Wednesday, April 23, 2014

April A to Z - T is for Tweet RPG

Hello all!  We have Sam Richards from Tweet RPG today.  I interviewed Sam back in 2012.  Since then, Tweet RPG has gone from strength to strength and has also undergone changes.  Sam talks about what has happened with Tweet RPG.

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Sam Richards, I'm a writer from the UK and one half of the creative team behind Tweet RPG. I enjoy videogames, electric guitar, watching movies, and I'm passionate about my beliefs as a Christian. I work for a social housing provider as a community engagement facilitator.  I have a wife called Lauren who is teacher, and a dog called Molly who is a nuisance.

How has Tweet RPG developed over the past 12 months?

The project has undergone some big changes, all of them very positive. The biggest change is that I am now running Tweet RPG alongside my good friend Alex Burns AKA Mister Mook, who is responsible for the technical side of things e.g. web development, programming, game mechanics, etc. This has freed me up to focus more on constructing the narratives for our adventures, which is where my strength lies.

Alex and myself have invested a considerable amount of time into identifying the strengths and weaknesses of Tweet RPG, and also into refining the project and plotting a course for what we would like it to become. One of the first decisions to be made was to initiate a rebrand of the project. Although Tweet RPG has its strengths as a brand, it has a definite shelf-life and appeals to a narrower group of people than we would like to engage. Therefore, Tweet RPG is soon to become StoryMechs. You'll still be getting the same interactive adventures, but under a more effective and hopefully more accessible brand.

What is your new adventure about?

The next adventure, science fiction thriller 'Protect the Prince', places you in the role of Captain Sharr, a warrior guardian in the service of the Tyrellian empire. Your mission is to escort Prince Ashton to safety after a riot breaks out on a diplomatic tour of the Aldo V station. It's a simple premise, but every decision you make will have effect on the fate of the prince.

Protect the Prince represents a different approach in comparison to previous adventures. Whereas past stories have been open-ended affairs, this story has a predetermined length, lasting for one week with nine narrative-altering decisions to be made. We wanted to try to condense all the quality of a Tweet RPG/StoryMechs adventure down into a very concise form and see if it produces a satisfying effect. We plan to run longer adventures too, but think shorter 'one-shot' stories will add some variety to the mix.

What other shiny new things are we to expect from Tweet RPG?

We're currently working on a new website for StoryMechs, which is going to be much more streamlined in comparison to the current Tweet RPG site. The main focus of our work on the project over the past few months, which has mainly been behind the scenes, has been on taking everything back to core principles and removing anything extraneous. Over the three years of the project so far, we have managed to pick up some bad habits and excused the existence of some weaker elements. We're hoping the result of our recent work will be a much more focused and accessible service for people to enjoy. There's not much more to tell at this point in time, but when we start running some new adventures, the positive alterations we hopefully start to become apparent.

What is your favourite thing about running Tweet RPG?

My ultimate goal with Tweet RPG has been to share my writing with other people, and that's my favourite thing about the project. I love telling stories and it's been so fulfilling to experience people enjoying my storytelling. My ambition is to earn a living as a writer, whether that's writing novels or through something more left-field, like this project. However, even if I never manage to achieve that goal, I know that there are people out there who have engaged with my work. At the end of the day, that's enough for me.

What is the hardest thing about running Tweet RPG?

The hardest thing is running the project alongside everything else going on in life. I often have evening meetings for work, and do a lot of voluntary work with my church, which means there isn't much time left for anything else. At the start, I really resented the other priorities that meant I couldn't focus the majority of my attention on Tweet RPG, but I've come to learnt that there's a time for everything in life, and it's best to use every moment for its proper purpose. It's still hard sometimes when I know that my half hour lunch break is my only time to write in the day, but if that's all I get I've got to make the best of it.

What future projects do you have that you can talk about?

I've written a science fiction short story collection called Resolutions, which I plan to self-publish at some point in the future. I'm currently editing the draft, but I don't get to look at it much as Tweet RPG takes up the bulk of my time. I'll get round to it at some point!

I've also been writing a roleplaying scenario for the Achtung! Cthulhu line by Modiphuis Entertainment. The scenario is based on the Kontamination adventure, which I ran in 2012, and has been redrafted for the tabletop with the help of my cowriter and editor Matt Pook. It's been a big challenge to write in the Achtung! Cthulhu universe, as I had to do loads more research that I'd ever done before to get the history and the mythos correct. However, when you get an opportunity to be part of such a popular series, you've got to dive in and give it your all. Kontamination is due to be published at the end of April, and I'm hoping that people will have a great time reading and playing it.

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