…And I’m back.
Some of you may have wondered where I’d gotten to in the last few months, seeing as I hadn’t updated the site since May. The short answer is that I’ve been distracted, thankfully by mostly good news. In the three months since I last posted, I’ve quit my job, moved to a new time zone, gotten married, moved two more time zones, and joined a new gaming group. In that order no less. Distracting I think is a fair description of all that. Right now I’m in the middle of job hunting.
Status of SINS
Now that I’ve got the obvious “I’m not dead” topic out of the way, let’s talk about Special Investigations: Nightshift. I’m sad to say it’s status is a bit up in the air at this point. When I started working on it, years ago now, I was thinking about doing it as a Print on Demand/Pay What You Want PDF product. I figured I’d write it up, generate my own artwork, do my own layout, submit it to PEGINC, and sort of get it out there. Of course the process has been a lot more of a learning project as things went along. I knew I’d learn about game design, but I also learned a lot about creative commons/public domain artwork, fonts licenses, print on demand, and doing layout. Some of it I’ve learned the hard way.
The bad news is that in my eagerness to make a Playtest PDF that looked nice enough to attract people to try it, I made a lot of layout mistakes, and any attempt to bring what I’ve got now into a proper layout program is going to be a lot more trouble than I want to deal with. Worse, I have not been generating the artwork, much of which I really like, at a high enough quality for good printing.
It’s also continued to grow larger and larger with each draft. I imagine to a new reader the book is a bit intimidating at this point, and worse, it’s price for print on demand goes up with the page count, especially considering the size and color of the pages. It’s also not at full size yet either. If I was to move forward with the game, I’d need to add at least a Plot Point framework for a Season of SINS, and that’s at least a dozen pages if not more.
And of course, I’d still need to get approval from PEGINC to actually publish the document as anything other than a fan project, which is what it is now. I have no idea how they’d react to the document as it is now.
Frankly, at this point, I’m not sure there is enough demand to justify the time all that would take. The current draft of the game has been downloaded almost 300 times, and I know there are a handful of game groups out there playing SINS. I’m thrilled beyond belief that this setting is being played by people I’ve never met, but there aren’t a lot of people asking for more. People tell me they are intending to play it, but no one tells me how it’s going, what they want more of, what needs work, etc. I’m not getting any feedback or requests for more, and considering I’ve moved twice, I’m not even playing it anymore.
My current thought is to finish off the document more or less as it is now. Make a cover for it, fix some typos, and stop calling it a playtest. It would remain a free download to anyone interested, but I’d move on to another project. My Plot Point framework may make it into a few blog posts here. I have to admit, I’m unlikely to finish my SINS episodes recaps.
What I Will Do Different Next Time
First, I think I’ll start with a game system that is open enough I don’t have to request permission to sell it. Fate Core is now Creative Commons, for example, so if I want to publish a game for, or even including, Fate Core, I can just do so as long as it contains the requisite notes, and I follow the simple guidelines.
Second, I’ll keep the contents I’m writing separate from the layout. Sure, it will cause headaches when I want to pretty it up for a playtest document, but it will also make it possible to use real layout software properly. In particular, I learned this from the various games I’ve kickstarted and gotten playtest documents out of. Honestly, this was the largest mistake I made with SINS.
What’s Coming Next
Ok, so there is some good news here. I’m currently in negotiation with someone that wants to actually pay me (not very much) to write gaming articles (for online.) Basically a paid gaming blog that should have a fair amount of eyeballs on it. It’s good news, and I’ve got a lot of ideas that they are generally very excited about. Better still, although I haven’t seen the actual contract yet, I’d retain rights to all the content I generate for them. If anything, my biggest concern is that having actual visitors on this site, coming from the more popular blog, would crush my super cheap hosting. In some ways, it’s the kind of problem I wouldn’t mind having.
It’s also got me thinking about gaming articles, some of which may not be suitable for their blog, but could work here, especially if people are actually looking at this site. Right now I’m considering an Apocalypse World hack that may be better for this site than their blog.
I’m also considering a longer term project based on a concept that’s been floating around in my brain for years. Considering my earlier comments and posts, you may not be surprised to hear I’m thinking about doing it as a Fate game. I’m considering posting the base idea on “the other blog” and later building a game book around it. Maybe this time I could actually do the Print on Demand thing with it.
What I’m Playing These Days
So I’ve hooked up with a gaming group here in [Redacted], or more precisely I’ve re-hooked up with a group I use to game with, and they happen to be playing a Fate Core fantasy game. I’m enjoying it a lot, and it’s giving me ideas about a Fate Accelerated game I want to run with an old idea. I don’t want to spoil the concept, because it’s likely to be an article on that blog I mentioned above. It’s fun to be a player again instead of the designated GM.