ffutures: (Tooth and Claw)
Back in 2008 I wrote Forgotten Futures X, The Tooth and Claw Role Playing Game, based on Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton. It's a fun setting where the player characters are cannibalistic dragons whose Victorian-ish society was loosely inspired by Trollope.

Seven years too late I've realised I missed a wonderful opening lines for one of the NPCs - the banking and insurance magnate known as The Crimson Claw, who has grown so big that he dwarfs any player character and can never leave his vaults - the tunnels are too small for him.

Read more... )

I could almost kick myself that I didn't put that in, but I think it's really a bit late now. And to be honest, while it feels like a fun line, it might not quite cause the sensation of mind-numbing terror I want characters to feel if they meet him.
ffutures: (Tooth and Claw)
Jo Walton's novel Tooth and Claw, the source for Forgotten Futures X, is now available as an etext from various sources, most notably Macmillan, at $2.99

An absolute bargain!

Wooo!!!

Jul. 28th, 2008 12:53 am
ffutures: (Tooth and Claw)
I just heard from Jo Walton that she has no problems with the RPG apart from a very minor error.

HUGE sigh of relief.

So tomorrow I finish off the distribution CD-ROM and new release of the FF CD-ROM (both more or less done as of today, so that won't take long), sort out the postal labels for the mailout, and make CD labels and start burning disks. If all goes well I'll do the mailout on Tuesday.

But first I think a relatively early night for a change!
ffutures: (Default)
This is the current contents list for the distribution CD for the Tooth and Claw RPG; it's about 319 MB all in, though a lot of that is the movie of The Lost World and three versions of A Voyage to the Moon. Does this sound OK? What else would people like to see up to say 350-400 MB?

contents )
ffutures: (Tooth and Claw 2)
Today I got a few things done

Fiddled around with the design of the cutout boat I mentioned yesterday, and fixed the things I didn't like about the engine

Made a couple of hundred cards (basically saying "This is the Tooth and Claw RPG - UK postal regulations will charge me an arm and a leg if I include a letter here, so read the Readme file on the CD" to go into the disk mailers.

Wrote the readme file; it's behind the cut and I'd be grateful for comments - it basically explains why it's taken me three years to get this out, and I'm worried it might be a bit too whiney.
Read Me )

Designed labels for the distribution disk and the FF CD-ROM. Those I'm not going to print in quantity until I'm ready to use them, those labels are expensive. One of these years I will have to look into the white topped CDs and printing on them directly, but stack loading CD Duplicators / printers cost about a grand and I can't really justify it. I'm going with one of Sue's pictures for both labels, a nice dragoness which I manipped to add a bonnet and "Votes for Dragonesses" sign.

Did some more work on the other contents of both CDs.

Hopefully everything will be ready once I have Jo's corrections. So why am I sweating so much?

Time to go out and get some fresh air, I think...
ffutures: (Default)
While I wait for Jo to get back to me with corrections, I've been finishing off the cutout model paddle steamer I designined a while ago. Basically, I've added assembly instructions and pictures of the ship, fixed a few problems, and added floor plans for the below-deck areas. I'm not going to try to model the machinery in detail, steam engines are too bloody complicated, but I do want to show where all the bits are, e.g. the boiler etc., so I've spent most of the day with Micrografx Draw, and though I say it myself, the results could be a lot worse. This is the engine room - it's ludicrously simplified and maybe looks a bit reminiscent of something that Mamod or Mecanno might sell, but I think it will just about do.



I'm especially proud of the mesh overhead walkways, which is NOT something that's easy to do with this software. The crank shaft was a total pain, and doesn't look as good as I'd like, but I think it's just about OK. This is a paste-up of two screen dumps since the engine takes up about half a page (with the boiler on one page and the rest on the next page, unfortunately - I couldn't find a way to get everything on one page without putting a page boundary somewhere even more awkward). The slightly mottled appearance at a couple of points is down to jpeg compression, it isn't in the PDF.

The rest of it was comparatively easy, apart from some silly problems getting blankets to look vaguely like blankets on the cabin beds - that took a ludicrous number of separate elements per bed to get right.



Anyway, it comes out at 14 pages and a little over a megabyte, and I think that on the whole it's good.

Anyone who wonders why I'm bothering - remember that the next release will be space travel, and if there's one thing people are certain to want in a space travel game it's deck plans for their spaceships. I might as well get up to speed now!

Friday AM: Fixed the crank shaft, not perfect but a lot better.
ffutures: (Tooth and Claw)
I'm VERY pleased to say that with the exception of the table of contents, which shouldn't take long, I've now completed converting the Tooth And Claw RPG to HTML. Found a metric whatever-load of typos, bad grammar etc. while doing it, which is always useful - I would be a lot more worried if I hadn't found any.

I am now going to watch TV for the rest of the evening, my eyes are too tired to do any more tonight.

Once I've got the ToC sorted I'll concentrate on the rest of the distribution CD and FF CD-ROM contents until I hear back from Jo Walton and can do the final corrections, which hopefully will be straightforward, put the final version of the PDF together, etc. So with a bit of luck I hope to get the CD out to registered users this month, and put everything on line about the same time next month. It would be really nice to have it done for the Continuum games con at the start of next month, if it's finished I'll be able to give copies to reviewers etc., so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
ffutures: (Default)
I gave FF X to Jo Walton yesterday. While the primary version will be PDF, I also want to publish an HTML verson, so I've now got start thinking about converting it to HTML once she's given final approval. The idea of sorting out the coding on a 170-page document is just a little daunting. I wrote the previous games in a text editor and added the HTML code as I wrote - this time I'm starting with a large Word document that contains dozens of tables, text boxes, images, etc. and lots of text formatting. I've also got a bit rusty with HTML, since it's 2-3 years since I've done anything substantial with it.

Word's "Save as HTML" is pretty useless, it tries to micromanage the layout of the document and the sidebars and tables etc. come out as graphic images for some reason - I have no idea why, but it's VERY annoying. I tried saving to HTML from Acrobat, but while it works for simple documents, with something this complicated it comes out as a horrible mess, with the stuff in sidebars, tables, etc. hopelessly jumbled. The tables in particular will be a real pain if I can't find a good way to convert them automatically.

So what I think I'll have to do is paste each section into an HTML editor separately and sort out layout etc. there. I REALLY don't want to hand code this, it could take me a month, so can anyone recommend a good Windows WYSIWYG HTML editor that is preferably (a) free or cheap, (b) not horribly verbose in its coding, (c) I can paste in text and still have italics etc., and (d) I can paste in e.g. tables from Word and get a properly coded HTML table out.

Many thanks!
ffutures: (Tooth and Claw 2)
...Despite having been a bit under the weather today, I've finished the first draft of Forgotten Futures X: The Tooth and Claw Role Playing Game, and just backed it up to a network drive, USB stick, and CD-ROM, which will be stored at work just to be extra sure...

This doesn't mean it's ready to launch - the game plan now is to reread the whole thing and make final corrections, print it out, and get the printout to Jo Walton (who is fortuitously in the UK) on Sunday. She's seen about 2/3rds of it already but only as text files - Assuming she's OK with the rest and with the look and feel of everything I can start converting it all to HTML (I want as much as possible as HTML as well as PDF), and put together the release disk with some additional game material, samples from the FF CD-ROM, etc. With a LOT of luck I may be able to start sending CDs to registered users before the end of the month.

HUGE sigh of relief, since for some reason the last little bit seemed to take forever to write. I'm off to eat a very late supper and head for bed.
ffutures: (Default)
Revised text for the magic thing
Another possibility is that a serious investigation of magical legends will reveal that dragons and their related species were created by Yarge magicians who wanted fearsome monsters to protect their homes, but underestimated their creations. The first dragons turned on their masters, destroyed them, and used the last vestiges of their magic to attain their full size. There is no other magic in the world because dragons absorb it from their environment and by eating each other. This implies amongst other things that there might still be magic in countries that ban dragons (such as Rasdogah Erofal) or on the continents that dragons have never visited. In such a situation dragon flesh will definitely be the most potent source of magic around; if any Yarge magicians remain they will be very interested in acquiring some. But if dragons actually absorb magic, Yarge wizards (especially player characters) may find that attempts to use magic against dragons backfire, making them bigger and stronger, and that consuming dragon flesh has unfortunate side effects, their exact nature left to the imagination and sadism of the referee…
ffutures: (Tooth and Claw)
For the Tooth and Claw RPG I need to explain why magic doesn't seem to exist, although there are legends saying that it existed in the past. This works for Forgotten Futures, does it seem about right for GURPS and other systems?
Another possibility is that a serious investigation of magical legends will reveal that dragons and their related species were originally created by Yarge magicians who wanted fearsome monsters to protect their homes and underestimated their creations. The first dragons turned on their masters, destroyed them, and used the last vestiges of their magic to attain their full size. There is no other magic in the world because dragons absorb it from their environment and by eating each other. This is a good solution if you are using another rules system (such as GURPS) that has finite magical resources, and implies amongst other things that there might still be magic in countries that ban dragons (such as Rasdogah Erofal) or the continents that dragons have never visited. In such a situation dragon flesh will definitely be the most potent source of magic around; if any Yarge magicians remain they will be very interested in acquiring some. Any side effects are left to the imagination and sadism of the referee…
ffutures: (Tooth and Claw 2)
I've changed the back cover of the PDF of the Those Who Favor Fire chapters Jo published. Basically, this was an edit of the graphics, which has somehow had the side effect of reducing the size of the file as a whole by about 50k, it's now about 850k

Remember that there are major spoilers and "what happened to so and so..." for Tooth and Claw, so read that first!

http://forgottenfutures.com/game/ff10/fire.pdf

Please let me know if you find anything that looks like a typo or have trouble reading it.

The reason I did this may be interesting to anyone creating PDF documents. When I put together the first version I had a semi-transparent text box on the back cover which slowed the loading of the page to a crawl, and printed poorly, with a mesh effect I didn't much like. As a quick fix I made the box completely opaque, which worked but wasn't ideal. For the revised version I've simply taken the original graphic and added brightness to the area. The result is much better - it loads fast and prints the way I want. I'll be using the same trick for the back cover of the RPG.
ffutures: (Default)
Forgot to say I've put together a PDF of the Those Who Favor Fire chapters Jo published.

Remember that there are major spoilers and "what happened to so and so..." for Tooth and Claw, so read that first!

http://forgottenfutures.com/game/ff10/fire.pdf

About 900k, please let me know if you find anything that looks like a typo or have trouble reading it.
ffutures: (Tooth and Claw)
[livejournal.com profile] papersky has posted the first few chapters of the Tooth and Claw sequel Those Who Favor Fire for International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day.

http://papersky.livejournal.com/385046.html

VERY nice, but I shall have to change a few things in the RPG...

Back cover

Apr. 12th, 2008 01:29 pm
ffutures: (Tooth and Claw 2)
Here's a first stab at layout for the Tooth and Claw RPG back cover



Click on image then on larger view to see it at maximum size.

This is basically the front cover illustration and text - I've put on a semi-transparent text box (which I may make more opaque) and overlaid one of [livejournal.com profile] frostfox's pictures to which I added a bonnet and placard. There will also be some blurb about the contents which I'll write when I've got them finished.

Preliminary tests show it printing pretty well and the main text is legible at arm's length. But as usual any suggestions for changes gratefully received.
ffutures: (Tooth and Claw 2)
This is what I've ended up with as the Tooth and Claw RPG cover; I'll use the same illustration as background for the one or three volume covers.

I've managed to avoid using the word World three times on the cover, just once in "World Fantasy Award." It prints well, it looks good and is legible at a distance or when it's reduced in size, none of the background seems to be particularly obtrusive, and it's more interesting than any of the "lots of coins all the same" ideas I previously tried.

In short, I think that this one is the keeper.



Click to enlarge. Click twice for the largest version I've transferred, about 60% of full page size.

The icon is still the early version, I'll replace it eventually.
ffutures: (Default)
Just posted this to [livejournal.com profile] ffutures_news which means it will be on my web site - hopefully I'm not jumping the gun too much:

I haven't quite completed Forgotten Futures X, but I think it's probably a matter of a couple of weeks until I finish the writing, and maybe 2-3 weeks after that for final proofreading, approval from Jo Walton (who wrote Tooth and Claw, on which FF X is based), and putting together a distribution disk and revised FF CD-ROM.

Hopefully this means that the distribution disks will be sent out in early May, and the new FF CD-ROM will be available from then onwards, with the files going on line in June. But I can't give precise dates.

As of today, if you order the FF CD-ROM or register I will contact you before processing the order and suggest holding off until the new release is available. If you want the current version anyway please make a note when you register, via PayPal or in your letter.

If you have moved since registering please make sure that I have an up-to-date address!
ffutures: (Tooth and Claw 2)
I've decided to ditch the old version of the cave complex, which was a pain so far as getting a coherent view of the whole thing was concerned, and go with a flatter version which has most of the same features but a lot more connections - natural and artificial tunnels - between different areas, which is good for plot purposes. Basically, it was originally a natural cave complex that became a mine, then was converted for residential use by dragons after it became too uneconomic to work - some areas (such as the ballroom and guest caves and most tunnels) are entirely artificial, others are natural, most have been improved to some extent as far as making it a desirable residence is concerned. However, it's designed for dragons, not humans, so you get things like very steeply sloping corridors.



Needs some rewriting, but I think that this is a lot easier to work with than my original version; I'd be grateful for comments
ffutures: (Tooth and Claw 2)
Does this description give you a reasonably vivid idea of the character?
Miregah is marrying for love, of course, but the fact that one day her fiancé will become an Illustrious is definitely a plus, as is his family’s undoubted wealth. He’s much older than her, of course, but in a couple of hundred years the difference will hardly be noticeable. She just wishes that he’d give up his dreadful military career… She is that delicate shade of pink which denotes a degree of chaste affection rather than unbridled passion.

More coins

Mar. 16th, 2008 01:04 am
ffutures: (Tooth and Claw 2)
Playing with some more effects and different pictures, mostly by [livejournal.com profile] frostfox - think I'm beginning to get better results. I'm starting to think in terms of a collage of a lot of different coins for the cover, rather than all the same, so none of this is entirely wasted effort.

I hope.

Read more... )

Later - added another Great Sea Serpent variant

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