Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Palladium Fires Back At Trion Over Rifts Trademark


News, news, and more news out of the battle over the rights to the name "Rifts" in the video game world. Trask at livingdice.com continues to rule over this story, posting legal goodness and keeping everyone up to date, so I'll refer you to him for the broad stroke. He presents it far better than I would, and I'd hate to step on his toes and steal his material. Well, maybe I wouldn't hate it, but I'm still not going to do it.

There actually isn't that much new to report, as Palladium basically just responded to Trion's lawsuit over Palladium's Rifts trademark. There are a few things worthy of mention, however, so I'll dive into those below the fold. If you feel like refreshing yourself on the ins and outs of this case as it has developed, and get my thoughts as a Rifts author and Palladium freelancer, you may view all such posts here.

Read on for more.



Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Build A Better RPG

Innovation is key

I'm not much of an expert when it comes to game design. I've never published a role-playing mechanics set that stands on its own. I haven't even played that many different systems. I am a gamer, however, and I have sat behind a screen with my head in my hands from time to time thinking, "Isn't there a better way?"

Lately I've been considering many aspects of game design, and how it is approached by many of the pros out there. As something of a designer, myself, and more importantly as someone who must work within existing canon rules as a game author, and even more importantly as someone who enjoys the role of Game Master at my table, I have some thoughts and advice. Please take them as you will. Read on for more.



Friday, June 25, 2010

What Palladium Should Be Doing Today



It's been a legal-intensive week for me. I've spent the greater portion of it serving on a jury, hearing a very difficult and complicated criminal case. One side effect of being so occupied is that I haven't been here on the blog quite so much, meaning that I have not been able to comment on the latest in what started out as Palladium Books vs. Trion Worlds, but is now actually the other way around since Trion filed its lawsuit in California last week.

To briefly recap, the whole fuss is about whether or not Palladium Books, publisher of the traditional "pen and paper" Rifts RPG, has a valid and applicable trademark over the term "Rift" as the title of a "massive multiplayer online" RPG. There are various shades and nuances of the case, but that's what it comes down to, more or less. If you want all of the facts, I'll refer you over to livingdice.com, where Trask has done an excellent job tracking the story. For more information and for my thoughts on the issue as a Rifts RPG author, you can view those posts here.

Today we sit together at our electronic table to talk about what Palladium should be doing in the months leading up to its newly-assigned court date of September 10, 2010. I don't mean what it should be doing in terms of legal preparations or filing motions or conducting lawyering in general, but what Palladium should do to as a game-producing company as it awaits its day in court. I've spent some time thinking it over, and here is what I've come up with. Read on for more.



Monday, June 21, 2010

My Bundle Of Joy: Jason Richards Publishing



I won't be around as much as I would like this week, as I have had the honor of being put on a jury for the next few days. However, I did make good use of my time at the courthouse today, filing my paperwork to register my official business name. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Jason Richards Publishing to the world. Light up a cigar!

Why is this significant? Well, let me tell you. I now have the means to employ artists and writers as I press forward on this great adventure in the written word. I have hopes and dreams, many of which will see the light of day sooner than later.

I'm very excited to bring you only the best in all manner of content, and it will all start right here on this blog, so stay tuned.

Friday, June 18, 2010

More Star Wars NPCs For Your Pleasure


So, I continue working. I updated the last ones posted with some little tweaks, and am plugging away at new characters. I'm continuing to give each their own little special trait or ability for use in the coming one shot, which you can read more about here.

Read on for the character sheets.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Star Wars Lives! The Proxis Prospecting Co.


I am quite excited for my upcoming Star Wars game, and I'm always somehow surprised at how easy and fun character generation is in the D6 system is. Every character is different, there are really no "set" classes or templates, and tweaking the ruleset is easier than bullseyeing womp rats in your T-16 back home.

In all the excitement, I have three new characters to share with you tonight, complete with some fun and easy custom rules for each character, and some talk about how they'll be used. Read on for more.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Trion Renews Legal Assault Over Rifts


The hits keep on coming, don't they? I spent much of the weekend wondering how Palladium would respond to the news that the Michigan courts dismissed its lawsuit against Trion Worlds over the name of their new MMO, Rift: Planes of Telera. Palladium, as I'm sure you're aware, publishes the traditional tabletop RPG, Rifts. Now, all of my speculation is for nothing, as Trion has thrown the first punch of Round 2. Read on for the story, and my reactions as a Palladium Books freelancer and Rifts author.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Star Wars Lives Again


Just a quick hit tonight. I'm sitting here, watching Firefly on Netflix, and making Star Wars RPG characters. How is that for an awesome evening? I'm even going so far as to build a good character sheet, all typed out on the official template with character art worthy of posting.

In fact, here's a preview of the character I'm working on right now (click the image for a larger view). Pretty rad, huh? I loves me some Star Wars.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Palladium's Lawsuit Dismissed By Judge


Palladium Books was dealt an incredible blow today as a Michigan judge dismissed the lawsuit against Trion Worlds. Palladium argued that Trion's new MMO, "Rift: Planes of Telera," infringed on its trademark on Rifts for use in video games.

Here is the final portion of the decision:
For the reasons stated above, the Court grants Trion’s motion to dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2) for lack of personal jurisdiction. In addition, the Court denies Palladium’s request for expedited discovery. Finally, Palladium’s motion for a preliminary injunction is denied for lack of personal jurisdiction.
Thanks to Trask at livingdice.com for breaking the story. If you're looking for all of the facts, documents, and background, that's the place to go. Tell him I sent you and he'll give you a cookie.

Part 2 of NERD FIGHT! The Rifts Trademark Battle


Welcome back, one and all. Just a brief recap, for anyone with a short memory or who happened to miss Part 1 of this discussion. In the ongoing legal battle between Palladium Book (publisher of the Rifts RPG) and Trion Worlds (publisher of the upcoming Rift: Planes of Telera MMORPG), there have been some haymakers thrown. Some have hit for crushing impact, while others have missed hilariously in a cartoonish fashion. I have read the many, many pages of legal documents and now bring you the highlights.

In Part 1, the following distinctions were awarded:
  • Biggest waste of time
  • Most embarrassing argument
  • Funniest line
Let's continue, shall we? Read on for more, below the fold.



Thursday, June 10, 2010

Is Palladium's Rifts Trademark Legit?


This is just a quick hit as I write tomorrow's blog post. This bit of information doesn't really fit in with the rest of the article, but I felt like this was an important distinction.

When I read Palladium's Rifts trademark as it applies to movies, which you can read here, I started to wonder if it really was intended to cover a video game, or simply a utility such as the old Rifts Game Master Companion (RGMC), which allegedly was the basis for the trademark in the first place in 1995. The trademark reads:
FOR: COMPUTER GAME SOFTWARE AND COMPUTER GAME PROGRAMS CONTAINING ROLE PLAYING GAMES INVOLVING SCIENCE FICTION OR FANTASY ADVENTURES, OR INVOLVING CHARACTER GENERATION OR SCENARIO GENERATION.
Pretty vague, right? I could see how that might just cover something such as the RGMC. So, I dug around and found the trademark for a video game that we all know and love, Wolfenstein 3D. I've posted the document here if you're interested, but this is what it says:
FOR: COMPUTER SOFTWARE GAMES AND COMPUTER GAME PROGRAMS.
I guess that settles that. I was shocked at how simple the language was back then. For comparison, check out how much more detailed the trademark claim for Promise of Power is, below, or check it out here.
FOR: VIDEO GAME CARTRIDGES; VIDEO GAME DISCS; VIDEO GAME INTERACTIVE CONTROL FLOOR PADS OR MATS; VIDEO GAME INTERACTIVE REMOTE CONTROL UNITS; VIDEO GAME JOYSTICKS; VIDEO GAME MACHINES FOR USE WITH TELEVISIONS; VIDEO GAME SOFTWARE; VIDEO GAME TAPE CASSETTES.
And that's in addition to another big paragraph about toys and cheat guides and dozens of other things. Amazing.

I think Palladium is covered in this case, so long as the trademark isn't found to be fraudulent, as Trion claims. More on that in the morning. Just thought this might interest some people.

Also, how do you like the new logo for this article series?

NERD FIGHT! The Highlights Of Palladium Vs Trion


In some ways, when you step back and look at the Palladium Books and Trion Worlds battle over the right to name a game "Rift," it's a little silly. It's a game, after all. Does it really matter? In a world where children are starving and wars are raging and BP is trying to give Mother Earth a Jheri Curl, is this really something that we want to fight about, hold grudges over, and for which will be spent untold amounts of money? Really?

But, hey, that's the world in which we live. For better or worse, however we got here and whatever has come before, this is now a knock-down, drag out fight that could potentially rule the fortunes of dozens or hundreds of people. In the end, there's a chance that someone is going to wish they hadn't tied on their gloves.

We've had several developments in this story, many of which are just amazing to behold. Thanks to the detective work of livingdice.com, we have our hands on a number of court documents detailing Palladium's beef with Trion, Trion's response to Palladium, and then Palladium's rebuttal to Trion's response to Palladium. Confused yet? All told, there are in excess of 50 pages of legalese through which to swim, but luckily, I've already read them all so you just have to enjoy the highlights as I detail them below. You'll laugh. You'll cringe. You'll roll your eyes. It's like Thanksgiving with the in-laws, and it's right here on Jason Richards cannot be trusted. Read on for the greatness.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bad News For Palladium?


Cue the dramatic music. Trion Worlds has come out swinging against Palladium's legal actions against their new MMO, Rift: Planes of Telera. A day ahead of their meeting before a judge, Trion has finally responded to Palladium's allegations.

Thanks to livingdice.com, we have the documents. I'd encourage you to read the summary found there for the time being, and I'll be back tonight or first thing in the morning here. I'll give you my initial reactions, however, below.


Adding To The Star Wars Legacy


I'm not less than three weeks away from running my first of three Star Wars RPG one-shot adventures, all of which will lead up to the start of a new campaign. I thought I'd spend a few minutes discussing the setting, my plans, and what is in store for the players.

For starters, you might consider catching up on what was discussed a few weeks back on this subject, where I asked a number of questions about what I might or might not include. Once you've done that, feel free to read on for the details of the campaign. Where will it be set? And when? And who will populate this world? Answers follow.



Saturday, June 5, 2010

Quick Hit: Geek Itinerary


Lots to do this weekend, my friends. Lost to do.

I have before me a rare weekend that presents to me no extraneous "to do" list. I don't have to go anywhere. I don't have to do yard work. I'm not being called into the office. To my knowledge, the wife does not have any surprises to drop on me at the last minute. This means that I can get some other work done, namely the type of geekery work that I so enjoy.

Read on for the extremely geeky "to do" list.


Friday, June 4, 2010

Complete Characters #18: The Kavanagh Twins, Villainous Arms Developers

Enjoy today's Complete Character jam session

We have a special jam session today on Jason Richards cannot be trusted in the form of a collaborative guest appearance. Today's Complete Character, which is actually two characters, was provided by realityrefracted.com. A.L. stepped up to the plate and I think you'll be happy with the results.

Read on for the scoop on what is sure to be a classic Complete Character.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Judge Rules On Rifts Restraining Order


There has been a development in the legal battle between Palladium Books and Trion Worlds over the software developer's new MMO, Rift. If this is the first you're hearing about this, be sure to check out the original post for the story on the origin of the lawsuit, and my thoughts as a Rifts author.

Apparently, Palladium also asked for a restraining order against Trion, seeking to prevent their use of the "Rift" moniker. Read on to see how it turned out.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

New Super Mario Is The Devil



I've often been the victim of that bag of chips from which I can't seem to stop snacking. I've stuck with that television show long after it jumped the shark and yet I couldn't look away. I've even been lured into the web of that girl who I know isn't really interested, but flirts just enough to give me that sliver of false hope. Yes, these things are evil, and I have a new demon to add to the list: New Super Mario Bros Wii.