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Main Jeremy.Smith's Blog Displaying 5 results per page
The following is a list of Jeremy.Smith's blog entries, in reverse order

Friday, October 11, 2013 (18:09:29) - Delaying Third Dawn
Our plans for Third Dawn were to start the Kickstarter after Thanksgiving / early December, run through the first week of January, and then start full-force on the book. Unfortunately, it's October and we still have to finish up:
Ultimate Psionics (nearly done)
Psionics Embodied (75% done, or thereabouts)
Psionic Bestiary (lots and lots written, lots of editing needed)
Art of Psionics
Seventh Path
GM Screen (just need to make it look professional, content is done, graphics are done)
Intro Adventure

That's a whole lot to get done that Andreas and I are tackling. With Ultimate Psionics nearly complete, we'll start tearing through the rest at a pretty rapid pace, since they're a lot easier to work on with fewer pieces working together like Ultimate Psionics did... but that's still a ton of work. And I'm just not comfortable starting a new project with so much left to go.

In addition, there are TONS of great Kickstarters going on right now - Bones, Dragon Kings, Legendary Games, Know Direction relaunch, etc.

So, we're looking at launching the Third Dawn Kickstarter in early 2014. We're not scrapping it, just delaying it, to make sure we can focus on making it awesome!
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Thursday, October 03, 2013 (15:57:15) - Wrapping Up Psionics Augmented
With the convention season largely out of the way, it's been a mad dash finishing up the new material from Ultimate Psionics and putting it into a standalone book, tentatively titled Psionics Augmented.

The quality level of our books has been growing in leaps and bounds as we've grown and learned as developers and publishers. Compared to Untapped Potential from over six years ago, Psionics Augmented is just so pretty.

It's over 70 pages of new material, playtested for months, with custom full-color artwork and a slick layout. I can say that because I didn't design it - I had someone far more experienced do it.

I cannot wait to get this book out. It will be a nice addition on the shelf next to Psionics Unleashed and Expanded, and marks the next phase of Ultimate Psionics - taking all that new material and combining it with the hundreds of pages of material from Unleashed and Expanded.

I'm not looking forward to the layout for Ultimate Psionics, but the good thing is that I don't have to worry (too much) about editing. Sure, errata will need to be incorporated, and some changes here and there, but mostly it's just formatting text, pages, and graphics. And the final product is going to be awesome.

This project has taken far longer than expected, but now that a major milestone is within sight, it's really exciting and motivating to work on it!
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Tuesday, August 20, 2013 (15:50:40) - GenCon - 2013
This year was our second year going to GenCon. And I can say without any hesitation that this year was far and away a better experience than last. There are some extenuating circumstances, but it doesn't change that it was just plain better.

Last year, we spent a lot of time driving / relaxing at the hotel due to having a 14-month old with us. This year, we dragged our poor 2-year old all over the convention. He napped on my shoulder, in his stroller, wherever he could get comfortable. Just in that, we spent probably eight more hours at the con than last year. We also had some friends babysit so that we could go to an event, and then used the on-site babysitters for other events.

I got to meet the cast of The Gamers movies - and got their autographs and pictures with them! I even got to talking with one of them, Christian Doyle, who plays Luster / Gary in The Gamers and Perf in JourneyQuest, and found out he regularly plays a soulknife in their Pathfinder games! But I also found out he's still using the 3.5 rules, so I handed him a copy of Psionics Unleashed and Psionics Expanded and we discussed the changes to the class. That was definitely one of the high points of the convention, especially because he seemed actually excited about the changes made to the class.

Since last year was our first time at the convention, we had no idea what to expect. This year, we better knew what we were doing, so we wasted a lot less time and packed more into the weekend. We also stayed through Sunday morning for some last-minute browsing of the exhibitor's hall, where last year, we'd left by Sunday.

From a publishing perspective, I was able to talk to the guys at Lone Wolf Development (creators of Hero Lab) and had a great conversation with a lot of promise to getting psionic support there. I got to meet and talk shop with one of our regular editors, Jake, who I've only ever talked to electronically. I got to hang out with some of the Frog God Games crew and handed Skeeter a copy of Psionics Unleashed. I was able to thank James Jacobs in person for including psionic material in one of the Pathfinder adventures.

But I think one of the coolest experiences was when my wife and I were waiting in live for The Gamers: Dorkness Rising screening + Q&A (have I mentioned we're huge fans of The Gamers and all the stuff they do?) We ended up striking up a conversation with the gamer in front of us about M:tG and then started talking about Pathfinder. He asked what I normally played and I mentioned that I typically play psionic characters. He had no idea what psionics was - no just Dreamscarred Press, but psionics in general. Admittedly, he was under 20 years old, but still, I can't stand for a gamer who doesn't at least know about psionics!

So once again, I opened up our bag and pulled out a copy of Psionics Unleashed (we'd brought 3 copies of Unleashed and 2 copies of Expanded with us specifically for handing out at the convention). My wife made a comment that since I'm an owner of the company, I can do that. The kid was taken aback at the fact that a publishing company owner was just standing in line next to him for one of the events. What's funny is that I had made a similar comment to my wife when Ed Greenwood randomly walked by us at the convention the day before.

All in all, worlds better than last year, and we're already planning for next year.

To explain why last year was rough, there's some backstory that needs to be explained. GenCon last year was less than a month before the expected birth of our son's brother. My phrasing on that is because our son is adopted and his birth mother was pregnant. We were expecting to adopt the infant, but while we were at the convention, she emailed my wife and told her she'd changed her mind. This was absolutely devastating news and completely destroyed our ability to enjoy the convention. It cast a shadow over it that we never really recovered from, so the experience overall was just disappointing and dark.

Combine that with both of us being overweight and unhealthy, in a hot, cramped convention... that sort of thing you'd normally overlook, but once you're in a foul mood, all those little things get compounded.

This year, we didn't have any sort of negative event like that to hurt our GenCon experience. We've also both lost quite a bit of weight and were easily handling the miles of walking each day.

We're definitely going back next year - we're also most likely going to get a booth. By then we should have: Ultimate Psionics, Psionics Unleashed, Psionics Expanded, Psionic Bestiary, From the Deep 1-3+, GM Screen, focus tokens, d6s, d20s, character sheets, and more to buy. And with my wife working on gamer stuff for kids - children's books, card games, etc - those should also be ready by then. And our distributor offers a co-op option that gets us a booth attached to theirs at a reduced rate - score! 30% off makes it affordable.

I did NOT get to meet everyone I wanted to, but I got to meet people I know and actually got to meet people who knew ME - that was pretty cool. Smile We got to see some gamer friends of ours who live up north and spent some quality time with them. We got to experience the downtown Indy food trucks (amazing cupcakes!) and are now determined to get a room at one of the hotels that connects to the convention. No more wasting an hour or more on travel - and no more needing to leave early to drive out to the hotel - staying up late and gaming is what GenCon is all about!

Such an amazing trip this year. So worth it.
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Monday, August 27, 2012 (01:26:49) - On Retail Prices
Some folks might find this interesting or enlightening. Given the timing of the hardcover project, I figured it was a good time to go over it.

Have you ever wondered how books get their prices? And why things seem like they're expensive.

Let's look into the process.

If a book is going to go into retail distribution, that means that the retail store has to get it at a discounted rate that makes it worth carrying (i.e. profit). They usually only pay half cover price.

For a retailer to get a book, a distributor has to ship it to them, and that distributor needs to get paid to do that.

And for the distributor to have it, someone has to ship it to them.

All of that eats away at the money the publisher gets for each book shipped.

So for a real example:

Psionics Unleashed is priced at $24.99. Distributors get a 57% discount (yes, really). Meaning they pay our wholesaler $10.75 each.

Our wholesaler takes a cut to cover warehouse, shipping, and billing costs.

So out of $24.99, we end up getting a little over $7 per book. That $7 has to cover print costs and the cost to ship to our wholesaler.

The reason we take such a small profit on retail is because we make up for it in volume. If we're shipping hundreds of copies and all we have to do is ship it off and not worry about order fulfillment, it's worth taking such a big cut.

You can help increase the profit by printing in volume, but that's not always feasible.

So that's where retail prices come from - it basically has to be done to make the lowest-margin avenue profitable.
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Saturday, May 21, 2011 (17:00:04) - On Class Design
As progress continues on Psionics Expanded, I further realize just how much time a new base class truly requires. Compared to any other aspect of the game, base classes are mountains of work, and not just because you have twenty levels to consider.

Things to consider when developing a base class:

Does this class fill a needed role in the party? This is perhaps the most critical question when designing a class, because if the answer is no, then you should probably stop and reevaluate your class.

Does another class fill the same role as this class? This answer is more likely to be yes than no, but it's still a good question to ask so you can examine the other existing base classes for comparison.

If another class fills the same role, does this class do something unique or do its job in a different way? The fighter and the soulknife are both front-line fighters, but they do their job in vastly different ways.

Is this class balanced at every level? When you look at a class, you need to look at its balance at EVERY level, because you don't want a class that is lackluster early on and then gets good at higher levels. You want a class that is fun to play from start to finish, but without allowing its power level to creep up too high or drop too low. It's a fine line and this is where most time is spent working on new classes.

Is the class fun? This is actually an important question. This doesn't need to mean fancy or elaborate mechanics. The fighter is pretty simple in design, but he can be fun to play. The game is all about fun. If your class is strong, but boring, then you've missed the mark.

Do the class's abilities make sense when looked at together? It might be balanced and fun to throw trapfinding, rage, spells, flying, and shapeshifting all together - but what you have is a bit of a mess of a class that doesn't seem to have a solid theme. A class should have an underlying theme that ties everything together.

And many more...

These are just some of the questions that need to be answered when designing new base classes and why they take so long to do - and especially to do well.
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