Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Looking Back

When I started this blog 150 posts ago, I really wanted to provide new ideas, monsters, spells, and whatever else to gaming that I could.

I was working at a tool company at the time, slowly dying, and I needed a creative outlet.

Now that I'm working IN the industry again, but not garnering a pay-check of any significance from the industry, I find that my patience for some of the industry's decision wanes.

I know that's not very insightful, but that's the best face I can paint on it.

You have companies that I absolutely love the product of, but that I would never work for. And you have companies I love working for, but I would never play their product.

I have done work for over a dozen companies, I've made enemies of people I could care less about, enemies of people I wish I hadn't, and enemies of people who I didn't even know who they were.

Corner me at GenCon, I've got a funny story about that last one.

Then there's my new "partnership" with Rogue Games, a company I want to see succeed on every level and a company I want to grow with.

Not because we're going to produce the next Hero-Clix, but because we are having so much fun doing what we're doing. Not because we want to own the industry, but because we want to do thing our way for a change. Not because we hate how most books look, but because we want to make books that are designed a little differently.

I'm just the art director and a small contributor to the team, but if more companies were involved like this, I would be that much more excited about what's going on in our industry.

I've had arguments with game designers over things as simple as an exclamation point and the times new roman font... things that no smart manager would ever dig his heels in on.

And I've had two-hour discussions with Patrick Kapera of Crafty Games about the the state of the industry, so insightful and intelligent, they should have been turned into podcasts.

I got into this industry by accident. I was working as a Tech Writing for a communications company and John Zinser approached me about a job. Maureen Yates, at the time, was the office manager and she and I had met a year earlier about a job with an environmental firm.

When the Shadis Magazine editor position opened up in 1996, I fell into the job. Two years later I wrote an Origins-nominated expansion book for L5R. And a year after that I was the Art Director for AEG (with no prior training).

By 2004, I had written and released the largest book in gaming history, I'd commissioned over 11,000 pieces of art, and been involved with some of the most successful game lines in gaming history.

During that time, I averaged about $9 an hour ($4 an hour working on WLD) and missed out on everything that most college grads get to experience (house, kids, medical insurance).

I couldn't have planned for any of this and I don't regret any of it.

But I have to sometimes look back at why I chose to have a voice on the internet with the gaming community when for 9 years at AEG I was silent. And I have to remind myself that while things about this place bother me, I love the fans. And I love that my work has been put to good use.

By someone at least.

I will never be the most popular guy in gaming. I will never be a success story larger than what I've already created. I will never get people to stop using the Papyrus font. And I will never live to see an industry devoid of kilts, chainmail bikinis, ren faire assimiliation, and princess bride quotes.

But for some stupid reason, I will always keep a big toe in the industry, even if that means doing the graphic design on a free download pdf for Lonely Silent Whisper Loser Gaming Design Group With Pimples, LLC. (SWLGDGWPL)

I get mad at myself when my posts sound angry, when I have another place to vent. This blog is about what I can do BETTER, not what someone else can do worse.

So. I hope I can continue for another 300 posts to make fun posts for gamers who like fun... and not those icky anime fans who want more tentacle lust.

Weirdos.

Peace.