Archive for the ‘Project: Le Blob’ Category

TTWLB and other musings

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

So a couple months (!) ago, i announced that my latest book, The Things We Leave Behind, was available for purchase. I wasn’t entirely clear when i mentioned that, because at the time, it was only for the PDF version.

But now, you can get the print version of it as well, by going to the same exact place, DrivethruRPG. As a bonus, if you by the dead tree edition, you’ll get the PDF for free!

In other layout news, i continue to work on Skinner’s art book. And am in early discussions with Stygian Fox regarding another RPG book, this one wildly different from anything i’ve worked on before. More on that as it develops; i’m not sure what i can or can’t say yet about it.

Part of the whole process of running a business is, you know, actually being a business. Doing so requires taking a lot of not-fun steps, in a very particular order, as i continue to find out. None of it is very difficult, per se, but it does require a fair amount of busywork, mostly involving filling out forms and paying fees to various government agencies. For example, if you want to get your Neat And Really Fun Game to be sold by distributors, you need to fill out an application. To complete that application, you need to have a State Sales Tax license. To finish that application, you have to get your business license. To get that license, you have to…

…etc. and so forth. The reason i bring this up is not to complain, but to explain that, if you’ve ever pondered getting into the gaming business for yourself (or any other business for that matter), it may sound daunting, but it’s really not. There’s just a definite path you have to take, and the process will take a while. If you wonder how to find out what the first steps are, i can tell you that what i did is go to my city’s government website (you have to, it seems, start local and work your way up/out), and i found a well-written guide on how to start a business in my town. Your city’s website probably has the same sort of thing; if not, they will have an office or two in city hall that can help you out.

 

International TableTop Day!

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

We here at the Studio are proud to announce that we’ve been invited to participate at Games of Berkeley for International TableTop Day. This is a huge event that takes place all over the country (if not the world) to celebrate board and card games. Games of Berkeley, in their mission to stay awesome, invites local game designers as part of their celebration.

If you’re interested in checking out Feed the Shoggoth!, or a host of other games, swing by Games of Berkeley this Saturday, any time from 10am – 7pm.

In other news, layout for The Things We Leave Behind is at a stall right now. I’ve done pretty much everything i can, and am waiting for Stephanie (head honcho at Stygian Fox, as well as cartographer extraordinaire) to finish all the maps. Once those are plugged in, the book’ll be done, but she has other assignments that she needs to get completed first (contractual obligations, ya know).

Beyond that, there are a couple more RPG book projects down the line, and Montag has more stuff lining up for me…but right now, it’s kinda quiet.

A quick blurb about that card game of mine

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

Something that i’ve been remiss in mentioning; if you’re interested in purchasing a copy of Feed the Shoggoth!, here’s what you need to do. Shoot me an email at badger@squamousstudios.com, and i’ll get you set up (basically, send me 26 bucks via Paypal). I don’t have an online store set up yet, but it’s in development (along with the rest of the website for FtS!). Until that’s all complete, however, Paypal is the only real way that have to take orders.

That’s all for now. Be seeing you.

-=Badger

Slithering into the new year

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

Hope everyone had a fun time celebrating Krampus and the death of 2015. 🙂 Things, as usual, have been busy in the Studio, with most of the time chewed up by packing and sorting and folding and spindling and taping and labeling various things for Feed the Shoggoth!. It’s taken a while to get everything out the door, but as of last week, the last of the copies (and various goodies) for the Kickstarter backers who all live overseas…which felt like a Herculean task. There was a lot of back and forth between myself and the representative from Sans-Detour (who has been awesome, btw- i’m not complaining at all), so it took a while to get everything set up. In the end, it’s all worked out.

So now, i’m actively getting the game into more and more stores, and ramping up direct sales. If anyone is interested in ordering a copy of Feed the Shoggoth!, please shoot me an email at badger@squamousstudios, and we’ll get you taken care of.

I know its something that i’ve brought up before, but i’ll say it again. If you’re doing a Kickstarter, for GOO’s sake, get your shipping costs in order. I cannot emphasize this enough. Shipping has cost me more money for this project than anything else. Here’s just one example of how it’s fucked me- i thought that the cost of shipping the game would be the same no matter where in the U.S., and based my shipping rates off of that. I weighed everything, made a spreadsheet, and thought i had everything correct.

Well, i had it only half right. Up to a certain weight, it was true that the shipping rate would remain flat. However, any shipment that had more than the game, and the counters, hit a threshold; thereafter, the price for shipping the KS fulfillment could vary as much as 10 bucks, depending on where the person lived. Ouch.

I’ve also been hard at work designing the “Things We Leave Behind” book, but i’ve been crippled by my computer having to go into the shop for more than a week. It’s still looking pretty good, if i do say so myself.

Oh yeah, and i’ve been slowly building out the FtS! website. Bear with me, it’s taking a while. 🙂

Guess that’s it for now! Be seeing you.

Shipping Shoggoths

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

It’s official- the shipment of Feed the Shoggoth! copies arrived from China, and were delivered right to my door (of my storage unit). Over half a ton of game product is quite the site to behold…

…and makes me glad i’m not in the book business. I can’t imagine what schlepping around 1,500 copies of an RPG would be like instead…no, wait! I do know what’s that like, having done so when i used to work the booth for Chaosium at conventions. Ah, those were the days.

Anyway, the inside of my apartment now looks like a tornado hit a warehouse, with piles of boxes ready to be shipped, and other product scattered about, lurking behind shipping and packing material. It’s a glorious mess. This is what i’ll be doing for the next…i dunno how long. Packing and stuffing and taping and labeling. But the end result’s already worth it.

Meanwhile, i submitted my first page design tests to Stygian Fox for that book i’m working on, “The Things We Leave Behind”. It’s a lot…rougher than my previous work. On purpose. This is a collection of modern, deadly, no-holds-barred dark collection of scenarios for Call of Cthulhu. I aim to make this book look mean. A couple of adjustments aside, they’re really happy with what i’ve come up with, which is a great feeling. I’m really looking forward to really diving into this book.

I’m not dead!

Sunday, June 7th, 2015

Honest! I’ve just been…ummm, off doing stuff. Seriously.

As usual, i don’t mean to let my blog here slide, but when you have only so many hours in a day, you have to prioritize. It’s like editing, sometimes; you have to let slide bits and chunks of stuff that you know (or think, at least) that would be really cool, but just can’t fit for whatever reason. But i’m back! I swear!

What have i been working on? if your first guess was “Feed the Shoggoth!“, you’d be right. I won’t go into the long, boring details of it, but i spent most of the winter struggling with printer companies. One in particular that, even though they were highly recommended to me, ended up having the worst fucking customer service i’ve yet to experience in this process. You would think that when you’re telling a company that you literally want to give them your money, but they’re not letting you, they’d say something… This cost me precious time, and further delayed the game coming out.

Oh hell. You know what? I’ll out them. They’re called DeLano. I had gotten a quote from them about a year ago, and thought everything was fine. When i requested an updated quote…crickets. Several emails and calls went unanswered. Eventually, some emails were responded to…vaguely, as if they weren’t really paying attention to what i was writing.

Thankfully, i’ve solved that issue; we’re going with Panda Game Manufacturing now, and the difference is night and bloody day. The status of Feed the Shoggoth!, then, is this- pretty much everything concerning goodies for the Kickstarter have been created, paid for, and shipped to me. All i’m waiting for now are the minis and boxes. As far as the game itself, we were delayed (again!), when the pre-press fellow at Panda pointed out that our bleed amount wasn’t enough.

But, as of last night, i finished processing all the cards, after Damion went back in with Illustrator and did some tweaking. I need to do some last tweaking of the rules, and Damion is in the final steps to getting the box design finished. Then we’ll be off to get this all printed!

Of course, we won’t be done after that; there’s still the Print ‘n Play version to put together. But that should be easy (he says, well knowing he’s said that phrase before only to be kicked in the arse by it later).

Meanwhile, i’ve been working on some other projects. You probably know that Call of Cthulhu 7th edition is out now, at least in pdf form. I’ve been told that the dead tree version will be out…this month? May? Anyway, the new year has seen me working on the 7th ed revision of Cthulhu by Gaslight, which is about 90% done.  I’ve also been actively working on the newest book for Golden Goblin Press, De Horrore Cosmico. That particular book is a collection of six, standalone scenarios for the Cthulhu Invictus era. I’m currently done with the big pass on that, and am waiting for the proofreading feedback to get back to me. It’s been a challenge to not duplicate the work i did on The Legacy of Arrius Lurco.

What else…a couple of books for Montag Press that are in the can, and i really need to update my portfolio here….sheesh.

Okay, back to work with me!

I guess i’ve been that busy…

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

…because when i tend to get /this/ busy, that means that some things tend to get lost in the shuffle. Like my blog. :/

So what have i been doing for the past month-plus, besides taking trips around the world and buying pair after pair of argyle socks with all the money i raised from the Kickstarter?*  Whelp, working on that damn card game of mine, mostly. Here’s the list of things that have gone on:

1) Read the short story, made edits, sent it back to author

2) Designed and got made 4000 score tokens

3) Continued the design of the cards for the game with Damion

4) Continued word on the card art (almost done!)

5) Designed the score counter, worked with manufacturer to get counter made

6) A bunch of boring KS admin stuff

7) Continued contact/shepherding of other KS goodies like the boxes and minis, Minion portrait cards, etc.

 

I’ve also been in talks with Chaosium about various things, evil, delicious things that i can’t mention in public. Yet. Except maybe that Gaslight scenario book i’ve been blathering about for a couple years now. Yes, maybe that.

Anyway. That’s where things stand. I’m trying to wrap up the art for Feed the Shoggoth! as quickly as i can; once they’re done, i can start throwing them onto the cards, and get the real manufacturing underway. I’m aiming for shipping in November sometime still, but i may slip a bit into December. We’ll see.

 

*Note: i really haven’t been doing this, i promise.

I’m not dead yet!

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Hey everyone. You may have noticed, if you visit this site at all, that i’ve been rather quiet for the past…couple of months, it seems. Well, i’ve been hugely busy with the Kickstarter for Feed the Shoggoth, which i’m happy to say was very successful; i raised nearly double my initial goal of $8,000. I’d been meaning to post more about that here, but the KS consumed so much time, that i wasn’t able to write about it…until now. And while there’s still a ton of work to do on it (like, you know, getting the game actually made, printed, and shipped out to pledgers, for instance), i can share what i’ve learned in this wacky and wild world of Kicksteringness so far:

1) The video- like i posted previously, i’m so, so glad i ended up making the video. It was a lot of work, and took the help of a great number of people, but it was absolutely worth it in the end. According to the stats kept by Kickstarter, the video was played over 1,500 times! Now, i don’t have any conversion metrics; meaning, i don’t know how many people who watched the video ended up pledging (i may ask that in my survey). But i do know that there were people who did pledge largely because of what they saw in the video.

Do i think the video is why my KS succeeded? No, not in of itself. But i think it went a long way in helping. My advice for any budding KS creators out there- MAKE A VIDEO.

  •  Advertising- I spent…well, a significant amount of money on advertising. I targeted four websites:
  • Yog-sothoth.com, which is the premier and most popular Call of Cthulhu website
  • Rpg.net, one of the largest gaming sites on the interwebs
  • Lovecraft e-zine, a very well respected site for all things Lovecraftian
  • Kicktraq, a site that tracks trends of how well (or not) a KS is doing

There were a few other sites that i wanted to place ads in, but frankly, i was running out of money.

As i learned, different sites handle ads differently. Some will just constantly display your ad for a pre-determined amount of time. Others will charge by “impressions”, which is just a fancy way of saying how often your ad will appear when compared to the other ads in rotation. The more you pay, the more “impressions” you get, and thus the more often your ad will appear in comparison to other ads.

So, was it worth plunking down all that money for ad banners? I don’t have any numbers to prove it, but my gut says yes. I know (from what people told me) that they found out about the KS thanks to ads. However, i’m pretty sure that ads were secondary to…

3) Social media- As far as getting the word out, this was the obvious winner. Facebook, Twitter, and, yes, e-mail were huge factors in telling the world about the Kickstarter. Reposts on FB and Twitter were instrumental.

4) Hashtags on Kickstarter- this was something i didn’t know about until it was brought to my attention, and a function that Kickstarter doesn’t readily make known (i had to search through their blog posts to find one written in 2013 to find the instructions). On the main Discover page, on the right side, there’s a section called “#Tags”. Natrually, there’s one for Cthulhu. If you send Kickstarter a tweet, asking them to put a #tag on your Kickstarter, it will then appear in these Tag searches.

Why does this matter? Because there are folks out there who visit Kickstarter and look often to see what new games or Lovecraftiana or whatever have appeared on KS. I had one person tell me that they *only* buy games from Kickstarter.

5) Shipping- this will be a significant issue for any Kickstarter (unless all your stuff is in electronic form). Get your numbers figured out before you start. DON’T just guess. Go to the post office, or use their online shipping calculator, to get accurate numbers on how much shipping is going to run you.

And don’t forget packaging. I’d recommend using U-Line(http://www.uline.com); all they do is sell shipping materials, and it’s super cheap. Make sure to factor that into your costs.

Declare your shipping charges up front. I made a handy chart that anyone can consult, depending on which country they live in, to show how much they need to add to their pledge.

This still left to confusion. Some people expect that shipping charges are rolled into the pledge, if they live in the same country. Others don’t. I’m frankly undecided which method i would use in future KS projects, but be prepared for having to put in some extra work in corralling pledgers to get their shipping costs in.

6) Stay on top of communication- You’ll end up getting questions and comments from pledgers and prospective pledgers…possibly a lot. Be nice, be clear, and be respectful. Most of all, be honest.

7) Expect a few pledgers to bail- It just happens, for whatever reason, that some folks will need to either reduce their pledge amounts, or pull out entirely. Don’t take it personally. I remember being surprised when i first saw that happen, but i realized that it’s something that’s just going to happen. Unless you’ve done something to actively piss off your backers, don’t stress about it.

8) Trolls- Yep, even in a wee little Kickstarter such as mine, i managed to attract a couple of trolls (one of which went so far as shelling out a buck just so they could drop in and “comment” and offer “advice” on my game).

9) Keep talking about it- This goes back to using social media and e-mail. Don’t stop talking about your Kickstarter. In person, through mail, on Facebork, whatever. Keep your KS on everyone’s mind. It’ll remind them to pledge, or spread the word…or both.

 

That’s it for now. If more topics come up (and i’m sure they will), i’ll post about them here. Cheers!

Video post mortem

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Wow. What a day. We spent all of the other Saturday filming, and it was a complete blast. It actually went faster than i thought it would (which is a good thing; last thing i wanted was for all of us to get burned out at some point with filming yet to do). My crew, actors, and everyone else involved made it a breeze; there’s no way in hell i could have done this without them.

Stuff i learned from the shoot:

1) Bring food and drinks: i didn’t think of this, but thankfully, a couple of my friends did, and brought snacks and such for people to nibble on whilst we were filming. It helped out a lot.

2) Get a professional: I was lucky in that i had not one, but two friends who do video production for a living. Their insight and experience was invaluable; knowing how to set up the equipment, staging the table and the actors, getting the lighting correct, properly recording the audio, how to film inserts (and where they’d be needed)…the list goes on. So…trust me. Find someone who knows their way around a shoot. Even if you have to pay. You won’t regret it.

3) Have people rehearse: This sounds like a no-brainer, so it’s easy to forget. And it’s an easy thing to do whilst the technical side of things is getting set up.

4) Get your post-production ducks in a row: As i’m finding out the hard way now, it’s really in your best interests to figure out how you’re going to get all the footage off the camera and on to your computer so that you can edit it. Or have someone lined up to do the post-production work for you. Right now, this is still a major blocker for me; i’m still dealing with trying to get to a place where i can just import the damn footage and start editing. It’s been a massive headache.

Kickstarter Ho (nearly)!

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

With CoC 7th edition off my stove top, at least for now, i’ve been turning my attention full time to getting all of my ducks in a row for Feed the Shoggoth’s Kickstarter. Most of that lately has consisted of such un-fun but necessary activities as getting shipping prices for various countries sussed out (thank you, Angus at Chronicle City!), going through feedback for the KS preview, and putting a crew together for the video.

Oye…the video. Let me tell you this now, anyone out there who’s looking to get a Kickstarter going- PLAN YOUR VIDEO NOW. I didn’t mean for my video to be the last thing of my project. That’s just how things worked out. But for any future KS launchers, take heed and start scoping out your video as soon as you can. When you do, you’ll want to think about these little crumbs of advice:

1) Write a Script: i know it sounds kind of silly. I’m not really making some Hollywood epic, right? It’s just a little promo film for my Kickstarter. But that pesky little Baphomet is in the details. What do you want to say in the video? What are you going to show? Is there going to be game play demonstrated? If so, how much of the game will be shown?  If you have other people besides yourself appearing, what are they going to say and do?

If you plan none of these things before you shoot, you’ll end up being stuck trying to figure all that out while you’re shooting, and that’s only going to cost you time and money.

2) Keep it Short: Attention spans these days are short. Surprisingly so for online video (ask yourself how long you are typically ready to commit yourself to watching a Youtube vid. Probably only a few minutes, unless you’re really invested in the subject matter, right?). You should be able to give a good overview of your game (or whatever) and introduce yourself in 3-5 minutes, tops.

3) You Don’t Need to go into Super Detail: Just give the 30 second elevator pitch for your game. Save the in-depth examination of mechanics for the Kickstarter page itself. If people are interested, they’ll take the time to read up further.

4) Get as Much Help as you Can: At the absolute minimum, you’re going to need the following:

-Film equipment

-Location

-Editing software

-Sound of some sort (live or inserted post production

-Someone to film everything

Unless you plan on doing all of that yourself, you’ll want to start talking to your friends, co-workers, perhaps some college students who would be willing to film your video on the cheap…whoever you can scrounge up.

All of that has come up before i’ve shot one frame of video. No doubt more things will surface once we actually start rolling.

While i’ve got all that going on, there are a couple of smaller projects i’m plugging away at. One is a web banner for a friend’s site that will advertise  a Jules Verne-esque book he’s writing. The other is the cover design for an-as-yet-unannounced book for Golden Goblin Press. Woot, my first cover design!