Self-Hate Harms

July 29th, 2010 § 13 comments § permalink

My Gen Con tips from last year contain this piece of advice:

There is a CVS about three blocks from the convention center. It is your best bet for inexpensive bottled drinks, snackfood, cigarettes, Red Bull, and condoms.

Jonathan Medina (@mtgmetagame) had this to say about that advice, yesterday:

Just read @adamjury’s GenCon Tips -> http://tinyurl.com/39q4jvm Favorite Part “There is a CVS about three blocks from the convention center, It is your best bet for inexpensive bottled drinks, snackfood, cigarettes, Red Bull, and condoms.” Condoms?! Really at GenCon?! lol
(Part 1, Part 2)

I think Medina is a cool guy and I enjoy this writing, but naturally, his tweet ended up getting him a good handful of “Why on earth would Magic players need condoms?”-style replies.

I gotta ask: gamers, Magic players, why do you feel the need to self-hate? Yes, there’s things in the gaming community to dislike and discourage, but here’s the thing: Self-hate may look to you like an in-joke when it’s limited to your “tribe” but those on the outside will take it at face value, and all those stereotypes will continue to be perpetuated. If you want to rise above the “smelly/hopeless/loveless/jobless/etc. geeks playing that dumb game all day” stereotypes then you have to show the positive side of yourself and your hobbies—not just putting on a show to non-geeks, but by treating your fellow gamer better, and treating them as complete human beings: including love and sex lives. People will notice how you treat other people and form opinions of you based on that, not just how you treat them directly. Geeks treating geeks well will raise their profile among non-geeks (and for a direct bonus, it’s usually more fun to hang out with people who are treating you well!)

And Jonathan, if you need the most important Circle of Protection at the show, hunt me down at booth #2009 (Posthuman Studios, Sandstorm Productions, WildFire)—I always have a couple handy.

Gen Con Attendance Tips

July 24th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

I haven’t updated my Gen Con tips this year; I intended to, but it simply hasn’t happened. Last year’s tips should still be useful, though:

See you at the show!

ENnies Award Voting 2010

July 16th, 2010 § 2 comments § permalink

Voting for the 2010 ENnie Awards is now open.

I can’t deny that this year’s ENNie Award nominations aren’t a little bittersweet after the events of earlier this year. Projects that I worked on are well-represented, and the great number of worthy entrants in every categories indicate something that has been true for a long time: gamers are spoiled for choice!

Shadowrun: Seattle 2072 received an honorable mention nod in the Best Setting category. Steve Kenson did a bang-up job with this title, melding Shadowrun’s past to the present and setting groundwork for the future.

Eclipse Phase in the following categories:

  • Best Cover Art: Stephan Martiniere’s gorgeous cover art will launch thousands of campaigns.
  • Best Writing: Developer Rob Boyle has had his hand in many great gaming books, and for Eclipse Phase he may have assembled the best writing staff he’s had to date: Lars Blumenstein, Brian Cross, Jack Graham, John Snead; with additional writing from Bruce Baugh, Randall N. Bills, Davidson Cole, Tobias Wolter, with Jason Hardy and Michelle Lyons on editing.
  • Best Production: This is the best-looking book I have ever made, with cool visuals that don’t overwhelm the art, and a huge thrust towards making the 400-pages very navigable, most notably the two-page spreads that open each chapter and point you to important information.
  • Product of the Year: With nominations in three of the “pillar” categories, plus the intangibles of Creative Commons-licensing, our trend-setting low price point for the electronic version, and of course a great game to play in a setting that has unlimited potential … I think a nomination in this category is well-earned.

Shadowrun 20th Anniversary Edition got nods in these categories:

  • Best Interior Art: Art Director Mike Vaillancourt and myself butted heads a lot on this project, but in the end, the artwork in this project is really strong and takes Shadowrun in a new direction.
  • Best Production Values: Apparently I build good-looking well-organized books consistently! The giant index that covers not only itself but all the other SR4 rulebooks is so freaking cool.
  • Best Game: Personally, I’d love to see “Best Game” and “Best New Edition” categories. But games don’t get produced for 20 years if they don’t see actual play, and Shadowrun has always erred on the side of being a game that should be played, not just read.
  • Product of the Year: A punched-up and improved version of one of the most successful RPGs ever certainly qualifies.

In every category we are up against other amazing titles: Paizo’s Pathfinder juggernaut, Green Ronin’s Dragon Age Boxed Set, FFG’s Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Boxed Set (which looks gorgeous … I have to make the time to read through my copy!), and others too numerous to mention.

To spread briefly about category’s I’m not in: Jess Hartley’s One Geek To Another deserves props in the blog category for doing something different by offering advice about gamer etiquette, something sorely needed. For Best Setting, you can’t accuse the guys at HERO of not taking a chance with something different in Lucha Libre Hero

… and Best Publisher could just be Posthuman Studios.

DriveThruRPG Updating PDFs for iPad Compatability

July 9th, 2010 § 2 comments § permalink

As many people with an iPad know, the PDF libraries included with it are written by Apple, not Adobe, and they don’t support all PDF feature perfectly. They’ve been working with freelance designers, myself included, to rid these PDFs of glitches (as much as you can when not always having access to the files used to create the book.)

I’m going to keep a running tally of which books I’ve updated using Tumblr: ipadrpgpdfs.tumblr.com/

Early experiences with short fiction via Amazon Kindle

July 6th, 2010 § 17 comments § permalink

(Edits: I removed the word ‘fair’ from my post and replaced it with ‘reasonable,’ which I think is a better term and doesn’t present such a moral implication, and I added two notes: about DRM and Disclosure.)

Posthuman Studios publishes a few pieces of short fiction via Amazon’s Kindle service (Well, technically one piece—the second one is in the processing queue.) These are short stories that have already appeared (or will appear) in our rulebooks—they’re on the Kindle store to boost awareness of the game’s super-sweet setting and because I like experiments. I didn’t expect to make more than pocket change with them, and with almost no promotion beyond our usual game-related channels, that certainly seems to be holding true in the early stages.

I think that $0.99 is a reasonable price for a digital copy of a short story that has appeared elsewhere. Format agnostic: PDF, ePub, mobi, Kindle, whatever.

Here’s some fun stuff I’ve learned:

  • If you publish via Amazon’s Digital Text Platform, you have two royalty choices: 35% and 70%.
  • If you want 70% royalties, Amazon will deduct an additional service charge per download. In my tests, it was only $0.01 for a relatively small file.
  • If you want 70% royalties, you have to set the desired sale price to $2.99 or greater. If Amazon decides to sell lower than your desired sale price, you get 70% of the actual sale price. If your royalties are 35%, you get 35% of the desired sale price or the actual sale price, whichever is higher.
  • If you price your desired sale price to $0.99, Amazon will honor that price in the USA, but not internationally. It will automatically bump the price up to $2.99 in non-USA markets. If you bump your desired sales price up a little bit, the international price will get bumped, also. (I tried to see if a slightly-higher USA price would convince Amazon’s algorithms to lower the international price, with the USA dollars subsidizing the international costs. No luck.)
  • You get sales reports that include, on a per title basis: units sold, refunded, net units, royalty %, average list price, average file size, average offer price, average delivery charge, royalty total. No other information at all; there are no ways to contact the buyers. These people are not your customers, they are Amazon’s customers.
  • Basic math: One sale of a $0.99 title at the 35% royalty rate is $0.35. One sale of a $2.99 (minimum price!) title at the 70% royalty rate is $2.09 (minus the service charge.)
  • Edit, DRM: You can turn DRM off. Amazon doesn’t promise that this option will stick around forever. Turn DRM off, unless you hate your readers.
  • Edit, Disclosure: The Digital Publication Distribution Agreement forbids you from discussing your sales data and other such stuff. It also forbids you from disclosing the terms of the agreement, even though it’s publicly available!

Open questions:

  • Should we price the Eclipse Phase short fiction at $2.99 at the higher royalty rate and make 6 times more money per sale? I like those numbers, but I don’t think it’s the right thing from a propagation/social point of view.

And finally, have some affiliate links:

Freelancing: Full of It

July 5th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

I’m full up, between my work at Posthuman Studios and my existing freelance clients. I don’t anticipate even thinking about taking on any new freelance clients until October.

Existing clients: I love you guys!

Where am I?

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