Thursday, March 18, 2010

Second Guesses

Now I'm second guessing myself again. This time it's about releasing StarCluster 2E for free DL. When I first released SC 2E back in 2004, I made a freely DL-able version called StarCluster Light. It was stripped down from the full 2E, but contained all the rules. It proved very popular, and a lot of people used it instead of the full SC. So what am I second guessing myself about?

This - StarCluster Light was a current, valid indication of my designing and writing ability. It was valid to use as a preview of SC 2E, as it was written at the same time as 2E. Now, SC 2E is six years old. In those six years I have changed immensely as a designer - hopefully for the better. My layout is better. My writing is smoother. My ability with systems has grown enormously. SC 2E says where I was 6 years ago, not what I can do today. I'm thinking people are going to pick it up, sneer, and say "How quaint and old-fashioned! It's like something from a time warp!" and they'd be right.

Thing is, that's not why I released it for free. I wasn't thinking it would be a way to look at what I can do! I was thinking "Hey! This would be useful for folks who have IHW:SC and want to play civilians until I release SC 3E." and "Besides, I know some people have wanted it for a while and now they can get it!" Now I'm thinking I should have just taken it off the market completely. This is why I suck at marketing. I have no clue!



  1. I have to say Clash, you seem muddled in your purpose and that is a sign of trouble in the marketing world. You message and goals should be simple. I have never understood the urge to release older versions for free (at least from a business point of view). All the points you outline are valid, more so since the primary drive of your company is system (yes, not everything but you are more apt to release a settingless system book thant the other way around).

    However, it is done. I would suggest two things:
    1. Make sure your download page clearly outlines your purpose for doing so, emphasizes that this is your flagship sci-fi game FROM SIX YEARS AGO. Pound that home. Make sure they know it.

    2. Add a forward to the interior. Something with a different background from the rest of the book, on the very first page of the PDF. Emphasize here all the same points, lead into the proposed improvements to 3e and describe how things have changed in current products (those released since SE2e).

    I lied:
    3. Put an add in if you have not already done so for 3e with bullet points on the improvements. Do not be afraid to say things like "Enhanced layout" or even "Improved Layout".

    And don't worry Clash, I suck at systems. We all need to suck at something or we would be gods. ;)


  2. Yeah, you're better at this than I am, Bill. I just didn't think it through.