Thursday, August 27, 2015

5 years!

5 years ago today, I published a short blog post about how I should just complete things. A lot has happened since then.

Before I get into what's going on, The Midnight Legion does not have long left - go and pledge!

The gamebook world

The gamebook community is a very different place now than it was back in 2010 when I started. Blogs have sprung up all over the place and it seems that gamebooks are something that loads of people love and want to write. It's great to see this happen and there is now too much for me to keep up with. When I started this blog, I thought it would be a pure retrospective look at the gamebooks of old, but now so many new ones have sprung up, it's great. It seems that past gamebooks are getting revivals and finally, Fabled Lands is getting book 7 printed. I have met so many excellent gamebook buddies and I hope this continues for another 5 years.

Legend of the Wayfarer

Before I start, I have decided book 6 today to celebrate my blog's birthday! Check it out! It is available for PWYW.

My system. It took a lot of planning and changing to get it going, and then after 6 books, I wanted to change the system again. At the time of writing, I have written 7 and a half books and the tweaks get more an more minor (the best I can hope for) and now I want to build a world with my system.

My system is not just meant to be quite simple and versatile - it is also meant to allow me to write gamebooks as quickly as possible - tests usually have a difficulty of 4, but 5 for harder tests. I then have to think of the skills that might help from a list of 12 and that's it. All the maths has already been done when I made the system and I added some failsafes (using xp and items for rerolls, getting things that can reroll fate rolls) that means that if I do mess up a number, it won't be devastating. Also, I don't have instant death from die rolls, so it is quite hard to die randomly.

The shortness is not an accident either. These gamebooks can be written quickly, but I can also assess what people like about them and if something goes wrong, I haven't put too much effort into it. A lot of little gamebooks means that I get more feedback and so I can correct myself more.

This system is teaching me to write gamebooks as quickly and as efficiently as possible, so that when I write a big one, I can plough through it and not waste time.

The Lloyd of Gamebooks team

They say that every problem is an opportunity if you look at it the right way, and last year, I was facing diminishing amounts of free time (for wonderful reasons - my firstborn was growing up fast and I had another baby on the way!) and my well of thoughts on gamebooks was drying up. I was eating into the stockpile of posts that I had made in the early days of the blog and I had no idea to keep it going.

I noticed that a lot of gamebook blogs were limping along with a few posts per year, and I didn't want to lose readership by posting infrequently.

I don't know how, but the solution hit me - all the people who make a few posts per year about gamebooks could also post here and link to their posts in their own blogs. That way, this blog would be updated quite frequently and the other blogs would not be forgotten. It is for this reason that you now see posts from people such as Paul Gresty and Justin MacCormack (as well as others, occasionally) on the blog now. I'm trying to post one post a month just to keep some regularity, but now I feel that I should focus on writing actual gamebooks and I am attempting to write one short (around 100 sections) gamebook a month using the Legend of the Wayfarer rules.

I would love to thank everyone who has contributed to the blog and kept the community strong. Live together, die alone and all that.

What exactly have I written?

In preparation for this post, I listed my bibliography with links. You can look at it here.

The future...

I started this blog to get all the thoughts I had on gamebooks over the 18 years I had known of them (at the time) out and to discuss them. Now that stream of original thoughts is running dry and I have discussed and analysed gamebooks and games, I want to write more actual gamebooks.

I want to up my game. Almost all of the gamebooks I have written are less than 200 sections. I want my gamebooks to be bigger and better, so I'm going to write more, and they're going to be longer.

In terms of community, I want to get to know the interactive fiction world and also the international gamebook world a bit more and learn some programming language to allow me to take my books to new platforms.

So here's to another 5 years, everyone. Looking forward to it!

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