19 June, 2010

Blogs

Thanks for the comments regarding my last post about Forums. I'd like to think that the responses back up my belief that it's good to have different forums catering to different types of designers...in much the same way that we now see a wide variety of games catering to very specific and different play styles. I didn't mention 1km1kt or RPGLaboratory, it wasn't a deliberate omission and I'm interested in some of the stuff happening over there...but like the posts from Forge newbies, a lot of what I see coming from that part of the independent games community seems to be recycled or thinly veiled copies of existing stuff. I haven't mentioned Old-school Renaissance forums (I'm pretty sure there are a few of them around), because that style of play may be valid and may have its fanatics, but it just doesn't interest me as much as pushing in new directions.

...but what about the numerous blogs I mentioned in passing as a final comment.

At the time of writing this post, my Blogroll doesn't have a whole lot of entries.

Who do I follow, and why? (In no particular order)

Tabletop Manifesto (Andrew Smith)
One of the driving forces in independent roleplaying in Australia, despite not having a fully realised game of his own (that I'm aware of). He's helped build the indie Games on Demand at Gencon Oz, the Stockade (an Aussie design collective) and Go Play Brisbane. The Blog may not be that prolific, but it's good to keep in contact with locals who are generally operating on the same wavelength.

Abby's Place (Zac D)
Again, not one of the most prolific blogs, but Zac seems to be struggling with getting together a good finalised game, in much the same way that I have been over the last couple of years. It's fun to watch an excited designer post his observations about the new games he encounters, such as the positive responses to Polaris and the negative responses to FreeMarket. It's always enlightening to get someone else's perspective.

The FreeRPG Blog (Rob Lang/1km1kt)
I'm pretty sure this is included in the 1km1kt family of websites. This blog seems to go through bursts of activity, with some great detailed posts about some awesome free games. Despite not having a huge number of posts, I like to have a look through the archives of this blog to find a free idea from the past, or link across to a random download to get my creative juices flowing again.

The Stockade (Andrew Smith and Nathan Russell)
Being the "Official" Blog for the Stockade, I naturally have a look at this whenever something new comes up. There are plenty of references to other blog articles on useful topics such as publishing, design ideas, or convention opportunities for local designers. I don;t look at the Stockade Blog as much as I probably should, because I see the hive of Stockade activity being the associated Google Group.

Fifth World Design Diary (Jason Godesky)
I love the concept that Jason is working on, and I've pointed this out to him. But I'm not sure where it's heading or whether it's stuck in a development hell like a lot of my own projects. It could almost be described as post apocalyptic "shaman-punk" (no, not really...but that was the first phrase that came to mind). Jason wants to play with the way games are used as storytelling mediums, following some very different paths to those that have been trodden before. It's a tough walk, but I hope he'll lead us to some new and fertile ground.

Blessing of the Dice Gods (Jeff Russell)
I look over there, he looks over here. Jeff's blog only started this year but he seems to be going pretty strong; with a diversity of topics within the gaming field, from miniatures to story-game hacks, to the development of his own system. I've checked here a few times, ad I probably should put a few more comments on his entries to show where I'd be interested in taking some of his ideas.

20 Sided Woman Project (Unknown)
I don't know who writes this, and it's been a while since there were regular updates. But it's interesting to get the perspective of a female surrounded by a hobby filled with males. It's mostly odd because at least half of the gamers I've regularly played with in the past have been female (especially in LARP circles), but the stereotypes are still present in the hobby. I'll have a look here whenever some new comes up, which isn't that often at the moment.

The Mighty Atom (John Harper)
I don't look over here all that often, John is one of those "influential" types on Story Games, so if you want to hear people harp on about his games (no pun intended) just flick through the first couple of threads of SG and you'll find someone saying something nice about his wares. Despite this negative sounding comment, he produces some great stuff and I'll admit that a lot of his stuff has been influential on some of my own designs. Since I hear enough about what John's doing through SG, I only check out his blog every month or two to see what I might have missed.

Fair Play (Jason Morningstar)
Another of those blogs I don't check too often, probably because I'm familiar with some of Jason's games and while I find them intriguing I've never found a group willing to play one of them. I sat on a design panel at Gencon Oz 08, with Robin Laws; and Robin indicated how good he thought Grey Ranks was as a game and a concept. Between this, Shab-Al-Hiri and his other works, Jason has some great ideas, and stuff we could all learn from.

The Alexandrian (Justin Alexander)
I was referred to this blog due to it's development of a roleplaying theory that looks superficially similar to Vector Theory, it even uses the term nodes to define decision points in the narrative. A lot of the posts aren't gaming related, so the blog isn't as focused as most people would like, but since being told about it, I've checked through its archives out a couple of times to see if there are any potential gems lurking under the rubble.

Stories you Play (Matt Snyder)
Another one I've looked at a couple of times. I'm particularly reading through a few posts about marketing and the recently started open game design project. They may not be important for everyone interested in game design, but as someone who is serious about getting his products known, I've really started to take an interest in this sort of stuff.

Dirty Princesses (David Pidgeon)
Another of those projects that I got excited about when I first heard the concepts involved...like a lot of the projects I've been watching, it seems to go through various incarnations and spurts of development before sinking into the quicksand of creative blocks. Hopefully we'll hear some more good stuff out of this project once David has been to Go Play Brisbane.

Livejournal of Robin D. Laws (Robin D. Laws)
I've been a huge fan of Robin's work since Feng Shui, I'm annoyed that I didn't exploit the opportunity to chat to him more at Gencon Oz 08. As someone who is producing dynamic and interesting gaming materials for some of the larger companies, it's interesting to see his perspective on the hobby. He's basically in the kind of position I'd like to work my way up to, freelancing for various companies on a "regular" basis, while producing a variety of additional materials on the side.

That's 13 Blogs. I know that there are a huge number of other blogs out there that I haven't mentioned, such as Raven Daegmorgan's "Autumn Wind" (which I look through occasionally, but since more of the posts seem to be non-gaming related, I felt it didn't really belong on this list), Nathan Russell's "Here Be Gamer's" Podcast, and blogs I've probably looked at once or twice but haven't felt an overwhelming desire to search through their archives.

I probably take a quick glance at what's happening in these blogs once a week (in total), and have a quick check through a variety of blog archives once every month or two to see if I can find a solution to a design problem I've been having...then there are the spontaneous mouse-clicks when a specific thread title catches my attention. So it's not a huge chunk out of my weekly schedule.

If anyone out there has some interesting game design blogs that they think I might be interested in, please comment. I'm always open to new ideas from new people.
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