Looking toward 2015
A few weeks ago, the Encoded team had the opportunity to meet up, share a meal, and do some strategic planning for 2015. It was a time to look at projects in flight, projects in development, and projects on our wish list. We ate, joked, and discussed, and when we convened we had come up with a plan for the coming year.
Some companies keep developing projects close to the vest, announcing them only after they have cleared various milestones, which is a perfectly sound approach. Engine Publishing, whom I have worked with for many years, favors this approach and only promises what is inevitable. It is a good way to manage expectations.
For Encoded I wanted to do something a bit different. I wanted to be more open about what we are developing and what ideas are in the pipeline. With my project management background I am comfortable with projects being killed at various stages of development, and so I am going to share our 2015 plans with you even though a number of these projects are in the planning stage or are just ideas. Some of these projects, most of them I hope, will complete – but some may fail. That is just the nature of projects.
So, do you want to see what’s coming up?
In Development: Part-Time Gods of Fate
Part-Time Gods of Fate is the Fate Core conversion of the the Part-Time Gods game. Part-Time Gods is the brainchild of Third Eye Games, and our close friend Eloy Lasanta. The PTGoF rules are in full development, and the Alpha version is nearly complete. We will be working closely with Third Eye Games to bring this game into full publication this year. That is being targeted for the summer.
In Development: Plunder Dice
Plunder Dice is the creation of Robert M. Everson. It is a two-tier, push-your-luck game of Pirates and Treasure. Robert has been working on the game since August with input from the rest of the team. We have been playing the prototype version constantly, making tweaks here and there, and are getting close to releasing some Alpha sets for feedback. Our ultimate goal is to sell this game to a game publisher who has experience in making custom dice, and can take the game into the market.
Idea: Keeping Time
Shawn Merwin is leading this project, which is going to be a D&D 5e adventure with a few twists that we think you will enjoy. We are looking to have this out in the Spring of 2015, and are keeping a watch on Wizards of the Coast to find out how 3rd-Party projects will work.
Idea: Misdirected Mark Does The Pulps
Chris Sniezak is going to lead a group of writers from the Misdirected Mark crew, including the entire Encoded Team to write an anthology based on the Lester Dent pulp format. This will be an early release, and Chris is looking to launch a Kickstarter early next year to fund its publication.
In Development: Airy Peaks
This is Chris’ Dungeon World setting that is part Deadwood, and part dungeon crawl. We have been playing this setting internally for the past year, and its been fantastic. In the Fall of 2015, Chris will start writing the manuscript to bring this game to publication.
In Development: Elhal
This past year I have run Elhal in both Fate and in Savage Worlds, and have run a game of Elhal, called The Harvest, at several conventions this year. With a whole lot of feedback, I am going to take 2015 to further develop the setting and the Fate rules. This will include a series of blog posts which will include a travelogue and a design journal. There will be another Elhal-based convention game this season.
That’s a lot of stuff!
Sure is. But we are staggering the work over the course of the year. I am using all my Project Management skills to schedule these efforts out, so that we avoid getting ourselves into any crunches.
It Does Not Seem Very Focused.
Nope. It does not. Encoded Designs is not about one product or idea. Its a reactor of ideas, and every member gets to bring their ideas to the group for development. In some ways we are a game design co-op, more than we are a company. We bring our passions to the group, and we use our talents to help each other out.
Didn’t You Start Encoded to Make Elhal?
I did. But, I also want to make sure I am ready to create Elhal, the way I feel it deserves to be created. We are taking steps to make that happen. This summer we released a Fate Codex article about one of the mechanics in Elhal, the Momentum Dice, and we are developing Part-Time Gods of Fate – both increasing our experience at developing in Fate. In the meantime, we are taking a year’s worth of play testing and working up the rules to get it just right. Also, I want to build up knowledge about Elhal through social media, so that when its time comes people will know about it.
So that is where we are now, and where we are heading. If all goes well, next year will be a lot of work, and a lot of fun. Along the way there will be breakthroughs and setbacks. Some things will come in early, others will be pushed back. Some projects will complete and others will be killed.
The important part is that we will be working on things we love and sharing them with you.