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<TSRJim> Ready when you are. ;-)
<ActionCheck> OK, are there currently any Alternity games played by WotC staff? :)
<TSRJim> There are still some played here at the company, though a number of them have stopped over the last 6
months or so.
<TerroX> How long where they and what level did they play till?
* fader wonders how much gameplay is done by WotC employees...
<TSRJim> A lot of people have moved over into the new Star Wars game, for instance, and still others bounce
back and forth between Alternity and D&D.
<RogueMorgan> Have any companies expressed interest in purchasing they Alternity license?
<fader> understood, I was curious
<TSRJim> I'd say that the typical game lasted around six months. I'm not sure on the levels. I know that the
game I was in we got up to around 20th.
<ActionCheck> It's really nice to hear the engine still gets use there in Renton.
<gabrielconnor> Jim how much do you believe that the new edition of D&D has borrowed from Alternity?
<TSRJim> In all honesty, we wouldn't license out Alternity as a game system. We'd license out Star*Drive or
Dark Matter or Gamma World if the conditions were right, but there are problems with licensing out SF games
<Xanoxt> Hmm, do WotC staff play other abandoned settings/things/whatnots?
<TSRJim> We're pointing everyone to D20 and D&D right now, since our licensing strategy is based on the
licensed products driving sales of our core books.
<TerroX> Alot of people have been asking what the future of certain products is now that D20 is the main tool
of WotCs RPG market, so I will ask about each one briefly.
<TerroX> Will GammaWorld make another comeback? as D20? Within 2 years?
<Xanoxt> Hmm? Will there be core D20 rule books?
<TSRJim> I'm not sure if I'd use the term "borrow" to refer to the new mechanics of D&D. Designing RPGs is a
learning process though, and I do believe we learned some very valuable lessons from Alternity.
<gabrielconnor> Your answer covers me Jim.Thanks
<TSRJim> I don't really have a tally of what games are being played by WotC staff, but I've heard of Gamma
World, Star*Drive, Dark Matter and other game settings being played.
<fader> that's great to hear that ya'll play your products
<Xanoxt> Hmm, some non sf stuff with Alternity rules?
<TSRJim> We don't have any plans to return to Gamma World right now.
<TerroX> Will we see See DarkMatter again? would it be D20? How many years away?
<RogueMorgan> Are any options still open to have a novel published under one of the Alternity genres?
<TSRJim> Likewise, we don't have any plans to release "core D20" rulebooks right now. We've talked about doing
a SF version of the Player's Handbook, but nothing is even in the planning stages at this point.
<gabrielconnor> What does WoTC plan to do to encourage web support for the A line?
<vempire> guys, could you let Jim explain question by question ? Otherwise it'll get really hard ..
<TSRJim> I don't remember the names of non-SF games being played under Alternity rules, but I do remember
hearing talk about a few games being played in or around WotC like that.
<TSRJim> I've had some discussions with people about Dark Matter, but it doesn't fall under our licensing
strategy right now.
<TSRJim> We don't have any plans to return to Dark Matter as a game world, but the book department continues to
publish Dark Matter novels.
<Xanoxt> Hmm, I have non Alternity question.
* Xanoxt is rabid Alternity and Planescape fan.
<TSRJim> It's possible you could have a Dark Matter novel published. You'd need to contact the book department
<gabrielconnor> how about a stardrive novel?
<gabrielconnor> or short story
<TSRJim> As far as web support goes, we plan to bring Alternity under the banner of fansite and let the fans
put as much support into it as they desire. We'll continue to provide a link to the fansite from Wizards.com,
but we won't be putting any more resources into the games from our end. We don't have a budget for it.
<Xanoxt> Alternity was quite good to adapt fantasy stuff into.
<TSRJim> I'm not aware of any more Star*Drive novels in the works.
<ActionCheck> Is there a chance some Alternity product might find it's way into a "Kay Bee" toy store discount
<TSRJim> Nope. All of the excess inventory will be destroyed. We'll then transfer the materials into an
electronic (PDF) format.
<vempire> all of it ?
<ActionCheck> At least it will be available!
<TSRJim> Dumping products into the sales channel is a real disaster from a business standpoint...
<TerroX> How long would something like a Sci-Fi PHB take to come out? (in years from now)
<TSRJim> Yes, all of it will be destroyed. You can't write it off on taxes if it's not destroyed by a bonded
<gabrielconnor> We should have Alternity be Source Free!!!! You know like Linux!
<TSRJim> It's hard for me to guess about how long, since it's not a matter of how long it would take us to
write it. It's just not a huge priority for the company right now... for reasons I've discussed before.
<Xanoxt> Hmm, will them PDF's avialable for free, or for some sum of money?
<\\Archer> Will the .pdf material that you transfer the game material into be available for free ? or will they
only be keept for internal use by TSR ?
<Xanoxt> That is kind of sensitive question for me (Russian person)
<TSRJim> Some of the PDfs will be free; others will be pay-for downloads like we have at the online store.
They'll probably cost $3.49 each.
<TerroX> Will WotC sell the licenense for Alternity or the campaigns to a 3rd party publisher?
<gabrielconnor> 3.49 is fine by me
<Xanoxt> Ah, 3.49 are feasible.
<TSRJim> The PDFs will be available; some will be free, most will be charged for.
<drizzit> Nice price
<Xanoxt> It is still hard to get Cc here. But not impossible.
<gabrielconnor> I can't get my hands on The Externals yet
<vempire> Cc ?
<Xanoxt> Credit Card.
<Xanoxt> For example one I can get for free and own is a debit card called VisaElectron, you can't pay thru the
Net with it :(
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<Xanoxt> I'll probably have to use someone else's
<TSRJim> We're not willing to sell or license out Alternity right now. In order for us to license out Alternity
or the campaign worlds, I have to show how its licensing will drive sales of core products. We don't have any
core products to sell right now...
<fader> yeah, Jim what about 3rd party publishers?
<Xanoxt> Like RandomHouse?
<TSRJim> The same rules apply to third-party publishers. We won't license it out or sell it to them...
<TSRJim> The online store is always looking at more convenient and secure payment methods. I suspect you'll see
more payment options in time...
<TerroX> Will WotC release design documents for Alternity related equipement/vehicles/weapons/FX/Skills so we
can create our own stuff from the WotC guidelines? (eg. Rank 6 FX can do max damage of 1D6+1wounds etc) (if
<vempire> good question .. could help us *a lot*
<TSRJim> I'm not aware of any such files existing. All of the rules needed were included in the core
<Xanoxt> Hmm, what if I translate Alternity Rules into Russian? Can I spread it for free, or contact WotC so It
could be printed (with no WotC budget Involved) and some of revenues go to WotC?
<Xanoxt> Completely retheorical Question.
<TSRJim> We wouldn't allow any of our copyrighted materials to be translated and distributed without a contract
being written up, and we won't do that for Alternity right now....
<TerroX> Will WotC release any remaining unfinished Alternity items (if any) so we can have a look? (eg
<ActionCheck> We have an Action Check reader who has translated most of the PHB into German.
<Xanoxt> I mean if they were translated for personal use.
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<Xanoxt> Can I (or someone then) contact WotC about contract?
<drizzit> Would you do that in some time?
<Xanoxt> If it isn't possible now, when it will?
<TSRJim> You would need to contact me about it. The problem, though, is that we don't want the Alternity
materials being translated. Everything needs to be D20.
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<RogueMorgan> Just so I understand, any deal in the future would hinge of the promotion of the core WoTC
products, such D&D?
<Xanoxt> Hmm. D20.
<TerroX> yup, not D20 = no go.
<Xanoxt> Well, in Russia we have strange market. But oh, well.
<Xanoxt> We may as well translate 3rd Ed.
<gabrielconnor> thats the whole deal. What we like about Alternity is the flexibility of the system. Translating that in d20 is no solution
<gabrielconnor> I don't think that Alternity needs any more support material
<TSRJim> I understand everyone's concerns about Alternity; I worked on the line since it's start and share many of them. But the business realities (and a global vision of the RPG market) prevent us from approving Alternity products right now.
<gabrielconnor> It's really fleshed out
<Xanoxt> Yeah, Alternity Is so much nicer. I got 3rd ed DnD. And I like it, but is bit worse than alternity.
<ActionCheck> Was there any product that was planned that never saw print or did WotC finish out the line's plans?
<TerroX> ok, got a non-Alternity Q that some people want.
<TerroX> Are there plans to bring back Planescape, SpellJammer, Ravenloft as D20 supplements?
<Xanoxt> It is Much more better then 2nd ed Adnd
<\\Archer> For how long will one still be able to get hold of the Alternity line of books ? will shipment cease soon, or has it already ceased ?
<drizzit> Or Birthright!!!
<gabrielconnor> Birthright rules!
<TSRJim> There is no doubt that the core D20 and D&D products don't take into account SF gaming. The only product that does right now is Star Wars (more science fantasy than pure SF).
<TSRJim> Wizards finished out the line's plans... I made sure of it. ;-)
<TSRJim> Wizards won't be producing Planescape, Spelljammer, or Ravenloft as D20 products, though we might license out those worlds to other companies for D20 development.
<Xanoxt> Hmm, I saw the book on the shelf at Sargona. Haven't seen it yet. But people say It isn't as good as Alternity.
<gabrielconnor> Jim if I made a book like "The Complete Combat Spec Handbook" and gave it away for free would that be a violation of WoTC copyright laws?
<TSRJim> Shipment will cease very soon, if it hasn't already.
<TSRJim> Birthright is in the same boat as the other older worlds.
<TerroX> So was there any other 1/2 finished Alternity material and will we get it? (PDF, free text, .DOc etc anything!!)
<TSRJim> You creating a brand new book that doesn't copy any of the text from our products is not a violation of copyright.
<Xanoxt> So, can fans of abovementioned worlds, buy the licence for them?
<Xanoxt> In D20 I guess :)
<drizzit> That must be expensive!
<gabrielconnor> I mean I have to mention words like "alternity" on my product!
<gabrielconnor> So that would be a violation
<TSRJim> To my knowledge, all of the Alternity, Gamma World, Star*Drive, and Dark Matter products that we started development on went through to the printing stage.
<ActionCheck> Action Check does it, and so far we're OK! :)
<Xanoxt> And, if yes, about how many digits number the licence costs?
<TSRJim> It's possible that a fan could buy the license from us, but it wouldn't be an easy (or cheap) process.
<TerroX> How much of a product can be re-printed before copyright is enforced?
<Xanoxt> If it isn't a secret.
<gabrielconnor> 345 words exactly
<TSRJim> Mentioning words like Alternity is not a violation of copyright...
<drizzit> Can we use the alternity game mechanics for a rpg and then put it for free in the web?
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<TerroX> I mean, how many Players Handbook bits can we use? Weapons stats or skills?? like is having a complete skill from teh PHB in a monster description illegal?
<gabrielconnor> hi savoy
<Savoy> Hi there!
<TSRJim> The cost for a license varies based on the terms of the contract. How long the contract lasts, the business plan presented, etc. It's hard for me to give an exact figure, but we're talking in the 10's of thousands for a typical contract.
<TSRJim> The rule we give for copying text is two paragraphs.
<gabrielconnor> We should create a fund raising org named "Help Save Alternity"!!!
<TerroX> is that two paragraphs MAX?
<TerroX> "The Alternity Fund StarDrive"
<Xanoxt> Well, I heard that TCG/Netrunner fans that were thinking to licence for it for around ~20k
<Xanoxt> So, it doesn't surprise me.
<gabrielconnor> when are the fan sites gonna be announced
<TSRJim> You should refer players to the relevant books instead of copying text from the products, as a general rule.
<TSRJim> Terrox: Yes, it's two paragraphs maximum.
<Xanoxt> Hmm, thats fine with me.
<vempire> Jim, could creating material based on Alternity books infringe copyright laws ?
<TerroX> Yeah that's cool.
<RogueMorgan> Jim, have you heard anything about a movie or screenplay based on the StarDrive setting?
<gabrielconnor> could we rephrase the texts of the original product or is that a violation as well?
<Xanoxt> 2 paragraphs in the whole book?
<TSRJim> I'll be announcing the fan sites this afternoon...
<TSRJim> Gabriel: It depends on how much work is done in the paraphrasing and what the intent is. If the intent is to make it so that someone doesn't have to have the Alternity books, then we'd have a problem with that.
<gabrielconnor> by mail or on the lists ?
<gabrielconnor> or both?
<gabrielconnor> I understand that
<gabrielconnor> It makes sense
<TSRJim> Primarily the mailing list. And the links from Wizards won't be active until after the official sites get their paperwork back to me.
<Xanoxt> Err, so Core Alternity products will be avilable in pdf format too? All I have is PHB and GMG, and I want say, Fx beyond the science.
<pab02> Hi, excuse my ignorance but is WOTC still printing the core rulebooks or has shipping of them now ceased as well?
<Xanoxt> Will they be avialable as pay for download products?
<TSRJim> Yes. Eventually ALL of the products will be available.
<ActionCheck> *Wishy-Washy mode* Do you have any particularly fond memories from an Alternity session or from a producer standpoint?
<RogueMorgan> pab02, Jim already said they have ceased or will be shortly.
<TerroX> Pab02: no more printing, existing stock will be destroyed read logs after.
<TSRJim> We haven't had to print any Alternity books in some time; we printed a lot up front.
<gabrielconnor> that's sad
<gabrielconnor> noone is buying:(
<TSRJim> Well, the truth is that the SF audience in general is smaller than the fantasy audience (as far as RPGs go).
<Xanoxt> Correction, existing stock at WotC?
<RogueMorgan> Jim, any prospect for a movie or screenplay based on the StarDrive setting?
<Xanoxt> So, them places like amazon.com will still have things they got?
<gabrielconnor> not likely(personal opinion)
<TSRJim> Xan: I'm not sure what you're referring to....
<gabrielconnor> but it would be cool
<TerroX> Farscape makes a cool enough series
<TSRJim> Rogue: We're open to the idea of someone creating a movie, but Hollywood hasn't approached Wizards or TSR much in the past about them. It's a hard sell...
<vempire> Jim, could creating material based on Alternity books infringe copyright laws - even if no text is being copied ?
<TSRJim> I do love Farscape. ;-)
<Xanoxt> Err, did they buy their stock from WotC, or do they just order as soon as they have byers?
<drizzit> Sorry Jim, but just in case: if someone uses the alternity mechanics to create a game and then puts it for free in the web, is him violating the copyright?
<gabrielconnor> I think that the copyright issue is covered
<TSRJim> Many of the good memories I have on Alternity are when I was working with the design team on the game (including Star*Drive) and dealing with all of the fans in its launch.
<gabrielconnor> don't copy text, don't take money for it
<gabrielconnor> you should be fine
<TSRJim> Producing new Alternity products in a for-sale manner would be a violation of trademark law, not necessarily copyright. Copyright only applies to the written words that we've published.
<drizzit> WEll, but if itīs free, then it is not
<TSRJim> We've given everyone permission to build fan products and release them for free on the web, so that's not an issue.
* Xanoxt cheers.
<TSRJim> Legally, the free/not free toggle makes absolutely no difference. We've just chosen to allow fans to create products.
<fader> an underground sensation
<drizzit> Thanks Jim
<TerroX> Will we see See Starcraft RPG again? would it be D20? How many years away?
<gabrielconnor> Yeah...Alternity is underground!!!
<gabrielconnor> Like a close community!
<TSRJim> We don't have any more plans to do D20 Starcraft either.
<TSRJim> I'm just so negative today.. sorry, gang. ;-)
<gabrielconnor> no need to apologise
<Xanoxt> Jim, other question about Starcraft. Was there any other product other the 'Starcraft for Computer fans' Box?
<fader> it was quite positive for you to be here chatting with us
<gabrielconnor> which by the way wasn't what anyone expected
<TSRJim> Nope. We had originally planned for there to be two, one for fans of the computer game and one in-depth for RPG fans, but the second never happened.
<gabrielconnor> but maybe we had the wrong impression from the start
<TerroX> I am assuming that a generic Sci-Fi Players Handbook will come out eventually, I just want to know how long it wout take 2-3 years, 3-5 years, 5+?
<gabrielconnor> After all it was intended as an introdoctory to Alternity for the fans of the computer game
<vempire> oow .. so we got the one for the computer game fans ..
<Xanoxt> Will it be awailable as a download?
<Xanoxt> One for RP fans I mean.
<Xanoxt> Well, I think it was a bit late then. :)
<TSRJim> Licensed products like Starcraft are kind of out of our hands; we don't have the rights to give them away once the license expires.
<gabrielconnor> yeah blizzard gets in the way!
<TSRJim> TerroX: I'm not real sure about a generic SF book. At the earliest, it would probably be 3 years away....
<Xanoxt> Hmm, can I re-phrase it. Was product for RP fans anywhere completion?
<TSRJim> vempire: Well, the idea was to release an introductory game for all the computer game fans, then follow it up with a good RPG to bring them all to the RPG shore. It just didn't happen.
<gabrielconnor> my guess exactly
<RogueMorgan> I need to go, but I wanted to say thanks to Jim, it has been great to have you available to take questions. Good luck on your next project. Also, Thanks Vempire/Terrox for setting this up.
<TSRJim> Xanoxt: Nope; it was never begun.
<gabrielconnor> night rogue
<RogueMorgan> Bye all.
<vempire> Jim, will you still work at WotC (having read "Getting out of the way" on the A-List)
<gabrielconnor> or day:)
<vempire> bye ..
<Xanoxt> See you Rogue
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<TSRJim> I'm currently the Director of Licensing for Wizards for the RPG division. It's hard to say what the future holds for me. I like this job, but there are corporate issues that need to be worked out still...
<vempire> I hope it wasn't a too personal question :)
<gabrielconnor> well...I'm sure you're the man for this position
<TSRJim> Thanks. ;-)
<TerroX> Is WotC starting to get annoyed by all this legal / business stuff and will it get in the way of making cool RPGs?
<Xanoxt> Corporate issues are that WotC was bought by Hasbro?
<Xanoxt> (if it was?)
<TSRJim> Terrox: We're not annoyed by the legal/business stuff. Actually, the old TSR didn't have enough of the business side of things. We're a lot more successful (as a whole) now then we ever were at TSR.
<vempire> that's good to hear
<Xanoxt> That is good to hear.
<TSRJim> Xan: The corporate issues are more about how Hasbro and Wizards merge together. They have their own licensing department. In a perfect world, I'd work from there and stay here in Seattle. We'll see.
<pab02> Very good to hear in todays business climate!
<Xanoxt> Well, lets hope corporate issues will get resolved and we will have more and better RPGs out of there.
<drizzit> Great wish for my djinn ;)
<TSRJim> Hear, hear. ;-)
<TSRJim> Anyway, gang, I've got to run. It was great to chat... ;-)
<ActionCheck> Don't forget to remind 'folks in the halls' there how much Alternity is still appreciated, and played! :)
<fader> Thanks Jim
<gabrielconnor> living so soon?
<\\Archer> Thanks a lot for the answers Jim.
<TSRJim> I certainly will. ;-)
<gabrielconnor> Goodnight Jim
<\\Archer> Have a good weekend.
<pab02> Thank you
<Xanoxt> Bye gim
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