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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 81 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Diversifying?  (Read 2783 times)
Seth M. Drebitko
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« on: April 27, 2007, 03:47:35 AM »

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Eero Tuovinen
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« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2007, 11:08:41 AM »

What you need to realize, Seth, is that there is no "game" that can jump between medias, only some fictional material. There are some rare exceptions to this, like how D&D has been computerized - but they are all examples of different medias emulating each other, not of genuine sameness.

With that in mind, I'm inclined to interpret that what you're suggesting is utilizing the same fictional material in other medias. Like, writing novels set in the same setting as the game. Some folks have certainly done that - I myself like M.J.Young's Multiverser novels, for example. However, for most rpg designers around here I'd imagine that their games do not have appreciable fictional content that would support such endeavours. There are some exceptions, like Nine Worlds by Matt Snyder (from which I've been thinking of making a comics story), but I imagine that those designers have vastly better things to do with their time; they're game designers, after all, not novel writers.

The key issue in anything like this is twofold:
- Is there synergy in marketing? Or, in other words, would the same people want to buy the new product?
- Is there synergy in creation? Or, can you reuse already done work in the new product?

The sensibility of any given endeavour can be roughly judged based on those criterias. For example, if you have a fannish audience inclined to fly the product flag, then generic merchandise like t-shirts might actually make for a profitable sideline. Likewise, if your game has an extensive and immersive fictional setting, writing novels might have some little creational synergy as well as significant interest in the audience.

Considering the typical indie game designer, I'm not surprised that they aren't publishing these alternative products. After all, they went into it to create a roleplaying game, so anything else is just a distraction.
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Seth M. Drebitko
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« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2007, 08:30:36 PM »

I understand that the question does not appeal to most here but I was just curious if there was any one at all. I personally have struck luck in that my girl friend is a computer science major interested in the fiction and game I am working on. She wants to create an on-line game based around the fiction I have been creating.
Now for some this may not be a feasible task but merchandise is certainly a good option, as well as possibly some minor on-line tools. Character building programs are always good, and if hosted on-line and if threaded with ads could bring in extra revenue. Another option could be forums set up with automatic dice rolling programs set up just for you game, again with ads threaded into it.

I guess I should have been more specific in that you would not need an entire new product but a way to maximize on what profits you are earning.

regards, Seth
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Jake Richmond
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« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2007, 09:04:19 PM »

I'm making Panty Explosion panties.
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JustinB
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« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2007, 12:52:11 AM »

Jake, you deserve a Nobel Prize.
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pells
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« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2007, 01:03:00 AM »

Hi Seth !!! I hope this will help you, as derivative products is (more exactly was) a big concern for my own project. But I'd like to separate two things in what you're saying : pure derivative products and tools (in the form of a website, for instance).

First, I'd like to present a little the context for me and my current issues, but I totally agree with Eero that fictionnal material transposes well. And this is my case. Because Avalanche, at its core, is more a fiction than a game ; a kind of fiction written for the rpg. It's not a novel, nor a comic. It is more like a story board, for the rpg, fully illustrated. Now, I came up with a very specific design to "host" that kind of writing. It turns out that design can fit perfectly well into a website, providing a powerful way to browse thru it ; to use it during play, DM's preparation, to keep track of the game.

Is the website a derivative product ? I don't know. I guess I could sell Avalanche as a book, but I won't ; only thru the website. The website will provide tools such as character's creation, dice management, maps management, etc. Are those derivative products ? I don't know. I guess not. I prefer to see them as add-ons. For which, of course, you can charge a customer a monthly fee to use.

But, even more than that !!! For instance, I'll use different systems (as to make Avalanche a game. Seems like if you don't have rules, you don't have a game, so ...). Are those systems, existing ones, derivative products ? I guess not. Then again adds-on. The addition of all those "little", separate things will make Avalanche. And I insist : I stink at rules creation, so I don't do them myself.

Now, real derivative products. Given I have a storyboard (some kind of fiction), built into a website, a database, as my final product, what are my options for derivative products ? A novel ? It would be quite easy. A comic ? Also easy. A CCG ? I already have the illustrations done (but not the rights for that use). A MMO ? Why not. It could be translated that way, since the plot is already there. Minis ? Easy too. TT game ? Sure. Sky is the limit !!!

But, I won't do them right away. I'm better off preparing a better product ; the main one. And how do I intent to manage derivative products ? At this point, I think I'll go with some kind of licences. I don't do myself what I'm not good at. Help those who do, yes, but not do it myself. Anyway, as I see it, in my case, derivative products is the jackpot. But this means I already have built an audience. Without it, derivative products will be hard. Given that, will I have a synergy in marketing ? I guess yes. Will I have a synergy in creation ? Yes (in fact, Avalanche is made to be adapted, the actual play experience of a session of rpg being only one possible instance).

So, here's my suggestion : licence your game to your girlfriend, help her build her "thing", but keep working on your stuff ; and hard. Because, without you, your work, your girlfriend might be working for nothing ...
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Jake Richmond
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« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2007, 01:05:20 AM »

Quote
Jake, you deserve a Nobel Prize.

Tell me about it.
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David Artman
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« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2007, 10:00:59 AM »

A data point, FWIW:

For GLASS, selling the full book is actually going to be a minor sideline compared to the larger plans (I hope). I'm giving the basic rules away for free (as PDF download) and selling the full book (examples, color, art, photos, ready-to-play content) for a minor profit.

My main revenue channel will be a game- and player-hosting database system whereby GMs can register their games (and players' characters) and then use the site's general functionality to manage said characters and any other resources (currency, game session info, links to setting and discussion sites). The database site, then, becomes a combination of advertising (for GMs), networking (for players and GMs to find each other), portability (for players to move characters from game to game), and "living world" creation (for GMs to combine and coordinate their individual games into a larger contiguous world). I am as-of-yet undecided whether I will run this site on ad revenue, with free registration, or using a monthly fee per GM (which, in turn, will allow said GMs to register and manage, say, 20 players each).

Beyond those two channels, I am also hoping to offer a Game Manager standalone application: basically, it synchronizes with the online database, allowing GMs to run games when out of Internet contact, then resynch with the database later. If you register at the site, this is a free download; otherwise, it will have a small per-download cost. Running standalone would make it little more than a character sheet and information (i.e. rumors, Influence, etc) system; it wouldn't have the networking, e-mailing/forums, or publishing elements (because those will be hard-coded to only work via a registered account on the web site).

Beyond THAT, I don't see a lot of potential for follow-on products, because my system is like GURPS for LARPs. There's not a lot of brand identiy to leverage in a generic system where the very color of a game is left up to the players. Sure, I'll have a T-shirt or two at Cafe Press (and on-hand, for con booths). But I can't see much branded merchandise, as the very game system itself breaks "immersion" in any play situation: folks won't be wearing "GLASS Rocks!" T-Shirts at game events; they'll be wearing costumes! Smiley

HTH;
David
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Seth M. Drebitko
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« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2007, 06:58:31 PM »

I could see a shirt that says "I Broke Glass" or "Glass" shot glasses! As for the web site thing I think that would be pretty sweet, there is allot of potential I think for profit. What if the book was free on-line for those who were in a game.

Regards, Seth
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Eero Tuovinen
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« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2007, 08:16:50 PM »

Actually, thinking about this, I'd have to say that the main branch merchandise for any given Forgite indie game (to distinguish from indie games created, produced and marketed at a greater distance from here) seems to be other Forge games. Which works well when your product recommends and encourages further investments in other kewl games which share the same ideas and values. This tends to be the case with these games, as most of them do not pretend to be the final answer to all your entertainment needs.

In general, it seems to me that for most folks around here it is much more natural to cross-market products from separate creators rather than trying to diversify their own product lines. Ben Lehman was looking for indie craftsmen advertisements for Drifter's Escape a while back, for example, instead of starting his own line of rugged bum accessories.
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David Artman
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« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2007, 07:00:06 AM »

I could see a shirt that says "I Broke Glass" or "Glass" shot glasses!

Hehe, like the shot glass idea, though a shot glass with GLASS on it might be a bit... obscure... those who don't "know" will think it's some kind of label, rather than referring to GLASS. Hmmm... maybe with the GLASS logo (current plan: half mirror, half magnifying glass).

Quote
As for the web site thing I think that would be pretty sweet, there is allot of potential I think for profit. What if the book was free on-line for those who were in a game.
Yeah, I like my site idea, too: it's a value add for users--finding players and other games and contiguous worlds--while also being a steady source of cash. I'm thinking somewhere around $20 a month per GM (i.e. per 20 players; $200 a year discounted) or $2 a month ($20 a year discounted) for an individual account, which can later be coupled to a GM account without using up one of the GM's 20 slots. (Numbers all in the works; not certain of price points, yet; but I want it WAY cheaper per player than a MMORPG account, as a benchmark.)

But free book for online registration? Nah... I'm heading for a double-laminated, perfect bound digest book. It won't be very cheap, and I couldn't give it away just because someone, say, dropped $20 for a year registration: I will likely end up near the $30 a copy price point. Besides... shotGLASS *is* free already, and it's sufficient to play the game (albeit, requiring the GMs' write-ups of specific of a game, like Tone and Priority and specific Ability lists/requirements).

Thanks for the encouragement!
David
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JSDiamond
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« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2007, 05:29:03 PM »

Between 2002 and 2004 producers from FOX television, and then a VP at Pixar, invited me to pitch Orbit as either an animated series or possible pre-movie short.  But unfortunately there was also a glut of pop sci-fi at the time, and the studios were already bitching about start up costs so the idea never developed beyond that.  Then, as if to punctuate things FOX cancelled Firefly.  Pixar remained interested, "Imagine the toys; the licensing for that alone is a cash cow" I said.  Then Lord of the Rings happened and fantasy was "the new hot thing" again.

Still... getting invited to the big dance was pretty cool. 

 
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JSDiamond
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