Dec. 19th, 2010 02:42 pm
ffutures: (Default)
I sent Forgotten Futures XI to registered users a month ago. By this time tomorrow it will be on line generally.

I just noticed a bloody typo in the main file...


Nov. 20th, 2010 04:19 am
ffutures: (Planets of Peril)
FF11 is now on line for registered users, and I hope that everyone who asked to download it has been notified with the password etc. It'll be on line for everyone else in a month.

I've copied and packed all the disks for registered users, and they're ready to post as soon as I can stagger out of the house tomorrow morning.

I also have the next release of the FF CD-ROM available for download. Again, everyone who ordered it in advance has been given the passwords etc.

I'm going to bed!

But if you were expecting to be notified and haven't received anything, or can't get the download to work, please let me know!
ffutures: (Planets of Peril)
Finished converting the game to HTML tonight

Made a new PDF of the game with a couple of dozen corrections etc.

Started work on the "front end" for this release, the HTML page that will link the files - the current version works but isn't very attractive, needs more work.

Still to do

- get the other disk contents sorted (game rules etc. and the bonus files I send out to registered users.

- finish off the latest FF CD-ROM which has been waiting on me finishing FF XI

- design a label for the distribution CD and the new FF CD-ROM

Hopefully I will get this all done over the next week or so, with a view to posting things to registered users at the end of next week, or early the following week. Things are made a little more complicated by my being away this weekend, but I'm still pretty sure I will get there in the end, and will have disks ready before Dragonmeet at the end of the month.

Fingers crossed, knock wood, etc....
ffutures: illos from the novel by George Griffith (Angel of the Revolution)
133 / 178 pages now converted to HTML, and I have a headache. Time to do something else...
ffutures: (Planets of Peril)
Unbelievably tired, but half-way mark in converting the latest Forgotten Futures to HTML.I've got the introduction, the guide to the solar system, and the spaceship operation & construction sections done - tomorrow I start on weapons, then romance, both of which should be an easy conversion, with the adventures to do last. Hopefully I'll get it done well before the end of the month. It's not as pretty as I'd like, but I think it'll do, especially since the PDF version will also be on line.
ffutures: (Planets of Peril)
As of about an hour ago I've finished writing Forgotten Futures XI!

I now have to do all the boring stuff like convert it to PDF and HTML, put together all the other contents of the distribution disk, get it mailed out, etc. etc.

The bit I really hate doing is the last bit of writing for the main book - the back cover blurb.

Since Forgotten Futures is on line as a free download I don't have to worry too much about the blurb selling the game. But since I want there to be a back cover if people print it out, I need to write one. This is what I've come up with so far (all text up to and including my name is small caps, the title is slanted, etc. as in the icon):




Adventures across a Solar System where every world has life and many secrets:
  • Venus, where the fungi and spores will eat you if the plants and natives don’t!
  • Mars, home of cryptic friendly natives at least as intelligent as mankind!
  • Io, the jungle moon, where tiny natives view humans with hostile eyes!
  • Europa, an unspoiled Eden where mankind may be the serpent!
  • Ganymede, the tidal moon, where you either swim or die!
  • Titan, Eskimo hell, source of the most beautiful gems in the solar system!
  • Uranus, the great enigma, a huge habitable world that’s still almost unexplored!
  • Pluto, lair of the pirate queen Red Peri, and home to strange and deadly living crystals!

Includes full details of all nine worlds and the asteroids and major moons, complete spaceship operation and construction rules, a detailed adventure campaign, three long adventures and eighteen adventure outlines, twelve ready-to-use characters, and much more!

Forgotten Futures XI is supported by online downloads including deck plans, spreadsheet templates, and a selection of Stanley G. Weinbaum’s science fiction stories.

www.forgottenfutures.com ~ www.forgottenfutures.co.uk

This game has been put on line as a FREE download; you are asked to register if you find it useful. Please inform the author if you are charged any other fee to obtain it in any form.

The illustration will be a small version of the "Red Peri Passing the Moon" illo, which will also be my front cover, with a very faint spaceship outline behind the text.

Any thoughts?
ffutures: (Planets of Peril)
Am I being unduly cynical in listing brass knuckles, a jack knife and a .38 automatic with explosive bullets on the character sheet for a romantic heroine?

Ought to finish the last adventure tonight and the end notes etc. tomorrow! YAY!!
ffutures: (Planets of Peril)
Weinbaum's version of Titan is mostly covered in moving mountains of ice, basically very high dunes of ice crystals, not frozen together because it's too cold and dry, driven by 100-MPH winds. However, one real rock mountain is mentioned. I would like to describe it in terms of its height, but since there is no fixed surface equivalent to "sea level" to refer to I'm not sure how to do so. Should I just say e.g. 5000 ft and hope that nobody asks "relative to what?"
ffutures: (Default)
When I launched FF X my gimmick was "dragon coins," laminated cardboard coin pictures which I hid around a convention site, and gave a copy of the FF X distribution disk to anyone who found all the designs.

This time round I ought to be launched by Dragonmeet (yes, I know that's later than I thought - hopefully it'll be at least a couple of weeks earlier), but that's a shorter one day event and not a good place to play that sort of game.

So I was wondering what to do for a launch thing, when I had to make a label for something. And I thought to myself: "Hey, this is a nice label. I could do something with that..." From there it was about a 20-second jump to "Space Stamps!" and about five minutes to make a prototype.

Basically, they'll be 24mm wide shiny clear adhesive plastic strips - currently I can only do blue on clear (or white on clear which is pretty useless for this sort of thing), but they look so nice I might spend a few quid for another couple of rolls of tape - red for Mars, of course, and possibly green for Earth. The obvious limitation is that it's an all or nothing monochrome print process, so colours and grey scales are dithered. Also not very high resolution.

Here's the design as seen on screen - this is magnified slightly:

And here's what they actually look like - they are about 24mm (1") x 75mm (3")

They look white here because they still have the backing tape, of course.

I'm not sure how I'll be doing things this time, maybe a very simple questionnaire, you get a stamp for each right answer:

e.g. Whose Science Fiction is Forgotten Futures XI based on
1 - Robert L. Fanthorpe
2 - Robert A. Heinlein
3 - Stanley G. Weinbaum

I'll probably do four or five designs, in two or three colours if the tape hasn't got too ridiculously expensive.

Good idea?

Later looks like the tape has got too expensive, e.g. £12 a cartridge. If anyone sees this tape on sale really cheap anywhere - Brother TZ tapes for a P-Touch 2420PC printer - please let me know.
ffutures: (Planets of Peril)
I was thinking that Forgotten Futures XI is getting a bit big.

So I checked FF X and the PDF is 163 pages of actual text etc.

FF XI will be about 190 pages.

Except that 48 pages of FF X was a rewrite of the game rules for dragon player characters which was necessary but went very quickly since all of the basic material was already written - FF XI is all new material. So in terms of new material, FF XI will be approaching twice the size.

No wonder it seems to be taking a long time...
ffutures: (Planets of Peril)
Something I think is worth mentioning in the front-page disclaimers:

This game uses a mixture of Imperial and US measurements, the metric system, and astronomical measures such as AU and light-minutes, as seems appropriate. While it would be nice to imagine a world that uses a standard measuring system, we all know that things really aren’t like that. This game is science fiction, not fantasy…
ffutures: (Planets of Peril)
Does this seem a good list of films to be shipped to Titan at colossal expense? Basically, the League of Nations and American government want to try to encourage the colonists to feel like they are part of the wider community, the last two are shipped in by Belle Nova, owner of the only bar on Titan, who wants to make a big fat profit:

  • News Review – a two-hour newsreel summary of the most recent news from Earth and the other planets up to a day or so before takeoff. It includes events on Earth, Venus, Mars, and the moons of Jupiter. If the adventurers have been in the public eye on any of these worlds it may be mentioned. The tone is generally upbeat; for example the financial news minimises the effects of the recent depression and concentrates on the economic recovery. Provided by the League.
  • Gold Diggers of 2115 – The latest smash hit musical, considered a significant cultural event in its inclusion of music from a dozen Earth nations, and an amazing zero-gravity dance routine. League.
  • Romeo and Juliet – The Royal Shakespeare Company’s critically acclaimed production, set on Ganymede and featuring a mixed Human / Nympus cast. League.
  • Kartoon Kapers – a compilation of eight short animated films from studios in several nations featuring Micky Mouse, Donald Duck, the Road Runner, a Russian folk tale, a British comedy based on Edwin Abbott’s Flatland, and so forth. League.
  • America Today – Similar to News Review, but concentrating much more on events inside the United Americas, and generally emphasising America’s role as the most powerful nation in the Solar System. Provided by the American government.
  • Bon Baisers de Vénus (With Kisses From Venus) – A romantic comedy, in which the goddess Venus assumes human form and travels from her world to Earth by stowing away on a freighter, wreaking havoc aboard ship and in Paris. Includes risqué situations and nudity, banned in Rome, Cleveland and Chicago. French with English subtitles. Ordered by Belle.
  • It Came from the Red Spot! – SF / horror, in which a small isolated colony strangely like Nivia (the film uses stock newsreel footage of the city) but allegedly on an unnamed moon of Jupiter is menaced by hideous man-eating blobby monsters. Ordered by Belle.

Vaguely plausible, considering what government cultural programs are often like?
ffutures: (Planets of Peril)
I wanted an image of a small shuttle craft for Titan - not a spaceship, more of a VTOL people carrier, named Opis after Saturn's wife. It's going to be a tiny picture, about half the page wide and seven lines of text high. It's not even important, the odds are that the adventurers will never go near the damned thing.

The starting point was a small picture of a motorbike with an extreme fairing based on the drop tank from a Korean-war vintage fighter. That gave me the hull and windscreen. Removed the wheels, added a hatch, ladder, logo, wings from a Jet Provost, model aircraft landing skids, and some Edwardian polar explorers. Fiddled around with it. A lot.

The bastard took me two and a half fricking hours! And I'm still not 100% happy with it, but I think enough is enough, it's reached the point where more fiddling around will make it worse.

Update - here's another that corrects the missing shadows - I'm an idiot...

ffutures: (Planets of Peril)
Ages ago I posted the main cast of characters for this adventure with a list of modern actors / actresses I was using for their character sheets. Here's the revised list, with some nice copyright expired pictures of very dead movie stars to illustrate it. From left to right:

  • Amanda Barton, heiress - Solving the mystery of her father's death / romantic interest.
  • Andrea Walsh, secretary - The plucky assistant / romantic interest.
  • Dick Reckard, mine foreman - Ruggedly handsome with a mysterious past (of course). I can only assume that's a toupee, it can't be his real hair...
  • Doctor Grigori Hauser, Surgeon - Rum-sodden doctor, the best (and only) on Titan
    Mayor William Richards - Mayor of the Titan colony, and commander of its armed forces (all four of them)
  • Belle Nova, “Hostess” - A scarlet woman, of course.

The last one may be familiar, but I hope the rest are reasonably obscure actors / actresses.

Titan illo

Sep. 23rd, 2010 08:11 pm
ffutures: Blasters and ammo magazine cover (Blasters)
Here's the opening page illo for Earth Girls Aren't Easy, the Titan adventure - Small non-prize for the first person to identify the real location whose image I've used for this manip (ignoring the grossly over-sized object overhead).

I suspect I know who will identify it first - be interesting to see if I'm right.

illo )
ffutures: (Planets of Peril)
On re-reading the Ceres adventure I'm a little concerned about one aspect of the science I described.

For various reasons I needed a way to transfer large quantities of electrostatic charge in a tunnel system filled with a water-ammonia mix - basically, bits of the interior act somewhat like a Van de Graaff generator, causing some interesting problems for the adventurers. Conductivity of that mixture is low, but it does let a little electricity through.

The way I had this working was that one of the byproducts of native life was "droplets" of a silicone compound that had the interesting property of absorbing charge and storing it inside the droplets. If the surface of the droplet is damaged the charge is released. Each droplet only carres a teeny charge, but there are a LOT of them.

It's a hell of a hand wave, but does it sound even vaguely plausible?

If not, anyone got any better suggestions?
ffutures: (Planets of Peril)
Small thought on re-reading Weinbaum's Flight on Titan to refresh my memory on a couple of points.

Is it just me that finds it incongruous that the main settlement on Titan, repeatedly described as a city - e.g. "Nivia, the City of Snow" - is revealed towards the end of the story to have a population of fifty.

According to Wikipedia there's actual precedent for this in the USA: Maza, North Dakota, with only 5 inhabitants, was a city as by North Dakota law any incorporated location is deemed a city regardless of size. I suppose that the name might represent a hope for the future, but I can't help feeling that it's asking to be ridiculed. Any thoughts on this? Or examples of so-called cities that started that size but went on to justify the name?
ffutures: (Planets of Peril)
Just finished the Ceres adventure; tomorrow I'll begin work on Earth Girls Aren't Easy, a romantic comedy / crime drama set on Titan. Hopefully that'll go fast. I don't think I'll be ready to send stuff to registered users quite as early as I'd hoped, but it's chugging along and I ought to be finished reasonably soon, certainly by the end of next month. Knock fingers, cross wood, etc. etc.

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