May 19, 2010 Leave a comment
Okay, so GenCon Oz is only something like 18 weeks away. Holy cow. That is really soon.
Since I first announced my game project things have changed. I have written a couple of “mini” games, worked on a wargame, put out a few podcasts, helped bring a new baby into the world and a bunch of other stuff. But I haven’t got anything finished to a state that I would be happy to bring to GenCon Oz.
I have seen some other participants’ work. Some people have made huge progress. Some people made a bit of progress and got distracted like me. Others found their project turned into something they did not expect, for better or for worse. Some of you we haven’t heard from in six months and I imagine you are working feverishly in your basements on your creation, cackling late into the night and exclaiming “It’s alive! It’s alive!”.
I have an overactive imagination.
18 weeks. Time for a story…
Something I don’t tell a lot of people (for no good reason, really) is that my first published game, Space Rat, came together in about that time. I first wrote it in 2005 for the “Ronnies”, a 24-hour game competition put on by Ron Edwards. I got some really positive feedback from that event and I thought I should do something further with the game. Flash forward to January 2008 and I had done nothing further with the game. But I was going to the first GenCon Oz (in July) and I decided that would be a great time to release my first game. I started editing my game and day dreaming about what the finished product would look like. Another month and I realised my game wouldn’t get finished if I didn’t write the rest of the book (which included the GM section, adventure, adversaries, guide to the universe and a whole bunch of other stuff). So I cracked on with the writing.
At this stage the game was going to be printed at my local Office Works (at an expensive 9 cents per page) with a full colour cover printed on glossy photo paper on my home printer. I still have 60 sheets of the photo paper sitting next to me, and a long-armed stapler to put the books together. I woke up to myself and explored other options, finally deciding to go with Lulu not because they were the cheapest, but because they were the easiest to use. I sent my files in and ordered my first proof of Space Rat in late April. It came back early May with a few obvious typos and a couple of other problems which I fixed. Then, just before ordering my “big order” of 12 books I realised I had made a big mistake with the “feat chart”. I re-wrote the bits I needed to and ordered my books. They arrived in June but had been crushed in the post! Lulu were really good about sending me replacements at no extra cost but at this stage I was unsure whether they would arrive before I headed to GenCon Oz! Thankfully, they did arrive in time, and I was able to take them to GenCon to show the world. I was also lucky enough to give a copy to Robin D. Laws who blogged about the game on his live journal.
I went from a basic, 25 page game written in 24-hours to a complete, perfect bound book (with art!) in about 20 weeks. It was hard work, frustrating when things didn’t seem to go to plan, and terribly exhausting. But it was FREAKIN’ AWESOME when I had that finished game in my hands. The game isn’t perfect (there are dozens of things I would change in hindsight), but it is a complete game. You get the rush of finishing a big project; you get the rush of seeing your work in print; and you get the rush of being a “game creator” (go on, put that on your blog!).
I think it can be done again. This year. By me. By YOU.
Here is what I am going to do. I am going to blow the dust off one of my half-baked game projects (not the wargame that is almost finished – it can wait). I am going to finish it. And in September I will show you mine if you show me yours…
What do you say?
Let me know by commenting here. If you need any help or advice, make a comment or send me an email at MrNathanRussell AT gmail DOT com
See you in 18 weeks,