Random Thoughts on the Last 6 Months of Game Development

As many of you know, in addition to writing the vast majority of the content, I also do art direction and layout on Void Star's books. And to be honest, the last six months has been a challenge like few I've ever faced.

Nova Praxis: Savage Worlds Edition and Machinations (The GM Companion for the Fate version of NP) were developed, for the most part, in parallel. That wasn't my original intent, but that's how the pieces fell into place.

Both of these projects came with a ton of new experiences and  a few harsh lessons learned. 

Some find it hard to believe, but Strands of FateStrands of Power,  the Fate version of Nova Praxis, and the first draft of Machinations were written and laid out in frickin Microsoft Word. Why would that be hard to believe? Because it's incredibly dumb.

Word is fine for writing. It's actually pretty great for it. But using it for layout is like using a shovel to dig a swimming pool. It'll get the job done if that's all you have, but you're going to expend a lot of blood, sweat and tears before the job is done.

Machinations was mostly written, and about 75% of the way through the layout processes (in Word), when events transpired that forced me to switch gears and focus most of my efforts on NP:SWE.

So... I knew going into NP:SWE that I wanted to learn Adobe InDesign. And as I became more familiar with it, it quickly became apparent that I needed to convert everything I'd done on Machinations over to ID as well. There is a bit of a learning curve, and InDesign can be expensive, but its worth every penny and every second of every tutorial you have to fumble through. When used correctly, InDesign can be a very powerful tool. The trick is learning to use it correctly.

And then at some point, along with learning InDesign, I started working with new artists and working with Savage Mojo (highly recommended!) to get new art in for both books. Art direction doesn't seem that hard on the surface, but it's no picnic, especially if you've never done much of it in the past, and especially if you are also in the middle of writing, editing, and layout using a highly complex new program you're still trying to learn. So maybe it isn't so much hard as stressful, especially when you're trying to do it under less than ideal circumstances.

And by "less than ideal circumstances", I mean while working 50hr weeks at the day job, and also managing the Kickstarter, R&D and production of Tact-Tiles. For a few months I was going to bed at midnight and getting up at 4 AM to try to get stuff done for Void Star before heading off to work. Those were some dark days fueled by little more than Provigil and caffeine.

Anyway, we're finally wrapping up NP:SWE and Machinations. I'd never used DrivethruRPG for print on demand before, so that came with its own set of lessons to be learned. But I finally got the proofs for Nova Praxis: Savage Worlds Edition on order last night.

I can't wait to see how it looks in print!

I expedited the shipping, so hopefully I'll get them in next week. And with any luck, they'll look good on the first try.
As soon as NP:SWE is approved, it'll go up for sale (along with the initiative cards) and Machinations will be submitted for approval.