Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Rambling Man

Feeling a little blue and out of sorts today, so here's a collection of bits and pieces in no particular order.

The Fourth was fun, with a big party at Monkey King's. The local weathermen had predicted overcast and rain for the evening, so, Seattle being what it was, it was clear and warm (the front finally rolled in last night, providing some much needed rain). The party was a pleasant afternoon talking to folk, and we unloaded a lot of books to send to soliders overseas (including Starfish so don't ask for my copy).

On the Academy (of Gaming Arts and Design) mailing list I'm on, a couple folk have complained that the Origins Awards did not list credits for the winning projects. Here's the short form for the RPG projects that won - anyone who wants to dig up the credits for the rest is welcome to:

Best Role Playing Game: Ars Magica by Jonathan Tweet & Mark Rein*Hagen (original creators), and David Chart (5th Edition design)

Best Role Playing Game Supplement: Eberron Campaign Setting by Keith Baker, Bill Slavicsek, and James Wyatt (Game Designers)

Gamer's Choice Award for RPGs: The World of Darkness by Mark Rein*Hagen and Stewart Wieck (original creators), Bill Bridges, Rick Chillot, Ken Cliffe and Mike Lee (Writers).

Actually, all this underscores the problem of crediting on the awards - who should get the credit? Traditionally they go with the cover credits, which are usually the game designers. Not only are there more individuals who deserve credit than the couple who are listed (developers, editors, playtesters, production, art are all vital, just to pull a handful off the top my head), the very definition of what rates for cover credit varies (Two of three winners are revised versions, so the original creators, who may not be involved in this particular version, get credit along with the current authors). World of Darkness, which evolved over a number of years, has 18 people credited for "Concept and Design" (many of whom I know). It's a thorny issue, and one that won't go away as games get as complex as movies.

In my world, the job hunt continues, and when I have something more concrete to report, I'll pass it on. I have taken advantage of this down time (when I'm not criss-crossing the country or cutting up Deadfall Maples) for more reading and game playing. I have moved my World of Warcraft characters forward nicely, but the cool thing that happened was on July 3rd, when we had a fireworks celebration. This was not organized by the company, but by a bunch of high-level players who all bought fireworks (available in the game) and held party in the Duskwood (which is continually shrouded by trees, making it a good place to set off fireworks in the day). I'd say there were about a hundred and fifty players present, cheering and dancing (yes, you can make your figure dance in World of Warcraft - each race has its own dance moves. Humans do disco).

On reading, I have a new problem - I'm reading faster than I review. I have yet to decide if I'm doing to write anything of China Mieville's The Scar or Cory Doctorow's Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, but in the meantime, as a fallback measure, I've started the second of Neil Stephenson's Baroque Cycle. THAT should slow me down.

Oh, yeah, The Lovely Bride read Varley's Mammoth, and contrary to my decidedly mixed review, really, really liked it, and recommends it. Of course, she likes the idea of baby mammoths (when we started playing Magic: The Gathering, she would send the Mammoth (named Chunky) over to attack, making Mammoth noises).

And finally, Washington State has its turn coming up for unique collectible quarter (The score so far: 23 lame ones, one winner - the Charter Oak Quarter from Connecticut). The local paper launched a contest to create the next Washington quarter. So naturally a group of photoshop geeks had to get into the act (Note- parts of this site of NSFW).

OK, that's enough rambling. More later,