STAR FLEET BATTLES

INPUT GUIDE- CL23

INPUT GUIDE: CAPTAIN'S LOG 23

BEHOLD: THE NEW SYSTEM

    The running joke around ADB Inc. is that Steve Cole comes up with a new system to manage something about once a week, and the systems usually break down in a month or two. Well, he's had a new system for handling "submissions of new items" for about a year now and it still works, so we're going to explain it to you. This will, of course, doom that system to failure.

    New items (ships, stories, scenarios, articles, whatever) are given a VERY quick review on arrival. About half of them are rejected on the spot due to various obvious errors or because we already have one or because we cannot use that item under our contract with Paramount. The rest of them are assigned a sequence number, and the author is told what this number is. The electronic copy (if any) is put in a special file, and the hard copy is put into a brown folder.

    Items in this stack are then reviewed in the order they went onto the list, and anyone can ask any time what number we are up to. In theory, we are supposed to do one submission a day but this usually averages out to about three or four per week. If we are "on deadline" to finish a product, that product comes first and we catch up on submissions later.

There are several tricky rules and policies about this list, and you should be aware of them.

If you have an item on the list and want to send an updated version of the same item (or additional material related specifically to that item), go right ahead! Just tell us that we have the earlier version on file and what number it is. We will then add the new material or version or whatever to the original and when we get to that number we will deal with it all at once. Indeed, you may want to track our progress (posted weekly on the BBS under "Current Events") and review your own item when it gets close to the top of the stack.

    You can, of course, have more than one item in the sequence at any given time. To make it fair to everyone, however, anything you send will be assigned the next available number that is at least 10 numbers after the highest number you have on the list. If you send in four new ships, you might be notified that these are assigned #83, #93, #103, and #113. There would probably be blank numbers between some of those, but they will be filled up by later submissions before we get to them. If you send several submissions that are part of a unified project (e.g., five Orion maulers) we might treat them as a single number. If you send ships which are not "unified" they might get different numbers.

Complicating the situation is the mess in Steve Cole's Email:

    He hadn't "filed" anything in three years, but is now filing the oldest 10 days every day (he's in May 2000 at the time this was written). Of course, all of that ancient Email includes lots of submissions never reviewed, and as these are found they are given the next sequence number available. (We considered doing these items first, but it was complicated keeping two different lists and we want people with current submissions to know that they'll get onto the list. Those we lost get our apologies as they are found, and the next number in the unified list.)

    Some things do not go onto the list. These include Term Papers and Tactical Notes (Petrick reviews them as they arrive), art samples from artists (handled pretty much the day they arrive), rules questions (handled by Mike Filsinger for SFB or Nick Blank for F&E), mail orders (handled within 24 hours by Leanna), convention support requests (handled in a separate system by SVC), and certain extraordinary items.

WE'RE GETTING BETTER!

    As time goes by, we are learning better how to handle electronic submissions. Two years ago, Steve Cole was chewing out anyone who dared to attach something to their Email; now he handles those without a hitch (since Leanna showed him how).

    The one exception is "zip" files which only Leanna is authorized to handle. (Send those to sales@starfleetgames.com and she will take care of them.)

    Steve is capable of handlings tifs, gifs, jpgs, and rich text documents without complaining (too much). He even knows that when the Email is blank it means it is in html and he can open it through Netscape. We have DSL so getting even big things isn't much of a problem, although if you are going to send several things you might want to ask first.

    We're even organized enough that we can find old submissions two times out of three. Please do not send an Email (as so many do) saying: "I never got a reply to my submission, so I am sending you another copy." Ask us if we need another copy before you send it, unless it's an updated version of a file that has a sequence number assigned.

    We use Macintosh computers and file translations are not an exact science. If you are trying to send an editable graphic, we can usually work with anything in Freehand, Illustrator, or "editable EPS" format. But please don't send more than one file until we tell you that we can open and read it. If you do not have these expensive programs, you can get a fairly inexpensive one (Smart Draw) for only $50 and we can read those files (although we may have to have an outside staffer do the conversion for them).

NOTES ON SSDs

    In working with a recent submission, we noted a couple of fairly common mistakes we wanted to mention to you.

INPUT FOR PRIME DIRECTIVE

    Our new Prime Directive product line is going to be producing several products a year. While we will have full writers' guides and submission instructions on the web site and in that rulebook, we did want to mention a couple of points.

    Prime Directive is going to need fiction, background, and all kinds of stuff related to the GURPS game system.

    We have been told that adventures do not sell very well in RPGs but that "playgrounds" (a planet, a space station, etc.) where players can find their own adventures are very popular. We will print some adventures in various products and in the Module Prime series, but we aren't going to need entire books of them.

    Prime Directive is a game of the Star Fleet Universe, so you don't get to change published SFB history, or use the Cardassians, or write things impossible under the SFU Timeline. If you need a ship, try to use one of the 2,000 already in SFB rather than insisting on the invention of a new class. You can create new "one-planet races", but not new stellar empires.

Copyright 1999-2004 Amarillo Design Bureau, All Rights Reserved

Updated 16 November 2004