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Why no one’s funding it

It's not terrible, no, but it's not great either.

I asked why no one would invest money on this idea, then I played it and my question was answered in short order.

Looking through Kickstarter, I see a refrain come around over and over, that it’s due to simple publisher/venture capitalist stupidity that a given project isn’t already being made.  That every single project on there is an obvious moneymaker, especially the successful projects, and that there’s no possible reason other than sheer dogged stupidity that money isn’t being sunk into it.

That seems pretty immediately wrong, though, just on the face of it.  I’m not going to say that rich people are smart by definition – I’ve met some staggeringly dumb people with tons of money, for example – but I will say that most successful venture capitalists and publishers don’t stay that way because they’re not good at picking what they fund.  If they’re leaving money on the table, there has to be a reason for it.

Fortunately, several of these reasons are pretty obvious to me just at a glance, and I’m not even an investor.  So why is it that no one is funding a given game outside of Kickstarter?

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Telling Stories: Getting better but never good

Yes, I know, it's a horrible logo. I'm not always good at those.A character who can solve no problems is boring.  A character who can solve every problem is boring.  But odds are that you’re more worried about hitting the second threshold than the first, because most roleplayers tend to make competent sorts.  Which is still fine… until, of course, you get to learning new tricks.

Everyone wants their characters to expand, obviously.  You want characters who change and grow over time, learn new skills, gain new experiences, and so forth. But at the same time, you recognize that having a character who can just smash through everything and solve every problem is just plain boring; it’s not fun to have a character with a skillset that can solve everything.

In video game terms, you always are getting better.  In narrative terms, you should never be so good that you can’t be touched.  So how do you strike a balance between the two and be just good enough to keep improving without becoming irritatingly invulnerable?

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Telling Stories: Importing tone

Yes, I know, it's a horrible logo. I'm not always good at those.There are a lot of things that I like about IDW’s current run of Transformers comics, but one of the things I like the most is the sense of tone.  Scott, Roberts, and Barber all have their own voices when writing stories, but they also all do a great job of creating the feel of a unified setting, with characters all working in the same space seven as they don’t necessarily share the same goals.  It’s heady stuff, well worth importing into roleplaying.

Obviously, I can’t import it directly into roleplaying due to the sad lack of a Transformers MMO (thanks for that, Jagex), but I can bring in parts of the tone.  Which is one of those things that doesn’t really get discussed much when it comes to roleplaying, despite the fact that it really lies at the heart of most imports.  When you’re bringing a character from other media into a game you’re playing, you’re hoping to bring some of the story developments and energy that they have in their original appearance, trying to carry that tone along with them.

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The paid mod debate we never had

Well, until this happens the next time.

Here we go with an important point of discussion we’ll never actually discuss.

According to pretty much anyone you ask, Valve recently made one boneheaded move and one reasonable and understandable move. The question is which one came first and which one came second, and that speaks to something interesting going on underneath.

Not oh-so-long ago, Steam opened up the option for paid mods via the Steam Workshop. There were two camps involved – one that was convinced this was utter brilliance and another that was certain it was the worst thing ever. It didn’t matter in the long run, of course, as not even a full week later Valve announced that it was pulling the test program, offering refunds to those who paid, and so forth.

By itself I find this all kind of uninteresting. I don’t have a horse in this race. What fascinates me is the fact that both sides in this particular tempest in a teapot have very firm ideas about which side of the debate is the side of the angels, and the very idea that there is an opposite side seems laughable to them.

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Telling Stories: Fuck immersion

Yes, I know, it's a horrible logo. I'm not always good at those.Immersion is a big deal to me.  I talk about immersion a lot.  I think it’s important.  I think that it’s unfair to blame the game for your lack of immersion, sure, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not important or relevant or necessary.

That having been said?  Fuck immersion.  When the time is right.

Immersion as a constant buzzword, as a priority uber alles, is the sort of thing that does nothing to help your roleplaying and everything to be counterproductive.  I’m not saying that immersion isn’t important, merely that it cannot be and should not be your foremost concern at every given moment.  There are times when you need to let your immersion take a backseat and remember that you are, in fact, in control of this character and their reactions.  Trying to use immersion as your constant and only catchphrase is actively harmful to creating a positive roleplaying environment.

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