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Setup at MomoCon

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We managed to get the booth set up in record time! That’s always a good thing. We arrived early, managed to get a decent spot in the load-in line and went straight to work. The parking here is still pretty bad - $35 per day for vendors. However, the people running the show are super nice and very helpful. Despite the size of this show, there is not a whole lot of overlap in the type of items sold. Of course, you have a vendors selling Pops and wall scrolls. The types of items they have are different. Just walking around the vendor room floor, we found people selling similar items but definitely not the same items. That’s always a good sign.  Word around the convention center was there were nearly 40,000 people at the show last year. Hopefully, we see similar numbers this year. The layout of the room is huge! As before, there is a massive gaming area set aside.  We were surprised to see some familiar faces here. A good friend of mine, Brandon with Tyr 3 (Booth 1523, Yum-yum bags and mys

On the road again. . . Finally!

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  For the past three weeks, we’ve had no conventions on schedule. The two worst months for conventions are May and December. May has high school graduations nationwide and December is a major holiday time. It’s not to say we haven’t been busy. Both Kevin and I are working on a tome of artifacts, trying to polish off a module, along with living our normal lives. However, staying home for three weeks is a bit wearing. Traveling from city to city and meeting some of the people we meet is actually very exciting. There is a certain allure to the open road. Of course, this is coming from a person who taught in a classroom for 30 years and lived on a shoestring budget, supported four boys, and ‘made it work’. There’s not a whole lot of time for extended travel or resources to do it. As a retiree, the rules have changed. This week, we’re on our way to MomoCon. We’ve worked this show before and it’s always been a good performer for us. Most impressive is the game presence. Showcasing our

Dealing with Writer's Block

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  For those of you who write, this writer's block is the impenetrable, merciless wall requiring vast amounts of personal energy to overcome. For a game writer, it can be the undoing of a company. Especially if you are a small company. We must create rules, creatures, and adventures. We correspond with other game creators, artists, and supply companies. Interruptions in those lines of communication can quickly undo the best of organizations. At first, writing was a means to an end. Writing for the game required constant effort. After a while, it became just part of my day. Reflecting on it, it’s evident a routine was established. The trick has become just that, a routine. During the construction of our 2.0 version, I also decided to start a blog to journal the effort required to complete the project. The blog quickly became my free writing time in which I simply poured out my thoughts and feelings for the world to see. As we moved from actual writing to editing (still have cold

AI Art in Game Development

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  In the initial 1.0 phase of Tortured Earth, we approached the project with an idea, enthusiasm, and a shoestring budget. One of my students was working on a comic book project with another friend and, as happens with so many first attempts, it flaked out. He was left with a large amount of artwork that really had no purpose. I was in desperate need of A LOT of artwork. I purchased the images from him and used them throughout the book. Even his concept art and doodles found a place in the book. To make up for the lack of art, we used colorful background images which alluded to the general theme of the core storyline. It was a graphics design tactic suggested to me by a friend who majored in the topic. When the book was released, we immediately underwent criticism for the boldness of the pages, color choices of the text blocking, and lack of illustration. There was no mercy from the critics for our lack of resources. There was no understanding that this was a first print or the fac

Publishing Deadlines

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For those of you following the website, you may note we’ve picked up a new talent – Anthony Kallas. Like so many personalities we meet at conventions, Anthony was an avid gamer. Unlike many, he was also an established author. He expressed a keen interest in the Tortured Earth multiverse and was anxious to contribute to it. Surprisingly, he produced a module in short order. Kevin and I were able to reliably promise to have the module edited and ready for publication by the beginning of March. We put in the hours to edit the module and made sure it conformed the to Tortured Earth universe. I present this background to set the stage for the establishment of realistic expectations. The issue with publishing is this: the publisher. We use Ingram Spark as our printing agency. The company is reliable, produces quality products, and has print houses worldwide. The downside of the company is the process one must undergo to actually see their product in print. Modules and game guides are gra

Final Day of OzCon

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*Images were taken before the show opened for attendees. Sunday, like all other shows, was slow. It's not to say the day was bad, just slow. One of the things I've always been impressed is the community behind OzCon. The attendees are super nice. The organizers are both supportive and concerned about the performance of their show.  Factors that made this show rough were beyond the control of the organizers. Loadout was rough, mainly due to an unrelenting rain. At best, it was light when it was our turn to loadout. Vendors managing to leave early were basically assaulted by a driving rain. My massive display slowed me down enough to miss the worse of the downpour. In short, we'll definitely do the show again. Game developers are especially encouraged to do the show. The large gaming area and willingness to allow us to run game sessions is a huge draw. Personally, I'd like to see a convention dedicated to independent game developers. I think if properly promoted, we could

OzCon Day 2

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  Today was not a bad day. We managed to break even and cross into the profit zone. After 2PM, the convention slowed down and we saw a slow down in sales. Despite the slowdown, the attendees were excited about the show. I know the vendor perspective is focused on the dollar sign. However, this show really does have a lot to offer for the attendee: it’s affordable, has a lot of activities, and remains true to its design. Given the fact we’re in the profit zone, I feel the show is definitely a show worth a return. I would be painting a misleading picture if I said all were doing spectacular. A few of my vendor friends have complained the show has not shaped out to what they hoped it would be. Their success could be a multifaceted issue. Some are using their booth to shield themselves from the customers, a couple are known for sitting on their phones and not engaging with potential buyers, and not a few have displays that are either lacking or missing all together. The crafters of the