Greg's Design Blog

A collection of posts by game designer Gregory Carslaw, including mirrors of all of his blogs maintained for particular projects. A complete index of posts can be found here:
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What's Wrong With Me?

United Kingdom
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Context: Infinite Legacy (but lets be honest, it applies to everything)

It's generally not the done thing for creators to talk about this kinda stuff, but for the second time over the course of this thing I've disappeared for a few weeks with no notice. In designing games I'm often asking people to trust me with their money, whether through board games Kickstarters or the Infinite Legacy Patreon (when I finally launch that!) so I think you've got a right to know why I vanish, what the odds of it happening are and how it impacts projects that you've paid for.
This post may be a bit tl;dr for some so I'll summarise: Sometimes I'm broken. Stuff may be late, but it'll never be more expensive. When I'm not working on stuff I don't charge for it.

I'll go light on the medical detail partly because what matters for the purposes of this post are the impact on game design more than the nitty gritty detail but mostly because I am not a doctor (of medicine) and so there may be some slight irregularities in my understanding. Let's give it a paragraph anyway though:

The spiny squidgy bits in between the bony bits got squigied more than they were supposed to and made a bid for freedom. Two of them started to escape - lets call them Jean Valjean and Pascal Payet (my back is French now because England's prison escape stores, both real and imaginary, are less evocative). Jean's escape was nice and orderly and he was well reluctant to hurt anyone on the way out. Payet's was all spectacular and involved elbowing some nerve clusters. From time to time he gives 'em a good squeeze and they say "Well fuck this then lads, we can't work under these conditions. Tell the boys downstairs that we ain't getting any instructions from the brain and send a note to the brain saying that the lads are reporting constant pain. Then we can all take the day off while they fight it out with each other. Who's for tennis?"

In practical terms this means that I lose the ability to walk, basically at random. When it goes, it goes for a period between two hours and two months, again pretty much at random. So any project you support in which I'm a key member of the team might get a two month delay.

Where I can I hand my work off to other people. If I'm working with a company, as it was with 3DTotal or The People's Orchestra this tends to be pretty practical. If I'm in a smaller team it might be that the work needs to pause until I recover. The stage of the project also has an impact - if something is in the playtesting and improvement step it has a different impact to if something is in the layout and artistry step.

There's a cost associated with delaying projects, but I never want to pass that cost on to the player. Ideally the government that's taking my taxes when I can work will properly discharge its responsibilities and cover my living costs when I can't - but at the end of the day I'd rather suck up the loss myself than pass it on to you (which seems more likely in this day and age, though political rants can wait for another day).

A Kickstarter might be late, which might increase our operating costs, but I never want to charge a backer more for their game. The reason that I'm doing a dry run of game development via Patreon is to iron out bugs and one of the things that's come out of that is that I want it set to "custom charge" rather than "monthly charge" so that I can hit the button every month that I'm well enough to work, rather than every month come rain or shine.

The condition isn't degenerative, ironically if it was they could fix it (Apparently they couldn't identify a surgical target and act on it before the flare up is over, particularly with the unpredictable lengths of the issues), so there's no reason to expect that it'll ever lead to a project failing to be completed.

So in a nutshell that's why I've not been posting for a while and why all of the projects have been paused. I hope it gives you confidence that all of my projects will happen (Alongside my past record of delivering all of the games that've funded ) and makes it a little more understandable where there are blips in communication.

There's still room for improvement there, getting someone else to post an update when it happens would be a good working practice to get into, though this doesn't happen often enough for me to ingrain it as a habit. It's always good to look for ways to improve
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