Full information is in my blog.
But for people who primarily track the game's progress here, the summary is:
I have a chronic illness called POTS that started significantly impacting me in February. As a result, my ability to predict my productivity in all areas of life (including this game) has disappeared.
I'm still committed to working on this, but priorities like keeping my day job and taking care of my basic health have to come first.
I may spend more time messing around with smaller side projects like Corsairs and Pet Brigade. This happens when I don't mentally feel up to wrestling with Karma's more complicated/layered mechanics, but still want to do some sort of design work.
I'll continue to update here as I make progress.
JUN 24 EDIT: Added two new links
I will be posting links to chapters from v4.0 as I finish the initial version (i.e. copyediting, style editing, and potential design tweaks still to come).
Since these are being linked as I go, it won't really work to use them for learning the rules until the majority have been posted. I'm releasing them more to give the interested a preview of the next version and the chance to see the cycle of development more directly.
The new rulebook is designed to be read in the order you will need information. It will include rule reference sheets for quick look up/reference while playing.
Game Phases Section
(this section is not being written entirely in order so some references will be to rules in earlier chapters that haven't been finished)
I finally finished the "creation" chapters of the book. So the Overview/Core Concept section (the latter of which now is really about the core mechanic and not +every other game mechanic), World Creation, Character Creation, and Team Creation are finished.
On one hand, this feel like a small amount of content. On the other hand, it represents the biggest creation/addition of new mechanics in the entire book. The part of me that thought, "Sure, redo the safe house system by dropping bland upgrades and creating 32 new special abilities to replace them," was obviously bad at math...because making 32 special abilities balanced and interesting it a headache. Especially as these are being added to the 49 team special abilities and 108 character special abilities and 91 special contract abilities already in existence.
280 special abilities in-game. I think I have a problem with limiting ambition. And that's before I add the antihero playbooks.
The remaining edits fall into two main categories:
1) Writing up new rules. So not content generation per se, but still work.
2) Adding sandbox tools and random generation charts.
The second might be added in version 4.1 just so I can get the next version into playtesting sooner.
Progress on the rulebook is slow but steady. I am doing a rewrite from front to back, changing the order, incorporating rule changes, and copy editing as I go. It's a more extensive overhaul than I originally planned. The next release will probably be closer to v4.0 rather than 3.2.
It is worth it to me because:
Changes to mechanics pretty much fall into the categories of:
The second category is taking the most time. There are some systems/rules/game moments I love. Now I need to revise/refine everything else to tie into those mechanics. That process requires a lot of cutting out, reconfiguring, rebalancing, and reimagining.
Currently, I have three core pillars:
The first pillar is a good example of my current revision process. I like the core contacts system; now I'm changing all adjacent systems to feed into it. What does that mean?
Play testing has shown that all of the team types are equally popular--except the Heavies team. This makes sense to me. Their concept it pretty narrow, overlaps some with Enforcers, and also, who wants to do a ton of bodyguard missions?
I'm removing the Heavies team (some of the abilities will get integrated into other parts of the game) and replacing them with the Performers. Whether socialites, con men, or aspiring rockstars, this team focuses on manipulating social messaging and social infiltration. You gain xp for successful propaganda, slander, and acquisition missions. This is a natural fit for any celebrity PCs, virtual artists, and shapechanger mystics, but all playbooks can bring something useful to the table.
This team can range from the classic "cyberpunk rockband with a rebellious agenda" angle to more spin doctor or corporate espionage angles.
Naturally, this team will need play testing, but I'm happy with the initial version.
Created a Google doc for easier World Creation notes and faction tracking. You can make a copy into your own drive to use it.
Laralyn McWilliams has a GDC talk about being a content creator / creative while dealing with serious health issues. I watched it while I was still firmly in the denial stage about my own health. (Fun fact: first step she lists is "recognize and acknowledge what is happening"). Everything she said I nodded along with and thought, "Sure this is good advice, I already know all of it."
And then I spent another month expecting myself to be as efficient, productive, and creative as I was before I got sick. (I'm not giving public details except to say a) it's not terminal/dangerous in any way, b) the biggest side effect right now is only have short periods of productivity/energy at a time.) This is all accerbated by the fact I still need to work 50-60 hours a week at my day job...which pretty much wipes out my energy 5-6 days a week.
After months of failing to perform at that level, I'm finally coming to terms with the fact I need to adjust my workflow.
One of the first adjustments is that future version of the game, for now, will remain in Google doc form rather than use Indesign Layout. It's a simple change that lets me decrease the labor needed to push out new rules, and also makes it easier to edit typos as I catch them.
I am also, at this point, prioritizing playtesting over pushing the new rulebook faster. Running, watching, and listening to playtests gives insanely helpful information about the game mechanics. I don't want to give up those benefits, even if it makes my writing rules slower. This slower rate has allowed for me to be more thoughtful about changes and fine tuning, so while the delays personally frustrate me, they may actually result in a better game overall.
I'm posting this tonight so I commit to it.
The v3.2 release is going to be delayed. I hate to do it, because the rule changes are ready to go, I like how they work in play, and I want to get those improvements out there.
But I'm really, really burned out.
Not with the game or anything game related. I'm burned out from my day job. I love working on the game, and it doesn't feel like work at the time, but the reality is layout and editing and writing does take up brain power, and I need time to rest. I took Monday off from work, and I need to use that time to relax completely.
So I'll be playing God of War and walking my dog and painting and doing nothing thinking related.
I don't know when the next release will come. I doubt it will be delayed past the end of May. But for now I'm just going to focus on feeling better.
The next release of the rules is being pushed out one week. There are three main reasons I'm releasing the next version instead of just updating errata:
1) This version will cut the last of the ties with Shadowrun. So it has changes on multiple levels (word choice, mechanics, conceptual). As those changes are made, I need to re-write most of the first chapter and make smaller changes throughout the entire text.
2) This version is aimed at helping people jump into the game easier. That means reorganizing the rulebook to be more digestible and including example worlds for people to use and half-created worlds as a compromise. As I was working on the latter I decided to create 1 fully-fleshed out setting, with multiple factions, city description, and a starting situation with 3 missions. I've finished the rough draft of that, but rather than do a bad version and update it later, I want to take longer to do some refinement and editing.
3) The last rulebook has a lot of typos. That was the result of dyslexia + rushing to release + not getting outside review. If I try to release the update this Monday, it will have just as many if not more typos since I'm still finalizing content for some areas.
On the positive side, the next release will have a significant addition of content. I am trying to avoid the game design trap of trying to do so much nothing gets released for a long time, with also making the next version substantial enough I don't immediately start working on edits after I release it.
The bulk of the non-layout aspects of v3.2 of the rules are finished.
You can see the updated team sheets, updated character sheets, new attitude abilities, and quick-reference rules in this temporary folder.
The reference sheet includes some of the rule changes to using the Feed, operate action replacing the hack action, and the transition from "devil's deal" to the "sell out" mechanic.
Remaining work for v3.2: reorganization of the rulebook; addition of of some example pre-generated worlds and factions; and general rule clarifications/fixes from the errata.
I've started putting together the next version of the rulebook (v 3.2). The new rules have mostly been finished, but reorganization, editing, and layout will take the bulk of the time.
I'm aiming to have the new rulebook out by May 7th.
This is an overview of the planned updates: