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Author Topic: Crucible: Publish or Perish (forge spinoff)  (Read 15125 times)
apeiron
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« on: November 11, 2003, 05:42:36 PM »

@ Somewhere i was reading that the Forge has gained many newbies who might be 'diluting' the pool (the quality of discussion/work).  This gave me an idea of having a sort of inner circle to the forge.  i call it The Crucible (in keeping with the forge theme).

@ The idea is that in order to join you must (have) publish(ed) something.  To stay in you must continue to publish and help others publish.

@ By publish i mean, make publicly availible, esp in some Open Source format.  For instance, to release some Mechanic under Copyleft or the GNU/GPL.  Continuing to publish requires shipping one new(or improved) something each month.  Assisting others in publishing requires that members provide constructive critique and what ever other services you can provide.  If you are a grammar wiz, offer yourself as an editor.  If you are an artist, offer up some drawings.

@ This is in part based on the hacker ethics of "gift culture" and "no problem should ever be solved twice".  Only those who contribute good stuff get mad props.  Also, if someone needs a mechanic for a such-and-such setting, they don't have to reinvent the d6.  Over time The Crucible will contain a massive arsenal of mechanics, systems, art work, essays and settings that anyone can use.

@ i'll have more to say about it later if intrest is shown.  i can also offer webspace for it.  If The Forge is not interested in doing this, i will do it on my own, but it would be better to have its support.
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Brian Leybourne
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« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2003, 06:22:28 PM »

Smacks of elitism to me. There are plenty of folk on The Forge who have great things to offer but who don't publish something once a month. The value to noise ratio here is better than any other RPG-related site anyway, why try to reinvent the wheel?

Brian.
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M. J. Young
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« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2003, 07:31:41 PM »

Quote from: apeiron
The idea is that in order to join you must (have) publish(ed) something.  To stay in you must continue to publish and help others publish.....Continuing to publish requires shipping one new(or improved) something each month.
Yeah, I'm kind of wondering whether Ron and I would qualify.

I do forum postings six days a week (used to do seven, but decided I had to take a day off for live play); do they count?

I write a weekly article for Gaming Outpost and a monthly for The Christian Gamers Guild; but if I didn't have those regular commitments I probably wouldn't be out there once a month--for example, I've written something for each issue of the e-zine The Way, the Truth, and the Dice, but they don't come out often enough to qualify. Something new each month is a lot to ask of any creative person, particularly given the demands of the work. For how long have we been awaiting Ron's Narrativism article? I'm right now working on the next Book of Worlds, and the one after that, and four sequels to the novel, and a CCG, and three board games, and two role playing games, and a game conversion--but not one of those will be published before the end of the year, and it's doubtful any two will appear in consecutive months. Ron's got maybe six or seven published game books (if you count them all) and a dozen articles--but divide that over the time since he started in 1997, and you don't get one per month out of it. Ron is prolific, and holds a day job.

Maybe you should clarify what your "once per month" means.

And maybe you should explain why those who are involved in the Forge to a significant level should be interested in the Crucible. I find it very unclear what benefits you're envisioning.

--M. J. Young
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apeiron
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« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2003, 07:34:26 PM »

Quote from: Brian Leybourne
Smacks of elitism to me. There are plenty of folk on The Forge who have great things to offer but who don't publish something once a month. The value to noise ratio here is better than any other RPG-related site anyway, why try to reinvent the wheel?

Brian.


@ It has nothing to do with elitism, i'm not sure how you got that.  It's not any more elitist than asking employees to show up to work and be productive if they want to get paid.  

@  Imagine though that they did publish at least once a month.  It could be anything from an essay to a bit of setting ideas or a new version of an existing product.   Yes, the noise is far less here than other forums, but it lacks any sort of explicit goals, which is fine for those who want to produce on that scale.  This would be meant for people who want to make the transition from "odd bits of work on my hard drive/notes in a folder" to "here are my products, and here is a list of other products I helped make".  i look at this forum and think of all the potential to make great games that go unnoticed or are left incomplete.

@ Imagine if 12 people created 12 products of some kind, you'd have 144 products that were made with the collective ability and passion of those 12 people.  Imagine that these products could be placed in a book or cd and sold.  Imagine that some aspiring game designer's work gets noticed and some company takes an interest in them.  In effect, it would function as a game design company.

@ Presently, someone could start a thread about a game they wrote during their lunch break.  It might be brilliant, it might be revolutionary.  So the thread goes on for a few pages, then interest wanes and the thread dies out.  The game sits on this person's computer, never again to see the light of day, all that value is lost to the world.  In the crucible, they would make their entrance into the forum by publishing their game.  The members would offer help and support.  The product gets better.  This new member then offers their unique abilities to other game designers, improving THEIR products too.  The requirement to publish provides a measure of setting goals and having expectations.  Sometimes people need goals or to have a sense that people are counting on them.  

@ As far as i know there is no single database of open source game material.  Most of that kind of work is scattered far and wide.  The goal here would be to collect all of that creativity into one place.
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Marco
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« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2003, 07:37:07 PM »

I just released like 500 pages of stuff and it took a hella lot of effort and a hella long time. Not only wouldn't I qualify, but in order *to* qualify, I'd have to cut back my work on my own projects.

Would the pay-off be worth the cost? I see no reason to think it would be.

-Marco
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apeiron
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« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2003, 07:53:12 PM »

I do forum postings six days a week (used to do seven, but decided I had to take a day off for live play); do they count?

@ i think a product could be just about anything of value to someone else.  It could be an article, a bundle of spells, a drawing etc.  It could be a another iteration of an existing work.  i'm not talking about whole books here.

Something new each month is a lot to ask of any creative person, particularly given the demands of the work.

@ Hmm.  i think that would depend on the depth of the work.  i personally have more ideas to write about than i have time to write them.

For how long have we been awaiting Ron's Narrativism article?

@ Did he have a deadline? Is there anything motivating him in/externally?  Work tends to fill the availible time.  If you give yourself a month to do it, it will take you a month to do it.  Likewise for a week.

I'm right now working on the next Book of Worlds, and the one after that, and four sequels to the novel, and a CCG, and three board games, and two role playing games, and a game conversion--but not one of those will be published before the end of the year, and it's doubtful any two will appear in consecutive months.

@ One of the options i mentioned is versions.  A version could start off as an outline.  Lets say you have a game in mind.  Version 1 is a paragraph describing the theme of the game.  Version 2 is an outline describing the basic elements of the game. Version 3 will be a fleshed out mechanics.  And so on.  We're not talking whole books or whole games being produced on a monthly basis.

Maybe you should clarify what your "once per month" means.

@ On the first of each month.

And maybe you should explain why those who are involved in the Forge to a significant level should be interested in the Crucible. I find it very unclear what benefits you're envisioning.

@ Check out the link i provided on hacker ethics, much of what i mean is there.  The benefit is an explicit structure and goals, a commitment to not merely talk about making games, but actually make them.  To benefit from the help the group can give you, you must give unto the group.  If you are a mechanics genius, offer help on that front.  If you need help with art work, ask the group for help.  Another benefit is having a selection of free systems, mechanics and whatnot at your beck and call.
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apeiron
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« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2003, 08:11:22 PM »

Quote from: Marco
I just released like 500 pages of stuff and it took a hella lot of effort and a hella long time. Not only wouldn't I qualify, but in order *to* qualify, I'd have to cut back my work on my own projects.

Would the pay-off be worth the cost? I see no reason to think it would be.

-Marco


@ But you didn't write it all in one month, nor was it done in one sitting or one version.  That 500 pages might have been all of your products for a year.  See the versioning bit in my post above.  You wouldn't cut back anything as i see it, the work you are already doing counts.  For instance, your initial product is that 500 pages, then next month you publish your changes, the next version.  Or lets say you start with something totally new.  Each month you release a chapter.

@ Referring again to the hacker rule "no problem should ever be solved twice", i see plenty of threads on this forum and others asking the same questions over and over.  People making some variant on d6 mechanics or exploding dice or pools and so on.  Everyone is trying to come up with some aspect of a game that is not their primary interest or skill.  It would be more efficient to allow the mechanics enthusiasts to create mechanics that the settings guru's can use.  Then the artists could get system help from the ppl who are great with systems.  

@ None of us is as smart as all of us - No matter how creative one person is, they are not as creative as a team of people.  i can't draw with a damn, but i can edit and calculate probabilities. But there are ppl who can draw but can't do math.  i think the benefits of such a group are fairly clear.  All it takes is a bit of vision to see past difficulties to see the opportunities that lie beyond.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2003, 08:49:51 PM »

Hi Apeiron,

That's an interesting suggestion, and an interesting set of principles underlying them. I think that the idea probably would do better at another website, though. If someone wanted to start up such a thing, they'd be welcome to cross-participate at the Forge, but a process like you're describing isn't going to be a policy here.

Best,
Ron
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2003, 05:19:37 AM »

I love how everyone uses kid gloves around here.

Apeiron, for someone that appears to have posted 17 times, you've got a tremendous amount of hubris to say "let's start up an exclusionary organization with near-impossible standards!" Some of your assumptions ("Work tends to fill the availible time. If you give yourself a month to do it, it will take you a month to do it. Likewise for a week.") belie your naivete or inexperience, and are just plain insulting or wrong.

For what it's worth, I'm a large fan of open-source development of anything, but your assumptions make the same mistakes as many organizations - they assume people would want to be members.
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Clinton R. Nixon
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2003, 08:53:20 AM »

I think that the biggest problem is with your base assumptions:
Quote
Somewhere i was reading that the Forge has gained many newbies who might be 'diluting' the pool (the quality of discussion/work). This gave me an idea of having a sort of inner circle to the forge. i call it The Crucible (in keeping with the forge theme).

I know this board as well as anyone, and the people who post this stuff, are, IMO, shortsighted. Today's "newb" is tomorrows "most important poster". Sure there are people who arrive and contribute little, but they don't tend to last long, and in any case it isn't a new phenomenon.

What's actually happening is that the board slowly over time has attracted more people overall. But it's that slowness of attraction that's, IMO, a good thing. That is, people who show up don't stay if they don't have constructive things to say. All of which is to say that in terms of quality of discourse, things take care of themselves.

In any case, if you did want to provide some sort of improved discourse for this smaller group, that would entail...what? Another board for "members only"? I'm personally thrilled that anyone reads anything that I have to say, and hardly want to limit that exposure. That is, if the price of that free exposure is slightly more noise in the channel, then that's a price that I think people would be fools not to pay. Especially given the near complete lack of noise in this channel.

Lastly, more is not better. Forge regular John Kim is a crusader for this concept, and I'm one of his converts. The idea of this site is not to tell everyone that they should publish their own RPG. It's to say that if you have an RPG, that we can help with getting it published. Which is to say that the first step has to be considering whether or not the subject matter is actually worthwhile. Your proposal would create, IMO, a vast array of junk in short order. We already have this thing called the internet to use if we want to find that (http://www.darkshire.net/~jhkim/rpg/freerpgs/). If we want better quality stuff, then we have this thing called The Forge.

Mike
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xiombarg
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« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2003, 09:13:08 AM »

I have to say that a "publish or perish" ideology seems to be awful similar to the "supplement tradmill" that is so often decried here on the Forge -- which doesn't exactly capture the Forge spirit at all.

On the other hand, like Ron, I'd be interested in how such a project would turn out, tho I wouldn't be able to participate.
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Ben Lehman
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« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2003, 09:23:05 AM »

Quote

@ As far as i know there is no single database of open source game material.  Most of that kind of work is scattered far and wide.  The goal here would be to collect all of that creativity into one place.


BL>  Just a brief note which has little to do with the topic at hand:  Under US and (I believe) International copyright law, game systems and settings are not subject to copyright, only the expression of that system or setting in particular prose, tables, or artwork.  So all game material is "open source."  Thus, there's a pretty good reason that there is no collection of "open source" game material.  Because essentially all game material is "open source."

This is wildly nonanalogous to programming.  Or any other field of creative expression.  Essentially, you cannot copywright a mental construct.  Too broad.

Common Caveats apply:  I am not a lawyer.  This knowledge comes from research of US copyright law regarding game design and fiction writing that I did before posting anything publically on the web.

yrs--
--Ben

P.S.  Let me say that I am amused that I would qualify for this group and many other, far more published designers would not.
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apeiron
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« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2003, 02:43:07 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Hi Apeiron,

That's an interesting suggestion, and an interesting set of principles underlying them. I think that the idea probably would do better at another website, though. If someone wanted to start up such a thing, they'd be welcome to cross-participate at the Forge, but a process like you're describing isn't going to be a policy here.

Best,
Ron


@ i wouldn't dare to dream about thinking of considering hijacking the forge's existing set up. i am thinking more of an additional site with a refined purpose.  Sort of a "Hey, if you like the Forge and want to join a team of motivated game developers who help each other and publish regularly, follow this link!".  The Forge would serve as a recruiting ground and space for discussion outside of the crucible's membership.  There are a lot of underlying principles that i've yet to mention here.  i'm going to work of a PDF treatment of the whole #! this weekend and post it.  When i think about what a group with such common goals and mutual support can do, i get chills.  Megabytes of material, and i hope all of it open source or at least free.
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apeiron
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« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2003, 07:18:24 PM »

@ i was going to reply to each post but i found myself angry and trying to be right.  i was also hearing what sounds like anger and fear from some of you.  But being right is less important than getting what i want and getting results.  So instead i will resubmit my proposal in a different way and hope that you all will help me develop the idea and/or come up with new ones rather than engage in debate.  If you are going to reply, i ask that you make sure of your intentions, ie don't post in anger or to argue.  Anyone can complain and find faults, it takes intelligence and courage to offer solutions and help.  Also, please accept some responsibility for your interpretations, if you don't understand, ask me for clarification rather than lash out.

@  What would motivate people to work together to create open source game products and to maintain a level of productivity?  If i hear a better idea i will support it whole heartedly and even get the domain name and webspace for it.  

My Assertions:

1) There is an incredible amount of creativity on this and other forums, and even more talent sitting idle in notebooks and hard drives

2) Open Source/Freeware ethics can produce great results

3) The internet is a great tool for connecting people to people and products to people

4) That for some (not all) people, explicit structures such as goals, deadlines and expectations of peers can motivate people to do more

5) Gathering (and more importantly, sharing) all of that creative energy and intelligence would be awesome

6) No one is an expert at drawing AND mechanics AND copyright law AND writing AND so on.

7) Helping others is rewarding

8) Having high expectations and holding people accountible tends to yield better results

What i want:

a) A place where game designers can present their works to each other and to the world, it would be stored in (at least) one place permanently (threads are not permanent)

b) A expectation of professionalism and productivity to prevent extraneous diversion of creative talent and to prevent great ideas from withering on the vine

c) An environment where all members have declared a commitment to support each other and be productive.  Those who don't want to help others or be productive would be free/intived to leave.  No one is forced to join, but those who wish to remain should live up to their commitments.  

-------

@ If you want to argue that the whole idea is bad and feel that you for some reason HAVE to derail my purpose, or wish to call me names, send it to me privately.
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2003, 09:24:18 PM »

Hey,

So instead i will resubmit my proposal in a different way...

I like your new approach.

@ What would motivate people to work together to create open source game products and to maintain a level of productivity? If i hear a better idea i will support it whole heartedly and even get the domain name and webspace for it.

I think what might motivate me to participate would be a carefully crafted policy for how the communal material can be used in games that participants publish independent of the community. Ron's Sorcerer mini-supplement policy, for instance, totally works for me. He has to approve it, and it can only be sold from his site, but the writer/designer makes the money from sales. Greg's policy in Epiphany doesn't work for me, even though I think the system is fantastic and I'd like to do something for it.

Paul
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