I’m guest-blogging over at Jeff Tidball & Will Hindmarch’s site, gameplaywright.
Pencils to Pixels
Last month I was lucky enough to attend GenCon, and I caught one of the “Pencils to Pixels” panels (apologies for all alliteration), given by Dave Williams (of Red5 Studios, formerly a designer at AEG), Ed Stark (of Red5 Studios, formerly of Wizards of the Coast), and Jack Emmert (of Cryptic/Champions Online & Star Trek Online, formerly of City of Heroes).
The discussion was on the transition of game designers from pen&paper RPGs to video games. Specifically MMOs in this case, but I think many of their comments are applicable to all sorts of digital game development. Although I’m nowhere near the designer that these guys are, I’ve worked in pen&paper games for more than 6 years now, and have about 3 years working for various computer game companies under my belt. So I figured I would try to riff on some of their ideas and add my own thoughts to the similarities, differences, and trends across the two fields.
Unfortunately, the way the pen&paper market has downturned so much in the past 5 or 10 years, it’s very hard to make a living wage doing game writing or design full time in hobby games. There are only a handful of companies big enough to employ a full staff, and salaries aren’t great at the best of times. Never mind working full-time as a freelancer.