Monday, August 20, 2012

I'd call it a success

It's been just over a week since we released issue one of the Frontier Explorer and the response has been pretty amazing.  In fact the magazine has generated much more response that I expected, by quite a bit.  While the magazine is great, the Star Frontiers community that it is primarily aimed at is fairly small, or so I thought.  I'll be honest, I was expecting maybe 50-100 downloads from our website for issue one and that we'd be doing a lot of advertising and getting the word out to tell people about the magazine over the next few months as we went to press with issue two.  Needless to say, the response has been much greater than I expected.

From our website alone, we've had over 200 downloads in the ten days since we released the magazine.  On Tuesday of this week, we also made it available at DriveThruRPG and we've had another 250+ downloads from that site as well.  That's over 450 downloads from the two sources in just over the first week (The actual total as of this writing is 488).  I'm ecstatic and amazed at the response.  The real test, of course, will be to see how many come back for issue two, but I think we're off to a great start.

We've also had great feedback from several people complimenting us on the magazine.  We have even had a new author contact us about submitting an article.  I think that has been our greatest success story of issue one.  We really expected to have to put out two or three issues before we started receiving unsolicited submissions.  The fact that they are already coming in is great.

We're already hard at work on issue two and planning issues three through five.  Watch this space for more news and announcements and keep exploring the frontier.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Announcing the Frontier Explorer Magazine

There is a new Star Frontiers related magazine in town, the Frontier Explorer. Issue one is now available at the magazine's website, or if you prefer, on DriveThruRPG. This first issue is full of Star Frontiers articles and includes the first part of a full adventure module

I mentioned in my last post that I had been a bit swamped this summer and forgot to get the Con announcement out sooner. The Frontier Explorer is why. For the last couple of months the magazine has consumed pretty much all my free time as we've gone from nothing but the idea to completing issue one and all the functionality we've built into the website.

In addition to downloading the magazine, the website provides access to all of the magazine's articles as web pages where they can be linked to and referenced. We also have all the images and maps from the magazine available for download in their full, high resolution. This is something we especially wanted to provide since many times the maps are designed to be printed and used with miniatures or the chits from the game but have to be shrunk down to fit in the magazine. The download section will provided all these maps for your use in your games.

My co-founding editor, Tom Verreault, and I have a lot of ideas and plans for the magazine and a lot of ideas for articles but we can't do it alone. The intention is for the Frontier Explorer to be a venue for the community to get their material out and published. We will be releasing new issues quarterly. We've got issues 2-4 laid out and are working hard on new material but there is plenty of room for contributions. If you have something you'd like to see in print, feel free to make a submission on the magazine's website. While issue one is primarily focused on Star Frontiers, the magazine is open to submissions for any sci-fi game system and for articles that are generally applicable to gaming such as the "Crafting a Compelling Character" and "Don't Go in the Water" articles. We also would love to publish fiction and short stories as well. For full details of the plans for the magazine, grab issue one and check out the "About the Magazine" article.

I hope you enjoy issue one of the Frontier Explorer and will come back and continue exploring with us.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Star Frontiers NetCon 2012

It's only been five months since my last post.  I must be getting better.  I keep promising to be better about it but it keeps not happening.  No promises this time and maybe I'll improve :).

Now for the real reason for this post.  We're having another on-line virtual gaming convention!  The Virtual Con back in March was a success for our first attempt.  We had three games, each with six players, and fun was had by all.  I only heard good reports about the games afterwards.  And in a few cases, the con spawned some continued on-line games for some of the participants.  Following up on that, we want to do it again.

I've changed the name this time around to the Star Frontiers NetCon to distinguish it from the Virtual Con earlier this year.  NetCon 2012 is scheduled for Sept 14-15, just over a month away.  I'm planning on making this an annual event (with the NetCon name) and it will move earlier in the year for future years but I wanted to get two cons in this year to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Star Frontiers.  I'll also get announcements out more in advance next time.  I got a little swamped this summer and working on the Con got a bit delayed.

NetCon 2012 is completely free and completely on-line (although you're free to organize something in person in your area in conjunction with the con). The focus, as always, is playing Star Frontiers.  We want to get as many games going as we can.  To that end, we need referees, even if just for a single game session.  While we only had three games run the first time (I ran two of them), and I only know of two people that wanted to be in a game but were unable to (and that was due to work conflict and technology issues), I think we would have had more players if more games had been offered.  There were over 30 people registered and not all of them played.  I do know that several of the people who did participate would have loved to play in additional sessions if they had been available.  I was one of them.  The other referee and I gave up our slots in each others' games so that more players could join in.  So if you'd be willing to give it a go, please sign up as a referee and register a game.

If you want to referee or even just play, jump over to the Star Frontiers NetCon 2012 web site and get signed up.  And just like for the Virtual Con, participants in the NetCon are eligible to purchase a limited edition Star Frontiers 30th Anniversary commemorative patch.  I got permission to produce these patches from Wizards of the Coast and they are not generally available but only to those who participate in Star Frontiers related activities this year.  If you missed out on the Virtual Con in March, here's your second chance to pick one up.  Details are available on the Con website and with your registration.

Hopefully you'll be able to join us in the Frontier and enjoy some on-line Star Frontiers gaming in September.  See you then.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Star Frontiers Virtual Con 2012

Wow. It's been nearly a year since I posted here. It's been crazy and there are a few things I'll be writing about shortly but first I've got to get a post out that I should have made months ago.

The Star Frontiers community is hosting an on-line virtual gaming convention. It's coming up this weekend (March 9-11). It is completely free and completely on-line. The focus is playing Star Frontiers. We have at least three game sessions already scheduled and as the organizer, I know of a couple more that are in the wings. So if you want to play Star Frontiers, jump over to the Star Frontiers VirtualCon 2012 web site to check it out and sign up.

More to come later including a writeup about the con but that's it for now. I'm running two games and need to finish them up.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Knight Hawks game release 0.0.16 available

I've just pushed out a new version of the Second Sathar War and Knight Hawks combat simulator game. You can get the full details and the download on the main release announcement forum topic.

This version of the game adds mines into the tactical game allowing minelayers to deploy mines both during setup if they are the defending player and during their movement phase during the course of the game. I also added the users guide (which I need to update) to the download as well so you don't have to go searching for it on the forum site.

If you're interested in the more technical aspects of what I added, I'll be posting an entry on my Programming Space blog in the next few days. I'll post a link here when it is up as well. In the meantime, go download the game and have fun.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Crosspost: Saturn never fails to amaze

This isn't specifically about Star Frontiers but it is space related and so I thought I'd post a cross link to my other blog, Programming Space. Here's a excerpt.

Jupiter is neat, you can see the banding from the storm clouds and if the air is still and you’ve got a good telescope (say 8 inches or better), you can see the Red Spot if it is facing towards you. Plus you have the Gallilean sattelites that are visible as well.

But there is just something special about Saturn and it’s rings that captures the public’s imagination. With a good telescope you can see the rings sharply defined around the planet and even see the Cassini division (named after the astronomer who first discovered it), the large gap in the rings that is prominent on any image of the planet. It’s always a crowd pleaser.

Follow the jump to the full post. Enjoy.

Monday, February 21, 2011

New Game Version

I just pushed out a new version of the Second Sathar War game that I've been slowly working on for the last few years. The game comes in two flavors: A full Second Sathar War game simulation implementing the rules from the Knight Hawks campaign book and a stand alone tactical game allowing you to have battles with fleets of ships of your own design.

You can download the game (Windows and Linux) and find the full details at the Release 0.0.15 announcement page on the Star Frontiers Network site where I maintain information and discussions about the game.

This version fixes a number of bugs having to do with drawing your ship's path on the board and the selection of targets for you weapons. It also completes the implementation of the Advanced Damage Table with the inclusion of the Navigation hit forcing your damaged ship to expend all of it's MR turning right or left.

If you've ever played the Knight Hawks board game, download it and try it out.