Game Designer Workshop Episode 7: Multitasking Mayhem

Heavy-Lifter-and-SwarmIt’s been a while since we’ve done an episode of Game Designer’s Workshop, but Caleb and I got together to update you all on our progress and talk about one of the major aspects of being a writer: dealing with multiple projects at once. Multitasking is a hard skill to learn, but once you master it, it pays off! We talk about keeping our noses to the grindstone, the benefits of doing multiple projects at once, and other topics. We also talk about Red Markets and Ruin.

Music: Natural State of Mind by Admiral of the Red

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  1. I felt awkward about offering to hook Caleb up with a jobber in his industry. after this episode. I feel awkward no longer. clearly monies are the only thing.

    been thinking about it and I’ve kicked $110 into both of the Onyx Path Mage and Wraith kickstarter nostalgia trips to get a hardcover book I don’t really approve of/actively consider immoral (hisss PDFs aren’t even the future they’re the present). I’m not sure if that means that I owe Caleb’s next Kickstarter $220 or if maybe it means I owe it more. we’ll see how flush I’m feeling at the time. but for market signal reasons, $110 will be my absolute minimum, promise. if Kickstarter’s the truest democratization of best principles of the free market, my wallet hasn’t ever wanted to vote for something so hard.

  2. I really need an irrelevant reward for “Pitch your Base Raiders material to Ross”. Anybody got a copy of Synnibar I can borrow?

    I can’t wait for the GDW Gen Con press conference. Here’s my guesses for the Caleb Projects Pool

    1. Red Markets- Playtesting 2015, Kickstarting Spring 201(6?)
    2. Eclipse Phase- Freelance contributions to Firewall (please be “Opsec and the art of covering your ass”).
    3. Better Angels- No Soul Left Behind. My playtest group made a $100 pledge to get a pc included in the art.
    4. Base Raiders- Deathtraps Supplement

    Suspected (In order of Appeal to Caleb)
    1. Unknown Armies 2015- Freelance contributions
    2. Eclipse Phase- Additional adventures; sequel to The Devotees; Know Evil campaign.
    3. Night’s Black Agents- Batfist Supplement.
    4.Delta Green Standalone- Freelance monster and existential dread design.
    5. Dungeon World- The Colossus archipelago (Gm rule: never stop drinking).
    6. No Security 2: This time it’s unknowable.

    Anything I missed? We all know he’s working on a werewolf paraplegic campaign for Onyx Path called “the fun factory”, so it is not worth putting in the pool.

  3. I forgot the Red Markets novella. There’s always something you miss.

  4. I’ve gone on record as saying that my world would end in ecstatic lights if we had Caleb running or Cruel Ones save us writing for Unknown Armies but it’s one of those things I’ll repeat in writing every time I’m reminded it’s a thing he’s said he’d like to do

  5. Good episode, on what I find the hardest part of long-term projects in general, especially writing. And seriously, I think Red Markets is gonna be a great game.

    Same for Ruin; I especially think there’s a great deal of horror material in having the players’ characters change involuntarily as the game progresses. As long as you have enough player buy-in to prevent frustration. Ross, finish it so that I can pitch you a Thomas Ligotti-inspired scenario about a remote town run by an elusive town manager…

  6. I have had the hugest problems writing my thesis, so much so that I got an extension, and now my deadline is coming up for that. I honestly don’t know if I’m lazy or something else is holding me back in terms of writing. Anyways I was happy to hear that writing is in fact this horrible lonely existence

    TL,DR: Guy complains about writing, is most likely lazy.

  7. Yup. I’m almost 3k words into “Project Space Crime” which is a place holder because for the life of me can I come up with a decent title. Have been delayed (read stalled out) by the fact that I’ve spent the better part of two month ill, hopefully I’ll be fully recovered because it’s a real struggle to get back into it again.

  8. I always really enjoy these. While I (of course) like listening to Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff, they are two professionals at the top of their game. You guys talking frankly about your approaches and things you wish you’d done differently makes game design and writing seem a bit more accessible from the outside.

    @Wyrdling, I found Caleb’s quote (from the last GDW) about looking for the next handhold, not the summit to be really good advice for grad school, but I haven’t finished my thesis either. Needless to say I will be taking advantage of these tips for that.

    Also, like a lot of the APs, hearing about Libertarian Paradise and the zombie fighting Fraggles reminds me of how silly my groups can be, even in supposedly serious conditions.

    @Ross, will Ruin support campaign play? I was trying to picture how it would work – it seems like in a lot of architectural horror, it’s really the story of one group of people (or even individual) and their response to a doomed place. Do you plan to make Ruin targeted at one-shots or do you have ideas for that? (I’m tempted to call it the Bioshock 2 problem, but it really applies to most horror sequels.)

    I’m also really interested in seeing how the player characters changing in response to their environment shakes out in play.

  9. Author

    Ruin will support campaign play – The Night Clerk setting I am working on will take multiple sessions to complete.

  10. Working on multiple projects at once is essential advice, not just for writing/designing but for any occupation.

  11. Ruin with Night clerk setting you say? You had my curiousity, but now you have my attention!

    More seriously I was always going to get ruin, but a night clerk setting means I am even more interested.

  12. Having heard Ross description for Ruin I cant help but recommend a game called Vagrant Story, the game takes place in a dead magical city that drastically changes all the people who enter into it in a way that I don’t want to spoil.

    For a tidbit hint it would be like if a set of cultists infiltrated the city planning board and constructed the road layout to resemble the invocation to yog’shagoth.

  13. (Graphic Designer/Font Snob/List Maker)

    I find that crunching my way through the actual meat of a design, once the honeymoon phase of initial idea brain storming and research are over, tends to eat away at me through a combination of fatigue and the terrible fear that the whole thing is a fundamentally ‘bad’ idea. As a result I withhold basic rights from myself which I find motivates me more since I’m experiencing the negative results of not achieving my goal the whole time. I suppose you might call this the ‘hobo phase’.

    -No food until I finish ‘this round of concepts’
    -No shower until you god damned finish the whole task you animal.

    I also find working on the one project to be maddening at times, at some point my brain can’t bear to look at a design for one more minute and so it will really sneakily start looking at other side projects. Next thing you know I’m rationalising revisiting Caleb’s Bryson Spring document layout and design because obviously this is a good use of my time and god damn it it’s not the same effing brand identity I’ve been looking at for the last thirteen hours!

    *defenestrates monitor*

    I might be writing this post work session… >_>

    Interesting podcast though, time management and optimising my process are things I’m always trying to look at from the outside to really get a sense for what my habit currently is and then how I might want it to be. This was helpful.

    Thank you! 🙂

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