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Rerun941

Game Development 101

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I think rpgs may need to change with the times. What I'd like to see is something that actually was hinted at in Bill Coffin's interview that was posted here a while back (I'll find the link later). Where multiple RPG authors get together and offer new content on a monthly basis for a very small fee. Ok, before you cry foul and say, just look at what D&D Insider tried and failed to do, but.... in this case, actually provide a means of meeting as well as the information. Provide client/server applications that feed the community together with voice chat combined into an OpenD6 community chat room. Something affordable, that utilizes the technology that is ironically contributing to the lower book sales, and re-invent it. Destroy and re-build. A lot of folks are doing this on their own as GMs, but I think small to mid-size publishers may want to unite and start offering something completely new as far as published materials.

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I'm new to the forum and just want to say that this has been a great thread! I have been toying around with the idea of making a Hard SF campain setting for D6 (Been playing D6 Star Wars since '92 Bay- Bee!) and was overjoyed to discover my all time favorite rules engine is now open to all.

Speaking of Star Wars D6, the product I miss more in all of gaming is The Star Wars Adventure Journal. Nothing in my massive RPG collection has brought [ime more joy and been more generally useful as a GM than the two issues I was able to track down before the brand went tits up. If I do make my own game, I would love to put it out as a series of articles in a ST:AJ-type format. If released as PDFs, perhaps through RPG Now, how do you guys think they would do? Assuming that the games premise doesn't suck? For that matter, why not make Adventure Journals for Star Wars again, or any other D6 game?

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Welcome to the boards, RocketDad. The idea of something akin to the Star Wars Adventure Journal is definitely something to strive for. The real catch would be whether what you're making the "adventure journal" for had enough fans and enough draw to get people to pick it up. Though I never worked on them, I know the effort that went into the fan made Adventure Journals that were put out a few years ago by the SWRPG Network. Filling even 30+ pages with useful, engaging and captivating information takes a lot of imagination and a lot of work.

 

So if you've got something that could fit the bill, creating another Adventure Journal styled product would be awesome!

 

As to why not make some for Star Wars again....well, Lucasfilm might have issues with that. While the RPG license of Star Wars is no longer being utilized, the material related to Star Wars, even the brand name Star Wars, is owned by LFL. If you release something with Star Wars material in it, even if it's all your own, newly made material, and you sell it for profit, you could have the lawyers of Lucasfilm breathing down your neck. So I would suggest that if you want to do something like this strictly for Star Wars...go right ahead but realize that you could never sell it. Giving it away free would work, but if you make too exceptional of a product, you could still raise the ire of LFL.

 

So if you're going to do something like this, an adventure journel styled product for something of your own design or for something for the newly released OpenD6 materials or settings coming out, then I think that would be a great idea! The more stuff coming out for OpenD6 that people can use and that can enhance and promote the benefits of D6, the better!

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Good Point about the LFL Licence Trooper blasting my door down...As for trying to put out 30+ pages of new content a month, I agree such an undertaking would be pretty unrealistic. However, an Article with new content (equipment, organizations, locations, etc.) or a short story with the characters templates attached...that has possibilities. If I used a page layout template, it maight be possible to do that weekly or bi-weekly. Of course, I should actuallly try to write that kind of content before I tender my opinion on its do-ability...:)

Either way, thanks for the support, Grimace. I look foward to continuing on the forum and helpin to keep D6 alive and growing!

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So, I've put the outline of my new game on the Projects forum (relax, its an attachment) and definately see the potential to issue individual aticles/stories with game info along with the main campaign setting. It will be in PDF, of course, an option that may have saved the original Adventure Journal, if it had only been available. If I can actually find the time (hope!) I see these projects as very do-able. Yay!

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Aaaaand it turns out that I did! And like many of us, I'm gonna contribute some of it to the D6 Magazine project. But I got some stuff on The Black Desert thread for those who wanna see.

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Take a look at what Steve Jackson Games is doing with its magazine (Pyramid I think its called). They have their issue topics posted a good year in advance, and have people sign up for articles. Each has a genre theme (or perhaps a couple), which allows for them to have a pretty sizable magazine when they actually print.

 

Something could probably be done like that for D6. With Mini Six, Cinema6, and other "brands" of D6 coming out, it can allow for all kinds of ideas being thrown around by the fan base. If we get everyone involved, we could have a periodical of at least 10-15 pages. Maybe even bigger.

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In 2000, the RPG market had a significant boom with D&D 3.0.

 

After that, it was experiencing 1-3% declines in total dollar sales through 2004 or so. Meanwhile, the number of units being published and sold was skyrocketing.

 

There was another kick in sales volume expressed in dollars in 2004 with D&D 3.5 and the survivors of the D20 glut relaunching.

 

Then there was a decline of 2-4% per year.

 

It used to be that the conventional wisdom on games was you targeted 14 year olds, had them as customers until they were 21-22, and maybe picked them up again in their mid-30s when they either got divorced and suddenly had free time again, or could get their kids into playing with 'em.

 

14 year olds aren't coming into the hobby in the same numbers. Meanwhile, costs to print books have gone up, the number of publishers have gone up, and the market tends to be people in their 30s, who are picky.

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"people in their 30s, who are picky."....Yeah, like me...but while the cost of printing gaming books has indeed gone up (it had better, for the cost surely has)PDF publishing-and the whole Internet, really- have made getting material out to the public cheaper than ever. The number of people who can make a living in the hobby is shrinking faster than the icecaps, but the nuber of people that can expand their hobby by publishing their pet settings or whatnot have never been higher. Myself for instance...If my game became the next big thing and I sold zillions of copies, I couldn't be happier. But if I sell enough to annually to pay for my weekend at Dragon Con, maybe participate in a panel or two, I still couldn't be happier. Heck, just by selling anything, I've justified the amount of time I've put into my love of world building for a game I get to play maybe every other month. I can understand how it would be frustrating for the professional game designer to see so much "open-source" competition, but for a lot of us, the advent of PDF publishing has been the chance to live the gaming dream. You know the one, where you're in the middle of a session where everybody is focused, in character, on task and zooming through the adventure, and you wish you could do this all day everyday? For me, its like that.

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@ReRun: When it comes down to it, finish something, anything. Whenever you finish anything, don't nitpick, just release it. Keep doing this over and over and over again. You will find your strengths and weaknesses, and find where you need help and where you don't. Eventually you will arrive at a place where you can produce higher quality material. Just because you're not an established publisher doesn't mean you cannot carry a conceptualization for a world to fruition.

 

Ultimately, the gaming market is stagnant - so you have to decide where your motivations lie in developing and sharing the idea of a gaming world with others. It will suffer scrutiny and compliments, but you decide where and when you make changes. With greater depth in a story, comes a greater appeal to those who do not have the time or energy to create their own worlds, who prefer to use your world. The easier you make that for these types of people, the easier it will garner more attention. Finding a niche helps, too. Getting attached to an Intellectual Product is something you when you want to not only be taken seriously by the gaming community, but also by investors. You should have solid material, even with a license, that presents the quality of material you can develop. If it is just doing independent work, the measure of quality is not as critical, but it is important if you want people to keep coming back for more new material from you.

 

Good luck -

Jeremy

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My biggest piece of advice is don’t depend on the system to carry you. If you don’t bring the heat with something creative and compelling you’ll be a memory very quickly.

 

I have written a game system (234 pages+) but never tried to sell one. Compared with my day job I would never make enough money. If I did make any money at all I'd always compare it to how much I can make via other means and then gaming becomes about money. For me it is about creativity and fun, and if it becomes a chore then I don't want to do it.

 

However, as a purchaser/collector I am more inclined to buy interesting world books as ideas. Many just to read even if I don't play. For example, even though I don't play GURPS I like to get the different world books for reference.

 

Why is the industry down? People have mentioned many good reasons. I think a lot of it has to do with people have many other avenues. A friend of mine did his sociology degree on gaming and we had many great conversations. Some people do it to add structure to their life. Some for belongingness. Some for the creativity. Now, with the internets these outlets can be much more easily achieved. Facebook is free and has social aspects. I can get structure from a guild in WoW. I can post a blog for a creative outlet. CCGs for min-maxers. These things have a much lower barrier to entry than RPGs. So in short I think there is just a larger supply of other things (besides RPGs) to fill the same amount of demand.

Edited by Andrew

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Andrew:

 

Yeah. Compared with my day job, I see my development and passion with gaming and creating game products more of a labor of love, rather than seeing it as a profitability engine. However, I still keep my passion in producing stuff that is both mechnically logical and fun, to aesthetically pleasing, to fundamentally interesting (like a fictional world and storyline).

 

To be candid: I've taken thousands of dollars in personal loss, no loans or anything, in producing the games I've made to date. But, professionally I'm a software engineer and can make up what I need to cover my interests in this. It is something I love and enjoy, and it is where I prefer to spend my money instead of on new televisions and gadgets. The act of being creative, meeting and discussing ideas, and seeing them come to fruition. It really means a lot to me to go through this whole process as a "company" to see what its like. If money is a byproduct of something I love, great! If not, stil, I REALLY love making games. I've been tinkering with game development since I was in middle school, and have role played since my brother showed me his games in 1980, when I was 4.

 

I think the biggest reasons things have gone downhill here:

MMOs fill a huge gap that would otherwise have been a void for people looking for social outlets. Technology makes things easier. Tabletop RPGs have not focused on remaining technologically relevant enough for people to invest time and energy in them. There are a lot of open source things out there, but not a lot of software that provides a web portal that allows a person to share and play games with one another online. There is technology that does this, yes, but not specifically meant for gaming alone. It becomes about leveraging those existing technologies so they can make sense for us as gamers outside the normal spectrum. This is part of my argument for changing the direction of gaming, pushing it towards being a relevant, structured tool for teaching and education. It taps into both divergent and convergent thinking processes, while providing immersive learning structures. It would cater to more students, than just about any other style of teaching currently utilized on the broader spectrum.

 

Cheers!

- J.

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Yes. It completed early last year, successfully bringing in around 2500 for us to get started. I will link it here later when I am not using a phone to write.

 

J.

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