Tuesday, November 7, 2023

What will introduce new people to Sci-fi TRPGs like Traveller/Cepheus Engine?

 In MechWarrior Online, I maintain a channel with my team called tier5MWOplayer, and one of the most awkward conversations is around people asking to join our team—my team is also my TRPG group and my Airsoft group. Reflecting back on my experience and recalling my 12-year-old son’s experience making friends, I largely forgot about the many people who don't have a friend group to play and hang out with. When I look back at the people who ask to join games, and of course how playing often with a certain group of people in the intimate game of TRPGs can form strong bonds of friendship—which is the same for other games like MWO and other online games—it makes me reconsider my initial hypothesis that some Critical Role meme will get people into the hobby. My thesis is now finding people who are emotionally available to have new friends and their interests align—even if it’s just virtual time.

I was hoping that Game in the Brain and its open-source nature will make an impact, as I’ve clarified that the assets and material are Creative Commons Attribution and Share Alike 4.0—but unfortunately, it will only help someone who doesn’t have the time and effort to make 3D assets or artists to make their own works. Basically, it will help other up-and-coming artists and writers who want to start out. Publishing my earnings and knowing my break-even point already give away my costs—seeing me market and peddle my wares also shows the work that goes into getting mind space for people to consider getting our product.

I want to grow the hobby, but at my position, having more people give it a try and find a game system to write for and tell stories with is probably my contribution. I love the support though—but as I slowly add on to these projects and experiment, I won't know what 2-3 years of me and Nicco constantly adding to the books people already bought will do. What will spending 2020-2030 developing Game in the Brain as our abilities decline as we turn 50? Already, I am getting used to not being able to see clearly since my progressive glasses cost 160 USD/8,000 PHP a year. The months it takes for me to recover from something and the additional months to get back to where I was with compromises to my abilities compared to last year. By the time I’ll be 50, I probably will have spent 7,000-10,000 USD on material for Mneme and GITB, far from breaking even. But that 7-10k USD investment will have yielded software for character generators, world generators, 3D character builders, etc., all open source and creative commons. And probably, my audience, who are my peers and close to my age, will be in a different life circumstance.

There should be enough material for someone to make a detailed novel in hard sci-fi, or Nicco and I will start writing hard sci-fi adventures as we can generate worlds and scenes in 3D, and have people understand the concepts since the 3D assets are there to be manipulated. Is that growing, or just us changing?

Success is earning 10,000 USD a year (30,000 USD total from 2021 to 2030) and spending it all to grow and pay for services—and of course, being the one to dictate the spending—make science more accessible and imagine and game a future where automation improves the quality of life for all. Success is me and Nicco earning enough to train a new batch of OJTs in 3D, GODOT, writing, science communication, and developing game engines—and they go off and do their own sustainable passion project with skills that are cutting-edge for the Philippines. That my open Sci-Fi document has a wiki and an AI to help track changes for continuity and consistency.

That’s the unlikely but at least non-zero chance of happening by trying. I guess I am like my gambling grandfather and dad—except I don’t gamble with the future of my kids.

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