Goodbye

I’ve had a bunch of different thoughts going through my mind lately but they all lead to the same conclusion.

One is that I’d like to do something a bit revolutionary as far as game design is concerned. I’d like to bring RPGs into the 21st century.

Another has to do with a couple threads on an RPG forum. Among the respondents of those threads, there was a strong disregard for anyone trying to produce an RPG and trying to make some money. Now I’m not here to make money, but I think what I do has value, so the conversation struck me as disrespectful. If RPG enthusiasts look so poorly on the efforts of designers, then why would someone want to work for them?

A third thought is about sunk costs. In economics, it’s considered an error in logic to keep putting resources into something because you’ve already “sunk” a lot of resources into it. I’ve certainly sunk a lot of resources into making RPGs and I had plans to do a lot more.

Each thought is important to me. I have the desire and ability to do more game design but there is no reason for me to do it. I’m not designing for money, I’m not looking for accolades. But I put money and time into keeping these websites running. I’d like it if that was for something. I could easily play my games with friends and it would be a lot easier than trying to typeset everything exactly right, to have enough artwork to balance the text, to buy new software and equipment to handle a gigabyte and a half book file, to maintain these blogs and pay to keep them running.

I love designing and developing RPGs but does the RPG community care? Let’s be honest, for the most part, no. There are a few people that have cheered me on and I appreciate them immensely. They’ve been wonderful and I can’t thank them enough.

When I was about half as old as I am now, I saw something ugly. I was working for my Father in the construction industry, in the region where I live, people we were doing work for didn’t want us to succeed. They viewed us succeeding as them being ripped off. We started working in other parts of the country and guess what? People wanted us to succeed, they would help us to protect our profits when changes were made or when we had to compensate for mistakes by others. We started traveling all over to do work.

I think I need to do some metaphorical traveling. If I’m going to do design work, I need to leave this place I’m in and find a place that wants me to succeed.

Now be honest, when you read that last sentence, did you think “I want you to succeed?” There are about five people that I know that will, the majority of people probably are indifferent or even adversarial. That is a sad statement for the RPG community. Someone giving away product that they pour themselves into should not be someone you’d be indifferent to.

I’m not giving up. I’m not quitting, but if I’m going to do something to bring RPGs into the 21st century and find the place where I can succeed, I need to leave what has become comfortable behind. I’m going to have to develop new skills. That will take time. So for now, this is goodbye. I have a few projects that are mostly done. For closure I’ll probably finish them off.

I certainly hope that the lessons I’ve learned here will be useful wherever I travel to.

10 Comments

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10 Responses to Goodbye

  1. “That is a sad statement for the RPG community.”

    It’s not special to the rpg community. As a european I can tell you this is happening in all businesses for years. I guess it finally made it to the US.

    Good luck with what you’re planning!

    • Loc

      Thank you for your well wishes. I know that there are dozens of RPG designers that are in the same place as I am. I’m not unique in that. I had hoped that mutual support amongst a group of designers would make a dent in the collective consciousness. I need a new approach though to get to someplace I’d like to be as a designer.

  2. (this is Joe/Absolution Ceramics/Rubbermancer btw)

    I don’t always drop comments, but I do follow and read. I imagine there are a few others giving that sort of silent or passive support, and it’s easy to overlook those numbers when you’re feeling burned out or marginalized.

    I wouldn’t call that kind of support indifference either; it’s a saturated market, and people love so many different things at once, 99% of which things never actually hit their gaming table. It’s the brutal economics of time and energy, is all.

    That said, I trust you have your head all sorted on this, and I look forward to seeing you come out of the chrysalis with some fresh stunts. God bless!

    • Loc

      I have no doubt about the truth of everything you wrote. I can’t fault anyone for their lack of enthusiasm in a glutted market. I also thank you of all the help you’ve given me.

  3. David Peters

    Will The Artifact website be coming down?

    • Loc

      Seeing as I just paid for two years of hosting, no. It’s here to stay for now. Maybe I’ll be back into writing for it before the two years are up.

  4. J

    I’m just starting out in designing RPG’s and it was sad to read what you wrote as I have yet to experience it. If you are still interested in designing and maybe changing course and helpiing me out for a while it will give u encouragement to continue your own game. Anyway contact me at skraw@unseen.is

    • Loc

      I would not discourage you from designing RPGs. I hope people keep designing. I’m very proud of the work I’ve done here and I want you to be proud of the work you do.

      If you have an RPG in you (or multiples) then make it. For the experience, it’s worth it. For the accomplishment, it’s worth it. At this point I’ve already done that though, and need to move on. I’m not going to accomplish anything more at this point unless I take a very different approach.

      I don’t regret what I’ve built. I just want to do more at this point.

  5. brainwipe

    Balls. I leave the internet for a few months and this happens!
    I totally get it. When you appear on the other side, give me a shout. I’d like to see where you end up.

    • Loc

      Yeah, sorry about my timing Rob. 😛 You, Nils and Joachim were all there for me and you’ve been a great encouragement. I’m hoping the hiatus will be all for the best.

      In the mean time I got a new job that’s been taking up my mental energy but I’m thinking I should have a handle on things soon and I’ll be able to make some progress.

      I may be reaching out to you in the late stages of my little adventure here. I’m still about. I’m just taking my focus off development for a bit.

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