Wednesday, March 23, 2016

RM Update #8

Truly, there can be no finer an image to encapsulate
 the concept of economic horror
So...this happened.

In addition to all the work I did last week preparing for playtests that didn't happen (both got cancelled and rescheduled, but time spent in preparation wasn't spent on content creation), this happened at the beginning of the week. Stopped at the light, then quickly found myself being thrown towards it.

I'm fine. It was about as amicable as fender-benders get. Still, it was not what I was looking for in my life right now.

I've spent the last 16 hours dealing with various garages, car rental services, and insurance companies just so I can get back to work and continue one of the busiest work weeks of my life. And my troubles are nothing compared to Ross and RPPR's. The hosting service decided to downgrade and throttle the bandwidth without warning, and now they're trying to hold the site hostage for a higher price. It's not something I have any capability to help with, but Ross is my friend...a friend who happens to run the primary promotional tool for the game I've invested four years of my life in.'s stressful, and I feel like a jerk for being stressed about it at all because my anxiety has to be NOTHING compared to the pain this must be in Ross's ass.

(By the way, for the few people that criticize Red Markets for being unfair to big business and unrealistically assuming corporations would not have the best interests of people at heart during a zombie apocalypse...might I direct you to the company currently trying to bilk a one-man small business for more nonexistent money? I mean, I know Ross is quite the fat cat, what with all that RPG podcaster cheddar. Perhaps they couldn't resist their own rational self-interest in the zero-sum game of high-yield podcast brokerage.)

"First we take over RPG Actual Play podcasting, then the model
train miniature sign production industry, and then...THE WORLD"

This is a roundabout way of saying I've gotten nothing done this week. Nada. Fuck all. And it's extremely depressing.

If you freelance write for any amount of time, something happens to your brain. It doesn't happen when you're writing as a hobby or as a side business; I felt stressed when parts of No Security were late, but I still felt like a worthwhile human being. But, the second you start linking your creativity to your very survival, the change is something you can't shake. Even after heading back to the day job, a pillar of your identity remains chained to your productivity.

You measure your worth in words per day, in pages drafted or revisions made. Zero progress means zero worth. It's not rational, especially when so few have invested in the product, but that connection can be haunting. I can work a sixty-hour week, clean my entire house, take care of my family, and answer a library's worth of email...and I still end up feeling like some useless sloth that's been sitting in front of the TV for a month, naked and covered in Cheeto dust.

I hate wasted weeks like this one. They drive me nuts. It would be enough to make you quit, if another wasted week weren't going to drive you that much more crazy.

Anyway, that's the update...for whatever it's worth. They can't all be winners. Here's hoping next week goes better.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, March 14, 2016

RM #7


I apologize for the longer than usual absence. If that looked like the inevitable death of the blog, I understand. I've certainly invited that conclusion in the past.

But I'm still here! Still working! I just had the flu!

But, you know, I REALLY had the flu. To say that production dipped as I fever-dreamed the RPPR group trying to break into my home and kill me would be an understatement. Couple that with the end of the quarter (grades are due) and the 2-3 chapter a week revision cycle seems doomed from the start, in retrospect.

But progress has been made. The only section from the beta release that still needs revision is Negotiation. After that, the entire player section will be ready for the Kickstarter.

I've also been doing some pricing. Between print costs, editing, layout, art, and the variables that effect all those numbers (softcover vs. hardcover, B&W vs. color vs. glossy), there are a ton of estimates to collect and collate. I've just about got all the information I'm going to be able to gather in one place, at which point I'll start planning out the campaign's reward tiers and stretch goals.

Then there's promotion, of course. Ross and I recorded another Game Designer's Workshop about art direction and project management. The APs for The Brutalists -- our flagship playtest campaign -- keep on getting a healthy response. I'll also be running two important playtests for other podcasts this week. As always, time spent running the game means time not writing the game, but I've got to make sure the jobs I put forth show off all the best parts of the game; for these potential new fans, I won't get another chance to pitch Red Markets.

With all these other responsibilities, I'm starting to realize I might not be able to get the game entirely revised before the KS launches. I'm confident I can finish up within the first week of the campaign and still get some setting writing done inbetween answering FAQ's, but I'm going to have to switch into sell mode soon. Writing ad copy takes infinitely longer than games rules despite being a fraction of the length, and that's to say nothing of the research that needs to be put into a promotional plan. It'll be a photo finish as is, and I can't imagine how hopeless the whole thing would seem if I hadn't long ago given up the idea of having the game completely sewn up before launch.

All you can do is keep chiseling away at it. Thanks for following along, dear reader. More updates soon!