Friday, 29 April 2016

What a ride it's been - Moonstone, DarkSouls3 & other updates

Greetings friends!

Yes I know it's been a while since I posted anything, giving you all about a 2 or so week gap of no information.

I know what you're thinking: "how will we know what is going on in your life if you don't share ever minute detail?"
- I mean that's how social media works, right?

Jason Voorhees has made himself a sandwich and is gearing up for Summer Vacation!

No? Anyway...

I wanted to give you all a quick update. To tell you that much like GLADoS I am very much still alive!

I've also been on a bit of a holiday myself. My todo list is huge. Need to update the live copy of Override, print and build some Moonstone terrain and get all the play materials ready for that. But for the past few weeks, I've done almost nothing!

I spent a few days in London with @tehtri where we sampled the best that Camden had to offer.

I spent many hours lazing in front of the TV.

I ate a lot of different types of chicken.

I went to Salute where I got to meet a lot of great people.

I pledged to the Mythos Kickstarter campaign.

I also built and assembled yet more Moonstone proxies.

Now I have the following Dominion Troupe:

Seasick Steve, Boulder, Swiggarty Swooty.
Crusty, Grub, McBoom, Mortician, Viscous Midget.
El Capitano, Beaky Bobby

Then I had fun creating a starter troupe for the Commonwealth!

The Librarian/Quack, Gutchgot, Flintlock.
Gertrude the Faerie Hunter, Eric(a) the Squire.
Baron Van Fancyhat

These were 'finished' on Wednesday with last touches and photos yesterday.

Now by 'finished' I mean 'not bare materials'. In their current form I'm happy to use them as model pieces, but will be giving a full paint job over the next few weeks.

I've also been spending far too many hours playing Dark Souls 3 on my PC. After downing about 5 bosses, I had to delete my save file as it appeared to be caught up with the recent 'corruption' sweeps, so I've had to start from scratch, but it is very very interesting to see how it plays a second time around.

You see, once you have very quickly been told the basics in movement and combat, you are thrown against your first boss. A weird knight dude who seems to infected by the Ouroboros virus from ResEvil. At this point in the game you have no way in upgrading your character. You can't buy any new armour or weapons and you can't visit a trainer to increase your stats. All of this requires access to a Bonfire, and the first Bonfire is (you guessed it) gated behind this first boss.

So the first time I played this boss, I must have fought him going on 15-30 times. Over and over dying repeatedly until I learned every move he did, what every animation looked like. So when it came to him taking a single step forward I instinctively knew exactly what he was going to do, and the angle he was going to do it, so that when the damaging blow landed, I wouldn't be there but instead at a nearby flank ready to 'stabby-stabby' him.

Roll on another 10 hours of game time, almost 2 weeks in real time, and I'm back there fighting this boss again. He's smacked me around, but I'm on my first attempt still. My health potion is empty, and he's on 1/4 health.

I've slung my shield onto my back allowing me to grip my long sword with 2 hands for stronger damage and we're dancing around each other. With one arm he swings his polearm towards my right side, with a massive snake like arm he swings in from the left. From both sides I have incoming damage, but I saw it coming - the recognisable stance that designates this bosses twin-swing attack. I know that if I'm caught in the middle I'll be dead for sure, but I'm not standing still waiting for the attack to come, I've dived forward, in a single roll dodging under his polearm and landing on my feet at his now exposed left flank. I grab my sword tight and stabby-stabby he has but a sliver of health left, before he rights himself and slams his snake-arm ontop of me. I have already rolled, but just a bit too late and my health is cut to a sliver itself. I know that whoever gets the next hit in wins. I dodge forward and lunge, my thrust piercing his armour. He falls while I stand triumphant, the upgrade hub awaiting me ahead.

So yeah... I'm loving this game!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

DaffCon: How'd it go?

Greetings friends!

So for the past few weeks I've been freaking out over DaffCon, a U.K. Based gaming convention organised by a long term acquaintance of mine, Mr Mike Marshall of Malifools/Fools Daily fame.

Well DaffCon has been and gone, and wow! What a ride!

For starters, let's cover the venue: Firestorm Games in Cardiff.

This place is awesome! It is BIG, well lit, a good amount of stock, lots of gaming tables, a relaxing sofa area, a kitchen and a bar! What more could you want at a venue?

The staff there were friendly and welcoming, and I really have nothing bad to say about the place.

On to Day 1.

On Day 1 I was bricking it. This was the day when we would reveal the game en-mass to the world. In the next 8 hours players from across the UK and beyond would get to sit down, try the game out and turn to us and say "meh, it's alright".

But that's not what happened.

Our first game was against long time friend Will. Will has been following the blog for some time, so he knew of the game, but not much else.

Well, he enjoyed it. During his game, a member from another game's development team (I believe it was Paranoid Miniatures) came over and Tom demoed to him. He also enjoyed the game!

Here we were, 1 demo each under our belt, and the people were enjoying the game.

I wanted to SQUEE and jump for joy! But rather than that, we grabbed more people, and ran more demos.

The feedback began to flood in: "it's like Infinity, but with good rules", "it's simple to pick up but I can see there's lots of combos you can create", "I can use a giant robot mech? Gimmes!"

The day came to a conclusion with me providing a demo for another Richard who at the end of the demo handed me his business card, told me that he owned a small online games retailer and that this is exactly the sort of game he would like to sell. I believe the exact phrase used was that it "could be the scifi equivalent of FrostGrave".

Well you can imagine how that made me feel. I wanted to hug the guy!
- As an aside, I am now exploring the possibility of moving a production up, and seeing just how viable it would be to get the game printed in a small sellable format.


Following Day 1, we went back to my friends, had some dinner and talked about Moonstone.

We were exhausted, but strangely enough, talking Moonstone used up a whole different side of the brain to First Law, so it was actually relaxing to do. Needless to say, we quickly crashed out until the next morning.


Day 2 began.

We had moved ourselves from where we were before into a more prominent position. A decision that did exactly as we hoped and allowed people to stop off while walking past, have a look, a chat and a demo if they had time.

One thing that amazed me, out of all the people who we asked - only 1 of them said no to a demo, and that was because they were literally in the middle of a tournament who was coming back from the loo but had stopped because our bright yellow Exo-Suits had caught their eye.

We had some great demos, really good ones, with one in particular that stood out, Gaz from Paranoid Miniatures. He's their fluff writer, so was really interested in our world, the how and the why, and after his demo we sat for between 30mins and an hour chatting, discussing and making suggestions. One suggestion in particular we are going to bring in, and with hope we can do it for Book 1, but it adds additional complexity, and may need to be moved into Book 2. Only field testing will prove either way.

After another 8+ hours of demos we finally packed up and left DaffCon until next year, before going back to Tom's, eating and going to bed far too early and crashing out for about 12 hours.

So to everyone who had a demo with us, thank you all!

To those who I got to chat with, in particular Carl who gave me advice on using pictures of miniatures in a game, and all the people I really wanted to give demos to, or get demos from, but just couldn't get away from the table myself:

Thank you!

I now know that the game demos well, and that we can give a demo without too much problem.

And onto the photos! (I wish I had taken more)

Tom & I standing proudly with our product in hand. This was near the end of Day 2. Which might explain why we look so damned tired.

Wraiths vs Raiders on Day 1

Wraiths vs Raiders on Day 2. The greater variety in heights gave for a more enjoyable game for sure.

UEF vs Red Claw. Notice the careful placement of terrain as to knock out all long fire lanes.

Tom gives a UEF vs Red Claw demo to Gaz from Paranoid Miniatures.


So, with hindsight is there anything I'd have done differently?

For starters, beginning in the prominent position would have driven foot traffic from day 1, however starting off in a slightly more hidden position allowed us to ease into it.

I'd have loved to have produced some banner standees to grab attention. Maybe I can do that for next time,

Other than that, I genuinely think we did a stellar job! We demoed our ass off, pressed flesh and made some good contacts.

The models and terrain looked good, showing off exactly how viable a variety of terrain is in the game, and the book and counters were well received.

Looking forward, we're doing more work on the book, and it is with great hope that next year, rather than just running demos, we'll be hosting a tournament.


Until next time, stay safe and be excellent to each other!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

A Long Hard Road to DaffCon

Greetings friends!

So yesterday was the final day of preparation where I finally declared myself done in preparing for the multi-day gaming event in Cardiff, DaffCon.

They say that being a good artist is knowing when to put your paintbrush down and walk away. Now I would never describe myself as a good artist, but that is it for me. My paintbrush has been put down and I am walking away, or should I say - packing away.

There's still a lot I would love to do, including applying more detail to my Red Claw and Exo-Suits, but I have to draw the line somewhere, and having models that are instead 'tabletop' (or depending on who you talk to, 'high-tabletop') is fine for now. I can always go back in the future and add more details, but for now, we're done.


It feels really strange saying that - done. I've been preparing for this, for months. Pretty much ever since DaffCon was announced.

Since day 1, DaffCon was a sort of 'soft launch' day for me. A series of days where with hope, a number that reaches double figures, will have a look at the game and try out the rules.

I remember a good number of years ago, the head developer of Cryptic games (responsible for such games as Champions Online and StarTrek Online) stated: "You're game is only as good as it's state at launch". This is a statement which has clung to me for years since. And it is very true. People judge your product based on first impressions, and most of the time that is made at launch.

If DaffCon is our great unveiling, and it is at this event where we will be ultimately judged, then it is at DaffCon we could either make it or break it.

If everyone who plays a demo, loves it, and tells two friends to do so, and then they tell two friends, who tell two friends, etc then before you know it you have a viral sensation which may flash in the pan, or may stick around.

If however everyone who plays it instead walks away feeling unenthused, then they tell two friends, who tell two friends, etc. Before you know it you have a massive black mark on your brand which is hard to come back from.

This is why everything has had to be top of the line. The book has to look great, it has to be visually appealing, it has to read well, it has to grab people. We need good looking business cards so that people are inclined to take them away, and remember that game they saw. We need to have terrain and models that draw people in, to ask "what's that game? The one using a mixture of Infinity, DeadZone, and TerrainClips?"

So far, I think we're pulling it off. But of course I would say that. The real test comes from those on the day. And it's terrifying.

But enough of that. Tomorrow's travelling day, where I'll be grabbing my stuff, train and tubing down to Victoria and then taking a coach to Wales. So time to say "see you later" to the family, and try to keep cool. Even if my tummy does feel like it wants to turn inside out and explode!

Until next time, stay safe and be excellent to each other!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Friday, 1 April 2016

Less Than A Week To Go! #DaffCon

Greetings friends!

So things have been quiet on my front as I have dealt with the last remnants of sickness, whilst also trying to finalise the last bits of stuff for DaffCon next week.

So where are we now?

Well as I said before, the book is ready, tshirts done, demo forces painted - still need to varnish them, but want to one more pass before I fully 100% sign them off. Gaming aids complete, today I printed off blank rosters and cheat-sheets which I'll be laminating tonight (if I can find my old lamination sheets, if not I'll be buying some tomorrow), terrain has been semi fixed. I was having a really hard time getting my original plan to work. Will probably try once more to make sure the sides are fully glued, while trying to get the 'roof pegs' idea to work. Then there's the Exo-Suits who are about 2-3 nights away from completion.

So plans:

Tonight: Laminate & Terrain
Then Exo-Suits, and all done!

Oh and of course, brick it between now and Friday when I find out if everything was just a big waste of time or not.

I sure hope not.

Until next time, stay safe and be excellent to each other!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley