Thursday, July 29, 2010

New edition of Thou Art But A Warrior! (Plus updates on other projects)

(Quick note: Yes I know my website is down. Again. It'll be back up soon.)

It's been a while since I posted - I've been a busy, busy geek. Since it's been so long I thought I'd give an update on various projects that I'm working on. But first, my plans for the revised edition of...

Thou Art But A Warrior

I've mentioned a few places online that I'm working on a revised edition of Thou Art But A Warrior. The past few years, I've encountered some issues with play that have led me to want to make some changes. Also, sales have pretty much slowed to a small trickle, which I attribute to the fact that Thou Art But A Warrior is a supplement. $30 is a tough sell for a supplement and the base game in this economy.

After some examination of my numbers, and looking back at my experience last year trying to sell Thou Art But A Warrior as part of Pirate Jenny, I've come to the conclusion that most of the people who own Polaris and are interested in Thou Art But A Warrior already own the supplement. For people who don't own Polaris, the price of both books is acting as a barrier. Ben has been kind enough to give me permission to release an edition of Thou Art But A Warrior that includes the Polaris system.

This represents a substantial addition to the book, effectively doubling the amount of text. It required a lot of writing, and re-writing, and more re-writing, but I did finish a first draft and that draft is currently being edited by my long-suffering husband who I voluntell to help me with my projects for no pay. (I love you, sweetie!) Currently, it's too early to say what price point I will be targeting, but I can say that I would like to include color in the new edition if it's at all feasible. I can say that I plan on releasing the revised edition for the end of this year.

As for the current book, there are a few print copies of Thou Art But A Warrior in stock. I plan on letting the book go out of print, which means once they're gone they're gone. My struggle to access a professional copy of Acrobat that will let me add bookmarks continues, but I have every intention to start selling PDFs once I have run out of books, and anybody that buys the unrevised PDF will receive a free copy of the revised supplement PDF once revisions are complete. At the very latest, I will have PDFs for sale around mid-August.

Lastly, while the book is being edited, I've also been working hard on completely re-vamping the design of the book. When I published the first edition, I gave myself a month and a half to do the layout and all the illustrations. Considering that I laid the book out in Word, that wasn't nearly enough time. As a result, I wound up rushing the interior illustrations and I've never really been happy with the quality of the artwork. Since the interior design is changing anyhow, this is a good chance to re-work the illustrations for the new edition. I've already penciled two updates to existing illustrations in the book that I may or may not add color to digitally. (Experimentation is in order.)

The first (graphite and white prismacolor on tan sketch paper):

With the old illustration, I was super happy with how the fabrics and the swords came out, but I always hated the anatomy and the faces. I also thought the shading was kind of flat. I'm much more pleased with the new version.

I also did a new drawing for the Islamic angel that appears as an illustration. Here's the old version.

Not bad. It was actually my favorite illustration from the previous edition, but I'm not crazy about the face or the wings. The drapery is nice in spots, like with the sash. But overall, I thought I could do much better if I had more time to do it right. Which is why I drew this:

MUCH better. The wings don't feel stiff, the shading is much more interesting with the hand as a light source, and the drapery looks much more natural. (Click to view a larger version. I'm very proud of the subtle shading.)

So that's it for Thou Art But A Warrior. I think it's safe to say that things are proceeding well. I just hope I can get my hands on a copy of InDesign by the time that it's time to start doing layout!

And now, something completely different: A card game

I've been cheating on Black Sky lately. There are several problems that I'm not sure how to fix, so I'm letting it lie fallow for a while. In the mean time, I've been working on a silly card game about playing MMOs. I have to admit that the original idea came from Cape Freak, but he's taking his MMO card game in more of a dungeoneering direction. So I decided to design the MMO card game that I wanted to play - game about MMO economies and screwing over your fellow player. I just finished the prototype deck yesterday:

Now I just need to give this baby a test run and see if it's any fun. I hope it will be fun, but who can tell?

That novel I've been promising to write

I've been working on this novel off and on for the last two years, obsessively outlining the plot and detailing all kinds of background information. Lately I started actually writing the damn thing. Currently, I'm ~15,000 words in - significantly further than when I attempted this thing last time.

It's amusing that the valuable lesson I'm applying from having completed NaNoWriMo is that I'm giving myself permission to not write perfectly. I'm not writing at the break-neck, mind-numbing NaNoWriMo speed that results in huge volumes of crap, but I'm not spending two hours on four paragraphs either. That's what re-writes are for.

I feel good about this. This is something I will finish. I just hope I don't take too long about it.

And that is all for now.