Icar news archive 2007 - 2012

This is the Icar news archive between 2002 and 2007. All the links have been removed because most of them are dead now.

New release of Icar core rules version 4 alpha

An updated release for the Icar core rules is now on Google Docs. After stripping a lot of technology out of the equipment index, it needed to be re-rendered, better explained and added into the core rules. I've also included stat blocks for weapons and vehicles.

There is more left to do but this update was important because the equipment and bionics sections were a massive hill to climb and now it's over, the remaining tasks are smaller and more manageable. I thought it was only going to take me a few months but I changed jobs twice and this make it difficult to spend any spare time doing anything else but getting into the groove of my job. I'm in the groove now so I have time I can spend on Icar again. And it feels great.

I am a little concerned that on my next full read through of the rules I will want to change a lot. This is because I've been writing a guide to writing a free RPG for my blog and by doing so I've uncovered a lot of excellent advice I didn't know before. By distilling ideas to share with others I will no doubt become very critical of my own work. One piece of advice I've not been able to follow is one of continuous delivery: release small and release often. By using continuous delivery, I think I will try and do more updates and end up working more on it.

I've started sketching a new website too. This one is long in the tooth and is a nightmare on mobile devices. I'll be doing a responsive design for it so that it moulds to whatever device you're using.

If you've got any questions or feedback on this release then the forum is by far the best way to communicate with me. I'm all over there like a rash. A nasty rash. One you can't scratch without making it worse. You know what I mean.

Equipment Index Version 4 Complete

Something of a milestone has just been hit! All the re-renders for the new Equipment Index have been complete. You can download it from Google Docs. It has been something of a struggle to replace old models and re-render them with shiney new textures but now they are done, I'm thrilled with the end result. The new equipment index is compatible with the old one but you'll find the statistics have changed along with the pictures. Also, I have replaced all the discs with simple numbers. Numbers in circles, naturally but numbers nonetheless!

I am now working on the Technology section of the core rules - which is actually a quick reference for the equipment index for those people who don't want to print out all the hand-outs. Although I think that's a bit sad, I understand that some people just want to write down the statistics. Now that all the models are remade and skinned, it is a much quicker process. I hope to have another version of the core rules Alpha out in the middle of May.

Equipment Index Version 4 Alpha updated

I had a very productive day today and managed to turn out no less than three new weapon models and the Automaton sheet for the new Equipment Index. An update like this demands a PDF update! You can download the updated PDF from Google Docs. The Equipment Index is still missing a few images but I think all the major ones are there now.

Equipment Index Version 4 Alpha

Hammering away at the Equipment Index has been a long slow slog - and it's not over. However, I feel that I have completed enough of the images to make it worth a look. This Equipment Index is designed for use with version 4 of the rules. Download it from Google here. Thank you to Byrn for donating some models and weapon ideas to the book.

What's with the version numbers?

To make things more obvious in the future, I have numbered the Equipment Index version 4 - the same as the core ruleset it goes with. If purity is your game, then feel free to scrub out the 4 and write an 8 in instead. No doubt my players will - when they see it.

What version should I be playing?

A good question to come from the forums was about which version is best to play. Version 3.5 Elements, Society, Scavenger Setting and Equipment Index 7 are the solid play-tested version of Icar. The system is clunky in places but it does work. If you are keen to stay on the bleeding edge with an untested, unplayed version then you want 'Version 4', both Core rules and Equipment Index. There are no other books for Version 4 but those two together should be enough to play. Be warned that version 4 is not finished and might well change!

Progress report

I've been hammering away at the new version of the equipment index (to go with version 4 of the core rules) for months now. I have made a big list of things I need to do before I release version 4 and the items are slowly getting done. I am currently working my way through remaking some of the old 3D models. Some were lost in a big hard-drive mess up a few years ago and some are just too old and rough to fit in. Here is the new Hellhound. The Hellhound Chaingun
You can see a lot of the new models in the art gallery.

My goals

The next milestone I want to hit is to release the alpha version of the equipment index by the end of February. There are five things left on the list to do and although each one does take a while to complete I think this is achievable. The new equipment index will be in high resolution (300DPI) and is not intended for printing out as one big lump. Instead, the aim is to pick and choose the weapons used in play.

The next milestone after that will be a new version of the Core Rules alpha, which I want to have complete by my birthday in mid-April. I like using my birthday as a deadline because it focuses the mind.

Other stuff

On top of all that, I am also writing the Fleet setting so that I can run it with my group. It's a very easy setting to write because a lot of it is right there in the forefront of my head. I can spew it out at great speed. I won't release it to everyone until version 4 of the core rules is complete.

Some thank yous

The community over at the forum have been wonderful in helping me solve problems and motivating me. Questions, thoughts and comments go a long way to keeping my energy high - especially after a long day at the office. Please keep the questions, comments and ideas coming in!

Icar Version 4 Alpha Available for Download

SHODDY WARNING!

It's taken me a few years to get into a state that's releasable: the Alpha of the Icar Version 4 book is now ready for download (there's no preview for big PDFs on Google just yet, you have to download it). It's far from finished and the Alpha tag is there to warn you that it's still in a shoddy state but there is something to review.

What sort of feedback I would like?

If you are keen to read Icar and give a little feedback, please come over to the forum on 1km1kt. There you will find a thread to feedback on. Don't worry about reading everyone else's feedback, I will sort through it all together. There is a load of things I know to be missing, so check that out first.

Icar Version 4 progress

I've been beavering away on Version 4 now for what seems like an age and it is coming together very nicely indeed. I might even go as far as to say I'm proud of it. Before I launch Version 4, I will be putting out an 'Alpha' version, which will contain most of the text and some (but not all of the images). Hopefully you can get a feel for the game from that.

For those hankering for a sneeky peek, the best place to check is the forum. I have posted examples of Tools for Sandbox Gaming from the GM Guide, changes to the horrifically out of date Scavenger Setting and a big To Do list that acts scope for what I am creating. I post new art into my Picasaweb Art folder and also the the scraps folder too.

I am proud to say that there is a player group on the forum now too. They are playing Version 3.5 (that you download now) and the feedback I am getting is pure gold. I love feedback of this kind because I can go straight to the Version 4 document and change it there and then.

Icar Forum has moved to 1KM1KT

One Thousand Monkeys, One Thousand Typewriters - new home of the Icar forum I have moved the Icar forum over to One Thousand Monkeys, One Thousand Typewriters (1KM1KT) to bring Icar into the Free RPG community a little more and to generate more traffic. It also gives me one less place to Administer. The 1KM1KTers are a friendly bunch and the forum ebbs and flows like any other. I have already posted up a WIP example of a page of the new Equipment Index. The old forum link should redirect you. Please update your bookmarks.

I have not lost any of the content from the old forum, I have backed it up locally and have copied it all into a big XML file that I can use for reference. Thank you to everyone who posted there, I hope you find the new Icar Forum home as agreeable as I do.

Version 4 progress update

Version 4 is cutting along at a pace. It's grown, shrank and grown again. I have dumped the Hacking and Space Combat rules (hated them), replaced hacking with a series of action that can be performed in and out of combat with Skill rolls and a new Space Combat system. The look of the book is slightly changing, I will be using a full border image a little like I did for Cloudship Atlantis The background section (formerly Society book) is expanding at a huge rate too. I am taking a lot of the detail I generated from my last campaign about societies drop outs and including them too. The Scavenger Setting has been fleshed out and I'm including a series of example adventures. The book is going to be massive.

Due to the rule changes and changing of the discs into easier-to-read discs, I will be releasing a new high resolution equipment index at the same time. It's absolutely necessary to do so as the sections of the rules that refer to items in the equipment index need to be in high resolution too. If I didn't, it would ruin the book - most pictures being sharp and then some being fuzzy. This means I will also have to remodel some items because the 3D models were lost in the great deletion balls up! The work never stops.

I am not sure if a preview is a good idea as I am likely to change things again before release. When I get some new renders, I will post those up.

When's it all going to be ready? I have no idea. My son is due today (and is late, typically) and being our first child, he's bound to suck up a lot of time.

New character sheet three

From Icar Art
My apologies for blatting your feedreaders with two updates today but I've had a stupidly productive time and I thought I'd share it with you all. This is the new character sheet three (or body/armour sheet in old language). In beautiful high resolution (in Version 4, where this shot was taken from). When folded down the middle, armour appears on the backside. For each section, the Armour Rating (AR) is in the smaller disc and Hit Points (HP) in the larger disc with original value above the line and current value below it. When printed on A4, I've found that the HP discs are fine for writing up to 99,999 and as AR is only two digits so there is plenty of room. Psychotheatrics have disappeared off the sheet because there was never really enough room. I will state in the rules that they can be put at the bottom of the Character sheet two on the equipment side. Some (noteably one of my players, Fish) likes to put images from the web in his character. For that, I will provide a massive PSD (which is a layered graphics format made famous by Photoshop but usable with GIMP) template without the outlines or lines-with-spots. That way anyone can put whoever they like in the background.

No doubt there will be people who prefer a grid, and I appreciate that more than most but this sheet must be in keeping with the game itself, which is important. If you're using it a lot, you'll soon get used to it. If you don't, then it won't bother you. I don't think it's so very new that it will act as a barrier to entry (as the dials were) but instead a worthy improvement.

No doubt, I'll keep fiddling with this and the other character sheet but I doubt the layouts will change much. The only addition in the rules will be specially prepared pages that can be printed onto the back of the character sheets that have a rule quick reference. This will be like those pictures and lists in the back of the book but compressed into more helpful sheets. Not needed for everyone but might help the newer players.

New character sheet two

From Icar Art
The previous character sheet two (the one with the skills and equipment) was knocked up in Photoshop in an afternoon and I was never really happy with it. I liked the layout, skills on one side and equipment on the other. It fitted its purpose but it was not nearly as pleasant as the front character sheet. It didn't really fit - neither did the body/armour sheet (that's next). I lived with it because there were more pressing issues.

Doing graphics for Version 4 means doing them in high resolution for print. I redid the character sheet one (or front character sheet) in August last year in high resolution and I think it's much easier to read. When printing on a home laser black and white, the increased DPI makes a huge different. The same goes for character sheet two. Of course, you can't download it at the moment because it is embedded into the Version 4 document. If you're desperate for the new image, let me know and I'll upload a low resolution JPG version.

The next step is the body/armour sheet, which will probably return to a outline-body shape with armour rating (AR) and hitpoints (HP) written by the relevant areas. As usual, I'll test against my poor player group and see what they think. Not that they get into any combat, ever. :-)

Version 4 - Time to lose the dials?

Writing The Free RPG Blog has been a very valuable experience for me. Not only have I felt like I am not alone in my internet philanthropy and that every other amateur designer wants cash for their games but I can now see what is good and bad about free games. There are mistakes I don't want to repeat.

The biggest mistake free RPGs make is the lack of accessibility. An RPG can be unsurprising. It can be old school. It can even be D&D cloned for the 8 millionth time. What it cannot be is difficult to understand. Every system has its own statistical oddities and rulings, which is fine, but to depart from ease of understanding without good reason is unforgivable. If you're writing a roleplaying game to play between you and your mates (which I have essentially been doing) then you can do whatever you like, as long as you keep consistency within the group and everyone has agreed to the rulings.

I think I am guilty of the biggest barrier to entry ever: the dials/discs. By putting triangles, circles and squares onto a dial, you are essentially departing not only from roleplaying canon but from numeracy. Spreadsheet character sheets still make me wretch, grids of numbers beckon insomnia plagued nights. I'm reminded of dear old Gainesy, who after playing the game for years, still finds it easier to write the values next to the disc. He's no fool and yet there is a brutal honesty there: the discs are nice but I find numbers easier.

So, I am considering getting shot of them. The discs will remain but the dials will be gone and people will be urged to write the actual number in.

Benefits

It's easier to understand. For everyone, from the word Go.
Simplifies the rules.
Easier to read straight off the character sheet.

Drawbacks

It's not different anymore.
Have to redo a lot of resources.
Version 4 won't be backwardly compatible with version 3.x.

The benefits hardly need discussing. The drawbacks do need some attention. Icar is, and always will be both different and familiar. Its genes are rooted so deeply in Star Wars, Star Trek, Asimov, Iain M Banks and Gibson that I will never be able to truly extract it from popular culture. Icar, like tea, is a blend and it's the blend that supplies its original taste. No one has blended quite in this way before. Do I need dial trickery to provide that individual aroma? Perhaps - but I don't think it's going to change what makes the game different.

As for redoing a lot of resources, yes there is a lot but (not surprisingly) I am having to redo a lot anyway. I have received comments that it's rather odd to have a mix of 3D and flat imagery for character sheets. Wouldn't it be nice to have just 3D? Yes it would. As I am updating to print at approximately 200DPI (from 72DPI), I will have to update everything anyway and as the Equipment Index now uses a PDF with a handy templating system, it's less work than you might imagine.

As for compatibility - if you're already using 3, going to 4 won't make much difference. You're used to dials, numbers are hardly going to be a shock to the system. If you come to 4 and want to use version 3 resources then you might wander what the hell is going on. This means that the Equipment Index and Core book will need to be released concurrently. Well, I say concurrently but that might be a fib. Chances are, there will be a Chom Isis shaped gap between those two releases.

Will you weep when you see a character sheet without them or will you not be bothered? Is it something you've been expecting for some time?

Let me know on the forum...

Icar and Blogs

I have been reading and downloading other Free RPGs for quite a long time now and it occurred to me that there was no blog for reviewing and commenting on these free RPGs. So I have created The Free RPG Blog. A place to collect and highlight all the philanthropic goodness out there. Please do check it out and give comments where need be.

While on the subject, another blog I rather like to read called the RPG Blog II by Zachary Houghton, a rather well respected sort of fellow. The post "Quick 6: Games I Never To Get Play" listed Icar as one of its posts, to which he said:
Icar deserves better than this. Rob Lang has put several metric tons of work into creating one of the most impressive Sci-Fi RPG compilations I've seen--and its amazingly free. But with a backlog of roughly 17 other space/sci-fi RPGs pushing for playing time simultaneously, I feel like Rob's baby doesn't get the attention it richly deserves. We've got to work out some sort of rotation system for space and sci-fi campaign ideas/system proposals in our group. Custody every other weekend, perhaps?
I do hope he manages to run a game and let me know how it might be improved! Many thanks, Zach.

Tales from GenCon UK 2008

I had a wonderful time at GenCon UK 2008, played loads of games and made some great new friends. This is a brief report of what went on, what I learnt and what I'm going to do about it.

The Lethal Rings of Obyrworld

The RPGA (Roleplaying Games Association) people did a really good job booking in players for all of the games and it looked like I had two fully booked games. Unfortunately for the first game I only had three pre-booked players turn up. Many thanks to Erno, Mark and Magnus for showing up! I drafted in Fish and Byrn, who were old hands at Icar and who hadn't played the scenario. Being the raving idiot I am, I left the character sheets at home, so I ran and drove to get them. God only know what Fish and Byrn told them while I was away.

Once settled, the players got on very well. I was concerned that the combat would slow due to explaining the rules and although it did, I don't think anyone really noticed. Rather than constricting, I gave the players the usual level of freedom and they used it well. Deviant wheels were used sparingly and there were some skill rolls too. Lots of laughs and smiles all round too. I left the table with that joyous adrenaline high.

Unfortunately, I had to cancel the second session because only 2 of the 5 booked people turned up. A big disappointment as I had some great feedback from the guys after the first slot. I nearly ran a random game on Sunday but was just too knackered.

I am glad that I collated some advice on running a Con game over at theRPGsite. A lot of the points people raised were very helpful to make sure I was completely ready and that I could run the best game that I could. Some of the tips were particularly useful about getting the players to customise their characters a bit (without the chore bits) and getting them to introduce themselves. I think it was notably missing in some of the games I played.

How other people play

It became immediately obvious that I needed to see what other people do when they GM. I got in a game of Spycraft and D&D (3e) to see how other GMs ran their games as well as watching a few games purely as a third person. I can't draw too many parallels as the Con game is only ever a snapshot of the game as a whole but it certainly felt that there was a disconnect between combat and description. Roleplaying was something generally (with exceptions, naturally) kept outside of the combat, which leant more towards a wargame (especially in AD&D). I was satisfied that you could play Icar like that, so it was a good affirmation.

A fellow called Will who played in the Spycraft game said he had downloaded Icar but couldn't be arsed to print it out. Had it been in a book form, he'd have paid for it. However, playing from laptop is not ideal and printing is a pain. This is something I've felt for a while now and it was nice to have someone repeat it back to me. I shall be persuing a print option for those without snacky Laser printers. This leads me nicely on to...

Inspirational seminar from Mongoose Publishing

A founder of Mongoose Publishing who's name I can't for the life of me remember (Matthew Sprange?) gave a fascinating talk on ways to start an RPG company. He outlined all the pitfalls, the costs, the woes and how things work in the industry. It was great. He had numbers, facts and figures (although no marketing information due to the lack of industry wide data) and gave real examples of things that do and do not work. He definitely came from within the hobby and I got the feeling that he wanted to help people who wanted to do what he did. At the same time, he was trying to sell the Flaming Cobra brand, a way for independent publishers to get their books out there. The money side was particularly interesting and I will certainly not be giving up my day job!

A few interesting points came out of the talk. Firstly, as I suspected, Lulu is very expensive and other POD services might be worth a look. Secondly a full colour book is rare because the cost. I had my suspicions about that, seeing the lovely Elements sitting in my hand was heart warming but I did worry about how much each book would cost. The POD book will have to be black and white on the inside, making it much more affordable - even through a simple POD service.

The last thing that became obvious was one of amalgamation and reshaping the books. I do wonder how many people download just the Elements and wonder where the damn setting is. I only kept the PDFs separate because bandwidth was a pain. Most people are now on a reasonable bandwidth, so I think I will be pulling a load of the books into a single one, rationalising some of the graphics, reducing the font size and then uploading that to whichever POD service I want to use. For the forseeable at least, Icar will remain a free PDF download. I game the Mongoose fellow an Icar moocard and asked for feedback. I doubt he'll have the time but I had to try!

Meeting up with old friends

Si Crocker played Icar back when it was still learning to fly. Being a couple of years older than us, Si was part of the inspiration of the close combat system. His descriptions of fights (the one where he cut his thumb in particular) often involved flying headbutts, kicks, punches, glass, bosh, claret flooding etc. Subliminally, perhaps, I tried to make the close combat system feel like one of Si's descrtions. Si, in progress of taking over the world is currently doing some great work over at the Games club network.

I also caught up with Angus Abranson from Cubicle 7. A fellow I knew way back in the days of running Icar at the Finchley Games Club and at Leisure Games. Angus and the peeps over at Cubicle 7 are doing a great job bringing the Dr Who RPG out (when it's good and ready) and keeping my second favourite RPG in print: SLA Industries.

Many thanks to all the people who played and said nice things. If you want to discuss this or anything else, please do go over to the forums!

New front character sheet

The new front page of the character sheet. It's been a while since the halcyon days of redesigning the front page of the character sheet every ten minutes. Version 8 of the front character sheet has been around for years now. The new sheet is built into the Elements (version 3.5.6, now uploaded) and it's rendered at print quality (300dpi). The printed result is a much more crisp and detailled effort, with sharp text and cleaner lines.

As a bi-product of the design, I've removed the Fighting wheel. Converting RP over to fighting combo points should be automatic and for anyone that has some spare from the initial character build, they can be recorded elsewhere. Also to fall by the wayside was the 'spare' disc. When I first did the render, I didn't know what it might be needed for. It appears that it's not useful for a lot. The deviant wheel has been made easier to read but the entries remain the same. I'm using century gothic font for the lot. From a designer's point of view, it's a lot easier to edit now as it's not all held in pixels but in type (international versions now much easier to construct, Joe. Just let me know the translations of the words and I can cut and paste them in).

On the right hand side, description has been removed, as has quote. I've made more room for birthplace (to allow planet, system, cluster and sector to be added) and added setting too. There is also much more room for close combat fighting combos, something I felt was needed. I removed the circle for drawing the character because (as people have rightly shown), it's better to put it on the body and armour sheet. Finally, an all important credits section has been added, plenty of room for writing the tonnes of cash people acquire and for rubbing it out again. Click the image (right) for a taster but please do download the latest Elements and print from there, the quality is much better. All feedback warmly welcome.

A rather unfortunate side effect of me changing this is that the character sheet generator I was working on will have to change. All the code is there, I just need to tweak the graphics and reposition some boxes. It's a shame, seeing as I was so close but it will need doing. Unfortunately, the online version will not be super-high resolution but that's unavoidable.

Test print over at Lulu.com

The Elements, as a book. I've been contemplating printing Icar for some time. I've always wanted to keep it free as I still do not believe it warrants paying for. However, I wanted to find a cost effective way of printing out a few colour copies for my gaming group to use. The poor lot had been using some old black and white early additions of the Elements 3.5 that one of my players (Dwain, I think) had kindly printed and bound. I set up a LuLu account and uploaded the PDF and some special front covers (at 300dpi). I was blown away when the book arrived. Beautiful full colour and glossy. A marvel! My breath was really broken away. Many thanks to the fellows at the RPG Site for endlessly recommending it, supporting and nudging. The service was a little slow (or was I impatient?) but the delivery time was minimal (it only had to travel 40 miles from the printers).

The quality of the print is excellent although with my super critical hat on, I must say that my graphics need some brushing up. You can't quite see it in the photos but some of the graphics are a little too antialiased for my liking. This is because I was rendering for screen, rather than print. The upshot of this is that I will be producing two books - one to upload for Lulu's print on demand and one for people to download. Once all the images are in a high resolution format, the Elements itself will be many tens of MB. There's no need to make them super high res for home printing. It's going to take some time to update a lot of the graphics, so please be patient. I also noticed that having a lot of the pictures without any kind of explanation is slightly odd, so I'll add in some commentary too.

The goal is to make the Elements a purchaseable book. It will be pretty much at cost, the PDF will still be free for those keen on having a look. I know this goes against the grain of The Free Sci Fi RPG but I am sure there are people out there who would like to play it but just don't have the time or inclination to print it out and bind it ready for play. It's very exciting indeed to have the book sitting on the desk in front of me, spurring me on to finish other bits.

Icar is going to GenCon UK 2008

Lethal Rings of Obyrworld - Thurs 28th August 2008 and Friday 29th August 2008 at 2pm only at GenCon UK I'm pleased to announce that I will be running two games on Thursday 28th August 2pm and Friday 29th August 2pm at GenCon UK. Here's the advertising information:

The Lethal Rings of Obyrworld

Join a risky expedition into the debris rings around Obyrworld to find fortune, lost friends or answers. Become part of a well weathered Scavenger team as you try to make enough cash to get off this planet.

Icar is a free Science Fiction tabletop RPG, a mix of familiar Sci Fi elements, space opera and very large guns. No experience expected or required!
It will be a Scavenger-esque scenario where the characters will be a mix of Borg/Cyber and human in powered armour. I can't give too many details of the scenario as I wouldn't want to spoil it but I am taking advice from various online forums about how to write a cracking game. I would love to run the game with new players, so please come along. I appreciate very few have played Icar before so the game will be set up for complete beginners!

Beady eyes?
For the more beady eyed, you may have noticed that Society is now on version 2.4. There is some improvement in the text but most of the changes are adding graphics. My round aim is to finish the Society version 2 book by the end of the summer.

Equipment Index Version 7 Released

Equipment Index 7 PDF, (12MB) Click to Download Thank you all for your patience, the Equipment Index first release is now ready for download. It now officially replaces all the downloadable weapon and equipment sheets (it's now removed from the menu on the left). Although released, there is always more that can go in, so it is by far a closed document. Some new features is a section describing how to use the different sheets (folding and reading them) and a better description at the start. Some of the pages appear to need filling but they will become full in short order, no doubt. I have two more vehicles in mind and a new ammo type suggested by Robert Barrows (of Entalis and Desert Realm fame) and those will no doubt appear in the future.

What's next? Next up is finishing off the Society book, which is currently bereft of graphics. It's a big job because it needs so much description but I do hope to reuse some of the renders that I have already done as they illustrate facets of Mex cities. I need to provide a more quick-start like section in the book (as suggested by All Games Considered) and I am not sure if that will fit in at the start or at the end.

All comments and critique is best pointed at the forum. Also, do you like the new header?

Random Acts blogs Icar

Aaron, over on Random Acts. He gives a nice description of the setting (he rightly notes being the best thing about Icar) and includes some of the stock pictures. Go and check it out.

It's heartwarming to find unsolicited articles written about Icar across the net. I spurs me on to do more - sit down at the PC after a long day and knock out some more 3D/text. If you find any other reviews I might not know about, then please do let me know so I can build in the feedback. Perhaps you've written an article, then I really would like to hear from you!

Many thanks, Aaron!

Equipment Index coming along apace


Now in Version 7.12, the Equipment Index is coming along very well. I have only three more equipment sheets to finish - some of which already have 3D models for them. I am working on the Shakespear items now, splitting them up from their tech kits into individual items.

I also have a load of other tech that needs adding (such as upgrades to equipment) and some examples on how to use the sheets that are included. Some people have mentioned that it's not obvious until explained (thanks guys!) so I'll put some simple instructions in to show what bits do what.

Additional...
It's late and I've been working on loads of models this evening. I've not quite managed to finish the Shakespear sheet I wanted to today but it should be finished in the coming week. I'll admit to being desperate to show you the new renders, so here's a work in progress!

Equipment Index 7.0 Alpha

Equipment Index 7 PDF, (12MB) Click to Download It's here and it's as ropey as anything I've produced but I thought I'd get it out there so you can have a peruse, a ponder and look. It's really, really, really not finished! It will (eventually) replace the JPG images and then some. It's not vital yet but it will be one day, have a download. If you find any problems or errata, or typos, then please do post on the forum or send me an email. It's an enormous step up from the last version (5.1), which was difficult to print and although had the nice table of prices, did really add anything.

For the eagle eyed, you'll have noticed that Version 6 doesn't exist. It was an abomination. Let's just pretend it doesn't exist. Thanks. :-)

Featured at All Games Considered

The lovely people over at the All Games Considered podcast have done a feature on Icar (Early September this year) in their podcast under the 'Gaming for Cheap Bastards' (fantastic title). It's an excellent round up of the game and its mechanics. Much better than I have ever managed to do. I dip into RPG podcasts on an irregular basis (although I've just bought my first MP3 player, so that's already changing) so it was nice (and shocking) to hear it mentioned.

The critique is very constructive. Chris Heim (while ill, what a star) outlined some things that I've been bothered about. The most obvious one is that Soceity needs more work to better explain the general setting. That definitely something that's been niggling. Hearing it over the podcast lit a light, so it's definitely going to get revised. Oh and with more pictures.

Anyway, hearing (or reading) a constructive review or getting an email is all I need to be inspired to write a load more, improve it and plow on in the dark winter nights.

Go and give the whole thing a listen, there are some other great nuggest in RPG podcasts. Many thanks All Games Considered!

Details: Episode 60 MP3 between 12 min 20secs to 21 min 10 secs, but listen to it all because it's all good. (Thanks Joeyeti!)

All Games Considered: Cheap Bastard Award of 2007

I hope this doesn't turn into an AGC lovefest (but it might) but I have just found out that Icar has won the Cheap Bastard Award for 2007. It's an accolade I am proud to accept and I'd like to thank AGC for pointing a spotlight at Icar. I'd also like to thank the tireless people who keep spurring me on, either by asking me lots of questions, playtesting weekly and steering me away from insane rules that sounded quite cool on a podcast. To name a few Fish, Dwain, Byrn, Wallace, Pulley and Joeyeti.

Many thanks (again) All Games Considered!

Featured at All Games Considered

The lovely people over at the All Games Considered podcast have done a feature on Icar (Early September this year) in their podcast under the 'Gaming for Cheap Bastards' (fantastic title). It's an excellent round up of the game and its mechanics. Much better than I have ever managed to do. I dip into RPG podcasts on an irregular basis (although I've just bought my first MP3 player, so that's already changing) so it was nice (and shocking) to hear it mentioned.

The critique is very constructive. Chris Heim (while ill, what a star) outlined some things that I've been bothered about. The most obvious one is that Soceity needs more work to better explain the general setting. That definitely something that's been niggling. Hearing it over the podcast lit a light, so it's definitely going to get revised. Oh and with more pictures.

Anyway, hearing (or reading) a constructive review or getting an email is all I need to be inspired to write a load more, improve it and plow on in the dark winter nights.

Go and give the whole thing a listen, there are some other great nuggest in RPG podcasts. Many thanks All Games Considered!

Details: Episode 60 MP3 between 12 min 20secs to 21 min 10 secs, but listen to it all because it's all good. (Thanks Joeyeti!)

General Update

General Update, although a superior officer of Major Update, isn't quite as fun packed. Just to let you know what's been going on and what progress there is.

My Campaign Finished
This might not seem important but whenever I finish a campaign game, I have to write a new setting. This means, of course, that the old setting gets mothballed but a new one is written. The settings tend to be quite involved from the player point of view but a bit light from the GM point of view - most of my notes are written down by hand so I can have them at the game session. I may write up the old setting document, or just release the next one. The next setting will be playing part of the Anarchic Syndicate "Tortrac Heds". Something of a departure for the team, who normally play good guys.

Equipment Index Version 6
I have a love/hate affair with the Equipment Index. I love the idea of a PDF file that has all the weapon/vehicle sheets in them so they can be easily printed in one go but the PDF compression does something nasty to the JPG images, which makes the text difficult to read. I could convert then all across to nice-and-sharp PDF pages but that would take me a considerable amount of time! Instead, the Equipment Index will be much like the existing one, a list of the information included on the sheets, a description of how to use some of the sheets and then all those items of equipment that don't really need a sheet but should be included somewhere. The big sections to go into here are Explosives, Automatons and Armour (both powered and standard).

Why does it take so long?
Graphics. Compiling the graphics for Society and the Bionics book are taking their time. I have done a lot of the Bionics graphics, so that's going rather well. A lot of the objects that I need for Society exist, I just need to compile them into a series of scenes to demonstrate items in the text.

I know it's taking forever, thanks for your patience up until now, I hope you can keep it up!

Bionics 2 Alpha

You can't breath in without me starting another Icar book and not finishing it properly. Here's another example, the Bionics 2 Alpha has just been finished. This book is really rough and ready, missing the many images it's going to need and definitely needs a good read through from those closest to the book.

The big new section is the Increment Bionics bit. This allows you to add bionics to your character bit by bit. This is instead of going for the full bionics suit. It adds more flexibility but is more than a bit complicated. So, I've created a tool that will do all the nasty maths for you. It's online and free and all the rest.

A special mention to Byrnie for helping me with this one. It's needed a lot of patience and testing to get to a point where it's at a stage for everyone to have a look. Enjoy!

New RSS Feed

It's back and it's better than ever before. Now you can get the latest content from the News, Downloads and the Toon all in one handy stream. Just copy this link into your favourite feedreader or Firefox and enjoy!

Icar News, Download and Toon RSS Feed

(For those that used the old feed, you'll need this new one now)

Subtle but important change

Not only did I accidentally delete an old news story about the RSS (you already knew anyway, surely) but I've converted the whole site over to php. Yes. PHP. Nice safe PHP. It pRob Langably works on Safari and Opera now. Not only that but it means I can do some clever code things. In my PHP5 excitement, I think I deleted the main news RSS feed. Which was not clever either. So, not my finest hour but certainly a big step forward. Not that there is anything new to look at - unless you use Safari or Opera. A more interesting and content driven News item next. I promise.

Resources reappearance

You may well ask what happened to the blank sheets in the resources section. In there you'll find plans and other sheets to help you play. There's not enough to split things up between players and GMs, so you'll find something for both in there. Don't worry, nothing sensitive.

The more observant might also have noticed the latest toon has been updated too. It's certainly hotting up!

In other news, a big thankyou to Byrn for helping me to get the new bionics system thoroughly tested. It will be arriving in both PDF and online tool form. I'll pRob Langably end up doing a few online tools for helping people create Icar things, such as a close combat combos. That's all for now, I have a game session to go and run!

Society Version 2.1 Alpha

It's another shocking Icar update. Unfortunately, the frequency is not quite as high as I'd like but I'll blame that on the government / Battlefield 2142 and the University of Reading.

A big thanks to Byrnie for proof reading and Timothy Beaulieu for providing an excellent idea in the form of putting the timeline into a PDF. The main epochs are now in there - at the end.

Society Version 2.0 Alpha

It's been a long time coming but the Society Alpha is now here. No doubt there is stuff I've missed out of it (all the graphics, for a start) but I think I've covered the major parts of the game world in this one. It does need a few people to read through it and let me know what I might have missed (for experienced Icarers) or not explained well (everyone else). I'm not particularly interested in places where it says 'see picture' and there isn't one because I am re-rendered all of those. If you find any typos, pRob Langlems or things missing, please do Contact me.

Burntek's ChainSAW Range

For those more criminally insane out there, Andrew O'Byrne (Byrne) has created some more of his oversized weapons for you to download and try. The ChainSAW range is designed for strong humans who wish to deal a lot of damage. Of course, with this power comes the cost of ammo but I know my group will be investing in a few of these! Check out Byrne's deviantArt account for more of his renders. Thanks Byrn!