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Cen's Handy Guide to GE&T Product-making [More is coming!!]

PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2016 7:24 am
by The Nation of Ceneria
Cen's Handy Guide to GE&T Product-makingFor Cen's Shady Guide to GE&T Product-Making, please click here.

Well, hello there!

Welcome to Cen's Handy Guide to GE&T Product-making! I'm Cen (who'd have guessed!), and I'll be showing you a little bit of the ropes regarding how to make an accurate and successful product for your Global Economics and Trade storefront. This is not a beginner's guide, and should not be taken as such. The suggestions that are listed below take a good bit of time to take into account, and require a reasonably understanding of military terminology and technology in order to be successfully executed. If you are looking for a more basic guide to creating a product without delving into advanced technical detailed, I highly advise that you refer instead to Yohannes's Simple Guide to Creating a Product. This should help you get your basic product off the ground without giving you a heart attack.

What are my qualifications? I'm glad you asked! I am currently the proprietor of the Global Economics and Trade Accreditation Agency and the much spurned Polaris Military Logistics Corporation. I've also operated reasonably successful but highly embarrassing military storefronts, airlines, and an airport. Don't even ask about those. I'm also involved with an ongoing project by prolific and high-quality NS MT RPers and mentors to create a centralized community thread and headquarters for the MT RPing community.

Before I begin, I'm going to give a little bit of a disclaimer. This guide is primarily focused on helping with the creation of military products such as CVNs, SSKs, and APCs. If you didn't know what those abbreviations mean, then just click here to find out. This is for the reason that I find military storefronts, the most popular type of storefront, to be by far the lowest in quality. In my own private push to correct this, I've tried to give helpful comments to anyone who applies over at GE&TAA (see above), but I'm now taking my crusade full-scale through this guide. If you have any suggestions for aspiring storefront-owners that you'd like to see me include, I would be more than happy to get suggestions from the community.

Another great resource is the Global Economics and Trade Help Desk, which also happens to be stickied at the top of the sub-forum. It's a great place to go if you want advice on a product or storefront from the veterans.

As of September of 2016, this thread also contains a diverse and fragmented collection of suggestions regarding storefronts in general, not confined to product-making in any way, shape, or form. I will eventually formulate all of these into a more cohesive guide at a later date, but for now this is their home. Rest assured, you will be able to tell when the topic of product-making is exhausted and I move on to kerning and other ridiculous things like that.

So, without any further ado, I'm going to get off my lazy bum and get on with it. Happy creating!
Note: This guide is equipped with small-text headers in addition to image headers for the convenience of blind individuals using screen-reading software. If you encounter any problems with this, please send me a telegram and I would be happy to help.


A.K.A, The Nation of Ceneria


Preliminary Advice | Product Research | Nomenclature | Vocabulary | Images | Product Write-ups | Closing Remarks

Preliminary Advice

Before I delve into the details, I would like to state some ground rules, of sorts. Firstly, as mentioned in the introduction above, this is not a beginner's guide to product-making. It is designed for those who have established products, and is made to help them improve them. It is also for those who are willing to put in a lot of work, especially people genuinely interested in the fields in which they are selling products. So, here's a final warning: abandon hope all ye who enter here, the realm of the over-realistic GE&T product!

With that out of the way, I'd like to make a couple of statements that will heretofore be assumed as correct. Please consider these when reading this guide, because they influence the way that I talk about how to create a product.
  1. There is absolutely no place for plagiarism in GE&T, whether it takes the form of copying another user's product or trying to sell an unaltered real-world product. If you want to sell something that exists in the real world, make sure that there are notably different aspects to it that make it significantly different from its real-world counterpart. Using real-life images is fine. Using real-life statistics is much less so.
  2. If you're going to make a storefront, please put some effort into it. Not only will it significantly raise your ability to attract customers, but it also raises the general quality of the sub-forum as a whole. As Tippercommon wrote, "Do not create storefronts for the sake of having a lot of storefronts. Focus your efforts on one storefront at first and maybe expand into new industries with a few more storefronts over time. Would you rather have an empire of nothing or a couple high-quality storefronts that people respect?"
  3. Lack of motivation and ignorance are no excuses for blatant grammatical errors and contempt for standard conventions of English. If you're going to spend time writing about your product, do yourself a favor and make it decently readable by using recognized grammar and spelling.

Okay. Whew. Hopefully I didn't scare too many of you off. With the rant out of the way, let's dive right in!


The Sound of Music wrote:Let's start at the very beginning,
A very good place to start,
When you read you begin with A-B-C,
When you sing you begin with do-re-mi

How better to start this guide that a quote from The Sound of Music! Only in this case, the very beginning is not do-re-mi, but research! YAY!

Okay, admittedly, that word does make the student inside of me shudder a little bit. I mean, you're making a storefront to have fun, right? So why on earth would you ever willingly subject yourself the terrors of researching something?? Well, to start off, conducting research about the product you are trying to create helps you make it realistic, which is really important. But I digress.

---> topic

They key to making any good product is to have a good base of accurate and realistic information on which to start. This information can be obtained through research, whether it be paging through thousand-page technical manuals or typing "what is explosive reactive armor" into a Google search. The place to start for someone who is unfamiliar with the basics can be something like wikipedia; look up whatever you are trying to build, and read up about it. This will keep you from making errors in your product that are just plain stupid.

Once you've moved past basic research on your product type, it is highly advisable to move into more specific fields of study. To echo my example above, read up about explosive reactive armor before your say that your tank has a ten-inch layer of it over all surfaces. Find out the merits of gun rifling versus smoothbore. Learn about specific areas that will help you make your product more realistic. Use this information to form your own ideas as to what features you want your product to have, and what features are just plain ludicrous. But make sure you don't copy statistics and paragraphs straight off of wikipedia. That won't help you in the end.


Now that you know generally what you're doing, it's important to name your product well. This takes two forms: The designation and the name. I'll start with the name.

There are several approaches to finding a good name for your product. You can always just use the "pick a ferocious wild animal and use its name" approach, one that is well-used in the real world and on NS. In the case of ships and boats, you can name them after a person, i.e., Donald Drumpf-class Glass-hulled Submarine. Or, if your country has an original language, you can make up a word for your product. For instance, the Type 3 "Screaming Chipmunk" Main Battle Tank might be called the Tra'aq-3 Bal'bra'ak. When sounds a heck of a lot cooler than "Screaming Chipmunk" (do chipmunks even scream? Let me know!!).

The next step is the find the right designation. While you technically can write "Bob Dylan-class Nuclear-powered Ballistic Missile Submarine" every time you say your product name, it is a whole lot easier to write "Bob Dylan-class SSBN." Don't you agree? But nothing is worse that realizing, "Oh, shoot! I thought FNG was the designation for a guided missile frigate!" It's not. That's FFG. FNG means F****ing New Guy. That's what you look like if you make an error that dumb.

So, how do you prevent this? A good way is to look up any designation that you are planning on using. If it comes up as a derogatory term roughly translating to the posterior of an Asian Elephant, then you've probably go it wrong. I've listed a couple of reliable acronym and designation lists below for your use, but they may not contain everything that you may be looking for. If you find better ones, I'd be more than happy to put them here as well.

US Naval Ship Designations: These are known as Hull Classification Symbols, and a more-than-complete list can be found here. This one is probably better, though.
International Naval Ship Designations: If you reject American military superiority, then a list of international pennant numbers can be found here.


This section really goes hand in hand with the nomenclature section above, but is also very much connected with the write-ups section below. It involves vocabulary you use to describe your products.

To start this train rolling, I'm going to make a general list of what to avoid when writing about your products.
  1. Superlatives: No, I don't mean "Most likely to kick OPFOR butt." The other type of superlatives; the highest degree of comparison of something. What I mean by this is, never refer to your product as "the best main battle tank on the market" or having "the longest-range gun system in the world." Never deal in absolutes. You can express your "really really good product" sentiments through language that doesn't annoy competitors and fellow GE&Ters out of their minds, and state that it is among the best in the world, or even arguably the best in the world. But you should absolutely steer away from absolutes. ( :unsure: )
  2. Technobabble: Wikipedia defines 'technobabble' as "a form of jargon that uses buzzwords, esoteric language, specialized technical terms, or technical slang that is incomprehensible to the listener." I define it as "bloody awful." The goal of product write-up is the help the potential buyer understand your product, not make then google what you mean when you're talking about the 'exceptional Brinell Hardness of your Fifth-generation Improved-Thermodynamic Austenite Steel.' Use language understandable to the average human being, and if you have the uncontrollable urge to spout technobabble, at least have the courtesy to confine it to an appropriately labeled spoiler.
  3. Flawed grammar: This is really a repeat of Preliminary Advice part c): try to use proper English. It's perfectly understandable if English is not your first language, but there isn't a viable excuse if you've been speaking conversational English since your childhood.

So, what it boils down to is that your goal is to make a comprehensive, detailed, and yet universally understandable description of your product, from the ground up. That sounds pretty darn tough, but there are couple of ways that you can get around this. Firstly, below the write-ups section of this guide, I have shared links to a couple of exceptional write-ups. These are great examples of what you may want to work towards, and I highly recommend reading over them to get an idea as to what a good write-up looks like. Secondly, there may come times when you do have to use what could be labeled 'technobabble', and it might be an integral part of your product. That's perfectly okay. Just explain the concept(s) in layman's terms and make sure that the reader can understand it. Lastly, don't be afraid to ask for advice! There is a great community of storefront owners and mentors out there who would be thrilled to help you, and you should definitely take advantage of the great opportunity to use them as resources to improve your work. There's more on this at the bottom.


Now that you have an idea as to what your product is and what you're calling it, the next step is to get a picture that you can use to represent it and promote it. Please note: The entirety of this section is optional. There are plenty of great storefronts who have exceptional products and achieve a good bit of business without having any images of their products. Images are a helpful tool to increase the appeal of your products to potential customers, but they are by no means a requirement for success.

If you do decide that you want an image of your product, there are a couple of pathways to go down in order to accomplish this. The first is the find a picture on the magical interweb that accurately depicts the exterior of your product. This is perfectly acceptable, and is widely used by a large number of well-respected storefront owners. Just ensure that differences between the image and your product are minimal.

The second option is more complicated: designing an image of your own. This requires patience, and at least passible skill with some form of image-editing program. I prefer Adobe Photoshop, but more user-friendly and less expensive (read:free) options include GIMP,, and MSPaint. This also requires some research of its own: you need to be able to accurately depict all of the fancy features that your product has in your image. Look up pictures of different systems, and include your own variants of these in your picture. You can even hijack the outline of a unit, if you feel profoundly unmotivated. As long as it is still a good deal different from what you stole it from, it should be fine.

Lastly, another option is to commission someone to make an image for you. There are numerous threads across the forums where you can ask for and get all sorts of images, from seals to flags, and I've seen a couple offering custom product art. Just be aware that it may have some rather significant differences from the specifics that you made up, so be prepared to edit either the art or your stats.

Product Write-ups

Now that you have the details about your new product, it's time to put them in a presentable format. In my opinion, this is the single most important part in getting your product ready for sale. There are innumerable methods to do this, but two predominate most GE&T storefront: The Stat Block and the Write-up. Many small and lower-end storefronts present product information in only a Stat Block, leaving the actual practical visualization of their products to the viewer. Well-known storefronts, on the other hand, use a combination of both: Stat Blocks for vital facts, and write-ups for relevant background information and the like. But, what are they anyway??

  1. The Stat Block:

    The Stat Block is the most basic type of information presentation device, where information is simply written in massive blocks of product specifications . Now, as you can probably guess, this isn't particularly fun to read through for the casual shopper, although it is a very helpful means of displaying vital information in an easy-to-see format. But, if you are making something like a destroyer where a list of facts just doesn't cut it, the stat block probably isn't for you. In fact, I'd argue that the Stat-block is only really an acceptable form of product presentation when it is a component of the presentation alongside a comprehensive write-up. Which leads me to...
  2. The Write-Up:

    The write-up is the heretofore best method of presenting relevant product information, ranging from performance to development history. The basic idea of the write-up is that, after reading it, someone who has purchased your product could write a detailed and perfectly accurate account of its use using only the information given to them in the write-up in question. That means that there is a lot of ground to cover, but it's certainly a doable goal.

Now, why should you even bother with a write-up? Well, I for one require them in order to give a high rating over at GE&TAA. As a write there...
GE&TAA wrote:For a military storefront, [the write-up] is the single most important thing to have. In short, your storefront is doomed... unless you actually talk about your product in a reasonably comprehensive manner, and have more text than statistics.

Now, admittedly that's a little drastic. But the point stands: the product write-up is a vital part of creating a successful product. Unfortunately, that's a pretty darn daunting task, especially for people who actually have lives and can't devote hours at a time to making up a random military unit. So, I've drawn up a couple of points to help people with write-ups.

Topics: One of the first things to figure out when creating a write-up is what particular facets of your product you want to write about. When going for a text wall, it's hard to find a place to start, so these couple of section suggestions should be helpful.

  1. Development History: One area of your write-up which is always a viable option is writing about where your product came from, how it was developed into its current form, and why and where it is used. Was it developed from the chassis of a tank designed in the 60's, or was it designed from scratch last year? This is the place to talk about it.
  2. Design: This is where your concrete content comes in. What is unique about the way that your particular product is designed, versus others like it? What materials are used to create the armor? What is the suspension system like? Why on earth does it have a tow hitch? And much more.
  3. Propulsion: If your product has an engine, it is always beneficial to talk about it. How many cylinders? Diesel or Biofuel? Manual or automatic transmission? Tracks or wheels? Et cetera.
  4. Armament: My guess is that if your product is a military product, there is a 85% chance there is some form of weapon involved. Whether it is a main gun, a coaxial machine gun, grenade launchers, or, heck, a peashooter, tell your prospective customers about it. What does it shoot, and how far?
  5. Fancy Tech: Nowadays, pretty much every product you see is a stealth ICBM launching flamethrower tank™. Or something like that. So, talk about your acoustic masking devices, your signature reduction, and your radar-scattering paint. Make your customers freak out and say, "Holy crap! If I had this, then Brasilistan wouldn't stand a chance..." That's good! Then you get more money to buy stealth ICBM launching flamethrower tanks!!
  6. Variants: Now you have to decide whether or not you sell different types of your product to cater to national police forces, small militaries, and tinpot dictators. This is where you talk about the differences between your scout motorcycle and your Dreatnought-Cycle with 12-inch guns and 18-inch armor!!

The Goal: As I stated before, the ultimate goal of a write-up in GE&T is to enable your reader to so understand your product that they will be able to write an accurate and reasonably detailed account involving it if they need to. What does this look like, you may ask? Below, you can find a couple of examples of great product write-ups from military storefronts of various sizes and ages. Take a look at what other people did, and take inspiration from that. (Just don't copy them!)



Covenant Arms
, operated by Holy Marsh, has a collection of really great write-ups, and I would highly recommend reading over his write-up for the MFSV-13 Hammerhead Fire Support Vehicle.


Wolf Armaments
, operated by Common Territories, also has a good number of exceptional product write-ups, most notably that of the Bär Heavy APC.

**Please note that both Holy Marsh and Common Territories were consulted before their names and storefronts were included in this guide, and gave their consent to be used as examples. A huge thank you goes out to both of them for their hard work and their willingness to help improve GE&T product quality.

Closing Remarks

Whew! You made it through! Good job! But, the journey is far from over! Not it's your turn, to go out, take what you've learned from reading this (if that's what you did!), and apply it to your own work. You are now all integral members in my army of crusaders out to improved GE&T product quality, and I'm expecting big things from you all!
Now, I'm most certainly aware that there are a good number of things that I have probably missed, ignored, or sugar-coated. If you happen to notice something like this, please post below and let me know, and I'd be more than happy to rectify this error.
This is a guide thread, and it therefore not the place to ask for suggestions on any specific project not related to this guide. If you would like any help in any regards concerning GE&T, however, I invite you to head on over to the Global Economics & Trade Help Desk and Q&A, where the resident community of respected storefront owners, mentors, and newbies like myself will be more than happy to help you muddle through any problems that might confound you. The thread also contains a quite comprehensive list of the guides that have been written by community members regarding GE&T, and is a really excellent resource to any storefront owner.
Okay. I'm done. Thanks for reading, and I look forwards to hearing what I left out! :)

PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2016 1:33 pm
by The Nation of Ceneria
Alrighty! The guide is ready! Please tell me what you think, and let me know when you find all of the horrendous mistakes that I've made! :)

** Note: The guide also now includes small-text alternative headers in addition to images in order to be more compatible to blind individuals using screen-reading software to read. If you encounter any issues with this system, please send me a telegram and let me know. Thank you!

PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2016 5:19 pm
by Stormwrath
Awesome job with the guide, Cen. :clap:

PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2016 6:04 pm
by The Nation of Ceneria
Stormwrath wrote:Awesome job with the guide, Cen. :clap:

Glad you found it helpful! :D

PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2016 3:57 pm
by The Nation of Ceneria
Hello again, GE&Ters! I'm plopping this notice here for two purposes: To shamelessly bump my thread to the top of the subforum (whatcha gonna do?! :p), and to inform you that, within the next several of weeks, a variety of entirely uncategorized paragraphs of advice will be placed here, ranging from the write-ups that I attempted to exhaustively cover in the formal guide above to general storefront advice that I find myself giving more and more often over at GE&TAA. So, keep your eyes peeled for that, and feel free to shoot me a nasty telegram next week saying "Hey dude where's that product advice ya punk" when I invariably fail to post anything.

Right. Cool. Batman out. *drops mic*

PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2016 5:42 pm
by The Nation of Ceneria

One of the more popular ways for beginner storefront owners to give a more personal and friendly touch to their creations is to prominently display a letter from a Chief Executive Officer, Chairman of the Board, or similarly high-ranking individual in the leadership of their company. Unfortunately, the widespread nature of this type of introduction means that some people feel that they have to have it, thus meaning that they don't put the same amount of effort into it as someone who is genuinely interested in creating and presenting such a letter. By no means is such a letter required, as a massive number of very successful storefront do not employ them. This short guide is merely meant to help those who do want a letter in their storefront to get off the ground.

In short, this brief fragment of a guide is intended to give storefront owners an idea as to how to make an aesthetically pleasing, on-topic, and (most importantly) effective formal letter for a storefront. I'll start with what content should generally be included, as well as what should probably be excluded, and then move on to methods of formatting such letters.


Rather obviously, what you put into a letter is generally more important that it looking nice, although both are necessary for a truly good formal communiqué. To me, the fundamental goal of including a formal letter in a storefront is not only to present information to the potential customer, but also to give at least part of the storefront a more personal touch, and to make it easily relatable on some level. This means that the optimal letter is not 100% informative, but has a decent amount of personal information as well. Not, this definitely isn't a biography of either the person in question or the company as a whole, as you should have sections devoted to that if you are truly interested in being super-specific about those things. It is merely a carrier for information in a relatable and personal manner. Did I say those two words enough? No? Personal and relatable, not overly technobabble-ish.

I should point out that everything herein inclosed in based off of accepted norms and how to meet them. Individual style is highly encouraged and, indeed, recommended. If you would like to bend any or all of these suggestions, you are more than welcome to do so. Or ignore them entirely, but don't say I didn't warn you.

Ranting aside, what sort of content should be included in a formal letter?
  • Welcome: As a main goal of the letter's existence is to be personal, it should probably start with just that: a personal welcome to the storefront. This doesn't have to be longer than a single sentence, but I highly recommend including it.
  • Overview: The word 'overview' is rather misleading, but it's all I could think of. In short, you should probably answer the question, "Just what is this storefront?" Mention not only what you sell, but also try to briefly touch on how you sell it today and how you have sold in the past. A couple of sentences here should suffice; this isn't an illustrated history of the company, nor an industrial methodology overview.
  • Major facts: This is entirely optional, but the letter may be a good place to include relevant information such as commendations and awards (preferrably real, non invented), manufacturing locations and conditions, environmental standards, et cetera. Generally present some relevant facts that may be interesting to the casual reader without delving into unnecessary detail.
  • "Wassup with my storefront, yo?": As I am commonly known to say over at GE&TAA, it is imperative to give potential customers a scope of good reasons as to why they should choose your storefront over a competitor. In a friendly and informative format, generally answer the question, "Why [your company name]?"
  • Conclusion: Now that you've given some good information, it's time to scoot out the door so you can make room for the nitty-gritty forms and products required for virtually every storefront for function. Don't just leave the reader hanging, though, but smoothly transition from the above information to a farewell, possibly touching on a particularly important aspect one more time. Then get out of the way, and make room for what you're trying to sell!


Now that you have your letter, it's time to make it look all fancy and aesthetically pleasing! Now, I'm going to give a ground-up tutorial on formatting for letters, so this may be repetitive for those of you who are seasoned GE&Ters, but I would highly recommend generally following these basic steps for people new to BBCode. If you want to ignore these suggestions, once more, you are more than welcome to do so. This is just a basic template, and I encourage personalized modifications to it.

Now, I'm lazy, so what is below is pretty much a skeleton template with no real explanation. If you want that, I highly recommend reading the guide that Maltropia wrote and the guide that Tippercommon wrote. In fact, read them either way, as they offer insight on how to effectively manipulate the code to your advantage.

Most letters are presented in a manner that makes them look like a printed letter, something that you would get in a mail as a donor, or something of similar sorts. This means that it has to look like paper. This can be accomplished by using the [.box] formatting tags, which add a tan-ish-colored box around everything inside the tags. The [.blocktext] tag is also helpful, which indents whatever is inside of it by a good margin. The of course, there's the [.hr] tag, which makes a horizontal line. As you've probably noticed, I use a lot of those.

Another helpful thing to know how to use is the [.tab=##] tags, which indent whatever follows them by the specified number of pixels. If you've been paying attention, you will notice how I've been using those throughout this post. You see, I've been manipulating your mind all along! It's like telepathy!

Yeah, so, laziness. Go read Mal and Tippercommons' guides now.

But first, here's an example:

Code: Select all
[box][hr][/hr][blocktext][hr][/hr][align=center][i][size=120][Your Logo Here][/size]
[Your tagline here][/i][/align][hr][/hr][floatright]1234 Example Ave.
Example City, Examplestan[/floatright][size=90][b]TO:[/b][/size] The Universe
[size=90][b]FROM:[/b][/size] Your Mom
[size=90][b]SUBJECT:[/b][/size] Eat your Vegetables![hr][/hr]
[tab=60][/tab][i]To whom it may concern,[/i]

[tab=30][/tab]Greenery is good for you, and if you don't eat it then your skin will fall off, as numerous studies had conclusively show. Therefore, I must insist that you immediately consume your vegetables. Or else, no dessert!



...which, through the magic of those little brackets, turns into this:

[Your Logo Here]
[Your tagline here]

1234 Example Ave.
Example City, Examplestan
TO: The Universe
FROM: Your Mom
SUBJECT: Eat your Vegetables!

To whom it may concern,

Greenery is good for you, and if you don't eat it then your skin will fall off, as numerous studies had conclusively show. Therefore, I must insist that you immediately consume your vegetables. Or else, no dessert!



**NOTE: Please don't entirely steal this. I use much of this, and will file suit against those that rip this off.**
(Okay, not really, but do try to personalize it at least a little.)

This same general formatting style of letters can also be effectively used in formal replies to applications and inquiries, another imperative factor in operating a good storefront. But I'll get to that later.

Right, so, there you have it! I comprehensive guide on letter content, followed by a totally non-comprehensive guide on letter formatting. Hopefully it helped a little. If it didn't, please don't send me any angry telegrams. Just stop reading this. If you can. But you can't can you? Mwahaha!