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The Future Proof Podcast 021

Podcast episode

Melissa Avery-Weir  0:21  
Hello, and welcome to the Future Proof Podcast. This is our monthly podcast where we chat about stuff we've been working on and anything cool we're planning. I'm Melissa Avery-Weir.

Gregory Avery-Weir  0:32  
And I'm Gregory Avery-Weir. And this is, this is a historical time.

Melissa Avery-Weir  0:39  
It is. It's, I have to say I'm both sick of the phrase, "unprecedented times," and yet I find myself saying it.

Melissa Avery-Weir  0:53  
So in the last certainly in the last month--really within the last three weeks--the United States has really started to reckon with some of its racial issues. Some of the violence perpetually committed on black folks. And it's, you know, from my perspective as a black person living in America, it's disingenuous to say it started three weeks ago or that started with a particular murder.

Melissa Avery-Weir  1:27  
It's also kind of hand wavy to say it started 400 years ago. Like, there's this like, there's, there's something very abstract about 400 years ago. So I don't know when to say that it started but I will say we took to the streets in the last two to three weeks this time, right?

Melissa Avery-Weir  1:47  
Yeah, it's a--we live in Charlotte, North Carolina. And this has been an interesting area. There have been protests nightly, daily. There was a particularly notably violent incident from the police on June 1, where there were.. cops basically decided to, I don't know, there's a term for it, "kettling" or something. And you basically--they cornered and hemmed in a bunch of protesters with pretty much no way to escape, and then attacked them in the streets. And so it's hard to give an order to disperse and then proceed to trap the people you're asking to disperse.

Melissa Avery-Weir  2:34  
So this has been it's been an interesting time here, like a lot of folks are learning a lot about what our city council can do, and sort of where the power lies with regards to defunding the police. I think, folks are, folks are seeing that Charlotte as a community can keep standing up, and that, you know, we won't accept platitudes.

Melissa Avery-Weir  2:58  
Like, they did a painting on a street downtown. It is a gorgeous painting. It's every letter of Black Lives Matter done by different artists. But that ain't it, right? Like, that's not the solution. And that doesn't put a stop to things like you have to actually make change happen.

Melissa Avery-Weir  3:15  
So it's been good being in Charlotte in the sense that it feels like there's a sense of community here. There's independent press that have really stepped up. It was an independent newspaper that recorded the police attack on June 1, that brought it to state and national level news. So it's been tense. Like me living here, like wanting to protest, doing a certain amount of it, but also like Coronavirus is still happening and North Carolina is not a good state right now. It reopened too early. Cases are still on the rise. So I'm trying to find a multitude of ways to support things that are local, as well as broader level stuff.

Gregory Avery-Weir  3:58  
Yeah, and I've been really inspired by how disciplined and organized and principled so many of the, of the protesters and the other people working for justice have been. Like, we're seeing just real, real great dedication and focus in response, you know, like in the face of this militarized abusive police situation. And we're seeing like, people setting up autonomous communes to hold space for the community against the cops and people organizing enormous blockages of highways in a way that's that's impressively safe and disciplined for just like, you know, a bunch of randos getting together to, to protest.

Melissa Avery-Weir  4:51  
I feel like I'm, I'm furious at the need for this and I'm like, super proud of people that are doing the right thing. And I'm surprisingly hopeful, given what I'm learning about politics and what I'm seeing from people that we can make some change.

Gregory Avery-Weir  5:13  

Melissa Avery-Weir  5:13  
So sort of to, to bring it to game dev a little more specifically. It's been interesting seeing who is involving themselves in saying something about what's going on. Like, there's all sorts of like, I don't care what like EA says, right? Like these massive, massive companies that continue to allow rampant racism, particularly in their online games, or even just in their game design. Hell, they can black screen with white text all they want and that doesn't mean a whole lot. But it is, it is... It surprises me and yet doesn't, I guess, when a company like Valve, right? Like Steam I think of as, not a, not an indie company by any means, but like a place where indies sell stuff? And you know, a place that is accessible to indies-which are, which feel more like real people than EA--not say anything. Like not--

Gregory Avery-Weir  6:23  
Yeah, we haven't even received like private email.

Melissa Avery-Weir  6:27  
Mm hmm.

Gregory Avery-Weir  6:27  
Checking in from Valve.

Melissa Avery-Weir  6:30  

Melissa Avery-Weir  6:31  
Not one, you know, no discount. Everyone knows that there's an event coming up soon-ish on Steam and not a single word about that in any kind of way that's relevant to the, to the times. So whatever times that Steam and Valve are living in it is not these "unprecedented" ones.

Gregory Avery-Weir  6:53  
They're kind of business as usual.

Melissa Avery-Weir  6:55  
Yeah. Which is, it's gross. And I don't know, you know, I, capitalism is always going to be a terrible thing. But it really turns my stomach to think that like, this space, this platform, the amount of money that they make... that as far as anyone is, aware that money is still going right into their pockets. Especially when they are surrounded by examples of their peers doing better.

Gregory Avery-Weir  7:30  
So yeah, as as Future Proof Games, we have, like complicated feelings about continuing to work with Steam. We're almost certainly gonna, because that's important to our survival. But we're looking for ways to kind of offset that and to, to act in ways that uphold the fact that you know, we think Black Lives Matter. We think Black Trans Lives Matter.

Gregory Avery-Weir  7:57  
Where, where especially people with the intersection of queerness and, and blackness and other people of color and especially transgender people of color disproportionately by wild numbers are--suffer violence at the hands police and at the hands of other people. And a storefront that is doing awesome things is They--hopefully you have heard about this already, but when this episode comes out we'll, the sale will be just ending. But they had a, a bundle for racial justice inequality, which includes, I mean, it is, I would say the best video game deal ever.

Melissa Avery-Weir  8:48  

Gregory Avery-Weir  8:48  
And probably that ever will occur.

Melissa Avery-Weir  8:51  

Gregory Avery-Weir  8:52  
Hundreds of people participating. Thousands of games--over 1000

Melissa Avery-Weir  8:58  
Hundreds of creators participating.

Gregory Avery-Weir  9:00  
Yeah, hundreds, hundreds of developers, over 1000 games. And it has raised, it's looking like it's gonna be raising around $7 million for the NAACP Legal Fund and the Community Bail Fund. And that's great.

Melissa Avery-Weir  9:19  
That's astonishing.

Gregory Avery-Weir  9:20  
Yeah, our, our game Rosette Diceless is, is in the bundle. And just the fact like, we didn't really have to do much, right? All we had to do is be like, Hey, here's this, this thing that we can contribute to this collective action. But just knowing that we did even that little thing to contribute to it is so great, because on our own, like, Future Proof Games is not... just does not have enough money flowing through it to do anything. even close to that. Like...

Melissa Avery-Weir  9:52  
I wish.

Gregory Avery-Weir  9:53  
Yeah, the fact that we can, that we can be part of that is just amazing. And I'm so proud. And then we've got we're currently in a bundle at DriveThruRPG that also contains Rosette Diceless. That should be ongoing.

Melissa Avery-Weir  10:12  
Yeah, it should have several more days on it when this comes out.

Gregory Avery-Weir  10:16  
Yeah. And so we'll, we'll link to that in the show notes. Where if you want an opportunity to get a bunch of cool tabletop games and have all the proceeds go to, to good causes. You can do that.

Melissa Avery-Weir  10:31  
Yep. So yeah, that's been a it's been a heavy, heavy few weeks. So yeah, I hope anyone who's listening--everyone who's listening--is finding their own way in these times. Regardless of you know, I know that's difficult on a variety of axes. But yeah.

Gregory Avery-Weir  10:54  
Yeah, one thing that that has been kind of comforting separate from The good that we're hoping to do is that because it's in the bundle, Rosette Diceless has gotten a whole bunch more people downloading it, looking at it and getting more attention.

Melissa Avery-Weir  11:11  
Yeah, it's kind of awesome. We got, we've got a couple reviews through itch, and a couple of ratings and a lot of downloads, of course, from folks that have purchased the bundle. And so as we are working on our second anniversary update, the second anniversary of Rosette Diceless' release is the end of July. And so we've talked a few months ago about kind of what we're doing there, but it's a compilation of the existing supplemental material, several new articles, new traits in the game, new resources in the game. Sort of like you know, taking our lessons learned as well as some new kind of creative ideas we've come up with, and packaging this up into kind of a standalone book. That's, it's gonna be you know, it's not going to be anything big. But it will be its own sort of thing you can have at the table as you play.

Gregory Avery-Weir  12:05  
Yeah, just stuff we've learned from our home game, kind of like advice from people who've actually been playing this for two years to help enhance your experience.

Melissa Avery-Weir  12:15  
Yeah. So that's exciting. And we don't know--we, you know, we're targeting end of July. Things have gone so differently in 2020 than even we expected. So, you know, we'll see what the timeline looks like as we get closer. But you've been working on one piece in particular lately, right, Greg?

Gregory Avery-Weir  12:35  
Yeah, yeah. The the stuff that I've most recently been working on is notes on "Hey, what, how do you handle it when you want your character to have something where it's like, 'I don't need to worry about this problem'?" So like we have, we have Traits that you can take that make it so that you don't need to breathe. We have options where, where stuff about a character would imply that they could just like shrug off an attack. Shrug off an action that tried to stop them from achieving their goal.

Gregory Avery-Weir  13:02  
And so I'm writing guidance on like, what does that mean? How do you maintain this dramatic back and forth in the story and still, like respect that character choice? And the answer is that you kind of you tailor the challenges so that a person is, is challenged in a different way, if they otherwise would, would be facing an obstacle that they just shrug off. Because, you know, it's more interesting to have people actually have to, to overcome an obstacle rather than just sort of, like, ignore it.

Melissa Avery-Weir  13:34  

Gregory Avery-Weir  13:35  
So yeah, that that sort of guidances is what we're looking to, to pass on to people.

Melissa Avery-Weir  13:41  
Yeah. So I think we have most of what we want in it all planned out, sort of in the sense of like, what the table of contents will be, roughly. And it's, like I said, it's going to be fully packaged, there's going to be art, there's going to be cover art, you know. It's it's gonna be a thing you can buy so it won't be very expensive, though.

Melissa Avery-Weir  13:58  
So our last video have news is... again, just, it just feels so weird, Greg. Like the calendar is not working right. So it's, it's our final bit of news is about "The Majesty of Colors."

Gregory Avery-Weir  14:13  
Yeah, so we got our "Majesty of Colors" Second Anniversary update out. And we were, we were talking. we were sprint planning, you know, planning our work for the upcoming week and the realization that like, oh, since we had planned last we had released a game just hit us because everything has poured together these days.

Gregory Avery-Weir  14:34  
But yeah, we did a big update for The Majesty of Colors, the remastered edition. If you already own it, then you've either gotten an auto updated version or you you'd want to hit up where you downloaded it from and get the new version. It's not a huge addition. It's some bug fixes, some enhancements, a few extra things you can do. One new achievement on platforms that have achievements. And it's we're proud to to have done that and to put a little bit of, little bit of polish on it and supported it. And that'll probably be the last big change we do. I think that that we're likely only to make, like, compatibility fixes from now on.

Melissa Avery-Weir  15:23  

Gregory Avery-Weir  15:23  
It was cool to kind of set it off by taking care of the stuff we wanted.

Melissa Avery-Weir  15:28  
Yeah, we've the the only sort of thing we have left in our, our docket for a potential down the road sort of thing would be translation work. But, you know, there's also sort of a financial aspect there of how much money will the game make, has the game made, etc, etc. So.

Gregory Avery-Weir  15:46  
Yeah, because we want to pay our translators and so we need to make sure, we make sure that that's money that can come from somewhere.

Melissa Avery-Weir  15:53  
Right, right. So yeah, that's... this is just. It just feels really weird to be doing something as normal as recording a podcast right now. So, yeah, sorry about how weird this probably sounds?

Gregory Avery-Weir  16:08  
No, it's I mean, I think that it's important to recognize that the reason that we're fighting for justice is so that we can live in this world, right? So yeah, doesn't have to be a constant struggle.

Melissa Avery-Weir  16:20  

Gregory Avery-Weir  16:20  
So like, we can change our normal to incorporate justice and incorporate, like actual genuine flourishing of queer folks and people of color. And that means that we will be doing normal stuff. We want to change that paradigm. We don't just want to like, fight in the streets for a month, and then go back to just the way things were.

Melissa Avery-Weir  16:45  
Exactly. Yeah. And so to help with that, in our show notes, we're going to have a list of charities that we're aware of, that if you are financially able to, it'd be good to help support and that's, you know, I make sure that Black Lives Matter related things, Black Trans Lives Matter. A couple of COVID organizations that I think are helpful for relief funds for different folks. So check the show notes for those.

Melissa Avery-Weir  17:14  
And you can find all of our stuff at we're over on Twitter as PlayFutureProof and on YouTube as Future Proof Games. We're not going to mention Facebook anymore because it's Facebook and we don't like them very much. So watch our videos over on YouTube. You can hit us up with questions or comments over on our blog or social media. And our theme music is Juparo by Broke for free which is used with permission.