Monday, June 30, 2008


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.