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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 73 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: A Polling Question  (Read 2261 times)
Sylus Thane
Guest
« on: March 07, 2003, 07:01:14 PM »

For all of the Forge members out there a couple of questions.

1. How many of you have actually published a game? If so what was it or they?

2. What format did you use? Bound book, pdf, or other?

3. How long did it take you to design from start to finish?

4. How long did it take you to publish it?

5. Does anyone know the average amount of time it takes for the larger established companies to do the same?

I'm just asking these questions to get an idea of where I may stand in the grand scheme of things. Whether I'm going too fast slow etc. I know some of it is purely a matter of perspective but any answers would be greatly apreciated.

Thanks
Sylus
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greyorm
Member

Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


WWW
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2003, 08:10:40 PM »

1. I have published a Sorcerer supplement entitled "Electric Ghosts." I am currently finishing an indie game (Orx). My small, quick Gamist RPG "Stars Over Africa" is published via my website.

2. Electric Ghosts is a pdf, as Orx will be (though I may make paper copies available). Stars is webtext. Of course, what you mean specifically by "publish" here is important: do you consider posting an item to a webpage to be "publishing?"

3. Stars only took a week; of course I did it for the Iron Game Chef competition we held here so I had to. Electric Ghosts took me a couple years -- if we begin timing it from the initial conception of the idea. If we go from when I sat down and really started pounding away at it, I would say a few months shy of a year. The concept for Orx was born about two or three years ago. I've been working on it steadily for around a year, IIRC.

4. In all cases, about two seconds.

5. No clue. John Wick once told me that it took him eight months to write Orkworld, if I'm remember his statement correctly. At any rate, the conversation made me feel much better about the long design times I had.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Sylus Thane
Guest
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2003, 08:25:21 PM »

Thanks Rev, this is the type of stuff I'm looking for. Yes I would say webtext is publishing since your getting it to the masses. Whether you get paid for it is a different story. I guess that should be an extra question.

Do you charge for your game and if so what do you charge? Also what type of criteria do you use to determine a price?

Thanks
Sylus
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M. J. Young
Member

Posts: 2198


WWW
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2003, 10:03:02 PM »

Quote from: Sylus Thane
1. How many of you have actually published a game? If so what was it or they?

Multiverser, obviously, and two Books of Worlds for it. Other projects in development.

Quote from: Then he
2. What format did you use? Bound book, pdf, or other?

We originally had it printed and bound on demand at a local print shop. The second printing was done "perfect bound", which is the standard for softcover in the industry, from what I can gather.

Quote from: Next he
3. How long did it take you to design from start to finish?

My best estimate is a decade. When I came on board in '92 E. R. Jones had been working on it for half that time, although it's a bit unclear, as the ideas he had began (probably in 1980) as ways to run D&D cross-genre, and resulted in another (sci-fi) game along the way. I think sometime around '85 to '87 he was actually playtesting ideas that were fundamental to Multiverser, in a recognizable sense. When I came on board, the first thing I did was start getting ideas on paper; there were a few breaks that lasted months at a time, due to many real-life issues, but in the spring of '97 we'd finished the text of both original books (Referee's Rules and First Book of Worlds, the latter originally given away free with the purchase of the former). By September, I'd finished the final edit, and had a text and artwork ready for printing.

Quote from: And then he
4. How long did it take you to publish it?
It went to press in December. The major delay was that the computer holding the files started to crash, and we could not determine the cause. The files were compressed and offloaded to floppies, but it took months to be certain they were not infected with a virus (Word documents are susceptible to such things, and I believe these were also self-expanding zips, therefore executables, so they had that risk as well). We incorporated in September, wrote license agreements, raised funding, and contacted printers, but ultimately it took that long to get to print.

Regarding The Second Book of Worlds, this also took a long time--a couple years to finish writing all the sections, including finishing some worlds that had been slated for later when some contributing authors did not come through with their materials. It took several months to edit, and then hit a number of snags getting into print. Murphy was an optimist, they say, and we've never had a book come out when we predicted; I always resist all efforts by everyone in the company to make any public announcement of a release date of anything that we don't have at least at the printers.

Quote from: He finally
5. Does anyone know the average amount of time it takes for the larger established companies to do the same?

Sorry, no clue; but I imagine they hit snags, too. Hey, MicroSoft changed the name of Windows97 to Windows 98, and released it in 99, I think--it happens to everyone.

I hope this helps.

--M. J. Young
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M. J. Young
Member

Posts: 2198


WWW
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2003, 10:15:05 PM »

Oops--missed this one:

Quote from: Sylus Thane
Do you charge for your game and if so what do you charge? Also what type of criteria do you use to determine a price?

The Referee's Rules have always been $49.95; the Worlds books are something like $23.95, if I recall correctly.

The original price was as much as we dared charge for the two-book set, given our printing and licensing costs (the license connects royalties to sales, so that the company isn't crippled by heavy up-front obligations but the contributors aren't left out if something does well). Remember, we were giving away the Book of Worlds free at that time, and paying a lot for printing.

Changing printers (the original printer didn't feel he could continue to bring it in at the agreed price) cut the printing costs, but made it impossible to tie the books into a set. It also gave us distribution into the book trade; but it also meant we had to set a "reasonable" discount. We could still cover our costs on the Referee's Rules at $49.95 with 50% off to major buyers (those buying multiple copies--I can give specific definitions, if anyone's interested); it made sense to do 50% off on the worlds books, so the price was set at that point where we could still cover print costs and royalties and make a little bit of profit for the company. We make more if people order direct from us, but we won't cut our prices (usually--we do offer specials from the web site occasionally) because we don't want to undercut the price of any retailer shelving it. We've gotten a lot of resistance from people who won't order from us or Amazon or Barnes & Noble without seeing the book--they want to walk into their local gaming store and thumb through it, and we appreciate that, but it's hard to get it there (see the thread about the Marvel game coming out for some perspective on how resistant stores are to new product). So retailers can discount it as they like, but we won't.

When the novel came out, we used the same rules: 50% has to cover all costs and a little more to keep us in business. Hard cover proved extremely expensive for this, but it's a good book, and we're expecting it to do pretty well.

Hope that helps.

--M. J. Young
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