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Re: ORDERS

PostPosted: Wed 04 Nov 2015 18:26
by aramis
I'd have been just as happy with mere scans at 300 DPI of the books, but I'm not complaining about the current PDFs for the old editions (other than SF III's delay)... but for me, the legacy CD is being handled in a pretty poor manner.

Ordering Page Entry wrote:The Legacy CD is packed with all of the 3rd edition products that we have available: Tactical Rules, Campaign Rules (aka Imperial Starfire), Sky Marshal #2, Stars at War, Insurrection, Crusade, ISW 4, and all of the downloads and materials to include the nexus articles and ECs from that period. As a bonus, we've also decided to include the Unified Tech Manual (UTM) produced by the 3DG volunteer group.


I'll explain.
1) It's not clear from the ordering page what is and is not included.
1.1) It mentions the nexus articles - but they're not for 3E. (in fact, the mechanical ones are integrated into 3E already)
1.2) it specifically says all the 3E materials except SM 1.
1.3) it doesn't say anything about 1E/2E.
2) the implied "Pay full price again for the update" from the above conversations is pretty bad business.*
3) the ready availability of other online providers** to allow redownload for longer periods of time and larger download sizes makes the CD seem to be proof of "dinosaurs at work"... it calls into question the tech-savvy of SDS's core crew.

1.3 and 2 are primarily why I haven't bought it.

* It's not the $35 for 3 editions I'm complaining about - it's the "we updated and you have to rebuy to get it"
For comparison: Far Future Enterprises (Marc W. Miller & Darlene Miller) sells their CD's for $35 each, plus shipping. When they're updated, the update is charged for at $5 plus shipping (Marc's said he's getting CD's cut for under that).

** providers like DTRPG/RPGNow, e23, IPR (Indy Press Revolution), and Precis Intermedia. Which begs the question, "Why does SDS not use one of the major sites?" I suspect it's because of the 30%-40% overhead charge per sale...

Cralis wrote:Keep in mind that there are literally NO electronic versions of products prior to 3rd edition beyond scans and the documents we are building now.


It's likely that SF I, SF II, and SF III were analog from start to finish. The text face is the same in all TFG products of the era, implying a typecaster and/or mechanical typesetter, and the graphic types used imply electro-optical or photo-lithographic typesetting. (which, really, remained the norm until the mid 1980's for most game companies.)

I suspect the process was draft in writing, type up for comment, edit typed, repeat test and playtest, print on proportional typewriter to rough layout, retype into the typecaster to generate the final lines, make a proof copy, replace any lines needing edits, make a pasteup print, add the graphics, then take it to the printer for electro-optical or photo-optical plate etching.

Re: ORDERS

PostPosted: Wed 04 Nov 2015 21:07
by Cralis
aramis wrote:I'll explain.
1) It's not clear from the ordering page what is and is not included.
1.3) it doesn't say anything about 1E/2E.


You are quite literally the first person I've ever met who has complained about getting more than you were told you were paying for.

1.1) It mentions the nexus articles - but they're not for 3E. (in fact, the mechanical ones are integrated into 3E already)
1.2) it specifically says all the 3E materials except SM 1.


Not sure why this is a problem either.

2) the implied "Pay full price again for the update" from the above conversations is pretty bad business.*


We aren't updating the older products. So what is there to pay updates for?

3) the ready availability of other online providers** to allow redownload for longer periods of time and larger download sizes makes the CD seem to be proof of "dinosaurs at work"... it calls into question the tech-savvy of SDS's core crew.


Insulting us is quite unnecessary.

We've already, repeatedly stated that those of us who are working on these things are giving the very few hours every week that we have to keep updating the game and making older products available... products that Marvin would never have re-released without our efforts. But if you happen to have a bit of money laying around and you can replace my living salary, I'd more than happily make the conversion to work on Starfire full time. Not only could I work on the game itself, but being a programmer, could build some applications. I simply do not have the time.

Further, you have no idea what negotiations or permissions we have to obtain to make some of this stuff happen. Not just with some of these vendors, but with Marvin. We _do_not_ make the final decisions on Starfire.

Frankly, I almost didn't comment on this at all. I'd rather spend my little bits of free time making some progress instead of rehashing the ills of the past.

If you have some specific suggestions on how you think it can be better -- by all means, make recommendations. But based on what I've read so far, I can tell you that most of it is already in the works.

Re: ORDERS

PostPosted: Wed 04 Nov 2015 22:27
by aramis
Simply put, I haven't ordered it because I'm interested in the older materials, which it doesn't say are included. Which is bad business practice, because it's failure to inform a part of the market that it includes what they're looking for.
As for making it available for longer periods... the other small companies I do business with usually sell via the major points of sale; a few at slightly higher cost there, to recover the full value but grant the customer the value-add of a long term stable redownload capability.

I am aware of the touchiness of getting older stuff out — in a legalistic sense, at least — because Marvin was VERY candid about the issues when SDS first got going separate from TFG. Namely, that he had no rights originally to anything prior to 3rd, and not to the storyline/setting, either. Knowing that, and the issues with the Dragon CD, the Traveller "Apocrypha" CD's, the Traveller issues with DGP materials... (I'm heavily involved with Traveller - I administer FFE's BBS.)

So, Cralis, please understand - It's not an attack, but it is meant as constructive criticism.

Re: ORDERS

PostPosted: Thu 05 Nov 2015 02:09
by Cralis
aramis wrote:Simply put, I haven't ordered it because I'm interested in the older materials, which it doesn't say are included. Which is bad business practice, because it's failure to inform a part of the market that it includes what they're looking for.


I see your point here. They were added as a bonus, not as part of the product, however due to various requests that is likely to change. In fact, if anyone disagrees with this they need to speak up now: in the very near future we are going to make it so that the Legacy CD contains 1st-3rd edition only, and the Ultimate CD contains the 4th-6th edition only. And yes, we'll be changing our ordering page to reflect the changes.

As for making it available for longer periods... the other small companies I do business with usually sell via the major points of sale; a few at slightly higher cost there, to recover the full value but grant the customer the value-add of a long term stable redownload capability.


If someone who has purchased the CD asks for another copy because they've lost it, it's been damaged, or whatever; we've always sold it to them for the $6 cost & shipping to us. That has not been advertised, but it always been the case. Just because we don't post it does not mean the worst. And we'll continue to do that until someone abuses it.

As for the digital downloads, we have an official policy of 1 year re-downloading with updates. Unofficially, we've sent re-downloads for the same version that was purchased before without additional charge.

I am aware of the touchiness of getting older stuff out — in a legalistic sense, at least — because Marvin was VERY candid about the issues when SDS first got going separate from TFG. Namely, that he had no rights originally to anything prior to 3rd, and not to the storyline/setting, either. Knowing that, and the issues with the Dragon CD, the Traveller "Apocrypha" CD's, the Traveller issues with DGP materials... (I'm heavily involved with Traveller - I administer FFE's BBS.)


Not true! After purchasing the rights, Marvin has had ALL of the rights to everything TFG owned for Starfire. There was a period of uncertainty when he negotiated with David Weber as TFG had not fulfilled their agreement with him with the sale, but that's been resolved (we cannot and will not alter the existing 3rd edition history beyond what is already there, that David Weber has already written).

The biggest issue we've had is that we really cannot re-release the original TFG material because it does not contain any publication or contact information for the SDS. So how would someone know who to contact or where it came from? And we have a personal need to try and tie the loose ends (see most of the introductions) so that it's clear what we have done and what to expect. Such as letting the purchaser know that the digital copy does not contain other game materials, as the original text specifies.

So, Cralis, please understand - It's not an attack, but it is meant as constructive criticism.


Understood. But please realize that when you have made a clear insult, especially an insult when you do not have all the information, it's going to be taken as an attack. And not just by the person(s) you've insulted. =\

But do realize that most of us are limited in how much time we can apply to the game. Lately I've been lucky to have 10 hours or so during the week to work on Starfire. I'd love to return to having 20-30 hours a week free. And if I ever find a pot of gold, I'll be doing this full time. But until then, it's slower than either you or I want it to be.

Re: ORDERS

PostPosted: Sat 06 Feb 2016 06:20
by noname_hero
I apologize if what I'm about to ask is already here, but I haven't noticed it in recent posts and things might have changed lately.

So... Is it possible to order the ultimate package as a digital download? 350 MB download would much more user friendly than having a CD sent into Europe.

Re: ORDERS

PostPosted: Sun 07 Feb 2016 16:41
by Cralis
noname_hero wrote:I apologize if what I'm about to ask is already here, but I haven't noticed it in recent posts and things might have changed lately.

So... Is it possible to order the ultimate package as a digital download? 350 MB download would much more user friendly than having a CD sent into Europe.


Oh yeah! Marvin gave me permission to do that. I got busy waiting/working on another set of changes that is forcing me to redo our order page and totally forgot about the digital CD versions. My apologies for that :(

Sending you a private messaging.

Re: ORDERS

PostPosted: Mon 27 Nov 2017 23:13
by mcb1968
Starfire is currently a "hex and counter" wargame, but the hexes and boxed game are out of print. Any idea when a physical game will come back into production?

For what it is worth, both Starfire and Star Fleet Battles lack a separately printed map. Mayben a joint project could be considered?

Re: ORDERS

PostPosted: Tue 28 Nov 2017 02:00
by Cralis
mcb1968 wrote:Starfire is currently a "hex and counter" wargame, but the hexes and boxed game are out of print. Any idea when a physical game will come back into production?


That's a great question. Through War Game Vault we will eventually look at selling the printed rules. And we currently have counters available. We used to have 4-part maps that could be used for both the tactical battles and the system level fleet movement. However, those are gone. That is one product we need to figure out how to replace.

For what it is worth, both Starfire and Star Fleet Battles lack a separately printed map. Mayben a joint project could be considered?


Sadly, they aren't interested in working with us. Despite that, I still direct players to their site when they need to buy the hex map that hey still sell. If someone wants something larger, either in hex size or total map size, I often recommend the Chessex roll out hex maps. They are really really great.

Re: ORDERS

PostPosted: Tue 28 Nov 2017 06:40
by VoidStalker_WoE
I just stumbled upon a numbered hex downloadable map, it is small, and would need to be modified some, but could something like that fit the bill?

Here is the URL for that hex map with numbers.
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-4okHWcYnGws/UtGj0EDxPVI/AAAAAAAABI0/Dd93rPWPehA/s1600/A4HexLandscape.jpg
:)

Here is what it looks like...
Image

:)

Not anywhere as good as the old 6 section black tactical maps from back in the day, but way better than nothing, lol. Numbered 0101 to 2214/2314, so we would need to print at least two of these to get a decent playable surface.

Re: ORDERS

PostPosted: Tue 28 Nov 2017 19:44
by VX-134
For what it is worth, both Starfire and Star Fleet Battles lack a separately printed map. Mayben a joint project could be considered?


Sadly, they aren't interested in working with us..


Perhaps their past experience with joint ventures has taught them that the extra sales aren't worth the cost of drawing up the contracts. Can't you just make a separate order from their printer?