I’m not going to fib: 2009 was a rough year, work-wise. Catalyst experienced turnovers and hardships and growing pains, and we also did a lot of awesome things, but we also didn’t get all of the awesome things finished that we wanted to. That leaves us with plenty of things to do in 2010, of course!
One particular thing I found troubling about 2009 was developing the design and layout for Eclipse Phase and the 20th Anniversary Edition of Shadowrun at the same time: it was a lot of work, and I would have liked to have seen how one book [either one!] fared in the eyes of gamers before I turned my attention to another book. I used my gut a lot when designing both books; in the end, I think my gut was right more often than not.
My highlights of 2009 are easy:
Not only am I very pleased with how Eclipse Phase ended up looking and working as a book and game artifact, but our gang at Posthuman Studios pushed Catalyst hard for things we wanted: Creative Commons licensing & inexpensive PDF pricing being the prime two. Those decisions have so far turned out to be wise, and Catalyst will be be publishing at least one more game—Leviathans—using a Creative Commons license. The development team’s work on Eclipse Phase—game, setting, book—fills me with pride.
Shadowrun, 4th Ed. 20th Anniversary Core Rulebook
What can I say? It was a thrill to work on this book, and aside from minor nitpicks it’s been enthusiastically received by new and returning Shadowrun fans alike. Highlights: the huge color-coded master index, the streamlining of character generation, and the revised skills chapter. Each time I pick up this book to use is better than any time picking up the previous Fourth Edition book.
Through weird twists of fate, I actually ended up being the developer on this project. My goal was simple: meld the best of Seattle Sourcebook’s “bite-sized” design with the best of New Seattle’s, throw in a major shakeup, and set up some future plots so people can keep ‘running in the Sixth World’s signature city. Steve Kenson rocked the main writing tasks and we pulled in a bunch of others to write short fiction pieces.