ImagiNation: Design Concerns

Oh shit…

Let me tell you one thing. If you have anxiety and depression issues, creating a massive amount of pressure on yourself by creating a money-drive to support your project is not a great idea. Expectations are high and the pressure to get it ‘right’ is immense. In many ways by creating the ImagiNation IndieGoGo drive I’ve made a rod for my own back, but I knew that going into it. Still, ‘the shit is real’ now the money’s raised and there’s a lot of expectation.


The Neverwhere Concern

I’m pretty intimately knowledgeable about Neverwhere and the concerns that Neil Gaiman and Lenny Henry had in putting it all together. There was a real concern about glamorising homelessness and making it seem cool or appealing to people. At the same time there was the desire to draw attention to homelessness and the issues surrounding it.

My concern is that I don’t want to glamorise mental illness but rather to foster understanding. I know there are people who view their mental issues in a positive light, but I’m not one of them and I don’t know that it would be fair to anyone to do it that way.

I want to show the bad side, but it is a positive within the context of the game. The mental issues are a price to be paid for the creative talent combined with the (relative) immunity to the psychic virus that allows them to operate on the mainland.

New People?

I think the system is accessible and easy enough for non-gamers to grasp relatively easily but I’m trying to gauge whether I should go for accessibility or usefulness. Even as a free game I don’t know if it is going to get any sort of penetration outside the gaming community, though it is my hope that it can reach beyond.

These are all difficult concerns and concepts to grapple with in putting this together and I would appreciate assistance and ideas from people who are invested in or following the project.


ImagiNation Stretch Goals

ImagiNation has hit its basic funding and has exceeded it. I have taken a couple of days to think about stretch goals which can both improve the game and add value to people’s donations.

Several people in the RPG industry have also offered to help provide value to the game book through fiction, scenario writing etc and I thank them but at this stage it’s a little too early to be sure precisely how much room there will be in the final product.

  • At $2,200 the game will be professionally edited.
  • At $2,500 I will write, alongside ImagiNation, a genericised and updated version of the rules-set which will be placed fully in the public domain.
  • At $3,000 the game will be completed in colour inside and out and available in both colour and B&W PoD.
  • At $3,500 I will make copies (so long as financially viable) available to mental health professionals for free.
  • At $4,000 I will employ a layout specialist rather than laying out the game myself (as is more usual).

History Underfoot

There’s inspiration everywhere you look for it, if you look hard enough and if you care to poke around a little to discover what’s there. I live in a pretty, damn, old village which is also damn pretty. Everywhere you step you’re treading on history and when you dig in a garden you’re as likely to hit Victorian glass or a Roman coin as you are a 1980s ring pull (remember those?).

People think that villages don’t change, that they’re somehow frozen in amber. That’s not true and never really has been true. Villages have always been part of the landscape and as farming and climate change, so have they. Populations flow to and from the cities and the make-up of villages changes.

Chapels or churches for example. Sectarian trends spread, some places become popular then fall away. Graveyards have reburials, people who are forgotten or have no surviving family make way for those that do.

What really brings that home is when you’re walking at the side of the road and you notice that the pavement beneath your feet isn’t pavement at all but rather recycled gravestones.

Little things like this can be found anywhere and everywhere. Little features, eccentricities, moments and places of colour and you can bring things like this into your games, grounded in reality, but interesting and quirky.

Sometimes all you have to do is look down.