orange county gaming group kickstarter interview!

we talked to our tabletop friends from orange county gaming group recently about their kickstarter project!

1) Hello guys thanks for agreeing to talk to us its a real pleasure! now contextually few of our fans emailed in to ask us to interview you guys and we think you have a great idea! but before we get to that, can you introduce yourself and tell us how did you guys get started as a group?

We’re absolutely thrilled to have an opportunity to speak with you guys.

Well, we didn’t start as OCGG, but through a series of media, happenstance, friends, and luck we met each other and found that we all shared the same level of dedication to table top gaming. Beyond enjoying the game together, it didn’t take long to realize that our commitment to this genre of gaming extended far beyond mere participation. More than a passion for playing the game, we found we had a passion for innovating the game. OCGG was born shortly after.

2) so in regards to your kickstarter idea, could you tell our fans in a nutshell about your project ?

Essentially, we are trying to bring about custom audio versatile enough to be used across multiple genres of table top RPGS that gives the players that 3rd dimension feel. Try watching the final battle scene of Lord of the Rings Return of the King without sound, when the Fellowship finally defeats Sauron and his eye goes nova. We bet dollars to donuts that scene will fall pretty flat since the music and dramatic sound effects plays such a powerful role in driving home the currents of emotions the audience was meant to feel by Peter Jackson. We can do this with table top games, we know it because we feel it every Saturday around the table when our DM’s weave amazing audio in our amazing games.

3) so in regards to your project, would you say your influence is playing tabletop games to begin with?

Alex, our lead DM, has used musical backdrops for gaming sessions since 1995 starting from seeing the movie Braveheart. That was the first ‘click’. He saw scenes similar to the ones unfolding in his own game and realized that the dramatic music was key to influencing the emotions of the audience (and thus his players). It wasn’t until he received an iPad as a gift did another ‘click’ occur. Laptops, tablets, iPods, these are all ubiquities now a days, there’s no reason why we can’t immerse our gaming table with audio by both players and DM; the technology to play and share audio is everywhere.

4) question for fun, we are members of a tabletop gaming club, so what games do you guys
enjoy and what would you say made you decide to do your project?

D&D 3.5 is our first and foremost main game. We enjoy Shadow Run, Star Wars, Call of Cthulhu, Cyberpunk, Dragonlance, Ravenloft, Spell Jammer. We could do this all day, but we’re just going to stop there. (And that’s not including card games)

5) so would you say as players there was a gap in the market in regards to audio? or was it more lets try and make tabletop gaming better?

By far, we want to improve table top gaming. The audio to repurpose was there and it’ll always be there, it’s just, after playing for 20 years, hearing the same tracks gets old. We also noticed that there wasn’t an easily accessible and usable platform for current audio. You have to put up with ads and buffering and different media player plugins. Although there is a market for gaming music and soundscapes, there isn’t a whole lot of it. Moreover, we never found really cool, what we call, ‘Actual’ audio. That is, tailor made audio that DM’s can play and tell their players “Yup, you hear the elves actually perform this funeral service”. We’re going to change that.

6) You are using Kickstarter to fund your project, as fans we are always interested to ask why kickstarter and whats your thoughts about it?

Kickstarter has the most exposure. It is the biggest crowdsourcing forum available right now. It was easy to use and helpful as far as keeping in contact with those who support our project.


7) Geek Apocalypse loves creative thinkers/makers, so what would you say is the biggest challenge people like yourself have when you make something like this?

Advertising! Getting our name out there and getting people to understand what it is that we are doing and recognize that we are trying to enhance table-top gaming by bringing an innovation that sorely overdue.

8) we are assuming you guys have heard of tabletop and other platforms that are making board games/tabletop games popular? as experienced gamers what effect do you think this has had on the industry?

Mainstream media has boosted interest and acceptance of tabletop gaming. Generally, the popularity of movies like The Lord of the Rings, and series like Game of Thrones have rekindled public interest in fantasy. Specifically, Tabletop, The Gamers: Dorkness Rising, Community’s D&D Session episode, various thinly-veiled Futurama D&D references and even Stephen Colbert have helped to bring D&D and games like it out of the obscure nerd underbelly of society.

On the flip side, you have video games. From their inception, RPG video games from Might and Magic to World of Warcraft owe their success to table top games, having heavily borrowed its vernacular, statistical modeling, presentation, and thematic references. However, what we are now seeing is a change of roles where now video games, not table top gaming platforms, are leading the development of fantasy content. A lack of innovation, ancient business models, and short-sighted run to digital platforms, has eroded investment in this genre of gaming, which can still be as profitable as ever – because of new technology, not despite it. Combine this with the fact that fantasy gaming business leaders have yet to truly understand how to bring tabletop gaming out of the 1970’s and we have this relative table top innovation dry spell. Virtual tabletops, E-Tools, and E-Sheets have helped but it’s high time this incredible pass time gets a serious industry facelift.

9) if people are interested in pledging or finding out more information about your project, where would they need to go?

They can go to our website, OCGaminggroup.com, our kickstarter page, our facebook, or they can follow us on twitter.

10) and finally if your project does get made, any plans for the future?

Lots! We envision an ever growing list of custom made gaming audio which will in large part be decided by the gaming community as we pick up steam. Along with the soundboard, we’d like to introduce additional audio and visual immersion tools which are still in the drawing board stage. As long as we are funded, we will keep improving table top gaming.

Well we wish you all the Success in your project, as gamers ourselves we hope you get the funds to make it happen! thank you for talking to us and to quote Wil Wheaton, Play more games!

We can’t thank you enough. Alright everyone, we have innovation to bring to gamers, roll initiative.

you can find there kickstarter at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/105982873/realmsound-project-20

also here is my first vlog post where I recommend them!

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uk expo 2013 the bits you didn’t see or hear part two

SAMSUNGSo where was I? (always wanted to say that!) staying at jaszmines was fun and I really need to thank her for walking me back to the train station! those who read part one and the red dwarf blog will know that my sense of direction is somewhat….missing. even with a map I can get lost, thats how bad i am. Anyway,I had agreed the day before to interview Andrew Hackard at 10.30 and I just made it! as in, i was late, again classic Steven never seems to disappoint!

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What needs to be known is, I was super excited to meet him and theres was a few reasons why!  In regards to games, my first discovery of the wide variety of games was playing munchkin around 10 years ago! it was basically my infection vector into board games that now are a fun part of my life, because board games have created new friendships as well as maintained ones I’ve had for years. So I owe Steve Jackson Games a lot for that because They made a fantastic game that Andrew maintains to this day! Also, as we discussed in the podcast that andrew knows Wil Wheaton and has done for years and appeared on his board game show Tabletop which is awesome. So in a weird way, he is the catalyst to two things that influenced me to be involved in board games that I’m so happy I am a part of. Muchkin being the game that got me interested and tabletop for reinvigorating me to play games again. I played regularly at university and I owe tabletop for getting me re involved into board games after I left. I also owe wil for inpsiring me again to write by saying in an interview ‘no one told you you couldn’t and write what makes you laugh’ that made me realise I really wasn’t trying hard enough! if you haven’t seen tabletop heres the episode Andrew was in!

SAMSUNGI then sat in the major publishers seminar which was awesome, Sitting listening to mark, Andrew etc talk to about the gaming industry. A funny thing happened that they nicknamed me the guy with the beautiful hair which could only happen at a gaming convention that I am regarded as cool. but i enjoyed it all the same! I asked them if other industries can learn from how helpful you guys are to each other, which Larry Roznai from mayfair games  replied by saying ‘They would like to, but they wont’. Larry actually goes into detail about the board game industry and mayfairs position on the Geek Apocalypse podcast ,he was so unbelievably nice about it and gave me more than enough time to talk to him! which really was the case for everyone I met at uk expo! Seriously, no bribes involved they were super nice!

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As i said in part one of this blog, It sucked that I didnt have enough time to play more games throughout the expo, as after the seminar I spent the time interviewing for my podcast (which ofcourse i love so I’m not complaining!). I got some unbelievably brilliant guests though, after Andrew Hackard i spoke to Chris birch who I had been to his kickstarter seminar and gave me so much advice in regards to setting one up and was such a nice guy! his act of cthulhu stuff sounds great and a highly recommend you check his stuff out! Him and Angus who knew each other were incredibly nice ot me so it was great that they let me talk to them and again, really friendly and approachable! I then got a chance to speak to Petr Mormak who makes one of Newcastle Gamers (my board game club) favourite games Galaxy Trucker, and being from czech republic it was really fun geting his perspective on loads of different subjects! what amuses me is that really this podcast became a battle of the accents have a geordie host, an american and czech on the show! but if that doesnt show the influence worldwide that games has then I don’t know what does! I then talked to the governor  Mr Mayfair himself Larry Roznei who was a pleasure to talk to with his years of experience and being a ceo of such a huge gaming company!

SAMSUNGI then finally got the chance to play a game, i got asked to play a large version of the game ticket to ride! which is an awesome game so it gave me the opportunity to relax and kind of sit and absorb the event for the first time! and I really enjoyed it! although as I said in part one I continued my role of the nearly man by coming in second. damn randoms! I highly recommend though that if they are any families wanting a game to play that something like ticket to ride would be awesome! but it was fun playing with giant pieces and was a good way to end the event for me, as I really wanted to see if I could absorb the event before I left and I finally felt i did that. Uk expo was just a brilliant experience and i would totally do it again next year if i got the chance to do it because, these are my people! 🙂

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I have to end the blog on the best part of the convention for me, and I know  he will hate this if he does see this as I said it to him at the time, but Andrew Hackard made the expo for me. It wasn’t that I was a fan and that I loved the game he was a part

of, but I had half an hour to wait before my train and he sat with me and talked to me about loads of different things and signed my Munchkin apocalypse box. And that was so awesome! he didn’t have to do any of it and he gave me far more than I ever expected so huge thanks to him for making my day! I then left the expo, went to catch my train and the only thing I could think of, is watching tabletop to help me pass the time!

So I got home at 12 midnight on Sunday around 40 hours after I left, my back was hurting, I had barely slept, I smelled of convention and I had a multitude of editing to do! so would I change any of it?

not a chance! :):) heres to next year!

you can find Geek Apocalypse podcast part 1 and now  part 2 online at http://www.geekapocalypse.com/shows as well as itunes!

also I did an interview about Geek Apocalypse on our youtube channel, part one is online now:

Geek Apocalypse talks to creators of The Realm!

We recently got the opportunity to have a sit down interview with the guys behind the realm video game! Made here in Newcastle! please do donate and help them out! 🙂
1)thankyou so much for agreeing to talk to Geek Apocalypse! The first question seems obvious to us in what made you guys decide to get together to make The Realm?
We all used to work together at a company called Computer Artworks on a horror game called The Thing. It became a number one hit game, but unfortunately the studio closed later. We’ve been trying to find a way to work together ever since and now this opportunity came up we had to take it!
 
2) for those that dont know ,what is the realm about?
The Realm is an evolution of the graphic adventure game. It’s set in a far distant future when nature has reclaimed the earth and myth and magic is on the rise once more. A young girl Sarina has to go on a desperate quest to find a cure to save her sick mother. On her way she comes across Toru a mythical stone golem and together they go on this amazing adventure.
 
3) We hear at GA are massive fans of the point and click genre, such as monkey island and broken sword! did they influence you and if so how?
We love all the early point & click adventures like Monkey Island, Beneath a Steel Sky and those were definitely the inspiration of our game. However we felt that we could update this genre for modern gamers. So we’ve changed things up a little, we’re focussing less on pixel-hunting and obscure inventory puzzles and more on asymmetrical character gameplay, contextual menus and environmental puzzles. 
4)Graphics wise this game looks amazing, truly beautiful! what was your thought process in regards to making this such a vastly beautiful dynamic world?
Thank-you. Atomhawk is one of the leading art design studios and have been working on many triple A games. The world is inspired by the countryside in the north east of England where Atomhawk are based. We have taken local places and then re-imagined them in this future world where nature has gone wild – twisting vines and strange plants engulf the old buildings. What lurks inside?
5) One of our criticisms of some point and click games is the lack of character depth and emotional depth, is this something the Realm will be focusing on?
Definitely. The relationship between Sarina and Toru is absolutely at the center of this game. Storytelling is all about characters and that is what binds us emotionally to the game. In our game the relationship is not just a cosmetic feature but also intrinsic to the game-play, so the player will need to think about their actions and the consequences it has on the different characters.
6) we like the idea that you guys picked a female character Sarina as lead, was was your decision behind it?
We have worked on many big console games that feature large muscly men wielding even larger guns. We wanted to do something different, something people will remember – we are not interested in duplicating what’s just gone before. Also Ron (our creative director) is also a father to a young girl and so I think he was inspired by that!
7) We are huge fans of kickstarter, having talked to many game makers that use it, from your perspective, why pick kickstarter?
 
Kickstarter allows us to connect directly to our audience and also it allows us to make the game we want to make. If you go to a publisher and say we want to make a game with a girl, its an adventure game and its a premium title – they look at you strangely, its just too high risk for them. Kickstarter allows creative projects a new platform for finding funding – its great. Hard work but great.
 
8) your back catalogue of games you have worked on is amazing, including mortal kombat, DmC, and enslaved to name a few, what drives you as developers to now work on your own independant project?
Much of what I said before. If you are a creative person you want to work on projects that excite you. We all really believe in this game and we know how great it is going to be! Thats why we invest so much into it.
9) what is your opinion on the current state of the video game industry? in regards to major publishers vs independent ones like yourself?
The industry is very much in flux. We have an end of console cycle coming up. No one knows if the next generation of consoles are going to be successful. The mobile market has opened up the doors to indie game developers but everyone is drowning in content and no-one knows how to get their game noticed. Its really hard. There are opportunities but you have to fight tooth and nail! Who knows what will come next?
9) finally, wed really like to see this game made, so if people would like to donate to this project, how can they do that?
Thank-you. They can visit our Kickstarter here and make a pledge! http://kck.st/XZlFdU
 thankyou for taking to us!
Thankyou!!

the beauty of gaming, the life of a gamer part 2

part 2 team gamers unite! 🙂

land of the geeks

gamingI wrote a post a week or so go where I talked about the value of gaming and I had a lot to say about the influence, joy and importance it has had over my life. I then sat down, after playing several different games the last few days, that I barely scratched the service on other games that I play or have played.

I also missed a couple of really important points in regards to my gaming life, the influence of my family. Every family has something that binds them together, something that gathers dust until family members gather round and becomes the family tie of bonding everyone together. There was two things that did that for my family, The TV series red dwarf and games,  in particular card games.

Some of my earliest memories involve the family gathering round to watch series 6 of red dwarf,one of the few tv shows we…

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The beauty of gaming: a life of a gamer

I really like this particular blog, so I wanted to repost this, because if I can in anyway show how great games are then i consider this an achievement unlocked, I’m off to play team fortress!

land of the geeks

gaming

It’s funny, I have been a gamer for most of my life, and it was only on a recent podcast I did with the lovely Viv Wiggins that I started reminiscing about my life as a gamer.  Even after the podcast, Viv and I talked about the value of games, and I became to realise the value and thread it has had in my life that I’ve never really realised until now.

I suppose I just never looked at it in reference to my experience playing games, but I am always interested and engaged in seeing how people use games or even value games at face value. When I worked in a local school the other day for example my colleague was trying to get the kids to play the monopoly app and it bored them senseless. Now, on face value, you can say that was unsuccessful and that games…

View original post 1,284 more words

my tabletop day experience: why I love geeks and gaming

After t2013-03-30 12.43.09he 16th hour of games, I took the cucumber slices of my eyes and soathing creams of my face(even I find that image ridiculous, because I’m obviously kidding), and with how much I knew this fantastic day was over, I knew It was time to leave and go home. For those that have no clue what I am on about, I was part of yesterdays brilliant international tabletop day devised by my fellow geek’s at Geek and Sundry.the idea was to get everyone around the world to host an event, wherever they can and with whoever they can, and play board games all day, which is frigging awesome.So me and my new friends from Newcastle gamers decided to do just that, and we decided to do it for charity i.e all the money that’s raised from it is going to a local charity here in Newcastle England.

tabletop day on the service is such a simple idea, yet something like 3300 events in 50 countries participated in the simple act of playing board games with strangers, friends, family, all to embrace and enjoy the brilliant, coming together of people that gaming can create. It generally gives me hope that we can take the word geek and gaming, and mean it as abstractly as I do, that  its about being interested, and appreciate the things that we love not to discriminate against for liking things, whether they are differentSAMSUNG or not. That’s why gaming is beautiful and this idea is so awesome, because it gets together people for all ages, with all different ideas or varying levels of relationships/friendships and gets to know someone more while playing something fun, engaging and enjoyable.

What other thing does that so effectively? how many times have you fought members of your family for the remote and lost? sitting painlessly through a show that you really didn’t want to watch? well, we played for 16 hours and not one time did someone request not to play something. The great thing is that even if your shit at something, which I am for most games, then you still have the advantage of talking and enjoying the company, in a sense the game doesn’t matter if the company is good. With gamers, the majority are interested, keen to try something new and you find that if you play something they want to play, they’ll play a game of yours. this is due to games being playable more so than ever right to the end, so you don’t feel alienated, and TV regardless of what people say, is practically becoming a solo activity, because there’s so much stuff to watch and its hard to find something for everyone. in games, so much choice, but you literally can’t play without cooperation and you still get the end result: bags of geeky fun stuff! which ironically is a name I used to dance under.

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as I said earlier the great thing about games , and tabletop day was a great example of this, is that the time fame of games is so diverse that whatever your in the mood for you can play. like i brought food from home so while some peeps went out for food, we played zombie dice, in which the dice were literally trying to kill me! as you’ll see in the photo, the idea is to avoid the bullet symbols and i rolled 5! this is really hard to suck that bad, its really rare. as in if i poked myself in the eye, while wearing an eye patch on the other eye, or including not playing the game in the first place, i still could roll better than i did then! but as luck would have it, I won in the next turns! but its simple and can be a two player game, so while we were waiting there was still something to play that was great. for your hilarity I’d never won in 2 months since going to my club, but the strange thing about it is its a very short term effect in actually winning. the first feeling I have is ”That’s awesome can we play again’, or ‘lets play another game’. If you look at the first photo of this blog for example, that’s part of a game called war on terror, where you wear the evil hat if your evil, now i know i look like a dick (i do anyway and some think I’m evil anyway) but the thing is, it really didn’t matter. I wasn’t bullied for it, it was all in good spirit! And I hope that one of the things that tabletop does is that it brings people who are worried about being humiliated or picked on , that it really isn’t the case and that they try coming along like people did at the event. free hugs for everyone!

Its funny as i say that because it reminded me that ever since I’ve learnt to accept who I am and what I like, far less people attack me for being who I am. and the irony is, it was more when I wasn’t doing geeky things that people attacked me for liking the things I liked that I wasn’t letting myself like in the first place. in gaming circles 99% of the time your accepted instantly and you’ll find people in there you really like. and it really isn’t a competitive environment so the idea of losing is not anywhere near as humiliating as the douche bag lack of real spirited gamers that attack you online for being supposedly shit at something. This is why board games in particular are awesome, because its underpinnings are promoting cooperation between the players, whether your playing 2013-03-30 12.47.20against each other, or not. That’s why in particular games like castle panic  or pandemic, lord of the rings and other co-operative games are great for people who are unsure, because its all of you versus the board. of course you may get someone with more experience playing the game, but in general they are all for hearing what you think we should do, that’s why its a much more enjoyable experience! us gamers want you there!

That’s why I really like someone if they say, yeah ill play, ill play anything, rather than someone that goes ‘dude that doesn’t sound like something id like’. how the feck do you know? if you  like games, then i generally would like you (i would like to hug you too for 2013-03-30 11.57.11being awesome), because i do think your more likely to be open minded, imaginative, interested in the same things as me. or not interested in anything I like, and that’s the point, games gets us together to talk about and enjoy anything. look at a game we played on tabletop day like pandemic(photo picture on the right), your going to get beat by it, but we tried, and we nearly beat it on legendary! we were 2 steps away from curing all the disease. for those that don’t know the game you have to stop a world wide pandemic by working together to cure all 4 viruses that are affecting the world. if you play on legendary, you never win, but we had the cure, we only had one card in the deck that could kill us, and it came out! I really wanted to raSAMSUNGge quit! but we spent most of the day bringing it up how awesome it was playing together, and I didn’t know the guys I was playing with but I liked playing the game with them. Isn’t that great? Peeps I didn’t know and we already have a story about us playing a game we lost at. that’s the point, whether you win or not, its fun, you laugh, you enjoy yourself. which is good cos i usually win fuck all 🙂

That’s why i love being a geek as well as a gamer, the openness to accept people and allow people to show how much they like things.I saw an article with Simon Pegg recently that said exactly the same thing about geeks. Being a geek is not only having an interested, a love, but it allows you to be that way for everything. Its such a better existance to love what you love because it makes you happy, because you’ll find that it makes other people around you more comfortable within themselves, which is exactly what being a geek as done for me. in a sense I’m not being anything, geek is not a group, its in many ways an ideology of just being interested about people, and not letting anyone who doesn’t, stop you from loving the things you do. I played 16 hours worth of games during the event, and all it felt like was getting to know people, and loving the hell out of it because we were playing awesome games!

So if someone does take anything from tabletop day, I hope its their love of games and that it’s ok to like the things you like, because if we can collectively be 3300 events in one day around the world, we really aren’t alone in thinking the way we do!

and all for just picking up a board games and playing it? thats why gaming is beautiful and important.

play more games 🙂

i did a podcast at the event which you can find here www.geekapocalypse.com/shows

and there’s a you tube diary of me throughout the day and thank you I did for Geek and Sundry that you can find below 🙂