 22, 2008

Looking good

Well, plans are indeed coming together. Steve Wieck got back to me with some information and it looks like right now I have much firmer plans as to when I am going to upload things and what release dates I'll be looking at. Basically, I'll be calling the release date January 1st but things might be uploaded before that.

As always, I am doing a few more touch-ups here and there but mostly I am stepping back and "giving in" on some things. I still have hesitations about my hand-drawn maps but several people that I showed them to liked them and said I should go with them. The maps look a little better on-screen than printed out (at least from my printers). I deliberately set the background light enough that it didn't really print out but still showed up on-screen. I am going to have to wait and see what people think. If I get a bunch of bad reviews based on the maps I will have to reconsider and possibly go back and have maps re-done.

The GreatCreators line is going to launch as well. I should have at least one title to start with, possibly more. The plan is to have a layout that can be easily read on laptop screens and I think that I have managed that. At least the layout looks good and is easy to read on this screen, my wife's laptop, and my neighbor's laptop (PC, ours are Macs so I wanted to test on a PC laptop). Now, I don't know that they'll look good on a screen smaller than 12 inches, but I guess we can only go ahead and put things up for sale in order to find out.

More news in a few days.

Friday, December 19, 2008

News??

Well, I haven't heard back on some questions I had for people at several different online vendors. The main vendor I'll be using is OneBookShelf which is the combination of the RPGNow/DTRPG online vendors. There are other sites that allow one to sell straight .pdfs without having the layout set-up for print. I will probably be using several of those as well due to the GreatCreators line.

Right now I am in one of those phases where I am really itching to get things released. I am sure the various Christmas parties at the kids' school and various guests over the next week will slow me down. I think I am just going to stick with the January 1st release date. I can pre-upload files and set release dates that way but I have an annoying tendency to keep touching things up until the very end.

I'll probably go ahead and upload a drawing or two sometime this weekend as added news.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Website Update

Okay, for the 2-3 of you still paying attention, the GU website has been updated. Not all updates are up, but there is an announcement about the Great Creators line of .pdfs. I decided to go ahead and layout some of the old classics of sci-fi/fantasy and even mysteries. They are all public domain works and most of the one's I have picked so far are already available online at places like Gutenberg.org. Why bother? First, the easier it is for people to access some of these stories and get their kids to read them (or to read themselves) the better. Second, most of the files you can find online are simple text files that aren't all that friendly for screen reading. I spent a lot of time reviewing research on reading things from computer screens and on formats for .pdfs for easier on-screen reading and I think that the layout plan I have chosen will make it easy for people to read these books on-screen. Pages look good and are easy to read even on a 12-inch laptop screen.

I don't know if I will really recoup much for the time I have spent on some of these books, but I have enjoyed re-reading some of these and I particularly enjoy getting DS#1 to help a bit (thus getting him to read these books). I got into this line of thinking after talking to some university students that are involved in the scanning and compilation of books and diaries of some of the early missionaries to Texas. Some of the public domain efforts that are going on are truly aimed at preserving bits of knowledge that are slowly becoming lost. Some of the money earned from the Great Creators line is going to be used to support some of those efforts.

I still don't have new submissions guidelines up yet, nor do I have dates on the few releases I have announced. Right now I am pretty sure that I am simply going to go with January 1st. I might move to Dec 26th or something like that. It is going to depend on what sort of promotions OBS might be running. The last thing I'll be doing before bed tonight is emailing them about that very thing.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

More Writing

Well, I didn't really have time to get some of the advertising outlined, designed, and arranged but this was partly due to being out of the house a bit for some of the kids' events. However, I have been able to get some writing done and a few other things. This would make for good progress if I already had the advertising ready to go and a real plan as to exactly what and where I am going to advertise. I do know what the first releases are going to be and what order they are going to be released in. I am not exactly sure what the schedule is going to be but I think the City Streets line is probably going to be every 2-3 weeks.

I hope to have more news up soon.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Minor Progress

Well, lower back pain and sick children are slowing me down a bit, but things are indeed moving along (slowly).

Looks like the slowing economy has killed a deal that was looking promising last week. I guess I should have expected that. I have gotten a few more sketches done and more layout. I hope to be working on the website tonight with plans of getting an update up this weekend. I have been marking dates in the calendar lately, meaning that I am just about ready to "go live."

When I get that update up you'll be able to see a few new planned product lines and one possible product line. The possible line is a 4e line. Still not sure if I am going to go the "GSL" route and I am probably going to be advertising on ENWorld and rpg.net for someone willing to do 4e stats/stat-blocks. Two local groups are willing to test any 4e stuff I do decide to work on so the play-testing end should go okay.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Holding Action

Well, to the few of you looking in once in a while it has to appear that I am in some sort of holding action. I haven't uploaded updates to the webpage, nor have I started releases yet even though I could, quite admittedly, start tomorrow.

There are a few reasons for the delays that probably won't make much sense right now but I am hoping they'll make more sense in a few weeks.
First, I am trying to decide how to advertise finally starting releases. Do I just advertise through the OneBookShelf site(s) banner ads and newsletter or should I be paying to run some banner ads on some other sites? Speaking of banner ads, I need to have one in order to try to advertise. These shouldn't really be difficult questions but somehow I get hung up on them sometimes.
Second, the website delay is completely my fault. The update includes some information and logos for some other possible products that I haven't talked about yet. Why haven't I talked about them? Well...
-in one case it is because I might sell that "idea" to someone else. In other words, do the work and have them pay me for it rather than sell it myself. This is in a holding pattern at least until next week when I find out what the interested party is willing to pay.
-in another it is because it involves 4th edition compatible products and I have been reviewing what other publishers have done with respect to the GSL/ going the "copyright" route/and using the OGL to make a compatible product. In one sense I don't know if I want to mess with 4e products, in another, none of the other product plans are really OGL products so the GSL doesn't pose the same risks to me as it does to others.

So many different ideas, so little time. I have to do something about that.
Basically, I have to finalize a few decisions on my part, an agreement with another publisher, and touch up the website update and get the thing uploaded. Then I need to advertise and start releases.
Again, I am really hoping to make everything much more clear within another week or so. I have thought that before, but I have 4 fully completed .pdfs waiting to go on sale, 2 more that are 98% done and could easily be ready with another 2-4 hours of work, 3 more that are 70% done or more, and half a dozen + in various stages of completion. --and this is just for the City Streets product line. Basically, I am itching to finally get things going.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Week goes by ...

A week goes by and I don't bother to post. I wish I could say that this means I have been working like a busy little bee but this has not been the case. I have been playing around with a few things here and there but I haven't done anything in an organized enough manner to successfully get at least one thing DONE so that I can feel good and brag about it. I hope to have major updates to the website this weekend and possibly even upload some things to OneBookShelf/RPGNow. This doesn't mean I will release them right away as I think I should try to advertise a bit first. I can upload things and set a release date for them so they aren't available until that date.
I keep hearing horror tales about declining sales. Now, there are a few companies that haven't done too poorly (from what I hear) but they have been running various deals and promotions. Getting involved in such promotions is time consuming and I would like to insure I have the time before committing it.

Other News: sometime this weekend I'll start a different blog for the family news so people that are more interested in just the RPG side can avoid all of the soccer, piano, dance, gymnastics, etc. Our friends from Illinois left yesterday evening. We had a great time, it was wonderful to see them again, and it was wonderful to have good weather too. DS#1 had a tournament over the weekend and played quite well. His team had 2 wins out of 4 games putting them tied for second in their grouping. The team that game in first beat everyone, our boys were pleased that they were the only team to score a goal on the group leader. Some parents were a bit upset because 3 of the 4 games were played against teams a year older than ours. I guess only two teams for our age group/division signed up so we ended up playing against bigger boys. This is the age where one year is a pretty big difference in size and development. Anyway, the boys had a good time.

We don't have any soccer practices this week, yeah!. Of course, DS#1 just ran off with a school friend to go to meet some other boys at one of the city parks to, you guessed it, play soccer. I am just happy he has a team sport that he truly enjoys. DS#2 was invited to be a guest player for a tournament this weekend. We declined, it is our only free weekend and DS#2 didn't know anyone on the team AND he didn't want to play for a team from another club. It was very nice to be invited though.

I have a few more minutes to do things so this is all for today, er, probably a few days, okay, maybe another week ...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More on Layout

Well, it is interesting, I have been reading more and more about layout and, you guessed it, decided to go back and make some changes to the minibooks I have already finished. Some of the changes had to do with several pieces I have read about the best places to put artwork on a page, other changes were related to ink use for people printing out the .pdfs. The fact that I use a laser printer means that I didn't think enough about black ink use for inkjet users. It is difficult to describe, but I set apart some rooms and/or information by having white text on a black background. This has been converted to black text on a 10% or 20% black (ie. light gray) background.

That brings me back to when am I going to finally upload some things, announce that I am finally "open," advertise, etc.?

Well, we have company coming this weekend. Our good friends from Illinois (DD's godfather, G, and his family) are coming on Saturday evening and will be staying through next Tuesday. J. has a teacher's conference here in SA so they used it as an excuse for the whole family to come visit. This means I am definitely not trying to release this weekend. I am STILL trying to recover and organize from the new floors and the new entertainment center as well as get things ready for our guests. Fortunately, the kids have off from school the entire week next week and my lovely wife took Monday and Tuesday off too. This means we can all do things together and really have a nice time. My lovely wife is on-call Thanksgiving Day so we still haven't decided what we are doing then. This means that I am thinking about uploading some things and planning for releases either in December, or on "Black Thursday" depending upon what sort of advertising plans RPGNow/OneBookShelf might have going.

Okay, that is the GU News, how about some Soccer News?! DS#2's team played a small "club-friendly" 3v3 tournament this weekend. They were split into two teams and both teams won all of their games. More importantly though, 3v3 games can be a lot of fun and all of the kids simply had a blast. DS#2 has been used to being a defender but his coach has been pushing him into a more of a scoring role. He really enjoyed scoring goals over the weekend and it was fun for all of us to watch. DS#1 has a tournament this weekend. He has 2 games Saturday (before our guests arrive) and 2 games Sunday (um, oops). The first Sunday game is at 7:50 AM. This pretty much means we have go get up at about 6 AM (hmmm, maybe 6:15). Of course, I'll be up late with G drinking margaritas so that could be a bit painful (did I say 6:15, maybe 6:30 ...). The second game is at 11:30 so we should still have most of the afternoon to relax (and drink more margaritas).

We'll be getting a break from soccer practice next week and then there are only a few more practices before the winter "break." DS#2 will start again in February, DS#1 starts again in January. DS#1 will probably also have a few "unofficial" practices during the rest of December but we'll see what happens with that.

DD, well she is really enjoying the Dance and Gymnastics classes she has been taking. This week I actually got to watch part of the classes (while chasing DS#3) and the fact that I haven't seen her in class for a while makes the things she has been learning much more clear. Usually my wife either comes home early enough to take her to these classes or meets me there so I can bring the boys (DS#2 and #3, DS#1 is never home before we leave for these classes) home. The differences in ability and learning really do become more clear when you don't see the classes every week.

Well, that is about all for now. I think I am probably going to set up a separate blog for the family stuff in a week or two. This way the people that just want GU news can check this blog while those that want more of the family info can check the other one. Of course, I don't blog that often so it means that each blog probably only gets updated once a week, but hey, that's life!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Why am I so Busy?

Okay, for some reason I seem to be constantly busy, and when not busy I have done a bit of veging in front of the TV or playing Resistance 2 on the PS3. Fantastic game by the way.
GU News: Well, I have gotten some more writing done as well as more editing and even a piece or two of art. Still not completely pleased with my maps, but the maps I have tried to draw/make with the computer alone don't come out satisfactory either. I have also had some ideas for completely different products and (potentially) wasted some time looking into to those a bit more. Add to that a bit of work on advertising blurbs and some thoughts/sketches for banner ads and I guess you get a busy boy. The worst part is, I know that a number of these things aren't going to see much use, but at least it has been educational for me.
Other News: Soccer is winding down for DS#1 and DS#2. DS#2 has a 3v3 tournament tomorrow which should be a lot of fun for him. After that a few more practices and break until the spring season. DS#1 has a tournament next weekend and then a few more weeks of practice before the break. His break is not as long, he starts practice again in January, DS#2 gets to wait until February. DS#1 will probably also practice a bit during December, possibly playing Futsol (a Brazilian game that is very soccer related). DD has a dance recital (apparently very relaxed and not so major) in December and she has a piano recital Dec 6th. She has been up and down on piano lately, sometimes loving it, sometimes wanting to quit. We'll be making her stick with it a bit longer. She now claims she want to play soccer again next year. We plan to wait and see how true that is ;).

Monday, November 10, 2008

Funny

Funny, I could have sworn I posted something on the weekend. I guess I just THOUGHT about posting.
Saturday was a day with hours and hours spent behind the wheel driving. DS#1 had a soccer game in Laredo, TX, which is about a 2 hour 45 minute drive from here. The drive was a bit longer coming back, and we had 2 of his teammates with us so I took those boys home. They don't live particularly close to us so that was some extra driving too. Honestly though, the boys were fantastic, they basically watched a movie on the way out (Matrix) and another on the way back (Transformers) with a stop for food on the way home. The soccer game itself was good. While our team lost, the boys played well and the teams were pretty evenly matched. The game could have gone either way.
Sunday, well, Sunday I pretty much veged. I outlined some broad ideas in my infamous notebook while watching football with periodic trips outside to check on the older 3 kids. My lovely wife got in a fairly long nap with DS#3. I was feeling a bit tired and off, probably from Saturday, but a bug seems to be going around too, so who knows.
As for today, DS#3 had a bad day. This kept me from getting anything done. Tomorrow is Veteran's Day and my wife is a contractor for the military. She is not on-call so this means she has the day off. She is on-call Wednesday so she is off Thursday too. Strange as it sounds, this bizarre schedule means I should be able to get some work done, whether it is drawing, writing, whatever.
Well, more news in a few days.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Back cover blurbs

Well, I am now working on a set of "back cover blurbs" for the various mini-pdfs I have completed. I am also thinking about what to do for advertising and how to go about it. Let's face it, I don't want to spend a bunch of money on advertising because I don't have high hopes for huge sales and I'll be pricing these fairly low.

Strangely, sometimes it seems that the more work I have done on some of these projects the more I start thinking about just throwing in the towel and working on completely different projects such as children's books and games. It would be a complete shame to waste the work I have done already as well as the work done by others that I have paid for. I also want to see how these things do.

Before the time change DS#3 was taking a fairly regular and reasonably long nap. This week he is definitely having problems adjusting. Looks like the nap time I was hoping for isn't going to be happening. Oh well, let's see what else I can finish up.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

As Expected

I haven't really had time to work on any blurbs or decide how I am going to do releases, advertising, etc.
Halloween on Friday night and soccer games yesterday are part of it. We have a bit of a "block party" for halloween and then the kids run off to trick-or-treat. DS#1 played some soccer with a few friends for a bit before walking round the neighborhood with one of them. Then he ends up phoning me from a someone's house a few blocks away. I guess she was having a sleep-over with some girl friends and DS#1 and a few other boys ended up over there. Yes, a bunch of cute girls and about 4 very happy boys.
Saturday we were able to sleep late because the soccer games were in the afternoon. Unfortunately, before leaving I found I had a flat tire and had to change the tire. This meant we ended up taking 2 cars ... anyway, it was a hectic day. DS#1 wasn't feeling well, which was a real shame. He started the game and was playing well but then he raised his hand to come out and pretty much just looked pale and miserable while watching his team lose yet another game they should have won. Oh well, even losses can be a learning experience. Next Saturday we have to drive to Laredo for his game. I'm not looking forward to it.

Tomorrow I have to get the van taken care of. I am hoping the tire can be repaired rather than having to replace it. Tomorrow night is a meeting to get information about the magnet (specialty) high schools in the district. DS#1 and I will have to go to that. I can remember holding DS#1 in one hand. Now he is taller than me, how does this happen??

I will be trying to work on some of the GU stuff this evening and tomorrow but I don't have high hopes of getting a lot done. The weather outside is, well, incredible, and I am (obviously) going to have to grill. I am trying something new this evening so let's hope we don't end up ordering pizza! :)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Progressing Nicely

Just a quick note on progress. I am getting enough done to start releases very soon now. Okay, truth is I have 5 of the mini-.pdfs through layout, etc. What I need to do now is get the advertising blurbs for each one written up and think about what sort of advertising I want to do. At first I am probably going with posting on a few message boards while trying to think up a "good" banner advertisement of some sort. Rumors I am hearing about sales suggest maybe I should just stick with message board posts and maybe trying to get on the OBS (Drivethru/RPGNow) newsletter.

I am not sure how much time I'll have the next few days to work on this. We'll have to see.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Moving along ...

Well, I have actually been getting some things done lately. It looks like very soon now I won't have any excuses not to start releasing products.
I guess this means I need to create some advertising blurbs and maybe even some other advertising promos. I need to take care of some "back cover blurbs" --the information/statements you seen on the back cover of a book--even though .pdfs don't really have a back cover.

I HAD hoped to have some things out this week but to have the advertising ready for that, well, I would have needed to have things ready even earlier. We'll see how it goes the next few days, but things are looking good for the next few weeks.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Why Patrick uses Pencils...

Okay, I have been sort-of promising myself, and strongly hinting here, that I would post a bit more artwork or maps. Well, I thought I would show everyone why I use pencils for most things. I am trying to "graduate" to inking things but so far I have only really been using ink for maps. This doesn't mean I haven't been playing around with drawings in ink.
Now, I have been using the beginner's trick of sketching broad outlines in blue pencil, you can either erase the pencil later or eliminate the blue after scanning. Some of the pencil sketches I posted here or on the GU site actually started out with some blue too. I am leaving the blue pencil in for these scans so you can see my progression. First, I am working on "Zinia" who is the owner of a spa (a real spa, not a brothel) and who isn't afraid to use her ample cleavage to distract customers. Well, I wanted to have her robed with her hands in her pockets (I am not very good at drawing hands). Here is how I started:


Now, she doesn't look great, but let's face it, these are just the outlines and you won't see them in the final scan unless I let you. Now, if I fill this out with pencils I can use different levels of pencils for the shading, but with ink you have to do it with textures or patterns. Just not a strong point with me. Well, I start inking and get a little frustrated when it doesn't look exactly like I want it to. With pencil I can erase a bit and change a few things around, lighten places I got darker than I wanted, darken others, etc. Once the ink is down, well, it is down. I leave the blue pencil (and regular pencil) in for this scan:


Okay, let's see if blogger uploaded those pictures where I tried to put them ;).
I will probably play with this drawing a bit more, maybe add some pencil shading to the ink that is down. With a few adjustments it might be usable, but it certainly isn't the quality I would like.
The artwork side of things is a learning experience for me and I am enjoying it (so far).

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Keep on working ...

Okay, I haven't been working on anything lately. Yesterday was busy due to soccer games and today we went out to Medina, TX to visit a very nice pumpkin patch/apple orchard. We enjoyed it, but the trip included a lot of driving for me so I have been lazy since then.
I would like to claim that I'll sit down right now to finish work on a couple of the maps that are sitting on my desk, but that isn't about to happen.
I want to hear more about the GSL changes and Scott Rouse has posted that he'll answer publisher questions, but who knows how quickly or even if he'll actually answer mine. The updated GSL and SRD are clearly not coming soon.
In related news, I hear through the grapevine that distributors and retailers are worried about an even bigger slow down in RPG (and board game) purchases and are scaling back their orders. This could have an "interesting" effect on the mid-tier RPG (print) publishers. Lower tier .pdf publishers might see a slowdown but generally have lower production costs and WotC is not going to feel the sting as much as other companies. Print products cost a lot more to produce, advertise and distribute, if those products don't get into the distribution chain things will get bad for certain companies.
Well, off to a bit more time wasting.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Clouds??

Soccer and Stuff
Well, we have actually had some cloudy weather yesterday and today. It is actually nice to have some clouds when sitting outside at soccer games. DS#2 had two games this weekend, one Friday night and another Saturday morning. He played on his hurt foot and did okay, though he did have an "own goal" Friday night that allowed the other team to tie. His Saturday game was a blow out, to the point the coach finally told them not to score until they had made X number of passes. DS#1 had a very good game Saturday too, they played one of the top teams in the division, although they lost as a team they played very well and only lost by one goal. DS#1 had some beautiful crosses to the middle that never got put into the back of the net, he was a bit frustrated.

This is a long weekend as everyone has Monday off. I am taking DS#1 and some of his friends to laser quest this afternoon for his birthday and tomorrow we have a family picture. That is all we have on the "official" schedule. I need to get some closet organizers/hardware for DS#1's bedroom now that the floors are done. I also need to replace the closet doors. I am thinking about getting a "handyman" to do that for me as I don't have the proper tools to make some of the cuts. Buying the tools would make the cost about the same as getting someone to do it (it isn't a difficult job with the right tools). I might be able to borrow what I need because I do have a neighbor with a very nice workshop in his garage. Anyway, those are tasks I need to get done sometime soon.

GU News
I think I have decided what I want to do with some page border/header/footer type stuff so that shouldn't be too long to set up. It does mean I'll have to change the layout of the the minibooks already through layout but that is okay. I have a couple of maps to finish up and I need to re-scan a map that came out funny for some reason. Then I need to take care of some additional artwork. I thought I had some suitable pieces but the artist apparently needs money to repair something in his apartment and decided he wanted more money. I was pretty disappointed as this was artwork he created without a commission, I saw it online and emailed him asking if I could get non-exclusive permission to use it for a small amount of $. The first answer was "yes" but then I guess he decided he wanted more $. This means I have to find some more public domain art and/or make some more drawings myself. I'll be working on some drawings tonight.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Floors and Birthdays

Well, today is DS#1's actual birthday. We sort-of celebrated yesterday by going out to dinner at a nice Italian restaurant. Basically, We expected DD to have dance today followed by soccer practice for DS#2. Well, DD's dance instructor was sick and DS#2 has hurt his foot so we were all home this evening. After last night's feast we had some pizza, and cake, and DS#1 was able to play some of the games he received as gifts. DS#1 is now 13 meaning that I officially have a teen-age child. Rumor has it that I should be more frightened.

They finished laying the floors on Monday but had to do the clean up and major furniture moving yesterday. I didn't really get to setting up the office until this afternoon. DS#3 has been available to, um, "help" me so I didn't get much cleaning done. The fact that he flat-out refused to nap today didn't help. Well, I am exhausted, dusting the walls, floors, and everything else has been, well, time consuming. Add the help of a toddler and it was an exciting day. I spent the entire morning getting him exhausted so he would nap and let me get work done, silly Papa! Naps are for Papas! Maybe *I* will take a nap tomorrow.

Product plans- having time off from the internet, and, even the laptop, has been good (or bad) in the idea department. I suppose the last thing I need now is more ideas for products. We'll see how some of the new ideas pan out, that is what notebooks are for. Anyway, I should have more maps done tomorrow and I believe I have solved some layout issues. Unfortunately, I still have work to do in the office as well as some doctor's appointments tomorrow. I think I am on track for starting releases at the end of the month. Really, it should be sooner than that, but I am thinking that Halloween might be a good launch time.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Floors

Well, they were not able to finish the floors yesterday. Truly, I had a hard time believing they would get all of that work done. I have the cable modem hooked back up and the wireless router so we can use the laptops to get online. Honestly, I wasn't going to bother but my wife wants to get online later tonight. She is post-call though so we'll see how much she actually does.

Basically, it looks like I am not going to be back to being able to get much done until Thursday or so. I would love to say Tuesday, but even after they finish up the rest of the floors they'll still have to do the trim and after that we have to wait until the glue dries to move furniture back and set the office up again. Thursday should be realistic, then again, I might be completely exhausted by then.
We'll see ...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Getting better but ...

Okay, I have been feeling a bit better but this hasn't helped me get any GU work done. I am having the most of the flooring on the first floor of the house replaced with wood floors. This means getting tons of things out of the way so the workmen can work tomorrow (yes, they want to do it tomorrow). This includes the office so I am about to go offline until sometime late tomorrow night or Sunday. This pretty much depends on me having enough energy to start hooking everything back up after they finish the floors in here. It is going to be quite a mess so I expect I'll be off until late Sunday night.

I almost have enough of a voice to cheer at soccer games tomorrow. Almost. This means I will try not to.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sick

Yeah, I guess it wasn't just allergies. I have no voice, everybody tells me not to talk, and then they come and ask me questions. DS#2 asked me question after question a little while ago, and then looked at me and said, "Papa, you shouldn't be talking." I told him to stop asking me questions.

My wife is off tomorrow and if I can get enough rest to clear this up maybe I'll get a few things finished off. Not thrilled with my lack of progress. On a different, sort-of strange note, there is a chance I'll be helping someone with a text-book (for high schoolers). Well, it would be a lot of work and the pay is, well, crap, but still lots better than RPG stuff. I just don't know if I want to have that level of work and deadlines stacked onto an already busy life.
That is it for now. Time to rest a bit more and see if I can throw off this bug.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Allergies

Well, I don't know if it is an actual cold, really bad allergies, or a combination of both, but I have been down for the count lately.
Over the weekend I did a lot of cleaning-up work in the house and then on Monday I tackled the garage. It seems like the closer I am to having things ready to finally launch products with GU, the more "other" work I find for myself. Sometime today I need to check into wood flooring again. There might be a place in town that can match the floors I have (or at least come close) and if they can, it will save me a lot of money.
If I am feeling better later I'll try to put up one of the maps or another drawing.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Pause...

Okay, not much accomplished the past few days. Not that I haven't been busy, just so busy I haven't gotten anything done for GU. I hope to change that this weekend but it'll probably be difficult. We did have distractions due to Hurricane Ike. That isn't really a very good excuse though. I just keep finding other things to do. Basically, I knew with the hurricane and company in town that I wouldn't be able to get the required .pdfs done on time for the Talk Like a Pirate Day promotion with OBS. Now, I MIGHT have a shot at finishing a cheesecake drawing of a scantily clad pirate to put up on the website and then use that to start a countdown. I am looking at starting releases at the end of this month/beginning of October. Really, I am honestly so close now I just need to set a date and force myself to hit it.

Okay, all I have time for at the moment. We'll see if I can post again later tonight.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hurricane Ike

Well, looks like there will be some company in town from Houston for a few days. My sister-in-law's husband has been sent to SA to maintain the back-up servers for his company. They don't live close to the ship channel or anywhere like that. Their house and neighborhood should be fine. They do have a hotel room but we told her to bring the kids on over to the house tomorrow. Our kids will have school but my niece and nephew will find a lot more to do here at the house rather than in the hotel room. Right now they are still on I10 so I guess it is a VERY slow drive.

Today has been slow in terms of getting work done. DS#3 had a good morning but a very rough afternoon. He also had a rough night last night. Oh well ...
We'll see what I can get done tomorrow. I happen to have purchased a PS3 this week and was planning to set it up tomorrow. Hmmm, if I reward myself too soon I won't get anything done. Usually when family are here in town I don't get much done. We still don't know what our weather will be like Saturday. DS#1 and DS#2 have games scheduled. DS#1 has a home game against a team that is in the general San Antonio area so it hasn't been canceled (yet).

Tomorrow I'll post an update. Maybe upload another map or picture as well.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Marching on ...

Well, it has been a very busy day and I am feeling good about it. In addition to getting more books (mostly) through layout, I fixed a cabinet door, visited the gym, got to have lunch with my lovely wife, and did many of the usual errands and trips of a Wednesday.
I am still playing with some headers in the layout(s) but I really feel like I should be ready to start releases next week. There is a promotion next week Friday for "Talk Like a Pirate Day" and I am trying to decide if I can participate in it. I'll need at least another day to see if I have enough ready to go. If so, "The Black Ape" written by Jason Ludwig happens to have an admittedly small relation to the pirate theme-the owner is a former pirate. Not sure if this is really enough, but it might be worth a try.
If I decide to go forward with that then my likely first (free) release is still Gior's Glassworks released at the same time as either The White Tankard or Kagen's Books and Knowledge with the special release of The Black Ape on Friday the 19th. I suppose the other possibility is to release Gior's Glassworks and The Black Ape both on Friday the 19th and/or release Gior's earlier and then have ... eh, you get the idea.
One of the things I haven't done yet is create advertising (back cover) blurbs for the various locations. This is something I NEED to do very soon. It is on my list of things to do for tomorrow.
It looks like a very busy weekend, but that'll depend in part on Ike. DS#2 has a "club friendly" scheduled Saturday that will be canceled if we get hit with the rain bands-that decision will be made tomorrow night or Friday morning. Right now DS#1's game is still on and will be unless there is a serious hit, or enough rain that the field is in danger, he'll play. His game is a home game and the other team is from the San Antonio area so there isn't big travel involved. A lot of the other games in his division have been canceled already due to possible travel complications. Based on the track right now, I am guessing we'll get hit with enough rain that he won't play either.
Well, that is enough on that. Time to finish up two more things before going to sleep.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Some Progress


Just a quick note to show that I have been making real process on the map end of things. Unfortunately, the scanning and touch-ups aren't as fast as I would like. I am still not completely satisfied, but I think these are what I am going to go with for a number of the maps. Jason Ludwig's locations have artwork and cartography that he did for me. He did much nicer maps than I have, but I think they'll get better.
The map above is for The White Tankard, a shady tavern that, well, I don't think I have listed as one of the coming releases. I suppose if you want to know more about The White Tankard you'll have to wait ;).
I am probably going without formal map keys. I'll have labels for a few items but allow the reader/viewer to figure out what the rest is based on the room descriptions. I guess I will wait and see how that goes.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Computer Fun

Well, today I spent my spare time moving things around a bit on the desktop machine in order to free up space on the main drive. Basically, this means I backed everything up (twice) and then moved the iPhoto library to a new external hard disc. This means that we have to leave that particular drive on pretty much all of the time. Those of you that are counting, yes, the back-ups are on different drives meaning a total of 3 drives was involved. Meanwhile, of course, I did a full back-up on this machine as it has most of the drafts and outlines. Basically, I just put off any pressing need to buy a brand new machine until later this year or sometime in January.

I actually end up doing lots of the layout on the laptop for some reason. I can't really explain why. Art touch-ups, scanning, picture modifications, etc. are all done on the other machine as it has a MUCH bigger screen. You'd think that would make the layout easier too.

I am getting very close to having enough done to start releases. I need to scan the maps I have been working on, touch them up to the point that I am satisfied (sometimes pretty time-consuming) and start plugging though the layout. A lot of things are mostly through layout (sans maps) but I am probably going to play with the top borders a bit. We'll see. I should have a bit of artwork and/or maps and maybe a sample page or two ready to post to the website and blog sometime this week. The beginning of the week is pretty busy, but I think it is promising.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Long Day

Warning: This is mostly Soccer News...
Well, it has definitely been a long day. The boys' soccer games went, well, "mixed." DS#2's game was a "club friendly" so they actually played against one team the first half and a different team the second half. They played fairly well, lost the first half but one the second so I guess it was about even. DS#1's soccer game was only about 35-40 miles away so that wasn't a bad drive. It is considered a "non-conference" game meaning it doesn't count for standings. That is a good thing. We had a significant edge in ball possession but lost the game 2-0. The team played very well, they just could not seem to put the ball in back of the net. The goals the other team scored shouldn't really have happened. DS#1 didn't get a huge amount of play time, but while he did play he played very well. He is clearly improving and if he continues he is certainly going to be getting more playtime. His coach was very pleased with him.
DD's party went well, or so I hear. I would have liked to have been there but it did overlap with DS#1's soccer game, well, the travel time to the game was the big thing I suppose. This will be the last "big" party for her. Next year she gets to invite a few select friends for a movie or something similar.

Well, in other news... the harddrive for the desktop machine is full. I cleared some material out but the biggest draw on space right now is the collection of digital pictures. The desktop is fairly old and only has a 150 gig drive. When your iTunes and iphoto libraries take up almost 2/3rd of that, well, you start to run out of space. This means I have an excuse to buy a new desktop, which for me means getting a top-end iMac. I would almost go for one of the bigger Macs but really can't excuse the expense right now.
What does this all mean? Well, I have spent more time cleaning up files and clearing up space on that machine than I have scanning and touching-up the maps. I should be able to get them scanned tomorrow night. I will try to post at least one of them so the few of you reading this can laugh at my maps ;).

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Latest

Well, I have a few hand-drawn maps done now. I need to get them scanned into the computer and touched up a bit. They aren't the quality I would like but I guess the hours of drawing lately have helped me improve a bit. I am, if not "thrilled" with them, I am at least "satisfied."

This means that I should have things ready to go fairly soon now. With the older 3 in school I have been able to get a bit of work done during DS#3's naptimes and I have been getting a few things done during soccer practices and/or at night. All in all, I have been a bit more efficient.

DD has a birthday party this Saturday (her birthday was last month but we wait until after school starts to have the party). I will actually miss the party. I will be with DS#1 in New Braunfels (it is a bit NW of SA) for a soccer game. DS#2 has a game Saturday morning, but it is before the party and it is a home game so it shouldn't be a big deal. We'll have my nieces and sisters-in-law over for the weekend as well. This means that it is very unlikely I'll get much done this weekend. Particularly as my oven isn't scheduled to be fixed until next Tuesday. They had to order the part from Indiana...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Another day ....

Well, I really am trying to post more often.
Map/Cartography problems are still plaguing me. This is par for the course I suppose. I WAS talking with a cartographer that was (thankfully) very honest with me about receiving a contract from another company for quite a bit more than I can pay. I guess that project is in color and has a tight deadline so cheap building maps are not in the works right now.
I have been working on a number of things of my own. One is creating a set of map tiles for my own use. I just finished up a fairly large set. These are designed to be put into one of two tile-using mapping programs that I have right now. The output from both programs still leaves a lot to be desired. Output creating a map in Illustrator and/or Photoshop is much nicer. This means a lot more hand-drawing for me though as I am not terribly efficient at creating the maps with these programs. I have a few more ideas that I am working on.
As frustrating as this has been, I have actually been enjoying some parts of the challenge. Now, it is no surprise that other things have been REALLY frustrating, but I guess we all have to expect this in life, don't we?
Time to get back to work while DS#3 naps. I am guessing that once I finally get on a roll the oven repairman will finally show up (likely waking the baby).

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Trying

Well, I am trying to post more often, but haven't had much to post about I suppose. I have gotten more work done on the map end of things. Looks like I am back to hand-drawn maps, well, sort-of. At the very least I will be using hand-drawn elements that I hope to be able to re-use across several different map sets. A few of these aren't all that straight-forward but I am getting certain software tricks down and finding drawing time here and there.
I am awaiting the GSL, like many others really. I do have some 4e product ideas but I am not willing to risk the present incarnation of the GSL so I have stayed out of that. I actually have a product line name and even a possible logo. Yes, now you know why I can't seem to get other things done. I like to think about too many things at once. I actually expected it to be out Friday based on some rumors, but it wasn't, so I am guessing it'll have to be next Friday. I honestly don't expect them to release it on anything other than a Friday. That gives people time to digest the changes, flood the internet with speculations, anger, hatred, etc. and then eventually calm down.
Oh, I did do a slight update to the website with a bit more writer information and some more drawings. One of the drawings shows some nipple (heaven forbid!) so I set up a different page for them. I am working on a table-style product status page but wondering how much information I really want to include on it. I'd like to have something like that live when I finally start releases. This way people can see what is being worked on and possibly even comment/ask for certain products to get pushed ahead of others. We'll see how that works out.

In other news, rain has been quenching a few soccer practices. Okay, not actually rain this week, but thunder/lightning. Every time there is a boom close enough to hear, or a lightning stroke that someone can see, kids are sent off the field for 15-20 minutes. This has been a serious cut to DS#2's practice time which is unfortunate as he has decided he doesn't like his coach. Alas, he doesn't really like big changes in life and I think that if he gives it time he'll get to know the coach better and things will go well. The shortened practices mean there is no end of practice talk or follow-up on what was practiced. DS#1 has gotten some good practices in so I guess it is just luck of the draw. DS#1's season starts next Saturday. The only reason we aren't playing in a tournament this weekend is that we had a team manager change at the end of summer (she had to drop due to health issues) and she didn't get the team signed up. I am not complaining.
This coming week we start the real, full school year schedule and it looks, well, "busy."

Sunday, August 24, 2008

End of the Olympics

Well, the Olympics are ending, and it is, well, time. Not that impressed with the closing ceremony, honestly, I have ignored most of it but it is playing here in the background. The kids start school tomorrow so that should be an interesting (and busy) day. DS#2 has soccer practice in the evening and DD has gymnastics right after school. I am guessing they'll all be tired tomorrow.

In different news, I have a new idea for maps that I have been working on. I am hoping the output will be decent enough to use. I should have enough time tomorrow to finish working on some preliminary bits and pieces and then I'll know how well this will (or won't) work out. I have also gotten a bit more writing done, and outlined some other possible products. My wife has off tomorrow for the first day of school so I am hoping to get a lot of work done. We'll see how that all goes. My mother and father-in-law are coming this Thursday and staying for the holiday weekend. This means that I'll have more help then too.
Basically, I have a few more things to try with the cartography end of things, if one of them works out, then I am on the road to getting products out. I have several small books through layout with nice empty boxes for the maps. Fill in those boxes and we are ready to go.
I am still planning the "micro-.pdf" plan but I might try to have smaller .pdf compilations ready sooner rather than later. I am still thinking about pricing on some of them, but I guess I should actually have the products ready to go before I worry about what to price them.

Oh, I am still waiting to see the updated GSL too. I won't say I have "high hopes" but I guess I do expect the GSL to be significantly improved, enough to sign on anyway. We'll see. I am guessing it'll be out sometime this week, but I wouldn't be surprised if they wait until Friday to put it out in order to let people vent on various message boards over the weekend while the real publishers take the time to read and digest it.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Rain, Rain, Go Away ...

Okay, no, really, go away so I can send the kids out of the house. Not that I won't send them out of the house anyway, but then they come in all wet and drip on the floors ...

Maps, maps, maps. Well, I decided to go with Dundjinni created maps due to the license they have right now. Well, they don't look that good after layout. Basically, the map program seems to create them at 72 dpi, this gives a rougher appearance when they get blown up a bit for layout. I am not thrilled with the results. I thought I had the problems solved but that seems to be just a simple map that I created. On-screen things look, well, I would say "mediocre" but probably they are okay, when printed on a laser printer, well, they just don't look good to me. This means that if I send them to any POD service they won't print nicely. Yes, I still have to think about printing products.

Interestingly, the products Jason Ludwig wrote AND illustrated include maps that he created. Those maps are very nice. Unfortunately, I really can't afford to have him do maps for me right now. I also know that he isn't that interested in making maps AND the last time I talked to him about it he told me he was busy. Maybe I need to talk to him again.
Anyway, I have several products edited, and even (mostly) through layout. I have a few more decisions to make. Right now I am thinking about looking for "new" maps for later compilations and using the present maps as "placeholders" in the layout for maps used in the compilations and planned POD releases through the Amazon service.

Well, back to the Olympics for now. To bad the NBC World news announced that the US men went 1-2-3 in the 400 M hurdles or that would have been more enjoyable.

Lazy

Okay, between teething babies, the Olympics (I am an addict), LOTS of soccer, and not feeling well myself I have become a Lazy bum. I have accomplished a few things, but clearly not as much as I would like. I have had a few layout difficulties, actually, more going from the layout to the .pdf for some reason. These are probably solved.

I have also been contemplating a change from my planned format for the City Streets line, it is hard to say. Some of the locations are very short and are difficult for me to offer as a stand-alone product. A scan of smaller products shows that a number of publishers do publish "micro" .pdfs and consider it a valid plan. It is hard to plan pricing though. I think I will offer larger compilations sooner than originally planned. I am considering having each compilation include a new location that is unavailable as a stand-alone. I also want to have the compilations large enough to offer as a POD offering through Amazon.com's POD service.

I guess I keep thinking I have "pulled the trigger" on a decision and then come up with new possibilities.

I haven't actually had much GenCon news. I guess I haven't hit message boards enough lately. Well, complete chaos in the middle of posting. Such is life. Have to go.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Whoops!!

I forgot! DD had her birthday yesterday. She had a great day and was all smiles. She is now 6 and I am already very happy she is the only girl!

Teething + Olympics = Urgh!

Okay, I admit that the Olympics is clearly distracting me. Now, combine those late nights with massive teething problems in DS #3 and, well, you get a VERY sleep-deprived Patrick wandering around.
Cartography: well, I decided to go with the Dundjinni maps, I believe I have them at a point where they look decent after layout. I am ALSO drawing some up too. Now, when you draw them, you still have the scanning, clean-up, etc. Basically, I have been so tired and busy that I want, no, NEED to be able to print .pdfs AND see them on both the PC and Mac, while I am awake and at my prime before I feel like I am ready to go. Will any of these products be "works of art?" Well, no, but I do want to put out something that is actually easily USED in a game. For some strange reason, I worry less about the "art" or "reading" part of anything I make and more about the actual USE in a game. One of the nicest emails I actually received about something I wrote told me that they thought the adventure "was hard reading, but when I ran it the real beauty came out." It is great to have fans or collectors that buy products, but I personally enjoy the stories of the people that have actually USED products in a game even more.

Well, back to the olympics.

Oh, I will comment on the upcoming GSL changes, when, they, um, actually change.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

No Joy

Okay, so far, "no joy" on getting things out for next week/weekend. Very close now, close enough that I can taste it, so I am guessing that excitement might lead to a few late nights next week in an effort to "close the deal." Let's see how much the Olympics distract me. Yes, I love Olympic sports, I am one of those rare Americans that truly admires, enjoys, and respects track and field events, swimming, and even those oddities like team handball.
I am a few pieces of art and several maps away from having 5 (maybe more actually) products ready to go. Then I think it is clearly time to put out the free promo along with a paid product at the same time. I will have to give real thought as to how to schedule the releases after that.

As for other sports, DS#1 has a soccer tournament this weekend (here in SA). They lost their first game (to a team a year older) but they played a good game and it really could have gone either way. The second game, against a team actually in our age group, well, DS#1's team won the game 7-0, and that score doesn't really describe how 1-sided it was. They played very well and dominated the game. Interesting, to me, was the fact that DS#1 started both games. He has worked very hard this summer because he knows that he has to work to get play time. He got plenty of playtime. He rested 5 minutes the first game, and during the second game he only missed minutes due to a bloody nose. After that stopped, he went back in and had a goal that was called back because the line judge said the ball crossed the touch line before it was passed to him.
Anyway, we have one more game tomorrow, if we win we should be in the finals (this could depend on goal difference and a few other things). My wife is on-call tomorrow so, well, it'll be another exhausting day.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Paris Hilton

Hehe, well, that is a title for a blog isn't it?
I find the Paris Hilton political spoof ad absolutely hilarious. I also think it is brilliant marketing of Paris Hilton and a welcome distraction from the stupid political advertisements.
Do I like Paris Hilton? Um, no, not really, don't really care one way or the other. Never watched her show, never really cared.

Did I get anything else done today to talk about on the Blog? Um, well, no, but I am trying to post 2-3 times a week or more and I KNOW tomorrow is going to be insane so I just posted what came to mind while watching the news.
Oh, that is the next brilliant thing --TONS of free airtime on news programs and Jay Leno. Brilliant, really.
Wouldn't a DnD advertisement featuring Paris Hilton be hilarious, or, well, pathetic?
Well, back to the news and an hour of writing before bed.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Back again

Yes, I haven't been posting. Yes, my goal was at least 2-3 times a week or more.

Now, I wasn't planning to post while on vacation, but, well, vacation ended a week and a half ago (almost) and I haven't posted in that time.
I believe I might be ready to start the "ball rolling" in terms of releasing something by GenCon. Here is the problem, I am not 100% positive and so haven't been able to sign up for the advertising program that DTRPG is planning. I don't know if I can get involved in that last minute or not. I should know if I can start releasing things by this weekend. I have a few map issues I need to solve. Dundjinni has not been as easy to use as I would like, and the output hasn't been completely up to what I had hoped. Part of that might be my abilities with the program. I also happen to like simple black and white maps, but those that I have created are, well, rather simple and boring.
Basically, I need to "bite the bullet" and make some decisions quickly here. I think I want to stick with that decision through the product line, but we'll see.

While this is going on I have been looking at some other potential products for a "JumpStart" line of products. Most of these are books of tables, lists of encounters, ruins, things like that.
I am also looking at a "4gotten" line of 4e GSL products (or not GSL... uh, that depends ...). Basically, I don't have any major backstock and my products aren't really planned to be OGL so if I am doing .pdfs and POD I can likely sign onto the GSL without any major fears. This is particularly true if I make it clear that there is a particular product line for GSL products. There are some benefits to the GSL, just not enough for any established publisher (in my opinion) to really want to sign on.
What does all of this mean? Well, I guess you could say "feast or famine." I am either going to have a lot of things coming out this fall, or I am going to have not much. I would really like to be in the "a lot" realm.

Oh, yeah, I am still desperately needing to update the website. It has been so long that I was trying to move to a different program and layout for the website but I am not happy with it right now. I'll have to tweak it some more and/or just update what I have and worry about a full re-design later.
That's the news for now, piano lessons for DD in a little bit, then we pick up one of DS#2's good friends, eat lunch, go to the pool, get DS#3 a nap, take the friend home, get DS#1 out to soccer practice (last night it was 102 at the beginning of practice-should be cloudy and possibly even rain tonight).
I guess I do keep out of trouble.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The HD world

Well, I spent a lot of money yesterday. First, I FINALLY got a large screen HD TV which was delivered today. I also bought a Yamaha Clavinova digital piano (which gets delivered tomorrow). My lovely wife teased me, of course, but I had to tease her back. I told her the piano was for her and DD and the piano was for her too. *I* will spend money on a PS3 sometime soon though ;).

I am still sitting on the website update and announcement of the forums I set up (not like anyone will head there until I have products out anyway). I'll be on vacation next week and I would like to make certain I am "around" when I pop the update up.

On the GU front, I think I am going to go ahead with some more "GM Aid" type books that are mostly tables. I have been sitting on the idea a bit to see how the whole GSL thing was going to sort out. Right now, well, the GSL is basically a "bad deal" for most publishers, but I could probably stomach it as I am probably not using the OGL anyway. I don't have any OGL backstock to worry about. The interesting thing is, I know of 2 publishers that previously announced they were going to use the GSL that are now having huge hesitations. I know that one hasn't sent in the response card, not sure about the other. Interestingly, I have only seen one freelancer publicly ask a somewhat important question which boils down to:
"If my contract states that any copyright issues in my writing are my responsibility and I get published with (a company not using the GSL) and they get sued, am I liable?"
I actually asked a lawyer this, and the reply is, of course, depends on the wording of my contract. Based on the wording of some of the basic writer's contracts out there, the publisher could pull the writer into the lawsuit.
Another factor to consider, the internet legal wannabes are discussing how games can't be copyrighted, etc. but an IP lawyer that works in the copyright/trademark area has told me flat out, there isn't enough case law out there to really know what the boundaries are. In other words, sure, you can write something compatible, but there isn't a lot of case law telling you when compatible goes into "derivative work" and crosses into copyright territory. A lot of the case law dealing with "game rules" is also more in the board game realm. What this boils down to is the fact that you could get sued, and win, and not be able to recover your legal fees because the case is considered something that legitimately needed to be worked out in court. If you stay in very safe territory, such as adventures and/or setting material that is completely different and only use stat blocks that have a different design (look and feel) and stay away from any trademarked material, ... anyway, there are things you can do that should be "safe." Creating new classes and powers without the GSL is, in this lawyer's opinion, potentially a "grey area."

The only reason I keep thinking about these things is that I have several ideas for 4e products that are, well already outlined (in one case, even more). I still haven't decided how much I like the gameplay of 4e. Some of it is pretty nice, but so far the only games I have played in have been very rules-focused with very little Role-playing. I am sure this is mostly because people are still getting the hang of the rules. More on that another time though.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Time

Okay, I had lots less time the past few days. But... we have all had lots of fun! Our guests all leave tomorrow, and my wife has the day off, so I have been told that I'll get the entire afternoon to work uninterrupted. This, however, doesn't take into account the fact that the closet shelving in DS#1's room collapsed the other night. I have filled in the holes (either the original owner or the builder simply did a bad job putting it all up) and I need to paint. Then I need to figure out what sort of shelves to put in. The problem was due, in part, to the non-uniform shape of the closet and the fact that whoever put in the hardware took a lazy way out. Enough about that, basically, I have to get that all fixed this weekend. I have decided, with approval from my wife, that I need to spend tomorrow afternoon working on GU and/or other writing because it helps keep me sane.

GSL news (again): Well, Kenzer is moving forward with some material sans the GSL. Dave Kenzer is a REALLY smart guy and I have complete faith in him on this one. I am still not sure if the risks for me are worth it. The lawyers I have talked to aren't really keen on the GSL OR going sans the GSL (what people are calling the "copyright route" for some reason). It sounds like I could go ahead (carefully-there are definitely things you can't do) without the GSL and if I receive a "cease and desist" letter, simply, well, cease and desist... Right or wrong, I don't want the stress of going to court.

I have been sitting on a website update for weeks. Mostly because it has links to the Yuku message boards I set up (obviously these are quite dead as I haven't told anyone about them yet). I was also waiting on some info from a writer that asked to have his location "back." I don't know if he wanted more $ or not, but I have always been up front about what I pay. I think he is worried about selling the "copyright" and whether or not he can use/reuse the characters. If that is the case, I let him know that I could give him a letter stating quite clearly that he has permission to use those names/characters in other books, rpg material, etc. Anyway, I told him "yes" to having the writing back and sent a "letter of recision" stating that we mutually agreed to end the contract and that he has full ownership of the location and that I will not be publishing it. Fortunately, I only got the signed contract 2 weeks ago and haven't worked on editing it or planning any art for it.

"Planning" art generally involves deciding if I can do something halfway decent for it, looking up public domain art or cheap clip art, or trying to find a "real" artist to do something for me. Option 3 is very low on the list as that can get expensive. Well, I have a few things to get done and then I am probably off to bed. It has been a busy week and the baby hasn't been sleeping well. I want to be well rested in order to get the most out of my afternoon tomorrow.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Rain??!!

While a lot of the country has had more rain that it wants, San Antonio has been on the dry side. Lately though, we have had rain, often at the least convenient time.
Today we went to the gym to get a workout in and spend some time at the pool (the neighborhood pool is closed Mondays). We left at about 11:30 (AM) and went to Chick-fil-et for lunch. It started raining during lunch and continued off and on during the rest of the day. This made it a perfect day to take the older 3 kids to Wall-E. The animation and effects were fantastic and I think the movie was interesting for younger kids. For adults, well, let's just say the political message(s) was so over the top that most will ignore it making it a waste of the writer/director/producer's time.

This week my mother and father-in-law are coming from Houston tomorrow along with my wife's sister and her two kids. The cousins all get along so well that we asked if the kids could come and my sister-in-law decided she would just drive everyone here. Unfortunately, the rain I mentioned above looks like it'll continue for a while this week. This means I had better come up with some alternative indoor fun. Once fall hits we probably won't see them much. With DS#1, DS#2, AND my nephew all playing competitive soccer this fall, the weekends are clearly going to be shot.

On a bright note, when my in-laws are here I have LOTS more time to get work done. Let's see if that translates into real results.

Friday, July 4, 2008

4th of July

Well, it is Independence Day here in the USA. My wife had today off so we had a bit of family time. She is on-call tomorrow (24 hour call, based on cases scheduled already it looks like it won't be a good one) but will have this coming Monday off as well as next Friday. Today we spent some time at the pool, where it rained, no lightning so we all kept playing until it REALLY started to pour, and we watched a movie together (Pirates of the Caribbean, #3). The rain was off and on, it only drizzled while I cooked steaks on the grill and cleared up completely on time for fireworks.

I have been spending too much time looking at the legalities, and questions, surrounding the 4th edition DnD GSL (Game System License). My discussions with a two lawyers about the GSL suggest that it really is a bad deal for all of those major print publishers with a strong background and backstock. A new .pdf publisher STILL needs to be very cautious but it is probably okay so long as you don't publish anything under the GSL with material you might want to do as an OGL product. Several publishers are clearly going a different route. They are using the fact that you can't copyright game rules and creating compatible products. This is clearly do-able under the law but, according to both lawyers, still risky. Basically, WotC can still sue and it won't be considered a "frivolous" lawsuit. More importantly, they think that the lawyers for WotC (okay, "should" based on doing the best for their client) will send cease and desist letters to the distributors, particularly electronic storefronts for .pdfs, as well as ISPs. Anyway, the question of whether I will do anything for 4e is still open. It is partly based on my time and ability to play and test the game as well as where/what to publish. Well, the story and questions get longer after this point so I'll leave off for now.

Got a bit more layout and editing work done this week. I hope to accomplish more tomorrow.
In addition to the above distractions, another distraction has been playing some games with DS#1 and DS#2. The boys LOVE playing Talisman (a fantastic board game) and DS#2 simply loves playing board games (and/or DnD or Castles and Crusades--which has been DnD for us lately). My FLGS (Friendly Local Game Store--yes, Friendly is a key word here) gives me a discount on virtually everything I buy. This includes board games such as Talisman, Cave Troll, Drakkon, etc. I mention those 3 because they are DS#2's favorites right now. Cave Troll and Drakkon are fun games and have a relatively short playtime. Be warned that Talisman says something like 1 1/2 hours on the box but ALL of our games have been MUCH longer. Descent is a good game too, bit it can be more "adversarial."

It is late, I have two ideas I want to outline quickly before I forget them. I'll just have to talk more about board games another time.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Busy

But am I really that Busy? It just seems like I am not getting the things done that I would like to. It IS summer and we have had lots of family time and that has been fantastic. It does slow down getting things done for GU though. I admit that Olympic trials and the European Championship soccer games have been a distraction.

I am starting to lean toward the idea of "5 products ready for release" to include products from a different, planned product line. Why? Well, the art, etc. for some of those is really easy to take care of. I haven't really decided yet. It is something I'll be able to ponder tomorrow at the gym (or when I take the kids to the pool tomorrow afternoon/evening). My wife is on-call tomorrow night, and again this Saturday (the 5th). Strangely, being on-call the day after a major Friday holiday is often worse than being on-call the holiday itself. She fully expects to be VERY busy this Saturday. Oddly, when she is on-call she gets comp days that allow us to have some good family time on weekdays when museums, parks, etc. aren't as full.

I have been watching the 4e GSL news carefully lately, but, there really hasn't been anything to watch. There has been lots of discussion on various message boards about the GSL, and about people publishing 4e material without it. Well, none of that is really all that helpful. I am curious about the risks that several companies are taking. Honestly, I am sure they'll be very careful, but that doesn't mean WotC can't sue anyway. Will WotC care enough to sue? That is a pretty big question. A 3rd party book that is a huge hit still only sells a fraction of WotC sales.

Well, that is all for now.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Summertime ...

Okay, it is clearly summertime. I have lists of things to do that are long enough to frighten a fearless paladin to tears. The only things that get done involve the kids, or simple things like, oh, say, buying milk.
Then again, there is the European Championship (soccer folks, yes Mike, I am talking about soccer again). I taped todays' game, AND the hour's worth of ESPN programs afterwards to insure I caught any overtime or penalty kick finish. My wife taped a quarterfinal game for me a few days ago, and, well, it went to penalty kicks so I had to watch the end online. TODAY though, was different. The kids and I spent the afternoon at SeaWorld (yes, it is San Antonio, yes, we have season passes) so we planned to watch the taped game after dinner. My wife is on back-up call and worked late so she got home at the beginning, she asked, "Do you know the results?"
I said, "No, please don't tell me anything."
Well, she didn't (boy do I love my wife). It was a great game. I wish I had seen it. ?? Yes, technical difficulties blocked out Germany's second goal (had to watch replays), Turkey's comeback goal to tie 2-2 (yes, replays again), AND Germany's winning goal during the last few minutes of the game. She knew that there were "blackout times" due to several lighting strokes due to things people said at work, but didn't know what part of the game they were in. Grumble.
Funny thing is, at the beginning of the European Championship I said that I thought it would be Germany and Spain in the finals. DS#2 has focused on that and is rooting for those teams (he wants Spain to "crush" Germany-I don't think that'll happen, or even predict who'll win). He was a bit miffed when I was rooting for Turkey. I had to explain what underdogs they were and that simply making it this far was amazing. We'll have to see if Spain can beat Russia tomorrow. I'll tape that too, won't be on the internet until I watch it. Yeah, going to have to miss at least part of it, DS#1 has soccer practice ;).

Muhahaha! See, I scare Mike away (one of the 5 of you that read this right now) and then I answer his question.
"Man, if other people do this copyright thing you can do the 4e stuff too, you know the best lawyer in the business."

Um, yes, I know one of the best intellectual property lawyers in the country (she is actually rated in the top 100 now); however, even though she is a gamer, she hasn't looked at the license AND she deals with patent law. I happen to know she is involved in a big case right now (let's hope she wins one for the little guy!) so I haven't asked her legal opinion.

One of the parents of a child on the neighborhood swim team probably does more copyright/trademark filings and protection than she does, and he and I discussed the 4e GSL on Monday night. It was an interesting discussion and I'll be talking to him some more. (Now you can scream)

Yeah, that was a total cop-out wasn't it? Can't really talk about it right now, but yes, people can make 4e material using elements of copyright and fair-use laws. Is this a good long-term strategy? I don't know. Can you combine using the GSL for some products and then making "generic" products clearly usable with 4e? Well, my guess is that the GSL would be revoked, but I am not really sure.
Some publishers are clearly going to avoid the GSL while publishing 4e material. It is an option, but it is a complicated option. I have the luxury of sitting back a bit to see what others are doing. Right now it is most likely I will stay generic with GU and publish some 4e ideas with other publishers. We'll see.

Friday, June 20, 2008

GSL-Grin, Smile, Laugh

Well, not much time at the moment, but yes, the GSL is definitely not the OGL. I think everyone expected something a lot more restrictive but I have to admit that some of the clauses are a bit over what many expected. I'll be writing somethings for 4e (at least I am pretty sure I will). If I publish anything for 4e under the GSL I will create very distinct product lines. For the moment though, I am planning to keep most of my focus on more generic products. Not that any are ready YET! ARGH!

Ahem, onto happier news. Today is my 16th wedding anniversary. My in-laws just got here and will watch the kids tonight so my wife and I can go out for a VERY nice meal. It was also DS#2's birthday the other day so my sister-in-law and niece and nephew came too. Basically, it should be a very nice weekend and tonight will be a wonderful night.

That is all for now. I do have other news coming soon.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Birthday Time

Okay, I bet a few of the maybe 5 of you that actually read this thought I was going to comment on the 4e GSL "stuff" going on on various message boards.

WRONG! ;) DS#2 turned 9 today. This means the kids and I spent an exhausting day having fun at the Six Flags Fiesta Texas water park (here in SA, about 8 minutes from where we live, yes, we have season passes). We had a good time, but it was definitely exhausting. We went out for dinner at the family's favorite Mexican restaurant and then to a family-owned ice cream shop named Brindles.
Anyway, this pretty much means that I haven't had time to read everything over carefully. I have read it over, and I have decided to wait and see how things sort out for a bit. GU may, or may not, do anything that is specifically 4e under the GSL. I don't really need to make that decision for a little while.

Right now GU has been taking a bit of a back seat due to a bunch of family activities. Family always comes first. When it hits 9:30 in the evening and things have slowed down I start to get a bit edgy about what I still need to do and the fact that I haven't gotten things done as quickly as I would like. Once morning hits and another whirlwind day begins, those thoughts are far from my mind.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Father's Day

Well, I guess I am pretty boring. My wife asked where I wanted to eat and what I wanted to do for Father's Day. Well, I decided we'd go out for a "brunch" (small, not a huge buffet bit) after Mass tomorrow and that tomorrow evening I'll grill some steaks. I have gotten to the point that I really do like my steaks better than what I get in most restaurants, unless I want to spend a huge chunk of money, so I'd rather just go ahead and cook up the steaks myself. I want to have dinner with the entire family and I want a good steak, can't really do that at an expensive steak house and really be relaxed about it. As for gifts, I enjoy whatever the kids decide to make or do for me.
Yes, I guess my wife and I do take "practical" beyond most people's limits.
Onto other news. I did finally get some major updates done for the family website and the scrapbook album pages hosted on .Mac. This was essentially going to be a surprise present for my wife on Mother's Day (yeah, kinda late) but I kept changing what I wanted to do for it. Now it is an early Anniversary present (our anniversary is this coming Friday). Yes, it sucked a lot of time away from working on things for GU. It was also a good learning experience.
That is the news for now. This week coming week there are no "camps" so all of the kids are with me full time. DS#1 will have a few swim practices and a couple of soccer practices, but that is pretty minor compared to last week. Oh yeah, DD starts gymnastics on Monday afternoon. We'll pretty much have morning activities and then stay inside to read, write, draw, etc. during the heat of the afternoon. Maybe I can get DS#1 to do some work for me ;).

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday the 13th

Well, I had to post on Friday the 13th. Not much new to say.

The truth is that I have been spending time working on an overhaul of our family website and .mac website as an anniversary present for my wife later next week.
Yes, that means I haven't been getting much done.
On another note, Go Celtics! Okay, not really a Celtics fan, I just want the Lakers to lose.

As for soccer, European Championship-I expected Spain or Germany to win, but I have to admit that Portugal is looking pretty good too.

How is that for random?
Friday the 13th, by the way, is usually a "lucky" day for me.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Still not much

Well, not much to say. Summer is in full swing and I am not accomplishing as much as I would like. Not even close really.

4e notes to ponder: Well, I think I have said it here before, but I think 4e is a good game, just not the DnD that I got used to calling "Dungeons and Dragons." The feel is different, I am not saying this is bad, just different. In some ways it really does throw back to earlier editions because classes really do have defined roles. It is also easier to create monsters and NPCs (yes, I have fiddled around with a few). Some things though just have a different feel. I have never been a stickler when it comes to alignment, so I suppose the alignment changes should be no big deal to me, but they do seem to grant a different feel or purpose to the game. I don't know why. Magic items and equipment are, well, more "vanilla" to me. Again, not really sure why. I am fine with Wizards and Clerics having "at will" powers but I don't really like the way rituals are treated. I honestly think that leaving out some of the "favorite" races and classes was a deliberate move to help maintain sales for later books. While I understand doing this, I don't respect the way it was done.
If I can find a group to play, I will play 4e. The little bit of playing and demos I have done might not give the game a fair shake, and I do think it is a decent game.
4e GSL?? Um, yeah. Let's just say that the claims that the GSL was done and ready to go appear to be "mistaken." RUMORS (ie. can't claim a real basis in fact, and I don't know anything) indicate that changes have to be made to the GSL to allow companies to have multiple product lines with some products 4e and others OGL. Basically, members of WotC claimed this was already the case, but I heard, from, um, some birds talking on a branch outside, for this to be the case some clause or other in the GSL needs to be changed. Again, I have NO idea if this is true. If it were, it would be a more reasonable explanation for the delay providing the GSL than not having a proper page on the website for it ...

Well, enough of my opinions and rumor mongering for one afternoon. Surprise, surprise, it is almost time for DS#1 to go to soccer practice.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Back, again ...

Okay, things have been going "okay" for GU but not what I have wanted. I honestly feel that I need to have 5 products completely ready before I start any releases. This makes 1 free product plus 4 paid releases. I believe that once I have that I can make better predictions as to completion of other products and time the finished releases so that I will have new products ready when I am done with those releases. This means the first releases might trickle out once every 3 weeks, with a goal of hitting a release every 1-2 weeks. I still don't have 5 products fully ready to go, sad isn't it?
On other fronts, I have set up some forums through Yuku (what was once EZ boards). I need to try to customize the background, look, etc. before I set up links to them. I have more information ready for the website but I haven't uploaded that yet. I am signed up and ready to go on the OBS (OneBookShelf-RPGNow-DTRPG) front so that is ready to go.
Basically, I need to step up my organization a bit. When I am only writing it is okay to get distracted and outline new ideas for future books/products. When I need to be the one that also takes care of the other aspects of getting a product ready I need to get much more focused and organized. I think I am close to "getting in the zone" so, although I am frustrated at not having things ready now, I am more satisfied with my progress.

I knew the summer would be busy, and it has certainly started off that way. We went to Houston for the weekend for my Father-in-law's birthday party and the kids have some summer activities going right now. DS#1 and DS#2 have soccer camp this week. It is a half-day camp, but pretty intense. Both of the boys got grouped with older kids which helps push them. Last night DS#1 had a team meeting/practice with the new team. Basically, it sounds like most of our games will be in the San Antonio-Austin area but we will have games much further away as well. There is a possibility that an El Paso team will be put into our grouping. Those of you that know your Texas Geography will recognize that El Paso is a VERY long drive from SA. We don't have to worry about games until September, well our first tournaments are in August but those are reasonably close (here in SA and in Austin). It is a bit scary to realize that I now consider a soccer field over 90 miles away to be "reasonably close."

Okay, time to crack the whip on myself and get back to work.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Grumble ...

Well, I had some major email problems with the Generic Universe accounts yesterday. Let's just say it was VERY inconvenient. I was unable to send anything out. I received fine, but ended up using a different email address to send a few things out. I haven't had a response yet that those got there so now that the sending is fixed I suppose I should send a message from the GU address asking if the files got through. All of this was the info to open up the DTRPG/RPGNow/OBS retailer space for GU.

Other things have been going slowly. I thought I had some things through layout and looking good but when printing and when creating the .pdf for two of them something goes wrong. I am guessing there must be some sort of MS Word hidden code or macro that doesn't install properly. It looks good onscreen but send it to the printer or through Adobe Acrobat and "something" happens. Sigh. After talking to someone that does a lot of layout, it sounds like the answer is to save the text as an RTF and put through layout again. We'll see how that goes sometime this evening.

I clearly won't have 5 products fully complete for Friday. I was really hoping to match my launch with the advent of 4th edition. Then again, who knows, 4e is going to overwhelm everything else for a few weeks. I guess they'll be done when they get done. I think I am spreading myself too thin and working on to many things at once. I am going to go back to focusing on one item at a time-hopefully in rapid succession. The kids are home from school so there are lots of summer distractions. We got back from the Zoo a little while ago and DS#3 is napping. When he wakes up I'll give him a snack and haul all of the kids to the neighborhood pool. We'll see what I can get done during naptime.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Oh Well

Okay, as I was afraid, things got slowed down significantly. I had a few things that I needed to "deal with" and the kids are blowing off the last day of school. This means that our celebration of the end of school was a day earlier than planned. My wife's call schedule has been a bit brutal lately too. I don't have the magic 5 products completed yet. I might be able to recruit some free help tomorrow though, maybe it'll still work out.

Anyway, I had another chance to look at the 4e books on the weekend. I was mostly looking over monsters and monster creation. Material on monsters is cleverly split between the MM and the DMG, you'll need both if you are planning to DM. I have seen some message board comments questioning the need for the DMG, but in my opinion, you'll need it. I am NOT all that impressed with some of the monsters. Some of the changes to things like the Dryad are, well, stupid really. A few monsters are much cooler, so I suppose in the long-run that will balance out. Fortunately, with the new edition it is much easier to make your own adjustments to monsters and/or simply create new ones.

Will I want to write for 4e? Yes, but I am not sure when I will find the time.

Conversions from older editions? Okay, here is the thing, in general I think it'll be easier to convert old 1e and 2e material than some 3e material. The problem is going to be with maps, 4e combat is highly dependent on movement and abilities that allow you to shift before or after striking. Without running an encounter in a tight space yet (I might run one today with my boys) I can't see if this is really a big deal. A lot of Monster abilities also involve pushing, pulling, or otherwise moving characters too.

I have the Keep on the Shadowfell adventure and some notes on things to add/subtract from the books and I plan to try the boys on it with 2 of the pre-gens each. I expect we'll all be running characters as more of a mini-combat trial at first than a real role-playing game.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Distractions

Okay, I know someone that did receive the 4e rules early. Now, he says it wasn't from Buy.com. I guess some others busted the release date after Buy.com did. Who knows.

Anyway, the books look very nice and what I had a chance to look at indicates what I thought before. It isn't the DnD that I started with and some of it isn't very "comfortable" but I think it'll be easy enough to adjust to. Having a chance to borrow the books and read a bit was pretty nice. Probably not going to get a real chance to look anything over until I have my own copies next week.

This is likely a good thing as I am sure I'll get more work done that way.

In other news, DS#1 had good soccer try-outs. He is with the same coach as in spring, but that trainer is taking care of the team one division up from what he was last year. Basically, he is going to have to work hard to get play time. He is excited about the prospect. I am happy for him too. I am not sure I am happy about how much driving we'll be having to do this fall. The sad thing is that not enough kids were at try-outs to form a full team at the level he played before. This means that a number of those boys didn't get an offer. DS#1 got an offer as one of the dedicated, hard-working players that the coach believes can play at this level. We'll have to see how it goes. DS#1 seems very energized by the prospect.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I'm Back

Okay, really we got back yesterday afternoon and I actually had the laptop with me while we were out of town. The little I did use the laptop (my wife used it for her blog a bit) was more for writing than anything else.

I have a bunch of material I need to scan, and I should get to that sometime today. My wife is on the computer I prefer to scan with so I guess that it'll wait until tonight, late tonight. She is on-call and DS#1 has soccer try-outs. I know which team he'll make. Okay, I know his present coach wants him back. It IS possible that he'll get an offer for a team that is a division above. I'd prefer he play with the same coach again, he is a starter and plays every minute of the game. At his age he simply needs as much play time as he can get. He has the skill to play a division up, but not the consistency-then again, I am his papa and I can be pretty picky sometimes.

I have had a little bit more time to look at some more 4e information. I think I'll like the game. I am going to get an extra PHB for my boys to look over. If possible, I would like to run a game for them. I think it'll be possible to run 4e on a smaller scale, but we'll have to wait and see. In my opinion, it is a good game, it will get slammed by some people though. The funny thing is that I think it'll be easier to convert some 1e/2e material to 4e. I was looking over some of my older notes the other day and I realized that one particular adventure would be pathetically easy to convert to 4e. When I have the full ruleset I will look it over and maybe talk to Goodman Games about that one. I think it would fit into their DCC line pretty well. I have others that should be easy to write up too, but those would be a bit longer. The adventure I will convert first actually had some text typed out in the computer, years ago. Now, I am not sure I'll be able to locate those old files, but if I can find them I bet I can use them.

I THINK I'll have products ready to upload/sell by June 6. I just don't know what sort of schedule I'll be able to release follow-up products on. I guarantee it would be as fast as I would like.
Well, back to work ...

Friday, May 23, 2008

Heading out ...

We are leaving town for the Memorial Day weekend. I'll have the laptop with me in hopes of getting a tiny amount of work done, but I am more likely to end up writing some notes, or maybe a bit of drawing.
I have done all the paperwork, etc. to get signed up at OneBookShelf to prepare for selling things. I probably should have signed up before to have access to the publisher's forum, but I have waited this long, I can wait until next week. I want to be in town and available to respond to emails after I send everything in.

I NEED to update the website, but that ran into problems. I tried to switch everything over from GoLive to Dreamweaver but all of the buttons died. It looks like the changeover somehow added two new lines of code that essentially kill the buttons. It'll probably end up easier to recreate the website in Dreamweaver from the ground up, creating a style sheet, etc. In any case, I really want to spend my time preparing products, what few there are.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Okay, 4e comments

I have a few comments on 4e, but you need to take them with a "grain of salt" as I don't have the full rule books or anything.

Good:
(1) Creating and running monsters appears easier and faster than 4e.
(2) Combat involves more critters attacking the PCs and goes closer to older editions in this realm. I like this.
(3) Combat (at lower levels anyway) seems faster, or, if not faster, more actions are taken during a combat lasting the same length of time.
(4) Classes appear to have more clear cut abilities and roles. I happen to like this. I also happen to like the fact that you can't multiclass ten ways to sunday.

Not-so-Good (maybe bad, maybe just takes getting used to)
(1) More "conditions" to keep track of during combat. Not thrilled with this at the lower levels, not sure how it pans out at high levels. This is likely more of a problem for the DM than the players though. Players should be able to handle their side pretty well. I think the DM is going to need some sort of chart. I think there will be a good market for "extras" used to "mark" various conditions.
(2) VERY battle-map dependent. I usually use a battlemap anyway, but I do run encounters without maps sometimes. You need to have an entire group of people that can picture maps and positions well to run combat without a map and I just don't see an entire group able to do this.
(3) I think some of the changes to magic items, spells, magic, and rituals stand a chance of being "awkward" and difficult to get used to at first. I think this might just take getting used to, but some of the changes seem a bit contrived to me.

All in all, I do like what I have seen and used so far. I am very curious to see the "whole story."