*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
October 21, 2014, 01:36:56 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 28 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: Getting a Game Ready for Release  (Read 3520 times)
was_fired
Member

Posts: 8


WWW
« on: February 08, 2008, 11:32:44 PM »

I've been working on TOCC for about two years now and I'm getting ready to try to market it and have it branch out beyond just my small group of players.  Now I'm not interested in selling it and making money in the process.  I have a feeling that getting it published and trying to network would end up costing me more than I could ever hope to make with it so all I want to do is give it away.  The problem is the PDF is nearly two hundred pages without any artwork and no one wants to read that much crunch.  Likewise the learning curve for the game has proven rather steep which is why I've been trying to provide more help for new players in the rules which further increases the PDFs length.  I've also been working on trying to get at least some artwork for the game (in particular a cover from my artistic players) but I don't know if that'll end up panning out.

When I was first sent here from the rpg.net developer board I had hoped to just scope the place out and post once I had a finished version of the game ready, but as I've been cleaning up my beta version I realized that without feedback odds are I would just have to put out a new patch shortly after the release and that would be a bad thing.  So anyone who is interested in taking a look at my game (and its monsters) can feel free to look at it here: http://www.bluwiki.com/go/TOCC.  This has a link to the beta version of the rules.

Now why did I post here you ask?  Well I was hoping for advice about how to make it more readable, marketable, and engaging.  As of yet no one who hasn't played and read the rules over expressed much of an interest in trying the game out.  Now in part this is because I don't like the idea of including a setting in the rules (I see the two as separate entities) but I also think that it's because the rules aren't fun to read and the monsters don't really engage people.  So umm advice please, and hello?
Logged

Learn About TOCC: http://chimeragames.org
Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 2775


WWW
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2008, 02:20:39 AM »

Hello and welcome and all that!

First, without actually looking at your game: in my experience it just might be the best strategy to go for demonstrations if you're trying to market a free game and don't want to turn it into a for-pay product. It is difficult to get interest for free stuff, psychologically speaking; people don't commit to playing it as easily as something they've bought. This is best off-set by going into a convention and playing with crazy amounts of people, giving out little cards with the url of your game in them. If your game is any good, the demo audiences will remember; perhaps they will also write actual play reports, which will garner even more publicity and interest.

Second, a surface-glance at the game rules tells me that it is indeed long, resembles D&D (3rd edition, specifically) and has no immediately discernible purpose. Don't take this wrong, but I for one am a bit busy right now to spend several hours looking through the game. So help me out, instead: what is the basic idea of your game? Why is it different from D&D? Why should anybody be interested in it? Just writing a D&D replacement is something we've pretty much everybody done, so there's nothing wrong with it, but I can't say that I'm surprised if there are few who'd care enough to playtest it.

So my first suggestion is for you to figure out what are the needs your game fulfills and put them front and center, so that a person who looks at the rules will find an immediate promise instead of more of the same old stuff. That will help the game feel interesting more than a thousand pictures. Now, it might very well be that you don't have anything specific in mind in this regard (that is often the case when I encounter a game like this), but then, an experienced roleplaying audience might be the wrong one for you to begin with: we've all seen a score of D&D variants at minimum, and have probably made our own, so just another one of those simply isn't going to be interesting. I'm pretty serious when I try to help people here at the Forge, but even then I find my motivation lagging at the thought of slogging through 200 pages of fantasy adventure rules without even a promise of something different.
Logged

Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.
was_fired
Member

Posts: 8


WWW
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2008, 02:54:14 AM »

Heh you hit the root of the problem right from the start.  Now to answer your questions:

1. What is the basic idea of your game?  A D&D replacement that allows for more cinematic combat, faster play, and has fewer annoying kinks to it.

2. Why is it different from D&D?  While it started off as a simple D&D replacement two years ago its grown into something far more unique.  The game flat out admit that characters are superhuman rather than shying away from the idea and it has no built in system of morality.  The classes are far looser than in D&D to the point where you can have five people all playing the same class and have each and every one of their characters fill a different niche.  Magical items aren't an ingrained part of the system like D&D and loot is by no means required.  The last big one is that there are a plethora of out of turn defenses that characters can use so players remain engaged in combat even when it isn't their turn without slowing the game down.

3. Why should anybody be interested in it? It allows for a more epic playing style than D&D and avoids D&D's exponential power curve.  It also gives the GM even greater flexibility than D&D since the system can scale to deal with any level of magical items without requiring any real leg work on the part of the GM.


I know D&D variants are about as popular as foot fungus and nearly as common so I would like to thank you for at least giving my game a quick glance even if you feel compelled to give it a more in depth read through.  I doubt I will be able to work out the convention marketing method since I've never been a big con person and even more than that I'm not a very impressive GM.  I wrote TOCC to bring myself up to level with other better GMs, but as a system designer now I really want to see what it can do in the hands of a true master.
Logged

Learn About TOCC: http://chimeragames.org
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 17707


WWW
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2008, 07:45:25 AM »

Hi there,

I'm not sure I understand the final line of your post. No one at the Forge will take over the play-design or the physical design of your game. That stays with you.

Here's my suggestion: write a new document from scratch. This new document would be much like an instruction manual for a card game or board game. It would contain references to more detailed stuff to look up in the existing document. A person could read it all the way through and get a very strong idea of how to play the game, what constitutes "success" in playing it, and what it's for.

I am not describing a "what is role-playing" essay. The document presumes that a role-player is reading it. When I say "what it's for," I mean literally that, for someone who role-plays and knows how. The document is about your game, and how to do it, in terms of people's tasks and interactions - not in terms of mechanical resolution.

Again, think instructionally. What actually has to happen first, no matter what? If you were going to play, what would you have to do first? When you have other people gathering to play, what must they do first? Then what second? Lay it out in steps, without explaining anything like how to hit a goblin or whatever. All such procedural details should be treated as pointers to the big document.

In my experience, such documents are rarely more than about fifteen pages. Once you have that ready, or at least in draft, then put some inspirational text in as well, at the beginning. This would not be faux-fiction. This is, instead, the answer to Eero's question, "why not just play D&D," but stated fully in the positive rather than slamming on D&D.

Once you have this together, then and only then is it worth discussing all the means of posting and publishing your game, getting some art, and so on. If you don't get this together, then all you have is a million pages of your own D&D-ish campaign notes. People have published "games" of that kind, and you're right, they don't work. They're piles of kibble, no matter how good your game experience was and no matter how much fun you and your friends had.

Best, Ron
Logged
was_fired
Member

Posts: 8


WWW
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2008, 07:47:40 PM »

Hmm... I think I can see what you're getting at so I'll see what I can do.  I don't think I'll be able to put anything out for a few days.  Many thanks for the advice. :)
Logged

Learn About TOCC: http://chimeragames.org
was_fired
Member

Posts: 8


WWW
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2008, 11:12:11 PM »

After trying and failing to start writing this a few times I've found that I'm not exactly sure what I should be writing.  Could you give an example of something like this?
Logged

Learn About TOCC: http://chimeragames.org
David Berg
Member

Posts: 997


« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2008, 10:16:40 PM »

I'm hoping you get a response, as I have many of the same questions.  In the meantime, feel free to check out my own stab at it and the feedback I've gotten in this thread.
Logged

here's my blog, discussing Delve, my game in development
Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 2775


WWW
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2008, 11:17:24 PM »

Ah, yes, I promptly forgot this thread. Good of you to take it up, David.

For an example of a game design specification document, take a look at this one I made last year. It's for a game that will be ten times longer when it's finished, the game is still undergoing changes and it's certainly going to be written in a completely different manner when it's finished. For now, however, the document just describes the rules and procedures of play that the game follows for an audience of gamers who already know how to apply the text. Simple as that.
Logged

Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.
David Berg
Member

Posts: 997


« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2008, 09:59:09 PM »

Eero,
Thanks for linking that.  Reading it was very instructive.  Much more thorough than my own first stab.  I feel like if I could make my own Dream Book, I could play the game based just on those 14 pages. 

I have serious doubts about my ability to write something like that for my own game, but I will hold it up as an example to aspire to.
Logged

here's my blog, discussing Delve, my game in development
JustinB
Member

Posts: 106


WWW
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2008, 01:40:54 PM »

No one's mentioned this yet, but a lot of the goals you've stated for your game sound like the marketing material for D&D 4e, which will be a big hurdle in getting people to try it out.
And if you're not willing to take it around to conventions to show people why they should be excited about it, I think it's going to be very hard to get the average person to pick it up. What do you envision yourself as willing to do in order to get your game into people's hands?
Logged

Check out Fae Noir, a game of 1920's fantasy. http://greenfairygames.com
was_fired
Member

Posts: 8


WWW
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2008, 04:11:15 AM »

At this point unfortunately I can't see myself as doing much to get it in peoples' hands.  In a few weeks I'll be getting out of college at which point I will either find a gaming group or not.  If I do and I start running a game then odds are it will use TOCC unless I find something I like more.  I will continue to improve the game and the latest patch should be leaving its beta stage soon and be put up for download within a few weeks, but I can't do much more than that.  I don't have the charisma for marketing nor do I have the raw talent required as a GM to make it appear that impressive at a convention.  It's proved a good enough game that one of my former players started his own campaign and another will be starting one up.  If that ends up producing something big then wonderful, but I won't get my hopes up. :)
Logged

Learn About TOCC: http://chimeragames.org
Luke
Member

Posts: 1360


WWW
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2008, 05:47:39 AM »

Was_fired, those are all fallacies. Raw talent and charisma? Not needed. As you noted, your game will rest on its own merits. But if you're serious about it, you've got to get it out there, got to get the game exposure.

On the other hand, if you're content to simply play it with your group, that's cool, too!

-L
Logged

JustinB
Member

Posts: 106


WWW
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2008, 07:04:30 AM »

At this point unfortunately I can't see myself as doing much to get it in peoples' hands.  In a few weeks I'll be getting out of college at which point I will either find a gaming group or not.  If I do and I start running a game then odds are it will use TOCC unless I find something I like more.  I will continue to improve the game and the latest patch should be leaving its beta stage soon and be put up for download within a few weeks, but I can't do much more than that.  I don't have the charisma for marketing nor do I have the raw talent required as a GM to make it appear that impressive at a convention.  It's proved a good enough game that one of my former players started his own campaign and another will be starting one up.  If that ends up producing something big then wonderful, but I won't get my hopes up. :)

was_fired, since marketing includes posting on message boards on the interwebs or handing out flyers at conventions and game stores, I don't see that charisma factors in as much as you think. To clarify my question, are you only willing to run games with your friends and post this game for download from your website and not do any other marketing or promotional activity?
If so, it would be very difficult for word of its existence to spread at all. If you're interested in getting strangers to play your game, you'll have to put some work into getting it exposure. Which, I suppose, leads me to a bigger question: What are your goals for publishing this game?
Logged

Check out Fae Noir, a game of 1920's fantasy. http://greenfairygames.com
was_fired
Member

Posts: 8


WWW
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2008, 11:14:07 PM »

Abzu: Talent as a GM matters when you try to promote a game system by running it for others so that doesn't seem like a fallacy to me.  Charisma matters when it comes to convincing people they should try a game before seeing it played.  Finally while a game rests on its own merits a system does not since that's only part of the formula used to decide the quality of a game.

Justin: I just can't see myself as being the kind of guy to hand out fliers or hang around talking my game up at gaming stores.  I have no trouble with promoting on the web so long as it doesn't cost me (the monster site for instance) and talking about it a bit on message boards and if anyone did pick it up I would be glad to provide support for them, but so far none has been asked for.  I suppose my only goal for getting the game out there is the knowledge that I wrote a game system that people enjoy playing.
Logged

Learn About TOCC: http://chimeragames.org
Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.16 | SMF © 2011, Simple Machines
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!