Friday, May 29, 2009

Finally clearing the head here.

I am finally starting to be able to think things through.

Am making an attempt to get everything in hand. I started by listing the Projects I am dealing with on a regular basis. There are 12 easily definable over all projects. I have started breaking out the tasks, or sub projects, within each. Dragon Storm is a single project. So far within it I have found 10 sub-projects, each of which have tasks attached to them. It looks like in DS I have about 40 ongoing tasks to complete.

The only problem with trying to get a handle on what needs to be done is seeing it in real life can be depressing.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Getting a Start

I am just about finished paying the penalty for our road trip. The headache has moved down to just painful, so I have begun working. As soon as the throbbing starts I will quit.

Sue is back in full swing, so I feel like a turd, but what can you do. I did get an interesting photo of Mac and Mocha helping me get better.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Just a quick note

I developed a wonderful headache Sunday afternoon at MarCon and so far it has resisted all attempts to Banish it. I need a bigger card... It is finally starting to subside, so I am hoping to get back to serious work tomorrow.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Thinking too much, or maybe too little.

As we work on the new game system I find myself resenting all the other work I have to get done. *sigh*

We are really developing a series of concepts and designs all at one time. Having started with a set of goals and concepts we are starting to comprehend the job we are doing. It is actually a series of projects that are entwined, many of which will be directly usable in DS and many that need conversion.

The end result is we need to be certain we have them all in a condition to work and be understandable before we release the beta system for everyone to use.

First, we finally have a way to print cards at a reasonable price, making the project possible. So we are on it.

Second, we wanted to attend to a couple of issues that have developed in DS. The Cast Pointing system needs work to make it easier and more clear. Something we can print for everyone to use. The new pointing is working, but it will be sometime before we can be sure.

The capacity system has been doubled to make more room for "stuff".

The combat system is being cleaned up to make the game run smoother and faster. After several weeks of playing our people have come to the conclusion that the Action only and more regulated rounds are better, faster and more fun that DS's wide open way. The tricky part is they had to play for several games to be able to get over the DS way and give the new system a fair chance. I am not sure how to replicate this time in a public beta. Right now I am talking about it and hoping that people will be ready to give it a fair shake.

Third, we are changing the Actions/Independents system. and I covered that in the previous post.

Fourth, We are changing the card usage. I have not mentioned this yet, I don't want too much shock out there at one time. This is another one that is taking time for players to adjust to, but as we progress we are finding people liking it. We have virtually no Anchors in the game. Everything is on Aces, and you can only play one Ace at a time. One Action, One card or activity.

Fifth, moving into new territory and expanding the background. The different worlds are in the same universe as Grandilar. The Pylos are having trouble on many worlds and in the Astral World. It is the fault of the Astral Backlash from Deathday and those damned Blackwind Dragons. You know, the clan that got chased off Grandilar some 2,000 years ago by the other Dragon Clans for experimenting with banned magics. It is also why the Pylos did not follow up on the Deathday victory. It set off serious storm problems in the Astral world and has made everything tougher for them. We have had this built into DS for a long time. We have a whole series of stories, concepts and ideas on this, but we have never assembled them into a complete write up. This turns out to be a big job by itself and has to be complete before the new stuff comes out. Some of this will be revealed first in the podcasts.

Sixth, we have a new system for Dungeon crawls. Mapping, Ambiance, Decor, treasure and creatures. This is designed to accommodate random encounters and set encounters in a more linear way. Working really good for GM's. The system works outdoors, astrally and spirit world as well, but we are focusing on the Dungeon version first, so we have one complete. This is actually a Universal set up and will work for almost any RPG. It will also allow for easier scenario publication, something that is difficult now in DS. This is what is behind the card submission request for Labyrinth Ambiance card ideas. I want as much variety as possible. There will be more requests for ideas like that will be appearing as we go along.

The end result is that the overall system is much better integrated than DS was. At the same time I am terribly excited by the project, but it is going to take a long time to get it all working smoothly, and release it for testing on the web. If we put out an incomplete version too soon, it won't get a fair shake.

For now, I need to get back to the con prep work.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Play test and more

Despite the fact that I am way behind, we are putting in the playtest time on the new game. The kinks are slowly being worked out of the system.

Now that we know for sure the new system works I can start letting out a few details on the new game. I want to get your brains prepped for something different, yet strangely the same.

The combats are running very quickly, although there are some hitches caused by being used to the DS ways. The changes are small, but sometimes the old thinking tries to jump in. The rounds are much more defined and there is very little you can do as a reaction when it is not your turn. After playing for a few weeks everyone thinks this is better, much less confusing once you get your head out of your DS, so to speak. The primary way we achieved this was to eliminate Independent Actions. We now have only Actions. In DS you have Actions, Movement and Independents. In this game we have Actions. You want to move, use an Action, You want to attack, use an Action, You want to Parry, use an Action. Out of Actions? Try cursing... As your experience rises, your number of Actions rise. Most creatures of the world have two Actions, the characters are special and start with three Actions.

One other change is that everyone now gets an Armor roll in Defense. So Armor is 2d6+DEF and is subtracted from the Damage roll. The hitch is that if you roll a "2" on the 2d6, your Armor fails entirely and it becomes a zero. If you roll a "12" in Defense, you bounce all damage. They missed you. In attacking a "2" also misses. When attacking if you roll a "12", you keep the 12 and roll again, adding 2d6 more damage. This has already made a difference. No matter how lowly an attacker is, you always have to worry. We are making it a Rigid Point, nothing saves you from a "2" or "12". No tricks allowed, you have to take it. This also means that basic Armor is now "0".

OK, cards are calling me, and that should be food for thought.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Weee, Another day completed!

We got the Art special orders covered and shipped out today, actually we have one more 16x20 to ship, I just finished the mat for it. So, there is that then.

I have the sponsored cards done for delivery this weekend, but I still have to create our in-house press sheets to get them done for MarCon. In the meantime I have discovered, as I pull orders, that we have sold out of the new April Releases and I have only a handful of March cards left. When sales are slow, I complain, when stuff sells, I complain. I must like complaining...

I should be getting through Sue's print books as well. This weekend at ComicCon we will be driving back home at night. I'm going to try to set sheets up at the Con and then try to get some printing done in the evenings. I should be able to make a good stabb at catching up that way. I do think our card stock, and even print stock, will be running a little thin at these Cons. Oh well, such is life.

I do plan on having a good time at the Cons.

I am slowly getting the card pages written up and posted. I want to do those before the cards get out there. Trouble is it takes me an hour or two to write each page. I figurted at the rate I write I should be able to do a 100 pages of a book a year in rough draft. A full book would take me years to complete. I better get back to podcasting.

Well, enough of this, I have cuddling to do.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mother Driving and a Good Game.

I took my Mother in for her check-up. Her new at home Dialysis is doing well. At 84 she is handling everything with good humor and efficiently. She should be around for a good while longer. Actually, she is the youngest of her generation in my families. Her sister is 90. My Uncle on the other side is 91 (and he has been declared dead once already) and my aunt is 92. All in all a long lived cranky bunch of relatives.

At about 5 PM we assembled for another session of the new game. It is working extremely well in the basic version. I am ever so slowly righting the rules as we play. I really want to sit down and get it out now, but that is unreasonable. We are playing now with nothing but Universal cards. These are the cards which will be the foundation of all the further campaigns. Each world will then have its own specialty cards added to that campaign world.

I am going to start explaining some of the mechanics as I go along here. It will help me organize them in my head and get people prepared for the differences between DS and the new game.

Initially we do not have any shape shifter characters in this game. Dragon Storm has covered that aspect well and there is no sense in duplicating that work. So far we have eight races, but I think we will wind up with about eighteen choices. Each race has some type of special ability, but we are not going to create additional racial cards. A simple distinction should be enough to make the game fun for everyone and allow people to play the variations.

We have eliminated Anchor cards and Boons from the game. Everything is run on Aces. As you gain Role-Playing Points (Experience) you gain card points. At certain points you earn a new "Circle" (Level) based on the ideas in the DS Lifeline cards. That is the only way you gain Stats. It is also the only way you gain additional Actions. Therefore how many "things" you can do in a round are tied directly to your prior experience. Everyone agrees that this works well, but the guidelines will have to be carefully written as the process is unlike DS and thus causes some early confusion at each new "Circle".

In general everything in the world starts with two Actions. i.e. they can do two "things". The characters in this first campaign (We are calling it the Genesis campaign) start with three actions. They can do three "things". We do not have Independent Actions in the new game. Everything takes an Action to perform it. Every Ace takes an Action to activate the card. The card tells you when it may be played.

The characters come from Dead spirits and have had new bodies grown for them (Using technology from the Blackwind Dragons). They get nine lives total, so we have resurrection in this game.

For right now I am going to post this and set down to carefully right up the Circle Guidelines and then turn it over to the alpha players next week. I should be creating pages for the new cards, but if I do not carve out the time for the new game it will never get done. So, something looses.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Well Then, Another day is ending.

Back to work, back to work.

I placed the order for the first set of standard cards today. We should have them for MarCon so people can see what they look like. Considering the timing and production schedule I think after these first sets we will be doing them all in the 18 card/$5.00 format instead of the 36 card/$10.00 format.

Got the 17 special order cards ready to print. 14 of them will be DS cards, the other 3 will be campaign cards. I have started the web pages for these to cover the guidelines for the cards. I am putting them in the new card page with a link to the page. The page is here. Just two so far. Maybe late tuesday night I'll get more, but probably Wednesday.

The Bone Orc Boon is going to give the Orcs an advantage over the other races, so I added Racial Boons as a category to submit card ideas. If it bothers people they will submit ideas, if it is not a problem they won't send in ideas. That page is about here.

Tomorrow will be pretty much lost for progress. I will be taking my Mother to the Hospital for her check-up during the day and I should get back in time for the Play test game I'm running. I have some new creatures to try out, based on some thoughts from Sue.

So, while I won't get any DS done tomorrow, I should be making good progress on learning more about life.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Vacation ending, so sad.

It is the last day of a week off. I finally relaxed yesterday and I'm starting to feel humanoid again.

Remember when I put the Shadow Fire game back up on the Games We Make Site a couple three weeks ago? Well, I put in donation buttons to as an experiment to see if it was possible to publish on a volunteer basis. I am pleased to admit that people are using the button and sending Sue donations. There may be more than one way to make a living from games out here in the wild web.

We are nearly set on the new Deluxe Sponsored cards, just a card or two to finish up with and that will be done on Monday. We deliver them at ComicCon and we will have them for sale at Marcon. Next is June and the cards for Origins.

Now, I am going to go spend some more time with Sue, that being my favorite hobby.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunday Morning, Wonderful Weather!

Nice lazy sunday morning. Sue is working on e-mails and then our Origins Ad. I'm covering e-mails, etsy, fur affinity and blogging updates.

We are going to be taking this week off, so little if any work is going to get done, it feels good. My congestion is just about gone, so I caught it in time. Sometimes I get so busy I don't notice an incoming illness until it is too late and it gets me. This time it is nothing.

I see that no one has tried the card submission page yet, or, it did not work. Which is it? Here is the link again, just in case you missed it.

I am enjoying peoples blogs, but I too don't post much. I did like the finished angels and now that I've seen these tomatoes, I think I'll be planting a couple on the porch monday. I am also watching Nit's health and wondering if they will make it to MarCon, that is where I usually see them.

Well, that is probably all the excitement you guys can handle in a single day, so I'm off to work on laying out the new card sets while Sue works. She hates to be the only one working.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Better, but going slow

The chest congestion is declining, but I have to be careful not to get tired. Got to keep the energy up at fighting level.

Working on finishing up our set of commission cards for May. Most will be released as ds cards, but some will be only campaign items. There are a couple of heirloom swords etc.

The first 36 item set is ready to go to the printer. No delay on that set. I got the layouts done and ready for the new printer.

I am going to cautiously point out that the link in the DS Market that say Submitting Card Ideas link is live. I am hoping that a couple of people give it a try and we shall see how the system works. Hopefully my mailer will divide the card ideas up and make it so I can actually find and use them. So, slide over there and check it out. Once I know it is working I will announce it on the DS News/LJ blog.

I am also asking for specific ideas on topics/cards I am working on. I can really use the outside ideas to stimulate my thinking on a project.