Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Opening StarCluster 3 Up for Development

In writing StarCluster 3, I have rolled almost everything that was a supplement in SC 2 into the main book - Robots, Aliens, Created Creatures, Vehicle Design, Spaceship Design, Weapon Design, Religion, Biotech, and more. So some of the playtesters who were familiar with SC 2 have asked me what I was planning on making available as support.

Thing is, I'm going through a big change in attitude with regard to supplements. I want to make SC 3 completely capable of standing alone, with only the core rulebook necessary. Towards the end of SC 2's effective lifetime, the core book alone would *not* give you the full StarCluster experience. When I recruited a new player for an online game, I sometimes sent half a dozen different gamebooks just so they could create a character will all options "on". That was a pain in the butt for me, let alone someone who wasn't the designer! The rules were scattered over a ton of optional materials, and it was hard to remember just where the relevant stuff was. I'm really happy with this aspect of SC 3 - you really do have everything you need.

So, supplements you need are out. Supplements you might want are in. Timesavers, or kickstarts to your imagination.

One fertile area would be pre-made sectors. Sets of connected star systems, areas you could adventure in. They would be set up so that you could connect them together as required, or use one as a base and expand it yourself, or tack one onto a self-created Cluster.

Systems and Worlds might also be available. Things like Glorianna and Chariot, which you could place anywhere in your own sectors.

Sets of pre-created ships, vehicles, and/or weapons would be cool too. Specialty items for specific purposes.

Expansions would also be cool, so long as they expand and not re-create. A Psionics book that gave some rare PSI skills, along with professions to obtain them. Books on Backwards (Tech Level 5-7) or Primitive (Tech Level 0-4) worlds with education, professions, equipment, and cultural overviews would rock, and are most probable to be forthcoming from us.

That leaves what you all will come up with.

What will be different is that I'm opening up the system and setting for development by others. Not only am I perfectly OK with non-commercial development, I'll be putting a commerical RPG development package containing SC 3 and a license to create and sell anything you like for SC 3 up for purchase, for $1 more than the standard DL. So, if I sell SC 3 in pdf for $12, as is very likely, for $13, you can get the SC 3 pdf and the license, with an official logo you can put on your product. All you have to do is register it after purchase. The only reason you need to register it is some people hide their names in pdf shopping, and without registering, I can't verify if you have a license or not.

How's that sound?



  1. Sounds like a very reasonable deal to me. Although I think the license is a little cheap. I would recommend raising it - if you are going to spend loads of time making something for SC3 and then charge for it, you should pay the original author a little more than $1 for the priviledge. I don't think it needs to be much more but just a little.

  2. Hi Rob!

    It doesn't matter. The extra buck is entirely symbolic, a psychological prod to produce because you actually *paid* for the license. If you don't charge for your work, you don't need to pay the buck. I'm not making money on the license, so it's no big deal, as long as I charge *something*. I'm keeping the charge low because everyone can afford an extra buck, and the more developers, the better.

    I'm taking a gamble here on synergy and momentum. I want to get people making stuff for this game, because if they get to making stuff, they;ll talk about it, and that will draw more people in, get folks excited and interested.

    The game is perfect for this, because it's an anything machine, a SF toolkit with a framework. If all you did was use the built in generators to create stuff, someone may buy it because it would save them time. The more you use the generators as a springboard to your imagination, the better people will like it.

  3. I think that its a very good idea to having the license as a bonus to the dev version.
    Only those of real interest will contact you and use it but may get others to think about using it.