I wanted to provide a bit of a status report for the Spark RPG project. I know that I have been relatively quiet on here, and thought that you might appreciate an update.
The Open Beta that I launched in 2012 taught me a great deal. Playtesting did an excellent job at pointing out what portions of the text required major overhauls though I feel badly for the players who suffered through the earlier iterations. The reworked collaboration and conflict mechanics are finally producing the game play experience I desire.
This fall, I observed a 4 session blind playtest from a local group, led by one of my assistant editors (Mark Richardson). This test showed me that the game did too good of a job encouraging conflict, without encouraging cooperation between characters. I reworked the relatively negative “baggage” questions into more positive ties between characters. It also highlighted the danger of vocal players drowning out the quieter ones during the collaborative process, so I added more guidance to counter that fact.
After that point, I sent the text to my editor (David Hill) for the revision first pass. He did a masterful job, as expected, in pointing out problems with the text. I’m particularly thankful that he identified a piece of the text that was disrespectful of mental illness. I reworked that section to be far more inclusive because of his help, and the game will be better for it. Beyond that, he showed me the places that required elaboration and example text.
Over the holidays, I threw myself into the task of incorporating all of the revisions and writing some additional setting content. This current version of the text comes to 32K words in length, including all three settings. I have it back in David’s hands so that he can do another editing pass for me.
I am presently working on organizing my kickstarter campaign, tentatively scheduled for March of 2013. With luck, I will be able to make at least my minimum goal and publish the thing.