I want an Eclipse Phase fanzine

September 18th, 2010 § 26 comments

I want someone to start an Eclipse Phase fanzine. Over the last few years, posts on weblogs and message boards have largely replaced the fan or semipro ‘zine, and as someone who really got into gaming fandom by running a Shadowrun fanzine, I think that running a fanzine is really fun and can provide you with useful experience for future work in publishing.

By a fanzine, I mean: a publication that comes out somewhat regularly and contains a variety of articles and content (adventures, alternate rules, fiction, setting material, etc.) from different authors/artists, with an editor or team of editors that work to make the material consistent in technical quality (editing and presentation, in other words.) I prefer ‘zines that come in a single file— a PDF or maybe, now, an ePub or some other format. But there’s no reason why it couldn’t be purely web-based, which offers advantages and disadvantages that anyone somewhat knowledgable already knows.

(Edit: Blogs are fine—but I tend to think that blogs are more “fragile” than a more tangible/”single-file” publication. Problems with a web host, blogging software, or other technical hiccups can destroy the entire history of a blog. PDFs will stick around forever on people’s hard drives. In 1998 they would have stuck around on mirror sites—now they will stick around on torrents.

However, one important factor in something being a “‘zine”, in my eyes, is multiple contributors (a relatively open submission process), with an editor to tie things together.)

Why Making a Fanzine is Rewarding:

  • You get to build an audience, community, and friendships.
  • You gain experience as an editor/developer/probably jack of all trades.
  • You get to see cool stuff that other people have made, and help them make it better.

Why Making an Eclipse Phase Fanzine is even better:

  • Eclipse Phase is Creative Commons licensed. It’s easy to not step on Posthuman Studio’s toes, legally. Heck, you can even use and expand on our material, using our text and art to supplement yours!
  • The Eclipse Phase universe is wide open. There’s tons of room to build fan material that is easily usable in many people’s campaigns.
  • Doing cool fan stuff is, in hobby gaming, one of the best ways to get noticed as an up-and-coming creator.

Fame, fortune, exposure, hard work—what more could you want?

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§ 26 Responses to I want an Eclipse Phase fanzine"

  • The Doctor says:

    Given how easy it is for people to put up blog posts about just one thing, rather than having to scramble to put together ‘just one thing’ from a bunch of different people, it might make more sense to have an Eclipse Phasee fan-RSS feed aggregator rather than a fanzine. Think about it: a website that pulls together the Eclipse Phase posts from a large number of people into a single mega-fanzine about the game in near-realtime. Amateur game-stuff writers (like myself, actually…) might find it easier to work without the pressure of a deadline and crank out more awesome stuff that comes from their games.

  • Jérémie says:

    Without commenting on blog vs fanzine, what Doctor is talking about is a Planet. Single point of entry of major sources, without technical know how required. Kinda like this: http://planet.wordpress.org/

  • hewhocutsdown says:

    I second this. I’ve got some scenarios/short fiction in the EP world that I’m playing around with, would love to have an outlet for it.

  • Adam says:

    Does the existence of a Planet encourage other people to start blogs and contribute to the Planet?

    One thing I think a ‘zine helps do is it provides a venue for people to contribute stuff without having to worry about web hosting, maintaining a blog, regularly updates, etc. Those sort of contributors seem to post things on a message board and just let them lie, currently (or they don’t post it at all, writing stuff for their home games and then never sharing it). The stuff that does get posted ends up being hard to find and reference, IMO, and so it doesn’t help grow the community.

    I don’t want to get hung up on “Blog vs. PDF” (or any other delivery formats) as a packaging distinction. What is important is multiple contributors and multiple types of material, guided by an editor or editorial team to have a consistent quality.

  • Will L says:

    Tempting.

    Actually, I’ve been wanting to get a bit more work under my belt as far as industry stuff goes.

    I’ll totally coat-tail this post and use it to start drumming up interest.

    I enjoyed working with you back on TSS, hopefully I can provide that outlet and opportunity for other creative types.

    So, those of you that are interested, I’ll hassle Adam about it in a few minutes and then I’ll start putting some stuff together.

    This could be fun
    -Will L

  • Will L says:

    Okay,

    Lets do this thing.

    I’m willing to provide hosting and editing support for this thing. Also willing to work on finding talented and motivated folk that can provide some more details for this setting we love so much.

    If you are interested in contributing, or just want to shoot words of encouragement. Emails should go to…

    zine at ep.rockpaperschism dot com

    -Will

  • Bastlynn says:

    Hm – I might could automate a lot of the aggregation of files into a PDF on Darkcast – but – and this is a huge but – I really don’t know the first thing when it comes to technical layout. Last time I tried anything like a fanzine for Planewalker I nearly strangled MS Word. So while I could automate a PDF, it wouldn’t necessarily *look* nice without some advice, tips and the like…

  • hewhocutsdown says:

    @Bastilynn

    I think Darkcast is good as Darkcast…what Adam seems to be talking about is more a curated content thing.

    Which would mean that perhaps setting up a community nomination/voting process for Darkcast content which then goes to editing would be more reasonable – less dump, and aiming more for quality.

    Also, for free design stuff I use Inkscape on Ubuntu, but I’m pretty sure it’s cross-platform.

  • Bastlynn says:

    To clarify what I’m thinking from an implementation point of view: the idea is to use the Darkcast site as an article submission and editorial platform (possibly also hooked to operate as a Planet to collect articles into the editorial system).

    Then once the articles are ready, it can create an initial file. The file can then go into layout (or go out exactly as it is) and individual articles either stay hidden (available only in PDF) or can be individually released as articles on site when the PDF comes out.

  • Bastlynn says:

    @HeWhoCuts – I think we’re onto very similar ideas here. ;) From experience, drumming up the articles can be as hard as any efforts to put things together. For if you build the system, there is *no* guarantee they will come. So there’s a lot of editorial and solicitation that would need to go into this.

  • Gerzel says:

    I would also be willing to contribute some work towards this either as assistant with editorial duties and/or design and/or content.

    Though why does a zine have to be PDF? Could we not make it as a webpage, just keep the publishing period as a zine?

    Each “issue” could be a coherent set of HTML articles released to the public at a regular interval. Then again pdf does have the advantage of being more coherent in form.

    Also why limit to text? Graphics and music might also be included. Just a thought that it would seem best to be open to any content type available and to cast our nets wide when searching.

  • Bastlynn says:

    I think what Adam’s looking for is something with aggregated content, edited for quality and the like. So no – it doesn’t *have* to be strictly HTML / PDF / visual media (as opposed to music and the like).

    But.

    If it was then we could cross pollinate the ‘zine with ereaders and other non-website formats. There’s nothing saying we can’t do both (and with an article submission system like I was considering, you could), but I personally would like not to limit access points to the information.

    Maybe supplemental material could be available at the site just not in the PDF?

  • William Wilson says:

    I’m in I’ll see hwta I can scrounge up for the zine.

  • TadK says:

    I think a more artifact like a zine is a wonderful idea. If nothing else we can talk about rolling EP content into an existing zine I help edit also.

    Worst case I will submit and support what is finally created.

  • Gerald Sears says:

    @Bastlynn True enough, I think you’re right on that. PDF primary with supplemental.

    While you’re at it don’t forget the maps and play aids.

    I know Great White Games puts out a nice 8.5×11 landscape 3 panel customizable gm screen that it might be nice to make panels for EP.

    On another note, perhaps it is time to take this discussion to a work-group of some kind? Email list, other forum?

    Also what should we do first?

    As recruiting for and gathering the source material seems to be the important first phase perhaps a basic webpage to get people on track? Doesn’t have to be fancy for now just enough to present our idea and allow people to sign up, join in and perhaps a simple submission system (Email might do at this stage before submissions ramp up).

    The idea being to give us a good place to help point interested parties that is a bit more organized and coherent than a single moderated blog post, and be a relatively easy next step for forward momentum.

  • Gerald Sears says:

    PS As a quick note I can offer to help with bringing up and maintaining a simple email list, something hosted by google groups probably. In that I can claim actually a bit of experience.

  • Adam says:

    I would encourage people to discuss things over on the EP forums or elsewhere in public, and not move over to a private mailing list/forum until things are more fully formed.

  • bastlynn says:

    Will L and I’ve been bouncing some emails overnight re: technical details on how to go about this. I’m going to set up a forum on Darkcast for planning and chatter and post a link here in this thread as soon as that’s ready to roll. The more public we are, the more likely we’ll pick up latecomers. :)

  • Bastlynn says:

    http://www.firewall-darkcast.com/content/fanzine

    http://www.firewall-darkcast.com/forum/fanzine-what-fanzine-start-here

    We need a name! “EclipsePhase Fanzine” just won’t do. ;) We’re also going to start planning ‘zine structure and format over there, so anyone who’s interested – please come on over!

  • I’d be happy to provide some art for this.

  • Bastlynn says:

    Great to hear George :) We’re still getting ourselves sorted out so if you could go over here: http://www.firewall-darkcast.com/forum/volunteer-introductions and remind us? That way we won’t forget you once we get some articles that need art. :)

  • Bastlynn says:

    Hey George! If you’re up for it, we have an article by CodeBreaker in the queue that features a lot of extra morphs. You still interested in pitching in?

  • Could you email me what you need so I can have a look at it and see if I can make something decent in a feasible timeframe? That forum is a bit too complicated for me to navigate.

  • Bastlynn says:

    The Eye is Open!

    We have all learned a great deal while putting this together and we are proud to see it produce such results from the Eclipse Phase fan community. We can thank Adam for planting the seed of thought for this publication, but I think he will agree that it does not matter if The Eye turned out to be as he imagined; it’s what the fans want it to be, and that’s what counts.

    Pass this issue around to all your friends, and to at least one friend who doesn’t know what Eclipse Phase, or even roleplaying is; we hope to be a wonderful introduction. Join us for the next issue!

    http://www.firewall-darkcast.com/theeye

  • Bastlynn says:

    Pong! I’m sorry for not getting back to you George – I got swamped for work this last few months and thought you’d gotten over to the forums.

    I am trying to make the forum system as easy as possible for everyone to use, can you ping me on email ( bastlynn@gmail.com ) and let me know at what points you’re running into trouble with?

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