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My Work in 2009

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:

Eclipse Phase

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.

Seattle 2072

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.

Dirty Words Design Episode 2

After a crazy month of March and early April, I’ve finished Episode 2 of Dirty Words Design; a grab-bag episode that revisits Episode 1 and further explains Packaging vs. Copy Links, and a “feature” of Packaging that you may not be aware of. I also give a brief overview on exporting a document to PDF while turning all the text in it to outlines; based on David Blatner’s article. It’s a technique that hopefully you won’t have to use, but it’s good to know in case you need it in a pinch!

Interviewed on This Modern Death

I was interviewed on the modern horror/dark future gaming podcast This Modern Death recently, and the episode was just posted.

It’s about an hour, and we talk about all sorts of things: Shadowrun, Eclipse Phase, Paparazzi!, finger-painting, how I got into gaming, how I got into working in the game industry, the licensed property I’d like to work on the most, problems in the game industry, Tim Hortons, The Dresden Files RPG, poutine, the future of roleplaying, I poke fun at silly questions that gamers ask, and then turn right around and point out that there are a number of gamers who aren’t online and aren’t clued in to the latest trends and hot new games, and that they’re going to keep on trucking no matter what we say or do.

Thanks to Shaun, Kristin, and Randy at This Modern Death for having me!

Shadowrun Quick-Start Rules up for ENnie Award

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No press release, just a HELL YEAH for the Shadowrun, Fourth Edition Quick-Start Rules getting nominated for an ENnie Award this year. We really busted ass last year to design and deliver what I think is a tremendous set of Quick-Start Rules and an overall great [and free!] booklet aimed at introducing gamers into Shadowrun or back into Shadowrun.

Voting on the ENnies will be open later this month.

Plus, the 2008 Diana Jones Award nominations were just announced. No nominations for anything I even so much as sneezed nearby, but myself and Posthuman Studios are one of the sponsors of the awards this year. The awards ceremony will be Wednesday the 13th — the day before Gen Con — at that uber-secret location in Indianapolis.