Proof of Life
It’s been a while since I last posted an update, so I just wanted to drop in and talk about what I’m working on.
I’ve started a part-time job to help manage my expenses while Loreshaper Games gets up to full speed, though I enjoy it enough that I might continue at it even once the games become self-sustaining. This also gives me more flexibility for my publishing schedule, so I’m not pushed to release stuff before it’s ready because of my financial situation.
This has been a general benefit, especially since I normally don’t get all that much done during the day at large and concentrate most of my writing in a couple hours each day.
However, between freelancing, Loreshaper Games, and my part-time job progress has been slow, and I need to get better about that balance from now on once I get into a new writing routine.
Naturally, after announcing Helion I’ve made basically no progress on it. I’ve still been working on a few of the ideas for it, and they should go out in the Initiated SRD update, but I’m not quite up to speed on that. My goal is to do Initiated v0.2 and Tali Nova releases this week, which should both be pretty feasible since I only have to do some minor revisions and alterations to get that working.
This is because I’m working on a Tali Nova-powered game. I think I’ve mentioned it here before, but it’s a game system based on Jovia, which is itself based on the Roman dice game tali.
That’s been languishing because it needs playtesting, but I’ve been making good progress on it. My primary focuses for the moment are that Tali Nova project (which is actually quite far in development, but I want to keep the mystique), Helion, and the expanded Xenogeny game.
This shouldn’t take long, but I’ve been jumping project-to-project instead of a decisive approach. Oasis Roads still gets some work too, which is increasing the distance to release dates but not really hurting my overall progress.
Thinking About Design and Meaning
One thing I’ve been thinking a lot about recently is the purpose of games.
Of course, there’s the storytelling element and the mechanical element for tabletop roleplaying games.
But I’ve been thinking a lot about archetypes and meaning, too.
I think that’s been a factor in a lot of my work, since I’m conscious of it. Everything I do has some idea behind it, even when the execution isn’t where it ought to be.
One thing that sets me apart in the industry is how prolific I am. I’m not unique in that, by any means, especially when I’ve been more spread out and less focused on projects, but I’m certainly putting out content like few other people do.
The challenge to that is that I’ve been running on fumes a lot. I’m not burnt out per se, though it’s certainly not helping that I’ve gone further than I should.
But one problem that I have is that I’m certainly over-extended. I need to do more playtesting, more storytelling in the universes I’ve created. Dragons of the Western Shores, for instance, needs a lot of work. I almost regret releasing it.
Signal and Noise
I’m in a noise part of my life right now. That’s not just my work situation. I’ve got other stuff that’s been disruptive on a family level.
I’m not prone to aimlessness. As a rule, that’s been rather rare. A clear vision is the norm for me. And I have visions of where I want to be with Loreshaper Games, and what I want our products to do.
But it feels like I’m not up to the point I need to be.
A lesson from that is that I’m not where I should be in a lot of places in my life. I’ve often shied away from hard things. Versatility is one of my excuses–I do everything. Now that I have Midjourney, I’ve even been more active in the visual side of my worlds. These projects I’m working on will show it.
But it also hints to some problems with my flow. I self-edit my games. That’s part budget, part my extreme work schedule, and part keeping control. I’m sitting on Carrion Birds right now because I just don’t have time to sit down and edit such a massive project. I want to test it, and I don’t have that.
My schedule is too busy. While I was mostly working on games, I started playing in a couple more and running one (though it’s not one of my own games). Now that I have an in-person job, that’s not as feasible.
These have become a burden. Some of this will improve. I had a Tuesday game that became a Monday and Wednesday game and will soon become a Sunday game. I’m planning to cancel the game I’m running and cut back to just that Sunday game and my college buddies’ game.
Goals for 2022
I’m not unhappy with 2022. Our numbers are great compared to what they were. Loreshaper Games still isn’t paying my bills and keeping my lights on.
Struggling with large projects has been the norm. Kenoma, Oasis Roads, and Carrion Birds are all big, ambitious projects.
I’m hoping to get Carrion Birds out in its finished form, Oasis Roads out in an early access format, and three of the small games done. These are Xenogeny, Helion, and the unnamed game. I was hoping to update Consoles & Controllers, but it’s not something that fits in the schedule right now. If things go more easily than expected, it will probably happen.
Anything else goes to 2023, especially since I have some other goals for this year. I’ve written around seven hundred and fifty thousand words as of today. That puts me right around on track for my goal of having written a million words this year.
The future feels uncertain, but there’s a solution to that: grab it and make it mine.
I won’t lie, though. The economy is rough, and that’s probably hurt sales. Not having new stuff coming out doesn’t exactly make them great either. Loreshaper Games is a passion project as much as a business, but I need to consider the money.
A major goal is to playtest a lot of stuff. I need to get that in motion ASAP. My background is such that I can feel pretty confident with the numbers side of things, but I can’t tell if my rules are coherent for others without feedback. If anyone’s interested, they can check out our Discord. Other than that, I just need to find places to playtest.