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Saturday, January 14, 2017


Steve Cole's thoughts on the game industry in general and on ADB in particular.

1. I often have people offer to do something for ADB, some kind of research or rules writing or indexing or something. Sometimes, the answer is that it would take more time to check what they did than to just do it myself. (An example here are the Ship Information Tables for F&E, which I refuse to allow the staff to edit or maintain because I would never be able to tell if they changed something and I know those guys and they want to change things I do not want them changing, like the conversion costs of escorts.) The response to my comment is often "Then if you can do it faster than checking the one I did, go do it, now." But the problem is that there are only so many hours in the day and I already evaluated the priorities and decided that something else is more important.

2. Recently, someone noted a minor one-character typo in an FC ship in an E-pack. He modified the PDF and sent me the revised ship for me to share. I appreciate the enthusiasm but it's always less time for me to fix it myself than to check to see if someone else fixed it correctly. That's just the nature of the beast. Because, some years ago, one person tried to sneak his personal "improvements" into the ship when "fixing" one minor item, we cannot release to the customers any "official" ship done outside unless we check every single character and box. That's a couple of hours of work compared to a minute to fix the typo and spin up a new PDF. It's a darn shame that one person so many years ago created this mess but the months I spent fixing that problem aren't an experience that I can risk repeating. So if you see a mistake in a published PDF (or any published Federation Commander ship) let me know and I'll fix it. The same thing applies to any official document, from an F&E SIT to the SFB Sequence of Play. We need to fix the master archive file not use a file someone else modified. The fix won't appear until the next reprint or reload, but it will get taken care of.

3. Recently, we were working on Captain's Log #52, and I turned to the new tactical papers for one of our games. One of these was marked "part one of three" and I asked Steven Petrick where the other two parts were. He said they had never been sent in. I told him to contact the author and get them, as I would not print a "part one" of anything without having the entire thing in hand. There are several reasons for this, but mostly we want to be sure we can finish what we start. As it happened, the paper was found to contain many flaws, and the only email address for the author was invalid. As no one had heard from him for 18 months, we had no choice but to put his paper into the reserve file. The way it is written it need the other two parts, and it cannot be turned into a stand alone article as the whole thing sets up the situation for part two. This applies to everything. We cannot start something unless we know we can finish it. If we're doing it then finishing it is just a matter of managing the "to do list", but something that depends on an outside author must be "controlled" (i.e., finished) before it starts.