The Daily Illuminator

Past columns

April 29, 1995

Proper punctuation is very important. Right? Right. So . . .

"Wouldn't the sentence 'I want to put a hyphen between the words Fish and And and And and Chips in my Fish And Chips sign' have been clearer if quotation marks had been placed before Fish, and between Fish and and, and and and And, and And and and, and and and And, and And and and, and and and Chips, as well as after Chips?"

April 27, 1995

Happy birthday, Rick! There were four candles on the cake, whatever that means. And he blew them out in one puff, without catching his hair on fire.

Color proofs for The INWO Book came today. Pretty, pretty, pretty. Except for the pages that are fouled up, which is the whole point of getting color proofs in the first place. We will fix it, we will, we will, and you will be amazed at its wondrousness.

We got e-mail from a card retailer today, saying she was already sold out of the INWO Factory Set. Heh, heh. Fortunately, her distributor's nearby . . . she said she was ordering ten more . . . and thus the plot for World Control progresses.

April 26, 1995

Online Toon, anybody?

We have a willing and silly Animator, but a shortage of players . . . if you want to get in on the fun, check out

And . . . oh, yes . . . the INWO Factory Set ships today from distributors!

April 25, 1995

It's party time!

We're all cutting out early to McKinney Falls State Park, for barbeque and a picnic celebrating the release of INWO Unlimited Edition. Yee-hah!

We're out of here.
-- Scott Haring

April 24, 1995

Derek Pearcy is putting those final touches on the In Nomine manuscript. Don't forget, we've got playtest files available for you to look through and comment on. The last time I mentioned this, not all the files were up (some sidebars were missing), but it's all there now.

Why all the panic? Why this week? Because Derek leaves on Saturday for the Cap Cities trade show in Chicago, IL, followed by a month's vacation in Europe! I'll try to get Derek to post something here before he leaves . . .

And he's not the only one with a traveling Jones. Steve Jackson will spend 11 days in Brazil, editor Susan Pinsonneault is taking a week to go camping in Yellowstone, and I'm planning a couple of weeks exploring the grandeur of minor league baseball in the South, all in the next month or so! Do we know how to have fun or what?
-- Scott Haring

April 22, 1995

One hardly knows what to make of this helpful hint, posted to the net by John Aegard, so we'll just pass it along:

If you or a loved one is involved in the military and can steal an ammo box for 7.62 mm NATO cartridges, they make great INWO carriers. Nifty slide-off lid with a handle for carrying, and they're bulletproof! (They're great for those Magic types who want to keep those Black Lotuses mint, too.)

[Pyramid #13 Cover]

April 21, 1995

We got the cover of Pyramid #13 up on the Web, thanks to Jim Cloos -- don't it look nice?

This issue is still at the printer, and what with shipping times and all, it may be another month before you see it (much later than I'd hoped, but sometimes that's the way it goes) -- but it will be worth it. This is the issue with the two free preview cards from Wizards of the Coast's Ice Age, by the way, and will be the most popular issue in Pyramid history, with a circulation of well over 20,000!

Pyramid #14 is coming along nicely, and has a good chance of getting us back on schedule. This issue's got loads of neat stuff, including a feudal Japan adventure, GURPS rules for weapons with a mind and will of their own, a new minor bloodline for Vampire, as well as our regular features and lots of other stuff.

Looking down the line, we'll do another big giveaway in our September/October issue, #15. We'll kick it off with a new INWO card from the upcoming Assassins Expansion Set. Like our last INWO giveaway, this card will not be available in the regular run of the expansion set. Then add in some promo cards from some other manufacturers -- we already have a committment from Thunder Castle Games for a Towers In Time card that won't be available in any other magazine, and a Highlander card that won't be available anywhere else! And that's just for starters . . .
-- Scott Haring

April 20, 1995

Every time I turn around, I am amazed by the potential of this thing called the Web ...

You've probably already seen it on your way to this page, but in case you haven't, Jeff Koke has done another bit of graphic wizardry on the SJ Games home page. You should definitely check it out.

And I found a couple of cool new links I thought I'd share with you today. For all you sports junkies (like me), ESPN has a Web page that isn't great on graphics (though it ain't bad), but has loads of information, the latest news stories, features and columns from their on-air staff and other nationally famous sportswriters, and lots of other cool stuff.

And if you're a science-fiction fan (and who isn't?), the Sci-Fi Channel has a pretty extensive Web page with lots of schedules, features and other things of interest. Happy surfing!
-- Scott Haring

April 19, 1995

Welcome back to Brenda Hurst, who personally supervised the drop-shipping of the INWO Factory Set from the printers. The samples we've seen rock, and we think you'll love 'em a lot.

Time for a couple more samples from the ''Things You Can Do With INWO Blank Cards'' list:

''Place your cards in a circle around you. 'They' cannot get to you while the circle remains unbroken.''
''Two words: More fiber.''
More to follow, surely ...
-- Scott Haring

April 18, 1995

There are some days when nothing momentous happens ... today seems to have been one of those days. Nothing came in, nothing went out, nobody visited -- we just all worked on stuff.

I spent a good part of the day working on the next issue of Pyramid, Derek cranked away on In Nomine, and Jeff, Susan and Rick worked on various GURPS projects -- Cyberpunk, Fantasy Folk 2nd ed., IOU, Reign of Steel ... some stuff that's going to come out soon, and some that won't be out for months.

I did make some minor modifications to my home page, adding pictures my sister sent me of my six-month-old niece, the cutest baby on the planet -- check it out if you dare.
-- Scott Haring

April 17, 1995

Today's news is all Web related. First off, we've got playtest files for In Nomine available for you to look through -- heaven (or hell) is just a mouse click away!

Second, the rest of those GAMA Trade Show pictures are available for the curious. One word of warning, though -- this is now a very large page with lots of pictures, and it may take awhile for your slower browsers to download it all.

And thirdly, a Web service called Table of Contents, Inc. has added Pyramid to its stable. They now have gifs of the current cover and text of the table of contents of over 200 magazines covering everything imaginable. You can find Pyramid under ''Electronic and Computer Games'' -- not a perfect fit, but the best available ...
-- Scott Haring

April 15, 1995

Yet another game company heard from ... check out the new conference,, for news and talk about Visionary Games and their ''digital book'' magazine, Vision Quest. And visit their home page here on IO!

April 14, 1995

Another week ends, and we actually got some things accomplished around here. The reprint of the Principia Discordia, the Bible of Discordianism, the Textbook of Weirdness, the strangest book I've ever thumbed through in my life, went to the printer today. Look for it in May.

And we're wrapping up the insert cards for the INWO Blank Cards that will be on sale in June. It's just a pack of 20 blank INWO cards, for making up your own groups, using as proxies so you don't expose your precious Rares to damage, and other nefarious uses. What other uses? Well, the insert card -- the card that has the price and product information on it -- provides a number of useful suggestions. We've come up with a bunch, and at the rate of one per pack, it will take a while to get them all. How many are there exactly? That would be telling ... but here's a couple of samples:

''Tape them together into a giant pyramid and fly it like a kite. When the sky darkens, wait for further instructions.''
''Forge Secret Service credentials on one, gain access to game companies everywhere.''
More weirdness sure to follow. Have a nice weekend, everybody. Happy Easter.
-- Scott Haring

April 13, 1995

So, is everyone planning to do their taxes over the weekend?

We learned of a small brush with media greatness today ... it seems that People magazine did a profile on Dan Hirschman, a 10-year-old from Southfield, MI who became the youngest Life Master in the history of the American Contract Bridge League. I played a lot of bridge in college, and I think I acquired 8 rating points or so at various tournaments. You need 150 (I think) to be a Life Master. Anyway, it's an impressive accomplishment. But to get back to the topic, Dan said in the article that he thought bridge was ''boring''. What games did he like to play, the interviewer asked? INWO, he answered. Bless his little heart. We're sending him a INWO Factory Set.

Yet another small step completed in our quest for world domination ...
-- Scott Haring

[Robots Front Cover]

April 12, 1995

Bluelines arrived for GURPS Robots today, and that seemed like as good an excuse as any to show you the beautiful John Zeleznik cover again ... we had the usual series of panic attacks when we discovered a few problems that eluded every other stage of proofreading, but that's what bluelines are for. (The name bluelines, by the way, comes from the fact that they're printed in blue on a photo-sensitive paper -- the proof is burned directly from the final films, so it's the last chance to catch a mistake before the book is printed.)

We bid goodbye to Pyramid #13 today, though it turns out we may not have a spine after all. Turns out the printer gave us an incorrect bid before, and we may not go with the fancy new binding. But it is still 96 pages, with 80 pages of color, and two free preview cards of Wizards of the Coast's Ice Age. And it still rocks.

Let me add my thanks to Jeff Koke for his great job on the new Daily Illuminator title graphic -- nice job!
-- Scott Haring

April 11, 1995

If you have a graphics browser, you just finished taking in the beautiful new Daily Illuminator header created by Jeff Koke. If you're using a text browser like Lynx, of course, you can't see a thing. Life is cruel...

In other news, we just got our sample copies of the second Car Wars novel from Tor Books: Double Jeopardy, by Aaron Allston. It's a good book. I'm not saying that because Aaron is a friend (though he is) or because we make a little bit off every copy (though we do). Shoot, borrow a copy if you don't feel like buying it ... if you enjoy the Car Wars world, you'll like this book, and then you'll buy it. Grin.

Aaron's first novel, Galatea in 2-D, which was not a ''game novel'' or franchise of any kind, was also excellent; I look forward to seeing a lot more from him. In fact, he's got a new book just out, Doc Sidhe, and I have to go pick up a copy ...
-- Steve Jackson

[INWO Book Cover]

April 10, 1995

Well, things seem to be returning to a semblance of normalcy. The INWO Book went to the printer -- again -- this weekend, and now it might really be just a few short weeks from release. Pyramid #13 is moving along nicely, and has a good chance of going to the printer tomorrow.

What else is new ... a first draft of Reign of Steel, a worldbook for GURPS Robots showed up, as did the final draft of GURPS IOU. IOU stands for ''Illuminati University''. What does the O stand for? You're not cleared for that. Fnord.
-- Scott Haring

April 7, 1995

We had a visitor today -- John Nephew of Atlas Games, publishers of the Over The Edge roleplaying game and the On The Edge trading card game. He's in town on business; it seems there's a convention of companies that supply public schools with educational materials, and he's here pushing the card game as an educational tool. I hear Lily Garfield of Wizards of the Coast is in town for the same reason, but she hasn't dropped by our offices ...

I suppose these card games could be used in education ... they're colorful, portable and already popular. And they could be used to teach arithmetic, or set theory, or in the case of INWO, political science. :-)

Did you know that Atlas Games has a home page here on IO? Actually there's a whole bunch of game companies that do ... check it out!
-- Scott Haring

April 6, 1995

Someone just take me out and shoot me, OK?

I don't want to sound too depressed -- hell, real baseball's coming back! But we just got some bad news about The INWO Book. It seems the hard drive we sent to the printer with the entire book on it failed. Or crashed. Or whatever you want to call it. Anyway, it's a doorstop now, and not a very good one at that. And it turns out our backup copy is missing a few files that need to be redone. This project was in great shape, and now it's dog food. And as Managing Editor, I feel personally responsible. So just shoot me.

The worst part is that our April lineup of products -- which was to include GURPS Robots and the INWO Factory Set -- is now likely to be late. And I hate it when things are late.

But here's something for your amusement -- I've managed to Web up a few electronic photos I shot at the GAMA Trade Show in New Orleans a couple weeks ago. Take a look!
-- Scott Haring

April 5, 1995

The ''collectable'' part of the ''collectable card game'' phenomenon is sometimes hard to get a finger on. Sometimes, the people that collect a game have different needs than the people that play. And sometimes those needs are in direct conflict. Steve decided early on that while doing a game that collectors would have an interest in is certainly nice (nice, hell -- it's the whole point), that if the interests of the game players ever conflicted with those of the collectors, we'd come down on the side of the gamers.

So when we get a chance to do something nice for collectors, we try to let you know about it ... We set aside just over 200 sets of Limited Edition press sheets (five different sheets to each set) of INWO back in October when the Limited Edition was first printed. Then we had Steve and all the artists sign each sheet, and the sets were numbered. And now you've got a chance to get one.

We're running a blind auction over the Internet of 100 sets of Limited Edition press sheets. This is a genuine collectable opportunity not to be missed; for more information, send e-mail to
-- Scott Haring

April 4, 1995

I told you UCLA would do it ...

On to more important things. I promised you an update on the next issue of Pyramid. The move to 96 pages (8 more than before) is confirmed, and we're going to have a lot more color, too -- 80 of the 96 pages! (It's not quite full-color, but it's close ...) We're also going with a new kind of binding called ''ota-binding'' which is like perfect binding, except the magazine will lie flatter. Also, for the first time, Pyramid will have a spine. (No jokes about us being previously spineless, please.) Magazine Architect Derek Pearcy is already salivating at the prospect of what he can do, not only with this issue's spine, but all the ones to come. How about a series of seemingly random graphics that form a larger picture when you put the issues in order on a bookshelf? Secret orders from the Hidden Masters? Who knows ...
-- Scott Haring

April 3, 1995

A new month, and with it a clean slate for The Daily Illuminator ...

We welcome back Derek Pearcy, who brought back stories of spring blizzards on his trip to a Buffalo, NY game convention. Oh, yeah, he also brought back a tremendous cold and lots of In Nomine files. I'll get him to run a playtest if he's feeling better later this week.

We also welcome back Brenda Hurst, who spent the better part of a week overseeing the direct shipping of the Unlimited Edition of INWO to our distributors. The official distributor release date is tomorrow -- enterprising retailers who really want to could go pick up the cards and have them on sale the same day. But given the time shipping takes, most stores will have it by the end of the week.

Any other basketball fans out there? I'm going with UCLA tonight (they were my pick before the tournament started), but I expect a close game. Should be fun to watch at any rate.
-- Scott Haring