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More Game Design or Less?

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Jay103
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It's been getting quieter here, so I thought I'd ask..

Are people finding themselves doing more or less game design than two months ago? I can see it going either way.

For me, I've been doing more on the business side of my games for the past month (online sales, getting into distribution), but now I'm also getting back to thinking about a new Heroes & Treasure expansion set as well as making a small adventure I can put up on my website for free.

How about you?

tikey
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I've been thinking more about

I've been thinking more about game design but not actually getting much done. :D
I've started writing some thoughts on the design process that I want to share here later and I've been musing a few changes to my game but I stillh have to find the time to do it.

X3M
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We get less together.
Also, I am one of the "important" guys in the community that has to go to work despite the situation.
I thought though that I already talked about my situation...

Jay103
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Yeah, I have less free time,

Yeah, I have less free time, because I can work from home, and then when I'm not working I spend more time in childcare (which is great, of course) to relieve my wife, who is spending much, MUCH more time in childcare while I'm at my desk.

So a lot of outdoor time and I taught my daughter to ride a bike and all that good stuff, but less time to sit around and think about games. I'm not even playing any iPhone games right now, which is probably the first time in 8 years that's been true.

Stormyknight1976
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I designed a new game

On April 4, 2020 I have designed a solo puzzle game with 12 cards and a knight figure.

I have also sent out 10 copies of my game to family and friends.

3 friends with copies have not responded yet but everyone else has enjoyed the game.

I'm still working on Dymino Monsters.

Jesse

Rick-Holzgrafe
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Not doing much

I haven't been doing much game design, but that's not really got much to do with staying at home. Of my works-in-progress, I recently gave up one early design as being unpromising, and the other is just at the point where I need live playtesters, and of course right now I can't get any. So I've been working on other projects: music and software are my other interests.

I should get busy and learn how to make games for Tabletop Simulator, then I could maybe get some actual playtests going.

questccg
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Question for you all

Rick-Holzgrafe wrote:
...So I've been working on other projects: music and software are my other interests...

I'm doing about the SAME... But over the weekend and into the week, I worked very hard on the TradeWorlds Box Cover and Bottom. The reason being was that the samples I had were: A> The wrong size B> Had no sides. Editing should resume soon, as I get back to working on card layouts.

Rick-Holzgrafe wrote:
I should get busy and learn how to make games for Tabletop Simulator, then I could maybe get some actual playtests going.

I have a QUESTION:

Can you download Tabletop Simulator and run-it as a standalone piece of software or do you NEED Steam???

I am a bit new to the Steam scene ... But I've got to admit ... I HATE installing the Steam software BECAUSE it's total and complete BLOATWARE!

Now you may disagree with me and that is fine, everyone has their own opinion ... But on my PC ... Steam used to do things "in the background" like update it's version, search for updates, etc. And all that SH!T, pardon my language would grind my PC to a near halt. And in many cases, it seemed like my PC was FROZEN. To fix, I would need to re-boot...

Quite annoying. Now while I would LIKE to use Tabletop Simulator ... I just don't want ANYTHING to do with STEAM!

tikey
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Tabletop sim is fully

Tabletop sim is fully integrated with steam for a lot of stuff, like addons and modules so there's no non-steam version and probably won't ever be.

If you stop steam from starting with the machine and use it only when running Tabletop sim the only moment it will try to update is when first running steam and it shouldn't bother you when you are in game. It's not perfect but it's the only way to use it :/

I found Tabletopia to be a good alternative for quick digital prototyping but it's not without issues.

questccg
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Give a man a fish vs. teach a man to fish

tikey wrote:
Tabletop sim is fully integrated with steam for a lot of stuff, like addons and modules so there's no non-steam version and probably won't ever be.

Unfortunate... This will stop me from buying it from "Humble Store".

tikey wrote:
I found Tabletopia to be a good alternative for quick digital prototyping but it's not without issues.

Indeed but we already HAVE TradeWorlds on TT. I wanted to see if I could generate some additional revenue from DLC for TradeWorlds. But I wanted to do it MYSELF... Not make the art content available to TTS crew. I'm a bit miffed to their way of operating. Like who wants to offer up their DESIGN files to a 3rd party company?!?!

I guess there is no other way...?

let-off studios
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Not Much

TL;DR:
It's been a rough time for me, personally. Game projects have been pushed to the wayside while I deal.

A few things have pushed tabletop game design to the way-back-burner lately:

  • Creative energy spent on converting analog curriculum to virtual classroom learning for my day job (I'm still at work).
  • The atmosphere and general vibe brought about by the pandemic event has affected me personally and my mood is not the strongest it could be right now.
  • I no longer feel the urgency to have my designs professionally-published. It took some time for me to admit this to myself, and was difficult to acknowledge. This emerged prior to COVID-19, and is representative of my low productivity in this area since maybe mid-2019.
  • My limited energy remains for physical exercise, journaling, contacting friends/family, and working on smaller, low-pressure video game projects.
questccg
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Don't forget...

let-off studios wrote:
...It's been a rough time for me, personally. Game projects have been pushed to the wayside while I deal.

A few things have pushed tabletop game design to the way-back-burner lately...

Well you are a valued and memorable member of the BGDF community. I can't even count how many times you've offered advice, shared ideas, given feedback on not only my own threads but MANY, MANY, MANY other threads too!

So even if you're not publishing... It doesn't really matter. Your voice of reason echoes greatly on BGDF. And with sound advice too!

Please do "stick-around"... I've seen a lot of member go from active to all but disappearing ... Would be a shame to lose such a valued member of this small community!

Cheers and whatever you're going through, our thoughts and prayers...!

questccg
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IMHO

Jay103 wrote:
... but now I'm also getting back to thinking about a new Heroes & Treasure expansion set as well as making a small adventure I can put up on my website for free.

How about you?

Hmm... Just a quick comment. While FREE would be good in most instances, in your particular case it doesn't help. Why? Because you already have the e-mails of all your players (or KS Backers). Offering something free to those people is of "no value" to you.

I know that I've already mentioned that you should POLL your KS Backers to ask THEM what would interest them the most. I still think you should do that otherwise you might waste resources on a fourth effort that doesn't fund.

Sure a "FREE Adventure" will be good for ALL your backers. But it doesn't really help GROW the brand. It may solidify a "core" group of supporters that may be loyal... But if the quantity of these individuals is too small... You can't FUND projects and therefore the game could disappear into the void.

Of the projects that I can see as of "interesting" (even if you may disagree ... They interest me and I have no skin in the game):

1> Miniatures. Could start small and only offer the "core" Heroes. If this funds, you've minimized your initial funding. How to make this POSSIBLE??? Start with the "core" Heroes and OFFER a reward for a modest reward like: "$25.00 USD get eight (8) Heroes".

I think this is something you could GAUGE and see if your Backers would like. This opens the door BIG TIME to future KS content. You could have small KS campaigns and produce like a MOQ of 500 units and since you are NEAR 500 overall backers... You could sell through most of your inventory.

Some math: $25 x 500 = $12,500. So about $10k. $600 x 8 = $4,800 cost + $200 x 8 = $6,400 USD. Cost of models = 500 x 8 x $0.30 = $1,200 Leaving you with a small profit of $3,650 USD (1/3rd profit). If you get more than 500 KS Backers, well then CONGRATS.

And then you can take it SLOW. Offer COLLECTIONS: like the "Sewer Set" ... Features some rats, snakes and ??? But you get the idea. Have FUN designing what you offer to SELL.

I can get you a 3D Modeler for $200/model + 1 Render. Maybe that might interest you, IDK?! I can ask my publisher for the contact information of "Santiago". He did the models for all the starships in Tau Ceti and TradeWorlds. He works well with initial illustration to accomplish 3d models. Like I said it wouldn't hurt if I ASKED (if you are interested)!

2> Adventure/Campaign Book. Could offer a "FREE" PDF "sneak peek" at a couple of pages of the book... Now that FREE makes sense because you stand to maybe entice people to Back you for another component that augments your game. And you could have a Kickstarter for just that based on how many people share their e-mail for the free preview.

Yes I know most will be e-mails that you ALREADY have. So you're wondering: "What's the point???" Well it's a question of GAUGING the market... Seeing how many backers would WANT an additional Adventure/Campaign Book.

3> "Monster/Boss" Pack. This was another idea about having MORE "standies" and dice for additional Monsters/Bosses. To add some more variety for the Quest Master and to make the game more of a challenge and a bit of "spice". But I don't know how many of your Fans will go for this. This is something that I would look for ... especially with your kind of game (RPG adventures).

So those are three (3) kinds of things that I would look for to entice your existing Fan base and maybe earn some additional backers (that are at home presently with their children)...

As usual, I'm not telling you what to do... I'm just saying these are the type of things that would interest me (as a parent/Quest Master)... But this is only my OWN opinion... I don't know what your Fans might like!

Feel FREE to ignore my advice... I'm just offering you another perspective into the gamer mind and what I think my own kids would have enjoyed in their younger years.

Jay103
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Heh, I know you want me to to

Heh, I know you want me to to miniatures for some reason, but that's just not my thing, and I don't think it's the thing for most of my audience.

As for why I want to have a free mini-adventure, the main limitation of my game is that for much of my customer base, they're not going to create their own levels. So having the idea that there is additional free content coming -- separate from what was purchased -- increases the perceived value and longevity of the product. Having the bonus content sitting there increases the value of Heroes & Treasure in general to any future customers (who would now have 12 mission-levels available instead of 10, for the same price.

It also means I can send an email to everyone announcing it, and that email is completely non-spammy. I send an email that GIVES value. I can put it on Facebook; I can put it in an ad.

As for (3), that would make sense if I were really selling an RPG system. But I'm not.. I think I'm mostly selling the campaign content. The game without the campaign wouldn't sell a single copy.

By buying the expansions, of course, the stable of monsters increases. The first expansion had wolves, bats, skeleton bats, a bat king (vampire-ish), etc. I think the second will have a dragon.. I've wanted a dragon.

questccg
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Don't mind me...

I'm just offering to you... What would interest me in your product. But at the end of the day, it's still YOUR game. I agree that producing some free content may be beneficial in terms of "longevity". And it is TRUE, it does "increases the value of the overall game".

I just want you to "succeed". I'm not a egoist. I very much want our BGDF members to succeed in their ventures. Why do you think that I respond to many of the threads sharing from my pool of experience??? Because I've seen good days and I've seen bad ones.

I'm hoping that at some point in time, my own game ideas (and future games) may have some level of success also. But that doesn't stop me from wanting to help others get to another level.

I really feel "bad" over Mike's passing. It wasn't my fault, God chose to take Mike from this world. But Mike was a great resource and I'm sure we maybe could have launched more games together EVEN if their Branding was mostly for Sci-Fi. To be honest, I'm sure Mike would have enjoyed Fantasy oriented games too...

So I do mourn this person (whom I never met) but who was very kind to me. Mike could have told me "It's Confidential" when I asked him about the cost of making Miniatures... He versed me in all the details from models to renderings to molds to unit pricing... He was a good person who wasn't afraid of sharing in his knowledge.

Anyhow, I think your 8 Heroes would make real nice 3D Miniatures. But it's not your direction and I'm fine with that. No worries... Wishing you all the best in success in 2020!

let-off studios
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Usefulness to the Field of Games

questccg wrote:
Well you are a valued and memorable member of the BGDF community. I can't even count how many times you've offered advice, shared ideas, given feedback on not only my own threads but MANY, MANY, MANY other threads too!
I appreciate hearing that. :D

It seems I still have a lot to contribute, and I do think I've learned a lot over the years that can be useful to other designers. I know I work pretty great as a playtester, maybe even development every once in a while, and that's a useful position to be in. I suppose that's all I could ask for. :)

Jay103
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questccg wrote:Jay103

questccg wrote:
Jay103 wrote:
... but now I'm also getting back to thinking about a new Heroes & Treasure expansion set as well as making a small adventure I can put up on my website for free.

How about you?

Hmm... Just a quick comment. While FREE would be good in most instances, in your particular case it doesn't help. Why? Because you already have the e-mails of all your players (or KS Backers). Offering something free to those people is of "no value" to you.


Just curious about your opinion now..

I was thinking about releasing the free mission ON my Kickstarter page. So then at launch I'm sending an email that says there's free content, but you at least have to click over to the KS (and maybe scroll down a bit..) to get it.

That way, there's an immediate marketing-type benefit to the free release.

I can't see how I can do this without needing close to 300 backers (not taking premium purchases into account), so every view will count.. I have emails for probably 750 owners of the base set, half of whom have ordered in the last month and are actively playing the game, so that should be worth *something*.. but it's still a lot of backers.

questccg
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I agree with you 100%

Jay103 wrote:
Just curious about your opinion now...

No I think your plan is reasonable. It's also good to CEMENT the Fans of the game ... So you know the average size of the pool of backers you can expect from something in the future.

Jay103 wrote:
I was thinking about releasing the free mission ON my Kickstarter page. So then at launch I'm sending an email that says there's free content, but you at least have to click over to the KS (and maybe scroll down a bit..) to get it.

Yes ... That's good. Linking it to the KS ... And the backers is good in an update ... (I'm guessing, I can't picture any other way...) And this way you can take that opportunity to address the LOW "turn-out" for Arena and maybe talk about that IDEA poll (I've mentioned before) to see what the fans expect NEXT from the game.

Jay103 wrote:
That way, there's an immediate marketing-type benefit to the free release.

Indeed... I understand and agree. You're solidifying the brand with a sub-segment of your backers (those still interested in having/owning more of the H&T Franchise).

Jay103 wrote:
I can't see how I can do this without needing close to 300 backers (not taking premium purchases into account), so every view will count.. I have emails for probably 750 owners of the base set, half of whom have ordered in the last month and are actively playing the game, so that should be worth *something*.. but it's still a lot of backers.

That was the problem with Arena: you only got like 50 Backers. If you need a SOLID 300 for future projects... This is a good approach to at least know WHO is still INTERESTED. I know it's FREE, but still if nobody goes for the FREE content (to click a link here to go there...) Well then it shows that you really have an issue with your Backer Fans/Count.

Jay103
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Well, I'm not too worried

Well, I'm not too worried about lack of interest from my new customers.. The comments coming in are great (and I even got two new BGG ratings). The comments are making the whole thing worthwhile :)

Mosker
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Low cost or even free PNP for all?

Would it be possible to do a stripped down version--maybe black and white (let the kids color!) print and play with just what is needed for a few missions? Do you still have copies in stock in case people might want to order? Maybe PWYW or any other virtual tip jars or push the feel good moment (and if you've watched more than 30 seconds of commercial TV in the last few months...) and donate to a local food bank? Or...

Lots of shut in families--and ways to do this without decreasing perceived value of your product. But of course, do only what you're comfortable with. We're all tightly surrounded by innocent bystanders if our creative frustrations mount.

Hop. Pax

Jay103 wrote:
questccg wrote:
Jay103 wrote:
... but now I'm also getting back to thinking about a new Heroes & Treasure expansion set as well as making a small adventure I can put up on my website for free.

How about you?

Hmm... Just a quick comment. While FREE would be good in most instances, in your particular case it doesn't help. Why? Because you already have the e-mails of all your players (or KS Backers). Offering something free to those people is of "no value" to you.


Just curious about your opinion now..

I was thinking about releasing the free mission ON my Kickstarter page. So then at launch I'm sending an email that says there's free content, but you at least have to click over to the KS (and maybe scroll down a bit..) to get it.

That way, there's an immediate marketing-type benefit to the free release.

I can't see how I can do this without needing close to 300 backers (not taking premium purchases into account), so every view will count.. I have emails for probably 750 owners of the base set, half of whom have ordered in the last month and are actively playing the game, so that should be worth *something*.. but it's still a lot of backers.

Jay103
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Basically impossible to do a

Basically impossible to do a PnP version of the game.. Besides that it uses cardboard standees and a lot of map tiles, it absolutely requires custom dice.

I could do (and plan to do) a PnP mission for people who already own the game, but I don't think that's what you're saying (?)

As for copies, I have... 5 copies of the base game still in the warehouse, about 15 here in my basement, and 12 on "consignment" at a store about 30 miles away that I don't think has even removed them from the cartons. I'll be reclaiming those this summer when things open up again. I'm not running ads any more, but I'd expect to sell a couple more this month and then be out.

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