Thanks for Waiting

Seriously, thanks for waiting until I had both time and head-space to get the notes together. Eddy and I talked on Memorial Day, so I was treated to seeing him in his study as he had the day off from CCP. We talked a lot about the Open Dev Process, which he was diving back into with V20’s Rites of the Blood. He had some concerns for how far he’d be able to push the process, because his style isn’t quite the same as Justin’s when it comes to using Open Dev. And this is really the truth about Onyx‘s use of Open Dev: how Open we go is up to the Developer. I’m not going to force folks to adopt this terrifying new way of having a dialogue with the fans if it screws up their ability to deliver beautiful work. But I will suggest that they try to be as open to it as they can be, because it is incredibly awesome to be able to avail oneself of so many extra eyes and brains. Okay, that maybe didn’t come out all that nicely, but there you go. Sometimes I feel like I’m repeating this a lot, but folks get some expectations because they enjoyed a particular way one developer did things and expect the same from the next. In WW‘s day, we tried to create set systems and expected the staff to conform to them. I don’t think that’s something that I can expect or even want with how I’ve set up Onyx Path, though. I want the best work from our talented and wonderful Dev teams around the world, not the most standardized. And the thing is, maybe I’m wrong and this artsy-fartsy nonsense will doom Onyx Path as much as doomed can be, don’t cha know? But I’d rather try and reach for a better method and fail.

Which kind of relates to something I touched on with Eddy this week: I’m not graceful. I’m not elegant and smooth and able to side-step around problems. The Open Dev Process fascinates me because its like my worst nightmare- all of my mistakes out in the open for folks to criticize. Kickstarter is very much the same torture. What I do is careen wildly forward, bouncing off walls, knocking over vases, stepping on the cat. But forward. For years I did this for WW, and now I’m doing it at the front of Onyx Path; and for Onyx and the creative teams that are putting out some amazing projects. I don’t say this to grandstand in any way, but rather to be sure that you folks out there grasp that there while there are master plans and strategy meetings and such, I’m usually going to implement them in what appears to be the worse way at first. I’m not graceful. If we have a new PDF program, I’m going to send out the wrong links. We’ll get the rights ones out- and the next time the process will be much better, but I’m gonna ham-fist the hell out of things at first. And somehow, we will move forward. And our products will keep getting better and more beautiful. But there’s going to be some broken vases to trip over on the way.

Finally, in regards to last week’s ideas about the Pre-Release PDF program I was thinking about. I think Onyx and DTRPG may have found a solution. The current idea is that we put the PDF up, folks can buy it and comment, we’ll make changes based on your feedback, then put up the PoD and PDF/PoD combos a month later. The PDF purchasers who bought a PDF up to that time will be sent a coupon to upgrade to the combos minus the difference between the cost of the PDF vs the PDF in the combo. The point being that we don’t want this to be financially punishing to any fan: PDF only fans, PoD only fans, or Combo fans. What do you think, sirs?

Look! Updates:

–  Strix Chronicle Fiction Anthology (VtR) is in layout.

Blood and Smoke: The Strix Chronicle (VtR) Crisis handled, new authors working on the project, and we’ve pushed back our release estimate by a month to compensate.

Mummy the Curse – Book and  Screen are at press.

Exalted 3rd Edition:  Kickstarting like crazy: We funded in 18 minutes, we have 800% funding and are the #2 funded tabletop RPG KS. Headed towards 3,300 backers and those backers have blown through 18 Stretch Goals.  There will be lots of Updates via the KS that reveal pieces of what will  be in EX3, so keep an eye out for those too. There’s also the map and new art there.

V20 Hunters Hunted 2:  Preparing files for press. Justin’s working on redlines for the Anthology writers.

– V20 Anarchs Unbound is in editing and we are getting art for it.

Deluxe Werewolf 20th Anniversary Edition: At press. Mike Lee is almost done the W20Houses of the Moon” novel.  The Storyteller Screen files are at press with W20. Bill has prepared the W20 Anthology outline and contracting prospective writers.  The Skinner is approved and the PDF is going out to the KS backers ASAP. Jess Hartley is writing the White Howlers Tribe Book  and the W20 Cookbook is being outlined. Check out some news here:

Deluxe Mage the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition has Phil Brucato writing like a maniac and developing his writers, also like a maniac. Art notes and contracts out to our full-page artist, once we have some feedback from him I’ll look a posting an art blog along with Phil’s developer notes. Very early sketches for the fulls look awesome. Talking to more, more artists this week.

– W20 Changing Breeds is in layout. Talking to Stew about Strey-tch Goals.

W20 Rage Across the World: Most of the art is in but a bit continues to trickle in.

– Guildhalls of the Deathless (MtC) is into editing.

Conventionbook: Syndicate (cMtA) has most of the art in.

Mage Translation Guide went live and is doing great on DTRPG.

W20 Book of the Wyrm is being written and red-lined. Check out the W20 blog notes:

– V20 Rites of the Blood: is being written and is in Open Dev on the blogs:

Trinity Continuum: Looking at the schedule to start setting up writing. John Snead is chasing me through the internet. He almost caught me but I started talking about genre emulation and got away. I might read his outline this week.

Scion: Talked to Joe Carriker about the project and broke his back with its awesomeness. When he gets up, we’ll talk about Scion: Origin.

– Demon: The Frutang: lots of example of play commentary including from Black Hat Matt McFarland’s play test are up on the new Demon blog: Check it out, there are quite a few playtests posted now and they give a very interesting (if early) look at the game. Text is being redlined and Rose is trying to get early art notes together.

Free RPG Day Project: Reap the Whirlwind, for VtR, is a combined 64 page booklet that combines a revised version of “Into the Void” and additional rules files from the Strix and God Machine Chronicles. This will be available at participating friendly local game stores June 15.


Reason for Drinking: “Sometimes the shit comes down so hard, you have to wear a hat.”

23 thoughts on “Thanks for Waiting”

  1. I love the solution to the early PDF+physical solution, so long as sending out the coupons are automated so you guys aren’t hassled by implementing it. 🙂

    Congrats on hitting Platinum with GMC, by the way. I knew we could do it. 🙂

    Now go-go Exalted Kickstarter!

  2. Honestly the fact that the Exalted devs have been so closed with system stuff leading up to and during the Kickstarter turned me off to actually backing. Especially given that the response was “we’re afraid if we show you the system you won’t buy the book”. I guess the assumption is that fans who want to know actual details about the system are thieves? W20 was wonderful when it came to laying out changes it was making from the get-go. That made the question of whether I wanted to back it very easy and got me very excited about W20.

    • I suspect the Exalted devs are more concerned about knee-jerk reactions and doomsaying without seeing the whole picture. The online Exalted fanbase isn’t known for being patient and trusting. With W20, the core of the system is already known to anyone who played the game back in the day (and they explicitly were planning to keep from making changes that would inherently make old books incompatible) so there’s less to worry about giving away there.

  3. I’m happy with the PDF PoD solution.

    As for exalted, I would love to be able to see more of the system stuff. I was hoping they show more of it in the Kickstarter. Still, I’m a happy backer and I’m pleased with the direction of what I’ve seen.

  4. PDF coupon sounds like a sensible and fair solution – thanks for finding ways to sort that out for us :). And thanks for the up-front comms about how different devs approach the open dev process – greatly appreciated!

  5. I really like the POD coupon idea. That way I can buy the PDF, confident that the errors will be fixed in the POD release.

  6. Interesting insight into your process here, Mr. Thomas. As long as everyone eventually gets the right things done I’m perfectly happy to support Onyx Path while you ham-fisting your way through the process.

    The PDF/PoD solution of a coupon is great.

    • Thanks- I really posted that part because I still get comments based on the expectation that Onyx Path is an operation the size of White Wolf in its heyday, or Paizo, or whatever. We’re just not trying to be a big and growing corporation. And actually, peoples’ ideas about the efficiency or size or corporate culture of WW have been pretty much all over the spectrum all these years, too. I used to love hearing about WW’s massive marketing machine. Through most of WW’s history, Marketing was one or two guys at most, usually the second marketeer being an intern, actually. Some of those folks were just brilliant, though, so it seemed a lot more together than it was.

    • The DriveThruRPG “crowd-sourcing corrections” delay sounds great. I don’t see any issues with it, and if it works I think it’s be fantastic.

      When it comes to the KickStarter PDFs, the same process could be applied to PoDs in the future? The only thing that you guys need to be careful of is “Gifting” the PDF copy that comes with the PoD/PDF combo, as being given a “free” PDF could possibly mean I give away the PDF linked to the product’s page and the PoD sent to me, leaving me with the original “preview” and the POD without showing I’ve purchased the PDF from the public page on my end.
      Is there any way that the Backer PDF can be from the eventual final product file/link/page, rather than a separate file without a public page?
      The reason I say this is that (using the W20 PDF as an example) the Preview copy is separate from the eventual public copy. When I click on the item link for it, there is no page associated with it. When I go to the public W20 page, there is no record of me having the PDF from there (also, I cannot comment, or review the product either. This also is the case if I order the PoD–it isn’t associated with my account, and so I still can’t review the product.)
      IF, somehow, as a backer, I was given the link to the PDF (before the page is made public?), then the PDF would eventually be the same as those who could later purchase the PDF as well, meaning we’re literally ALL on the same page. Then when I get the coupon, I could simply be given a coupon for the PoD minus whatever it costs to cover everyone’s butts.
      … unless I’m mistaken about some of the back-end/processes issues, or not seeing a glaring issue either. :-/

  7. The coupon idea works best.

    On top of it, you might even encourage second-guess sales from fans who bought the PDF, saw the product, and then decide, “Man, this is good. I’d like to have the actual book after all.”

    Then they don’t kick themselves for skipping out on the combo deal and missing the discount.

  8. Well. From what I temember if the first one, it was more of a starship trooper than avatar. Who knows what this one wilp be like considerig the avatar storm.

  9. To whom it may concern,, not just the forums, has disappeared.
    DNS servers are up and pinging the ip address does get a return.
    The server is simply not responding.
    I noticed this 11:55AM Sunday June 2.
    Webserver has been down for about 3 1/2 hours as of this writing.

  10. Ian is right. CCP got hit with a sustained DDoS that lasted over 16 hours.
    The fact someone could martial that kind of cyberforce is quite scary.


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