Wednesday, August 11, 2010

StarCluster 3 - Commercial Development License

I've had some nice feedback from folks from various fora on my plans for SC 3 licensing. Here's some ideas put forward:

  • Tailor the Developer's Game Book to Developers
  • Supply some illos and discuss formatting so that the licensed stuff has the right "look"
  • Vet the licensees to ensure quality
  • Charge more for the license. The cost is too low
  • Tailor the licenses, giving some guidance to the licensees
  • As Bill said, "Nebuleon: StarCluster"

Tailoring the Developer's Book is a great idea. I'm first of all moving the Design Notes out of the standard book and into the Developer's Book. Design Notes in a game have always struck me as utterly useless. I did them for StarCluster 2, at the advice of a coupe of friends who happen to be game designers. I realize now that they were representing their own point of view, not that of the regular game group. I will be expanding the Notes as well, and channeling them towards Licensee use. I also will be explaining how to design a mechanic to fit the drop-in interface.

I have some extra illos that didn't make it into SC 3, along with some I could possibly do before the game is released. As the illustrator, I can't pass the buck on this one, and it's a matter of time. Nobody will want the layout specs. On my best days, I can aspire to ugly but clear. Any yahoo off the streets caould probably do better.

I can't both vet the Licensees and keep the cost low. I want to draw hobbyists and guys doing it for fun as well as more established types. I will also not be publishing this under my own game company - these will all be self published. I will be publishing my own supplements as well, so folks can rely on the quality they expect from Flying Mice Games. Anyone else's works they will have to take their chances.

Like I said before, I want anyone to be able to afford this license. If you came up with a cool idea for your own game group, why not publish it? You don't have to pay anything if you keep it non-commercial, but if you want to test the waters of ecommerce, you can do so without a huge investment. The more the merrier, because - as Stalin said, quantity has a quality all of its own.

Tailoring the license is a neat idea. I gave some boundaries of what I am looking for in my last post, and I should maybe expand on this.

As for Nebuleon: StarCluster, it would work just dandy. SC 3 is an Anything Machine for Science Fiction. Adapting existing settings for the game would be a matter of describing things in terms SC 3 understands. Nebuleon actually has a lot of commonality with StarCluster in the back story - refugee humans fleeing a catastrophe that has engulfed their lost homeworld and establishing themselves in a new place - so it would be a sweet fit.

Be back with more once I've thought all this through. Please keep coming up with comments! :D



  1. I for one would love the design notes, but will not write my own supplements (baring a miracle). That means I do not need layout or illustrations. On the other hand, I would pay more than 1$ extra just for the notes.

  2. Hi Kdansky!

    What would you use the notes for? I don't see how they would impact group play, to be frank. The design notes are just us explaining *why* we did what we did, so I *do* see the use they would have for someone interested in development of a supplement based on the game, but that should have no bearing on how *you* play/run the game, as far as I can see.