Zeppelins & Bombers - New/Old Info

Covering the FASA version of Crimson Skies.
Phoenix
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Re: Zeppelins & Bombers - New/Old Info

Postby Phoenix » Tue Mar 06, 2012 4:33 pm

Thanks for all of the new information, Patrick. It's great to get a look inside FASA's process and see how things worked. It'd be awesome if we could get a look at whatever material you have for Z&B - I've got my fingers crossed!
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Patrick
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Re: Zeppelins & Bombers - New/Old Info

Postby Patrick » Tue Mar 06, 2012 7:15 pm

What kind of restrictions were you given when you wrote the book?


For Z&B, my main restriction was a CS bible that had been put together by some of the creators of CS along with a couple Microsoft guys. All of my zeppelins, bombers, and other mentions had to fall within the boundaries of their primer. I was able to decide most of the rules and designs, but it had to stay balanced, and the look of each nation's airships had to be consistent with what had come before. For example, the Black Swan's airship Huntress is a captured Texas airship, mentioned in Pride and expanded upon in Z&B.

I was given more freedom that I was expecting for both Pride and Z&B. I think the Air Rangers were originally envisioned as a law enforcement unit, but I saw them more as the air force itself. The rules are mostly balanced, and you can take two players who want to play a campaign against one another, choose starting income (let's say $20,000) and each go in completely different directions to build up their fighting force. Want to pay for better aircraft? You might have to skimp on veteran pilots. What about better rockets? You'll pay by having less fuel you can afford. Etc etc.

Were you given a certain timeline you had to incorporate and then free reign to fill in the holes?


I assume you mean 193X - 193Y. Not really. It was clear the game was going to progress the same as Battletech and Shadowrun did - slowly moving forward through events in the universe as new source books emerged. But the game universe was still so fresh that it it would have been awhile before we saw the light of day in 1938. :)

Did they direct you on certain character creation?


Not really, though Z&B isn't character heavy. For Pride I wanted Texas to have it's own heroes of the sky. Hollywood had them. The ISA had them. The pirates had them. Texas didn't really have one that appealed to me, which is where Phillip O'Malley came from. I wanted a rising star that had all the makings of a living recruitment poster for RTAF service. An ace pilot with a chiseled look and a sexy aircraft.

By the way, the reason the Mockingbird's tail seems to sweep forward is because it was my nod to Mooney Aircraft, an airplane manufacturer based out of Houston that is famous for it's "backwards" tail design. (They used to hold the world air speed record for turbo prop production aircraft.)

Were you surprised with what you were able to get away with if you tried to push the boundaries at all?


Yes! This was the best thing about working for FASA. Once they knew I had a complete vision for how Texas was supposed to fit into the rest of CS (and the rest of what they had established Texas to be), they cut me lose and said they could pull it back in editing if need be. I was able to exagerrate everything. Make the airships, the aircraft inventory numbers, the nation's GDP, everything bigger. I wrote Pride in the voice of a journalist turned propaganda writer, who willingly trades in a press hat for a government badge and puts a pro-Texas spin on everything.

With Z&B the same thing was true. For example, the heavy bomber for Hollywood is a 6 engined flying wing with three Bloodhawks mounted on top of it's dorsal surface. They can't reattach during flight, so they serve as passive escorts and deploy as needed, then after the threat has passed must find a place to land if they don't have the range to get where the bomber is going. They approved the concept and nearly every other one I put forth.

More to come...

Patrick

Modhail
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Re: Zeppelins & Bombers - New/Old Info

Postby Modhail » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:01 am

Welcome Patrick!
Thank you for the information and insights.

Jerba
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Re: Zeppelins & Bombers - New/Old Info

Postby Jerba » Thu Mar 08, 2012 2:26 pm

Thank you for answering my interrogation with great answers! Did they have you work with any of the authors of the short stories that they released about Texas? The Helium War story stands out in my mind as one of the good ones.

Patrick
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Re: Zeppelins & Bombers - New/Old Info

Postby Patrick » Sat Mar 10, 2012 7:36 pm

Did they have you work with any of the authors of the short stories that they released about Texas? The Helium War story stands out in my mind as one of the good ones.


Not really. I talked to Chris (Hartford) and Eric and a few of the others a couple of times via email, but mostly I worked through Ross, and during the final drafts with Sharon. I read the Helium War, but I can't remember if it predated the mansucript for Pride. (When I started writing the manuscript for Pride, the only CS items released were the game itself and Wings Over Manhattan. Crimson Veil came out as I was writing Pride, and I was given advance info about it as well as the never-finished Hollywood source book to ensure my Texas info was up to date and accurate.

I don't remember what information I got about the Hollywood sourcebook, but I don't think it was actual verbiage. An example would be something like "Bloodhawks can be used in Texas because Hughes is a Texan and has no issues selling Hughes Aircraft designs to his homeland." That is just an example, not a specific instance. All I have of the Hollywood book is I *think* I remember who was scheduled to write it, out of the stable of freelancers FASA used, but I could be mistaken. I don't even remember why it never got written (as I recall it only got as far as the outline stage.) Besides Texas, this was the sourcebook I was most looking forward to as a fan. (And I say Texas not just because I was writing it and wanted to see it in print, but because I wanted my concept of CS Texas to be "official canon."

By the time Pride came out, Crimson Veil, the somewhat maligned Aircraft Manual, and Blake Aviation Security had been completed and released. All the others that made it to publication/almost publication were already in full swing by then, including Zeppelins & Bombers.

Patrick

Patrick
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Re: Zeppelins & Bombers - New/Old Info

Postby Patrick » Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:43 pm

Update - It's looks like I have the green light to release the Z&B pdf.

I will need to make a couple of modifications, and it will be released for free with the understanding that it is now considered unofficial. That said, the rules, designs, background info, etc will be included as they appeared in the final draft version of the Z&B manuscript. (So it isn't canon, but it would have been.)

I will also include some crude mockups of the zeppelin designs, bomber designs, move charts, damage sheets, etc., and probably scare up some formatting to tie it together.

That's the good news.

The bad news is the timing. I am moving in the next few weeks, and everything is now packed and ready to go. I will need to unpack and set everything up (and dig out my physical CS files for a few resources) before I can get started on this.

Also, I am trying to establish my writing career, and am having to balance editing my second novel amidst getting this book out. I do feel that the CS community should have this source book, so I will see if I can get through it as quickly as possible, but for now please be patient with my progress. (If you want something to do in the meantime, you could always read my first novel, Three If By Air).

One more thing: If anyone is willing to help out, let me know. I'm not sure what all I would need yet, but I would like to know who would be available.

Thanks,
Patrick

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doc shirmon
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Re: Zeppelins & Bombers - New/Old Info

Postby doc shirmon » Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:53 pm

whoa, this is exiting news!

i would like to help, as i mentioned earlier in this thread.

i'll 'pn' you for this patrick.

wishes
doc shirmon
who's flying this thing?

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foxmalcolm
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Re: Zeppelins & Bombers - New/Old Info

Postby foxmalcolm » Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:37 pm

SWEET!!
I am in! If you need any help with any graphics then let me know.
I have been the Montana Raiders main artist for awhile now, helping out members with what they need.
As an example, I put forward this Cover work I did for Yahzuk's campaign manual.
:mrgreen:
Image

Patrick
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Re: Zeppelins & Bombers - New/Old Info

Postby Patrick » Wed Mar 14, 2012 8:54 pm

I should add that anyone who is interested in helping email me at novelhawk (at) patrickkoepke dot com.

Give me your name, your handle here, and what you would like to help with.

I can't guarantee I'll need everyone's help with what they want to help with, but I'll see what I need as I go.

Thanks everyone.

Patrick

Jerba
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Re: Zeppelins & Bombers - New/Old Info

Postby Jerba » Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:32 pm

Wow, great news indeed! Thanks, Patrick! Your hard work is appreciated. I hope the move goes well. Relocating is always a pain.

I highly recommend FoxMalcolm's graphics! He came up with some great images for me at one point.

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