So I came back from PlayOnCon today. The convention goes to tomorrow, but I am getting old and can't keep up with those guys.
Though I probably made an ass of myself to someone, all in all, it was a great convention. The people were friendly, the games were fun, and I didn't puke.
Though our panel went well. Really well. The thing that made the con for me was when we were playtesting a game for Mercury Retrograde. Everyone was enjoying the games, people were talking smack, and during all this, a guy comes up, asks what we are doing, and based on his interest in our game, decided to buy the first book in Barbara's Way of the Gods series, Shadow of the Sun. How cool is that?
Special thanks goes out to Barbara Ish, Rachel Ish, Andrew Greenberg, Barbara with the Bloody Marys, Trouble, Lynne, Mark, Sean, Donut, and all the people whose names I am forgetting right now. It was a blast and thanks for showing Ant and I a good time.
So, Anthony and I are going to Alabama next week for the 2011 PlayOnCon.
As excited as I am, I'm a bit nervous. What if no one shows up to our workshop? What if everyone shows up to our workshop? What if I start stammering, which I do more often than I care to admit? What if we bomb the thing? What if the people who show up don't want to make a game or are so intimidated by it that we have to lead them by the nose, which is no fun for anyone? What if I puke? What if I drink too much the night before and and oversleep? What if Anthony and/or Barbara have to bail on me at the last second?
These are the things I worry about.
The crazy part is, these are the things I am supposed to worry about. It is my job to think of issues and contingencies for them. I know Anthony does this as well, but I consider it my responsibility to plan for them.
The other crazy part is, I love planning for them. I really enjoy thinking of crazy scenarios and how to get through them.
And, finally, as worried as I am, I am truly excited about doing this convention and getting things done at Cliché, and doing this convention is not only going to be a blast, but it is part of getting things done at Cliché.
So, I'm pumped.
Hopefully I won't puke.
If we ever make a game with giant sandworms, this is what they will look like:
And yes, that thing is real.
Ant sends me all kinds of stuff, and it always interesting, but it is hard to keep up sometimes.
Even so, I read most of the things he sends me, and he sent me this little gem about Capcom limiting a cartridge game to one permanent save file on the cartridge, making it so that no one can ever play the game completely fresh, effectively killing its resale value.
Now, I understand why game companies hate the used game market, since they see no money from it, but this move strikes me as plain ol' wrong.
You know, I will gladly admit that I have a natural predilection towards selfishness and being self-serving, but this kind of tactic is not the kind of game company I want. If people aren't willing to pay the new price for a game that I am responsible for, then I feel that we haven't provided enough value to justify the price. Doing things like what Capcom has done here is ignoring what the market is telling them, and I do not want to do that. I want people to feel that the amount we charge for our games is warranted and deserved.
Recently, I met a person who offered to post about us online.
I was definitely grateful, as anything that can help us build a name for ourselves is a good thing, but he told me that it was going to be on a gaming forum called Fans for Christ. (If any of you are reading this, hello! I hope you enjoy what we have on here so far and I hope to hear from you.)
Warning: I am going to make a mistake and bring up the topic of religion online.
Now, I do not attend church, as I do not feel a need for it, but my religion does greatly affect my choices, morals, and ethics, but I never really thought about how it might affect my gaming.
It's funny, but even in games I have a hard time being a jerk, or being mean, though I am often over the top evil, especially in RPGs. I was seriously disappointed that I could not sacrifice children in Fable II or III. Believe me, I tried. However, if I have a choice of saying something cruel in a game, even when I want to say it, I choose not to. It makes me uncomfortable and I feel horrible even considering it.
Still, I do not know if my religion affects how I play. It is something I will have to continue to think about.
So, my question, gentle readers, does your religion or your personal ethical construct affect how you play games? Especially in games where you have to make moral or ethical choices.
Ant has a good post going about his reasons for joining me in creating Cliché Studio.
A lot of his reasons are similar to mine, which is one of many reasons why I think that Cliché is going to go far.
So here are my reasons for taking this risk:
1) Because I can.
The interesting thing about gaming is also something that interests me about comics. Every body who plays games wants to make them, just like every person who reads comics wants to make them (I am sure there are exceptions, but the vast majority seem to have those sentiments). And, you know, I am one of those people. I have always been fascinated by video games. I drew levels as a kid. I wrote backstories. I designed enemies. I worked out control schemes.
And now? Now I can actually put all of the random ideas in my head into a cohesive whole and potentially make them a reality, and that feels great. It makes it worth the risk.
Plus, it is also interesting about how many people want to make games but won't make the sacrifices they need to in order to do it. I'm willing to, because otherwise, I may never get the chance and I would regret that.
2) I want more out of games.
I really do. Whenever I play a game, I rarely just play it and enjoy. Part of the fun for me is figuring out why the game is fun, and what else could be done to make it better.
Plus, I remember this ad in a magazine I had:
I have yet to cry while playing a video game. And I want to. I want to be moved. I want the things I do in game to matter. And that is what I hope to do with Cliché.
3) It is interesting.
I learn a lot by doing this. Every time I sit down to do something, I learn something new, and that makes me happy. I cannot ever imagine being bored doing this.
In any job, even creative ones, your duties and responsibilities can feel like a chore, and you may end up doing them by rote. Not here. Starting your own business has so many moving parts and possibilities that there is no opportunity to get bored.
Of course, this may change in the future (I'm no fortuneteller), but right now, this is the best thing in the world to do.
I want more control over my life and this is a way to do it while doing something I love. There is really nothing more I can say about that.
5) Video games have the biggest potential to tell stories.
I love stories. It's the one thing I talk about the most. Not just what stories are told but how they are told. Video games are the most fascinating place to tell them since, in games, the player is the principle focus of the story. They are Choose Your Own Adventure novels made real.
I loved those books.
Do I have more reasons? Of course I do. But these are the ones that are at the fore of my mind at the moment.
Will these reasons change? Only time will tell.
Will we succeed? I believe we will. We are talented, we are driven, and we have the will to make this happen.
Will it take a long time? It will, a lot of it, but I am more than willing to see this through.
But, no matter what, I have never been happier in my life.
I am very excited to announce that Ant and I are going to be at PlayOnCon in Birmingham, AL this summer, Fri - Jul 29th and leaving July 31st, though the con runs one more day after that, running a workshop with the fine people at Mercury Retrograde on using gaming to expand storytelling worlds.
I must say, though, that I am nervous. This is my first time on the other side of the table. Sure, I could put up a bunch of false bravado, and I probably will during the convention, but right now, I have no problem admitting that I am anxious about it.
Still, these are the things you have to do in order to get your business going. It's not all strategy and product, it's also getting to know people and selling yourself and your abilities (Ant, feel free to make the inevitable joke about me selling myself).
Hopefully they will get our pics and bios up soon. I will post a link as soon as they are up.
I hope to see you (both of you) there.
A while back I read an interesting post about games made for the blind. I suggest you go ahead and read it, don't worry I'll wait. This sounds like a boon for the blind and visual impaired, but I think that these kinds of cues could be useful for sighted players as well.
Let's jump back in technology a bit to board games. Some board games use color coding for some of their aspects. Good games also include symbols in addition to colors. I have a color-blind friend who would always get frustrated with the former class of games and this would limit our options of what to play. Sometimes with colors with enough contrast he'd be able to tell the difference and be able to play but would be a bit slower. Even with high contrast the symbols helped speed up his recognition of what was going on. The thing is, it sped us up too. Recognizing what goes where is easier and more intuitive with symbols and colors to both guide us.
Sometimes accessability can even save planets.
A simple addition to make the game possible for the color-blind made it more accessable for us all. I think the sound cues for the blind gamers in the original article could also help enhance an experience for sighted gamers. With all the hiding the UI craze going around why not use other senses to transmit data as well?(with it still accessible in other ways, we don't want to transform one accessability problem into another).
Can you think of any ways features for accessability for a group you don't belong in made something easier for you to use too? Share with us in the comments!
So, Friday night went well. We talked to some people. Had some laughs. Talked random ideas. Explored the possibility of deals. All neat stuff. All in all, not a bad start. I have seen things take off from even smaller beginnings than ours (and you, gentle reader, are here for the very start, how cool is that? You are so indie).
I've got several things I want to write about, but, in truth, I am just too tired and distracted. I have so much going on that I do not know where to focus my energies next. I will figure it out, but I need to take a step back for a day. I have research to do. Reports to prepare. Spend money on things. You name it, I need to do it. Same goes for Ant.
We are both pretty lucky. We both have a good support network of people we love to help us relax and not stress out so much. It means a lot. We have a good amount of things that we are going to accomplish, so being able to take stock of things for a moment is really helpful.
So, without further adieu, I am going to bed for a few hours. Hopefully, I will get back to posting Tuesday.