“Ever, Jane” promises dancing and backbiting

Ever, Jane is a new type of MMO: there are no dungeons, swords, guns or spells. Instead, it is set in the polite society of Regency England. Your goals are to advance your status by attending balls, making matches, and vicious gossiping.

Even though I’m not a fan of Austen’s work (I appreciate it — it’s just not for me), I’ve often wondered how one would build a computer game with a non-combat conflict resolution mechanic. Tabletop RPGs have a whole indie niche dedicated to this (and there’s always freeforms), but this would be my first encounter with a computer game that attempted this.

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GOLD: The DVD that does double damage

About this time last year, I started watching a great new web series called Gold. In brief, it is about the trials and tribulations of two national-grade roleplaying teams as they prepare for the international championships of their chosen game, Goblins and Gold.

Once the first season was concluded, a call was put out to help fund a DVD run. Naturally, I wanted to help out a project that had given me plenty of entertainment, and doubly so since I am immersed in the local gaming culture of Sydney.

The Feature

It took a while (inevitable, given that the project didn’t have big studio backing), but I finally got my DVD in the mail. I sat down to watch the whole feature end-to-end and am still blown away by the truth that David Nett and his team have managed to captured. While many of the characters are deliberately written and performed to be larger than life, they draw easily on archetypes of both the gaming culture (speak Elvish much?) and pro sports (seriously, disfunctioning dice rolling hand?).

There’s also a constant reminder that while this is all glitz and glam for the players, the sport is still niche enough to get shut down when the competition for spectators ramps up. What I’m trying to say is that while GOLD is obviously fiction, it still rings true for me.

Special Features

While I haven’t had time to sit down with the commentary tracks yet (there are two of them!), I did watch the cast and crew interview with GirlGamer‘s Cricket Lee. There are some insightful observations and revelations in that interview, and it was warming to see that while a number of people went into the project as gamers, even more began gaming as a result.

Final Verdict

Look, the basic content is still available for free on the GOLD website so you can try before you buy. That being said, I think the DVD is a great thing to have. Purchasing it shows your support for a great project and helps the GOLD team make the case to financial backers that a second season is viable. I highly recommend it. Plus, you’ll also get a behind-the-scenes photo and GOLD collectible game card.

D&D on the MS Surface

Naturally, I’m not the only person who thought of this when the Surface was first announced years ago:

People talk about the ultimate RPG equipment, and I have to say that the surface really comes close. This could help take care of a lot of the mechanical stuff that bores me as a game master, and allow me to focus on plot and dialogue.

Source: Crunchgear

MacquarieCon 2009

MacquarieCon went really well this year. With over 100 pre-registered players, I think it was the most attended MacCon of the decade (including any of the ones that I had a direct hand in the organisation of). Everybody had a good time, and most (if not all) of the games were booked out.

Joshua (the chief conorg) did a fantastic job of organising games and promoting the con early and often, and that made a huge difference to the turnout and quality of the convention.

I helped P write and run a game of Cthulhu Invictus called “The Mean Streets of Rome”, in the style of Raymond Chandler’s noir detective novels, much like Lindsey Davis’ Falco novels.

As usual, there were some brilliant performances, as well as people signing up for an investigation module, even though they seemed to have no interest in following any of the clues laid out to them. Maybe next time, we should put in a disclaimer:

You know nothing of the supernatural, so don’t try to chase any of it down. Trust me. There is nothing there.

Anyway, we had a great time overall, and I wanted to extend a congratulations to Joshua for running a great con.