Gaming Vs. Cancer Results are in! We are proud to show how gamers are making a difference in the fight against cancer each day. £5315.18 were raised for Cancer Research UK. The organizer went on to thank us for our prize donation… No, Stephen Kissane and the volunteers who organized Gaming Vs. Cancer, thank you! We are proud to be in the same community.
Editing the book: many people think it’s all done in an instant. But editing is one of those games that takes a lot of time.
A Pass, A Pass, And Another Pass…
You start by printing out the entire book, because editing in layout just doesn’t work. You miss too much. You also miss physical layout issues like widows, orphans, and strange artifacts of the text. Things can try to sneak by for layout like missing page elements, changes in typefaces, strange rendering elements… And you must print the ENTIRE book, not sections, because things that go wrong in one section often affect another section. That’s how we ended up with two different ways of spelling a Cyberpunk character, for example. Being throrough; it’s how you catch the infamous “page XX” placeholder error that has shown up in so many books (ask White Wolf about this one sometime).
And you can’t rely on automatic spellcheckers either. For example, the spellcheckers missed the difference between widows and windows, which is what I originally wrote in the paragraph above. That kind of spell-checking requires a human—in this case, Cody, who read the line and said, “Windows and orphans? Is that a new typographic error I missed somehow?”
The Eyes Have It…
Now it’s ready to go to Fran The Editor. But actually, you don’t just send it to Fran The Editor. You get several other people to read it first. Some of them are reading for comprehension. Others read it for rules issues. Some are just plain novices who you want to read the book so you know if it makes sense to someone who hasn’t been looking at the thing for months. So, the final set of corrections involve actually 2 to 5 readers before it even gets to Fran who then reads all the corrections and suggestions before drafting her final decision on edits.
Finally, The Big Guns…
Fran The Editor starts to edit. This can take a long time, as she must be exacting. One reason Fran is The Editor is that years ago, she emailed me with a huge list of errors in a published book that the original editor had missed. That got her the job. But she spotted all those errors because Fran is careful. And takes her time. As much as it takes to get it right. Only when she goes through it a dozen times does she mark it as done.
Then the manuscript goes back to the layout crew for correcting. Which is also harder than it sounds. Since editing usually includes bad grammar, strange sentences, etc., you have to rewrite entire passages sometimes. Which need to be checked for correcting too. These changes also alter the layout. I’ve had books that added entire pages thanks to editing rewrites. And extra pages need to be rearranged so that the book ends up with a proper page count or it will cost an arm and a leg to finally print.
Yep, Still Editing…
Once you make the corrections from Fran, you submit the book for a second pass. We rerun the book. Now Fran looks for everything we missed the last time. She marks up the second draft. We make the changes. Then, if it’s a licensed product like Witcher, we send the final edit to CDPR. Who makes their own notes. Then back to Fran for a final, final pass.
When we say, “It’s in editing.”, there are a ton of steps we just don’t bother to tell you. Because they’re boring. But believe me, you’ll be glad we took the time to do them all.
Mike Pondsmith recently sat down and began to write a series of articles about the development process of Mekton Zero. Thank you for joining us for this first Dev Note.
Creating Two Characters
In Mekton Zero, you don’t just create one character; you actually create two. One is your “Pilot” character—the person who drives around in a giant robot. But the other Character is the MEKTON your Pilot drives. Drives is actually a poor way of describing the relationship between your Pilot and their MEKTON. A better way to describe this relationship would be interacts with. On Algol, mecha are considered to be somewhat dimly sentient—about as bright as a really stupid horse—and your relationship with a given mecha is somewhat similar to that of a rider and their mount rather than a driver and an automobile.
The Profession you choose will usually shape the Mekton you end up with. All of these designs have been built in the original MEKTON ZETA construction rules, and then converted into the simpler MEKTON ZERO format. As a rule, we encourage GMs to set the basic parameters (All Military, All Civilian, Mixed Used Suits, all Experimental) for all the players in a single game group. But within those parameters, there’s a lot of possibilities.
One thing that makes Mekton Zero different than other mecha games/shows is that every mecha is unique. If two players both end up with Maulers, it doesn’t mean that those two Maulers are identical, because just like Pilot Characters, MEKTON Characters also have stats, skills and personality quirks. Having Stats means that there can be a pretty wide variation even between the same make and model of MEKTON.
The idea behind it:
I really wanted to make MEKTONS more than disposable vehicles. This meant giving them some reason to be memorable. The breakthrough came when I realized that in almost every mecha show, the hero mecha is treated like an individual, even if it really is just a hunk of steel. Some shows (like Zoids) take this even further, giving the mecha a definite awareness. I didn’t want to take the player’s agency away from them, but I wanted their MEKTONs to be more of a personal vehicle. The compromise is a vehicle that has enough awareness to be interesting, but never enough to act independently of its “master.”
Sunday of GenCon 50 is coming…
There are now two bundles of holding featuring R. Talsorian products! 1 is this bundle that includes 13 books from the classic game. The second is an amazing Anime bundle which features 11 books including Teenagers from Outer Space from RTG.
Hey there everyone,
Cody here! I’ve managed to un-glue my face from my layout monitor for a little bit to write another dev note! I don’t have a lot to talk about as far as system at the moment but I can say that we are so deep in layout that I think I see glimpses of light at the other end. Months of changing border colors and retyping introductions and we’re almost there! In the mean time we’ve been hard at work in the last stages of layout and writing the last lore bits. We’ve sent out play test pamphlets to a lot of wonderful people around the globe to get their input and have them try their best to break and exploit the system. So far, feedback has been very positive and our brave play testers are generally having a great time. Like I said, past that I don’t really have a ton to say at the moment. Layout tends to be a long and boring process. We did get to go to Pyrkon in Poznan, Poland where we met up with a bunch of great people and got to do a Q&A with the fans over in Poland. The convention was amazing and I’d go back in a heart beat. Anyhow, it’s time for me to go back to the dark pits of the Talsorian Layout Dungeon. If everything goes smoothly, I’d like to get on some time late next week and do another dev note about our progress and where we are at the moment. Until then, best wishes to all!