Another Tuesday is upon us, and that means two more goodies headed your way for this week’s 2 for Tuesday! (Ok, I dipped into the wee hours of Wed to finish editing this big post, so sue me – it was Tuesday when I wrote it!) This week I’ll be discussing Cosmothea’s Rebirth and then provide an update on the QT Games website… something very cool you’ll want to go see for yourself (at least I hope you think it’s cool as it took me like forever to put together! Humor me, if nothing else, but I thought it was pretty terrific.
Interested? Well then read on, dear friend, it’s time for Part 1! (And if you are super short on time, while I’d love for you to read my whole 2 for Tuesday, if you’ve only got a few minutes to spare right now, please make sure to check out our first video in a series about Cosmothea! You won’t regret it! There’s lots of cool art to be had. Then find the time and come back here to read the post!)
Part 1: Cosmothea’s Rebirth
It’s been a hard last few years. Not entirely, but a lot hasn’t gone as I hoped it would. Cosmothea hadn’t died, but it almost did, at least the game and setting. Thankfully, there’s been some huge shakeups and it has really started to blossom. Hm … let me back up. I didn’t just sit down one day and say to myself, “Make another version of Cosmothea!” No, that’s a really big pile of work, and while I’m a very hard worker, that would take me a long time, I was already on a third novel, and without money, I couldn’t pay others to work on the RPG with me to get it done faster and better (2 or more heads are better than one after all), so I started looking into writing novels instead.
A friend had been encouraging me for years to return to the novels I’d written, publish them and then return to the RPG when more people have heard of it. In addition to a couple Cosmothean novels, I’d also written loads of short stories, plays and skits over the years, so that’s the direction I assumed I’d be going once the money dried up (I’d always wanted to publish novels, just not in place of publishing the RPG and setting material). But I didn’t know if the Cosmothea 4.0 and the setting would ever get on the market.
Ok, but why a new edition? Why Cosmothea 5.0?
I was sitting on an unfinished Cosmothea 4.0. It was playable. It was fun, despite some rough edges. There was a lot done, so why start over? And even more important, where was the money going to come from? Back in the day, I actually had a team of 11 game designers and artists working on Cosmothea 4.0! Now, there’s just me. Well, there’s two of us, but the other one is working on his anthology story and other projects for a time, so I’m back down to just me for now and for a short time, I felt like I must be nuts to start over – well, not completely over, of course. Cosmothea 4.0 had a lot of great ideas and setting material and I’m using those bits, but a lot of the game mechanics have changed significantly; a lot of setting material is being expanded. Bottom line is, the new mechanics represent the setting better than the old ones, and the setting is better too – I didn’t reinvent it, I expanded it in very cool ways, but I still don’t have the money to pursue it.
As you may recall, and I know you do if you live in the US, our economy is in the dumps, and if you know me very well, then you know that I was hit much worse than some others in America for a few reasons, so we shut down the 4.0 Design Team and I shelved Cosmothea. Oh, we were still playing it, and I refused to ever give up on the universe. It’s my life’s work and my biggest dream. But I stopped designing it and things were looking bleak. I had no idea how we were going to recover. I wasn’t stressing out though. I’m not like that. It was all in God’s hands and I was (and still am) trusting God to open the doors for Cosmothea if he wants us to go through them and start publishing. One of my biggest concerns was simply that few people really even knew what Cosmothea was. If it was going to be successful, then people would have to not only start hearing more about it, but be dazzled by what they did see – no small challenge. But without money, everything was dead in the water.
I spent over a year just sitting on the game thinking it was dead, admittedly losing a lot of momentum, until one day ideas started slamming into me like a freight train, almost knocking me out of my chair. They didn’t come with bags of money to do a lot about it, but I picked myself up and just for fun, began jotting down some of the ideas, and brainstorming, not really planning on doing anything with them. But this new freedom was a creative storm – not worrying about sacred Cosmothean cows or anything else, but just developing concepts and throwing them against the wall to see what would stick, was not something that would have happened had I still been actively pursuing 4.0.
We were too far along to consider starting over – to consider such big changes I was dreaming up. Problem was, they didn’t stop coming, and they started getting better and better. I’m talking ideas on not only how to greatly improve the game engine and emulate the setting better, but ways to push the setting forward in even more dynamic ways. I wasn’t interested in doing a 5.0. Not without a budget, but new opportunities and a new direction came to me that could make it work, and work better than 4.0 ever could have. And it didn’t stop there.
Now, a few of the setting ideas had hit me years ago, but I’d never sorted out how they could work into the universe back-story. Between a few new ideas popping up and then realizing I could simply push the timeline forward, tap a few ideas that were only beginning to take route in the last hours of shutting our doors on some of our Cosmothea 4.0 Play-by-Post adventures, things were looking good indeed. Turns out the ideas fit together very naturally. I realized I didn’t have a choice: I had to move forward with new Cosmothea stories and with a whole new edition of the RPG with an expanded setting.
The game engine is now able to handle creating nearly any sort of character you can imagine, and the rules have improved on almost every front. It’s just flat out a better game, and it wasn’t bad before. There’s still a long way to go on this latest version, but it’s very exciting. I figured if I could get people to know more about Cosmothea and start to get them excited about the universe, things would likely turn around, with the help of Kickstarter. I realized it was time. I needed to jump back in the ring. I have no delusions, and still don’t know if the RPG and setting material will see the light of day, but that’s where you come in.
See, during that year plus of down time, I wasn’t just sitting on my laurels, nor did I only write down and develop the ideas that were popping into my head, but after a wall of ideas hit me, I began brainstorming even more and started looking into this mysterious Kickstarter thing I’d started hearing about and I spent hundreds of hours preparing for a campaign. I also started researching what gamers were saying they loved and hated about the RPG’s they’d played and sought to avoid the pitfalls and provide a great experience. I was doing my homework. I’m still doing it. Cosmothea is coming into its own, better than ever before, and this time, my budget won’t stop us, and I’m building a solid foundation from which to pursue QT Games’ future.
We’re still moving full steam ahead with the anthology and likely another one after that – novels are definitely in our future, if it kills me, but as for the game engine and setting… all I can say is I believe in their potential more than ever before, and I’m not backing down. Cosmothea is back and it’s better than ever! Its time will come, whether only in anthologies and novels or in gaming material too, but I have a good feeling about the days ahead, come what may!
Part 2: Important QT Games Website Update
A funny thing happened on the way to a Kickstarter Campaign… one of my goals with the campaign was to increase both awareness of and appreciation for Cosmothea, and so began our journey to bring you our first anthology of blended-genre stories. Well, er… that’s not actually the funny thing. I decided to make 3 videos to support the campaign: The main video where I will introduce the Kickstarter, what we’re doing and why – the usual, and then 2 additional videos dedicated to sharing art and more information about Cosmothea.
What I didn’t realize is (and this is supposed to be the funny part, but now I’m having my doubts, heh): I showed the first “About Cosmothea” video to someone and they said they learned more about Cosmothea from the video than from material I’ve shared about the universe with him over the past three months! So, in preparing for the Kickstarter, I stumbled upon a means of sharing Cosmothea more easily.
The two Cosmothea videos are packed with great art – much more than I’ve ever shown before, and I talk about the setting itself and the sorts of things you can expect to find there. No, I don’t cover everything, That’s why there’s a second video, and frankly, I could do a whole pile of videos and still not cover it all. But then that’s why there’s the anthology, the roleplaying game and zillions of stories and adventures I’ve put together over the decades. So, I’m pretty excited. Of course the videos still need to help carry out the second part of the video – getting you excited.
Take a peek at the Cosmothea video HERE!
Let me know what you think of our first video in a series about Cosmothea! Thanks. 🙂
While I’m a pro artist myself, anatomy has never been my strong suit, so over the years I’ve brought on other artists to assist with that sort of thing. I provided conceptual design and sketches, of course, since we’re talkin’ Cosmothea critters and places, which I’m an expert on, but I have a very talented, creative team (and they just keep getting better) so they always manage to exceed my expectations as well, to my delight. Sadly I don’t have much money these days (hence the Kickstarter campaign coming up), otherwise I’d have them do loads more art, as there’s still so much of Cosmothea to show off. But you have to start somewhere, and we’re finally rollin’!
Jason Rainville and Annemie Thijs did a large amount of the character artwork in the 2 Cosmothea videos. They were the first two artists I brought on board and are both quite talented, a joy to work for, and thankfully we’ve become good friends over the years. Chances are if you own very many game books, you’ve already seen some of Jason’s art, as he is quite prolific. Annemie has been doing some cartoon work lately and raising 2 kids, so she’s taken a little break, but I hope to enlist her aid for some more artwork down the line. The video also has some excellent artwork by Mike Antrim, Simon Buckroyd and Adam Schmidt. They are great artists all and I’ve been pleased to get to know each one of them over the years. If you are looking for an artist to paint some cool art, let me know, and I’ll get you in contact with them. Anyway, that’s it for this week. I’ve worked my tail off to bring the video to you, so check it out when you get a chance! Thanks! 🙂