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Random Thoughts

A Look at Eclipse Phase and DriveThruRPG's "Metal List"

Most gamers are interested in numbers. Most business people are interested in numbers. So the numbers behind a gaming business ... well, they're fascinating. Not just for the sake of them, but for the story they tell, and the questions they prompt: Why did this work? Why didn't that work? Why did these two similar books sell very differently? Over our years of publishing Eclipse Phase, we've tried a few experiments, changed tactics in response to feedback and numbers, followed our gut more than a couple times, and most importantly: made a bunch of great stuff that people have fun with at the gaming table. OneBookShelf has sales accolades, the so-called "Metal List." They're one of the only public-facing ways in the game industry to gauge sales of one project against another. There's a couple important things to remember about the metal list:
  • First, the metal list is calculated individually for each storefront -- a sale on DriveThruRPG only counts for their metal list, a sale on RPGNow only on their metal list, even though on the back-end those sales numbers are combined. This is the same for their Top 100 / Top 15 charts!

Peter Watts Needs Support

Science-fiction writer Dr. Peter Watts, whose writings were one of the inspirations for Eclipse Phase, recently had an unfortunate and alarming incident at the US border (he's Canadian) where he was beaten and arrested without provocation. You can read his account of it here, and more about the situation and the support he needs with his legal fees here.

Funny Because It’s True

Wired’s Lore Sjöberg nails the killjoy attitudes unfortunately expressed by so many in the gaming cooking community in online forums.

Posted: 12:48 a.m. by Goku1440 I found an awesome loophole! On page 242 it says “Add oregano to taste!” It doesn’t say how much oregano, or what sort of taste! You can add as much oregano as you want! I’m going to make my friends eat infinite oregano and they’ll have to do it because the recipe says so!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some crunchy recipes to get back to tweaking.

Scientists and Sci-Fi

One of the most difficult challenges of writing a detailed hard sci-fi setting is making sure you get the science right. Not being a scientist, this usually means turning to the internet for research, which is always a risky proposition. A lot of the information you find is incomplete, muddled, or outdated. Take wikipedia, for example — for some reason most of their science articles are either skimpy or so thick with science-speak that you need a degree to understand it.

What would be really useful is to gather scientists who are fans of science fiction and who don’t mind educating the public. Put them all on the same forums online, and invite sci-fi writers to come and ask questions. Who knows, it could spark some interesting ideas and discussions. Unfortunately, it would rely on the willingness of scientists to take the time to do this, and they’re usually far too busy doing, y’know, science. But I can dream.

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