I know I haven’t been particularly communicative here of late, if you want to keep up with me at the moment I’d strongly suggest following me on TWITTER  or over on FACEBOOK or my personal LJ  , which carry my twitter feed. Twitter is something I can dip in and out of while I’m working, while blogging/reviewing takes more concerted effort and I’m snowed under with freelancing for browser games and for Cubicle 7 at the moment!

Still, this is something important so worth making the time to talk about.

Lulu have just recently listed a huge number of POD titles on Amazon, without asking the authors and making it an opt-out scheme. Worse still they have jacked up the price by some 30%, claiming this is due to the Amazon mark-up (which is actually only 15%). Needless to say this makes us look bad as authors and publishers and for many of us causes all sorts of legal issues due to our contractual obligations with writers and artists.

If you’re going to buy one of my self-published books, don’t buy it from Amazon unless they’ve discounted it. Buy it from LULU direct or get the PDF from RPGNOW or one of the other sites that sells my work on PDF (e23, Paizo, Yourgamesnow).

If you’re a writer or small publisher who uses Lulu, this may be worth checking into for yourselves.

The Design Ethics of Repeated Ideas

I have a lot of ideas for games and have had them backed up for some time. Recently three (count ’em) games, woefully similar – even almost identical – to three of these concepts I was keen to work on next have come out or been rumoured to be in the works.

1. Barbarians of Lemuria – While the system style and focus is different, I have had a barbarian game taking cues from violent video gaming and Wolfskin as well as the ‘lost continent’ motif brewing for a while.

2. GMS’ Far West is almost identical to an idea I had and have part developed called Wild East (the concepts and tone are that close). I think he’s giving it a more ‘straight’ tone than what I’d be going for, which would be more showy and concentrate more on a Japanese aesthetic but the ideas seem to be practically identical.

3. 7th Circle are going to be producing a mythic India game of some sort. Something I’ve wanted to do for aaaaages. I think they’re less likely to take such an OTT style cue as me, I was probably going to use an existing superheroic rules set for my game and was going to create more of a fantasy world for the game to exist in, but still…

This is a very aggravating situation and enough to make one don a tin foil hat so the international gaming conspiracy can’t ‘steal’ any more of my ideas, but it presents something of an ethical problem. What do you think I should do? Pursue these ideas anyway and weather the storm of accusations of plagiarism, the competition with other companies and the bad blood resulting from misunderstandings, abandon these ideas or bump them to the bottom of the queue to be replaced by other project ideas I have that I’m less keen on?

Origins of the Specious: Evolution by Random Selection – Preorder

You can pre-order Origins of the Specious: HERE

Some of the material here will be familiar, other parts won’t be. If you liked The Munchkin’s Guide to Powergaming that I did for SJG you’ll like this, plus there’s some lovely new illustrations by Darkzel (who does Hentacle and other things with me these days). If this is a success you can expect me to do some more stuff through Flaming Cobra in the future.