Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Games Workshops Digital Codex Review

Alright since no one else seems really able to write a review I decided to jump in here.  Now I’m not doing this to be vindictive or flame anyone I really want people to make up their minds regarding these products.
Firstly about me, I’m an avid 40k player and have been for over 2 decades. I started playing under Rogue Trader and own and have played every edition published by GW.  I’m not a fantasy player, or a tournament player so even though I’ll try I can’t totally speak to the needs of players in those fields.  Professionally I’m an academic librarian and work with reference resources on a daily basis.

What will I be looking at? As I discuss this product I’ll be evaluating it based on its Quality, Experience, and Value.  As I look at these things I’ll endeavor to point out high points and low points of the product as well as places I see GW could go forward with the product to be of the best benefit.

Let’s all admit that Games Workshop has an attention to visual detail that is rarely matched in any industry.  When you download the Digital Codex: Space Marines or the Codex: Necrons you’re confronted with the traditional stunning artwork of Games Workshop’s print codes.  Continuing inside the interior of the book is laid out with the same graphic style as the print codex only a landscape layout.  Alongside the traditional black and white boarders of 5th and earlier edition codices you’ll find a variety of full color imagery.  Most of the art is recycled, the same artwork found in the print edition.  The artwork is however repurposed, often with higher detail than the print codex and some pieces are in full color this time which adds to the ambiance of the Digital Codex.

What many people are excited about is the integration of an expanded gallery into the books.  The gallery is very well done with fantastic images of miniatures.  Again we see recycled images but by and large they are still of fantastic quality in a good layout.  Here the features of a Digital Codex really shine.  For images with a zoom it’s easy to double tap gallery images and see them larger.  And the 360 degree view of many models adds a great deal to some of the best models in the GW line up.  Even many of the pieces of art interspersed throughout the book can be viewed in zoom.  At the same time though not everything can be zoomed which means some great miniatures can’t be studied in detail.  The modeler in me would like to see more zooms and 360s but this is a double edged sword.  Most of the size of the codices is in the gallery, more of these images would mean a higher file size.  It’s a balancing act that Games Workshop has struck that I’ll discuss more when I get to value.
The layout of the design and artwork are done quite well from a reading standpoint.  We may have seen the artwork before but the landscape layout means that the artwork and text work together better than many of the printed codices.  When text and graphics share a page they each live in separate sections of that page, generally right side text and left side images or vice versa. This insures that the actual text is easier to read for the most part.  Only rarely do you have text flowing around images and this tends to be limited to the gallery pages.  This makes the text more readable when it comes to studying the rules.

The text of the book isn’t hugely different than the printed edition.  I did find a spelling error corrected in Codex: Necrons.  Over all the verbiage is essentially identical to the 5th or 6th edition codex.  Codex: Space Marines has some additional background fluff in it which some will find entertaining.  It’s not ground breaking or game changing but its added content.  People keep comparing the digital codex size to the print codex size.  Flat out the digital codex is bigger.  It has more images, and a tad more text. I feel however this is mostly a wash because the added images are mostly promotional gallery photos you can find on the Games Workshop website. 

Quality wise I’d say it maintains the high standards Games Workshop has with all their print products.   I feel it’s unfair for people to compare it to the digital editions provided by other gaming publishers.  Many digital products tend to be static PDFs. Games Workshop’s digital codices is more than that, even if most people would be satisfied with a PDF.  However, it’s important to note it doesn’t take full advantage of what iBooks can actually do as I’ll explain next under experience. 

Games Workshop’s primary goal with making a game always seems to be emersion.  The emphasis is always on the rich settings and detailed products they produce every time.  This is a huge strong point of their miniatures but a detriment to their rules creation.  In this case they have made a rich immersive product that is filled with images and text that draws the reader in.

The trouble is that like many digital products it doesn’t keep its eye on how the product is really used.  While the Digital Codices are easy to read they are hard to reference.  While black library novels would be fantastic in this format a rule book is different.  Ultimately a gaming rule book is first and foremost a reference book.  It’s like a dictionary or encyclopedia.  Rules need to be easy to reach, easy to read, and quick to reference.

The swipe interface Games Workshop has built is quite good but it doesn’t really encourage referencing the rules.  It jumps between chapters easy enough but finding rules is more time consuming than using a physical codex.  Most gamers will actually live in the glossary of the book which lists most of the rules in detail.  But glossaries are only of value if you already know the proper name or term you’re looking for.  And the glossary doesn’t include unit profiles which can be problematic for those unfamiliar with unit specifics. For that you need to jump to the Army List chapter and page through just like you would the physical book but slower since you have to do it page by page and it takes time for them to load.  A newer iPad would shine here since my first gen device has half the processing power of the new model.

At least on the unit entries page you tap key words and get their glossary entry.  However this proved to be problematic for me.  It seemed that some keywords took forever to load and sometimes you’d have weird errors.  Someone in another discussion pointed out they occasionally got the wrong entries for a unit. This happened to me, but more baffling was on two occasions in Codex: Necrons where tapping a keyword (armorbane) caused the book to load the 360 view of the Doom Scythe.  Oddities like this will put some people off but seemed to iron themselves out over time.  As far as I could tell these errors occur mostly when I hadn’t loaded the glossary before loading the army list.

Of course as with all iBook products you can do full text searching through the library bar.  This is fairly handy but again takes longer than using the glossary.  If only the glossary included everything you wanted, not just keywords and special rules but unit names as well.  Of course the glossary also requires you to know what you’re looking for which is a common problem with reference materials not just these products.  If you’re new to Warhammer 40k you’ll find a lot of problems navigating the book via full text searching and the glossary since you won’t know all the proper terms to search for.  However, again like all iBook products, you can bookmark important information.  This will let you make your own quick references to jump between unit profiles, special rules, keywords, and anything else you need.

Unfortunately navigating uses the iBooks menu at the top to enter the Index and the Glossary, do searching, or book marking.  This detracts from the interface Games Workshop has built making it far less immersive than they intended.  This is exacerbated by the fact that the iBooks interface is clunky.  While it works as intended, it tends to be slow and often unresponsive when you are in a hurry.  What’s more it functions much differently than the digital Codex’ normal interface.  It takes time to get used to and the sudden jump will put some people off.  Heavy iPad users will likely be indifferent to the change but someone who isn’t used to it will not find it pleasant.  And more importantly it will slow you down.

And then of course there is all the functionality Games Workshop didn’t implement.  In theory every inch of every page should be zoom able.  The PDFs I have on my iPad can do it, zoom in anywhere on a page to make text bigger or see the detail in images, but that’s disabled by GW in their products.  If you try to zoom in it snaps back to full screen when you let up. I find this particularly ironic because they let you zoom certain images but not the text itself.  There of course is another problem; you don’t have the option to zoom every image.  Some images are locked at their given size with no option to zoom them.  This will make it hard to study the detail on many of those pretty gallery images.  Since the main advantage of having the gallery is to help teach and inspire mini painters this might be particularly annoying to them.  I suspect this is why they released separate painting products.  The lack of zooming over all will be a problem for those that don’t particularly like reading on an LCD screen and some will be greatly annoyed with this since they’ll experience more eye strain.  Personally I have an iPad 1 so I can’t comment on the crispness or clarity of a retina display.  I understand those displays cause less eye strain regardless of what you’re viewing.  Perhaps the detail level on a retina display is good enough that zooming is not necessary but I doubt it.

Then of course there is the locked landscape view.  My PDF biology textbook reflows text when I rotate the screen.  But the Digital Codices don’t reflow text, they are instead stuck perpetually in landscape mode. This forces a certain perspective on the reader.  I’m not sure why Games Workshop locked the view except to control how you experience the book.  For many this won’t seem like a big deal but it bothers me.  Books have been designed in portrait view for several thousand years.  It’s easier to hold and work with one handed which is something that gamers will likely be doing a lot.  Instead you have to hold it awkwardly with one hand on the short edge which makes me feel I’m risking my device. Still they’ve chosen to make it as legible and developed as possible for landscape which means my desire for a portrait version more of a pet peeve than a real fault.

There is also no internal linking or pre-built bookmarks.  Truthfully the Glossary provides the equivalent to a set of PDF bookmarks.  However in text linking is limited.  It mostly centers around linking the unit description to the unit entries and back again.  The beautiful galleries don’t link to the appropriate units pictured for instance. .  It would be great if the wargear list linked to lists of units that can equip certain options.  Likewise it would be nice to cross reference keywords in text rather than in the glossary.  Again this is technology PDFs do quite well which Games Workshop didn’t implement in the more interactive iBooks system. 

Personally I’d also like to have seen actual interactive options in the codex.  360 degree views are great but what about rules quizzes, training videos, external links to newsletter content, historical model references, and so on.  The iBooks platform can do impressive things integrating not just text and images with the occasional video but strait up social networking.  What about linking online unit ratings on there site. Or how about tournament advice?  Games Workshop could have integrated simple in iBooks apps to do points calculations or build custom unit load outs for quick reference.  Instead I suspect they are moving these types of features to some kind of army builder app that will use the full text glossary form these codices.  So basically another product for us to buy.  But what about cross referencing codices?  The glossary text references the big rule book but it would be so much better to cross reference between products.  Imagine if tapping the “eternal warrior” USR in your glossary listed every model that had that rule and then you could just tap the name to see open its profile in that codex (Assuming you’ve purchased it). Imagine what that would do for game preparations.

All in all the experience is fine if a bit disjointed.  There are a lot of options Games Workshop actively chose to not use and some which I think they are saving for later.  At present it’s a new product and I expect they will improve the experience down the road.  I particularly believe when they release either the big rule book or an army builder app we’ll see a lot of new features appear in the codices.  Until then it’s not the type of experience tournament players would really like but will have to do.  It’s far more suitable for casual players who have all the time in the world to reference rules and those who want to take the time to study the rules in detail.

Value is one of those hard to pin down topics that are a hot button for hobbyists.  Everyone wants to know they are getting their money’s worth.  No one wants to be over charged or discover they could have gotten something better in the long run.  Personally I am not a fan of Games Workshop’s prices but I’ll do my best to keep my personal bias out of this area.

The Codex: Space Marines digital book and the Codex: Necrons digital book have different prices.  This is odd because all of the print Codex have a single unified price. I’m guessing this price difference is due to the amount of content that had to be updated in the Space Marines codex.  It could also be that they felt the demand for the product was lower than expected and so reduced the cost of the Necrons Codex in response.  I’m not sure, time will tell regarding the effectiveness of their pricing scheme.

The market for electronic products has historically been different than that of physical ones.  Apple and other online venders have endorsed the idea that electronic products tend to cost less than physical products.  This is mostly an illusion.  Add up the cost of a group of song in iTunes and it will be about the same as buying a CD.  Those who have bought an ebook will point out that an electronic book is often bundled with a physical book or priced much lower.  Often these ebooks are nothing more than a scan of the physical book or the typeset document output as PDF, in both cases not exactly the same as GW’s product here. 

What Games Workshop has produced is a completely different layout with some new content added in so it’s not fair to compare them.  They probably had to put as much work into Codex: Space Marines as they did typesetting the new rule book. Unfortunately due to the limitations they’ve placed on it the digital codices also have the hefty price tag of an iPad stacked onto the book as well.  So really it’s less of an issue of “if I should buy” than an issue of “if I’ve bought an iPad, should I spend my money to buy digital codices?”  The fact that they are locked only to the iPad format makes them useless to the majority of gamers.  Couple that with the fact that even the people with other apple devices can’t use them and they have severely limited their market.

I believe this is reflected in their price.  They have to charge 30 dollars for the digital codex because they won’t make their investment back if they don’t.  Down the road Games Workshop will most likely release them for other devices either by rescaling the pages for iPhones/touches or by stripping out graphics.  I also foresee them integrating all the glossary entries into an army builder app which will most likely be available to other Apple products.  Sadly with Games Workshop’s history I very much doubt an Android or Windows Mobile version will appear during 6th edition.  And more importantly I severely doubt a Mac or PC version will ever appear due to the fear of piracy.

Unfortunately I don’t feel the Digital Codices products will have any effect on piracy of GW’s products.  If anything I suspect their digital products are going to be seen as a challenge by pirates who up until now have just been scanning their books into PDF.  Unfortunately this may mean that the price of digital products might rise faster than metal miniatures as a result.  Maybe I’m just being fearful but the internet has a way of backlashing against companies that try to produce digital content without being in touch with the consumers of that content.

Of course even as they are now, digital codices offer the same advantages as any ebook.  You can store them in one device in order to carry the equivalent of a mountain of books in your carryon luggage.  You have full text searching and digital book marking to help you along finding rules.  And they really make you feel like you’re on the cutting edge of technology.   They are better than a scanned eBook and way better than not having a codex at all.

There is a lot of potential for growth in this product.  Far more than in the print product it is derived from.  We can already guess the 6th edition books will be full color hard cover books.  After that there is no improvements they can stick in the books to justify the value of the printed work.  The Digital editions have far more potential to integrate added items. As I said earlier they could integrate rules reviews, training videos, social networking, ratings, and newsletters. The sky is the limit with the digital product.  The question really becomes if I adopt now will I get those things later. With Games Workshop’s past track record I have to guess the answer is no but I can hope.

Presently the value of individual digital products is limited. Their real value won’t become apparent until we know how Games Workshop supports them.  One of the things that peaks my curiosity is what Games Workshops means by “updates will be free.” I’m wondering if that will mean edition changes will be free. If their release schedule continues it’s very likely we’ll see all the 5th edition codices digital by the end of the year.  Will that mean when an already digital codex is updated later in 6th edition will the buyers automatically get the 6th edition codex at that point? Again the answer is probably no, or more accurately nothing that will be updated in 6th edition will get a digital edition until it is updated.

Ultimately if you don’t own an iPad the digital codices aren’t the killer app you are looking for to justify buying one.  The cost itself, before the codices, is as much as a new 40k army and you’ll be more fulfilled buying and painting that.  After that you still have to purchase the book and most likely the 30 to 40 dollar price tag won’t feel good on the wallet when you could buy a new unit for one of your armies.

The value of the Digital Codices really boils down to the convergence of several factors. If you have an iPad and don’t have the codex I can guarantee you’ll find it as useful as buying the print book.  If you own the codex already chances are the digital edition is not going to give you that “money well spent” feeling you want.  And if you don’t have an iPad, skip this generation of digital codices and pick up down the road when support for a cheaper device is implemented. Honestly if you have an iPad and you need a codex the digital versions are reasonably priced.  They are priced close enough to the print books and have all the same materials to make them a good buy.  Unfortunately I don’t think many people will replace their print books with digital codices until they have more value added to them.  Especially individuals like me that buy every codex and let’s be honest many of us do.

The Codices have a slick iPad user friendly interface with lots of pictures and some videos that will look great on an iPad.  But it doesn’t use the full potential of the technology and that interface doesn’t do what a lot of consumers will expect it to do.  It does however offer a fairly immersive experience that will be appealing to some even though the few clunky and limiting options you find will turn off others.  Expect 6th edition to be the teething period for digital codices but with positive feedback Games Workshop will keep them around.  This really feels like the first stepping stone not the destination gamers are expecting which means the value of the product will fall short for individuals who have invested in the print books already.  In the end the product is as valuable as the print books but tends to trade some of the familiar ease of use of books for the sparkly cutting edge of shiny technology.

Personal Aside
I bought the digital books specifically to review them.  As such I blew my miniatures budget doing so.  Afterwards I won’t say I felt disappointed but I didn’t feel happy.  I honestly feel this is because I already own the physical books more than any fault with the codices.  I’m holding off on buying the 6th edition big rule book for the next month to see if they will release a digital version of it.  Till then my wargaming group is practicing 6th and learning the rules by sharing a copy of the book and playing step by step as one.  The release of 6th edition has so much potential just like the addition of digital products.  It’s an interesting time we live in and I only hope that Games Workshop continues experimenting with their products to the benefit of the hobby.

Friday, August 24, 2012

New-ish project update 8-23-2012

Well my posts have been pretty depressing lately.  With Games Workshop's legal division bringing the iphammer down I haven't really had a lot of good things to talk about.  Beyond that i've got a lot of stuff going on at work and a brief personal trip I'm making this weekend.  All that means I haven't had a lot of time to digest the situation. I have no doubt that that's the reason behind the GW Legal team's methods with charging individauls with IP infringment.

I took some time this afternoon to remove some of the models they claim are infringing from my shapeways store.  These included some of the gyrojets, thermal lasers, laser cannons, etc.  It totaled something like 15 to 20 models.  I only had about an hour with internet so I didn't end up getting much accomplished in the way of removing items.

I had much more time without internet to work on personal projects.  With the issues with GW's legal team I didn't want to work on my usual stuff.  Its all pretty heavily tied to 40k even the extremely unique designs are really ment to work with the 40k game.  So I didn't want to work on them.  I needed something... different to clear my emotial pipes as it were.

So I dusted off Steven.  You probably don't know steven.  I give all my models names, if you are the observent type you might have noticed the name in the file title.  Not the item title but at the bottom where it lists the file name and version. 

Anyway, Steven is the first model I uploaded to shapeways. Back in 2010 I built steven, registered for shapeways, and uploaded him with a foolish dream in my heart about how awesome he would be.  Of course he wouldn't print.  I rebuilt him a dozen times and Steven still failed over and over.
I tossed Steven to the wind and instead worked on my technofists. Technofists being giant gloves which look significantely different than power fists in 40k.  (note that just in case I'll still be revising them). Yay Paranoia... Anyway. I left Steven alone for a while and came back after my Techno-fists properly printed.

The theory of my design skills sufficiently proven with a tiny 3d printed glove I returned to my first love Steven... Wow that did not sound hetero... Anyway. I revised Steven.  And it failed.

At this point I was quite pissed.  So I stubbornly took most of june and revised Steven a dozen more times.  Specifically, exactly, 15 times.  And it finally printed properly.

I ordered it in WSF and painted it when it arrived.

So thats the story of how I got a little Steven to sit on my desk at work.

Oh wait did I forget to mention Steven is a Dalek? That totally makes the anecdote better. Steven's totally a Dalek.

So yeah, this is Steven.  He's a 2 year old Kaled mutant in a mark 16 travel machine from the time war era.  He stands a strapping 34mm tall and has been thinned to a 1mm thickness making him viable in WD, WSF, and FD/FUD.  In spite of his horrible drivers liscence photo I asure you he has arms.  He recently had his travel machine retrofitted.  Its a totally pimped ride now, note the greater detailing on the dome and the extensive mesh ribbing along the neck.  Not shown is its boss under cariage with a full on Elevation system for long flights in the moonlight.  Steven's favorite colors are black and a nice metalic bronze that brings out the blue in his eye.  He's been known to spout witty catch phrases when startled so be gentle with his heart ladies.  I know he's just your type right?  Well taking Steven home isn't going to be easy!.  While Steven's more than happy with the idea I have to talk to his parents at the British Broadcasting Service and Character Options before I can let him sell his body to you. But don't worry I already sent a request. Till then for more inquires into Steven or his big brother Ted, his cousin Uennis, and his bitchy parents Valarie and Wilfred shoot me an email at

Monday, August 20, 2012

GW Legal's responses and plan of action

Alright so I have received my response from Games Workshop’s legal counsel regarding their "infringement claim”.  I’ve posted the contents of our correspondence below.   Basically the gist of the discussion is that games workshop claims all chapter icons (as expected), all weapons? (I think they mean the bolter design mostly), vehicles (this specifically applies to the ground taker/ land raider I made but it was never for sale), Characters (like the stealth suit again I’ve already complied with).  The last correspondence manages to clarify that they also claim the shape of the space marine shoulder pad as their property as well, though the physical shape can’t be copyrighted it can only be patented so the legitimacy of the claim is questionable.  They also conspiquously list “the design of certain marks of armour” which clearly implies they believe my female marines are also infringing.  I don’t think they technically are but can’t really argue the point without getting sued.  They also specifically point out the trademark on the Aquila, this is the main reason the female marines are problematic as they have an Aquila on their chest.

He gave me 14 days to comply with the infringement take down notice. Which means they must be removed by September 3rd 2012.  Following this course I will begin removing shoulder pads from the gallery on Saturday September 1st.  Legally I can’t encourage anyone to purchase anything within the allotted time remaining before products are removed.  The time frame of item removal has nothing to do with item sales.  It has to do with the fact that I work every day of the week and will be out of town on the weekend of the 25th so the 1st is the first opportunity I will have to remove the items.  Removing the items does not mean I agree I am infringing on any of the products, only that I cannot afford a legal battle.

You will note towards the end of my latest response I mention the Chapter House Studio lawsuit.  The same things I’m cited for infringing are the same things Chapter House is being sued for.  Games Workshop’s legal department is no doubt aware of this fact.  They can’t rest on their laurels and just hold their breath till the lawsuit is done.  They will continue to assume they are in the right until proven wrong.  I however, unlike Chapter House don't have the legal counsel to fight Games Workshop so I will comply like a lot of websites have done.  However it’s important to note I am NOT destroying any of my works.  The 3d models will be removed from my Shapeways gallery but I will archive them.  In the event that Chapter House wins their lawsuit with Games Workshop the shoulder pads and weapon models may (I stress may) become viable again.  If a legal battle goes Chapterhouse's way I will likely seek legal advise regarding these items at that time.

If you haven’t followed the Chapter House lawsuit I encourage you to do so.  I know some people have talked about it as comical or like the sky is falling.  However I distantly hope Chapter House wins.  Not because I want to sell shoulder pads, but because Games Workshop is a legal monopoly.  They own the game rules, the game pieces, and the social events you use them at, I understand they created 40k but they are strangling the industry with their pricing scheme and poor rules writing.  Yes I know 6th edition is the best written 40k ever, it’s still a polished turd not worthy of the background the fan base has supported for so many years.  Anyway, a win for Chapter House would limit Games Workshop’s litigations, foster competing products in the form of both additional game companies and added model companies, and possibly drive Games Workshop to limit unwarranted price increases.  I’m a huge fan of miniature gaming and good things can happen if Games Workshop loses their lawsuit.  If you’re one of those people that says Chapter House is getting what they deserve I argue that the Intellectual Property laws weren’t meant to limit industry growth and that’s exactly what Games Workshop’s monopoly does.  For every Chinese recasting company there are a thousand people like me who just want to make something for the hobby and can’t because Games Workshop claims are so broad they encompass aspects of the game beyond the identity of their products and company. By their argument the shape of their dice could be their patent which is wholly absurd.

Anyway, if anyone wants to request anything please email me and we can discuss its viability in the light of these limitations.  I will continue to make designs and produce products on Shapeways to the best of my abilities.  Regardless of the outcome of the Chapter House lawsuit I will strive to make products that support the hobby even if they don’t support games workshop.

In the interest of public disclosure here is the discussions between myself and Games Workshop's legal team.  I'd like to point out that inspite of the underlying threat of legal action the representative has been quite curteous and respectful and I personally want to say thank you to him for being civil in executing a matter that could be executed in a very uncivil manner. 

Enitial Contact on Shapeways Aug 15th 2012

Our Ref: Legal/TN/GLS/11843

Dear Sir

Your Shapeways products have been brought to my attention for infringing copyright and trademarks belonging to Games Workshop Limited.

The 'Warhammer 40,000' universe was created by Games Workshop in the 1980s. The universe and its many characters, organisations, vehicles etc. form the basis for the tabletop wargame 'Warhammer 40,000'. Games Workshop has produced and licensed a huge number of products based in the Warhammer 40,000 universe including miniatures, novels, video games, art books and sourcebooks, art prints, merchandise, digital products and more.

Having designed and developed the Warhammer 40,000 universe and the races, characters, icons, units, vehicles, weapons etc. therein, Games Workshop owns the copyright in them. It is therefore an infringement of that copyright for a third party to offer for sale, possess in the course of business, manufacture or import any product based on the Warhammer 40,000 intellectual property without Games Workshop's permission.

You have copied a significant part of the unique expression of a number of Games Workshop's products. Copying of these icons, characters, weapons, vehicles and accessories is an infringement of Games Workshop's rights as copyright holder.

Games Workshop also owns a number of registered and unregistered trademarks. One such trademark is the 'aquila' double headed eagle design. You have featured this registered trademark on several of your products without permission. This is an additional infringement of Games Workshop's rights.

Please immediately remove the infringing items from sale and contact us at to confirm you have removed the items and that you will not infringe Games Workshop's rights in future. Please read and comply with Games Workshop's Intellectual Property Policy found at

We reserve all rights in this matter. If you have any doubts as to the contents of this message we recommend you seek legal advice.

Yours faithfully,
Group Legal Department - Games Workshop Group PLC
For and on behalf of Games Workshop Limited

My responce Contact on Shapeways and email Aug 15th 2012

Dear Sir,
I thank you for your notice. I deeply apologize for any affront. While I don't always agree with GW's business practices it was not my intent to undermine your intellectual property nor "steal" anything from you. My intent was to provide products which assist your customers in realizing their army vision. And as I've spent a great deal of time painstakingly creating each piece from scratch in my 3d software I didn't see this as "Copying" anything. I'm very sorry you feel that I've infringed your intellectual properties and will be happy to remove content you feel is inappropriate. However I must ask which files you specifically feel are too closely identified with your intellectual property. I will readily admit that all of my products are made in 28mm scale to be compatible with your products. While I can identify specific icons that and items that I've been asked to make that are patterned after your designs (generally older or limited availability designs), I would like clarification of where that line ends for my own edification. For example I'd like you to clarify if it is the icon on a shoulder pad or if it is the shape of the shoulder pad itself that you feel infringes. Likewise I've made a variety of weapons, arms, legs, female equipment etc, that are significantly different than your official designs but still use similar motifs to your traditional products. As example I of this I point to my pole arms and swords lines. I'd greatly appreciate clarification on these issues.
I will begin by taking the items which I recognize as falling into your IP down, this will include the shoulder pads with specific chapter icons, the individual units I recognize from 40k including my stealth suit and drone models, as well as weaponry directly patterned after 40k items such as the heavy weapons etc. Unless I hear otherwise I will assume this does not include shoulder pads that do not bare GW iconography, weapons that are uniquely designed, and custom units.
Please understand I do greatly enjoy your game and my goal was to grow and serve the fan base in a manner which was never intended to undermine any aspect of the GW business. The 3d modeling of my products and their subsequent offering on Shapeways is a hobby to me that doesn't even reimburse me for the cost of ordering test prints of the products. Perhaps the 3d printing process is an idea that should be presented to the executives to fill market niches for underserved armies in a manner similar to the "bits" service discontinued in the 90s.
I sincerely want to find a middle ground where I can comply with your wishes and continue to develop wargaming products to support my hobby and the hobbies of others. If we can please clarify the detail of what items infringe I'd greatly appreciate this.
Dynath Kajira.
PS. This message sent via shapeways private messaging will also be sent to the email address listed above.

GWlegal response by email Aug 20th 2012 

Hi Dynath

Thank you for your swift response and for agreeing to remove the infringing products.

I appreciate your enthusiasm for the hobby and Games Workshop encourages hobbyists to convert and customise their forces to increase enjoyment. Games Workshop does, however, object to commercial use of its intellectual property and/or distribution of its copyrighted material.

I’m afraid that I am not permitted to offer you any legal advice and therefore cannot give detailed guidance on your models. You would have to seek your own legal advice in relation to intellectual property for your product line.

I can inform you that Games Workshop considers any significant copying of its creations to be an infringement of its copyright. This includes, but is not limited to, the unique design of its vehicles, weapons, logos and the several marks of Space Marine armour, which includes the iconic shoulder pad design. Having created and developed the unique expression of the Warhammer 40,000 universe in its text, artwork and sculptures, Games Workshop claims the exclusive rights to produce or license products based on this intellectual property.

I can also inform you that the ‘Aquila’ double headed eagle design is a registered trademark and therefore any product that bears this symbol is an infringement. Games Workshop considers any significantly similar logo to be an infringement of its registered trademark.

I am sorry I cannot offer further assistance. As the seller, it is your responsibility to ensure your products do not infringe other parties’ intellectual property.

I look forward to your confirmation that you have removed any infringing items from your store within the next 14 days. Please also confirm that you will not infringe Games Workshop’s intellectual property in future.

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter. We reserve all rights.

Best regards


Tom Nanson

IP Assistant

Group Legal Department

Games Workshop Group PLC

My Response by email Aug 20th 2012

Dear Mr, Nanson

Like yourself I appreciate diligence regarding this matter.  I am a simple hobbiest and take the interests of Games Workshop in this matter with great seriousness.

I want to assure you I am already complying with the requests of Games Workshop.  I have already removed a number of products and will continue to remove additional products going forward.  Unfortunately there is no automated or batch removal function in Shapeways which means I have to manually edit each item to delete it from my account.  This process takes time and I appriciate your patience.

I’m sorry that my request for clarification was interpreted as a request for legal advice. I honestly assumed that when Games Workshop was deciding I was infringing they would have made a list of specific infringements for me to correct.  As I understand the legal process the individual with a claim of infringement is responsible for defining that claim.  My only intention was to insure I addressed all of Games Workshop’s claims of infringement. I didn’t mean to be requesting your legal expertise, only the specifics of the infringement.  Regardless I’m working to comply with your requests so I see no need to consult legal counsel at this time.  And besides I have no doubt that Games Workshop’s claims have merit or its legal councils wouldn’t pursue them.

That having been said, I will endeavor to remove items based on the “shoulder pad”, “logos” (I assume this is directed at Chapter logos) and “Aquila” design that Games Workshop claims as their intellectual property.  I’m saddened by the loss of these designs particularly because Games Workshop has not made comparable products based on the Intellectual Property they claim.  I do however understand the need for licensing and intellectual property as a whole and will comply.

I agree it is my responsibility to ensure my items don’t infringe intellectual property laws and I will do better to comply in the future. Up to and including seeking legal advice regarding my hobby if needs be. However, in spite of not having legal counsel I am aware of the current litigation between Games Workshop and Chapter House Studios.  While I will comply with your wishes now I feel that I need to inform you that if the court decides you are not the Intellectual Property holder of any or all of these designs I will continue with my distribution of any public domain items at that time, which would be my right if that is found to be the case.

I will do my best to have the offending items offline within the time allotted.  I will also attempt better judgment regarding what items and requests to fulfill in the course of my hobby so that I don’t violate games workshops Intellectual Property again.


Dynath Kajira

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

IP Hammer.

Well it had to happen.  I knew it would happen because it always does happen.  I just received a message from Games Workshop's legal department asking me to remove content that infringes their Intellectual Property.  I've asked them to clarify which content they feel is infringing.  I'm guessing I'll hear back from them tomorrow.  I suggest if anyone wants any shoulder pads that they order them now.  Even then I’m not sure what will be done if you order them and GW throws a fit. I haven’t gotten a message from Shapeways so I’m guessing GW is dealing with me directly.  After I get a response I'll be removing the files they claim are in violation.
Please understand a couple things. While I have a great deal of vehemence towards what I feel is a neglectful attitude, on GW's part, towards their fan base I can't carry a banner against them on this. In spite of my feelings regarding the rising cost and lowering customer satisfaction involved in the hobby, I understand that many of my products are directly inspired by GW's Intellectual Property.  I am not an expert in Intellectual Property and can't afford to seek one at this time. As a result I can't say for sure what is legitimately infringing in the eyes of the law and what isn't.

While I feel that the amount of work and effort I’ve invested in my 3d models makes them significantly different than Games Workshop’s Intellectual Property that doesn’t mean it’s true in the eyes of the law.  The design elements involved I believe are public domain or at the very least not Games Workshop's property.  Indeed until the chapterhouse studio lawsuit is concluded the question of how legal producing expansion parts for GW products are won’t be answered.  Even then it won’t answer the legal question of whether 3d printing items are legal in the first place. 

I would dearly love it if GW would allow us both to coexist, me making addon products to support their products and them inventing new and original items to expand the mythos of 40k.  But that isn’t going to happen.  Games Workshop claims a very broad trade mark on 40k products and regardless of the ethics of threating small product producers like me they are within their rights to exercise their legal ability to sue to protect what they see as an Intellectual Property violation.

On a personal level I feel Games Workshop is disingenuous towards their fan base. Many of the chapters that are “official” have been created by fans who submitted them to white dwarf.  There after the GW has “Claimed” them due to their popularity as their own.  Even the big 18 were created by specific employees at games workshop and inducted into cannon.  GW’s IP is over all made by the company claiming the ideas of others as their own.  This is morally disingenuous to tell people to buy their products and make cool things but 5 years from now we’ll claim your cool thing as ours and sue you if you produce it too.

I bet I sound like sour grapes at the moment.  I’d be lying if that wasn’t part of the whole thing.  But for a long time Games Workshop has been fighting their own fan base for control of the destiny of their game. While I am perfectly comfortable with GW defending themselves against a company that intentionally undermines their business I wish they would make a better distinction between those who are encouraging people to buy more of their products and those who are trying to take away their business. I firmly believe that I fall into the former category rather than the later.

So what happens now?  Well I don’t really know.  I’m positive the large collection of shoulder pads are going to be axed because thats what Games Workshop and Chapterhouse are suing over.  Along with any full models that fall into the GW’s umbrella of IP.  This definitely includes my stealth suits, drones, and probably the Exo Armored Terminator as these are closely inspired by existing GW models.  The Gyrojet line along with my heavy weapons will likewise be removed as well.  The "ground taker" will of course need to be taken down though who would buy a 300 dollar model is beyond me.  Most of my vehicle and hand weapons lines will be fine including my gun ship and grav-bikes along with several other models in those lines.  My main worry is my female star marines which have an Aquila on their torso, at the very least I’ll have to remove the Aquila but I’m afraid they will also claim the tubing and armor details also fall within their IP making the overall design not viable.  From their wording I also question if they consider my swords/pole arms that use elements like electrode wiring are recognized as GW IP.  At this point I just don't know.

What I’m gonna do now? Well mostly I’m going to start by dragging my feet.  I'm partly waiting to get feedback from GW’s legal department about the specifics of their claims. This will allow people who are interested slip an order in though I don't endorse doing that.  I would be lieing if I didn't admit it was partly because it’s quite depressing.  But mostly its because I work a lot at my real job and don't have the time to act on this right now.  Games Workshop attacks everyone in the hobby at some point.  While I knew it would happen eventually I had hoped to give the community more before I got kicked by GW’s legal team. Though I suppose it was too much to hope that I’d get through all 300 chapters designs before it happened. For my own edification I might finish the shoulders even though I cannot offer them for sale. I’m sure GW thinks 3d printing the shoulder pads is the same as copying a DVD but I put a lot of real work into my products. It would be a lot different if I had a 3d laser scanner and could just stick a mini in and print an exact duplicate.  It took me a long time to painstakingly draw every icon in illustrator then transfer them to sketchup and add volume and modify details so they’d print, then bend those icons to go on the shoulder pad shape. Scale them for the shoulder variants, Boolean and multiply them, union and output to stl, upload and so on.  In July I made a grand total of 34 dollars on Shapeways and spent 118 dollars on test prints, half of which I haven’t received. Many of those tests are pointless now because I can’t offer those products for sale without having to defend myself in court. 

I wonder if the other 28mm bits people on Shapeways got tackled by IP as well.  I’m guessing I’ve been a bit more brazen than others have.  I think the 300 shoulder pads were a bit over the top in GW’s eyes.  It sort of asked GW to stop me.  I mean I was literally doing it because GW had never bothered to do it. I blatantly called them out a few posts ago.  So really it’s my own fault. Still, I can secretly hope that GW’s legal team loses the Chapter House studios lawsuit and makes my hobby viable again.  I doubt that, GW has more money than Chapter House and so I see no light at the end of that tunnel.  Ultimately GW wants to protect their money.  They may claim they want to grow the “Hobby” but they really mean “Money”.  Its pretty standard business really, if I was rich I’d probably agree...

No scratch that, if I was rich I’d buy a laser scanner and print GW’s miniatures for all of my friends. Or at least that’s what GW’s legal team would believe of me.

*Sigh* I’m getting very pessimistic.

Long Term? Well in the long term this isn’t that bad.  I won’t be able to do “official” shoulder pads or icons and miniatures inspired by games workshop's products were always a bad idea.  Instead I can do more unique weapon options and full on custom models.  Assuming the female marines are outside of the claim I can make more parts for them.  If not… if the female marines and all shoulder pads are off the table I’ll be disappointed but it’s not the end of the world.  I’ll expand my advanced gyrojet line, add new sword options, remove iconography from bits and end up fine. I’ll also be a bit freer with my time to do custom models of my own. Though, I’ll need to be careful since many of my personal projects are also 40k armies.  What I would call, "inspired by" Games Workshop may choose to challenge so its best I choose my designs more carefully.  It will definitely impact sales.  Most sales came from shoulder pads or small upgrades like the gyrojets.  This will likely mean that most of the products I put up will be of no interest to 95% of the people.  The other 5% being myself and those of us who just like random crazy stuff.  

So that suck huh?  You know what really sucks. Intellectual Property Law in general.  I realize people need to own ideas to make profits these days.  I get that.  Back in the 15th century anyone could make anything and that was just part of life.  Back then you steal a man’s idea you weren’t taken to court you went out back for a duel.  And you know what, I’d like my odds better with a sword or pistol in my hand than in a court room.  IP encompasses so much stuff and it’s so hard to contest anything.  I know my shoulder pads are directly inspired by GW’s products, I get that.  At the same time games workshop has named a bunch of crap in books just to tie up those names in IP so no one can use them.  Same with the icons, half the GW icons are directly drawn from coats of arms of medieval knights but they trade marked them and I can’t use them.  Corporations have all the power here. If you want to make something you need to tie your ideas to one of them and then you don’t own it anymore. Corporations aren’t people, they are faceless edifices that just seem to take things from people.  GW wants our money but doesn’t want to let us express ourselves, doesn’t want to produce the products we want, and doesn’t want to allow others to make things that are compatible with their products.  They make rules that are unbalanced and pretend the game shouldn’t be balanced.  They charge outrageous prices for their products and claim they are a luxury so its ok.  They charge unfair prices to certain market sectors and then tie their customer’s hands against alternative products.  Corporations are inhuman and we give them the rights to own things, is it any surprise that corporations own us now? 

Well all that aside I encourage people to email me regarding requests they have placed but have yet to be filled. I don’t know what is happening yet but I would still like to work with people to make products.  I’m not sure how that will happen.  I wish I knew a Chinese casting service that I could work with LOL. That’s a joke GW, don’t actually sue me for it.

*Sigh* I hate intellectual property laws. I was born a few hundred years to late.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

My Internet Is Back... and Video Games Suck...

So without internet access this week I spent some time doing something I’m sure a lot of us have done or do fairly commonly. I played some video games.  I know, A. no one cares, B. I have a crap tone of projects to do, and C. no one cares.  But honestly here me out, the exposition is always a the boring part.
See I was playing Space Marine.  Now I pretty much have only played the single player campaign.  I’ve played most of the warhammer games and I usually walk away with the same thought.  Has anyone who makes the video games ever actually played the 40k table top game?

Sorry if you like Space Marine but the game play is screwy.  They pretty much rape 40k’s background to make a poor quality first person shooter.  They saw an anti-tank laser canon and thought, hey lets make that a sniper rifle.  The game plays slow and inexorable.  Some might say that it fits the space marines.

On one level it certainly does.  On another level it plays out like gears of war but without the heartwarming narrative of poor decisions and mass murder.  The space marine should be slow and inexorable to some degree, but it’s the slow inevitable march towards the grave.  There is no passion in the characters.  Even gears of war had its poorly contrived quest to rescue the main character’s wife or something.  Here flat characters perform actions without any kind of connection to the setting, plot, or general background.

And lets not forget the constant focus on Space Marines versus Chaos Space Marines.   The game is a tired rehash of 40k’s better written back story.  Even firewarrior told a better chaos narrative than space marine.  So I was thinking here’s a fucking 40k game.

It’s called “Warhammer 40k: Heresy” cause that’s what it’s about.  Naming games for unit types has always been pretty stupid, only people who care are those people that play that damned unit. Firewarrior and Space Marine fell into this trap. I’m just calling it Heresy cause even though the main characters are Space Marines we are at least gonna make you look at the box art to figure that out.  And that’s another thing, the box art is the fucking emperor on the golden throne. Full blown glossy painted joygasm artwork not that same damned rehashed watercolor that’s in every fucking book.  No space marine on the cover cause, well we really want you to read the box descriptions and see the little photos of people being vaporized in game play. So its named lets jump in.

First off, we’ve had TBS’s, RTS’s, and now 2 shitty shooters.  I’ve probably forgotten a few games too. So lets do this right.  40k started with an RPG strategy hybrid so that’s where it should go.  Shooters are fine, they are obtainable.  They make sense to a lot of gamers and a good game needs to sell to more than just 40k fans.

So our hybrid will have a firm grounding in squad based shooters.  You’ll be the seargent of a 5 man tactical squad.  RPG wise you’ll have the opportunity to find equipment, looting fallen enemies for weapons.  In classic Rogue trader your space marines could carry lasguns or splinter rifles whatever just so long as you could kill something with the business end.  A real marine uses what they have and that’s our marines, fighting to the end. 

You’ll have a smart tactical menu to command your team mates and in Co-op or multi player the same interface will be used to command the party.  The main character in single player has some RPG style upgrades gained at intervals throughout the game through completing quests/objectives depending on how RPG or Shooter we want to build the game.  Personally your character will be allowed, let’s say 3 trees of abilities.  One is Psychic Powers, classic light shit on fire with your mind stuff building up to massive warp storm damage type shit.  The second is faith, prayers to the emperor that boost abilities for a short time, give auras of protection, and crap like that.  And third is mutations, start with simple things, altered vision modes super hard skin, these are permanent and can alter how the RPG elements play out, at the higher levels you have horns and breath fire which is pretty bad ass on its own.  But the idea is you mix and match upgrades in a tier system so you can’t be to powerful.  On top of this you add weapon and armor upgrades from poor quality weapons up to full on artificer quality stuff with digital lasers on board.  You buy everything with Requisition gained by completing in game objectives, storyline events, secondary objectives/sidequests, and competing online in Multiplayer.  Basically requisition buys strait out equipment upgrades and ammo or it buys a Character Point spendable in your upgrade tree.  So there is really four main options, All Faithful, All Psychic, All Mutant, or Strait Marine with the 5th option of mix and match lower tier smorgasbord.  So that’s the game play.

Second we need a damned plot.  Now Dawn of War had a rather predictable but enjoyable plot regarding the machinations of chaos.  Dawn of War 2 was really moby dick in power armor.  Space Marine is really chaos’s version of Punk’d. The villain is Ashton Kocher playing for chaos undivided.  So basically it was dry and lifeless from the start.  Now I’m realistic if Ashton Kocher was in 40k he’d definitely be playing for chaos. I’m not gonna lie chaos is the protagonist… sorry antagonist… slip of the tongue hehee.  Anyway chaos is in here, the names heresy after all.  But it’s not gonna be this obvious.

So we are gonna start with a beautiful cut scene of a bunch of candles.  Pan out to the main character bowed before an imperial shrine in the staff briefing room of a thunderhawk drop ship reciting a prayer to the emperor.  A squad of space marines file in, for practical reasons we are limiting your squad from act one.  You’ll have the grizzled battle veteran we’ll call him Julius, veteran of many battles he’ll give you sound military advice.  Then you’ll have Arthur, the ordnance specialist.  Arthur is also a veteran but he specializes in “Special weapons” like plasma guns and melta bombs.  Next is Cestus, the strong silent type, heavy scars and cybernetic reconstruction leave him totally unvoice acted, I mean mute.  But that’s fine his favorite chain sword does most of his talking.  And last you’ll have Trajian, the newbie.  Just promoted to the veteran company he is only a hundred and fifty, as a result he’s brash and headstrong always suggesting a frontal assault as the most honorable path.

I don’t care what chapter my marines are.  Personally I think choosing ultrasmurfs was a bad idea for Space Marine.  I don’t like smurfs that’s why I call them smurfs and why my blood angels exsanguinate them on sight.  Dawn of War had a better idea, make it custom.  The blood ravens were an awesome introduction and were played perfectly with a richly developed iconography and well done backstory.  Sure they get their homeworld blown up and basically half of them go evil but they were marketed well.  Now if we were going full RPG here I’d suggest before game starts you could forgo the build your own character generator in favor of a “chapter builder” choose color and iconography like dawn of war style to make it more fun for the fluff addicts among us.  Then if you use game rendered cinemas like a lot of these games now do you just stick the color scheme and icons in as appropriate.  If we are leaning towards shooter then any chapter will do but I’d say a custom or lessor developed chapter would be good.  Maybe one of the big named ones that isn’t played up in the game often like Salamanders or White Scars, the choice at this point changes an aesthetic for the marines more than anything else so whatever trips the developers trigger.

The battle brothers wait for the end of the prayers and then begin a briefing.  The first briefing is about the tutorial part 1.  Basically your strike force has been deployed to fight… “insert 40k enemy here” I’d probably go with tyranids.  I like the nids and classic genestealer versus marines would start the game with a horror pace which would be awesome. The mission brief is your game hub where you decide what missions to do.  At first its only one mission but you’ll get more options here later.   The briefings would introduce the character personalities as the game gives you the option of what to do.  In the first one your mission is to extract some important people from a jungle death world that’s being overrun.  Trajian of course suggests landing on the research facility’s gantry,  Arthur suggests using defoliant weapons on the jungle first, and Cestus just polishes his chain sword.  Julius suggests a daring decent via Jump packs and a hike through the jungle to the facility followed by an exit through the roof of the facility’s main command tower.  All this is meant to set up the dynamics of the group and choose your starting load out.

My basic idea is simple, you keep what you kill.  Your party will have the option to pickup equipment in game and return to the ship with it.  Once you complete a mission with equipment it appears in your inventory and you can buy upgrades, ammo, etc for it. Till then you’re out of luck.  So to start you choose, Daring landing pad raid and you get classic tactical marine load out. As defoliator you get slow and purposeful terminator armor with flamers and storm bolters. And before anyone cries about game balance I’d set up termi armor with some drawbacks, no running or jumping for one, probably no duck either so while tactical marines can go prone the termi’s just have to take gun fire.  Also a lot of weapons wouldn’t work with termi armor so there.  Lastly you’d go jump pack as assault marines with Bolt Pistol and CCW.  Sergeant would have a power sword by default and Arthur a Plasma pistol.

First play through you’d go Jump pack decent by default unless you opt out of the “Tutorial” mode.  But basic idea is you footslog through the jungle fighting predators and carnivorous plants as a tutorial followed by part 2 maybe 3 being added levels of real game play.  After you enter the deserted facility you start getting into real gamer fun.  Most of the science teams and general squishes are dead ala Doom style body shredding.  You get a signal from a survivor deep in a sublevel and proceed through some puzzling maze like corridors down into the structure while being attacked by genestealers, gaunts, and whatever else we feel like tossing at you.  Just for the hell of it the station’s machine spirits are going crazy and autoturrets try to kill you too.  Finally you get into the facility’s last secure lab and find an ordo xeno’s inquisitor we’ll call Andureal.  Inquisitor Andureal, a Jokuro scientist, and his guard staff of female inquisitorial storm troopers code named “Squadron Valkyr” are all that’s left of the station personnel.  You extract them through the station’s secure containment tunnels to the command tower only to have Mawloc or some similar Nid monster knock it down.  You regroup with some losses to Valkyr and battle instead to the landing pad where the thunderhawk awaits with the rest of your strike force.  But the inquisitor orders the group to abandon the planet which you dutifully do.

Onboard the ship the Inquisitor officially demands the Astartes’ assistance with resolving an urgent matter.  Though he won’t explain he insists there is an urgent matter you must help with. Then orders you to make course for a highly populated hive world.  At this point you can free roam a bit.  Talk to the other marines for advice, the jokuro is your weapon upgrade mechanic.  The Valkyr’s chief of staff should be a sassy little tough as nails officer that reports to the Inquisitor.  You’ll also have an Apothecary on board for medical stuff, maybe a librarian and a techmarine as upgrade mechanics or supply options.  Not sure.  Along with your squad you’ll have a few other marine squads on the thunderhawk.  Maybe 30 people in total, counting the survivors let’s say 50 tight fit for the time being.   All in all in all you get some interactions and some back story, not full RPG stuff more like the hubs in Star Craft 2, if we are really clever you could do a mechanic where the librarian records you’re great deeds and can do instant replays or maybe have the other squads talk about how amazingly you kill things in the name of the emperor.  And one of the valkyr’s could say “I used to be space marine like you then I took a bolter round in the knee.” You know fun stuff like that.

The inquisitor lands you on an industrial hive world where your first task is to find a scientist who hid something stolen from someplace.  What follows is a fun and unique interaction with the 40k universe.  Space marines are gods among men in 40k and here they dine to walk amongst the populous. The common people bow to you, crowds part as you walk, if you stop to talk to a merchant he humbly offers you his wares for free though they never have anything useful.  The hive market becomes your hub.  By talking to the commoners you learn of their troubles.  A growing gang population, brutal totalitarian government, mass disappearances, and run amuck robot maniples.  The list goes on.  You have the option to dispatch your squad to deal with these issues in an attempt to possibly find your wayward scientists.  Depending on the missions you take you’ll get certain equipment and certain equipment will be needed for certain jobs.  But that’s all part of the RPG elements.  Each mission is a map you go to and fight your way through, completing objectives and collect equipment from. You’ll also have the option to dispatch some other marine squads to deal with a mission, by doing so you get a piece of looted equipment but no requisition or other rewards of game play.  Depending on the depth of the RPG/RTS influence you might also lose marines from the squad you send eventually running out of subordinates.  You’ll be limited to doing say 3 of the dozen missions yourself before the story mode triggers.

Finally the scientist reveals himself but you are cut off by gangers before you can capture the scientist.  You fight your way to the Gangers headquarters where you confront the scientist.  He reveals the object he stole was taken by the aristocrats but he isn’t sure who but they have ties to the Spyer Arena and the gangers.  In order to find the object without alerting the aristocrats you remove your armor disguising yourself as gladiators you enter the spyer arena battles to find information.  You fight your way through the arena gladiators interrogating your opponents between battles looking for clues as to who has the object.  In the final battle you beat down the gladiator champion and confront the arena’s adjutant as the artifact’s possessor.  But the adjutant releases an army of cybernetic abominations on the arena, you and its spectators.  The gangers wisk the adjutant away deep into the under city.

From here you return to the thunderhawk.  You’re presented with several tactical battle scenarios.  These include things like evacuating civilians to safety, retaking key structures like comms control and water recycling.  Or maybe just good old fashioned hold the line against waves of cybernatically enhanced abominations made from kidnapped civilians.  Once more you can do 3 of them personally and a small number of squad assignments to your allied Astartes.  As you are doing this if you are talking to people your officers will be giving you advice and talking about past campaigns or 40k story points. You could also tie multiplayer in here, you could do a bunch of multiplayer maps alongside the 3 single maps to get requisition and upgrades.  Maybe even use requisition to upgrade your allied astartes if you want not sure I think this mostly would depend on developer time needed to impliment.

Eventually the main story progresses.  After tactically retaking key facilities your squad strikes into the undercity to fight the gangers.  At first you battle through gangers with their legions of cybernetically enhanced minions. However it turns more evil over time. The Cybernetic minions give way to mutant abominations and chaos taint creeps into the gangs.  Finally you fight into the bowels of the city and finally confront the adjutant to find him a monstrous demonic half serpent amidst a horror show mad scientist laboratory. A massive boss battle ensues and you kill him but just barely. Finding the artifact is a large archiotech box like device about the size of a devastator marine’s back pack.  Collecting it you find the mutated gangers are going insane without the demonic influence of the adjutant to guide them.  Together you and your squad fights towards the surface.  As you go the spyer is wracked with explosions as the cyborgs and mutants destroy supports and power systems.  You reach the upper levels through force of arms and there on the platform beside the thunderhawk you face down a demon engine built form countless civilians sewn together and fueled by their dyeing breaths.  In a valiant effort your marines turn their weapons on the thing as the thunderhawk lifts off but the monster’s pincing claws grasp at the vessel and to save them all Cestus hurls himself from the open bay doors into the creature’s face sawing it to pieces, buying time to escape.  As you ascend the hive explodes as the mutants detonate the nuclear reactors destroying themselves and any unfortunate enough to survive.

The thunderhawk, your surviving crew aboard along with the surviving valkyrs and the inquisitor ascend into space where they dock with a giant space station known as the Skysprawl Citadel.  A vast ship yard in orbit around the planet.  Upon arrival you discover dark machinations afoot here as well.  Strange carvings have been found throughout the station depicting an evil pyramid and the demon named Helldrian.  Arbites enforcers patrol the station at all hours in response to rioting.  Brutal serial killings have been occurring.  What’s worse is the mutants and cyborgs have been smuggled on board the station which is threatening the lives of all aboard as they go crazy.  Here again you get the option to walk amongst the people. Different groups have their own motivations and will push you to do their missions. Arbites want the riot inciters caught and murders stopped, station officials want the mutants and cyborgs put down before they do damage, and of course the inquisitor and the valkyrs want the taint of chaos purged from the station before the situation disintegrates totally.  You’ll collect missions from multiple sources, you can do 3 again yourself, a small number of ordered missions for your surviving allies, and a bunch of multiplayer missions.

When the story mode picks up it’s a confrontation between yourself and the inquisitor. You insist on requesting backup from the Astartes but Andureal has ordered the mechanicus on Skysprawl to disable all transmitters and the telepaths have been sequestered by the Valkyrs.  Suspicion is rampant and the station’s population erupts into riots.  The Arbites stretched thin already are pushed to their breaking point and mutants slip through damaging the station’s orbital control systems during the riot you are forced to put down.  The station begins to fall into the atmosphere and break apart.  Your squad fights its way through the habitation section into the science labs in an attempt to reach the thunderhawk.  Once more a race against time you are forced to disable parts of the station’s security to get where you need to be while fighting off rioting civilians, mindless cyborg killing machines, and horrid mutant scum.  Finally you reach the secure facility the inquisitor had requisitioned but it’s been over run.  You find that before being taking by the mutants the artifact had been opened.  There in the facility’s house of horror, among the corpses of the techmagos’s assistants you find a young girl in strange attire.  With little time to think you gun down the mutants that are about to kill her and drag her away with you pushing her into julius’s arms and tell him to protect her.  You battle through the station’s remaining corridors to the thunderhawk.  But as you enter the docking bay from a gantry at the top you find that the station’s docking arm is locked on the thunderhawk and can’t be disabled now the station’s power is failing.  As the station’s docking bay buckles and begins to decompress, Arthur wishes you farewell and jumps onto the docking arm from the gantry holding on for dear life he overloads his plasma gun melting the thing in half.  Your dwindling crew drops onto the pack of the thunderhawk and rushes through the nearest hatch to safety as the station breaks apart in flames.

Onboard the Thunderhawk your surviving crew has shrunk greatly.  The inquisitor and the valkyrs are missing.  Your informed by the pilot that the valkyr comms chatter indicated they and the inquisitor commandeered a frigate from the ship yards and headed towards a planet named Caldera via the immaterium. You order a pursuit course.  In the briefing room the woman, named Helen reveals herself to be a psyker.  She was put into dimensional stasis by researchers millennia before the imperium came to be so that she could be studied.  Her power gives her foresight but also drains her life.  She claims that the inquisitor was drawn to evil by the temptations of his lieutenant, the leader of the Valkyr.  Julius recommends they overtake the Frigate in the warp if possible.  With the intention of doing just that they head in pursuit.

Through a trick of the warp they unfortunately arrive in the Caldera system weeks after the inquisitor.  They find the frigate and board by force.  Again you are presented with missions, this time making tactical decisions to take the ship sending yourself or the small number of remaining allied squads to take key objectives such as seizing the engine room, isolating crew quarters, life support, primary guns, and so on.  On board you find mutant imperial navy solders driven onward by monstrous demonic valkyrs tainted by the touch of slaanesh.  Their twisted wings and snake like lower bodies betray their allegiance all to well.  Once you’ve done your 3 missions you’ll discover an opening to seize the bridge.   A week Helen carried by Julius warns that the Inquisitor has fled the ship but the bridge will lead you to his ultimate location and your final confrontation with him.  So you battle up through the bowels of the ship to the bridge and confront an even more mutated Valkyr on the bridge.  After a protracted battle she is slain.  The bridge log indicates an lander was deployed to a small facility on the surface of the otherwise lifeless rock of a planet.  The thunderhawk is deployed to the same location.

Arriving you find an abandoned archeological dig.  The Valkyrs have slaughtered through the station crew and demons freely walk its halls.  Your survivors follow you through the station battling through the seekers to reach a chamber deep under the facility.  There a strange demonic pyramid awaits, flanked by monoliths and a great stone alter atop a dias at its front.  Lashed to a monolith at the dais’ landing is the inquisitor.  The lieutenant waits patiently as you approach battling down from the chamber’s edge and up the pyramid’s long steps through her demonic soldiers.  Then as you reach the dias to confront the valkyr turned daemon Julius draws his combat knife and drives it through Helen’s heart hurling her into the alter. The lieutenant laughs as you battle your possessed friend as the dias, pyramid, and monoliths begin to first glow then crack apart.  The dias snaps in two and drops several hundred feet before stopping, the alter, now far above glows like a sick green sun.  Andureal freed by the fall beheads Julius with a discarded chainsword as he is about to strike you down.  Crippled, bleeding, and broken Andureal pushes you back up the cavern slope.

You retreat through the crumbling station at last reaching the thunderhawk.  There you take off towards the frigate.  A parting shot of the planet shows the volcanic shelf has crumbled to reveal the pyramid is just one part of a massive construct. The pyramid is held aloft by a strange coiled serpent creature much like the valkyrs, this one colossal in size with a dozen limbs.  The coils glow now and begin to undulate flaking stone off as it returns to life.  Back on the frigate’s bridge the dying inquisitor reveals that he discovered from the scrawled text of the mad cultists on Skysprawl that Helen was the trapped soul of the deamon Heldrian the Siren of Slanesh.  He couldn’t be sure who her power had infected as her very voice could drive mortals mad.  So he intended to abandon her on Skysprawl and come here to destroy the temple that acted as the focus of Heldrian’s summoning.  He believed the ancients had given Heldrian a mortal form and trapped her in stasis. Now that her soul and were once again united her siren call would be a psykic beacon to rival the Astronomicon.  After a short debate he agrees that shattering the pyramid before Heldrian awakens might stop the resurrection.  All agreeing Trajan rushes to the engine room while you operate the ship’s guns. Hurling everything into the giant statue the ship hurtles through the atmosphere a blazing red spear against the nimbus of glowing green stone.  The cinematic climaxes with the imperial eagle emblazoned on the frigate’s prow splintering the pyramids surface and the planet cracking in two.

Roll credits.

After the credits a short cinematic would depict a rogue trader crew sifting through asteroid debris.  Finding the frozen body of a human girl embedded in the stone. And then cut to black.

That’s a 40k Game… Hope someone took notes.