Saturday, April 26, 2014

Go Fund Me Campaign

Recently I have created a site on GoFundMe with the intent of using the money raised to start the video game company I have dreamt of starting for decades. Please check it out here.

I will be updating that site at least twice a week so please swing by and check it out from time to time. Also if the mood strikes you please make a donation. Any amount is appreciated and I have set up rewards based on the amount donated.

What will the money be used for?

The money from this campaign is focused on creating the business entity. Funds will be used to pay the costs with forming either an LLC or a corporation. I have not settled on which one yet and I am currently researching which would be best for the needs of the company. Additional money will be used in the registering the trademark for the company name & logo, paying concept artists, legally protecting the IP for the game and securing funding for the game engine. Any left after all of this will be used to purchase additional equipment and software as needed.

Why GoFundMe and not Kickstarter?

Simple answer - Kickstarter you have to hit the dollar goal before you get any money and this needs to be done in a set time limit. GoFundMe you don't have to hit the dollar goal, you can withdraw money as you go and the campaign can last indefinitely.

This works for me since it gives me time to build on the campaign and even if I fall short of the dollar goal I picked, there may be enough funds to accomplish the important goals.

Friday, December 27, 2013

X-Mas Surprise Packs, where are you???

This holiday I received some cash and was instructed to buy my own gift. It didn't take me long to decide to use it to purchase two 2013 X-Mas Surprise Packages. I have always had a soft spot for Palladium Books' products and have been looking to rebuild my once mighty collection. For $40 plus shipping a purchasers receive at least $80 worth (or more!) of books and materials.

Since I placed my order on the 23rd of December there will probably be a fairly long wait till my packages arrive. This is both good and bad. Bad, because I want them now. Good, because I have that child waiting for Christmas feeling. This feeling of anticipation is not something I have felt at Christmas since I was a kid waiting to see if Santa was going to bring me that shiny new Colecovision.

Once I recieve the packages I will list what I got here. I then may have an announcement for my old gaming group.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

D&D Next

While I am planning for my new campaign using the AD&D 2nd edition rules I have decided to start up running play test sessions for D&D Next. The play test will be held at Brothers Grim in Selden, NY 11am - 5pm Saturday September 14th. Interested parties should contact me as early as possible, please note I am looking for 6 players. More details to follow.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A needed change...

Things have been extremely hectic lately with work, family and life in general so it was no wonder that I have been suffering from burnout. So to remedy things I have decided to end my Saturday gaming group and take a break from playing with the Sunday crew.

Ending the Saturday was a fairly easy decision as it allows me more time to spend with my family, especially during the summer months. When I broke the news to my group I said we would probably pick things up once school starts in September. Now that I have had a couple weeks to reflect it seems unlikely that will happen. I have been running games on Saturday with few real breaks since around '98. During that time I have run many different systems. The group started out with AD&D 2nd edition and then branched out into dozens of games including the following :

Champions (Big blue book)
Palladium Fantasy
D&D 3rd edition
Star Wars Saga
Hero System 5th edition
Villains and Vigilantes
D&D 4th edition
D&D Basic
Marvel Superheroes
Too many one shots to bother mentioning by name

A lot of good times were had and I got to meet and play with a large number of people. I look back on this time with a lot of fondness. I think I have grown as a G.M. and while I feel I do a fairly decent job, there is much room for improvement.

My players have all claimed the have been enjoying the games but for the past year or so things have felt forced. At least for me. Also in the days leading up to Saturday I find myself dreading game day. Before the group arrives I find myself wanting to cancel on a fairly regular basis. It is not a good feeling and something had to change, the only logical choice was to end things.

As for my Sunday game, this was harder for me. I enjoy playing in my friend Jack's D&D campaign. Our weekly delves in the bowels of Stonehell have been a blast. Why then did I quit?

1. Spend weekend time with the family.
2. Focus more time on my side business.
3. There was the same basic group as my Saturday group.
4. I needed a change.

There were other reasons which I discussed with the DM, but those reasons will stay between the two of us.

I needed to shake the cobwebs out.

Oddly enough within two weeks after quitting these two groups I received an invitation from a friend to play in a game with some friends I had not seen in a while. Game time would be on a weeknight and not take away from weekend family time. The system, AD&D 2nd edition set in the Forgotten Realms.

I have a fondness for AD&D 2nd edition and have found myself wanting to run a campaign with the system. Playing in this game would be a great way to re-learn the system. Also the Forgotten Realms is a world that I have always wanted to explore in depth and with this particular D.M. this would be my chance. His love of the setting is apparent and the intro session left me very impressed with his level of attention to detail. In fact it inspired me to put much more work and planning into the next campaign that I run.

This new game has definitely blown the cobwebs out and gotten the wheels turning in my head once again. It is a good feeling and one I have not felt for some time. I look forward to where this will all lead. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Villains and Vigilantes Turn Chart

Last night I finally resumed running my Villains and Vigilantes campaign and I had a chance to finally try out a turn chart one of my players created. Overall I found if really helpful. It is set up so that it can randomly determine initiative for all characters or it can randomly determine NPC initiative while allowing PCs to roll dice. There are a couple features I would like to see, such as recording detect danger/hidden with built in % roller for those stats.
 At first it took some getting used to, but by nights end I saw how it did speed combat along. The players and especially the GM when rolling for initiative have to do the following to determine initiative :

1d10 + Agility + Power/Speed Bonus = first action phase
Then the character can act again 15 phases later in the same turn.

ex. Zero Hero with an Agility 22 rolls a 9 so his action phases would be 31, 16, 1

While the math itself is not that bad, try doing this quickly as a GM handling a dozen NPCs.

Enter the Villains and Vigilantes Action Tracker. You can try it out at the following site.

In the bottom window just add character name, player name, Agility (not Dex as shown) and any bonus derived from powers. Click add character and they are added to the list in the top window.
I would like to see the list place characters alphabetically automatically and further separate PCs from NPCs.

In between the two windows is the following...

You will notice there are buttons for Import and Export. Once you complete a list of characters to be involved in an encounter hit Export and you will get the following result :

Now just copy and paste this into a general text editor and save it. Later just open the text file and copy and paste it into the Tracker using the Import option. You could even just type up a list of characters using this format in the text editor and import that. This would allow a GM to create lists for each separate encounter he has planned and just open them when needed. I know I will be using this option a lot in the future.

When you hit either of the Roll Initiative buttons you will generate action phases for all of the characters like this :

Further more hitting the Create Turn Chart gives the following result :

As each character finishes their action just click on done next to that action and the chart auto updates.

I like this GM aid so far, I think there is some room for improvement as I mentioned above and I will mention here as they are made. Please check it out and tell me what you think of it.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mattel Electronic D&D Board Game

I have recently posted my copy of Mattel's Dungeons and Dragons Board Game for sale on Ebay, for those that are interested you can check it out here.

Please spread the word as I would like it to find a good home.

Games and old dreams.

Our Saturday group finally got back to playing a week ago. Due to the blizzard last month we had too much ice and snow for anyone to park cars other than my wife and I. We were all starting to go through gaming withdrawal and I was chomping at the bit to run something.

The session last week and this past evening we were not able to continue my Villains and Vigilantes campaign due to missing players. So I decided to run some Pathfinder Beginner Box and had a small group of adventurers explore the lair of Black Tooth. Overall it was a hit and the players are looking forward to playing Pathfinder some more. I have to say I had a lot of fun with it and I think I will run it on those nights when I don't have enough players for my regular game.

Having a long break from our regular game has giving me more time to work on another project, something that has been forming in the back of my mind for sometime now. This project is a video game I have been wanting to make for the last two years. These last few weeks have allowed me to work out a lot of details on the story, style of play and the game engine I will be using. I will not go into much detail here now about it other than to say I am really excited to finally get some real work done. In fact I have scheduled vacation time from my day job for later this month so that I can focus on doing a story treatment and creating some concept art for it.

For the game engine I have chosen to use Unity 3D. You can check it out at here.

I have decided to use Unity because of its flexibility, ease of use and large community of users that I can network with. It also has a low cost when compared to other game engines such as Unreal and CryENGINE. Additionally Unity allows for development on many platforms such as PC, Mac, iOS Devices, Android, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, WiiU and the upcoming Ouya. The game can be created in Unity and then deployed to any of these devices which really opens it up to a large number of potential users.

As the project develops I will post developer diaries which will chart my progress and hopefully build interest in the game. I am also planning on having a Kickstarter Campaign to help fund the project, but I will not be launching that till later in the year. The "when" will be dependent on how quickly this all comes together. I have found someone to help with concept art and will also look to work with others as needed. The Kickstarter campaign will primarily be used to pay those artists that help me on the project.

It has been a dream of mine to make video games ever since I used to write programs on my brother's old Atari 800. I remember creating a very simple game based on the Basic Set D&D and  text adventures similar to the old choose your own adventure books that were popular when I was a kid.
That old Atari is gone now and so are the cassette tapes that those games were stored on, but the dream remains.