Praise for Fate Core and Modernity Character Creation

Last weekend, I spun up another playtest group for Modernity (the paper-and-pencil edition). Meetup.com has been a great resource for finding willing and able playtest groups.

A group of folks who regularly play together in Auburn offered to loan me their regular game time in order to introduce them to character creation and one of the introductory scenarios to be included in the Modernity core book, Into the Wolves’ Den.

Having four different groups of playtesters has taught me a LOT about how differently groups can play the same scenario. In addition to being highly entertaining, it has definitely helped to round out the scenarios based on the wacky hijinks that Red Team, Blue Team, Gold Team, and Green Team have gotten up to.

Gold Team agreed to let me record their sessions. Here is the audio from the first session (character creation); the mp3 audio is compressed at 65Kpbs and 96.5MB for about three and a half hours of audio. The voices you hear (not counting the cats and dogs) are Barnabas, Tim, Tim A, Steve, and Christina. None of them had ever played a Fate-based game before. [It’s interesting that the condenser mic completely eliminated the background music that Barnabas had playing in his gaming den.]

Here’s what Steve had to say about the session:

That was a fantastic character creation set up. I know who my character is before I ever play him and I have an idea of how my character will interact with everyone except for Zoey. I feel like knowing who each character is ahead of time will also be great for a horror setting, since these characters aren’t just assumed numbers on a character sheet – the awful things they get involved in later will have more intensity. I think I’ll keep horror movies on in the background this week in preparation for Saturday.

I’m sure you’ll enjoy the audio as much as they enjoyed character creation.

Today, however, they’ll get to meet the horror face to face.

Muwahahahahaha!

Better late than never?

The most common question we got at the OUYA reveal party during GDC was “Where’s your game?”

Great question! We’ll come back to that. First, some random pix from the launch party.

You can’t really see Julie from where I was standing on the other end of the enormous bar. Sorry.

Samia and I in the OUYA museum. Lots of fun toys! Phone pix make me look fat(ter) than I really am.

What was that? Game, you say? Heh.

The business model all along has been three parts:

  • Video games
  • Fiction (novels and graphic novels)
  • Paper-and-pencil roleplaying games

When we started developing Terrorland as a bake off between UDK and Unity, we learned tons about how much backstory was required to support a heavily decision-based game and how crucial quality art is. During the side project of No Tomorrow last year, it became very clear that producing quality fiction is more time consuming that we anticipated. Both learning experiences were fabulously helpful in helping us realign the business model into a more logical sequence.

  1. Roleplaying game
  2. Fiction
  3. Video game

In this order, they inform one another more logically and content developed for one isn’t wasted or shelved out of sequence for each of our product lines.

That’s a long-winded way of saying that we’ve been through seven evolutions of playtesting the roleplaying game called Modernity that supports Terrorland. All five active playtest have been instrumental in helping us vet world elements, story elements, game mechanics, and test player expectations with about 30 different people. Playtesting has been extremely helpful in coming to adopt Fate Core as the paper-and-pencil engine for our games. This will permit us to focus on the narrative elements and the FUN! rather than spending late nights crunching out new mechanics. (Even though I’m sad to release my grip on the d12-based system. Maybe we’ll come back to that again someday.)

The fiction is being developed in tandem with the RPG, because both require the same massive quantity of backstory and prewriting to get just right. Both streams of work heavily inform the development of the video game. Unity 3D has presented some learning curve challenges, but overall we’re happy with the engine and look forward to shipping our first adventure video game this year.

In doing all of this on a cash basis, we’re avoiding the feast-and-famine risk of venture-funded or debt-loaded studios. Our model is designed to be a sustainable one with a long tail. I want to be doing this decades from now, not bitter about having to “quit my dream for a day job” like so many people I know.

In short, we’re building momentum. Each little win gets us further and a little faster. Our intention is still to ship all three product lines as close to simultaneously as possible so that you can enjoy the stories and the games in whichever modes you most prefer.

Thank you to each and every one of you who has participated in the playtesting or even just encouraged us. It means the world (to me) that you think some part of what we’re doing is “cool”.