Director’s Briefing – June 2017

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To the seventy-third Briefing and the sixth scheduled Briefing of 2017. Its marking season again for me – the worst is now over, but there will be a second spike in the second week of July as summer term module assignments and resit exam scripts turn up.
ICE at GenCon 2017
Another month closer to GenCon. Colin is tracking availability of people to man the stand and run games. We have been asked by fans “Do I have to run game X?” and “Do I have to man the stand?” and similar sorts of questions. The simple answer is that we want all our fans to have fun at GenCon. So if you want to run RMU, HARP, HARP SF, Spacemaster (2nd or Privateers), Rolemaster (Classic or FRP) or Run out the Guns!, then go ahead. Run the game you want to run and run it well, so that you have fun and your players have fun. In terms of manning the stand, we believe we have coverage, but if you want to do some stand work for a couple of hours, let Colin know and he’ll add you to the supporting list.
Last month, I indicated that there was a three-writer race on who would finish their portion of HARP Bestiary first. I won! I finished the Elemental chapter. All 72 stat blocks completed. Since I knew the marking hurricane was coming, I rewrote the introductory chapter to bring it into alignment with the rest of the manuscript. I also performed an editing pass on John’s chapter on Lycanthropes. In terms of the race, it is now between John finishing the Demon stats and Colin finishing his stat checking. Once both John and Colin are finished, there will be a full manuscript editing sweep, the artwork phase and then the layout phase. As all the monster entries are known, we don’t need to wait on John or Colin. I need to create the big list of illos required, we (and it will probably be Terry and I) need to determine which illos can be met from existing art resources, and for which illos we would like new art, and then get artists underway on those new illos.
Last month, I indicated that we had received a very strong proposal for HARP Subterfuge. I am delighted to say that the author (who wishes to remain anonymous at this time) is now under contract with us. Elsewhere Jon Cassie is still working quietly away on HARP Beyond the Veil (the divine sourcebook) and Sam Orton is fortifying himself with work on HARP Strongholds. In HARP SF, I am equally delighted to report that Clint Fell is formally under contract for HARP SF Vehicles Compendium, and that Joel Lovell has been producing additional art for his Poseidon Gambit adventure module. I have distracted Joel, however, with some cartography work.
Adventure Modules
Andrew and Heleen Durston have asked to be released from their contract on the “Trail of the Corrupt” adventure module for personal reasons. They have generously offered their working notes to anyone who would like to take over the project.
Brad White has completed his full draft of the “Garden of Rain” adventure module and that is now in my editorial intray.
Having been released from the critical writing path for HARP Bestiary and with Bestiary now essentially stable, a number of projects can now advance (as they are no longer waiting on monster stat blocks). I have already completed a full editing pass on Chris Seal’s A Wedding in Axebridge module. We have a gorgeous front cover and some fantastic new additional interior art already – Joel is reworking Chris’ sketch maps and plans. I have to essentially drop in the new monsters stats from Bestiary and then this module will be ready for layout. The only question is whether the new version of A Wedding in Axebridge will have enough pages to be viable in a printed edition as well as a pdf edition.
Rolemaster and ERA
Jonathan and Joeri are still crunching monsters for Creature Law. I am currently trying to figure out how best to perform my editing pass on the other RMU books –I am fairly certain that large portions of the editing won’t be sensible to undertake on my tablet. Still experimenting with what works and what does not.
Max has been updating ERA to include RMFRP flaws in the RMSS/FRP datasets, fixing some bugs and preparing ERA for future support of RMU. Updated datasets can be downloaded from the OneBookShelf network.
Computer Software Projects
As those of you who read these Briefings on a regular basis are likely aware, I am a computing professor at the University of Suffolk. Officially I am Professor of Information Systems Engineering (so almost Professor of ICE) and one of my big tasks has been to expand the computing portfolio at Suffolk, sometimes in concert with other teams. The next degree we expect to validate will be a MSc in Computer Games Development, as a postgraduate taught progression route for undergraduates.
So why do you care?
Firstly in the UK, all undergraduates do some form of final-year project. For students on our BA Hons Computer Games Design and BSc Hons Computer Games Programming degrees, they do final-year projects and other projects throughout their programmes which typically involve the creation of game software artefacts of varying complexity, so that they have portfolios to show to future employers. Secondly, the intention of the MSc Computer Games Development degree is to go beyond this with student teams forming virtual companies to develop software from conception to release. Wearing my ICE hat, I offered my colleagues in computer gaming the opportunity to have their students create games for our rules systems and settings, whether these be desktop, web or mobile app games. My colleagues are keen to run with this.
We would be interested in hearing your ideas for what sort of computer games you would like to see created using ICE rules and worlds. I have already suggested that something like Baldur’s Gate but using HARP rules and the Cyradon setting would be great. Post your ideas on our forums.
I should note that there are still places available on our undergraduate gaming degrees for September 2017; once we have the MSc Computer Games Development validated, we will be able to accept students on that programme – we may even run a cohort in September 2017.
Until next time
Back to a mix of writing and editing. The next scheduled Briefing will be in July 2017.
Best wishes,
Director, Iron Crown Enterprises Ltd
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