Monday, 15 November 2010

Version Wars

One possible explanation of the version wars in games.
"Is there a schism between the folks who love color tattoos and those that like black & white ones? Or the fans of the original Star Trek who hate the folks who like the far inferior newer Star Trek models?" - Seth Godin, the bright line of small differences

The significant message from this is in the last paragraph: "The really good news is that the tribe cares."

When you're organising games, or writing games, or playing games, remember that the people you're playing with actually care about the game. They like the activity, and specifically this activity. That's an encouragement for any of the organisers in the gaming world out there.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Blind playtesting for Siege is still open

The blind playtesting phase of my Siege project is still open. I'm looking for people who will take the rules text and run the game with their group, and then to answer some questions for me about the game experience and the rules text.

All the details are available at the project page.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

What I said on ZedGames

As it turns out, 4ZzZ was having troubles with their podcast and live streaming but didn't discover this until the show was almost over. This is some of what I said.

Print-on-demand makes it easier to publish in smaller volumes, even though the production cost is higher per unit. This facilitates more innovation and more product choice.

Printed self-publishing isn't new, but POD allows people to print small volumes in sizes other than Letter and A4. Games discussed here included Don't Rest Your Head and Braunstein.

Publishing through PDF is a zero-cost production method, once development costs are recovered. I wish I'd mentioned the Free RPG Blog here.

Pricing for PDFs is wide and varied, from the expensive to the free. Games discussed: Houses of the Blooded, Dresden Files.

Bundles of book-plus-PDF are a great marketing exercise. Games discussed: A Penny For My Thoughts, and a plug for the Bits & Mortar Alliance.

PDF technology offers more than just a non-printed document. Linked text throughout the document is just one example. Games discussed: Happy Birthday Robot

Digital publishing is not limited to PDF. D&D Insider is an example of a specific application for the digital distribution of game rules and character creation. WOTC's move away from PDF to DDI is a way to guide people to WOTC content, without actually blocking third-party materials from being used in D&D. Games discussed: D&D.

The future of digital publishing is anyone's guess, but the untapped area is probably the realm of the app, especially the app that integrates rules, character generation, note taking and dice rolling. I couldn't remember the name of the iPad app at the time, but it's Dicebook.

Despite the availability of digital publishing, digital dice-rollers and apps for your smart-device-of-choice (including my confession as an Apple Hipster), the gameplay experience at the table isn't significantly altered. Minor changes are seen in the books we carry to the table, and perhaps the realisation that some players might be on twitter rather than checking a rule or engaging with the game. It's vital that in any RPG, the point is to engage in the social activity of story-making with the others at the table. Games discussed: None, but a big shoutout to Vincent Baker and his model of dice & clouds.

There you have it. We covered a lot, and thankfully it was more than print-vs-PDF.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Print and Digital Publishing on ZedGames

I'm to be a guest on ZedGames tonight, talking about the print and digital publishing avenues for games. Ostensibly it could be little more than another "print vs PDF" discussion, but I'm reasonably convinced that there's more to this than those two options.

Wow. Look at that alliteration.

Anyway, if you can tune in to TripleZ from 6pm (GMT+10), you'll hear my dulcet tones echoing out over the airwaves or via live stream.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Neoncon CreativeU

I've been watching the Neoncon CreativeU schedule build. It makes me both happy and jealous. Happy because I like to see conventions do more than just play games, and jealous because it's bigger and better than what we mustered together for Uprising.

So if you're able to get to Neoncon, you should go. It's bigger and better than what we did in Uprising. My jealousy is a recommendation.