STAR FLEET BATTLES

INPUT GUIDE- CL26

INPUT GUIDE: CAPTAIN'S LOG 26

DOES WEB = UNPUBLISHABLE?

    Sometimes players who have designed new material ask us if putting it on a web site will reduce the chances of it being published. The simple answer is "yes, it will, since other players could become upset if asked to buy a product which contains a lot of material they already got for free on the web."

But things are rarely that simple.

CAN I DESIGN A MODULE FOR YOU?

    We get asked this question now and then, and the answer is "it depends". If you are talking about a module that is entirely your own work (or the work of a group of people you represent) and which is not something already on the list of products we are considering, there is every chance that it could be published as an E-module, or perhaps even as a regular module. Feel free to contact us about what you want to do and we will discuss it with you. A few guidelines and notes may be appropriate here.

    When it comes to modules we have already discussed doing (such as Module V Operations or Module X2) we are not really looking for someone to design the entire module. If we were, we would have published one of the many "complete" designs already sent in for "the list of modules we might do". Some people get really upset when told that we are not interested in publishing their version of X2 or Y2 or R9 or whatever, but honestly, folks, where in the constitution or the Bible or the holy tablets of Klinshai does it say that any given gamer out there has the right to decide that he and he alone is going to design a specific new product we have already talked about doing ourselves?

    Sometimes a gamer will ask us to contact him when work begins on a module as he wants to be part of the project. Some are angry when told we just do not do this, but there is a reason we don't. We did it a couple of times and when it came time to contact people, what happened? Half of them had moved, and half of the rest were no longer actively involved in SFB. Of the remainder, some could no longer find their files of ideas and others had realized that their ideas from years before no longer "fit" because of the way the universe had evolved. So what we do is, when we start serious work on a new product, we publicize this fact in Captain's Log and on the BBS. If you aren't reading one of those two sources, you probably aren't interested in working on the product anyway.

    Some have offered "insights" into the design of a given product. We invite these people to post their ideas in the relevant BBS topic or send us written (or emailed) copies we can put in the file. That way, even if life has taken you out of SFB, your ideas will still be considered and might well be used. A few people become very angry that we will not immediately stop work on all projects in order to discuss their ideas on one of the many projects on "the list of things we might do someday", and more than one of them has gone ballistic on a news group about how mean and evil and stupid we are to refuse to do just exactly what he wanted the very second he wanted us to do it. Seriously, if that was the case, what are the odds that we could finish discussing your ideas before someone else demanded that we drop that discussion to discuss their ideas? And how could we possibly discuss your ideas for a module we are not working on without reviewing everything already in file? Clearly, the best and most fair way to deal with such matters is to place your material in the file for that project and review it when it is time to work on that project.

    When it is time to work on a long-discussed module, we sit down with the staff and experts from marketing and production and create an outline of what we want the product to accomplish. At that point, we open the file and review dozens (often hundreds) of ideas and proposals sent in over a decade by many players. We look for cool new ideas to add to the mix and for solutions to problems we haven't cracked yet. It would be impossible for any outside design, sent in by someone who knows nothing about the future plans for the company, to exactly do what needs doing. More than one person has declared this to be a "poor attitude" but all they really mean is: "What? They didn't take my idea and reject all others?" As long as we are gambling our money, we're going to have to make the core decisions about what goes into a product. But we also know that we need a lot of creativity to liven things up, and we get it from the submissions in the file.

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Updated 19 November 2004