Jeffrey Layton (Person)
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|BattleTech forum handle||tabletopgamer6886|
|In-universe persona||Jeffrey Layton|
CBT Forum postings
Layton registered on the CBT Forum as user "tabletopgamer6886" on 08 May 2011. In his first forum posting, he explained some background about the writing process of the (infamously error-ridden) Objective Raids sourcebook:
|“|| Hello. I'm Jeffrey Layton, and I wrote the original Objective Raids.
Given the current feeling toward my book and the errors in it, I really had to work up my courage before stepping up to post. I would, however, like to mention the reality of the conditions under which it was written.
In those days, information wasn't as easily available as it is now in the computer era. The various writers working for FASA at the time weren't always in very good contact with one another and sometimes they didn't seem to keep track of the other printed material out there, so there was quite a bit of conflicting detail in the source material I was working with. I had to make a lot of decisions as to which version to use when the books were at odds with each other.
Of course I'm human and with that mass of material, you can bet that I made mistakes too. I wasn't a professional writer. I was a gamer - just a kid fresh out of high school with a bunch of notebooks filled with hand written notes scattered all over my house. It wasn't an organized team effort - it was just me and my notes.
As an aside, I submitted the first few chapters of the book as typewritten pages until Sam Lewis told me that the office ladies at FASA were pitching a fit about having to retype it and he needed me to find a way to get the material to him on floppy disk. I'd never used a computer before and I certainly couldn't afford one. Two of my friends did have computers and they typed up my notes for me. FASA got half the material in Apple format and half in PC.
Finally, I'd just like to say that Tikonov WAS listed in the final draft I submitted to FASA. That error at least was on the part of the editors. It's my understanding that some publishers allow the author to see the final stage of material before sending a book to press, but that wasn't the case with either of my books.
Despite the errors, I think that Objective Raids did what it was intended to by serving as a reference material for both gamers and writers for the BattleTech game. At least it gave us some sort of foundation to work from.
Anyway, it's great to see that BattleTech is still going strong. I haven't written anything since Tukayyid (though I did just start a gaming blog: www.gamingtabletop.com it's the only "writing" that I've done in twenty years now!), and I quit gaming for a while. Now I'm playing BattleTech again, using rebased MechWarrior: Dark Age figs for games with my kids.
Finally, I'd like to say that I have a great deal of respect for MadCapellan for his Objective Raids: 3067 project. I was tearing my hair out when working on the original, and there's so much more source material for him to have to keep track of that it's amazing to me that anyone could manage it. Congratulations!
Following this posting, numerous other posters came forward to express praise and recognition for Layton's work the sourcebook, explaining (paraphrased) that it was a very important and much-used book in many gaming groups, which is why its errors and omissions became particularly prominent; nobody had regarded it as a bad product.
In a later posting, Layton added (regarding the omission of Tikonov as a factoy world, probably the most glaring problem in Objective Raids):
|“|| After first posting here, I called up one of the two old friends who helped me retype the Objective Raids manuscript in order to get it saved to floppy disks. While we were talking, he said "okay you're sure that you had Tikonov in your original manuscript. But are you 100% sure that it got entered in the stuff we retyped?"
And...no, I'm not. I had forgotten about that extra step in the process. Yes, it was there when I wrote the manuscript. Yes, it isn't in the final printed product. But, no, that doesn't mean it was FASA's fault for sure - it could have been me after all.
Layton is among the authors to have an identically named in-universe doppelganger: Precentor Jeffrey Layton.
- In this posting on the CBT Forum, in a thread discussing Objective Raids (http://www.classicbattletech.com/forums/index.php/topic,5171.msg123971.html#msg123971 - link broken/defunct; forum was hacked and subsequently abandoned later in 2011)