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Vincent Is Gone
Me (Manga)

Originally published at Eddy Webb. You can comment here or there.


As I’m writing this, our eldest dog, Vincent, is having lots of treats and being pampered. But by the time you’re reading it, he will be gone. He has had a number of medical and mental problems over the past few months, which have been getting steadily worse. The vet has been seeing the change in him, and presented us with a realistic but very grim picture. Essentially, all of the options of what could be causing his problems are non-curable or the treatments would be very difficult for a dog his age to survive (such as surgery). Further, his quality of life has drastically decreased over the spring, and it is extremely unlikely that it will go back to an even keel, let alone improve. In a very emotional discussion, we decided that the best course was to euthanize him so that he doesn’t have to live in more pain and mental confusion.

Vincent hasn’t been in our lives long: we adopted him a year and a half ago and knew he had medical problems. We gave him a year and a half of love and health that he probably wouldn’t have had if he hadn’t been found wandering the streets by SEPRA. Michelle wasn’t sure he was the right guy for us, but David and I thought he needed to be a part of our family, and she quickly grew to see the love and character buried in this street tough. He got healthier and began to bark and run and play again under our care. He’s a fighter, our little tough guy, and he went through a lot of personal battles (including fighting a few demons in his sleep). But as much as we love him, at some point he had to lose the war.

I’m going to miss him so much. I’m going to miss how he always checked to make sure I was in my chair. I’m going to miss how the cat would hit him and he’d no-sell the attack. I’m going to miss how much he made us laugh.

Requiescat in pace, Vincent. Keep biting the hell out of demons wherever you end up, little buddy.

Review of “The House of Silk”
Me (Manga)

Originally published at Eddy Webb. You can comment here or there.

Being the Sherlock Holmes fan that I am, I wasn’t surprised when many people pointed me to the highly-publicized and officially-authorized pastiche The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz. Since I have a two hours of commuting every day to and from work, I’ve been listening to a lot of audiobooks recently. I’m in the middle of rereading and finishing the Song of Ice and Fire series, so I knew I wasn’t going to get to read this book anytime soon, but when I saw that Derek Jacobi did the audiobook version, I quickly snatched it up and put it into my listening queue.

Like with any Holmes pastiche, there’s a few different ways you can break it down: as a novel on its own, as a Sherlock Holmes novel in general, and as a purist.

As a novel: It’s really everything you would expect from an adventure/mystery novel — it’s entertaining, the mystery is engaging, the cast of characters are compelling, and it’s a fun read. The author seemed to play fair with the reader, 1 as much as any Sherlock Holmes story does (which means he does pull clues from thin air from time to time). There are a couple of unlikely coincidences, and it’s a bit slow-paced from some modern thrillers, but given the subject matter, I don’t consider either to be a bad thing.

As a Sherlock Holmes story: Horowitz takes great pains to sound authentic, and to my mind it comes through. Granted, it may have been Jacobi’s performance, but I really felt this was a Watsonian narrative, complete with his digressions, amazement at Holmes’ abilities, and personal interludes about his life, as well as that of his best friend. Doyle’s style was always surprisingly modern (from Victorian standards), and Horowitz takes full advantage of it. This book genuinely feels like a Holmes story from beginning to end — the last pastiche that felt this accurate to me was The Italian Secretary by Caleb Carr.

As a purist: That isn’t to say it’s a perfect pastiche, however. A couple of scenes are nearly note-for-note translations of canonical ones — most notably the scene where Holmes deduces Watson’s thoughts (The Cardboard Box) and when they meet the Baker Street Irregulars (A Study in Scarlet). They aren’t bad, and they certainly showcase the canon, but those specific examples always felt like unique moments in the canon, rather than commonplace situations, and since they both came at the start, I was concerned that the novel would just be a rehash of canonical elements.

The novel comes into its own in later chapters, but new problems arise. Horowitz (likely at the request of the Arthur Conan Doyle estate) works very hard to try and integrate the story into the canon. He chooses 1890, right before the Great Hiatus. However, as I’m pointed out in my “Tour de Holmes” essays, this is a notoriously fickle canon, and Horowitz defaults to some pretty unlikely circumstances to be accommodating. One example is below (spoilers!), but the short version is that it does have some details that will grate on the purist’s nerves.


Specifically, the introduction of Moriarty. The character gets Holmes out of jail through Dr. Watson, but then tells Watson he must act like he’s never heard of Moriarty before if he comes up (a reference to “The Valley of Fear”). Yet, earlier in the novel, we saw that Holmes knows Watson well enough that he can fucking read his thoughts. I expect that a novel such as this simply had to have Moriarty in it somewhere, but this was a bad way to go about it.


Conclusion: At the end of the day, I don’t consider myself an adamant purist. A few minor quibbles that don’t line up with an explicitly difficult canon weren’t enough to ruin my enjoyment of the book. Right now I’d consider it one of my top five pastiches.

  1. For those not familiar with mystery novel lingo, “playing fair” means that the writer presents the clues to the reader, who could theoretically have figured it out on her own.

What I Learned From Shooting Guns
Me (Manga)

Originally published at Eddy Webb. You can comment here or there.

Today I took advantage of the fact that I live in the southern United States and went to a firing range. It’s the first time in my life that I’ve ever fired a gun, and it was a pretty different experience than what I knew from movies and novels. I figured since there are probably other writers and designers and RPG fans who have also never fired a gun, I would share a few things I learned that are different from what you might expect.

(For reference, I shot two guns: a .22 caliber Luger and a 9mm Glock. I don’t remember the exact model numbers, however.)

They’re a little heavier than expected. The guns themselves are about what I expected, but putting the ammo into the clip magazine1 added a bit of heft that was noticeable, even in these smaller guns, and I’m told it’s more noticeable for bigger guns. It’s not like carrying a bowling ball or anything, but it’s distinct.

The springs in magazines are really firm. Loading bullets into a magazine isn’t as simple as thumbing them in like candy into a Pez dispenser. There’s a spring in it that’s very firm, and it requires some pushing to get each bullet in. For the Glock you had the added difficulty of trying to push down on a round bullet with another round bullet to get it into the magazine, which resulted in the top bullet always sliding to the left or right before I could get it in. The Luger had a slide on the left side, but it was still hard to hold the slide down with your left thumb and chamber the round (I’m right-handed, and the other option was to try to load the bullets in with them pointing at my chest, which I’m sure qualifies as a Bad Idea.) It took me several minutes to fully load a magazine, but I expect even an experienced person would still have to take a few moments to fill one up.

Guns are much louder than expected. I have partial hearing loss. I was wearing those noise-cancelling headsets you see on every American cop show ever. They effectively made me deaf, to where I was taking instruction with sign language and visual cues, because I couldn’t hear anything. And the 9mm shots in the lane next to me still were loud enough to make me jump the first time. Really, it sounds like just what it is: an explosion.

Recoil is a real thing. The Luger had very little recoil — I barely felt it move when I fired. “Barely felt,” however, is not “did not feel.” The Glock was more noticeable — my first shot caused my hands to move up in the air a few inches. Holding the gun steady for successive shots took a moment to get used to, and it did make my right arm ache a little once we were done. And to note, while I am certainly not a muscular guy, I do weight training a couple times a week, so it’s noteworthy.

Also, people who shoot 9mm guns sideways are fucking idiots. The recoil would at best pull your gun way off with each shot, and probably slam into your opposite shoulder.

Shells go fucking everywhere. When we put on our eye protection, I really thought “Oh, this is in case something crazy happens — it’s just a liability thing.” Then I fired the Glock, and the first shot caused a shell to bounce off my safety glasses. After that, I’d say one in four or five flew near my face, and one hot shell landed on my arm. I’m told that it varies by gun, but certainly the Glock left shells just all over the place, and I certainly had to keep an eye out for them during my session.

Six yards is about right for reasonable accuracy for untrained people. I started out at ten yards, and was kind of all over the place. David suggested I try six, and I had better results. Twenty yards is just ridiculous: for an untrained person like me, I might as well just throw the bullets at the target.

That being said, training does matter: David has had some training, and at ten yards his first 9mm shot was right in the middle of the target’s head. I know who I want with me when the zombie apocalypse hits.

Dropping a gun doesn’t cause it to suddenly go off. I admit I didn’t actually try this, but when reading up on the safety guidelines, it turns out that most modern guns have a triple redundancy system of safeties, only one of which is the little safety switch on the side. The safety engages when the trigger isn’t depressed, and immediately after the firing pin strikes, so it’s very difficult to drop a gun and have it go off accidentally.

Guns do have a smell after you fire them, but it isn’t fucking cordite. When you fire a gun, there is a smell in the air. It isn’t unpleasant – it smells a bit like a campfire, actually. However, despite what some crime novels and TV shows keep insisting, that smell isn’t cordite. Cordite hasn’t been used since World War II. Most modern ammunition uses nitroglycerin (or so the Internet tells me). Further, it doesn’t linger in the air very long at all — with six people firing pretty regularly in a heavily sealed concrete room for half an hour, there was only a very minor smell which I certainly wouldn’t describe as “pungent.”


Anyone else with more experience with firearms have any other gun myths they can dispel?

  1. I have been told that the correct word is “magazine,” not “clip.” The rest of the entry has been edited to reflect this. Like I said — first time with this stuff.

Befriend Your Peers, But Don’t Hire Your Friends
Me (Manga)

Originally published at Eddy Webb. You can comment here or there.

Friends forever!

A while ago, I read an interesting blog post by Monica Valentinelli. It was primarily interesting because it’s something I’ve known instinctually for a while, but I never actually thought about it in specific terms.

In case you’re like-adverse, the basic gist of her post is that Matt Forbeck told her the best way to “build a network” in this industry (or, really, any industry) isn’t to think of it as a business network at all, but a collection of friends. And I think that’s really true. While I certainly have a large number of acquaintances and people that I could theoretically pick out of a lineup as part of my social network, the people that I tend to think of when I do business are those that I could probably sit down with and not talk about business at all. I have been blessed to make a number of friends in the fields of fiction, video game development, and RPG design (and there’s a lot of overlap between the three of them).

However, this isn’t quite the same thing as “hire your friends.” Without going into details for a variety of professional and personal reasons, I have had distinctly mixed success with hiring people who were my friends before they were professional peers. It can be hard to keep a professional distance from your friends, especially when deadlines are tight and your friend is feeling the stress. Most of the time, either the friendship or the professional relationship gives way, and in particularly bad situations, it can be both. That being said, it can be done, as my work with such talented friends as Ric Connelly (on Wolfsheim) and Genevieve Podleski (on approximately one trillion projects) has shown.

Becoming friends with other professionals in your industry is different. They’ve been there, and they know what’s expected. You can explain your frustrations and anxieties, and they understand that it’s all under “personal NDA.”1 Usually they find it easier to switch between the “friend” hat or the “professional” hat. I have certainly had frustrating business relationships with friends without changing my personal opinions of them.2

Back to Matt and Monica’s original point, though, there’s a certain “stickiness” to having a friend as a professional contact that no amount of hits on LinkedIn or Facebook can really replicate. Even if it’s someone you share a beer with every year at a con or trade the occasional email with, getting to know the person is the best business investment you can make. And it’s not something you can fake, either — geeks (even professional ones) can sense a faker a mile away. The frustrating part, I suppose, is that there isn’t an easy soundbite or tip to pull from this. It’s not as simple as “make friends with important people.” A lot of it just happens. But certainly things like being a genuine and nice person and thinking about people instead of business opportunities help.

What’s the best way to work with a friend who is also a professional? I’ve found that, like all human relationships, communication is key. If it’s not clear, spell it out. “Speaking as a friend” or “Let me put my business hat on” can save a lot of confusion and frustration later. Little bits like having two email addresses and specifically using one for business and one for personal work (and communicating that to people) can also help. Most of all, though, understand that people can’t 100% separate the two, and that all of the work of keeping each identity distinct is to help people understand how to slant their perceptions, but it doesn’t work in isolation. If my friend, say, takes some redlines badly and gets snarky, I’m going to be mad. I might have to walk away for a few hours and cool off, and trying to be my friend isn’t going to help. But knowing up front that you’re upset professionally and not personally helps me to cool down.

It’s not an exact science. Nothing involving people is. But I do think that being a good person can make you a better professional, and in time your peers might be some of the best friends you’ll ever have.

  1. Or, as Joseph Carriker calls it, “FriendDA.”
  2. Theoretically the reverse is true, but I find the stress of trying to stay professional with someone whose friendship has soured can make even an easy-going project a chore.

RPGs: The Anthology Session
Me (Manga)

Originally published at Eddy Webb. You can comment here or there.

Original Photo by Laura Desnoit

A couple of weeks ago, I ran a different kind of RPG session, something I called an “anthology” session. Since some people online were asking me how it went, and because I believe Gamemastering is best viewed as a shared education, I finally got some time to sit down and write up the experience.

Like most of the experiments I do at the table, this came from necessity. In this case, I had been running a series of The Dresden Files, and I was left with a few extraneous scenes that didn’t really warrant a full session. I debated doing them in downtime between sessions, but part of the Dresden Files mechanics is a bit where other players can jump in by spending a Fate Point. In fact, much of the design of the system involves the players as audience as well as participants, and running sessions without that audience cheapens that (have I mentioned that the FATE system is very, very clever?) I started thinking about the metaphor of the game as a series of connected novels (in this case, I’m shooting for a rough “trilogy” of novels), and I wondered if the metaphor would extend. What if I did the scenes as a collection of “short stories”?

I decided that if I was going to do this, each person should be the star of their own scene. This gave me a chance to dig into each character’s backstory (via Aspects and the various brainstormed materials from the City Creation session) and pull out one scene that made sense for each. I then realized that there was a bit of a progression between each scene, as there were connections and references to a particular plot thread — the introduction of a new drug — over and over. I tweaked a couple of things in my notes to take advantage of that.

Then it was just a matter of setting the stage. I gratefully stole an idea from Matt McFarland of having the characters meeting in a bar and trading stories of what happened to them over the course of the previous few weeks. I gave each player a notecard with a number on the back for the order of the stories, and the rough first sentence of their story. The first sentences were designed to get the interest of the characters (and the player holding it), so it was things like “Well, I almost died a few weeks back” or “That reminds me of the time I had to meet the dragon. Alone.” I explained this all to the players, set the scene, and let them go. When they worked the story opening in, I started the short story.

Things That Went Well

Showcasing characters: The session went really well for making sure each character got their moment to shine. Only one character didn’t really have a whole lot of character development, and he and I agreed that we needed to sit down and dig into his background a bit more.

The notecards: Handing out the notecards ahead of time was a good idea. It helped me to keep things moving, and the players seemed interested in finding ways to inject the snippets of information into the roleplay.

Teaching the system: I somewhat intentionally structured each scene to have a key conflict. Partially this was because of my years working on the Storytelling Adventure System and identifying the key mechanical conflict in each scene, and partially because I felt the group (myself included) still didn’t quite “get” the game mechanics, and it was a good way to push that issue. In that respect, it worked great, and I think we all understand how the game works a lot better.

Things That Could Have Gone Better

The notecards: At one point, I had to change the order of the scenes, which meant I had to put the current story on pause and start a new one. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have pre-determined the order of the scenes and went with something more organic. I don’t have an idea what that would be, though.

Forwards and backwards in time: Which led to another problem — the constantly time-shuffling led to some confusion. The previous example had three different timeframes happening at once, and a couple of times players were afraid to take actions lest it cause the scene in the bar where they were trading stories to be invalidated. I think next time I’ll use a different frame that doesn’t require any predetermined continuity.

All in all, it was a really good experience, and a couple of the players want to try it again at some point (probably between the second and third “novels” in the series).

“By No Means Vulgar” Now Available!
Me (Manga)

Originally published at Eddy Webb. You can comment here or there.

Just a quick note to let folks know that the anthology for The Play’s the Thing which I contributed to is now live. It’s called By No Means Vulgar, and it features stories from Greg Stolze, Filamena Young, Jess Hartley, Will Hindmarch, J.R. Blackwell, Crysa Leflar, and Jason Corley. I contributed a short story telling Hamlet as a hard-boiled noir story. It’s only $2.99, so go check it out!

What I Learned from “Chrono Trigger”
Me (Manga)

Originally published at Eddy Webb: Writer. Gamer. Usually Not Dead. You can comment here or there.

Chrono TriggerI have a confession: I never played Chrono Trigger back when it was released. In fact, I missed out on all of the RPGs released on the Super Nintendo, due to not having a Super Nintendo.1 Over the years, I have heard a steady stream of “Oh my god YOU HAVE TO PLAY CHRONO TRIGGER” in my life. A few months back I bought a copy and played it.

And, naturally, I learned a lot.

Tutorials Don’t Have To Be Blunt: For a while, I didn’t understand the whole point of the Millennium Fair bit at the start. In fact, the first hour or so of gameplay isn’t like a lot of the rest of the game on the surface, and felt a little weird. Once I got a few hours in, though, it all clicked into place: the entire Millennium Fair is the tutorial.

I didn’t realize it, though, because it didn’t feel like a tutorial.2 But everything you need in the game is there — talking to NPCs, making decisions, purchasing and upgrading equipment, the occasional mini-game, picking up a new party member, and combat. But there isn’t any part of the game telling you to go over here and click on this thing — it just starts with a few NPCs saying “Weren’t you excited about going to the fair?” and letting natural player curiosity take over.

Come Back Later And Try Again: After a certain point, the game opens up, and you’re likely to run into stuff that’s way above your level. Normally, this drives me crazy in games, but for this it felt fine, because by that point I could go to another time period or switch party members and do something else. Or, if I was really clever, I might just get past it. Unlike, say, Castlevania, I wasn’t hard gated from anything, but rather I was just politely beaten into the ground.

The Fiction Should Determine The Design: Granted, this is something a coworker of mine (who has worked on a bazillion MMOs) has also been beating into my head, so it was on my mind when I played, but I think it shows here. Some games use time travel just as a way to showcase different levels — it’s just set dressing rather than a meaningful mechanic.3 But in this game, time travel becomes part of the design. There are a number of puzzles that require you to do something in one time to change something in a later time period. It’s a clever way to present new areas of the “game world” without invalidating the exploration the player did previously. And the writing of the time travel actually reminds me of Moffet-era Doctor Who, which is a good thing. But the design of the game clearly came from this time travel story idea, and it’s clear that it benefits from that.

Grinding Doesn’t Have To Suck: It’s a JRPG. There’s going to be some grinding. And yet, the pacing of the grind in this game seemed about right. Right around the time I got sick of a particular stage, it was over (or, in one case, I just left and came back later). I’m still noodling around the place of grinding in modern game design, but certainly this game showed me that shitty grinding sucks not necessarily because it’s grinding.

Recommendation: This has often been called the best RPG ever. I won’t speak to that, but it certainly has a lot to offer. You can still get it these days (I was able to buy it on my iPhone), so I think people who like these kinds of games or who are building an RPG-style video game should play it if they are one of the four people left on the planet who hasn’t.

  1. Or a Sega Genesis, for that matter, although I did get a chance to play that some in my youth.
  2. Also, while I might have missed the SNES era of JPRGs, I HAVE played a lot of JRPGs, so this stuff is in my gamer DNA.
  3. I’m looking at you, Turtles In Time.

Healers Must Heal
Me (Manga)

Originally published at Eddy Webb: Writer. Gamer. Usually Not Dead. You can comment here or there.

World of WarcraftOn the heels of my discussion of implicit rules, I finally got around to reading “Outside oneself in World of Warcraft: Gamers’ perception of the racial self-other”, which was co-written by my dear friend Amanda Barton McBrian. It’s written in academic-ese, but it’s a fascinating read, especially in light of “What I Learned from OWbN Girls.” But this part of the paper tied into my last post in a very interesting way (it’s in paragraph 3.11):

Another respondent indicated “I don’t Role Play in games, so generally what my character is like is dictated by the class and my personality” (emphasis added). Since the game’s programming rarely attributes a certain set of behaviors to the avatars directly, based on initial creation, the implication of this respondent is that gamers also project certain behavioral obligations to certain classes: healers must heal, and thus must produce an empathetic personality. However, behaviors produced by any given class will itself vary from player to player, thus indicating that while the player perceives a certain behavior-per-class expectation, no such standard exists objectively.

That right there is a perfect example of what I called unexpected confinement. More specifically, even people who don’t consider themselves “roleplayers” will confine their activities based on their perceptions of their avatar. Further, “no … standard exists objectively” to predict what kinds of behaviors players will project onto their avatar. Sure, you can make informed assumptions — healers must heal, after all — but you cannot accurately predict how players will confine their play based on their avatar.

So how do you find out how real players will react to your design? Playtesting, playtesting, playtesting. Get real players in front of your game, shut the hell up, and watch them play it. Take notes. Don’t correct them or tell them how to play, but watch how they are playing. Playtesting in the design phase (or “internal playtesting”) is valuable, but playtesting with people outside of the design team (or “external playtesting”) is just as important for a new design.

Sadly, the timetables to get a game to market often allow for enough of the former, but not always enough of the latter (aside from fixes like bugs and rules corrections). In most cases, what happens is that designers learn from feedback from the past design to inform the next one.

If you have the time, I do suggest reading the paper. It has a number of fascinating little insights, and the team is very open about some of the conflicts and problems they had during the study, allowing you to put the data into the proper context. (Sadly, a lot of game design “science” doesn’t actually apply scientific rigor, so it’s refreshing to find a study that does.)

Implicit Rules and the “Air Bud” Defense
Me (Manga)

Originally published at Eddy Webb: Writer. Gamer. Usually Not Dead. You can comment here or there.

A Dog Cannot Play Basketball

A Dog Cannot Play Basketball

I have no idea if this scene actually exists in the movie Air Bud, but some version of it probably does.

Scene: A basketball court. A dog shows up, dressed to play.

Referee: Hey, get that dog out of here! Players only on the court!

Manager: That dog is a player!

Referee: That’s crazy! Dogs can’t play basketball.

Manager: (handing Referee a copy of the rulebook) Tell me where it says that only humans can play basketball!

Referee: (flipping through book) I’ll be darned. There’s no rule against it. The dog can play!

It’s ludicrous. It’s funny. And it neatly spells out a common conflict in game rules, especially games where the rules are constantly interpreted by people.

Most of what we commonly think of as “rules” are actually only a subsection of the rules being used. Rules that are spelled out are called explicit rules. But there are all sorts of rules that aren’t written out — gentlemen’s rules, social assumptions, and so-called “unwritten rules.” These undocumented but no less real collection of rules are called implicit rules.

The best way to showcase implicit rules in action is to use an example — preferably one a little more down-to-earth than golden retrievers playing basketball. Poker is big these days, so let’s use that. The rules for, say, Texas Hold ‘Em are well-documented. But let’s use another fictional movie scene to illustrate a point.1

Scene: A saloon table in the Wild West. The protagonist is in the middle of a long game with a number of desperate banditos. The protagonist stares as his cards, worried about how good his hand is.

Bandito #1: (staring at Protagonist) Well? Are you going to bet, or do we shoot you full of holes?

This is an implicit rule in play: “The player will make his bet in a reasonable amount of time.” It’s not a rule that’s written down, but it’s an implied rule of just about any game — you can’t just walk away from a game of Monopoly or Tic-Tac-Toe. Instead, players will either require you to return and actually make a turn, the game will go on without you, or some sort of victory will be conferred to the remaining player.

As a designer, some of these implicit rules you can anticipate, like “players should not cheat.” But a number you can’t, and sometimes these implicit rules change the experience of the whole game for the players. This can work a couple of different ways:

  • Unexpected confinement: I notice that this happens a lot to people who have played different versions of a particular game — the way it used to be done gets stuck in the heads of the players, and they confine their options in ways the current rules don’t intend. In some video games (particularly RPGs), I find that I sometimes follow the fictional logic of the world instead of “game logic,” and I end up missing parts of the game that the designers intended me to explore.
  • Exploits: On the other side, an implicit rule might blind the designer to a particular strategy that ends up providing an unfair advantage. Players find that putting rules together in a particular illogical but legal way provides a disproportionate value.

An interesting side point is that implicit rules may become explicit in certain environments. Most of the online poker games I’ve seen make the implicit rule of “bet in a reasonably amount of time” explicit by giving players a timer. Professionally competitive versions of games often incorporate a timer as well.

No matter how you look at it, though, there are always more rules to a game than the ones spelled out. As the rules gets more complex and have a larger legacy of previous games, that body of implicit rules gets larger as well, and has a greater potential to be out-of-sync between designer and player, or between players. But those rules are no less valid, even if they are harder to articulate.

So, no. Dogs cannot, in fact, play basketball.

  1. Yes, I know Texas Hold ‘Em rules weren’t around in the 19th century. I also know that no one in Hollywood actually cares about that fact. Just roll with it.

Meaningful Content, Coming Soon
Me (Manga)

Originally published at Eddy Webb: Writer. Gamer. Usually Not Dead. You can comment here or there.

Have Blaster, Will Travel

Have Blaster, Will Travel

I know that for the past several weeks my blog’s been a bit devoid of content, aside from mentioning the slew of interesting things I’ve been involved in. Most of that has been due to working on the two anthologies that hit my desk, as well as a number of podcast interviews. Further, I wrapped up one tabletop game I was running (or at least, the first season of it) and started a second. I’ve also been increasing my time at the gym, as I’ll be working with a personal trainer two to three times a week in addition to my usual cardio. There’s other personal stuff in there as well, but the practical upshot of all of it is that whenever lots of things are changing in my life, the blog is always the first thing to go.

I always intended this space to be irregularly updated as I had time, but after working on Tour de Holmes, I got used to posting at least weekly, and I feel like I’ve fallen off of that wagon. Anyhow, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get back to more regular updates of actual content here soon. I’ve got another “What I Learned” in the back of my head, as well as another game design thought (this time about implicit rules). I also have a couple of topic requests from last year that I can get to. Finally, I’ve been kicking around an idea for a project with Meredith Gerber, but I don’t have any details to share yet.

In the meantime, one of the previously mentioned anthologies is getting a Kickstarter. This is the one for Bulldogs! called Have Blaster, Will Travel, which features some great writers like Greg Stolze, Gareth Skarka, Jared Axelrod, Christiana Ellis, and Mur Lafferty. The Kickstarter is to help fund the print run of the anthology. There’s all sorts of cool stretch goals, including hiring new writers, getting new artwork, and even (my personal favorite) getting me paid $100 more for my work! So, this is a really great way to support my work, as well as helping out Galileo Games, which is turning out to be a really smart company that puts out quality work.


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