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The Future Proof Podcast 017

Podcast episode

Gregory Avery-Weir  0:21  
Hi, and welcome to the Future Proof podcast. This is our monthly podcast where we talk about what we've been working on and what we're planning. I'm Gregory Avery-Weir.

Melissa Avery-Weir  0:30  
And I'm Melissa Avery-Weir.

Gregory Avery-Weir  0:32  
Today we'll be chatting a bit about lifecycle planning, which is an activity we've been doing lately that I think is has been helpful for how we envision like, how to run our projects.

Melissa Avery-Weir  0:43  
Mm-hm. What we want our next work to be that we're that we're excited about, right? Instead of, you know, do we want to move to a new project? Is there stuff we want to touch on old projects? It's it's hard to make those decisions when you have several games existing.

Gregory Avery-Weir  0:56  
Yeah, so we were thinking about pricing... And how to handle sales on storefronts and what, how we schedule our projects and part of our research made us realize that this is a step of sort of general product management, for games, or software projects or any sort of project that we sort of been letting sit in the background and not doing a concerted effort on. And one thing that really inspired our current approach to it was an article from Crows Crows Crows, which is the studio that did Dr. Langskov and a bunch of other cool games.

Melissa Avery-Weir  1:36  
I'll definitely link in the show notes.

Gregory Avery-Weir  1:38  
And they had a piece on launching games multiple times.

Melissa Avery-Weir  1:43  
Yeah.

Gregory Avery-Weir  1:44  
Which sounds weird, but, but there's a, there's an old adage on--that your game launches the most important PR event, like people pay attention to the first time they hear about your game.

Melissa Avery-Weir  1:54  
Which is how we've always--we've, we've kind of worked under that model of centering the initial launch of a game as the most important time.

Gregory Avery-Weir  2:04  
And Crows Crows Crows points out that like not everyone heard of your game when you launched it.

Melissa Avery-Weir  2:09  
Right.

Gregory Avery-Weir  2:10  
And so to them, you can launch again for them. Like, you can, you can say, Oh, hey, we've got a new version, or we've got an event that relates to our game that we can talk about. Or we are--we've ported it to a new, new platform. And we can launch on that. And every time you do that, you can kind of have that. You're gaining new eyes and new audience for it.

Melissa Avery-Weir  2:34  
Right.

Gregory Avery-Weir  2:34  
And so we've been thinking about that with relation to at first some of our older projects, and then we'll be hopefully moving forward on new projects with this in mind, planned in advance.

Melissa Avery-Weir  2:46  
Yeah.

Gregory Avery-Weir  2:47  
Rather than sort of going and backporting some of this.

Melissa Avery-Weir  2:50  
Yeah. And I would say if it if that seems weird: if you are a PC player, especially who uses Steam and you have seen news alerts from No Man's Sky--

Gregory Avery-Weir  2:59  
Yeah.

Melissa Avery-Weir  3:00  
I think that is one of the most classic, visible, like immediate references that works for this idea of--every time they do a major launch and oh, well, every time they do a major update it is a launch event.

Gregory Avery-Weir  3:14  
Yeah.

Melissa Avery-Weir  3:14  
It is, it gets a you know, a banner on Steam. It gets, you know, PR done for it.

Gregory Avery-Weir  3:20  
All sorts of journalists writing about how "No Man's Sky has really kept itself alive" and all this stuff.

Melissa Avery-Weir  3:26  
Uh-huh. "Still too late!" or "They've done great!" or whatever. And so I think that's that's evocative of the kind of thing we're looking at. And so yeah, like like Greg said, it could be you know, we do a translation and there is suddenly a new literally a new market of people who are perhaps not very good at playing English games, or at least not en mass that have access to a game: that's a launch.

Gregory Avery-Weir  3:52  
So the the first game that we did this four was "I Fell in Love with the Majesty of Colors," the rerelease, and it was a game that is coming up on two years old.

Melissa Avery-Weir  4:04  
Oh my god.

Gregory Avery-Weir  4:05  
And so the the original Flash game was a while back. But this, this is, this remastered version came out February of 2018. And so one of the sort of we've noted down a bunch of potential launch events, but one sort of PR milestone that we can use as as a way to get more eyes on our work is the two year anniversary. And we've had a bunch of mostly real little tasks that have sort of been building up that we wanted to work on for, for Majesty of Colors. We don't have like... we think the game's done. Like we don't want to add a new modes or like a new chapter in the story.

Melissa Avery-Weir  4:48  
Right, yeah. Design wise, it's done. But there were definitely things when we were play testing, even, you know, well, before the game was released. There were things people wanted to do in the game, or they tried to do in the game that we were like, well, we're not this isn't gonna make into the initial release. We noted it down and that and a few other things that have just kind of been sitting for a while.

Gregory Avery-Weir  5:05  
Yeah. So there's some bugs, there's some things that are just like, I want to be able to mess with this little bit of it. And that won't like, open up a new branch of story. But it might be another way to get to a different part in the game. And so we're working on what we think right now is totally manageable scope for a release sometime around the two year anniversary. That might be end of February. It might be a little later. But that is exciting. And then we've been chatting some about additional later stuff we can do that, that'll help.

Melissa Avery-Weir  5:05  
Yeah, yeah.

Gregory Avery-Weir  5:40  
Open it up to new people.

Melissa Avery-Weir  5:42  
So it's kind of an exciting way to think about our games, particularly something like Majesty where it's like it's a small game. It's hard to think of... or if you're like told to sit down and think of what you would add to this game or what you would say about this game. It gets to be difficult, especially around the two year mark. And so this is a cool opportunity for that.

Melissa Avery-Weir  6:05  
And we've also looked at Rosette Diceless, which is hitting its two year mark in July of 2020. Bless its heart. And we've, you know, we've that book has been alive. It's been, we've been playing it of course in our own game.

Gregory Avery-Weir  6:19  
It's a tabletop role playing game with with diceless consent-based mechanics.

Melissa Avery-Weir  6:23  
Yep. Or LARP if one wishes.

Gregory Avery-Weir  6:25  
Yes.

Melissa Avery-Weir  6:26  
And we wrote a post recently--Greg wrote a post about our home game and how what it's like and how its structured. And so over the last couple of years, you know, we've we, we've learned a lot about how to play it. We've written some supplemental pieces, we've come up with a few other things that we think would benefit the game, but that are not core to the game's design.

Gregory Avery-Weir  6:50  
Yeah, it's not like we don't have a new edition of Rosette Diceless in mind or like, let's add a chapter to it.

Melissa Avery-Weir  6:57  
And it's not even really like errata, necessarily.

Gregory Avery-Weir  7:00  
Yeah.

Melissa Avery-Weir  7:00  
So it's this, kind of like it's a supplemental space. So what we're looking at doing is releasing a small book of supplemental materials. So it's going to be kind of a combination of what's currently up on the site as far as supplemental materials, some exclusive stuff, some new, new traits, new materials, things like that. And it's kind of again, much like with The Majesty of Colors, it's one of those things it's like, these are some ideas that have been percolating. A couple of them involve some design around maybe how experience points are used just ideas like this that have been bubbling around. That seemed like a good second anniversary sort of thing, also.

Gregory Avery-Weir  7:38  
Yeah. And if you're a fan of like Dungeons and Dragons, you can sort of think of it sort of like a Player's Handbook 2.

Melissa Avery-Weir  7:44  
Yeah.

Gregory Avery-Weir  7:45  
Or that adds extra options.

Melissa Avery-Weir  7:47  
Yeah.

Gregory Avery-Weir  7:48  
But probably not like--

Melissa Avery-Weir  7:50  
Scaled down, for sure.

Gregory Avery-Weir  7:51  
Yeah, not that scale. Probably not. Very expensive or... Maybe we're still figuring out if we want, if we want to charge for it. What sorts additions we want to charge for.

Melissa Avery-Weir  8:01  
Right.

Gregory Avery-Weir  8:02  
But yeah, just a convenient way of saying like, here's all the new stuff compiled plus some some of the stuff that, that we haven't... That we think would be useful for folks who are interested in continuing to play it.

Melissa Avery-Weir  8:13  
And some typesetting so folks can have our--

Gregory Avery-Weir  8:16  
Yeah, yeah. So that it's not, so it's not a web page that you're getting these these rules from. It's a, it's matches the rest of the book. The original book.

Melissa Avery-Weir  8:24  
Yeah. And part of that part of this whole thing has also been like stepping back, right, taking a bit of a 10,000 foot view here and saying, like, we've released Rosette Diceless? We've talked about--we have three other books in the works at various points over the life of our talking to you the listener.

Gregory Avery-Weir  8:44  
Yeah, and that's just Rosette books.

Melissa Avery-Weir  8:45  
And that's just Rosette, exactly. So three books that were intended to involve dice, and then diceless which does not. And we've released one of those four. And so we know that when we say like, financially, fiscally, like roleplaying books are not a profitable business to be in. So we haven't done those other three, in part, because we know that it's, it's a choice, right. Like it's a passion project, which--

Gregory Avery-Weir  9:12  
Yeah.

Melissa Avery-Weir  9:12  
--is just the, you know, I hate that phrase.

Gregory Avery-Weir  9:15  
All projects should be passion projects.

Melissa Avery-Weir  9:17  
Right, exactly. So forgive my... forgive that.

Gregory Avery-Weir  9:22  
But yeah, it's, it's, it's if we do it, it's not going to be you the, like, most profitable choice but also it will be nice to get those off our plate. Like we've got most of these books written.

Melissa Avery-Weir  9:37  
Yep.

Gregory Avery-Weir  9:37  
And we can finish them and have them out there and have them be a thing that people can can experience and check out. And part of the business oriented, like, thinking of that as like there's this idea of having this, this collection of stuff that people can check out. Where if you know, maybe someone plays The Majesty of Colors; here's, we've got a tabletop system. And it's like, "I want to check that out."

Melissa Avery-Weir  9:59  
Right.

Gregory Avery-Weir  10:00  
And it gives opportunities for people to support us and and helps like expand the sort of things we have on offer to folks.

Melissa Avery-Weir  10:07  
Exactly. And so when we, when we took that step back and looked at like, Okay, so what does Diceless look like at the two year mark? It was also: do we still consider Diceless to be part of a portfolio of four books? Or is it alone part of just the larger portfolio of Future Proof Games games?

Gregory Avery-Weir  10:25  
Yeah.

Melissa Avery-Weir  10:26  
And the answer is kinda like, no it's still part of that set of four. Like, we still want to do that set of four. And so we're going back and taking a look at that system, the "diced" system. The one with the dice.

Gregory Avery-Weir  10:38  
One of the things we're going to be talking about is how do we name these so that it's clear it doesn't sound silly.

Melissa Avery-Weir  10:44  
And so it's, it's sparked a lot of creativity on things that have felt onerous in some regards, because facing, facing how to handle those books has been something that we've wanted to do but it's complicated because money and... We can at least take an artistic view add to it again.

Gregory Avery-Weir  11:03  
Yeah.

Melissa Avery-Weir  11:03  
And make decisions based on that, which is really awesome.

Gregory Avery-Weir  11:06  
Yep. So no concrete plans on Rosette Diceless. Except for the supplemental material that we hope to release again sometime around the the two year anniversary.

Gregory Avery-Weir  11:16  
And another sort of legacy thing that we've done that is a little less lifecycle and more just sort of maintaining old projects is, since Adobe Flash is going to sunset near the end of 2020, and is already not really available in a lot of browsers. We've been sort of feeling heartburn for a while about the fact that some of my old Flash games that are currently on FutureProofGames.com because we consider them sort of part of the the family of of works. They weren't really easily available.

Melissa Avery-Weir  11:51  
Right.

Gregory Avery-Weir  11:52  
And so we package them up and put them in what's called a flash projector which basically makes it an executable for, for computers, that doesn't have to run in the browser. And so we've got four titles that are now downloadable. They're on itch.io. You can go to our website and get links to them. And that's it's The Majesty of Colors (the original Flash version). It's "How to Raise a Dragon." It's...

Melissa Avery-Weir  12:22  
"Silent Conversation."

Gregory Avery-Weir  12:23  
Yep. And "Exploit", the original Exploit.

Unknown Speaker  12:27  
So if you want to play those again, or play them for the first time, you can now download them for free. I mean, you can, I think they're pay what you want on itch.

Unknown Speaker  12:36  
Yeah.

Gregory Avery-Weir  12:36  
If you want to toss us a few bucks. And yeah, check those out.

Melissa Avery-Weir  12:41  
It's kind of awesome to have those all tidy up and not have to worry so much about like, what Flash is doing in what random version of what browser, mobile, whatever.

Gregory Avery-Weir  12:50  
They're available again. We know they're safe. And we can like show them in a more modern form factor.

Melissa Avery-Weir  12:58  
Yep, yep.

Gregory Avery-Weir  12:59  
So yeah. So you can find those games and all the rest of our stuff at FutureProofGames.com. If you want to follow us on Twitter, you can go to @PlayFutureProof. We're on Facebook, too: Future Proof Games. And if you got any questions for us, if you've got suggestions or comments, hit us up at any of those places, or by writing info@FutureProofGames.com. Our theme music is "Juparo" by Broke for Free and is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.