Freelance Writing/Editing/More

2.26499708Links to my profiles on Fiverr & People Per Hour (these will be expanded as I add services):

Fiverr

People Per Hour

Direct services:

Currently, my 2017 plate is clear (from April) and free for freelancing and consultancy. I’m pretty reliable and can offer reasonably fast turnaround. I can, perhaps uniquely, provide detail and grounding to scenarios – even dungeons – to humanise them and give them a bit of depth. Give me a try, see what I can do for your games.

I am a 17+ year veteran of the tabletop game publishing world with lots of experience in freelancing and self-publishing.

I’ve worked for Wizards of the Coast, Steve Jackson Games, Nightfall, Cubicle Seven Entertainment and more. I have also written fiction and worked on social media computer games, packing a lot of meaning into short pieces of text.

As a self-publisher, I have overseen every step of the publication process from concept through to publication including writing, editing, layout and modification. I also produce Youtube material and have begun producing audiobooks. If you need some narration for a video project or an audiobook reading, I can help.

Here’s some of the services I can offer, and the minimum prices offered – though anything is negotiable up or down depending on the client. I will work pseudonymously if that is a concern for you.

  • New writing (raw text): $0.03c/word (minimum)
  • Proofreading/Light Editing/Commentary: $0.01c/word (second and third deeper passes are possible).
  • ePublishing/RPG Publishing consultation. Skype/Hangout/Call: $20/hour.
  • Consultation on your game project: $20/hour.
  • Layout (InDesign): $11 an hour.
  • Stock Art Shopfront: Postmortem studios have a huge stock art catalogue from multiple artists and we’d love to add you to that storefront. If you’re an artist who wants to sell your stock art but doesn’t want to deal with the accounts and uploads etc with your own storefront (which would be my first recommendation) then I can do that for you for 50% (I round up your payouts). Even if you don’t want to do this through me I recommend doing it anyway for all artists and can consult on best practice if you need advice.
  • Voice Work: If you find my dulcet tones to your liking, I’m available for voice over work and narration, recording audiobooks and more. Rates negotiable, starting at $11 per hour.
  • Promotion/Interview: Free. If you have a product you want to pimp out or would like to just talk game design and culture you’re welcome to talk to me and appear on my Youtube channel.

#RPG – I’d do what I Whilt, but you Won’t let me

I’ve been seeing some regressive attitudes toward making and selling rpgs recently! “Too many games dilute the industry,” “you shouldn’t sell a game below a certain level of production,” whatever. Butts to that. Pep talk.

You make a game, you get together with your friends, you sell your games to each other, you sell them online, you give them away, you play them, you don’t play them, it’s a fun time. It’s a perfectly good social leisure activity and I’d recommend it to anybody who thinks they might enjoy it.

There’s no boss of it. You don’t need a license, you don’t need to submit an application, you don’t need to join a league. You are the president of the united states of making and selling your games! You ran unopposed and won in a landslide.

You’ll find, though, even so, that sometimes someone will try to tell you what you should and shouldn’t create, and what you should and shouldn’t sell. They’re wrong. They don’t know what you should do! That’s just what they want you to do.

They’re asking you for a favor and they aren’t even gracious or self-aware enough to say please.

Vincent Baker recently posted this on social media. The part I’ve highlighted makes me livid. Not Vincent, to the best of my recollection, but a great many of the people commenting and re-sharing approvingly have been people that have made great effort to censor and remove games and content made by myself and others.

To see those words in their mouths is enraging and I’m going to quote them back at them at every opportunity.

I will create what I want. Get the fuck out of my way and stop being such hypocrites.

Progressing from GNS Theory

GNS theory is, or was, a popular theoretical tool for the examination of tabletop RPG game design, though it was mostly fixed upon the player, rather than the game itself. Ron Edwards, and the forum that the theory came from, have a bad reputation in some circles, but regardless of these issues I have found the theory structure useful in the past while working on games and judging the design in terms of something to aim for.

That isn’t to say that GNS doesn’t also have some issues and I’ve been rooting around for some time to improve it to aid with my own game design structure and I think I have hit on the missing element for a structure to examine and design games of most types. The idea of something being a ‘Toy’.

There would, then, be four elements to any game.

Game

The Game factor is the element of skill to the activity. This can take many forms from honing reflexive skills to learning how to build characters with maximum damage output. The Game factor is the amount to which you can ‘git gud’ and improve your personal skill and interaction with the game. Game elements tend to conflict with Toy and Narrative elements.

Examples of high ‘game’, games would include Dark Souls, 3.5 Edition D&D (character builds), or Chess.

Narrative

Narrative is the extent to which story constitutes and controls the activity. Narrative factors tend to conflict with Toy and Game elements. Narrative elements can include story heaviness (often limiting free exploration) and tends to create a more passive, less player oriented experience.

Examples of high ‘narrative’ games would include Choose Your Own Adventures, visual novels or Once Upon a Time.

Simulation

Simulation is the extent to which an activity tries to faithfully replicate something. This does not necessarily mean realism, activities can attempt to replicate the tropes and conventions of unrealistic genres (superheroic comics or action films for example). Simulation tends to conflict with Narrative and can conflict with Game elements.

Examples of high ‘simulation’ games would include Basic Roleplaying, Microsoft Flight Simulator and SSI Wargames.

Toy

A Toy factor determines how much the activity is a ‘plaything’ and how much it is self directed. This is another way of expressing the degree of ‘sandbox’ and latitude a game might have. Toy elements tend to conflict with Narrative and Game elements as a sandbox must allow for latitude and escape from the directed narrative and the constriction of needing to ‘git gud’ gets in the way of freedom.

Examples of high ‘toy’ games would include Lego, Minecraft and Hexcrawl tabletop settings.

You could then plot a game’s position by measuring the tension between these various factors to measure it against other games.

GNST

Rotating this 45 degrees and using it as a ‘political compass’ could let you plot and compare games.

 

 

#Gamergate Building a DiGRA Alternative, Part 2

2613913-doktor_sleepless_m__001_000aHad some useful and interesting feedback from people, so let’s lay down some slightly more concrete proposals and begin to prepare to make this ‘a thing’.

It has been made pretty clear to me from a bunch of people that they’re unwilling to cede the ground of coming up with a new term other than ludology/game studies and that they would rather see the term being somewhat reclaimed away from crit/lit theory.

So, OK, what the hell, why not 🙂

First a reiteration…

Goals

  1. Preserving and communicating practical game-maker experience and examining it.
  2. Providing objective, scientific, academic, statistical and experiential insight into aspects of game design and experience.
  3. Providing an alternative to the current ludology/game studies paradigm of literary/critical theory fixed intently on practical and useful analysis, study, information and investigation.
  4. To foster a practical and pragmatic space for the exchange of useful and confirmed information for game design.

Speaking for myself, I just want to get this started and then step back. It’s my hope that groups like League for Gamers, and various websites, may take on, store, present and replicate what’s produced and that it can eventually become a respectable source of useful information for developers, academics and interested consumers.

I recognise that I don’t have the academic chops to make this into a respected enterprise, but hopefully do have enough ‘oomph’ to get it going. My intention will be to hand off to someone else in the future.

This will also have to break free of Gamergate, but GG has provided the impetus and illustrated the need.

Base Principles

The journal needs to be established on some principles to ensure that it doesn’t easily fall into the same problems as other outlets have. We don’t want it to be an ivory tower, an echo chamber or a positive feedback loop. We also want to make the contents as accessible as possible and as supportive as possible.

As such I think principles of openness would need to be core.

  • Open source.
  • Open to commentary and engagement.
  • Open processes.

All, at least, so much as is practically possible anyway.

The most important principle is that it should be fixed upon providing practical, useful information and insight, applicable to creating games. Better games. Videogames, tabletop games, LARP games, card games and more.

The Process

So here’s how I envision things working.

  1. Day 1: The editor puts out a call for submissions on a selected topic.
  2. Submissions are accepted relating to that topic (or rebutting on previous articles), either from developers/designers speaking from experience (confirmed commercial release) or academics with appropriate qualifications (this being more to do with the process and discipline than specifics).
  3. Submissions are subjected to basic scrutiny (Is it well written? Do citations lead anywhere? Does it pass the smell test? Does the author qualify?)
  4. Day 30: The selected articles are consolidated in a relatively easily transferable format (RTF?) by the editor and put out publicly wherever it can be – the personal outlets of contributors to start with.
  5. The material is then open for review, correction and challenge – openly, by anyone and this feedback is discussed and any necessary corrections have the opportunity to be made over the following month.
  6. Day 60: With corrections and changes made the journal proper is ‘published’, in much the same way as at day 30, but in a finalised and corrected form to be archived and kept.

Feedback has been incredibly useful so far, so let me know what you think. I realise much of this is unconventional, but I think that’s part of the point. The way things are being done isn’t working.

Also, what about Popular Ludology or Practical Ludology as a title?

‘Choobing More – What should I talk about?

YouTube-logo-full_colorI’ve been Youtubing a lot more lately (linky) but I need things to talk about.

So tell me what you’d like me to talk about. What things in my ‘process’ should I talk about? What games would you like to hear me talk about or describe or ‘sell’ to you?

Let me know!