Random Things

I wound up getting inspired to work on writing stories, even though I seem to be sucking at it right now (I did at least finish one short story the other day). I’ve been in a bit of a funk the past couple weeks, with regard to everything, not just games, hence Thrash 2.0 isn’t the only thing I’m not making progress on. I’m trying to read more, and watch more, but my attention span is unusually short lately. So, I have jack to say about games I’m working on (or failing to work on), but plenty on some tangential things.

Comic Con
I went to Comic Con, and it took a while for me to recover. (Not totally coherent LiveJournal entry is here). There were a couple of panels on RPGs there, which was sort of surprising considering there was no RPG programming there apart from a small smattering of RPGA stuff. Chris Chinn covered it better than I could in his blog, but suffice to say the first panel didn’t tell me much of anything I didn’t already know, and the second I didn’t attend because it conflicted with some other panel I wanted to go to. There were actually a small handful of RPG things in the exhibit hall though. There was a dealer with lots of GURPS books (amongst other things), the guy who did Artesia was selling the RPG alongside the comic, and Annie Rush had a table in the indie area (appropriately enough). I picked up a copy of House of Horiku, though I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. Snakes on a Game, indeed. I also picked up a sketchbook called Mariachi Samurai, and damn but I want to roleplay as the title character some time. I’m thinking his name would be Pedro. Or maybe Jesus.

No More Goo
It’s sad that Guardians of Order is done with, but Mark seems to be doing okay for himself, and most of their IP is going to be getting new homes, which in turn means that BESM3e will be coming out, even if it’ll take a while. For various reasons, I’ve had mixed feelings about GoO from their inception, but I never found fault with the quality of their products. The deafening silence hasn’t been good for PR (see this RPG.net thread), and it’s good to finally hear what the hell is going on. Plus I have an acquaintance who got a book green-lighted from them just before all this nonsense happened. My general opinion of Tri-Stat is that it’s a great, elegant little system that was never adequately explained in its rulebooks (hence the lengthy essays at the beginning of my netbook). It’s also one of those games where a younger me said immature crap about it on message boards, though there are those who make me not feel quite so bad about it, for all the wrong reasons, and in a few cases I was just pointing out stuff that really ought to have been addressed (like, why the insistence on using only SI units for a game predominantly played by Americans?).

Anyway, I’m definitely going to pick up BESM3e whenever it comes out, but (1) I’m glad I didn’t give into the temptation to preorder, and (2) right now OAV would be my go-to game for that kind of thing anyway (they need to get some more stuff out at some point though). Still, in the 9 or so years it was around, GoO wound up teaching me a lot about RPGs, and for that more than anything I’m grateful.

How To Do Stuff
Inspired by this thread on Story Games, I went and checked out Elements of Typographic Style from the library. I’ve only read a little bit (it’s really good), but it occurred to me that there are certain things that apply to any creative endeavor. As I’m seriously pursuing designing RPGs and writing, and have dabbled in graphic art, I started to see patterns. I’m going to write up an essay on this whenever I get around to it.

  1. Practice. A Lot.: Whatever you do, do it a whole lot. Every day if at all possible.
  2. Learn the Basics: In any medium there are basic, foundation type things that should be practiced to death. An artist needs to learn how to draw straight lines, which means pencil mileage.
  3. Learn From Others: Look at other works in your chosen medium and others close to it. Include works that you woudn’t ordinarily look at (i.e., even if you’re writing sci-fi with Venusian telepathic squids, go read literary classics).
  4. Find out the “Rules”: In each medium there are formulas that can be training wheels for beginners, “don’ts” that can be violated if you do so skillfully and for the right reasons, and principles that become tools you can use.
  5. Get and Recieve Useful Criticism: Get people to look at your stuff and tell you what’s bad about it and what’s good. If someone has nothing to say beyond “this sucks,” then Triumph the Insult Comic Dog could do the same job, and be more entertaining.
  6. Find Your Own Style: Don’t imitate your idols. Don’t worry that you can’t create something as great as . Concentrate on creating stuff that only you could do.

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