Showing posts with label Twin Suns Entertainment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Twin Suns Entertainment. Show all posts

Friday, January 10, 2014

Question for My Internetowebosphere Friends and Readers

I am considering updating the Twin Suns Entertainment logo this year. We are currently working on a number of offerings and I think a new logo might fit with our product line and vision, but I am very supportive of the wisdom of crowds and want to get some feedback from those who think spending 2 to 15 minutes reading my blog from time to time think.

Here is the old logo -- which I do like:

Now here are some examples of what I am considering:

Monday, April 09, 2012

Trying to Stand Out in a World of Kickstarting Awesome

Where to begin...where to begin?

I have long been a big believer in independent projects and fan supported endeavors, especially in the hobby gaming community.  It seems to me one of the best ways to ensure that the projects we want continue to get made, especially when "start up" costs would be too expensive to raise otherwise.  Pre-funding projects allows gamers to become a kind of venture capitalist, angel investor even, in some exciting products.

I was one of the first patrons of Wolfgang Baur's excellent Open Design Project.  I interviewed Wolfgang for my Geekerati podcast and am a long time subscriber to his Kobold Quarterly.  I think what Wolfgang has been doing for the gaming community with his "Switzerland of the Edition Wars" magazine and projects, is a great service.  He not only produces fantastic gaming products, but involves the community in those projects as well.  If only he would recognize me the next time I introduce myself to him at a con... ;-)

I have also been a long time customer of the Indie Press Revolution.  While not as "venture" oriented as the Open Design project, IPR has helped a lot of games that might otherwise have been overlooked get release and play.  It was the first place that I saw "Spirit of the Century," a fantastic game by Fred Hicks' company Evil Hat Games.  I like to think that my friend Eric's successful creation and launching of "Race to Adventure" started with my purchase of SotC and my excitement about the company.  I take no credit for Eric's game itself, I just imagine that I motivated a handshake that led to gold.

I really have to thank Ken Hite for pointing me in the direction of IPR and the games it offers, so ultimate credit for the handshake would transfer from me to him anyway.  I also have to thank him for directing me to Pelgrane Press and their Gumshoe product line.  I've been pre-ordering -- a kind of venture capital/patronage -- the games in their line for a couple of years now, and have been impressed every time.  I also have to thank James Maliszewski -- who I discovered at IPR -- for pointing me in the direction of a number of other independent projects in the Old School Renaissance/Revolution (OSR).  Thanks to James, I have ordered the White Box of Sword and Sorcery and Delving Deeper -- a product that I have been waiting for quite some time to examine.

And prior to Kickstarter, word of mouth through blogs and whispers at conventions and in game stores was really the only way one could find out about exciting projects that needed "pre-release" support.  In the past couple of years though, as Kickstarter has grown and along with it the number of successful projects -- Kickstarter has become a go to place for exciting gaming related products.

Which is why last March, my business partners and I at Twin Suns Entertainment decided to launch our initial product offering on the site.  Our vision was to make a documentary film that told a surprising tale about the people who play role playing games, a tale that broke stereotypes.  We wanted to show the world that gamers come in all stripes, from students to professors and from attorneys to screenwriters.  Gamers come from all walks of life, and the only real stereotype about gamers is that they enjoy games.  That had been our experience and we want to share that with the world.

We also want to do it right...which isn't cheap.  We want to follow a number of gamers (say four) in their day to day lives, gamers on different coasts with diverse backgrounds.  We also wanted to interview experts and visit the homeland of gaming...Wisconsin, as well as a couple of major conventions like PAX and GenCon.  Add visits to major publishers to this mix, and the travel expenses get pretty high.  But we want to do it right, and that means a pretty sizable budget of $41,000 or so.  That isn't huge by film making standards, but it's pretty big for a first Kickstarter project.  This is especially true when it comes to competing in a saturated market, by which I mean a market saturated with projects worth backing.  I would have to be arrogant and ignorant to think that our project was the only project worth backing.  I think our project is the best idea of all time, but I am still dumbstruck by the awesome that emanates from the minds of my fellow gamers.  Let me give you a few examples of what I have recently supported...if you are interested in everything I support you can check out my profile.  Oh...and not all of what I am currently backing is game related.  There really is a ton of great stuff out there.

So, here goes.  I have recently supported:

  1. Xombie: Death Warmed Over by Epic Level Entertainment.  Epic Level produces the very funny web series "Dungeon Bastard," and I loved the original Xombie stuff so this was a natural for me.  I would love it if Cindi Rice would participate in our documentary.  The Dungeon Bastard himself has agreed to let us invade his life, but to share with others the journey from game creator to television producer is one I would love to provide.
  2. Random Dungeon Generator as Dungeon Map   I think the coolness of this project speaks for itself.
  3. Dwimmermount -- I told you I love James Maliszewski's stuff.
  4. Free RPG Day Adventure from Gaming Paper -- I have supported every one of Erik Bauer's Gaming Paper forays.  He's one of the nicest guys in the industry, and a Friendly Local Game Store owner.
  5. Geek Seekers starring Monte Cook and Jen Page.  
  6. Tales of the Emerald Serpent -- A fiction anthology from Scott Taylor of Black Gate Magazine.  It harkens back to the old Liavek, Thieves' World, and Wild Cards anthologies.  I cannot wait.
And that is just a smattering.  There is a ton of great stuff out there.  You should support it.  

I'd love it if you'd support us in our project.  We've lined up some great participants who include the following:

  • John Rogers -- the creator of the Leverage TV show, author on the Blue Beetle comic book, user of unobtainium before Avatar, and player of Savage Worlds, D&D, and other games.
  • Ashley Miller -- screenwriter on Thor, and X-Men: First Class.  He and his group play an interesting mash up rpg that I hope I'll be able to share in more detail with you.
  • Cam Banks -- the creative force behind much of what Margaret Weis Productions is putting out these days.  His evolution of the Cortex system into the Cortex Plus system with games like Smallville, Leverage, and the Marvel RPG is quite remarkable.  
  • Matt Forbeck -- If credit for me even attempting a project in the gaming industry belongs to anyone, it belongs to Matt.  He is an incredibly nice guy, and is attempting a challenging project of his own.  He's trying to write 12 books in 12 months and to become a modern Walter Gibson.  Though he will have to become a professional grade magician -- you know card tricks etc. -- to truly match Gibson.
  • Ken St. Andre -- Not only was he the inventor of two of the earliest role playing games ever written -- Tunnels and Trolls and Starfaring -- he's offered to host a session of T&T at GenCon for us this year.
  • David Nett -- David is the creator of the entertaining webseries about gamers Gold: The Series.  It's not everyday that someone tries to make a dramatic comedy about our hobby.  He did, and with Night of the Zombie King -- the second Gold offering -- he accomplished that task with style.
We've got some great people involved in our project.  We are looking for more.  We hope that we can get Wil Wheaton or Felicia Day to participate.  They are in our neck of the woods after all, but they do have their own exciting projects lined up.  You might have heard of it.

It's pretty hard to stand out in a world of awesome, but that's what we are hoping to do.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Twin Suns Entertainment -- Join Us on Our Adventure

Last year, my close friends Wes Kobernick and Joel Allan were chatting after one of our bi-weekly gaming sessions.  We talked about how great it would be if someone made a documentary about roleplaying games and the people who played them -- a film that presented the "real" face of the gamer.  Our gaming group, like many others, is a diverse group of friends who have professions ranging from Screenwriters and Lawyers to Non-Profit Program Directors and College Students.

We had all seen the "Trekkies" and "Darkon" documentaries.  "Trekkies," while a great documentary, focused on the Star Trek fans that the director thought would make the most "interesting" story, but it left out the day to day fan of the series who didn't have any particular quirks -- other than being a fan of the show.  It would have been nice to see the casual fan, as well as the dedicated fan.  It only takes a few minutes wandering the internet, or looking at the TV ratings for "Big Bang Theory" before one realizes that "we are all Trekkies."  It's only what we are passionate about that varies.  "Darkon" was a very emotionally powerful documentary about live action roleplaying, the kind that the kid plays in the hilarious movie "Role Models," but Darkon is also a very sad movie.

While I highly recommend both of those documentaries, we wanted to do something different.  Yes, like "Trekkies," we want to show some of the interesting stories of the role playing game hobby.  There are plenty of interesting people who play role playing games, but we also wanted to give a look at the casual gamer and at the people who make role playing games as a profession.  We wanted to make a film that was something of a snap shot of the hobby as it stands today...a hobby that has lost a few of its founders over the past couple of years and a hobby where some of its founders are still alive today.

What we realized in the course of the discussion was that we weren't looking for someone else to make the documentary, we were the perfect group to make it.  Wes is an experienced film maker, Joel is a practicing attorney, and I have spent years developing contacts throughout the hobby who has an entrepreneurial spirit.  We quickly decided to form our own company called Twin Suns Entertainment.  TSE will produce not only a documentary film, but that produces ongoing entertainment products ranging from web series to physical role playing and board games, from childrens' books to mainstream fantasy novels.  Our mission for TSE is for each of our products to promote the hobby and to highlight how hobby gaming in its role playing and table top game forms is a wonderful way to build community.

Today we launched the Kickstarter campaign for our documentary film.  The film's working title is "Dice Chuckers," but we ask that you join us in creating title for the film when released and we beseech you to make a pledge and join us on the wonderful adventure that is founding an entertainment company.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Twin Suns Entertainment and the Fourth Generation of RPGs

In 1993, Mike Pondsmith of R. Talsorian Games provided an answer regarding what he thought the "Future of Gaming" would be.  Pondsmith is a designer who has often been ahead of his time conceptually, and this was no exception.

His answer to the question was interesting.  It wasn't a "new game that would change the future of RPGs!" or "The greatest roleplaying game ever!"  Those are marketing-speak used to promote existing games -- some of them quite good -- but they aren't the future of gaming.

According to Pondsmith, "a revolution in roleplaying games is coming.  It's sneaking up on us on little flat feet, but it's coming."  What was this revolution going to be?  It was going to be what Pondsmith termed the 4th Generation game. 

First Generation Games were the original games that descended from wargames.

Second Generation Games were more systems based and about sophisticated mechanics. 

The Third Generation was about genre.

Each of these generations provided the community with excellent games.

But the Fourth Generation wasn't about design, mechanics, or genre, it was about POPULAR CULTURE.

Fourth Generation games would "generate crossmarketing" be "recognized as legitimate media" and would become a part of the general cultural background.  They would be games designed to do this, either through the use of public education or expanding media. 

Pondsmith provided more criteria, and I will blog about 4th Generation Games here on my Cinerati blog soon, but it is an inspiring read.  And I think that Pondsmith was spot on in his analysis, just DECADES ahead of his time.

We can already see designers and companies attempting to move into the Fourth Generation. 

These games are all evidence that the revolution is happening.
Role Playing Games are finding their way back into popular culture, and without the need of scandal to fuel the surge.

My partners and I created Twin Suns Entertainment to be a part of this Revolution.  It is our goal to work with the other companies to expand gaming communities and to promote the hobby by making the best games we can make.

Join us as we attempt to join the companies named above -- and others -- in creating the Fourth Generation of role playing games.