Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Getting Physical

On A Gaming Podcast About Nothing, that podcast that Dave and I will return to at some point, I've often been criticised for being an RPG hoarder. In the past I've downloaded every free pdf that someone has offered, tried to support every game that has flagged my attention and tuned in to every little one-page thing that looks interesting. I've slowed down on that, partly through a realisation that I was reading so little of the stuff that I'd bought or found - and using even less - partly through a lack of time and money to buy things, but also partly after some honest reflection: I just prefer to read and use RPG stuff in a physical medium.

As an aspiring publisher, I see the other side of that now as well. I think this was crystallised in my mind recently when chatting to Chris McDowall for A Random Encounter:
How has the last year or so been?
...It was just incredible to have that feeling of, “There's this many people that want to pay money to have your product on their shelf.” I'd given away these other free games and they'd probably had hundreds of downloads. But I know that when I go on RPGNow and download a free pdf, 80 or 90% of the time I never get around to opening that pdf, and the vast majority of the time I never get around to using it. The fact that someone has paid for Into The Odd at least makes me hope that it's being used.

If I make something, free or paid, I want people to read it, use it. From the limited anecdotal research I've done, thinking about myself, talking to others, I've come to conclude like Chris that the main way to get people reading something, playing a game or whatever is to get it in print. Physical products are simply more likely to be used.

Following my train of thought from yesterday, since I don't need anyone's permission to make something or to publish, then I have no excuse other than any I conjure up for myself (I don't have time, people might not like it, how will I get it done? etc). I asked some questions at the end of yesterday's post too:
  • Which project do I think will be the most fun?
  • Which project do I think has the most potential for me to learn something?
And for now at least, when it comes to the small project that I want to work on in-between the regular, ongoing project of A Random Encounter and the longer-term project of Into The Oort, my answers are:
  • One where I'm doing something small and different, which can be made physical easily;
  • One where I force myself to do something new, to practise a new skill or develop an existing one.
The second point sounds a little obvious, so I think I need to work on fleshing that thought out. In my day job I'm always encouraging people to "Plan -> Do -> Reflect -> Review" so it's about time I did some of that too. As I follow my playing around with ideas, I hope some time soon to have something to show for them, even at a rough stage. Anyone want to see what I'm working on when I have something to share?

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