Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy Holidays 2013!

Just wanted to wish everyone a very safe and joyful holiday season. May you find mercy, relief, and happiness with those whom you spend your time over the next week!

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Design Journal #3: Distractions


So last time I talked about brainstorming and the time before that about initial concept.  Today, I’m going to talk about “Cook Time.”  Cook Time is when you leave a design alone for a while and let it stew, steam, and simmer in your imagination. 

Sometimes cook time is intentional.  Take Vincent Baker’s In a Wicked Age.  It started out as the Cheap and CheeseyAdventure Generator.  But Vincent gave it time to cook and it turned into a really fun and challenging RPG. 

In other cases, cook time is thrust upon the designer.  This is the case for me.  My mother-in-law was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer just as I was beginning to write this game.  She’s still fighting it to this day.  As you can well imagine, it’s been tough on the family, and naturally I’ve had to take over a lot of the chores and responsibilities my wife and I used to share.  That’s fine and that’s the way it should be.

Consequently, I’ve not been able to work on my game.  But this is not a bad thing!  And if you find yourself in this sort of situation, do not dismay!  The time off will give you a chance to reflect on your initial work, rethink it, and come back to it some time later to see if it’s still the game you want.  Delays like this can give you clarity and help you see where your ignorance, biases, or sacred cows got in the way of what you really wanted to do.

This is a short entry aimed at those of you who want to be RPG designers but have come up against something that blocks your progress.  Whether it’s a design that’s “just not right” for some reason or it’s personal matters that eat up all your time, I want to encourage you.  It’s an okay thing.  Rushing a game to the finish line so you can have it by GenCon is not the way to create a quality piece.  Don’t be afraid of cook time.  If your game is truly close to your heart, like mine is to me, then your patience and courage will be rewarded.  You can get it done.  You will get it done.  I have faith in you!



Late Edit: for another example of how a designer deals with this sort of thing, check out this link: