Hey gang, just letting you know that Omniurge is still very much alive. Iterating an alpha prototype over and over and over again, and all the grunt work involved, like a million small card edits and rule changes, notes in margins etc, doesn’t make for very riveting reading, so I’ve spared you the burden.
For the time being, the big news is this shiny new facebook page for Excision Games. Go ahead and give ‘er a like and share! I’m considering dropping this blog in favour of the facebook page. It’s more easily updated, and there is a higher degree of interaction with my followers. Would you folks make the move? What are your thoughts?
The good thing about being so sporadic with this blog, is that my long silences are usually justified by Brobdingnagian amounts of progress! So much progress, in fact, that I’m not sure where to start. Let’s just jump in.
All the cards are mechanically alpha-ready, meaning as soon as I’m able to put together a prototype ($$$!!), it’ll be ready for all you lovely alpha playtesters to break and abuse. Right now, I’m iterating on cut-to-size index cards. They have an annoying habit of sticking to each other, but they shuffle decently, are cheap as hell, and leave lots of nice room for notes.
I was planning on having the cards measure in at 80x80mm, but these 70x70s feel so nice in the hand, and it will save a lot of table space! The smaller size will mean that I’ll have to ensure that prints are of the highest quality, so everything is nice and legible. I’ll probably also have to cut out a fair bit of flavour text as well, which, frankly, is going to be heartbreaking. Case in point, my worst offender for cramped real estate:
Apropos prototype building, check this bad boy out! (Stack of car tires for scale.)
I’m currently waiting on a handheld puncher set from Amazon, because I got about 100 tokens into this monster with boxcutter and scissors, and my hand just cramped up and said “No, fuck you, dude!” Once these are punched, I’ll be applying a matte sealant to each token, letting them dry, and then getting to work on the tiles.
In other news, I’ve been fiddling with board cleanliness. I’ve applied a much cleaner font to the cards, and reworked some of the effects so that I won’t need a bajillion tokens of excruciating specificity in order to track them. This is another point on which purity of mechanical theory has, necessarily, acceded to table practicality. I’d rather see some weird balancing issues than see frustrated players pushing around dozens of tokens just for upkeep. The former can always be fixed.
Meanwhile, I’ve been in touch with the fabulous Chainsaw Pixiepuff about box art. Exciting stuff! More to come on that later.
And finally, I’m just gonna leave these here…
Right, I think that’s it for now. I’ll be going on parental leave in a couple of weeks, so if any of you are in the Oslo area and feel like popping by for some pre-alpha fiddling, or just a coffee and a chat, hit me up on twitter @omniurge
Yeeesh, looks like I forgot to mention my dear sister in last week’s post! Elly Heise was the first one to provide free art for Omniurge, a good while before the others. So today, she gets a post all to herself! Go check out http://www.heisephoto.com/ for more of her work!
I’ve unabashedly asked a few different artists for contributions to Omniurge, and I’ve gotten great response! (Let it be noted that I would never ask for freebies on a for-profit project; their contribution to Omniurge is an indirect, good-faith contribution to Doctors Without Borders, as a shinier, prettier game without added cost means a larger profit margin for donation.)
First up, the multi-talented Mark David has allowed me to use a piece of his photography for Clay Temple.
Next up, M. Schuetze of Projekt Wort:Rausch has generously allowed me to use two of his pieces.
Sissel Olsen, a Norwegian artist with a serious talent for depicting weird animals, has opened her entire collection to me. Here’s what I’ve done with it so far. There will be much more Sissel Olsen on these cards, I’ve no doubt. I wish I had a link to share, but she doesn’t have an online gallery.
Finally, Sigrid Ystanes, a young Norwegian artist with some serious chops, has given me a nice cross-section of her work, to use as I will. Sigrid doesn’t have an online collection either, but you might see her name on some indie games and VR projects in a few years. I have no doubt she’ll go far, if she stops being so generous!
I have one point of concern, and I’d like some input from you guys.
Having lots of good art is great. Having lots of good art for free is freaking amazing. But when all the art is coming in from different sources, does it create too much thematic clash? Do the uniform graphic design on the cards, and the objective quality of the art, outweigh this clash? I’m not sure what I’d do without artistic input, as I’m starting to run out of public domain sources that fit my needs. I am loath to shell out for a single artist to do the whole package, as this would be a big chunk of money carved right out of the profit margin, and I’m not sure the expense would generate enough extra sales to justify itself. So ideally, everyone says “Noooooooo, doesn’t clash AT ALL, bro!” But, you know, be honest.
So I was rocking some digital ccg action over on kongregate instead of working on Omniurge as I should have been. The game being rocked was War of Omens. Pretty good stuff, somewhat pay-to-win, but you can still have a lot of fun playing free. Anyway, I did one of those free thingies for premium currency, and ended up ordering business cards, of all things. I designed them as promotional cards for Omniurge and for this blog, and I plan to scatter them around various FLGSs and gaming locales around town here. Here’s a blurry pic, just for you! (And yes, that is a baby bottle top and a piece of bread on a purple plastic plate behind the cards.)
Item 2: Rules and Layout
So Omniurge has a lot of parts that rely on each other, (something that I think qualifies it as an “elegant” game, in the more rarefied design circles). This means that in order to understand x, you need to grok y first, and y requires a touch of z and æ, but a full appreciation of æ can’t be achieved until you’ve understood z in the context of x and… yeah, lots of that. So when putting together the rules doc, I feel like I have to front-load a metric ton of information, which is a horrible idea. (This is also why I’ve been stingy with rules exposition here on the blog; I simply don’t know where to start, given the blog format.)
To alleviate expository crunch, I’ve been experimenting with different 2-page spreads to include early on, with lots of image-heavy snazz. And in that process, I’ve also stumbled across the perfect image to represent the Omniurge Herself, which is something I’ve kind of been putting off in hopes just such a miracle.
The image of the Omniurge is manipulated out of some very early “spirit photography” by William Hope, who pioneered the field. Very cool stuff! The table is my own dining room table, and the rest of the graphics are mine. Please let me know what you think! Does the colour-coding work? Does it all make sense? What’s missing? What would you want to learn about next, upon turning the page?
2 posts in 2 days is against my modus operandi, but today is an important day. As I mentioned in a previous post, the profits from Omniurge will be going entirely to Doctors Without Borders. However, seeing as it’ll be a while before that actually means anything, if you feel like lending those beautiful, wonderful people a hand now, today is a fitting day.
Music for Eras
Only 1 Era card is in play at a time, and each Era card has a big impact on the flavour of the game. To further enhance that flavour, I’m working on loopable soundtracks to go with each Era card. Here’s the soundtrack for After the Bomb, complete with spooky geiger counter clicks, ominous rumbles, evil synth fx, and nuclear winds.
This card is one of the more powerful wards in the game. It can keep 2 of the 4 Chthonic powers at a nice arm’s length (2 squares away); usually, nothing denies these powers for long. It’s also got decent enough health to withstand an attack from most Mortals. It’s a Unique, meaning there’s only 1 copy in the box, and it costs a Fade (labyrinth symbol) and a Denial (gates symbol) to put into play.
I was especially pleased with the artwork. For the base image, I used John Collier‘s depiction of the Priestess of Delphi, shown below. Some footwork in GIMP, and voila: 2 spooky sisters, watching in silence over the dark places of the world.
In other news…
I’ve reached 100 finished cards! Depending on cuts and alterations, I’ve got about 100-150 more to go. So that’s fun. I doubt I’ll be ready for general playtesting by the summer, so I’m sorry, followers! I hope these tidbits and showcases can keep you pumped about the game until we get there.
I’ve done some new work on the rarity icons. I realized that Horde cards would need their own special rarity, somewhat visually removed from the common-rare-unique scale. While there are 9 of each Horde card in the box, only 1 is available in the pool for drafting, thus making them more like Uniques than Commons. So here are all 4 rarity symbols, from common to Horde: