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 Post subject: TAS issues
PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 1:11 pm 
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As many of you know, Mongoose Publishing has set up a very closed licensing system for the second edition of their Traveller rules, called the Traveller's Aid Society (TAS). This takes place in a special, and highly limited, part of DTRPG, actually robbing the authors of most meaningful publishing tools, and also giving the authors 50% MSRP rather than the usual 75%

As someone who has actually experienced publishing through TAS, as a partner in Stellagama Publishing - where we published Richard Hazlewood's The Bronze Case adventure, I have a few thoughts about this system.

The feeling I got when trying to manage this adventure's sales through TAS is that of blindness - I lacked the access to the information and tools I can use for "regular" DTRPG products. This information, as well as these marketing tools, are crucial for a product's success. For example, under TAS, I cannot perform "product analysis" to see how many people have it in their shopping carts and wishlists; I cannot create special deals for these people, or for anyone for that matter; I cannot use banners or "featured product" options to promote our product; and I cannot analyse from where my sales are coming. I can only get general sales reports.

I think that this is the main issue with TAS. As long as Stellagama Publishing can protect its IP, as well as get access to PoD options for its products, we can live with a 50% cut. But we really need these marketing tools, as without them we are dead in the water. Especially when we need more sales than usual to cover our production costs when we get only 50% of the sale revenues rather than 75%.

This is the reason Stellagama Publishing, like several other publishers, is moving back to the OGL rules, once known as "Mongoose Traveller, 1st Edition" as TAS, from our experience, is not a very profitable venue for publishing.

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 Post subject: Re: TAS issues
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2016 12:56 pm 
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I was wondering what was driving stuff like the Cepheus Engine and then saw this post. Be interesting to see if the OGL stuff gains momentum.

Although I might actually be more excited about the stuff you're publishing for SWN.


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 Post subject: Re: TAS issues
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2016 2:00 pm 
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Thanks

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 Post subject: Re: TAS issues
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2016 3:44 pm 
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Have you sent this to DTRPG? It'd be interesting to see if they say anything more than "sorry you feel that way". Does sound like they're not exactly doing anything to encourage people to use this.

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 Post subject: Re: TAS issues
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2016 4:43 pm 
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Most 3PPs are simply avoiding MGT2. Now we have a "2d6" OSR, thanks to Mongoose's bad policy. Almost all 3PPs I know are either using the Cepheus Engine or a derivative of it...

P.S., EDG - check your mail (or if nothing comes that way, check your DTRPG account). A surprise is waiting for you there :-)

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 Post subject: Re: TAS issues
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2016 6:09 pm 
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Thanks, Omer!

The problem I see with this is that you've flattened the map. I tried doing this on my website before my current Stellar Mapping page (that I use Astrosynthesis to render in 3D) and the geometric distortions going from 3D to 2D were really bad (especially as you go further from Sol) - the stars won't keep the same distances and orientations relative to eachother because they're arranged in a spherical volume, not a flat plane. A star 10pc directly "above" Sol would just appear in the same hex as Sol, and not appear to be 10pc away - but if you put it 10 hexes away to account for that then its position relative to all the other stars near it IRL would be totally wrong.

So I decided to do a layered subsector map, which kept the stars' positions and distances accurate relative to what was around them. I'd have one hex map layer for the stars that were at the same z-value ("height") as Sol, then another for the stars that were 1pc "above" Sol, and so on. I also went "down" from Sol too (I think the full range was from +8 pc to 8 pc).

While that got rid of the distance distortions, the problem with that was forcing stars into hexes - what would I do when there are two stars in one hex? And hexes just force the stars to be in the centre of the hex when they really might be on the edge. So I got rid of those and went for a more realistic system that didn't involve hexes or rounding off distances.

So what did you end up doing to minimise this sort of thing? Did you try to include all the stars, or just ones that were similar in z-value to Sol? Presumably you had to remove stars that shared the same hex? And what datasets did you use as a source for the stars?

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 Post subject: Re: TAS issues
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2016 7:04 pm 
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We used the Right Ascension value and the Distance from Sol.

Not very accurate when trying to compare to 3D and local distances are completely wrong, but it was a way to do it.

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 Post subject: Re: TAS issues
PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2016 11:13 pm 
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EDG wrote:
The problem I see with this is that you've flattened the map. I tried doing this on my website before my current Stellar Mapping page (that I use Astrosynthesis to render in 3D) and the geometric distortions going from 3D to 2D were really bad (especially as you go further from Sol) - the stars won't keep the same distances and orientations relative to eachother because they're arranged in a spherical volume, not a flat plane. A star 10pc directly "above" Sol would just appear in the same hex as Sol, and not appear to be 10pc away - but if you put it 10 hexes away to account for that then its position relative to all the other stars near it IRL would be totally wrong.


There is no getting around the fact that Space is three-dimensional. Map projections for the Earth's curved surface are an easy problem by comparison: they just distort distances, shapes, and positions. A 2-D map of Space cannot even represent those things with a consistent distortion. 3-D position is a different kind of thing from 2-D position.

Quote:
So I decided to do a layered subsector map, which kept the stars' positions and distances accurate relative to what was around them. I'd have one hex map layer for the stars that were at the same z-value ("height") as Sol, then another for the stars that were 1pc "above" Sol, and so on. I also went "down" from Sol too (I think the full range was from +8 pc to 8 pc).


Have you had a look at the Astrogator's Handbook by McCollum & Hartnett? It's a map of the positions of 3,500-odd stars within 75 light-years of Sol in seven slices about 20 light-years thick. The stars are colour-coded for spectral type, and vertical positions within the slices denoted with elevation numbers in LY. I have the De Luxe hard copy (colour prints in a 3-ring binder), which is not available outside the US & Canada any more because of shipping costs; there is a PDF for only $14.95.

Quote:
And what datasets did you use as a source for the stars?


A weakness of the Astrogator's Handbook is that it uses Gliese 3.0 data, which are dated and incomplete for dim stars.

Here is the sample map from the Scifi-az.com web page for the Astrogator's Handbook. The product contains 63 maps like this, plus tables.

Attachment:
File comment: Sample page from the "Astrogator's Handbook" by McCollum & Hartnett, ISBN 1-929381-42-5, Sci Fi – Arizona, Tempe, 1999
quadra3.gif
quadra3.gif [ 24.3 KiB | Viewed 513 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: TAS issues
PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2016 10:39 pm 
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Golan2072 wrote:
I think that this is the main issue with TAS. As long as Stellagama Publishing can protect its IP, as well as get access to PoD options for its products, we can live with a 50% cut. But we really need these marketing tools, as without them we are dead in the water. Especially when we need more sales than usual to cover our production costs when we get only 50% of the sale revenues rather than 75%.


Does 25 percent go to DTRP? Sounds kinda steep. Do you get the whole 75 percent with the OGL?

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 Post subject: Re: TAS issues
PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2016 10:50 pm 
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Agemegos wrote:
A weakness of the Astrogator's Handbook is that it uses Gliese 3.0 data, which are dated and incomplete for dim stars.


It also uses equatorial co-ordinates. Boo! Hiss!

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