Category Archives: News

News about things I’m working on (which gets piped into the newsletter).

July Non-Update, aka “Eddy and Murray Road Trip”

Last month on this blog I mentioned that I would be flying to Ireland on the 15th, settling in, and then diving right back into work, so I would have an update on things this month.

Things did not go according to plan.

If you’re reading this just for updates on my life and work, things are still about where they were before: I’m about to start working on the outline for Monarchies of Mau, I’m still working for clients such as Onyx Path, Earplay, and others I can’t yet reveal, and I have some exciting stuff coming on the horizon. If you’re curious why there’s not much of an update, however, I have a story to tell.

Continue reading July Non-Update, aka “Eddy and Murray Road Trip”

June Update

Not a lot to update this month, for three big reasons.

Ireland

I’m getting very close to the move, so naturally things are hectic and busy. My wife is already over there to nail down housing and immediate needs, while I stay behind to handle last-minute tasks here at home, as well as Murray the Pug’s health screen and flight process. Once I fly over there (on the 15th), I’ll be settling in and catching up on things.

I’m actually considering converting a portion of this blog over to talking about what it’s like to be an American expat living in Ireland, particularly from a freelance/game designer perspective. If this is something you’d be interested in, let me know!

Monarchies of Mau

The second reason is that we’re in the middle of the Monarchies of Mau Kickstarter, the second game in the world of Pugmire. At the time of this writing we’re over $92,000, and there are still some prime backer slots available. Check it out!

Non-Disclosure Agreements

I’m also working on something like five or six other things that I just can’t talk about yet. It seems there’s a cycle of these things — I do a lot of work I can’t talk about, and then a bunch of things all get released at around the same time. I’m deep in the “working hard on things” stage, which seems like nothing’s going on. But hopefully some of these projects will reach the light of day soon!

May Update

Things have been getting steadily busier for me. But I still have a little time for a quick update!

Moving to Ireland

The move continues forward. Getting rid of excess stuff, selling our house, arranging transport for Prince Murray Pug of Pugmire, and consulting with experts about what business actions I need to be taking… there’s a lot left to do! Right now I’m looking at mid-June for the real move, but there are plenty of things my family and I need to handle in the meantime.

The whole situation is stressful, but I’m slowly moving from “anxiety” to “excited.” There’s still plenty that could go wrong, but I’m looking forward to living in a different country, and all the opportunities (and challenges!) that brings. Of course I’ll miss all the friends and contacts I’ve made here over the years, but I really do think this is a great next chapter for everyone in our family.

Pugsteady

I’m still deep in the research/exploration phase of things, but signs still point to me being able to run Pugsteady much as I already have. There may be some value in opening a “Pugsteady Ireland” branch, but it really does look like I’ll just have to handle a little paperwork to keep doing what I’m doing. And I may not even need to do any of it right away.

Further, I’ve managed to pick up some steady contract work for a while. Having a regular income will be really helpful for a while as we settle in. I’ve also got some more one-off contracts since I last posted, which are always exciting. And that’s all outside of an upcoming Kickstarter!

Monarchies of Mau

Yes, the next step in the world of Pugmire is on the horizon. Hopefully very soon will be the launch of the Kickstarter for Monarchies of Mau, the companion line for Pugmire. This is more than just an add-on to play cats in a dog’s world — it’s a whole new brand that co-exists with Pugmire but has its own style and direction. If you love cats and you love Pugmire, I’m hoping you’ll really love Monarchies of Mau!

Once it’s live, I’ll post it everywhere I can, so you won’t miss out. I’m also partnering with some blogs and other media outlets so we can make a huge splash on day one. If you’re a blogger or reporter and want to get involved with the pre-launch blitz, let me know!

ECGC

Earlier in the month I went to the East Coast Game Conference. Last year I really enjoyed going, and this year was no different. It was great to hang out with old friends and meet some new ones. Further, my talk about audio design for people with hearing loss went over much better than I expected (feared), and led to some great side conversations with some passionate and excited audio people. It was a great time, and I hope I can go in future years (although maybe not as often, travel permitting).

In the aftermath of the show, I have thought more about how to increase visibility of hearing loss in fiction and entertainment media. Nothing is fully formed in my mind yet, but I think this is a topic I’ll be focusing more on over the next few years. (Which reminds me, I should probably look into Irish advocacy groups for those who are hard of hearing.)

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April Update

Last month I mentioned that there was a lot of awesome stuff happening, but I couldn’t share much of it. Well, some things have shifted, so I can start talking about some of it.

Moving to Ireland

This is one of the biggest ones. My family and I are moving to Dublin, Ireland in a couple of months! It’s been a family goal to move overseas for over a decade now, and the move finally makes financial and logistical sense for us. I’ll be a big ball of anxiety for a while, including where Pugsteady is going.

Pugsteady

Luckily, all my initial research seems to show that I can continue working as Pugsteady. I have appointments with my lawyer and my accountant to discuss the details and ramifications, but thus far it looks more like making sure I file the correct paperwork and not being unable to run as before. I am looking for steadier (contract) work, admittedly, as having a stable income while we settle in a new country would be supremely helpful. Further, Ireland has a tax exemption for artists, which could be a huge help!

In the meantime, however, I do have a few non-Pugmire projects I’m working on at the moment. So I’m certainly staying busy!

Conventions

The downside of the move is that, between needing to be more frugal with my finances as well as general uncertainty about my living conditions, I’ve scaled back on my convention travel. But I haven’t eliminated it!

  • I’m confirmed to speak at ECGC in Raleigh, NC on Wed, April 19th. My talk is called “I Didn’t Catch That,” about designing audio for people who are hard of hearing.
  • I’ll also be at Gen Con 50, promoting the hell out of Pugmire and Monarchies of Mau. I didn’t apply for the industry insider track this year (wasn’t sure I was going to be able to make it when the deadline rolled around), but I’ll certainly be busy demoing the games and talking them up! I’ll likely be on some panels as well.
  • A couple other events are still being discussed. Also, Europe has a ton of great conventions I’ve never attended, so I’m hoping to get involved with some of them as well!

Pugmire

Some exciting updates on the Pugmire front — keep an eye out for the Kickstarter update coming soon. There will also be an update from Earplay as well!

What Do You Want To Hear About?

Is there something in particular you want to hear about? Leave a comment or use my contact form, and I’ll consider it for my next post!

February Update

My, how time flies. Looks like it’s already time for another update!

Pugsteady

For those who are fans of process, moving to 15-day sprints seems to be helping. When I break down tasks to the smallest amount, it takes up a lot of planning space, and a month is just too much to wrap my head around. I think I’m going to let this sprint go long and switch to two-week sprints (so, planning from Monday to Friday instead of when the 1st of the month happens to land), but all in all this chance worked out well for me.

Of course, part of the reason is that my workload has finally eased up for the first time in over a year. I’d gotten so used to having steady work that it’s a bit weird not being swamped. That doesn’t mean I don’t have any work — Pugmire and related projects in particular are taking up a fair bit of my time — but it does mean I’m back to checking with old clients for new work, as well as making connections with new clients. If you know of someone who could make use of my services, point them to pugsteady.com!

Pugmire

The book is proofed, and ready for Kickstarter backers to receive! Tomorrow the various backers will get access to the next-to-final version of Pugmire. Naturally, I’m a bit nervous, because this will be the first time that the book is actually out there in a complete state. However, I’m really happy with what the team has done with the book, and I hope that the majority of Pugmire fans will be happy with the product.

Meanwhile, I’ve been focused on Monarchies of Mau, and I’m hoping to have a complete manuscript of Monarchies of Mau Early Access by the end of the month. I’m also offering my two cents to both the anthology (tentatively titled Tales of Good Dogs) and the introductory adventure (Pan’s Guide for New Pioneers), but the developers in charge of each of those projects are doing a great job keeping things afloat.

Earplay

Recording for the Pugmire Earplay (titled Friends and Enemies) is done! The actors were all great, and very efficient. Plus the composition for the project is also done, and sounds wonderful. What that means is that we have a lot of audio files that need to be cleaned up and compiled before it’s all put into the software, so there’s still a bit of a long haul ahead of us. But all in all, I’m pleased with how its shaping up.

Sherlock Holmes

No, I haven’t seen the latest season of Sherlock yet, but I’ve heard decidedly mixed reviews. Odds are good I’ll watch it — I’m obsessed with Holmes, after all — but I admit this is the first season I’m not really excited for. I am hoping that the latest season of Elementary wraps up soon so it’ll drop on Hulu and I can catch up!

Meanwhile, I’ve read through most of the backlog of Holmes books I got for the holidays, and I must admit that the Laurie King/Leslie Klinger anthologies have been really good. It’s a wide grab bag of Holmes-related short stories and media, but usually there’s always a few stories that fall flat in most anthologies. But not these — every story has gripped me so far, even the really far-out ones.

What Do You Want To Hear About?

Is there something in particular you want to hear about? Leave a comment or use my contact form, and I’ll consider it for my next post!

January Update

The holidays have come and gone, as has Midwinter. So, time for an update!

Pugsteady

Last month I had a problem — my planning process which I had used faithfully for over two years collapsed on me. To make a long story short, I had two firm deadlines that I didn’t think I could reconcile, and one of the deadlines was a project that kept getting bigger and bigger the more I worked on it. Thankfully, my wife is a trained project manager, and she helped me work through my problems.

For those that are interested, the biggest problem was that my tasks were too big. I had gotten into the bad habit of lumping lots of small tasks into one large task (like “Meetings” or “Pugmire Manuscript”). The end result was that I was doing lots of work, but getting no visible progress, so I kept seeing lots of large projects on my plate. I subdivided the tasks down to the smallest realistic portion, something that I could do in half a day to a day. This allowed me to show momentum and replan quickly — if I was blocked on, say, a particular chapter, I could adjust and tackle another chapter and see progress, instead of one big task of “book.”

The other was that my sprint iterations had gotten too long. For years I used a month as my planning block — it was natural and easy to visualize. However, what started happening recently was that I would build up tasks at the end of the month, so the last week or so got dense with lingering tasks. When the holidays came up and effectively wiped out my end of the month, I ended up with a large plate of tasks that felt like I had been working on them since December 1.

Now I’m focused more on 15-day sprints, and I’ve taken to having tons of little tasks. I get two or three done a day consistently, and I can see progress better. The work itself hasn’t changed, but I feel like more is getting done, which means I’m more likely to get back to work instead of stopping because I feel overwhelmed.

Pugmire

At this moment, I have the first version of the book (called a “proof”) on my computer. My job now is to go through it and adjust the text, find typos, cut a little and add a little so that it all fits in the space allotted. Which means we’re very, very close to releasing it!

I’ve been through a bunch of story pitches for the Pugmire anthology. I think it’s going to be great, but it’s definitely a project I’ve largely handed off to Jim and his stable of writers. Once the first drafts come in I’ll have to devote a fair bit of time marking up canon concerns, but right now writers are writing!

Monarchies of Mau was playtested at Midwinter. It wasn’t as far along as I’d hoped, but in retrospect that was a good thing. Overall the core of the game is still strong, and experienced Pugmire players told me they felt the game was distinct from Pugmire while still being familiar — an excellent start! There were some details, thought, that weren’t gelling well. I did some great brainstorming with folks at the show, and I’m going to spend some time hashing all these new ideas out. Of course, odds are it will continue to evolve all the way through to the final manuscript of the finished book — I’m just working on the Early Access edition, after all — but it’s better to have a solid foundation so I can build a team that will focus on details later.

Earplay

The Pugmire Earplay has been taking off. Since my last update, I hired a writer to help me with the script of all eight episodes. We did a few revision passes with Dave Grossman, and it’s looking really good. I’ve also hired a composer and an audio team, as well as a voice director. This week we started recording with the actors, and so far the performances have been blowing me away. We’ve still got a long road to go before this sees the light of day, but I think it’s going to be amazing once it’s all done.

Fetch Quest Card Game

As I mentioned above, Midwinter was great for feedback on Monarchies of Mau. I also tested out a Pugmire card game (tentatively titled Fetch Quest), and was pleasantly surprised at how well it did in its first iteration! The design is a cooperative deck-building game: six pioneers from Pugmire are on a quest, and have to acquire Fortune cards to defeat increasingly dangerous challenges. I definitely need to test it a lot more, but I’m already seeing potential to introduce new quests and new characters (including cats). We might even be able to set up a community-generated storefront so people can use their own pets as characters in the game.

Sherlock Holmes

I got three Holmes anthologies for Christmas, and a book of Holmes-themed puzzles for my birthday. And as always, once I start reading I begin to think of Holmes-related projects I could work on. Now that the card game went well, I’m kicking around a Holmes-themed card game, as well as poking at my Inspector Lestrade-focused short story idea. I haven’t seen the new season of Sherlock yet, but I’ve heard… not great things, so I admit I’m worried. In the meantime, I’m continuing to make my way through my Blu-Ray version of the Jeremy Brett series when I have time to sit down and really appreciate it.

What Do You Want To Hear About?

Is there something in particular you want to hear about? Leave a comment or use my contact form, and I’ll consider it for my next post!

December Update!

It’s the holiday season. Which means, it’s time for an update!

Pugsteady

 

This month I tried to take a bit of a vacation, to help me collect my wits. It didn’t entirely work, as I had to handle a number of time-sensitive issues. Plus, staying at home and calling it a “vacation” probably isn’t the best way of going about things. I think I need to plan well in advance to have a proper, away-from-home, not-thinking-at-all-about-Pugsteady vacation. It’s all part of learning how to be self-employed!

Pugmire

The manuscript for the game is done, done, done! I’ve sent it off to the art director, who is laying it out and talking to artists. Thanks to the successful Kickstarter, we can add in a lot of art, and I think this will be a gorgeous book when it’s done. I can’t wait to see it!

The anthology is also starting to kick into gear. James Lowder is really taking the bull by the horns, and he’s passing along some tough questions about the setting (which is a huge help!) We’re in the middle of people pitching stories to him, but already I think this will be a great line-up of talent.

In the meantime, I’m now heads-down on Pugmire: Monarchies of Mau. After a few unsuccessful starts, I think I have a strong idea that fits well within what I’ve established for Pugmire but is also its own thing. I’ve bounced it off a few people, and so far everyone seems to like where it’s going. Which means I need to start preparing for the next Kickstarter! Eep!

 

Earplay

I’ve been really focused on helping out with the World of Darkness project for Earplay, called “The Orpheus Device.” Working with Dave Grossman and Rich Dansky has been awesome, and I’m starting to hear the audio from the actors as well. I think this will be a compelling product that will do justice to Wraith: The Oblivion.

Meanwhile, I’ve finally gotten back to the Pugmire Earplay, which I’ve tentatively titled “Friends and Enemies.” The design is in a pretty good place, and hopefully by this time next month I’ll have a final script and some actors ready to go!

Midwinter Gaming Convention

As I mentioned last month, I’ll be at the Midwinter Gaming Convention in Milwaukee. This year is even more pug-stastic than usual! I’ll be playtesting my first efforts on Monarchies of Mau, I’ll have a few Pugmire-themed card games to try out, and I might even have a Pugmire-related Earplay teaser to show off! This show is a lot of fun, so come check it out!

What Do You Want To Hear About?

Is there something in particular you want to hear about? Leave a comment or use my contact form, and I’ll consider it for my next post!