Back again at last! Apologies for the late post, my idiot hosting site broke wordpress and took a lifetime to fix it. I’m just going to wrap last weeks post and this weeks post together instead, then put up some other stuff during the week to make up for it.
Beta testing is well underway and I’m seeing the sort of tweaks I’d hope to see – no massive problems any more, just balancing numbers and other boring details. My excellent wee cousin Calum had a go this week. I had him read over the first draft of the actual rules pages from the game and he picked it up super quick, which is a great sign!
The game is meant to be a bit cryptic and confusing, but I want all of that to come from the theming not the actual gameplay. To get around that worry I’m making part of the book “out of character” pages, which explicitly explain how to play and give you trustworthy guidance. I’ve drafted these all this week and they’re looking good! Here’s an example of a turn from one of these pages:
I’m not 100% on the inclusion of actual photos like that, but feedback has been positive so far so I’m going to leave it for now.
One of the parts of the physical release I’m most excited about is the feelies and they are coming along great. I’ve already received two deliveries for the feelies & collectors editions – pencils and the first load of postcards.
I’m finding the feelies to be quite a good way to break up the more intense work on the book proper. I’d recommend them to other designers as a stretch goal 100%. They’ve proven really popular, and I think they’re a great way to flesh out the hashtag vibe of the game.
Dead Air is set in Strathclyde, a post nuclear region of Scotland which effectively runs as an independent country. I grew up in the 90s in Old Kilpatrick, a wee village in what was, at the time, Strathclyde Regional Council. The council had their own printworks in Glasgow to manufacture basically everything you could imagine a council needing, including school jotters. They had this super particular graphic style and the jotters had this specific texture that everyone I know remembers.
By the time I started school the berlin wall was down and the soviet union was gone, the cold war was over and there was, I am told (because I was 4) a sense of optimism about the coming millenium. We grew up in this weird limbo where our teachers would tell us about our village being bombed in WW2 but where most of the evidence of it was cleaned up, where we’d learn about the cold war being in the ancient past but would also get shown public information films from the 80s made by the same people who made protect and survive.
The cooncil was gone by 1996 and these jotters and school materials phased out over the rest of the decade. For me they came to represent the end of the pre 9/11 world of big bombs and wars you could explain. That’s the flavour of strathclyde I want the game to have. I’m going to go more into this in a post this week about the game I wrote a few years ago which turned into Dead Air.
Bit of a weird post this week so thanks for reading, and a special thanks to my idiot moron hosts who keep breaking modsecurity and making wordpress piss all over the bed. Stay tuned and stay safe,