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Federation Admiral
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gambler1650
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A bit of perspective here...

I'm someone who's greatly anticipating Federation Admiral. I liked the original VBAM, and am enjoying the "Ajax Expanse" read.

I'm also a Star Fleet Battles player (and dabbler in the Armada games, and owner of FC:Romulan Border), started back in the late 80's - early 90's, and then jumped back in a few years ago.

First and foremost, I'd like to say that in no way am I criticizing ADB's operation here. They do what they see as right for their company given their product lines and limited manpower. I buy historical wargames from another company which has a similar issue.. one extremely well regarded tactical wargame, and two other 'lines' of wargames. If they put out supplements for the first, the other lines' players complain, if they put out supplements for either of the other lines, the tactical wargame's player's complain. And they have more resources than ADB does.

So, that said.. Paul, welcome to 'our' (SFB players) world.

Other than Federation and Empire (and Federation Space before it) there was no real set of Campaign Rules for SFB for quite some time, at least not that you could go out and buy and play with your local group. And F&E is hardly an easy campaign system to use, at least if your goal is to create SFB battles in a more meaningful context. There was the Campaign Designer's Handbook but that was more a potpourri of ideas you could use to create a campaign, not really an actual campaign system. There was also something called 'Warlords' (I think). Now there's Galactic Conquest which is a whole 'nother beast.

SFB also has tons of Campaign posts (check out the other forum - the BBS). SFB also saw the 'new kid on the block' come in and expand the focus of the SFU gamewise and production wise.. This game... was... hmmm, oh yeah, Federation Commander!

Given that Federation Admiral should be a decent Campaign System for all three of the SFU tactical space games, and given that from the SFB player's point of view we haven't had a similar campaign system for 30+ years, well, I'm willing to wait for it to be done right. And, well, I have no choice other than to shoehorn some other strategic space games into being a campaign system in the meantime. Smile

An analogy would be in my work, where I have multiple projects, some of which are based on people outside my organization. I prioritize based on a combination of perceived need and ease to do. Sometimes what I get from other people requires a LOT more work to do than I thought it would due... often.. to formatting issues. So I work on it, discover errors, send them back.. have to wait... get the new version, and rework it. Then those people ask why it's taking so long, while not realizing that I have other commitments on my plate that can't wait. It sounds like Federation Admiral has gone through a similar process, one which I can empathize with...

I think it'll be a big seller myself, since all three sets of players (SFB, FC and Armada) should find a lot of utility.
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If "text is text" then two things would have happened.

1. The book would have been out months ago.

2. You'd have instantly condemned it as not being up to standards and demanded that I do it over, do it right, and send you a free copy, return your original purchase price for wasting your time, and include a personal letter of apology written in my own blood.

Yes, Jay has revised it (once, I think) and even at that it had problems found when I did one chapter and sent him lists of things to fix in all subsequent chapters. He did so (at least to some unknown extent) but it got here when I went into lockdown on another project and I have literally not had time to look at it since. If I had looked at it, other products would be late and FA would not be done any sooner. It takes the time it takes.

And guys, I am STILL busy with CL42. As anyone who knows what a FLAP list is, there are five or six entire days of work that have to be done AFTER it's published, and which must be done before ANY other project is touched. (I have to have the supplement and LPE done by Saturday.) Looking at FA now would not get it done any sooner and would delay and complicated mail order shipments of AA and CL42. So I don't have time to discuss this now.

I will discuss some of the issues with you at some future time, but the book is NOT READY and will take at least an entire month (more likely two) of ALL of my time to get ready.

And BTW

1. There is no contradiction between anything I've said or posted. You're pulling bits and pieces out of context, bits and pieces of extracts, summaries, and abstracts of a complex situation.

2. Calling me a liar is the best, fastest, and easiest way to get your posts deleted and your registration cancelled. Do it again and you can find another BBS where you can complain all day that I don't drop every other product and do the one you want, do it instantly and perfectly, whenever you want it.

Yes, you have officially pissed me off and if you do it again, you're gone.
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Jean
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul, All I can do is tell you that SVC does have to prioritize and that FA is taking far longer than anyone expected. No, we are not going to air internal documents in public so everyone knows all the issues. But I can tell you that I worked on it once last Christmas and again at Origins and the pages in the first chapter turned purple with corrections that I made -- both times. Some of it stems from dealing with the restrictions of our license. The most amazing things are not permitted in art, for example.

Now, let me ask you -- if we didn't produce a Captain's Log, an SFB module, any FC products, or any PD products (SVC does the layout and has ultimate fact approval) in order to produce FA, would the majority of our customers be happy? If SVC only produced a Communique every three or four months and a Hailing Frequencies at the same rate, would the majority of our customers be happy?

You also apparently forget that SVC is the CEO of the corporation. That means he has to hire. evaluate, and supervise our student employee as well as mentor him along the way. SVC is the voice and hands in our YouTube videos. He writes many of our blog posts and he writes all of the advertising. His time is not just spent twiddling his thumbs in his office waiting for a product to be sent to him. His time is a precious commodity to the company.

Lest you think he has more time to spare, let me fill you in. He works longer hours and more days than anyone other than Petrick. Tell me if most people work seven days a week, 8-10 hours each day except on Sunday where he might put in only three or four? Tell me who else (well, besides Petrick) would be working on Thanksgiving day from just after lunch until after midnight?

In other words, FA is as much a priority as SVC can realistically make it, considering that the business has other product lines (F&E, SFB, SFBF, PD, Starline 2400, CL, and FC), that SVC has the duties of a CEO as well as a game designer, and that SVC does 99% of the marketing.

I hope this explanation is sufficient to make it clear why SVC cannot drop everything to work exclusively on FA. The complete Alien Armada rulebook took less time for me to proofread than that one chapter of FA.

All that said, I think that FA has great promise and I want to see it published. However, I don't want it published at the expense of negatively impacting the company's bottom line which is what would happen if SVC worked on it exclusively -- what would be needed at this point to complete it in a month or so.
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Jean
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul, perhaps you are being confused by a southernism.

"I doubt that I'll actually spend all of 3 days on AA. I spent three days on half a chapter of FA."

SVC spent three days in a row when he handled FA. At some point in the third day he sent the whole chapter (which is not finished because I haven't seen it) and sent it to Jay. My guess is that he formatted the chapter, but did not read or edit it. That will let Jay see any issues and when we have any free time, we can move on it.

That being said, I assure you that we all want to see FA come out. Jay and SVC will work on it and get the kinks ironed out, then SVC will let me loose on it.

At that point, Jay will learn the song "Mean Jean" (http://federationcommander.blogspot.com/2010/11/mean-jean.html) and he'll sing lead with SPP and SVC doing the backup vocals.

Very Happy Maybe they can do that at the Origins Singalong?

And the product will be great!
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I put up with a lot from people who don't know what they're talking about, but there is a limit. There is simply no further point in going over and over the same things, and I have taking all of the disrespect I intend to. I will remind Paul B that it is a violation of the forum rules, leading to suspension from this forum, to ask about, question, or object to on this forum how those rules are enforced. (You can do that by email, but frankly, I'm not going to be listening to you any more.) You've said what you have to say, you've been heard, and we need not discuss this any further. The only thing that further bacon, moaning, disrespect, accusations, and general BS from you can accomplish is either cancelling the product just so I never have to deal with you again or kicking you out of the forum so I never have to deal with you again. Learn to behave with some respect and decorum and your posts won't get deleted.

Right now, I am still finishing the CL42 FLAP list (the list of 37 things that have to be done to every product we do AFTER those products are "published" and "shipped".) Until that's done (the last of it by early next week) I won't be working on Distant Armada, CL43, Star Fleet Marines, ISC WAR, GURPS FEDERATION, Federation Admiral, Gorn Attack, Borders of Madness, SFB Module R13, Andromedan Threat File, SFB Master Starship Book, SFB Module E3, more stuff for e23, the FC Scenario Reference Book, the paperback anthology Day of the Eagle, Starship Aldo, Prime Directive Savage Worlds, Battlestations Star Fleet, Reflection Universe, or Battleship Armada. When I do get some of my "design time" that the flap list doesn't consume, there will be much competition for my time.

Now, as for Federation Admiral, it's been too long to remember specifics, but the general category of problems (with synthetic examples) are things like this....

1. Decide if some term (something like "embargo" or "blockade" or "drone bombardment step") is going to be capitalized or not. In even the most recently edited manuscript, this is still a major problem.

2. Standardize terms. For example, in another project I do remember, the writer interchangeably used terms such as Start Phase, Start of Turn Phase, Start of Turn Procedure, Turn Star Phase, Turn Start Procedure. He needed to pick one of those and change all of the others to that.

There are about ten more examples, but those are enough. The point is that it's hard to go three or four LINES in Jay's text without running into something that has to be fixed dozens of times in the remaining document. Presumably, by the time we get three or four chapters into it, we'll have found a lot of these things and will have fixed them. This is why I tell Jay to only send me one chapter at a time (and why I am baffled that he keeps resending the entire document when his chapter 7 will be obsolete and modified again when I finish Chapter 2).

Another unrelated point to consider is that while I work more hours per day and per week than anyone reading this (except, maybe, Jean <counting her non-SFU job> and Petrick) I have a lot of duties, most of which do not include designing games. It's entirely possible that I may say "It will take a week of work on FA to get chapter 2 done" and that during those seven days that might amount to six or seven HOURS because I have to actually run the company, game design time is only a part of that job, lots of things (like communique and e23) eat into the limited "design time", and lots of projects (see list above) are competing for that design time. (If Petrick is going to make any progress on Module R13, he has to stop me from working on FA and take a couple of hours of my "design time" to go over issues involving R13. Same thing if Chuck Strong needs to talk about ISC War, Mike West needs to talk about FC Gorn Attack, Jean needs to get me to make decisions about GURPS FEDS, or some sculptor needs me to look at a new starship miniature.) There is no contradiction between "a week of work" and "six or seven actual clock hours". It's the way things happen. Remember that I have to do things like go over the accounting and budget (that Leanna does), write the press releases, talk to wholesalers, supervise employees, solve problems in the warehouse that get beyond what the guys working there can handle, deal with customer requests, approve submissions (ships, scenarios, rules, fiction) for all of the product lines (SFB, SFBF, F&E, GPD, PD20M, FC, SL2400, CapLog, Starmada, and others), drive over to the printer to approve a thousand dollar press job, do map graphics for SFM so that playtesters can make progress on Scenario #4). I'm busy. it's how small business works in America. And yesterday, I took the day off to do Christmas shopping and get everything done for my wife's birthday. During this entire year, I think that it the third non-Sunday I have taken off (and out of the last 47 Sundays, i've worked at least a few hours on 43 of them and more than 8 hours on six of them).

I'll be happy to take a few minutes now and then and TEACH you how a business works so you can do what everyone else around here does (actually make worthwhile input), but you're going to have to START showing some RESPECT.
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Jean
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul B, please take any further commentary on the editing of this topic to email. Debating the actions of a moderator or a company officer is not done on the Forum.

Feel free to PM me if you care to discuss this further.

Please do not PM SVC as PMs crash his computer and that makes him exceptionally cranky. Sad
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Jean
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 3:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul, that is enough. There will be no more public critical remarks regarding SVC or his actions in this matter on this Forum. You were advised to take this to email. Please do so if you have further negative remarks.

This constitutes your second warning. A third warning comes with a week-long suspension.

Jean
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Jean
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Folks, I do want to get the record straight about FA and some of the issues going on.

Whenever two games try to blend, there are always issues. Looking at what I am doing to PD20M Feds to turn it into GURPS Feds shows me that minor things need close attention.

Let's look at the filk "Mean Jean"

Mean Jean said to change these,
Who am I to disagree?
She said I missed a parentheses,
Jean is always naggin’ ‘bout somethin’.

Sometimes she wants a comma,
Sometimes she wants to take one out.

For example, is it "Cats, dogs, and mice do not play well together" or "Cats, dogs and mice don't play well together" or some combination? ADB uses a comma before "and" and "or" in lists of three or more. (This prevents the issue of the sentence "I'd like to thank my parents, Jay Waschak and WebMom" getting me and Jay into hot water!) It isn't something that can be changed with a global command to change " and" to ", and" as "Cats, and dogs fight frequently" is wrong.

In addition, many people add commas whenever they pause, and that is not correct usage. The comma after "pause" above should come out, for example.

Sometimes she wants to cap this;
Sometimes she wants to de-cap that. . .

Most people have an Urge when Writing Rules to Capitalize Important Concepts. If Left Unchecked, All Words Will Soon Be Capitalized. When I first started working with SVC, I stomped my little foot and said, "I need a list of important words that must always be capitalized. I suggest you don't do too many of them, because whatever is in the list will always be capitalized from this point forward." The Capitalization Guide is now 24 pages long and will grow when I get to Amarillo after Christmas and SVC integrates all of my notes from F&E 2010. Using this makes sure that you don't see both of the following sentences in an article or in rules:

Using Aegis protects against drones.
When your aegis fails, it is bad news.

Poor SVC has been listening to me for three years as I have worked closely with him. I phone and he spends hours "capping" this and "decapping" that. It is best for both Jay and him if they come up with a guide for me to follow so we don't have dueling "capping/decapping" contests.

Art and "color" writing is always tricky with our licenses. Not everything from ST:TOS or TAS is in our license. We have to be absolutely sure that we will not get into trouble with Larry Niven and his Kzintis or Paramount with their properties. Why, even in PD20M Feds, we had to ask an artist to change his work as we didn't have the rights to the weapon he drew. It is a common problem as people don't know all the restrictions.

Sometimes she wants to bold this;
Sometimes she wants to de-bold that. . .

We won't even get into formatting issues. Is a title in all caps in 12-point font or in 14-point? Are the first words of a rule bold? All capped? Just important ones capped? Are paragraphs indented or left-flush with lines between them? What gets hanging indents? What doesn't? Are "i.e." and "e.g." italicized or not? All of this must be standardized.

That leads into another issue we have: various programs are not playing well with others. A hanging indent for Jay may crash SVC's computer. My first trip to Amarillo, we discovered that two particular symbols in Word (a soft return and a particular kind of space) would crash SVC's computer when he imported documents containing them into his version of Pagemaker. It takes a while to discover that and to find a work-around.

Now, all that being said, the real meat of the book (i.e., the rules) are sound as far as I can determine. It is going to be a good product; there is no doubt in my mind about that. We just have to get the details fixed and that takes SVC time as he has to do the layout and vetting of any license issues. It takes Jay time to fix the problems that SVC identifies. Then it takes more SVC time to implement the changes.

I promise you that SVC wants to minimize the amount that I have to call in and that means a lot of work up front from Jay and him. We want the appearance of the book to be as professional as possible. When you see mistakes like "The ships Fihgters can be launches" (not that Jay has made any such egregious error), then subconsciously you wonder what other mistakes are in the book.

Now does that explain where we are coming from sufficiently? As I have said, we all want FA to come out. It is a good concept and will be a great product. If we all (Jay, SVC, and I) didn't have faith in it, then we wouldn't have given it as much time as it has already gotten. As we work through this, the purple "Jean" marks will become fewer as we standardize terms such as "Gibblefuzz 1", "gibble fuzz one", "Gibble fuzz number one", and "gibble Fuzz #1" (settling finally on Gibblefuzz #1). Those will all be changed globally and we'll never have to deal with that issue again. (It is harder when common words are used as game terms. "The ship will turn left" is correct in FC. "On Turn #1, I fired all my phasers at him" is also correct. Changing the capitalization from "turn" to Turn" cannot be made as a global change, not easily. Still, I have faith that Jay will get most of them right and I'm always the safety net, just as I am for our other products.)

I'm going to go back and re-read the After-Action Report (if you hear screaming, that is SVC's "NOOOOOOOOOooooooo..." and you won't hear the whimper -- he knows that there is never a page that doesn't get a purple "Jean" mark on it) for the CL#42 Supplemental File. Then I'll work more on GURPS Feds so that I can experience the joys of layout in Pagemaker when I get to Amarillo after Christmas this year. Y'all deserve the best from us and we try to give you what you deserve.
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let me be clear about a few things...

1. Jay is a great game designer, and I've never said anything less about him. No one from ADB has ever said a critical word about the DESIGN of Fed Admiral

2. There are issues with formatting, punctuation, cap guides, style books, and so forth, but we are determined to work through these because FA will be a great product.

3. When someone says it's my fault FA is late, that is a mistaken assumption that needs to be corrected. It's not my fault. It's problems noted in #2 above. I'm not going to take the blame when it's not my fault.

Note to Paul B: You were NOT "conciliatory" and clearly had no intention of being so. Your posts amounted to "Don't punish me! By the way, I am now going to repeat what you said I'd be punished for saying." You have shown no respect. You have no place here or in polite society. Your next violation will be your last. Any game publisher EXCEPT us would have thrown you out for life two posts ago. We've given you a FINAL warning.
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Davyj0427
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Any chance for a pre-order?
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We take pre-orders one week before release. There is no benefit (to you or to us) to order a March product in january,and it's an administrative nightmare. There are federal laws about keeping your money that long, plus the couple of times we did it we had people changing orders, adding to orders, dropping products from orders, changing their address. It's just a nightmare that we don't need.
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JonPerry
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hands down this is single biggest item on my groups "to buy" list.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While I remain mystified by the desire for a campaign book, I respect those who want it (which is why it's on the schedule). I'm sure it will work fine without FCB3 but I'm sure it will work better and better as more and more FC ships are released.
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Wolverin61
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is awesome news all right! Well, to me it is anyway.
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JonPerry
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
While I remain mystified by the desire for a campaign book


I don't understand why anyone wouldn't want a campaign book!

One-off games get old and stale.
Players throw their ships (tanks, soldiers, whatever) around without regard.

For me, campaigns (manageable, controlled, limited) are always better than a series of unconnected scenarios.

They have a life and sense of continuity that stand-alone scenarios can never have. They give you something to plot and plan and talk about away from the game table.

They also give you something regular scenarios don't. Consequences.

The mini scenario, with the Kang caught on the wrong side of the Kzin border? Good stuff. The two linked scenarios, with the Klinks grabbing the Tholian PC(web) and running? Gooder stuff. That's right - gooder. Following Roxanna Vulpes squadron, stuck out there in Hydran space? More gooderer. They all involve the kind of decisions you can't get from single scenarios.

But hey, I don't need my desires to be understood. It is enough that they be respected.

Or at least appeased Smile
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