Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Closing Remarks


I'm sure this post comes as a surprise to many of you. I had intended to give some closing remarks around this time last year, but just kinda forgot about it I guess. Still, I would like to say a few things, and hopefully shed some light on BFG:R, and my experience.

BFG & ME

I've always been a big fan of BFG, though I got into it just as GW ended it's official support. The game had a certain elegance....maybe more a romantic character to it. Your forces only consist of a few ships, each with a name, a history, and some permanence beyond a match. 

The models are works of art, cathedrals rather than goofy sci-fi men. The game is more logical than 40k ever was, land battles are irrational in the far future. Also, the lack of the 'space marine' plague was nice. 

The 2010 FAQ

I was able to scratch a semi-consistent group together for BFG back around the time the 2010 FAQ was being created. I was a predominantly Ork player, and despite being the most experienced, I rarely won a match. My group recommended using house rules, so I went online to see what other BFG players opinions on modifying the stats were.

So, I came to the 2010 FAQ, where it seemed plausible, and highly favorable to alter some of the more erroneous stats. However, the HA were less than compliant, not wanting to be too disruptive to the available GW statistics and weapon mechanics.

The Project

I had not intended to make BFG:R at first, only a set of house rules to revise statistics and maybe add a few new ships for the weaker fleets. I decided a voting mechanic would best ensure no absurdities popped up. This worked for a little while.

Soon, I began updating the PDF versions of the rules, for something more visually appealing than a word document. I didn't know what I was doing at first, and this really cost me time. I took each page individually, modified them as an image, then replaced them in a 'whole document' full of visual errors and noted inconsistencies. On this note, towards the end I started using the proper software, InDesign, albeit too late for me to maintain the energy I had initially.

Over time, it became easier to just make decisions on my own. Guess I had a bit of an overconfidence streak. As I delved further into the rules, I realized more potential for improvement, and bit off more than I could handle. Though it may have been possible for a professional with assistance, it certainly was not for someone learning publishing, game theory, and even technical writing. Especially with distant loosely connected help.

I kept trying, but ended up burning myself out. Not paying enough attention to the rest of my life, and eventually learning to no longer enjoy the game. I'd spent some 400 hours working on BFG:R all told, and presumed at least another 500 would be necessary to get the rules out. For something I didn't know if people would really use.

Personal History

Though I've only been aware of it for about a year now, I'm afflicted with a condition known as Cyclothymia or Bipolar III. I'd been diagnosed when I was young, but guess it got lost. Basically this causes me to get really involved in things for a month or two when I'm in my up phase. I'll get tons of work done, never sleep, and forget all my other responsibilities. Then I'll lose interest, or just kinda burn out.

This has happened with other things, politics last fall, construction the fall before, a few other things. Each time, I get extremely involved, learn the subject in such depth no one would suspect me having only learned it in a few months. A gift and a curse I suppose.

What I Gained

So I do admit I overdid this way too much, but I wasn't aware of it at the time. It's interesting how these things turn out,  I got a lot further than I would've ever imagined. I built and managed a network of professionals, thoroughly learned software I would've never come across otherwise, and I learned how to manage disagreements. 

It was, learning by immersion. It was....fighting a battle you'd invariably lose, either by the discontinuance of GW or the failure of the rules to gain any appeal. To me that's something, I think that we learn the most about ourselves through acts of poor odds. For me, it was my expression of admiration for what Games Workshop used to be: a game company.

So despite the time wasted, and the incompleteness of all this, I'm glad I did it. 

Appreciation

I would like to thank a few people. Most of all Dan Gleason, for continuing the work in some form, and for his willingness to help. Decent guy I think, from our few interactions.

Roy Armkreutz, you are a peculiar inspiration. I appreciate your soft handed mentorship, I think it's the best way to advise someone in a situation like mine. Too harsh and I would've ignored you, too soft and I wouldn't believe your advice. I respect you.

Howard Tee, Thomas Eady, you guys were a bit unique. It was nice meeting you.

I know I'm missing a bunch of others, can't seem to recall names though. Still, if you were involved, thanks. It was....something else.


Future of This Site

I think that I have this site registered for another year, so I'll leave it up until then. I'm not sure if my documents are still being circulated from my Google Drive. I know they're all up on scribd, and elsewhere. I'll probably take those down around the time this site expires.

Best of luck to everyone, let me know if you have any questions.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Sojourn

I know this post is a few months late, and I apologize for not being around, but BFG:R got me a bit overwhelmed, and I admit I was both impatient and greedy with my work. I wanted to do everything and have it completed right away. Bit off more than I could chew.

Recently I have been working on a steampunk/victorian horror tabletop RPG with a few friends. I've learned how beneficial it is to have people you can speak to in person, as well as more control over a game system. BFG has become a bit of a monstrosity, and I wanted to include everything in the first release of BFG:R. I kept coming up with ideas and wanted to include them, but this only aggravated my problem. The idea of using the Rogue Trader art made every book release a temptation to make the snowball grow. In truth I felt obligated to push an update every few days, despite how complex and time consuming one can be (much less with InDesign, too bad I started using it so late.)

Ultimately I was defeated by the shooting phase. I wanted to specify the order in which each action was preformed, and despite the fact that it followed official rules near exactly, in writing it seemed too complicated....too many steps. We all do it as second nature, select the ship you wish to fire, select a target, measure range, arc and so on. But it simply looked so complex. I couldn't get it to be 'just right', and I became frustrated, and so chose to suspend the project. I thought it might be possible to work it out with financial support, and/or a number of appreciative followers showing their support (as it had become difficult to see the value in completing BFG:R in its entirety). Though I didn't like the idea, I wrote a quick blog post requesting for such support, believing that some monetary compensation would allow me to work less (I also attend Grad School) and spend more time on the project. As well, it is somewhat costly to produce the game, well...not a lot, but printing and software costs are quite expensive for a student.

So I took a break. Despite my statement that I would provide further information some months ago, I was still... disheartened about the whole thing. Of course, a bit embarrassed to return and say that I couldn't produce it anymore, maybe even more to say it to myself. Battlefleet Gothic is a wonderful game which I do adore, but it has its flaws, and it would have been nice to fix them...to see the game become what it deserved to be. Even perhaps having a comeback with increased model sales (due to new ships and players), and not doomed to disappear slowly as players are unable to find opponents, or are bored from a lack of novelty.

I wanted to gain a large following, so I tried to present a whollistic solution, trying to do everything at once. Showing each race, and trying to fill every role of a publishing company. Although this is possible, it would have been much easier without the limitations associated with unofficial rules, a number of times supporters would lose favor due to some rule change (though official rules for many GW games are often more radical than anything I ever did, and are simply accepted). It would have helped greatly to have some authority behind BFG:R. I imagine that if I were to obtain GW permission, BFG:R would have multiplied its followers by a factor of ten. Even if unfunded by GW, supporters would be substantially more willing to donate to the cause, and even provide more direct support in the form of playtesting, editing and proofreading.

In retrospect, and with the skills I have now, I imagine I could've cut my work time by at least a factor of four. Learning and using the correct software (InDesign) eliminated 90% of visual, layout and typography errors which took a substantial amount of time to correct. As well, it made conversion into PDF much easier.

If I were to do it over, I would've started with a limited scope. Not initially presenting plans for 4 books, instead I would have created it as most games are created, starting with a rulebook and the rules for four races. Likely IN Chaos Orks and Tau, since these all follow fairly consistent and simple rules. Afterwards I would have an update every few months of the Core Rules and the addition of another race. I would leave out the references and complex rules until they were officially added. Although this would annoy some DE/T/CWE/CE etc. players they are far less numerous than the four mentioned (aside from orks).

I figured that to complete the Core Rules it would've taken me somewhere around 160-200 hours of work, editing, writing, proofreading, reviewing with supporters and playtesting. Even over the course of 3 months, that's 15 hours a week. I think that if I had a well informed, skilled, invested and available (most of all) assistant this would be cut in half (perhaps even more).

Although you may think it's over, I don't want to say that BFG:R is dead, and I will not return to update/complete it (even partially). We'll see. I do enjoy writing the rules, despite how difficult it can be. Who knows, something might come up to make this a possibility.

As far as the Kickstarter proposal, it isn't a bad idea, but I wouldn't want to do it without some GW support, or at least permission. All this time there has been some concern that GW would show up with a hostile attitude towards BFG:R, so it seemed easier to keep quiet for the time being. I would've likely written GW a letter some time after completing a completed Beta of the rules, hoping that an increase in BFG sales or at least notable support of BFG:R would give them cause to grant full permission, perhaps even limited support of the system. At this time though, the books are sloppy, and only show an incomplete system...likely to be ignored by professionals.

This is a bit off topic, but I am somewhat surprised that the High Admiralty seemingly has not posted about BFG:R, I wonder if it is intentional or just coincidence.

Aside, I do give permission for anyone to reproduce my work and supply it for reference purposes. If anyone would like the production files, (photoshop/Indesign) I'll provide them with the caveat of permission. I'll try to peek in every so often, and post every few weeks.

Regards,

Plaxor.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The End?

I come to you now solemnly, I fear that I have come to a crossroad and have chosen to put the Revised project on indefinite hiatus. There are a number of reasons why I came to this decision, the foremost being that I cannot complete it in a reasonable amount of time. I estimate that completion of the core rulebook would take around 200 hours of solid work, and at my current rate of 2-3 hours per day, this would be around 4 months from now. To complete the fleet rules as well would take an additional 6-10 months. Unfortunately this is far longer than I would like to devote to the project, and more hours is impossible without me forfeiting something else in my life. I had hoped that I could perhaps find funding through donations, but this wasn't the case.

Remember that people who design game systems usually spend full time on the projects, and consist of a group of 3-5 people actively working on it. In a sense what I had hoped to do was a bit quixotic from the start. Although I would very much love to complete BFG:R and I adore the game itself, I must discontinue my work in the interest of furthering personal goals. I am quite disheartened having to abandon the work I have already completed, and hate to disappoint BFG:R's loyal fans, but unless something changes it is no longer plausible to continue.

I know that  BFG:R remains widely unknown, mainly due to my decision to avoid advertizing the system until complete, and that there was a possible route to it becoming widespread and perhaps even recognized by GW. Since I am still somewhat on the edge, I give it to you, the fans, to choose if you want me to continue the project. The only way I can see this happening is if I have funding to increase the number of hours I can spend on the project, and compensate for it's intrinsic costs. I know you may see this as a cop-out, or a manner of gouging funds from a fanbase for an essentially free product. I don't mean to put it this way, so I state this:

An average rulebook costs $50, a codex $30, consider this with my proposition. I figure I can increase my work to full time, finishing the rulebook in one month and the others in two after if I receive donations of around $10/hour. I'm not asking much if several people contribute. So I will wait one month, and if I receive enough donations to complete the core rulebook then I will continue, if not then I will return any funds donated and finally conclude this project.

Regardless of outcome, I would like to thank you all for your support, and I hope that you enjoyed my current works. All the best,

Plaxor