Thursday, 29 December 2011

2011 in Review

2012 is almost upon us and its time to set some goals, but first I have to review 2011.

2011 Resolutions Progress

Last year saw me start blogging in earnest and for the first time in ages I made some New Year Resolutions:

1.  Take More Notes (5/10) - I'm counting this as a partial success.  I created the Lands of Dual website to act as a repository for session reports and to store all my campaign notes and maps.  I also began using record cards to take notes, but still relied far too heavily on players notes than I would have liked.  This became particularly troublesome when calculating the XP earned by individual PCs so I must come up with a better solution.

2.  Weekly Blog Series (5/10) - Another partial success as I managed to create two of the weekly blog series ideas I spoke of in my original resolutions article.  Unfortunately they petered out within a few articles.
  • Monday Motivations - was an attempt to compile a list of mini-backgrounds for fantasy characters along class lines.  I managed to write 12 articles before the juices ran dry.  There's plenty of life left in this series though and I did promise to publish it as a collected series which will clearly need to be expanded upon.

  • Citymorphs - Following in the footsteps of the Geomorphing community I successfully created 29 citymorph tiles over the course of 7 articles.   In retrospect I should probably have reduced the number of morphs per article and eked it out over more posts as the pressure to create 4 morphs per week quickly exhausted my creative juices.  However, I did manage to get them added to Dave's Mapper so you can play with them to your heart's content. 

    The focus for Geomorphs seemed to shift towards the Dungeonmorph Dice project founded by Joe "Inkwell Ideas" Wetzel but there were casualties along the way and the inspirational Dyson Logos has apparently gone off line for the forseeable future.

    I liked the concept a lot and as my attention drifts away from Fantasy (in the form of my current OSR clone Castles and Crusades) towards Sci-Fi (namely Judge Dredd) I think there are options for this in the future.
This was not theend of the story and a couple of other series ideas sprang forth.
  • A to Z of 80s UK RPG - Was an attempt at nostalgically recording my gaming inspirations but stuttered at "I is for ....".  I intend to continue this series as I have written further articles along the line which have yet to see the light of day and it would be a shame to end it after only 8 articles.
  • Mapping Tools - Was a little 4 part series investigating the state of free cross platform mapping solutions at different scales.  I enjoyed making this series and it led to the discovery of the sweet little tool TILED which I have now used on a number of occasions to construct classic blue style dungeon maps such as The Ruined Tower of The Archmage.
3.  Blog in Advance (3/10) - I have come to the conclusion that scheduled blogging really only works if you have an ongoing series combined with enough inspiration to easily create articles for it in advance.  This lack of inspiration has really been my issue and I don't want to end up with quality suffering for the sake of quantity.

Other Achievements in 2011

Blog Performance

2011 has seen Roleplay-Geek hit the 20,000 pageviews mark (woot) and I've written 96 articles.  I've even tried mobile blogging with limited success, if anyone has any suggestions for free iOS apps for mobile let me know in the usual way. 

 The top 5 articles of the year (by pageviews) are:
  1. Minions My OSR take on the one hit wonder (697pv) - High interest in this article probably due to being picked up in Tracy Hurley's Festival of Lights article on the official D&D website.  I must namedrop 4e concepts a bit more...
  2. Make: 3D Dungeon Tiles Pt 1 - The Design (193pv) - Where I set out the design to produce a cheap as chips and, more importantly, a useable 3D dungeon set.
  3. Make: 3D Dungeon Tiles Pt 2 - The Build (189pv) - Building the rooms with foamcore.
  4. RPG Mapping Tools Part 1 - Battle Maps (183pv) - Part one of my 4 part series exploring free cross platform mapping tools.
  5. UPDATE: RPG Google mapping with MAPLib (159pv) - An update to my article on using MAPLib for your campaign map needs.
Top referrers are of course RPG Bloggers Network  and RPG Blog Alliance, thanks for all the visits guys.

Roleplay Geek Publishing

In April I became an RPG publisher and over the course of the year managed to create a total of 7 products which are currently available for download on RPG Now.  All the advice I gleaned from the various blogs I read forewarned me that this wasn't going to make me a millionaire, but I have enjoyed the experience so far and have been pleasantly surprised with the results so far.

Item Cards - Adventurer's Gear57$ 36.68
Item Cards - Potions44$ 26.18
Item Cards - Animals32$ 18.48
Paper Minis - Animals28$ 18.90
GM Aids - Decision Deck18$ 25.20
Item Cards - Free Sampler391$ 0.00
Paper Minis - Free Fungaloid Lurkers & Brain Vine130$ 0.00
Grand Totals627$ 124.44

RPG Now is a fantastic way to publish but consequently there are some 15,436 products available to download and standing out from the crowd is extremely difficult. Most of my sales occurred soon after products were added to RPG Now and so featured in the Latest Products list and I haven't worked out a marketing strategy yet.

PDF pricing seems to be a bit hit and miss, Tim Shorts of Gothridge Manor recently wrote a neat article revealing his thoughts and research into pricing his own products.  It doesn't seem to be any easier for the DIY print publisher either, Chris Tregenza has started a new thread on his blog detailing his progress towards making a profit for the 6d6 RPG and I will be watching this with interest.

My philosophy with my PDFs is that I'm producing them for my own games anyway, so the personal effort involved isn't factored into the profit equation.  I'm under no illusion that I'm going to become rich as a result, but if I can gather up a few dollars along the way to buy the odd bit of swag then it's a success.

Miniature Painting

I returned to miniature painting and finally completed my Harlequin Giant Forest Troll and am part way through painting a Ral Partha Djinn and Efreet.  As I get older I have begun to have issues with painting under electric light (or it could be those god awful compact fluorescent bulbs we now have to use) so this restricts the time when I can comfortably paint to a small window on a Saturday morning.  I have a stack of minis which need a bit of colour so I need to ramp up production in 2012.

All in all a mixed year, stay tuned for the New Year Resolutions post.

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