The Daily Illuminator

January 1 through January 31, 1995

Jan. 31, 1995

We sat down today and talked about releases for the next year ... not as a formal schedule-setting meeting, but just "what kind of things should we do?" Here's what it boiled down to:
At least a half-dozen new or revised GURPS products, and reprints of older ones where they're needed most. But no Fourth Edition GURPS for 1995. Maybe 1996, maybe not.
Get In Nomine out, really, and support it with a ref screen and a couple of supplements.
Keep INWO in print and well supported on the net. Release one supplementary card set, with an interesting theme, well before Christmas, and maybe another one about this time next year.
Release one more new trading-card game before Christmas, not based on an existing SJ Games product. (We have several candidates. Time to do some development, and later some [gasp] market research.)
Please don't cross-examine for details ... they don't exist yet. This is just a look at our wish list for 1995 and early 1996.
-- Steve Jackson

Jan. 30, 1995

The new Casus Belli came today. That's a big French game magazine, published by Jeux Descartes. Anyway, they had a Car Wars article ... "Oh, Mere-grand...Comme vous avez un gros canon!" Which translates as "Oh, grandmother, what a big gun you have!"
Vive la France!
-- Steve Jackson

Jan. 29, 1995

Before the big remodeling panic, we received Michael Andre- Driussi's first draft of GURPS Book of the New Sun, based on the award-winning Gene Wolfe novels. Those of you who read Pyramid will remember Michael's excellent article in issue #4. This worldbook promises to be 128 pages of the same ...
Before long we'll have the playtest draft posted for IO members' comment. It's far too soon to guess about a publication date for the book, but there's at at least an even chance that it will be in 1995, if the playtesters like it!
-- Steve Jackson

Jan. 28, 1995

Shea Ryan and John Kovalic, two of our three INWO artists, are here today, signing press sheets ... and signing, and signing, and signing. Dan Smith was here a couple of weeks ago for his turn. Autographing a thousand press sheets is fun. Kind of. For a while. That's why we do it in groups ... misery loves company. Some of the signatures and notes get a little weird, but the people who buy these will like it ...
If you don't know about the press sheet auction, hit the INWO home page and see. Bidding closes Jan. 31 for the first hundred sheets. We'll auction 100 more sometime later, but we're going to wait a while. Our retailers didn't get advance warning of the first auction, and some of them really want to bid the second time around.
-- Steve Jackson

Jan. 27, 1995

Andrew Hartsock, our veteran Print Buyer, is leaving SJ Games to go back to school. That means we've got a job opening ... If you have significant experience buying (or selling) book or game printing, check out my posting on, which goes into much more detail. Note that experience is necessary ... please, no "Ooooooh, I wanna work for a game company" mail.
-- Steve Jackson

Jan. 26, 1995

Scott Haring has been promoted to Managing Editor. He'll continue as editor of Pyramid Magazine, but he'll be taking some administrative responsibilities off my hands. For which I am profoundly grateful ...
-- Steve Jackson

Jan. 24, 1995

Back in the saddle now, kind of ... still not a happy camper, but better. Got a letter from eris recommending I eat kim chee. I'd rather be sick.
Good news from Japan. The translations for the Japanese version of GURPS are done by a company named Group SNE, in Kobe. That's right ... the city that was flattened by the earthquake. I fired off a fax to Hitoshi Yasuda, their president. He assures me that his staff and their families are OK. And he prods me to finish In Nomine ...
-- Steve Jackson

Jan. 21, 1995

Yeccch. Still sick. Spent some time in the office yesterday after closing, when I wouldn't breathe on anybody. Getting better, but still not a happy camper.
I need to shake this off and get back to work on INWO - the printer wants the changes to the rules and cards NOW NOW NOW and they're not ready. Nor will they BE ready until I finish going through nearly 3,000 messages on, giving them some heavy thought, and going over them with our INWO braintrust.
You know something? Having a hit on our hands hasn't made life any calmer. (Awww. Don't everybody feel sorry for me at once.) :-)
-- Steve Jackson

Jan. 18, 1995

Yes, I know. Long time no login from Stevie.
No, it wasn't that I was having that much fun at Dreamation - though it was a good con. But my connection back to here was kind of dicey. If we ever have to set up an account with that New Jersey Internet provider again, we'll start a lot more than a week in advance.
The short report on Dreamation: I had some fun; I got to see the alpha-test of a truly impressive LARP system, which ate everybody's minds. (To the extent that literally nobody showed up for most of the convention panels, because panel attendance was worth no character points.)
And I got to spend some time talking about future GURPS stuff with Bob and Peggy Schroeck (GURPS Werewolf, Mage, IST and others) and with Barbara Manui and Chris Adams, creators of Yamara, who also want to create a worldbook (no, not for Yamara's world!)
I also spent part of Monday at the American Museum of Natural History, and some of my notes will come in very handy when I start going over Stephen Dedman's GURPS Dinosaurs manuscript.
And I came down with a flu bug (again!) and got sicker than a dog, and haven't done anything useful since Monday night. Yeccch. Modems are nice; I can bring you this report without breathing on anyone.
-- Steve Jackson

Jan. 16, 1995

Steve's still not back from Dreamation (and he didn't send us any notes over the weekend -- can only assume he was having way too much fun...), so I guess I get to ramble some more.
Things are returning to a semblance of normal. The workers are pretty much done upstairs, and those folks are busy unpacking and reordering their offices. The paint-and-carpet crew have moved into the Illuminati Online part of the building, and it's their turn to work around the mess.
I have a desk, but no storage shelves or computer, so I continue to work at home. Got a nice set-up here: not state of the art, but pretty good. And the new 28.8 modem I got myself for Christmas makes doing things like the Daily Illuminator downright easy.
And modems are quickly becoming a necessary part of any computer set-up. One of the trends in computer games I saw at last week's CES was that everybody was making sure their new games could support head-to- head play over a modem and multiple-player play through a network. It's become the cool add-on to re-releases of old games, too. Play-by-modem became hip when Hollywood rumors had Steven Spielberg dialing up Robin Williams for head-to-head Wing Commander games on a regular basis. More gossip as it becomes available.
-- Scott Haring

Jan. 13, 1995

Friday the 13th! Good think I don't have triskaedekaphobia, or however you spell it... And happy birthday to my sister, who turns 29 for the 6th straight year.
Got a couple of photos up on the Web from last weekend's Consumer Electronics Show; Click here to take a look. Just a couple of photos so far (the office remodeling has slowed us down considerably); check this space for more photos in the future.
Yes, we're still remodeling. My office got paint and a carpet this week, and my desk reappeared today. Now where are my files?
-- Scott Haring

Jan. 12, 1995

When at the Consumer Electronics Show, it's always nice to have a neat new electronic toy; it just impresses the heck out of everybody.
I took a brand new QuickTime 100 electronic camera with me to Vegas. Made by Apple, it's an automatic camera (auto focus, auto exposure and flash, just your basic idiot-proof point-and-click camera) that instead of exposing the image to film, converts it instantly into a digital file and stores it in the camera's memory.
I got stopped dozens of times on the CES floor by folks who wanted to know how it worked and how I liked it (I liked it just fine). The camera's memory can hold 32 pictures taken at the low-resolution setting, but only 8 at the hi-res setting. When the camera got full, I would pull out my Power Book (OK, it was Derek Pearcy's Power Book, but he loaned it to me for the trip), hook up a serial cable and download the camera's contents to a file on the laptop. Then I'd clear the camera's memory and do it all over again.
I'll try to post a few of my CES pictures in the next day or so -- look for links here in the Daily Illuminator. The pictures will also be published in Pyramid, of course -- watch for 'em in Issue #12.
-- Scott Haring

Jan. 11, 1995

Spent last weekend in Las Vegas at the Winter Consumer Electronics Show, and while Steve is out of town at Dreamation in New Jersey, I thought I'd tell you a few stories.
Nobody from the "paper side" of the industry had a booth at the CES or anything -- but there were a bunch of us there. All the senior TSR executives were there; ever since they ended their exclusive arrangement with SSI for computer game versions of their RPG properties, they have been in hot demand. With 11 separate license-able roleplaying worlds, they were very busy.
Ran into Mike Nystul and Aaron Loeb of Pariah Press (of Whispering Vault fame), looking for a computer game license. Saw the Wizards of the Coast folks, who were busy at the MicroProse booth pushing the soon-to-be-released computer version of Magic: The Gathering. (And it looked real good, too.)
A few celebrity sightings: Larry Bird promoting the NBA Jam video game; Rich Hall telling jokes for the folks at Magnet International; Penn & Teller doing magic tricks for Absolute Entertainment, pushing a new release called Penn & Teller's Smoke and Mirrors; and tons of Playboy and Penthouse models (mostly plugging car stereos, of all things) and porno actresses (How did I know they were porno actresses? They just kinda looked the part, y'know?)
Anyway, more stories tomorrow.
-- Scott Haring

Jan. 10, 1995

And when the dust cleared, the pre-orders for the Unlimited INWO Edition had closed. This will be a bigger print run than last time; the total number of cards ordered (in both Starters and Boosters) is 23% greater.
This batch will ship sometime in the second half of March; the official ship date is "March 20," but we'll advise you later as to when they should really show up in your store.
-- Steve Jackson

Jan. 9, 1995

Orders close tomorrow for the Unlimited Edition of INWO - and Dana is working overtime to keep up. Every so often she comes out of her office, kills someone, and dashes back to take another phone call. The rest of us cower in hidden corners and lay bets about what the final totals will be.
-- Steve Jackson

Jan. 8, 1995

I promised a little bit more information about Dreamation, the convention I'll be attending next week. It's at the Holiday Inn Jetport in Elizabeth, NJ, the weekend of January 12-15 . . . I will get there on Thursday. There will be a couple of INWO events, an Illuminati tournament, and a lot of GURPS. I will also be running an Ogre Miniatures event.
Other guests will include Sam Lewis of FASA, Dave Frank of Games Workshop, and Bill Smith of West End.
For more information about the con, send e-mail to, or phone 718-881-4575.
-- Steve Jackson

Jan. 7, 1995

Dan Smith is in town today to sign the INWO press sheets for the artist auction (if you don't know about this, check out This is the first time that a lot of us (myself included) had actually met Dan, so we're having a great time.
-- Steve Jackson

Jan. 6, 1995

The upstairs remodeling is finished now, except for touchups. Everything reeks of paint, but it's beautiful. After more than ten years of living with a rug in Squashed Armadillo Orange, it was time for a change. The new one is deep blue . . . if I ever get around to finishing that Lego pirates game, I've got a perfect ocean.
-- Steve Jackson

Jan. 5, 1995

Today's surprise-in-the-mail was a Combine Light GEV model from Jeff Valent at Soldiers & Swords Miniatures. They're the ones doing the new Ogre miniature line, and this was the first prototype I'd seen. These are going to look nice . . .
I'll be at Dreamation weekend-after-next, in New Jersey (more details when I find that file in the shattered shell of my office.) Jeff will be there too, with more miniature prototypes, and yes, we'll be playing some Ogre - so if you're anywhere around New Jersey, look me up!
-- Steve Jackson

Jan. 4, 1995

Our new phone system is up and (kind of) running. We've needed this for years and years; finally, we have it. Our old phones were primitive and evil, and the building's phone wires were crufty.
Now we have lots of big black phones with buttons and LEDs all over them . . . and a long instruction manual written in Martian. Clearly these phones will do everything except cook your lunch, if you just know the right commands. Which we don't. But the phone guys are supposed to come out here soon for a training session. Welcome to the Nineties, when you have to be trained to use a phone.
-- Steve Jackson

Jan. 3, 1995

More of the same. Chaos, chaos. Those people who can work at home, are doing so. Those who have to be in the office are almost all working at someone else's desk. Are we having fun yet?
Adding insult to injury, the weather is hovering around freezing, and occasionally spitting rain. All in all, this would sure be a good time to take an extra week of vacation, preferably in another hemisphere.
-- Steve Jackson

Jan. 2, 1995

Remodeling is running a bit behind schedule . . . my office won't have carpet in it for at least another day. So I'm sitting at home working. I finished looking at Chris McCubbin's GURPS CthulhuPunk manuscript (looks good - should be in stores in late February), and I'm about to dig out the INWO file and start dealing with some of the questions that have stacked up over the holidays.
Almost all the editorial staff worked at home today, and may do the same tomorrow, so if we're slow to answer your e-mail, that's why.
-- Steve Jackson

Jan. 1, 1995

Happy New Year! We're not here. Why are you?