Monday, December 29, 2008

Pies for Peace

We’ve been out of town for Christmas, visiting my dear ol’ Mum. There was food-a-plenty there, and lots of the usual drinking and fisticuffs. The best part was the sweet potato pie that the Wife made. I think the world would be a better place if conflicts would be resolved by giving each other pie.

While I was driving back home from the holidays, I began to wonder why I haven’t been working much on Destination: Rochan. Part of it is writer’s block, but also I think I’m just getting sick of the whole sourcebook. I’ve been researching and working on it for what seems like forever and I’ve reached that magical sweet spot called burnout. Even before leaving town, I had started on something I call the Imperial Grab Bag. It’s a collection of material that I’ve created that didn’t get included in the rule book or any of the other products I’ve published. The content is pretty miscellaneous, which is why I’m giving it away for free, but I hope people will still find it useful. As for Destination: Rochan, I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it in the short term. I might work on more of these small projects in the meantime.

Some of the things I’m including in the Grab Bag are a few more factions. One faction is called the Butcher Boys, which is a pirate clan I introduced in my Magnus Black: Born in the Grave story. To go along with the faction description, I’ve created an emblem for them with the typical pirate skull, but instead of crossbones, I’m using two cleavers (butcher knives). Here’s how it looks:

Saturday, December 20, 2008

DaCo II on Sale; World Domination to Follow

Dark Corridors II went on sale this week, and on that day my usual self loathing was replaced with happiness and a sense of fulfillment. Actually, I was pleased with how it came out, although I’m glad I went through it one last time because I discovered I had forgotten a whole set of walls (oops). In all, DaCo 2 came out to be 38 pages and 42 MB. However, I’m selling it dirt cheap so I’m hoping people will buy it. Most people nowadays are snowed in so why not play Imperium Chronicles with paper miniatures? Don’t ask questions -- just do it!!

I also started advertising on a miniatures website called The Miniatures Page. They have news blurbs on products and companies that sell miniatures and they’ve been very nice about posting stuff about my work. The thing I really lacked for advertising, however, was a good banner ad. I’d created one before for, but I wasn’t very happy with the ad. So, I sat down and tried yet again and I think it came out a lot better (Note: My animated gif doesn't seem to work on Blogger, so here's the unanimated one):

Finally, for the last couple of days I’ve been back to work on Destination: Rochan. As you know, I’ve been procrastinating like a son-of-a-bitch and haven’t gotten much done lately. My Wife suggested I might be worried about failure, and I think she’s right. It’s one thing to work on my rules for two years largely in a vacuum, but now that it’s out there and getting reviewed, I’m subconsciously worried about how people view my work. Creation is a personal experience, so criticism (depending on the severity) can be personal too. However, it’s important not to let things get to me too much, but it can be hard. I’m a sensitive person after all. ;-)

Monday, December 15, 2008

My Muse: Procrastination

After two weeks of hard work, I’m almost done with Dark Corridors II. I’ve been really busy too -- working several hours each day. Nothing like procrastination (i.e.: NOT working on Destination: Rochan) to get stuff done!

What shocked me today, however, was the size of the PDF. The original Dark Corridors was 8 MBs to download, but the new one was a whopping 44 MBs! That’s because this time I’m using images at 300 dpi, so they’re bigger files, plus there are more pages, so that adds even more. To trim things down a little, I reduced the number of wall sets from 6 to 5 and then reduced the size of the floors from 6x9 to 6x6. That knocked the size of the PDF down to 36 MBs. It’s still pretty big, but I think people will appreciate the quality of the images.

Over the weekend, I printed out some of the new walls and mounted them on foam board. I then had the Wife take some photos, so I can use them on the DriveThru RPG site. I’m hoping that if people see how the walls look in practice, they might be more interested in buying it. I didn’t do that with the original Dark Corridors and I think that was a mistake. Here are a couple of the photos, including miniatures from my Cardboard Citizens product:

Friday, December 12, 2008

More Paper Walls

Since my last post, I’ve been very busy, but not with the sourcebook. I got sick of the writer’s block so I switched to a different project, one that doesn’t involve writing. I’m calling it Dark Corridors 2. Like the original, the sequel features paper walls to be used with miniatures. I’ve made some improvements in this case, however, including a higher resolution (300 dpi) and greater variety. I’ve also included columns and even graffiti. For the latter, I added graffiti from games or shows I like. For example, “Kill Skuls” comes from the City of Heroes MMO, while the alien lettering comes from Futurama (which reads “Drink Slurm!” and “Kill All Humans!”. Here’s what one of the walls looks like (note that their supposed to be folded, etc), including the writing on the wall (so to speak):

It was suggested recently that I set up forums for my game. Back when I was trying to turn Imperium into an online game, I had forums, but they were hardly used. I’m concerned that history would repeat itself if I tried again with my pen and paper game. On the other hand, I could open the forum up to other things as well, including prose and artwork (since those were the basis of the game in the first place). We’ll see what happens. :-)

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Drinking the Al Stewart Kool-aid

Friday, we drove up to my Mom’s house to help set up her Christmas decorations (and get her new laptop working). Normally during these long drives, I take the time to think about my game. In this case, however, I mostly just listened to my wife’s Al Stewart CD. I must be brainwashed because I’m starting to actually like it. I guess I should be glad that she didn’t play her other favorites: Outhouse or Toad the Red Sprocket.

It’s hard to explain my exasperation during my current writer’s block. I’ve been trying to write the chapters of Destination: Rochan, but nothing is flowing. Of course, I can write other things (like this blog) and everything is flowing fine. Thus, my frustration. I’m beginning to second-guess myself about the whole sourcebook itself. I’m wondering if it’s too unfocused and whether I would’ve been better served to work on a single adventure supplement instead. My wife says not to second guess myself (since that’s her job), but those are the thoughts that creep in when I’m trying to fall asleep at night.

Since I’m currently unemployed, I’ve noticed that my creativity in general has decreased. I work in a technical field (software testing), and I’ve noticed that when the technical side of my brain is stimulated, my creative side kicks into gear. It seems that if I don’t keep my scientific side functioning, my artsy side takes a long nap. Perhaps I need to do some math problems . . .

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Thanks, Matt!

First off, I’d like to thank Matt over at The Dwarf and the Basilisk. A while back he wrote a review of Imperium Chronicles on his site, and yesterday he was nice enough to reprint it on DriveThru RPG where my game is sold. Thanks, Matt, for doing that. I truly appreciate it!!

So today marks the semi-annual Hurt-Myself-While-Sleeping Event! I once again woke up with a pain in the neck (literally) that only goes to show that growing old suuuuucks! I’m beginning to think that the Logan’s Run method is the best way to go. On the other hand, if that was the case, we’d never get to meet an embarrassingly old Peter Ustinov and get to touch his wrinkled face (Ewwwww).

Last week I took a break to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday and Tryptophan-induced naps, but I’ve been trying to get back into the swing of things since then. I wrote the Introduction to Destination: Rochan, largely rewriting the rough draft I had written previously. I’m having some problems with writer’s block, so hopefully I can get through that soon. Yesterday, I created the graphic below that shows the Edon system, including the planets. It’s not exactly to scale, but it’s close enough to demonstrate what planets are in the system, etc. Note, the image here is a reduced resolution so it doesn't look as good as the print version would: