STAR FLEET BATTLES

INPUT GUIDE

INPUT GUIDE: GENERAL INFORMATION

    This is an overview to the input process and system. The links below to go various documents with specific information on specific subjects. Some of the documents get repetitive but we ask you to bear with us; info is repeated in several places to avoid making you check other documents to understand any given document. This section of the web site is assembled from various documents written at different times for different purposes. To be really effective in sending a submission, you need to review ALL of these associated documents. Whatever you want to know is in here somewhere. If you find a contradiction it may mean that things changed between the two documents so feel free to ask; don't guess or assume.

QUICK DEFINITIONS

SFB = Star Fleet Battles
SFU = Star Fleet Universe
F&E = Federation & Empire
PD1 = Prime Directive First Edition
GPD = GURPS Prime Directive

THE KEY POINTS

  1.     The key point of accepting submissions is creativity. We want fresh, exciting, and creative ideas. Nothing pains us more than to receive a huge and beautiful submission that we cannot publish for some reason (legal issues, conflict with game background, etc.) so talk to us before doing big things. But if you get inspired and have it finished before you talk to us, go ahead and talk to us then.
        Not everything that is created is creative. Hunting through the ship list for a light cruiser class without a command variant is not creative. Finding an entirely new thing to do with a light cruiser hull IS creative. Often, ship submissions are considered "obvious variants". If you take a given hull type and compare it to the list of every possible variant (scout, commando, carrier, escort, whatever) you will eventually find a "missing" ship. Feel free to suggest that we "fill this gap" but as it is an obvious variant no single player gets credit for the design. (Sometimes we will honor a devoted fan or playtester by listing him as the designer of such a ship, but that doesn't get him a paycheck or even a free copy.)
        In some cases, players are surprised to see themselves listed as the author of a scenario or something else based on nothing more than an off-hand comment made during a conversation about something else. This is "honorary design credit" and nobody but you and ADB know that you didn't really write every single word, didn't get paid, and didn't get a free copy.
        Creativity IS the point, so don't write in and ask what we want you to create. If we knew the answer, we'd create it all by ourselves.
     
  2.     To be publishable, your submission needs to fit within the established history, background, and technology. In theory, all submissions must have a specific date when they happened (a date that "fits" into the established timeline, for example, no Fed-Klingon alliances during periods when the Timeline says they were at war) and a location where it happened (for example, the Lyrans and Federation do not have a common border, although Lyran ships allied to the Klingons did fight on the Federation-Klingon frontier during the General War).
        In theory, to do this perfectly, you would need a copy of every SFU product ever published, plus an encyclopedic and cross-referenced knowledge of all of those documents that rivals the mental acumen of a Talmudic Scholar. As a practical matter, if you read the Timeline, History of the General War, and the background material from SFB (or the very similar background material in GPD or F&E), you'd have about 90% of what you need to know. Tell you what, we won't be mean when we point out that you missed something if you won't be upset when we nicely point it out.
        In many cases, we can publish things with fatal background flaws as alternative histories in Stellar Shadow Journal.
        Remember that the Star Fleet Universe, while based on TOS-Trek, has expanded well beyond it but does not include all of it. We do not use the character names from the shows. We cannot use races or ships from novels, comic books, TNG, STV, STE, or DS9.
     
  3.     You cannot "publish" material based on, using elements of, or "for use with" SFB or other Star Fleet Universe products. It's just not legal. Any such materials are, under copyright law, "derivative works" and cannot be published without permission of the original copyright holder (us). It's not that hard to find a legal way to print your thing so why would anybody waste time doing something illegal? Most players are honest and won't buy pirate or bootleg products.
     
  4.     Anything you submit to us (including ideas you post on our BBS) becomes our property immediately. However, if we print it you do get compensated at standard rates. If you submit something that you mark as your copyright, we won't consider it for publication. If you insist on terms and conditions we will probably just ignore your submission. We have plenty of others.
        We never ever print anything under a joint copyright. Everything for SFB and SFU is copyrighted only to ADB, Inc. This is necessary due to licensing and other requirements and is not negotiable. We have licensed previous-published game systems (e.g., GURPS) for use in our products but anything related to SFU is our copyright only.
     
  5.     We reserve the right to make any changes to any submission that we, in our sole judgement, think are necessary to produce a publishable item.
    This should not terrify you. SVC is a career writer and editor, inside and outside of the gaming industry. He has written literally thousands of published articles and has edited nearly as many written by others. We don't edit things just for sport or to make sure that everything written by others sounds like it was written by SVC. But everything published within the Star Fleet Universe needs to fit into, expand, and enhance the SFU, not rewrite it.
        You will, indeed, "lose control" over your creation when you send it in, but we do respect your creativity (as creativity is the whole point of even considering submissions) and will preserve as much of it as possible. Most designers find that our changes and additions improve their design, and in most cases you still get full credit for the design.
        No outside designer has the legal or moral right to insist on no changes to his creation, otherwise you would see designers creating war cruisers with 17 heavy weapons, the power to run them, and a BPV of 75. It is our responsibility to make sure that every ship fits within design parameters, is balanced against other ships in the game, and has an appropriate BPV. It is our responsibility to ensure that every story fits within published history (and is a good story). If we can find a way to fix a fatal flaw in your submission, we will do so. The point, again, is creativity. We can fix a mistake in something that is really creative but we cannot add creative flare to a boring item that perfectly fits into the timeline.
        If retaining control is going to be an issue for you, then either don't submit it, post it on the web under the ADB web policy, or discuss the matter with us. (Sometimes, the thing you most fear we would change is just not an issue for us.)
        You can, in fact, "publish" anything you want, exactly the way you want it, on your web site or any number of other web sites. The only restriction (see our web policy) is that you copyright it to us and mark it as a submission. That way, players can see your creativity (even if we rejected it) and your flair for dramatic design, but nobody can gather up a bunch of web-published stuff and print it as a bootleg product.
  6.     Sometimes when a submission is reviewed, we send back a report of fatal flaws and why it cannot be published. If you can fix the problems, do so. Do not, however, resubmit the item with the problems unresolved. If we didn't want it fixed we wouldn't have mentioned the problem; if we mentioned the problem you don't get to say "I don't think it's a problem" and leave it there. You are welcome to discuss with us why you don't think it's a problem but only if you convince us that it isn't a problem can you leave it unfixed. In many cases, we make the changes ourselves as we know what we want and can do it more quickly.
  7.     Please understand that about 90% of players who tell us about the great submission they plan to send in the future never actually send it. For this reason, don't expect us to spend a lot of time chatting with you about a future submission, but we will give you a few pointers. Also, we don't "reserve" projects indefinitely (but will for a short time) so if you don't get the promised item to us in a reasonable time, we reserve the right to assign it to somebody else.
  8.     SUBMISSION FORMATS: The most important thing is to include your name and contact information in or on the document. If you send a PDF or GPF then put your name and contact info into that graphic. Beyond that, there is no one specific format. Be aware, however, that there are a lot of different computers and software out there and it is entirely possible that you will send us a file we cannot read or print. For this reason, before sending a 37-page document, send us a couple of paragraphs with a note asking that we do a quick format check to see if we can read it.
  9.     The most annoying and frustrating part of the process is that we get a lot more submissions than we have time to review.
        The first step here is that when you send something, make sure you get the file number back from us. You should get it within 48 hours. If you didn't get a file number back, then by definition we lost your submission and it is going to be a lot easier to find if you ask right away. (Some days we get dozens of non-Spam Emails and just don't get a chance to read every one of them that day.) Don't send it again, just send an Email asking if we got it and would send the file number. Do not post on the BBS "did you get it" unless there is some actual reason to believe we didn't (like getting the Email back saying "no such address").
        The second point is to remember that we cannot shut down the current product schedule to give you a detailed review of your submission of a new ship for a product that is three years in the future. We will, in many cases, advise you that your ship has been put in the file for a future product. That doesn't mean it will be published in that product; it does mean that when we do the product we will review your submission at that time (and probably not before then).
        The third thing is dumb luck. You may by chance send in something at a time when SVC is bored, or somebody didn't show up for a meeting, or for some other reason it catches his eye. Such things (usually creative things) get done quickly. It isn't fair but if it happens be grateful.
  10.     Standard compensation rates are as follows. Payment is made upon publication.
    • For minor things (e.g., term papers) you get a byline, honor, glory, a place in the pantheon of heroes, but nothing else. This also applies to things such as "honorary design credits".
    • For small things (about a page or two long) you get a free copy of the product (plus the honor and glory thing). If several of your ships get into an R-module you get one copy.
    • For larger things, you get a copy of the product and $15 per page (after the first page). You don't get paid for sections of the published item which we added or did over for you, but you do get the honor and glory stuff.
    • For entire products, royalty contracts are negotiated. Talk to us before starting on such a product. Generally speaking, things are done when we pick an author to create a product for us, but who knows, you just might have something we would buy.
    • For B&W interior art, we pay the industry standard of $100 per page (proportionate to actual size). For color from covers, we pay $100 (and rarely negotiate more for more complicated items involving a lot of people faces). We often give aspiring artists a thrill by publishing a small color piece on the back cover and paying them $35 for this.

TOP TEN THINGS LIKELY TO BE PUBLISHED

  1. Scenarios for SFB and F&E. We rarely get good ones and print them quickly when they show up.
  2. Term papers and Tactical notes for SFB, F&E, Starfleet Command, Star Fleet Warlord, and other game systems.
  3. Tactical primers for Omega or Simulator races.
  4. Victory At Origins articles (but only if you were the winner!). We don't print "I almost won" articles from the guy who came in second, or fourth, or twenty-third. We will consider "Victory" articles from other major conventions.
  5. A good fiction story. We get about 10-15 stories a year, of which half are not publishable at all and only two or three arrive in a publishable state or can be made publishable without too much difficulty.
  6. Class histories, but we have to warn you that these are very hard to do.
  7. Wire Service Report of your GPD adventure.
  8. Really clever and funny humor items. We get a hundred of these every year but only one or two are actually funny.
  9. Example articles. These are extremely hard to write but if anybody ever succeeds, you've got a deal.
  10. Material for GURPS Prime Directive. Since we're starting over on the 4th Edition, we need a starship load of new interesting stuff to print. Read the specific GPD input guidelines.

LINKS

Terms and conditions (from Advanced Missions)
New Race Guidelines
Web Policy
Art Guidelines
Style Sheet
GURPS Prime Directive Input Guide
Guidelines for Sculptors

INPUT GUIDE ARTICLES FROM CAPTAIN'S LOG

CL18: We need fiction, new races, submissions log
CL19: Designing for balance
CL20: General advice, term papers, line item format
CL21: Writing for Captain's Log; novel-length fiction
CL22: Notes on SSDs
CL23: New tracking system
CL24: Various notes and questions
CL25: Stories vs Scenarios
CL26: Does web = unpublishable? Can I design a module?
CL27: E-modules, print your own galaxy
CL29: Advice to Fiction Authors, avoid Spam blockers, Staying in contact with ADB.
CL30: The bridge crew

 

Copyright 1999-2004 Amarillo Design Bureau, All Rights Reserved

Updated 19 November 2004