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Game Design: Step by Step

Endings and Beginnings

Gareth-Michael Skarka
June 29, 2000
 
A new look, and to match it, a new direction.

As many of you are aware, the design process for UnderWorld has ended.  I'm putting the finishing touches on the manuscript right now (well, not right now--I'm writing this column.  Hmmm.....to take a break from writing, I write something else....there must be a name for that sort of mental condition....ah, but I digress.).  The art is in (well, 90% of it--and if you're one of the other 10%, I recommend that you stop reading and get back to work), and the game is due to go to the printer about 3 weeks, give or take.

To quote the Grateful Dead (a band that I don't actually listen to, but who provided a quote too apropos not to use): What a long, strange trip it's been.

I would like to thank everyone who has been following the development of UnderWorld, from its inception to completion.  I would especially like to thank those of you who participated in the forums...you performed a greater service than you know.  You kept me on my toes with your comments and questions, forcing me to think in directions I wouldn't have otherwise considered, and also forcing me to defend and justify the decisions I had made.  Yes, you read that right--I'm even thanking those of you who flamed and criticized.  Your input, while not as welcome, was also invaluable.

Some of you will see your names in the main rulebook ( insert shameless plug: to be released at GenCon), under "design scrutiny and commentary".  I'm trying to amass all of the names of the folks who really had an impact on my efforts...but if your name doesn't specifically appear, I apologize in advance...you'll have to be content with a blanket "and everyone who participated in the UnderWorld forum at RPGnet" statement.

And so, approximately a year after the process began, and 35 installments of this column, we close the book on the design of UnderWorld.  Again, thank you for bearing witness.
 

So, what now?
 

Well--I have decided to tear off the page with all of the scribbles on it, and start all over again.

Starting with my next installment, I will begin work on another RPG.  At this point, I have no idea if the project will eventually end up a commercial release, like UnderWorld, or if it will simply exist as an exercise in design theory.  We'll burn that bridge when we get to it.

Some of you, who have long memories (or who can follow a link) will recall this project as one that I mentioned in this column a while back.  Yes, it's a niche genre.   Yes, it will probably have limited appeal.  Yes, I'm probably crazy for even attempting it.  I've been called worse....but damn it, this is my favorite of all of my projects in development, and, since I want this to be enjoyable for me as well (a good thing to keep in mind in any design effort), it's the one that I'm going to take on.

So, next installment we will start discussing the design process surrounding:

And I'll leave you with that, for now.

See ya in 7 (updates willing);

Gareth-Michael Skarka
gms@synistercreative.com

Underworld, RetroFuture and all related terms and concepts contained herein are copyright 2000 by Gareth-Michael Skarka. All rights reserved.
 
 

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What do you think?

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All "Step by Step" design columns

  1. Inspiration to Perspiration October 26, 1999
  2. Comin' wit da Nifties October 27, 1999
  3. Concepts Continued October 28, 1999
  4. Character is what you are in the Dark October 29, 1999
  5. Forces of Occupation October 30, 1999
  6. Forces of Occupation, Part II October 31, 1999
  7. Head Count November 2, 1999
  8. Subterranean Ass-Kicking, 101 November 9, 1999
  9. Next Stop, Rune Station November 17, 1999
  10. It's All 'Bout Da Merlins November 23, 1999
  11. Miscellany December 1, 1999
  12. Lords of the UnderWorld December 8, 1999
  13. Lucky 13 December 15, 1999
  14. Miracle Under 34th Street December 22 1999
  15. Gareth's December 27th 'edition' is a survey, on what you want for future Underworld columns.
  16. Statistics and Junk January 5, 2000
  17. Reality Slap January 12, 2000
  18. Once More Into the Breach... January 20, 2000
  19. The Mechanics of Mechanics January 26, 2000
  20. Junkmen and Soundtracks February 2, 2000
  21. The Iron Forestries of Hell February 16, 2000
  22. And Now, For Something Completely Different... February 24, 2000
  23. Confessions of a Language Geek March 1, 2000
  24. Flood of Ideas March 15, 2000
  25. A New Direction? March 24, 2000
  26. The Envelope, Please... March 29, 2000
  27. Generic Systems, My Ass! April 5, 2000
  28. Big News, and Magic April 12, 2000
  29. Big Guns, Razor-sharp Swords, and a Bit with a Dog... April 19, 2000
  30. What's the Story, Morning Glory? April 26, 2000
  31. And now for something completely different, Survey time! May 3, 2000
  32. The Fever for the Flavor May 10, 2000
  33. Random Acts May 17, 2000
  34. A Run Through Dark Places May 25, 2000
  35. Service Interruption June 1, 2000
  36. Endings and Beginnings June 29, 2000
  37. A Brief Return to the Underworld July 13, 2000

Discussion of UnderWorld

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Earlier Comments (Issues 1-7)

(Editor's note: I'll consolidate these when I get a chance)

Other columns at RPGnet

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