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!

Advertisements

Man of Steel Review (small spoilers)

man-of-steel-logoIt wont be surprising for anyone to learn that regularly Geek Apocalypse contributors and I have many an argument as to who is the best superhero. To us Geek it’s a bit like which is better, chocolate or double chocolate? sex or lots of sex? its still awesome! But its an interestig debate none the less. What needs to be known is rather like what CM Punk said on the Nerdist Podcast, I never liked superman, because I never believed he wouldn’t make mistakes. As in somebody annoyed him and he burned them to a crisp because he got angry….I mean who hasn’t done that before?? Exactly!

I think one of the reasons for example the batman franchise has been successful in comparision is you get to see batman’s other identity Bruce Wayne suffer in staying Batman. He makes mistakes just like we do. I don’t think that was every really explored in the earlier superman films. It was the Wham Bam Thankyou Superman approach to superheroes in that everyone loved him as long as he was flying around saving the day. Thats why I highly recommend you watch the smallville tv series if you want to see that side of superman over a long period of time, as thats the best superman product thats been made in the last 15 years.

Dark Knight RisesBefore I get into reviewing Man of Steel, I want to underline that in order to combat that, I thought they made some very good choices in fixing this particular franchise. Now I know that they will be someone somewhere not happy with the fact that Christopher Nolan produced and wrote some of Man of Steel, and those people are known in the regular world as idiots. Seriously, If you were in that position of trying to resurrect a struggling franchise, wouldn’t you want someone that knows what they are doing and cares about the product? That’s why I never understood the problem with J J Abrams taking over Star Wars and Star Trek. He isn’t going to be doing both at the same time because just like the hobbit and lord of the rings they take forever to make and come out, and if theres a longer wait for things wouldn’t it be better to wait for it to be good then for it to come out earlier and be shit? I also think they made another couple of great choices in Man of Steel, using David S Goyer is one of them! Being a huge fan of blade (ok the first 2, never liked the third one) I was pleased to see Goyer invoved as it made sense being that he co wrote dark knight and dark knight rises with Nolan (christopher not the sisters). He also wrote the brilliant crow 2….yeah I dont remember either ,but just like superman, everyone makes mistakes!

zack_snyder_watchmenI also think they made a great choice in picking Zack Snyder as Director. For those that Don’t know he directed 300 and also one of the best graphic novel adaptation in watchmen which I thought was genuinely brilliant. So they were sensible, reliable choices. Actually, no that I think about it, they made sure this wasn’t going to fail, as if you look at the all star cast, they really wanted people to know they were trying. But in a sense, Hollywood failing is a good thing as it makes them realise that they can’t just bish bash bosh things together and expect it to all work out. Because as we all know, that never ever happens……(insert film from millions of choices)

So to the film (finally! Also small spoilers from here on in). Based on what I said earlier I thought it was great that they essentially started again with Superman. I think with technology in motion pictures being as great as it is now its great to see Kryton in all its glory and see how superman ended up at earth in decent detail. To give you an example of how much back story they go into , superman doesn’t fly for over an hour into the film? Because they show you the struggles he goes through as a child trying to fit into a planet that he is not from. I always say in regards to Superhero films, you have to make people feel its believable than just letting them see its believable, as in feeling an emotional connection aka a reason to care about whats happening in the first place. And I generally think that they achieved this, It definitely worked on me anyway as I felt I should be rooting for him . I think in a lot of these films (I think ironman 3 made this exact mistake) they are so afraid of the serious scenes, not realising in reality that its the crux of the films. In this I think they got it exactly right.

man-of-steel-cast

As i said earlier they made some really good acting choices. I thought Russell Crowe did a good job as Jor-el and I cant lie in saying I was worried he wouldn’t be good in a film such as this. Diane lane is one of my favourite actress (she should of won an oscar for unfaithful- there I’ve said it) and she does a great job as superman adopted mother. Kevin Costner also adds emotional punch to the film and is kind of the moral voice in the whole of the film being superman’s adopted father. I also thought Michael Shannon played an excellent villain as General Zod and Henry Cavill was a suprisingly good superman as he looked vulnerable yet you wanted him to be with in a bar fight. What I love is that the brits are slowly taking over the film industry, being that Caville, Garfield (spiderman) and bale (batman) are in three of some of the most well known franchises around. And we have james bond and doctor who! We are getting there america!

So whats my final verdict? think I might have a sandwich for dinner…but in regards to the film, I really thought it was great. If you want to see action with super special effects then go and see fast and the furious, but in regards to the latest superhero films that I’ve seen, I generally think this is one of the best. Its no surprise either that some of the best films made in this genre in recent years have involved christopher nolan, which you can see his input in Man of Steel that makes this the success that this film is. I love that when the action comes along in this film, your ready for it, cos they let you wait in an entertaining clever and entertaining way that makes the film believable and emotional.

easily 9 out of 10, maybe I do like superman now!

here is the video version of my review from our youtube channel!

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

SAMSUNGI really do love board games so much. and no I don’t mean monopoly or anything like that, the inner industry, the amount of choice and diversity, its made me happy beyond measure every since I played Munchkin that was my infection vecture some 10 years ago! its a great way to meet people, to maintain and create friendships, and it would come as no surprise to hear I was so excited to go to uk expo 2013 this year! I was again doing my embarrassing nerd dance! (only my friend viv has been privileged to see it!) I will learn to control it at some point, but hey exciting times so i should get a pass right?

for those who don’t know about uk expo, it is a board game/RPG convention that is held every year in Birmingham England and for the first time this year at the NEC Hilton metropole which is awesome! I found out that the reason they upgraded was largely the superb support that The guys that run it got from Mayfair games and other sponsors of the event, which underlines how great the pioneers of this industry are. From the outset, everyone was professional,  approachable and the scale of what they achieved was fantastic! Excluding the fantastic independant designers and gamers that attended, they had such great companies like Mayfair games, Steve Jackson games, Fantasy Flight, Czech games, AEG etc who make or publish in my opinion some of the best games around. But also what I loved and do love about conventions, is the opportunity it creates for self publishers or designers to showcase their game. I talked to on the podcast and just by walking around chatting some great independant guys telling me that they would go to this convention every year and this year they are coming with a publisher for their game. It really is brilliant to hear that ultimately if you want something to happen enough and have the idea it can be achieved.

Anyway back to the beginning! after getting a train at 6.30 am in order to get to Birmingham on time (that’s commitment!) I arrived early in new street which was good as the expo started at 9.00! p.s heres a video of me at the train station at 6 in the morning in Newcastle! 

anyway I found as usual my sense of direction lacking…for starters i was in manchester! (just SAMSUNGkidding) but I was lucky enough to bump into Adam who was going to uk expo on the train! thanks Adam for helping and thank you uk expo for making very cool tags so I can recognise them otherwise …i may never of found it! so once i got into the event, the scale of it just blew me away. You know in family guy when lois griffin has that episode where she spends the time just jaw droppingly excited at everything? well that was me. I spent the first hour just wandering around completely in awe of the amount of people and above all friendly people that were attending the expo. The one slight disadvantage when going as media is you have so much to do and the time just disappears! I barely had time during trade hours to play any games at all! But if you were just attending the event as a fan, especially if your as big of a geek as me, it was literally paradise city! like the guns and roses song but i didn’t want to be taken home! (no seriously I would of stayed). just so much choice, and with tables around to try and play test games it really is a great place to encourage people( especially families) to simply try games! because they really are awesome!

so I got to my reserved table and introduced myself to Chris Bowler, who has given me the opportunity to join the UK gaming media pod cast network which I’m excited about! Really nice guy, I actually did some presenting for them which will end up on youtube in the next few days so please do look out for it-shameless plug! 🙂 the first thing SAMSUNGI did though at the expo is attend the seminar about kickstarter, which I was so pleased I managed to because I wanted to be able to get advice as i plan on using kickstarter for a web series we want to make! some great advice from some great game makers such as Angus Abranston and Chris Birch who both have had successes in that particular field so really good advisors! Angus has provisionally agreed to be on the podcast next week so please stay tuned on our site if you would like to hear more! or follow us on mr twitter land! @geek_apocalypse!

so after the trading area closed I went and found some friends and played a number of games,such as cloud nine and personally my favourite new game Augustus!  I was considering not bringing this part up on the blog but i thought to myself, Why don’t I underline how much of a nearly man I am in terms of winning games! I came second in every single game I played during the event including day 2 which will get to tommorrow, but the damn dice rolls! we played death angel I think where its cooperative and I just had to not roll a one! and I did! twice!  Really is harsh! but in seriousness, I had a great time! I really wanted to have more time to play games and in reality, as most of the guys I met throughout the weekend, its not about what games you paly and how you do, its simply that your playing it! but regardless of that, im still gutted 😛

2013-05-26 09.06.02so i ended the day by staying at jaszimes house that lived on the other edge of Birmingham! but this is the time where underline how stupid i am! (yes some will say i do that on many occasions) . The idea was that i got a train back to Birmingham new street and meet her at 11.30. what I didn’t realise was that the shopping centre that i went through during the day is attached to the arena and is then closed at a certain time…basically…before i thought. so it went from a simple 10 minute walk to having to go round the arena which is at least 5 times as long not taking a train! The genius that I am as wellSAMSUNG is I forgot to charge my phone so I couldn’t ring to explain the situation. so when occasionally get people saying to me I’m organised and clever, spend a decent amount of time with me, I’m far too easygoing that i never think too far ahead! i want to thank jaszmine for her patience and hospitality, she was brilliant and fun and it was nice chatting to her for all the brief time I had with her (which was my fault) you are welcome in Newcastle anytime!:) (picture is paper rock scissors bang by dave cousins! great game!)

the first day was great, as I said earlier my inquisitive brain sometimes really couldn’t handle the amount of games that was there, and if I could of spoken to everyone then I would have done! but I got to speak to Mark Wooten from AEG games, dave cousins from north and souths games, oliver sibthorpe the co creator of cube quest, lorraine finney from cognosis games, tom forfork from dog eared games on day one, and they were all fantastic! As I said earlier if I got the opportunity to talk to everyone I would have done but they were simply not enough time or indeed patience for that to be achieved! you can find part one of the podcast by the way online now at www.geekapocalypse.com/shows or on itunes! and part two will be online tommorrow!

next blog uk expo part 2! 🙂

are some charities charitable anymore?

I firdiscriminationstly feel the need to share that I have a current routine in regard to writing my blog. I either wait a decent amount of time and figure out something that’s been on my mind, or if something rattles me before that decent period I then needs must. this is one of the needs must. I also need to underline I ain’t one for the dramatic, and although I don’t like to be labelled, It would be adequate to say I’m a hippie as in not much gets me angry or annoyed that i feel the need to vent. However I got told something today that I find absolutely ridiculous and shameful that I felt it was needed for me to write about it.

Now I have been an advocate of giving time to charities, which sounds obvious as in its a bit like saying be nice to people. you kinda should just do it if your a decent human being. I don’t mind saying that all the money I make goes back into my business, so I don’t make any real profit, but I always make a point to give something to charity, such as clothes that no longer fit or any spare money i donate. The thing though that should be the most valuable to charities  for  number of reasons, should be people giving their time completely for free. Simply because even if you believe in life after death or not, you should realistically treat life as a once in a lifetime  thing. therefore, everyone time is exceptionally valuable and should be treated as such.

but if you take charities into the equation, and I’m involved in several, they depend on people volunteering their time, because ideally ,the idea is that charities help the most vulnerable and try to get by in order to help whoever or whatever their charity helps. Now the thing that’s anger me is, I talked into my friendly Bernardo’s store, that I volunteered at for a number of years, and was actively told I’m not allowed to volunteer there any more!  the reason, they are not allowing anyone who has facial hairs, tattoos, long hair to volunteer for their organisation any more.  So basically, they described me, and quite a lot of people I know. Now to put into context, I really enjoyed working there and the manager that works there wrote me a glowing reference and is always wanting me to volunteer, but she’s being told by the actual organisation that I can’t give my time for free there!!

now what’s a monumental fuck wit flat out ridiculous part of that, is not only is that discriminatory and fucking stupid, but downright hypercritical. surely the idea of a charity’s to help everyone in need regardless of race, colour, background, appearance, basically regardless of difference. now how can you have that ideology when you are stopping a particular person from giving their time in order for them to run in the first place? incredibly hypercritical, because they really shouldn’t have a branding policy for the people that work for them( obviously they should screen volunteers for past criminal activity, but that’s standard practise for everyone). the reason being that they aren’t enough volunteers giving their time in general, therefore the best way round that is to decrease the volunteer pool?

the response to that which I’ve heard  several times is , ‘well if charities could pay people they’d love to pay everyone’. I can categorically underline that the charities I’m involved in do everything that they can to avoid paying you if you work for them. and they constantly complain that they aren’t enough free volunteers around anymore?! it doesn’t make any sense!

now I’m not saying that charities don’t make money, everyone including charities have to make admin money in order to function, but more and more I see charities that are taking more for themselves and their motivation is to make money for the individual not for the people that need it most. That really concerns me, its a bit like my mam that gets guilt trip letters that generally say, ‘we’ve heard you give money to the red cross, so you basically don’t care enough to donate to us?’ its up to the individual what they do with their money, and to say that against one of the most generous people I know really makes me question their motives.

Maybe what needs to happen, is for some charities, not all, to realise why they became charities in the first place, and realise, if they start branding like companies that try to make profit, then that’s not  charity. but stopping people from volunteering also isn’t charitable, its alienating people. people that are charitable and want to help. the thing is ,time is a valuable commodity, and they should take that seriously, and if they really are thinking about helping the people they help, they will need help from people who give their time willingly.

so stop this discriminatory bullshit cos my time is valueable, just like anyone elses.

next blog: tabletop day review :):)