Category Archives: News

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

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!

November Update

Wow, time flies by. It’s time again to update what I’ve done in October!

Pugsteady

As I mentioned last month, I’ve made some strides in giving Pugsteady a more professional presence. First off, I used the great services at Moo.com to make some new business cards. Check them out!

Personal contact information intentionally obscured.
Personal contact information intentionally obscured.

Also, after much debate, I decided to use Squarespace to make a professional-looking website for pugsteady.com. It’s been a long time coming, and there’s a lot I want to do in the coming months, but I needed a place to not only promote my services, but also a central place to point people for all things Pugmire.

Pugmire

Speaking of Pugmire, that central web page I just mentioned is not only on pugsteady.com, but you can also get to it via worldofpugmire.com.

Meanwhile, I have the manuscript back from editing, and I’m in the process of reviewing those edits, synthesizing all the playtest feedback, and making all the small last-minute changes before it goes to layout. This is one of the most exciting steps for me, because it start to feel like it’s really happening!

I’m also deep into the initial design for Pugmire: Monarchies of Mau, and I hope to make the cat civilization as engaging and fun as the dogs are. Right now I’ve put it to the side so I can focus on Pugmire, but I hope I’ll have something to show people in a few months!

Earplay

Things are still going great at Earplay. We’ve announced a few great projects, including one tied to the World of Darkness, and another one tied to Pugmire. We’ve also committed to doing a project based on Scion. It’s interesting to work with properties I know well, but with a completely different team! I’ve also been helping put the last touches on a re-release of Codename Cygnus for Alexa-enabled devices, so hopefully you’ll start seeing a lot of cool things coming from Earplay in the coming months!

Midwinter Gaming Convention

Last month I mentioned that I’m done with travel for 2016, but I’m already preparing for 2017! As I have for the past several years, I’ll be at the Midwinter Gaming Convention in Milwaukee. This year is even more pug-stastic than usual! I’ll be testing my first efforts on Monarchies of Mau, I’ll have a few Pugmire-themed card games to test out, and I might even have a Pugmire-related Earplay demo 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!

October Update

It’s been a few weeks, so time to give folks an update on where things are with me!

Pugsteady

The Pugsteady business is going well. I’m starting to work on the next steps of growing the company by investing in business cards and a website. For the past several years this blog has worked well as a central place to discuss and display my work, but increasingly I’m finding a need to distinguish between a place that fans of my specifically can come to learn more (which is here) and a place that costumers and clients can quickly and easily get access to information they need. I don’t know when it’ll be done, but I bring it up to show that I’m still as committed as ever to my self-employment.

Pugmire

The manuscript for the game is in an editor’s hands, which means this is the first time in months I can really focus on some other aspects of building up the world! I also opened up the new rules in the current draft for playtest and comments — check out the latest Kickstarter update for more information! I’ve also been seeing some great commentary about the game, and I’m really happy that something I’ve built from the ground up is doing so well.

Earplay

Meanwhile, things are picking up at Earplay. We’re deep into working on some new projects to release, including some great brainstorming sessions with folks like Richard Dansky and Dave Grossman. Hopefully we’ll be able to show some amazing stuff very soon and start getting people as passionate about interactive audio drama as I am.

The Local Scene

14567424_1215327728539022_2361550361651696086_oI’m done with travel for 2016, but I’m still busy in the local Atlanta scene. I volunteered to help out with the first Broadleaf Writer’s Conference, which was a small but passionate conference of new and experienced writers. It seems that both the attendees and the speaks got a lot out of the experience, and I got the chance to meet some great folks from the area.

This weekend I’ll be moderating a panel at SIEGE about writing video games for franchises. Pugsteady will also be part of the Game Studio Smackdown, where I plan to fail miserably at Mario Kart 8. Come watch me speak about the nuances of writing for a licensed property, or fight for the honor of Pugsteady!

Sherlock Holmes

After some time away, I’m coming back around to enjoy some more of my favorite detective. I’m continually impressed with the Big Finish audio series, and the latest box set did not disappoint. I’m also finally catching up on Elementary Season 4, and I just started listening to an audiobook version of Moriarty by John Gardner (although I should go back and read The Revenge of Moriarty soon). I’m back to playing with some ideas for stories or games set in the “Sherlock Holmes universe” (i.e., not necessarily involving a canonical Holmes and Watson), but it often takes a backseat to other, more pressing business. But someday!

What Do You Want To Hear About?

That’s it for me. If there’s something in particular you want to hear about on this blog, leave a comment or use my contact form, and I’ll consider it!

September Update!

It’s been a few weeks, so I thought I would give an update on where things are with me!

Futurama: Game of Drones

A few weeks ago I passed my first anniversary working on Futurama: Game of Drones. The folks at Wooga are all great, and even though some of them have since moved on to bigger and better things, I continue to enjoy working with them every day. Plus, getting the chance to collaborate with Patric Verrone is amazing, even though he is an incredibly busy man. Here’s hoping I can continue to write gags about porn and Fox News!

Pugmire

Meanwhile, Pugmire passed its own important milestone, as I wrapped up a complete draft last week! There’s still a lot to do — I have to revise everything so it all lines up, and then I’ll have an editor go over it before I revise it again — but things get a lot easier from this point on. I posted a more detailed status on all things Pugmire on Kickstarter and the Onyx Path blog.

2016-08-26-06-32-42-576x1024Earplay

Earlier this month, Earplay got the chance to show off a teaser experience at the Grand Masquerade in New Orléans: a prototype for our upcoming Wraith: The Oblivion interactive audio story. We also launched Earplay on Amazon Echo, so if you have an Echo, go ahead and enable the skill and test out our demos. And maybe we’ll get the Wraith teaser up there as well….

I’m really looking forward to what’s coming up for Earplay. It’s been a lot of hard behind-the-scenes work, and it’s nice to finally get something out in front of people. I’m told all the folks who got a chance to play the teaser at Grand Masquerade had a great time, and I hope we’ll have even more amazing interactive audio experiences for both World of Darkness and Pugmire.

14142075_10157413437020173_829686795637345684_nTravel

I had a wonderful time at Fan Expo Canada! It was certainly the largest show I’ve ever been a guest at, and it was only the second time I had the privilege of going to Toronto. I was on four panels and ran three games of Pugmire, all of which were well-received. I even got to meet a few Kickstarter backers, which was wonderful. There was always something to do, and I even picked up a little souvenir for myself from the dealer’s room. Definitely a worthwhile show!

That said, I realized that I’ve travelled a lot this past year, and while I really enjoy getting to see people, it’s also a lot of time away from getting work done. So, while I’m certainly not going to stop travelling, I am considering being a little more strategic on which shows I attend.

Speaking of shows, here are a couple I am planning to attend!

And More…

There’s a lot more brewing behind the scenes, but those are the highlights this month. I’ll try to make monthly news updates, especially now that more of what I’m working on is actually seeing the light of day. So, see you in October!

Wait, it’s been six months?!

It’s been six months since I’ve posted an update. My lack of communication is partially because I’ve been heads-down on a lot of things, but I need to correct that, right now!

Futurama: Game of Drones

Sometime recently (I think in July, maybe?) I passed my one year anniversary of working on Futurama: Game of Drones.  That’s been an incredible experience — not only do I get to work with Patric Verrone and Dave Grossman, but the company that makes the game (Wooga) has been a wonderful client. If you haven’t had a chance to check the game out, it’s free on Android and iOS!

Pugmire

The Pugmire Kickstarter went very well. Far beyond my expectations, in fact — not only did we make close to $200,000, but we got a lot of media coverage about the game. I just got back from Gen Con, where I ran a number of demos and held a panel talking about the status and future of Pugmire, and things look bright! You can get monthly updated at the Kickstarter or on the Onyx Path blog, but here’s the short version:

  • The RPG manuscript is going well. I’m hoping to have all the words written by early September, which means we’re on track for a January release of the PDF.
  • I just hired an editor for a Pugmire fiction anthology, and I’m hoping to get some great writers for that.
  • I’m in the early stages of designing an interactive audio drama for Pugmire along with Dave Grossman.
  • At Gen Con we announced that we’ll have a Kickstarter for the sister game, Monarchies of Mau, sometime in early 2017.
  • And that’s just the start! There’s a lot more Pugmire stuff in the works.

Travel

This year has been a whirlwind of travel. Milwaukee for Midwinter Gaming Convention, San Francisco for GDC, Raleigh for ECGC, Cleveland for Cleveland Concoction, Atlanta for MomoCon, College Station for AggieCon, and Indianapolis for Gen Con. And next month, I’ll be in Toronto for Fan Expo Canada! I’m also planning to round the year out with an appearance at SIEGE here in Atlanta. If you’ll be in Toronto or Atlanta, come by and say hi!

Advising

As if all of that wasn’t enough, I’ve also been branching out into advising and educating other writers. One area where I’ve been offering my services has been the upcoming Broadleaf Writer’s Conference in Atlanta on September 24-25. We’ll have a ton of talented writers as guests, so if you’ve wanted an intense two-day conference to learn the craft of writing, I suggest you check it out!

More to Come!

Hopefully I’ll have a lot more to talk about in coming months. And I’ll try to be better about posting updates. If there’s something in particular you’d like me to write about, let me know at my contact page!

40 Days and 40 Nights of Pugmire

Yesterday, the work of over two years reached a new level, as Onyx Path launched the Kickstarter for Pugmire.  I spent 10 hours at my computer, doing last-minute preparations and then talking to lots and lots of excited people as the game funded in an hour. As I’m writing this, 24 hours later, it’s passed 300% funding, and it’s still climbing. I’m a little stunned at the whole thing, when I’m not smiling so much it hurts.

Typically in these kinds of situations, I would say that I’ll try not to talk too much about my current project. I would beg forgiveness for the amount of discussion that I’ll have for the duration of the Kickstarter, and plead tolerance as my friends are awash in forty days and forty nights of Pugmire.

But I don’t want to apologize, because I’m excited. For once, I’m not shackled to NDAs. I don’t have to check with a committee of people on what I can and can’t say. I can make decisions, try new things, make horrible mistakes, and ultimately enjoy the hell out of this because it’s mine. And it’s clear that lots of other people not only want to talk about it with me, but also want me to do more with it.

So, this is a thing you’re going to hear a lot about in the coming months, but not necessarily in my personal spaces (like this one). If you want constant, up-to-the-minute updates, follow the Kickstarter, check out the Pugmire Facebook group, or follow Onyx Path or Pugsteady on Twitter. And if all goes well, there will be another huge thing coming that I won’t shut up about. I understand that self-promotion can bug some people. Personally, I love it when people are enthusiastic about something they’ve made, even if it’s not my cup of tea, but I understand when it feels like they only talk about the latest thing they’re shilling.

However, this world of dogs and cats means a lot to me. It’s not just a silly little game I’m knocking out to make some cash — I’ve never worked that way, and many folks can attest to the blood and soul I’ve poured into the World of Darkness. Rather, Pugmire is about proving that all of my plans and ideas and partnerships and opinions on how a world can be built and presented to a community can work. It proves that when I have total control, I can pull together a plan that is creative, exciting, and sustainable. It demonstrates to the world — and more importantly, to me — that I can build something from scratch.

There’s a lot more of me in this than normal, and a lot more of me to come. It’s a flood: 40 days and 40 nights of me grinning like a mad fool as I build the ark I’m floating on, all while watching more and more people falling in love with a piece of my soul.

… lost the metaphor there. So, yeah. I’m going to babble about dogs and cats for a while. Sorry, but not sorry.