Ya know... I like this site.

CleanCutRogue's picture
CleanCutRogue
November 25, 2008 - 10:52am
I've been looking at other social networking sites around the web.  Sure, some have snazzy flash graphics consuming bandwidth.  Sure some are better for single guys to "pick up chicks"... but this site is pretty unique.

It's not unique because it has forums... I mean come on - what site doesn't nowadays?  Private messages?  Please.  Dime a dozen, sites like that.  Documents?  Downloads?  Those might be presented interestingly but they aren't what makes the site unique.  The project system is unique too, but that's not at all what I'm talking about.  

It's not unique because it's for a dedicated bunch of like-minded people.  Sure, there are nearly 500 members registered.  But they're not here for the passion of the game or to exchange ideas - they're just here to download free stuff... and to them I am happy to provide it.

We're a like-minded group of people, but we're lacking something: direction.  There is a collection of various ideas and interests, ranging from spaceship combat to interesting races and equipment... to online tools and utilities.  That's all great.  Some people work on this... some people work on that.... and not a lot gets really accomplished.

So yes, I like this site.  I like it because of all of you.  But what is lacking?  What is it that causes it to be unique, but more importantly, what is it that could be done to organize us into a functional unit where each gives according to his or her time and talent to a whole, and in the end we have something we truly treasure?  I don't care if that something is a new edition of the game, traded between fans like us (cuz we could never sell it), a new supplement, a new module... anything tangible that shows this gathering of minds yields results?

Chime in - please.  I value all of your opinions.

but... please don't chime in with reminders that we need to PLAY.  Yes, we do.  That's a given.  Many of us DO play with our families or friends.  But this site was originally intended to be a project site, giving tools to folks that could work together, collaborate, and create.  So far we haven't produced too many finished goods... and it's time we did.  The starfrontiersman has been a great project, and probably the best webzine I've seen to date (thank you all so much for the help!) but it has been a vehicle, not a destination.  It needs to continue to be a vehicle... but we need a destination.

So stand up and be heard?  
3. We wear sungoggles during the day. Not because the sun affects our vision, but when you're cool like us the sun shines all the time.

-top 11 reasons to be a Yazirian, ShadowShack

Comments:

w00t's picture
w00t
November 25, 2008 - 12:22pm
Welcome back?

You and I were making some great headway on a new full fledged Module. The first to come out in years! I'd like to see this module completed for the community to enjoy with their friends and families.

As far as the community destination - we have the zine, which is now run by the community. I see it as a direction for the community, a funnel for ideas and a source for great gaming. Each issue is complete unlike a lot of projects on this site which are still in their infancy or scattered ideas.

If this community wants to produce something tangible we would need to have someone in charge of a project (a goal) with assigned task to members. The underlying issue is people's time for this hobby as you well know can run out for a few months. On a side note, I don't believe you will get more than three to four people working on a project. 500 registered users, 45 users who check in once a month, 15 active users and 2 working on the zine.




Will's picture
Will
November 28, 2008 - 9:18am
Money.

That's what I need. :D

And, now to the site, and what we can/need to do with it.

Number one suggestion I have is to resurrect the 25th AER project of CJ's, using Bill's skill system, Beta Dawn(if CJ's willing to turn over the material),and Gamma Dawn, and my spaceship rules(shameless plug! shameless plug!)as a start, add in Larry's work towards creating a mass combat system, a sample module somewhere between Voltunus and White Light, and maybe a couple of campaign settings other than straight AD, just to show that the system is playable even without the Frontier and the Core Four(purelly optional).

Number two suggestion is to have an overall project coordinator to keep everyone focussed.

This should be a rotating assignment, to account for the fact people lose interest, get burned out, suffer from a raging bout of RL, what have you.

For this, I nominate Tom, simply because of how he stepped up and pulled SFMan #9 together from thin air, with Bill and Larry assisting him/taking the reins when necessary.

The coordinator is important simply for the fact that creativity and focus don't always go hand in hand(I'm the worst example of this)...they get jazzed up over a project, churn out a bunch of good stuff, then gradually lose interest.

I agree the Frontiersman should be the vehicle towards accomplishing the end above, a place where new rules, gadgets, aliens, etc. can receive wide distribution, playtesting and hopefully feedback.

That's my two centicreds.

"You're everything that's base in humanity," Cochrane continued. "Drawing up strict, senseless rules for the sole reason of putting you at the top and excluding anyone you say doesn't belong or fit in, for no other reason than just because you say so."


—Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stephens, Federation

SmootRK's picture
SmootRK
November 28, 2008 - 9:21am
I have voiced it before, but a new 'edition' of the remastered rules would be a great way to inject freshness to this place.  It is, after all, the stimulus that brought a great many of the users here.  Call it a refreshed edition, rather than a truly new update to the rules.  New art, new layout, perhaps eliminate the AD/KH differentiation and combine all the rules.  In fact, perhaps drop all the rules into a sack, give it a shake, then redo the game with the more familiar break down found in other games, a Players guide and a Referee's book, then perhaps a Xenobiology guide (aka Monster Manual).

There are a few areas where I think true updates of the game can be incorporated, such as the new Skills setup that Bill put together, or otherwise new material can be incorporated into the core material such as gear, races, ships and such found in the modules, SFman mag, or elsewhere (with permission). 

New presentations of the rules can be considered as well, such as mentioned on another thread, like the wiki or tiddly wiki formats, where end-users can easily add their own material or edit the 'core material' to suite their own gaming styles.  At the very least, I think a 'wiki' sort of format would be a great way to present a monster folio for the game.

Lets get things modern, after all this is a science fiction game, and go beyond what the other traditional games are presented... books - bah.  Next level please.

anyhow, theres my 2 credits
<insert witty comment here>

Will's picture
Will
November 28, 2008 - 9:32am

On a slightly different note, one aspect of the site which has been woefully neglected(my fault, this) is the Frontier Fiction project.

I think any wiki or compilation of ideas should include fiction as well, as we like to write as much as we like to play.

"You're everything that's base in humanity," Cochrane continued. "Drawing up strict, senseless rules for the sole reason of putting you at the top and excluding anyone you say doesn't belong or fit in, for no other reason than just because you say so."


—Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stephens, Federation

SmootRK's picture
SmootRK
November 28, 2008 - 9:48am
It seems there has been some recent events with copyright permission with regards to Star Frontiers.

See
http://www.starfrontiers.com/sorry.htm

http://www.enworld.org/forum/general-rpg-discussion/245870-star-frontiers-gamma-world.html
<insert witty comment here>

SmootRK's picture
SmootRK
November 28, 2008 - 10:26am
Another approach could be to consider making a 'new' game, loosely based on the mechanics (which are not really copyrightable), crafting a new setting (because that IP is copyrightable), especially when faced with some copyright issues.

Certainly if this is done, care could be taken to make the setting seem to coincide or lie near the setting of the AD/KH, so that original material could be incorporated with ease, making the game compatable to some extent, but flying in under the radar.
<insert witty comment here>

Will's picture
Will
November 28, 2008 - 12:52pm
Another reason why I suggested alternate settings.

Off-topic: Don't ya just love Steve Jackson? He sorta wins one lawsuit(over issues similar to the ones at the center of this brouhaha, ironically enough) and he goes nuts.

Some Libertarian you are, Steve.

"You're everything that's base in humanity," Cochrane continued. "Drawing up strict, senseless rules for the sole reason of putting you at the top and excluding anyone you say doesn't belong or fit in, for no other reason than just because you say so."


—Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stephens, Federation

SmootRK's picture
SmootRK
November 28, 2008 - 1:11pm
Never cared much for the games out of SJG, and this really puts me off.  He won't see any of my money.
<insert witty comment here>

Will's picture
Will
November 28, 2008 - 1:29pm
Mine neither, and I was a loyal customer, 'til I logged to the forums one day(and GURPS 4e, but that's another story).... 

"You're everything that's base in humanity," Cochrane continued. "Drawing up strict, senseless rules for the sole reason of putting you at the top and excluding anyone you say doesn't belong or fit in, for no other reason than just because you say so."


—Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stephens, Federation

Gilbert's picture
Gilbert
November 28, 2008 - 1:57pm
  I really like this site,also. However, I would like to see a central project where the best of the rules are voted on and made into a true fan remake of the game. That would be nice for people who are looking for more logical rules and not have to hunt through the whole site for a good tidbit of mountains of info.
  This copyright stuff just scares the hell out me. Maybe a "this is what we can do" area should be put together.

Will's picture
Will
November 28, 2008 - 2:05pm

I agree Gilbert. It beats my alternative, namely telling Wizards to eff themselves....

"You're everything that's base in humanity," Cochrane continued. "Drawing up strict, senseless rules for the sole reason of putting you at the top and excluding anyone you say doesn't belong or fit in, for no other reason than just because you say so."


—Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stephens, Federation

SmootRK's picture
SmootRK
November 28, 2008 - 2:13pm
Gilbert, rest assured that what you already see is OK in terms of copyright.  Bill (cleancutrogue) has discussed it a couple of times, and he has some limited permissions from WotC.  I have defended the projects here over at ENWorld, because StarFrontiersman magazine came up in the thread which I linked above.
<insert witty comment here>

Gilbert's picture
Gilbert
November 28, 2008 - 2:17pm
 I would like to tell Lizards of the Toast to go crawl under a rock and not the mess up another great potential game. I would like to just get it away from them.

Will's picture
Will
November 28, 2008 - 2:22pm
Wouldn't we all, Gilbert?

"You're everything that's base in humanity," Cochrane continued. "Drawing up strict, senseless rules for the sole reason of putting you at the top and excluding anyone you say doesn't belong or fit in, for no other reason than just because you say so."


—Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stephens, Federation

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
November 28, 2008 - 4:34pm
That whole issue with SJG and the starfrontiers.com site happened years ago.  The first page w00t linked to on the starfrontiers.com site showed up on the web site in it's entirety back in April 2002.

I'd be more than willing to help organize some major project and try to keep it focused.  Like everyone else I don't have a lot of free time but I usually have enough to at least stay semi active Smile.

Ad Astra Per Ardua!
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine

aramis's picture
aramis
November 28, 2008 - 5:40pm
SmootRK wrote:
It seems there has been some recent events with copyright permission with regards to Star Frontiers.

See
http://www.starfrontiers.com/sorry.htm

http://www.enworld.org/forum/general-rpg-discussion/245870-star-frontiers-gamma-world.html


Not truly recent. 2001 was the big blow up.

WotC hasn't done Jack about it, and told the FBI no infringement had occurred. Therefore, Phill filed a spurious claim.



SmootRK's picture
SmootRK
November 28, 2008 - 5:54pm
Well, it seemed to come up again today on that ENWorld thread, even the 'sorry' page was notated.  Glad to hear that it is not a true resurgence of WotC ire.
<insert witty comment here>

Will's picture
Will
November 28, 2008 - 6:11pm

Though, it can serve as an example of why I do not and will never register for ENWorld or RPG.net.

"You're everything that's base in humanity," Cochrane continued. "Drawing up strict, senseless rules for the sole reason of putting you at the top and excluding anyone you say doesn't belong or fit in, for no other reason than just because you say so."


—Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stephens, Federation

SmootRK's picture
SmootRK
November 28, 2008 - 6:28pm
ENWorld was a pretty decent place up until the run-up to 4e.  A caustic atmosphere developed since then.  4e vs 3e hostility there is about as bad as Dragonsfoot's hostility towards anything beyond 2e D&D.  Though I do agree, that there is little good to say about ENWorld now-a-days, and thankfully I never visit RPG.net as I hear it is more of the same.
<insert witty comment here>

Will's picture
Will
November 28, 2008 - 7:42pm
More off-topic goodness:

RPG.net is just like the SJ Games forums...they're all right, as long as you're a radicalized nutcase who believes George Lucas is a card-carrying pinko.....:D

 

"You're everything that's base in humanity," Cochrane continued. "Drawing up strict, senseless rules for the sole reason of putting you at the top and excluding anyone you say doesn't belong or fit in, for no other reason than just because you say so."


—Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stephens, Federation

CleanCutRogue's picture
CleanCutRogue
November 29, 2008 - 12:02am
Okay - so it seems that most of you would like to see a new edition of the rules - or at least some sort of re-organization of the rules with some new content thrown in.  I, for one, worry about copyright infringement if we tried to make freely available any edition of the rules which hijacked the races or setting from WOTC -- that's the only part that's copyrighted.  The rule mechanics are not, they can't be - it's been proven in court before.

So is that what we'd like to do?  Begin working on a project that grand?  Because of the awesome work everyone's done in the SFMan and in the wiki pages, I'm confident in our talent... and since we all agree that none of us have the time to devote full-time, I'm willing to throw in my time and talents.

So... what exactly would we want to build?  If we want to avoid copyright problems, we need a new set of core races and a new setting that FEELS like a certain popular game of the 80's but isn't necessarily that game.  We can upgrade the rules however we all see fit - through playtest and discussions.  In the end, we can put it all together into something we're all proud of, complete with artwork (hardest thing to come up with, IMO) and such, even printing it on lulu.  As long as we don't use any part of SF that is their intellectual property, we'd be totally safe.  We could even make a claim on the cover or on the back of the player's book "A Science Fiction role-playing-game full of action and adventure, inspired by similar games of the 1980's." or whatever.

We can even bundle it with a starting adventure.  W00t has been working on a good plotline and has developed a lot of support work around a good adventure for Alpha Dawn that - if he wished - could be adapted to this new set of rules easily enough to be an adventure included in the Referee's book.  (Yes, we can still call it a Referee - unlike Dungeon Master, Referee isn't a copyrighted term, I've seen it in other games too).

We just can't have Dralasites, Yazirians, Vrusks, Streel, Pan-Galactic Corporation, or a whole host of other names and likenesses. 

Would that still be fun?
3. We wear sungoggles during the day. Not because the sun affects our vision, but when you're cool like us the sun shines all the time.

-top 11 reasons to be a Yazirian, ShadowShack


SmootRK's picture
SmootRK
November 29, 2008 - 7:38am
Count me in... at least in some way.  Nice to get on board a new project that covers this sort of 'redo' without dealing with the ego trips I saw in some other attempts... a true collaboration, albeit we do need a leadership role to decide things when faced with conflicting opinions, perhaps a 'tribunal' or 'triad' of 3 reasonable voices to keep personal ambition from taking over anywhere?

So, who is in charge (at least for purposes of getting the ball rolling)?  Set a project up (per the way this site works) so I can join.  We need a place to air the initial assumptions on what should be included or not included.  With the material already present in the SFMan, I think we can get things going quickly... for instance, races.  I think it may be possible to move forward with races already designed (perhaps with a few tweaks and simplifications).


<insert witty comment here>

CleanCutRogue's picture
CleanCutRogue
November 29, 2008 - 8:56am
I don't mind taking a leadership role, but I don't want to be the only one with that role. I like Smoot's idea of a leadership triad (haha- the term sounds so gangsta). By leadership, that doesn't mean I want to do all the work or take any credit over anyone else though - my focus is on the community and the end results, not fame or glory. The only reason I ever put my name on anything was so that if WOTC ever wanted to file a C&D order, they would have an entity against which to file and keep the rest of you safe. I'll create a new project and call it - for now - "FrontierSpace" until we come up with a new name for the game that wouldn't upset WOTC/HASBRO.
3. We wear sungoggles during the day. Not because the sun affects our vision, but when you're cool like us the sun shines all the time.

-top 11 reasons to be a Yazirian, ShadowShack


w00t's picture
w00t
November 29, 2008 - 11:18am
CleanCutRogue wrote:
I don't mind taking a leadership role, but I don't want to be the only one with that role. I like Smoot's idea of a leadership triad (haha- the term sounds so gangsta). By leadership, that doesn't mean I want to do all the work or take any credit over anyone else though - my focus is on the community and the end results, not fame or glory. The only reason I ever put my name on anything was so that if WOTC ever wanted to file a C&D order, they would have an entity against which to file and keep the rest of you safe. I'll create a new project and call it - for now - "FrontierSpace" until we come up with a new name for the game that wouldn't upset WOTC/HASBRO.


If a Leader or Leaders are chosen and they need a leave of absence the baton needs to be handed off. The idea is to keep the project flowing.


aramis's picture
aramis
November 29, 2008 - 1:53pm
CCR:

you're making a falcious assessment of what is covered under copyright.

The literal text is what is covered under copyright. You can describe the same thing, and it's not a copyright violation, so long as you don't use the same words to do so.

The Names fall under trademark. Use without license is infringement, except for reference use (in which case acknowledgement is required.)

Game mechanics CAN be patented. (See also Tapping Cards...) SFAD wasn't.

Trademarks expire by non-defense.
Copyrights expire by age, as do patents, but on different schedules.

So "Vrusk" etc are protected terms... but not concepts... as they are TRADEMARKS. You can include an amoeboid sentient shape-changer, you just can't use the text in the SFAD rules, nor call them by the trademark term "Dralasite"...

CleanCutRogue's picture
CleanCutRogue
November 29, 2008 - 2:31pm
aramis wrote:
CCR:

you're making a falcious assessment of what is covered under copyright.

The literal text is what is covered under copyright. You can describe the same thing, and it's not a copyright violation, so long as you don't use the same words to do so.

The Names fall under trademark. Use without license is infringement, except for reference use (in which case acknowledgement is required.)

Game mechanics CAN be patented. (See also Tapping Cards...) SFAD wasn't.

Trademarks expire by non-defense.
Copyrights expire by age, as do patents, but on different schedules.

So "Vrusk" etc are protected terms... but not concepts... as they are TRADEMARKS. You can include an amoeboid sentient shape-changer, you just can't use the text in the SFAD rules, nor call them by the trademark term "Dralasite"...
You are correct, I'm sure.  I know what is off-limits but not whether it's protected by Trademark or by Copyrights.  I'm sure we could dance very close to infringement in any case and still be safe, but I think it's best to err on the side of caution and stay completely away from things that could risk our project.  My knowledge of the legal system is limited, and I bow to folks like you who have a greater study of it.  So please help out by guiding us away from things that could be dangerous, ok Aramis?

I'm pretty sure if we avoid using trademarked terms, and avoid copying the AD game, we can make a game whose mechanics are fine and whose setting has a feel reminiscent of SFAD but doesn't copy its style... am I right?  Just trying to make sure.

Thanks for offering your expertise :-)
3. We wear sungoggles during the day. Not because the sun affects our vision, but when you're cool like us the sun shines all the time.

-top 11 reasons to be a Yazirian, ShadowShack


aramis's picture
aramis
November 29, 2008 - 11:35pm
Since SFAD Mechanics are not patented, so long as you reword them, you can use them.

You can even use the races, just not the trademark names, tho' that might engender ill-will from WOTC and result in losing permission to host the extant SFAD materials.

You can't use the Illustrations, but so long as there are significant changes, similar ones can be created and then used. That area is one I'm weak on... Copyright was covered in detail in several courses I took, but I'm not a lawyer. These classes were in Music, History and Education...

If you use the timeline, it's a clear intent to derive from copyright... but it is doable. It's also likely to cost other licenses, as above.

One of the big problems is that Most americans have little concept of intellectual property. Let alone which parts cover what. It's a failing of our education system and the complexity of our laws.

Note that, if dervied from a copyright source, but not a violation of the copyright, it could still violate the look and feel elements of Trademark... which has not, to my knowledge, been tested for game mechanics, but has been upheld with computer software and hardware.

The grey zone is "how close can it be in feel to SFAD before it can be shown to feel just like SFAD?" And for that, it's all gray...

The other issue is that of competitiveness... launching a derivation from a site which is a licensee (which, by having permission, this site is...) which would devalue the original IP is clearly not permitted by WOTC.

As a postscript: I keep up on the copyright, trademark, and game related patent issues as a hobby...
For me, the Music and Games applications are important, which if you look at my website, you can see why: I write games and music.

aramis's picture
aramis
November 30, 2008 - 12:00am
One further comment: The lack of suit over feel for things like GORE, Swords & Wizardry, OSRIC, Basic Fantasy, etc can be attributed to open licenses muddling the look and feel issue. And in the case of OSRIC, BF, and S&W, the lack of commercial benefit coupled to the claim that 3E is the same game line as earlier D&D flavors... hence WOTC has a huge burden to prove that it devalues their properties.

Another issue is Kenzer & Co... they did a version of Kingdoms of Kalamar for 4E, but decided to not use the GSL... I hope it doesn't bite them in the arse...

Some cases in the past:
TSR vs Judges Guild: you can make supplements for the other guy's game without his permission. You don't get to use his trademarks to sell it, tho.
TSR vs Mayfair: You can't claim compatability with a single game by use of its trademark or a similar looking logo. But you can refer to the game and its rules indirectly. (Mayfair's Logo didn't say D&D or Dungeons and Dragons, but did use the same font and colors, and logo shape...)
ADB vs C Henry Shutte DBA Companion Games: not resolved, but challenged under trade secret laws (the fourth form of IP, recognized only in some states) and violation of contract and copyrights. ADB stopped pursuing it when the suit forced CHS to quit doing business. CHS/CG was releasing third party supplements for Star Fleet Battles... The court found ADB's suit compelling enough to injunctively relieve until trial.

Will's picture
Will
November 30, 2008 - 3:05pm
Now, ADB's suit...was it because of trade secret violations...or because CHS was delivering SFB supplements in a more timely fashion than ADB itself? :D

Now, as to any flying monkey races...if memory serves, a flying monkey race existed in fiction years before TSR, and it should be in the public freakin' domain by now....

"You're everything that's base in humanity," Cochrane continued. "Drawing up strict, senseless rules for the sole reason of putting you at the top and excluding anyone you say doesn't belong or fit in, for no other reason than just because you say so."


—Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stephens, Federation

CleanCutRogue's picture
CleanCutRogue
November 30, 2008 - 5:12pm
Will wrote:
Now, ADB's suit...was it because of trade secret violations...or because CHS was delivering SFB supplements in a more timely fashion than ADB itself? :D

Now, as to any flying monkey races...if memory serves, a flying monkey race existed in fiction years before TSR, and it should be in the public freakin' domain by now....
Wizard of Oz had flying monkeys.  They even seemed to battle rage.  Hm.  But they didn't wear cool sungoggles.  I guess that's the fine line: if your flying monkeys wear cool sunglasses then they're IP of Hasbro/WOTC haha
3. We wear sungoggles during the day. Not because the sun affects our vision, but when you're cool like us the sun shines all the time.

-top 11 reasons to be a Yazirian, ShadowShack