Friday, August 10, 2007

D&D Datahead Community

One of my agenda items for Goonmill is to build a better community for software nerds who like to roleplay, and are interested in software about roleplaying. Vellum is definitely aimed at this idea as well.

With the software I'm creating, I have a few specific goals in mind. Most important to me are:
  1. Develop tools for the community to use. Part of community-building is connecting people, and the tools should help us do that. In particular, they should help gamers build and then play games with each other.
  2. Bring together programmers who want to work on games. This is entirely selfish. I want to hear from the professional programmers who game, and help them implement their ideas for more gaming tools. The tools should form a cloud of gaming-centric working parts, interlocking and building on each other. This, in turn, strengthens my own offerings.
  3. Stimulate interest in role-playing games. Bring together gamers. I'm passionate about them, and I know a lot of other people are also passionate about them. Games are fun, and creative games are more fun. There are a lot of people out there who played as kids and don't think they can find anyone who plays as an adult. I'd like them to know that's not true.
  4. Make it possible for adult gamers with lives and jobs to still roll out a game quickly. This goal is very personally applicable. The tools should support, not dominate, our existing lifestyles. I don't have 4 hours to spend for each hour gameplay. A tool that saves me an a hour of prep will get me into 33% more games per week.
  5. Profit? No, really! I hope to found a company dedicated to developing tools for the gamer, and games for the gamer. People like me have disposable income, and no worthwhile hobby products to spend it on.
  6. Build resources for would-be game publishers. Putting out professional-quality playing materials takes time, but it's time some of us want to spend because we enjoy the act of creation and we want to present what we've created in a nice frame. Or we want to sell it online. Or we want to give it as gifts to our fellow gamers. The tools should help us do that, in as many formats as possible: print, HTML, VGT.
At first, the people I see using my tools are the GMs of the world. We care about the creation. We have our own ideas. We have our own rules. We have players who want their ideas to make it into the game.

In my next post, I'll talk about why the underlying data framework matters in the effort to serve this community, and what Goonmill is doing with it.

Continue to part II.

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