Earlier this week I made the decision to pull Karma in the Dark from public access.
As it stands now, the game needs significant revisions before I would feel comfortable keeping it available. Some of my problems with it are tied to the genre and original games that inspired it. Some of the problems are related to game mechanics that need a significant overhaul.
At the end of the day, it made more sense for me to take pieces of the game and start from the beginning to build an entirely new game. That game is Ruralpunk: a game about the cyberpunk future in rural communities.
Once Ruralpunk's main playtesting is complete, I will re-write the world generator from Karma so people can create their own cyberpunk setting.
Karma in the Dark reminds me of many of the first novels I wrote: I appreciate that it got me on the path of game design; I appreciate all the lessons learned from it; and I'm ready to take what I learned and move onto something better. But just like I don't want anyone reading those first novels, I don't want Karma in its current state out in the world representing my work.
Can I share the copy I have?
I'd prefer the pdf wasn't hosted somewhere for the general public to download, but I don't mind if individuals share the game with friends or game groups.
But I need [X]?
If your group was already playing the game and need a copy of any missing pieces (character sheets, Roll20 custom sheets, etc). you can use the contact form on this website to let me know and I'll send it to you.
Whatever happened to Crossing Worlds?
If you've been around a while or saw the AP on the Actualplay channel you might remember a plan to revise Karma in the Dark into Crossing Worlds. CW is always in the back of my mind, but I needed to resolve some significant design problems before continuing with it. My goal is to refine the core system with Ruralpunk, then use that system in other settings including the Crossing Worlds setting.
Why start with Ruralpunk? Once I decided to try and write Ruralpunk, the first draft was completed in less than a month. For whatever reason my brain is ready to write and explore this setting but hits a block when I think about Crossing Worlds; usually that means I still need to work out problems in my other ideas before committing to them.
Where do I follow Ruralpunk?
The game has its own website. My intention is to host the rules in digital form on this site as testing progresses, for easy access and easy updating.
Notes about its development will appear on my Patreon and when more design-focused, as blog posts here.
Could this happen with other games?
Any game that I've released for free or PWYW (e.g. Karma, my experimental gamejams) I feel comfortable pulling if I decide I don't want it released to the public. That is an important note about my PWYW games: I see the PWYW format as a way for people to offer tips. If I think a game is developed to the point it deserves a set price and to be treated as a commerical product, it will be released that way.
Games which have been released as paid products (e.g. Tides of Gold, Paw Friends) I am fully committed to revising and reworking as necessary.
It will continue to be rare for me to release a game for money while in development, (or an ashcan, as some folk call it), but when I do it's because I'm fully committed to the game, often have spent at least a year in development prior to its public release, and the money helps me afford the software and art needed to continue developing it.
This blog is a mix of game design analysis, commentary on issues affecting indie dev spaces, and some personal reflections.