One of the hardest things to accomplish with the start-up of Onyx Path has been getting the word out as to who we are and what we’re working on. This past year, we talked to you folks via forums, Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit AMA. We shared various interviews with our gang, blog posts, and dove into your questions on Kickstarter. Obviously, when you take into consideration the volume of information shared on these venues — we’re all over the place. Of course, so are our fans and backers, so for now we go where there are folks we can talk to. As the year progresses, you’ll notice how we continue to avail ourselves of these venues, but with more directed and focused information about what we’re up to. That’s one of Onyx Path‘s goals for this year.
But that’s actually Where we’re sharing information, not How or Why. One of the guiding precepts of Onyx Path Publishing has been to be as transparent about production as we can possibly be. Having worked behind the wrought-iron, spear-topped, and black-rose draped walls of White Wolf for two decades, where we created and published our projects with very little community-focused discussion and feedback, I started Onyx Path with the idea that we could do something new. Part of the fun we’re having in this corner of publishing is that we now have so many ways to have a dialogue that we didn’t have before. Working with the Open Development Process where developers and art directors post what they’re working on (as they are working on it) is one aspect of this transparency. With our Kickstarter projects we’ve been giving the backers a chance to review and submit errata before we finalize the files. Another example would be my weekly Monday Lunch Meeting Notes blog which include a weekly progress report about current projects.
This is what actually brought me to the idea of this commentary today. I realized this past Monday that some of our fans were looking at the Monday Meeting updates as strict “announcements” rather than as honest and transparent progress reports. When I tell folks why a book is delayed, (which happened a lot in 2012 as our infrastructure was welded into place), some have been disappointed and frustrated that the project was being announced and then “pushed back.” This is totally understandable, and I feel their pain. Part of that pain, however, is based on the expectation that the Monday Meeting updates were to inform fans of firm publication dates. While they can serve that purpose, my intention has always been to keep the Monday Meeting notes more casual, but focused on development. And then, when we do announce a new release, folks’ll either see that in a separate announcement or shared through social media.
If the Monday Lunch Meeting Notes blog isn’t to announce books, then what’s it for? Well, this is a bit of a history lesson, but here goes. Back when I took over as Creative Director of White Wolf, I realized we needed to have more and continuing communication with our audience. So, I began posting to Live Journal with “RichT’s Ramblings”, “RichT’s Ruminations”, etc. Basically, I’d been talking about the various things we were up to, or which were concerning our community. And even before that, at least a decade earlier, I instituted a Monday Production Lunch to start the week with our team eating together. This was a really great chance to goof around as a group, but also to look at what we had accomplished the week before and to see what was ahead. Everybody got a chance to pick the lunch venue — Josh Timbrook’s was always “Subba-Wubba”– and we could share company and individual info as we ate. This Monday Lunch continued on for years and years, up to the time that Eddy Webb and I were telecommuting and putting together V20 as CCP Transmedia.
So combine the two ideas, and we now have a way for Eddy and I to touch base between Onyx (me) and CCP (Eddy), and I can lay out just where in the process of creation each project is. The community gets a window into the ups and downs and hurry ups and waits of what we’re doing, as well as mini-essays on the sorts of game design, pop culture, and personal issues Eddy and I talk about. And, because it’s a blog, we often get some excellent comments and ideas posted from the community.
I think (and hope) that the blog is entertaining and informational, to fill a niche beyond what a press release, update, forum post, or tweet can do. What do you think? What are you getting out of the Monday Meeting Notes?