The JAGS Publishing Process


What you see here is a draft-render of an intra-system pinnace-class small trader (20 tons cargo capacity--see the "standard size shipping container for scale").

It turns out that, since our publishing schedule is, to say the least, uhm . . . spotty? That people come to the site, see nothing has changed, and presume JAGS is dead. Clearly that's untrue--we just published the PDF versions of JAGS Have-Not and are working on getting (gorgeous, high print-quality) hard-covers online (this is harder than it should be, it turns out).

In any event, it might be a few years until JAGS Space: Near-Vela comes out--but it seems to be "what's up next" (along with JAGS Fantasy which has a bunch of work done on it too--but is less far along).

I want to take a second to talk about the JAGS Publishing Process and why it takes us so long to do this stuff. Here is how it works:

  1. We Game Once Or Twice A Week. We play online, using Google Hangouts (usually) and play by voice and shared documents / desktop. We play with an online roller and have also used 3d rendering programs to provide 3d visions of some in-game architecture (I plan to talk a little more about that in the future). We play multi-year campaigns with a pretty stable group of 4 players and 1 GM (I am, it turns out, not the usual GM--although I do GM).

  2. We Decide What To Play--And Usually It Turns Into A JAGS Book. We decide on a general game we want to play and over the period of play we play-test various rules and consider what works and what didn't. This material is tracked and it becomes, if we're lucky, a JAGS book. Not always: we ran a really successful Super Hero game that we haven't figured out what a published book would look like yet.

  3. Once We Have Enough Notes, I Start Working On 'The Book.' For Have-Not, after the campaign ended, we knew we wanted to re-do the 2003 book. The question was "what would that look like--especially with all the notes from the game we played"? The answer was, it turned out, three volumes of gear, monsters, landscape, and so on.

  4. My Own Process--Writing and Artwork: One of the things that really pleased me for Have-Not was my own creation of maps and treasure pictures using some (novice) skills I have picked up. I'm learning (there is a lot to learn) and I'm not great--but I think I am improving! So one of the things that is happening as we go over all the play-notes / collateral created by the play-tests is that I am seeing what I am capable of creating by way of my own generated artwork. Could I do space-ships? Weapons? Other gear? Maybe. Of course this takes time--we all have day jobs--and ultimately, my ability to do artwork isn't as important to the end-product as getting stuff written. So it's a lengthy process and one that often has a bunch of twists and turns as my energy / availability / specific interests change over time.

So what this basically means is that there's usually a lot of work going on that no one coming to the web-site would ever see. I've long been under the belief that nobody really cared that much--but, from some feedback I've gotten, apparently that's not quite true.

So I'm working on the blog here--and maybe I can show some of the in-progress work and people who care about JAGS will like that? I hope so anyway.

Take care out there guys! Remember to have fun.

(Image of a Fairchilde Arms long-gun).

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