Episode 8: Indies, RPGs, Medicine, C64 and Remakes

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We're like a bad penny - We always turn up. It's Episode 8! Did we cut the show down, or has it grown into something we can't control? You'll have to listen to find out! Matt Barton, Bill Loguidice, Christina Loguidice, Chip Hageman, and I - Chris Kennedy - give you the latest in listener bliss.

Click here to download the show.




Segments and approximate times below:

  • Matt Barton on Indie games and their quest to save us from lack of originality in today's games (4:06)
  • Chip Hageman on Commodoreserver.com (21:35)
  • Christina Loguidice on the use of videogames in medicine (36:32)
  • Bill Loguidice's first computer roleplaying experience (45:25)
  • Chris Kennedy and videogame remakes (1:11:16)

As always, we'd really appreciate any feedback you have to offer on the episode. You can leave comments here, email us, or review the show on iTunes. You can also subscribe to our RSS Feed.

Matt's show notes:

Bill's show notes:

  • Example of an early TSR Dungeons & Dragons cover
  • Example of wireframe cover/ad art for Epyx's Temple of Apshai
  • Cover art for SSI's Phantasie and the ad
  • Cover for Penguin's Expedition Amazon
  • Cover for Origin's AutoDuel
  • Cover for SSI's Pool of Radiance

Comments

Bill Loguidice
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eBooks
Nathaniel Tolbert wrote:

I know this is a weird question, but with a book that would obviously have a lot of art, pictures and such, how well will that fare for most e-book readers? The current champion e-book reader is the Kindle, and it's greyscale. Don't get me wrong pictures are nice, but they aren't anything to write home about.

That's where all the color tablets (iPad 2, Xoom, Galaxy Tab, Nook, etc.) become so important. While black and white e-Readers - and really only the Kindle is worth discussing at this point - have their place and will continue to have a presence due to low price, ubiquity, ruggedness and readability, I believe the reality is color capability will in short order be a priority. So either Amazon puts out a color e-ink Kindle product, or the device will become specialized for straight text books, like your typical novel. To me, it's inevitable. Even Amazon has hedged their bets, making their Kindle app available on everything. Outside of readability and straight text, the Kindle experience is superior on all those other platforms than their flagship eInk device.

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Nathaniel Tolbert
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I don't know if I agree with that

I don't know if I agree with that. I have looked at the color readers, and I have tried reading on an iPad, my DroidX, and a few other devices that have the kindle app, and while yes, color is nice, the reading isn't. I'm one of those people that buys a 120Hz monitor not because he wants 3d capability, but because the 60Hz monitor makes his eyes hurt from the constant flicker from the refresh. We have no flourescent strip lights in the house because they give me headaches. I can watch the refresh at 60Hz quite easily. It's painful. My phone is the same way. I don't know how my wife can play Angry birds until my battery dies. I can't look at the screen for more than 30 minutes. But on the Kindle. The Kindle I can read for hours and hours, like I can with a real book because it doesn't have a refresh with the way the e-ink and paper tech works. As far as I understand color e-ink is a bit of a ways off as it isn't always accurate, and it sure as hell isn't fast. I will hold out for a reader for now. I still enjoy filling my bookshelves with real books, like I do with my computer games. Physical media makes me feel like I truly own something, even though in this day and age that isn't so.

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Bill Loguidice
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Well, here's the thing,

Well, here's the thing, Nathaniel, it's a fact that most people aren't that particular. Whether it's watching SD content on an HD TV and thinking it's HD (or "stretched" versus letterbox even), or reading on a color tablet versus an eInk device, I don't think the average person really notices, and certainly not enough to care. It's kind of sad really because it undermines the experience for those of us who DO care, but I believe those are the facts. It's the axiom I pound around here--just good enough wins, not necessarily what's best.

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Bill Loguidice
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Here are two interesting

Here are two interesting features on self publishing versus traditional publishing via Slashdot:

IT book - http://slashdot.org/story/11/03/18/1932216/The-Adventure-In-Self-Publish...

Best seller dude - http://news.slashdot.org/story/11/03/22/0125218/Best-Selling-Author-Refu...

Honestly, I'd have a hard time turning down the obscene amount of $500k... ;-)

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Nathaniel Tolbert
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That is quite a lot of money...
Bill Loguidice wrote:

Honestly, I'd have a hard time turning down the obscene amount of $500k... ;-)

Look at it from his perspective, he turned down a 500K contract, with 19% royalties, for a 79% take of each sale on the e-book version. The gentleman is a New York times best seller, and undoubtedly has a following, so 500K is probably less than what he could make off of 79% of each sale. For starting authors, yes it makes sense to go through a publisher, if you can get their attention, once established, it does seem like e-publishing makes a better decision. The question is what about editing and such? Those are usually supplied by the publisher, so if you are self-publishing, how is that done? I make mistakes constantly and where as I am not an English major, I'm certain that being human means mistakes are made. Here's something interesting...

Say Barry Eisler self publishes electronically his next book, at 9.99 and sells 500,000 copies, for a total of $499,500 with his take being $394,605. Not bad to not have to deal with deadlines, pushy editors and such. Granted he would have made more with the contract, but that contract may also stipulate a set number of books over a period of years, ending with a smaller amount per book. Without seeing the contract we can never be sure, but if his book sells well (and 500K e-books is very very very well) he could theoretically make more money than through the publisher. Personally, I would just like to have an idea that others would be entertained by reading.

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Bill Loguidice
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Publishing
Nathaniel Tolbert wrote:

Look at it from his perspective, he turned down a 500K contract, with 19% royalties, for a 79% take of each sale on the e-book version. The gentleman is a New York times best seller, and undoubtedly has a following, so 500K is probably less than what he could make off of 79% of each sale. For starting authors, yes it makes sense to go through a publisher, if you can get their attention, once established, it does seem like e-publishing makes a better decision. The question is what about editing and such? Those are usually supplied by the publisher, so if you are self-publishing, how is that done? I make mistakes constantly and where as I am not an English major, I'm certain that being human means mistakes are made. Here's something interesting...

Having written (and in the process of writing) several books, and with my wife in the medical journal profession as an editor, I can tell you that good editors are at a premium, so that's not necessarily an advantage for the traditional publishing route. 99%+ of ALL books out there have some error or another. Really.

The self publishing process - if you're to do it right - would naturally follow a similar process as going with a publisher, though. One or more authors. A technical editor/fact checker. A layout/design person. An editor. For instance, here at Armchair Arcade, we have the in-house resources to do all of that, which is why self publishing would be an option for us, and in fact we can get in that business and help others publish. Of course that's in the future. Many of the AA staffers are quite busy with other projects these days.

Nathaniel Tolbert wrote:

Say Barry Eisler self publishes electronically his next book, at 9.99 and sells 500,000 copies, for a total of $499,500 with his take being $394,605. Not bad to not have to deal with deadlines, pushy editors and such. Granted he would have made more with the contract, but that contract may also stipulate a set number of books over a period of years, ending with a smaller amount per book. Without seeing the contract we can never be sure, but if his book sells well (and 500K e-books is very very very well) he could theoretically make more money than through the publisher. Personally, I would just like to have an idea that others would be entertained by reading.

Selling 500,00 copies is an extraordinary number. I bet less than one half of one percent of all authors get anywhere near that figure. Eisler is not a typical author nor in a typical situation. A strong seller in our field (videogame/tech books) is around 10,000 copies, as a point of comparison...

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Nathaniel Tolbert
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That clears up my questions

I always wondered about the editing. That helps clear up some questions that I have had about self publishing. Personally, I don't feel I have any information that is really entertaining to anyone other than me and a few of my friends.

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Nous
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words and numbers
Nathaniel Tolbert wrote:

Say Barry Eisler self publishes electronically his next book, at 9.99 and sells 500,000 copies, for a total of $499,500 with his take being $394,605. Not bad to not have to deal with deadlines, pushy editors and such. Granted he would have made more with the contract, but that contract may also stipulate a set number of books over a period of years, ending with a smaller amount per book. Without seeing the contract we can never be sure, but if his book sells well (and 500K e-books is very very very well) he could theoretically make more money than through the publisher. Personally, I would just like to have an idea that others would be entertained by reading.

Surely you meant to say 50,000 copies, not 500,000 copies ;-)

$9.99 times 500,000 is of course almost $5m, not half a million :-)

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