Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Where's Che Geuverra when we need him?!?!?

So there's this thread at CM, which is linked from a thread at ENW (major meta-alert!)

Anyway, we have a few claims being made in this thread that interest me a lot, for reasons which should be apparent.

And Mike Mearls jumps right in with both feet, to tell us what we REALLY need is his old RPG Wiki idea, combined with a Forge-like site, where the Ron Edwards of mainstream RPGs could emerge and all us wannabe designers could sit at his feet, gaze up and learn from the master.

Others chime in about what a bad open source community the OGL is, compared to Linux (which is obviously perfect in every way) because we "gasp" charge for our products.

As one poster put it, we lock our innovations behind a dollar sign.

Say it so! Ah've got the vapuhs!

And since this is my damn blog, we conclude with my thoughts:

But we already have that, and it's called the PDF community.

It's funny, despite being dominated by "companies not fans", even though most of those companies are a single person who makes a few hundred bucks PER YEAR off his PDF "company" (sounds more like a fan with a tip jar to me), and despite their stuff being "locked behind a dollar sign", the number, quality and overall design chops of PDFs have grown tremendously.

I say this as someone who released a seriously janky PDF, with no previous writing experience back in the day, who saw that PDF at one time listed with the top 50 PDF sales ALL TIME on the site.

Today that PDF, to put it mildly, would not do well on the site.

So somehow, fans seem to be improving their design skills and releasing better product, to the point where they can stand toe to toe with design houses led by Chris Pramas, Monte Cook and Phil Reed.

And again, I speak from personal experience: RPGObjects was started by three guys with no previous experience in the industry, and we're a top ten vendor on RPGNow today, in the same league as Green Ronin and Malhavoc Press and Ronin Arts (before they left the site).

And somehow, we and lots of others, did this without a Forge site where we could learn at the feet of Ron Edwards, Mike Mearls or anyone else.

Maybe, just maybe, such a site isn't required to learn design skills.

Maybe this crazy thing called capitalism works.

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