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Old 12-04-2020, 07:12 AM   #41
Turhan's Bey Company
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Default Re: What do you want for the 35-year anniversary?

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GURPS My Little Pony?
Nah, man. Actual flesh and blood pony.

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what effect does it have on me whether some supplement I'm using is being used by ten other humans or a million others?
Money means a lot. If, say, 5000 people buy the same supplement as you do rather than 500, that means SJ Games gets ten times as much money. That means more funding for more and better art and maps. That means hiring on more (and, plausibly, better paid) editorial staff and grooming someone to be another Kromm, so the actual Kromm gets to spend a little more time on tango and mixing drinks and less time on work. That means more authors writing more books (since it's a more attractive financial proposition) so you get MOAR GURPS!!!1!! And if 50,000 people buy it? Even more so. It's an indirect effect, certainly, but it's real.

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That'd be my wish for Year 35: A big shot of respect and commercial success for a system and creative team that really deserve it.
At the risk of expressing a view clouded by self-interest as a sometime member of that team, I quite agree. Not the kind of thing SJ Games can organize, of course, but still...
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Old 12-04-2020, 07:14 AM   #42
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Default Re: What do you want for the 35-year anniversary?

Yeah, if you want Vehicles 4th edition you should buy everything GURPS and donate large brown paper bags of money to SJG so that they can hire another editor.
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Old 12-04-2020, 07:52 AM   #43
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Default Re: What do you want for the 35-year anniversary?

A 256 page hardcover book, preferably in color. Not Vehicles
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Old 12-04-2020, 08:17 AM   #44
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Default Re: What do you want for the 35-year anniversary?

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Originally Posted by Turhan's Bey Company View Post

Money means a lot. If, say, 5000 people buy the same supplement as you do rather than 500, that means SJ Games gets ten times as much money. That means more funding for more and better art and maps. That means hiring on more (and, plausibly, better paid) editorial staff and grooming someone to be another Kromm, so the actual Kromm gets to spend a little more time on tango and mixing drinks and less time on work. That means more authors writing more books (since it's a more attractive financial proposition) so you get MOAR GURPS!!!1!! And if 50,000 people buy it? Even more so. It's an indirect effect, certainly, but it's real.
That is really what it comes down to.

There might have been a time when RPGs were a "hobby industry" that people who were mostly not professional writers did as an adjunct to their days jobs (a bit like the situation many freelance writers are in today). When nobody much had a full-time job in RPGs. When the products looked a little like the typewritten leaflets of political radicals at the university.

But these days, the industry is closer to the mainstream:

On the production side, it's "just another business" in a lot of ways. People work on RPGs as a full-time job and expect to get paid enough to live on. They might still love games, but their first priority is the same as that of anybody else who works, which isn't undue greed but simply a desire to eat, pay bills, and perhaps have a little left to live life with.

On the customer side, gamers now expect the products to look polished. There are big players who can afford seriously glossy production values, support in the form of things like miniatures and computer applications, and involvement in video games and even movies. They set a very high standard. On some level, every gamer wants their favorite game to compete with that.

There's a bit of a disconnect between the two: A lot of longtime gamers seem to buy into the second but not the first. That is, they want everything to be polished, they don't want to wait for the products they desire, and they are constantly disappointed when various licenses or new technologies don't materialize . . . but they don't see that getting what they want requires paying a lot of full-time salaries, which means either accepting regular and sometimes significant price increases, or buying higher volumes at more modest prices.

I think in some ways this is a result of those who have the most money being the elders of the gaming hobby, whose vision of how stuff works froze in time back in the 1970s, 80s, or perhaps 90s.

Anyway, one thing that GURPS specifically needs is for fans from its early days (say, the 1980s and early 90s) to realize that – although GURPS isn't the same game with the same economic circumstances and same new fans it had in 1986, 1996, or 2006 – it's still a good game that deserves their support. Perhaps it doesn't have a new licensed setting several times a year, or hardbacks, or a plethora of design mini-games. We're very open about the fact that its current direction – focused genre support in small installments – isn't that. But it's still high-quality work that merits support. I'd say the quality has gone up, as I'm a much better editor and writer than I was in 1995, and most of our longtime freelancers are more capable as well.

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At the risk of expressing a view clouded by self-interest as a sometime member of that team, I quite agree. Not the kind of thing SJ Games can organize, of course, but still...
What we can do is control the editorial quality of our games. We have high editorial standards (ask any freelancer how exacting we can be . . . oh, wait . . .), so the writing is stronger than average. The indexes are reliable. The layouts might not be groundbreaking, but they're professional and readable.

What we can't do is magically turn back time to the 1980s and 90s when we had a whole office full of editors mostly dedicated to GURPS. Card, dice, and other games make too much money for the company to channel its resources into RPGs instead. Basically, there's just me, plus whatever fraction of Steven Marsh and Nikki Vrtis GURPS is allowed to borrow from other projects. That means certain huge initiatives – notably lengthy printed books and complicated design systems – are now impractical.

Only fans can turn back time, and they can't do so by regretting we don't live in the past – only by spending lots of money on the product line, so it can compete with the other products and justify more staff.

And to be clear: Nobody is getting rich off this; this isn't the privileged begging for more privilege. My last pay raise was six years ago almost to this day, in which time we've seen about 10% inflation . . . and that's on a rate of pay that I accepted when the U.S. dollar was worth 5% more than it is today here in Canada. Also, I don't have paid time off; when I take breaks, they're unpaid, making my real rate of pay even lower. I still do this work because I believe in it, not because it pays me well!

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Yeah, if you want Vehicles 4th edition you should buy everything GURPS and donate large brown paper bags of money to SJG so that they can hire another editor.
Essentially this. If more money appeared tomorrow, then despite what I said above about my own income, I'd prefer to see the money spent on more staff.
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Old 12-04-2020, 08:23 AM   #45
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Default Re: What do you want for the 35-year anniversary?

The problem with more staff is that it's a constant expense and requires constant and consistent money.
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Old 12-04-2020, 08:46 AM   #46
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Default Re: What do you want for the 35-year anniversary?

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The problem with more staff is that it's a constant expense and requires constant and consistent money.
Yep. But I do believe that if GURPS revenues went up enough to hire more staff, we could keep the rate and quality of production high enough to sustain that staff.

And I do think that staff is the way to go. The gig economy with its short-term contractors is what I'd term a "low morale" economy. Games are supposed to be fun, so they need "high morale" workers. That's my daily struggle, to be honest: Keeping a positive attitude that leads to fun gaming materials despite my personal economics not really supporting that attitude (after 25 years, I'm still a contractor!).
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Old 12-04-2020, 09:23 AM   #47
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Default Re: What do you want for the 35-year anniversary?

I think that a version of GURPS that was tailored to older children could potentially do well. Just remove a lot of the optional rules, standardize a lot of the templates and the lens, and have a bunch of straightforward adventures set in proprietary settings (not Yrth!). I imagine that such a thing could get a substantial following among older children if done correctly.

For example, you could have a single 300+ page core book with 90 pages of character rules, 90 pages of campaign rules, and 120 pages of settings divided into six setting sections: an adventure setting, a fantasy setting, a horror setting, a mystery setting, a science fiction setting, and a superhero setting. Each setting section could include ten pages of setting introduction, setting character rules, and setting campaign rules, and a ten page introductory adventure. In turn, each setting could be further expanded with a separate setting book, which could be 300+ pages with 60 pages of expanded setting information, character rules, and campaign rules, and with 240 pages of one setting campaign arc consisting of twelve 20 page adventures.

Last edited by AlexanderHowl; 12-04-2020 at 09:27 AM.
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Old 12-04-2020, 10:43 AM   #48
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Default Re: What do you want for the 35-year anniversary?

I'd like online and VTT support for GURPS. I suspect that's not practical without changes to how SJG does licensing, though.
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Old 12-04-2020, 12:57 PM   #49
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Default Re: What do you want for the 35-year anniversary?

I think the biggest question if you want to attract older kids is having the right setting. And probably sticking something like the GURPS-lite rules in the setting book.

I imagine something like "GURPS Marvel Heroes" or whatever could do amazingly well in that format. Now convincing someone like Marvel (Disney) that they want to use GURPS, and then get a reasonable agreement both parts agree with would probably be... tricky.

Probably they'd just figure they'd hire someone write their own system and own it 100%. Or use D20, because D20...
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Old 12-04-2020, 01:19 PM   #50
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Default Re: What do you want for the 35-year anniversary?

I am almost afraid to even mention the possibility of GURPS Marvel for fear that Disney would offer to purchase SJG. After all, if Disney offered $20 million for SJG, I am not sure what would happen.
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