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Kaleidoskop

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A project started seven years ago has now been completed, I hold the final product in my hand. Although the text was finished about a year ago while I still lived in Taiwan, it took some more time to finish the product, including taking care of illustrations, layout, and much more. It is quite an exceptional feeling to hold something like this in my hands, the result of so much work over such a long time. Magneter och mirakel is a role-playing game written in Swedish. It will be possible to order after the weekend, when the official release at a gaming convention in Gotherburg is over. In the mean time, enjoy some pictures!

More information about the game can be found on our official website, or in brief form here, in English. Even more information, including a free preview and some other downloadable material will be available shortly.

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This post is about my soon-to-be-published role-playing game, Magneter och mirakel, and since I’m asking about proofreading, the post will be in Swedish. I will write more about the project later in English.

Jag behöver din hjälp!

Jag behöver hjälp med mitt skrivprojekt! Sedan sommaren 2004 har jag snickrat på ett rollspel kallat Magneter och mirakel. Nu är det äntligen dags att publicera spelet, men det är några saker som återstår att göra. En av dem som är mycket viktigt för slutresultatet är korrekturläsning. Det är tyvärr någonting jag inte kan göra själv och därför behöver jag din hjälp!

För att kunna hjälpa till behöver du lite koll på svenska, men i övrigt ingenting annat. Det är alltså inte fråga om att ge någon djupare feedback på innehållet så ingen kunskap om rollspel krävs över huvud taget. Istället handlar det här om utifall språket är korrekt, tydligt och bra. Jag ser också till att de som hjälper till som är mer insatta i rollspel får läsa de delar som kan vara lite knepigare; för er andra blir det förhoppningsvis ungefär som att läsa berättelser om märkliga och spännande personer, händelser och platser.

Jag hade tänkt mig att hålla deadlinen relativt kort, dels för att jag vill bli klar i tid och dels för att jag tror att korrekturläsningen kommer att gå relativt enkelt. Vissa delar har redan kollats flera gånger. Jag vill ha in korrekturen senast den 14:e februari. Hur mycket du vill hjälpa till är upp till dig då jag tyvärr inte kan erbjuda någon form av ersättning. Det är totalt sett ganska mycket text, så jag är tacksam för all hjälp jag kan få! Om du egentligen känner att du inte har tid, kanske kan du läsa i alla fall några sidor? Ju mer du kan hjälpa till desto gladare blir jag!. Tack!

Mer information om hur det hela går till praktiskt skickar jag ut så snart du sagt att du är intresserad av att hjälpa till och ungefär hur mycket du kan tänka dig att ta på dig. Kontakta mig kan du göra hur du vill.

Tack så mycket på förhand!

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This is the first of the posts in which I explain and motivate the items on my 101-in-1001 list. The list itself can be viewed here, where you can also find a list of all posts related to the list. If you want to follow my progress in more detail, you should check my profile page at the Day Zero Project.

Publish my role-playing game Magneter och mirakel

It shouldn’t take five years to write a role-playing game, even if you rewrite the text from scratch twice and the final result is almost one million characters. It’s time to publish this game and it’s time to do it pretty soon. Read more here about my biggest writing project so far. I plan to publish Magneter och mirakel early next year, hopefully before the end of March so it’s ready for the annual gaming convention in Gothenburg on Easter. Note that the game is already written and this goal is about having it published. The game itself took thousands of hours to write.

Perceived difficulty: 3/10
Estimated time needed: 20 hours
Progress so far: 10%

Publish the story-telling game Nostalgia

This is perhaps the best gaming concept I’ve ever been involved in, but Martin and I didn’t make the most of the concept’s potential when we published Nostalgi in Swedish many years ago. This is the new edition, re-written from scratch and in English. I’m writing it mostly on my own and this time the full potential of the concept will be realised in the final product. Read more about Nostalgia here. In the best of worlds, Nostalgia will also be published in early 2011.

Perceived difficulty: 6/10
Estimated time needed: 50 hours
Progress so far: 25%

Publish yet another Kaleidoskop game

Writing role-playing games is one of the things I like doing most, and if it weren’t for the problem of illustrations and all the practical problems involved in publishing, I would write a lot more. Still, I have the ambition to publish at least one major game during the relevant time period. It might not be something I write entirely on my own, but I don’t mean small contributions to other Kaleidoskop games.

Perceived difficulty: ?/10
Estimated time needed: 50 hours
Progress so far: 0%

Contribute 20 articles to Haragada

This is also a game based on a cool concept (albeit not as cool as Nostalgia and rather more focused on setting). It’s a collaborative project and a revision of an earlier game with the same name, although there will be few similarities between the two editions (the next version might be more than ten times longer, for instance). I don’t plan to be heavily involved in high-level work on this project, but I will do my bit and contribute at least 20 articles in various lengths.

Perceived difficulty: 3/10
Estimated time needed: 20 hours
Progress so far: 35%

Complete my current novel

As is the case with Magneter och mirakel above, it simply isn’t okay that it should take many, many years to write a novel, especially when the reason that it hasn’t been completed yet is that I’m lazy, not that I’m a perfectionist who takes too much time on details. Read more about the novel here. I have finished the first part out of four and the planning for the two coming parts is mostly completed.

Perceived difficulty: 9/10
Estimated time needed: 100 hours
Progress so far: 20%

Write another novel (about Taiwan)

This will be a novel based on my experiences living in Taiwan. It will be some kind of pseudo autobiography, meaning that it’s about me but will not be an account of my stay in Taiwan. This project is just a collection of ideas, but I definitely want to write something about my two years in Taiwan.

Perceived difficulty: 9/10
Estimated time needed: 200 hours
Progress so far: 2%

Write ten short stories

Writing short stories is partly a preparation for novel writing, but it’s also part of it. For instance, I plan to write a short story collection which deals with the same issues as the first novel mentioned above. It will be directly related to that project and apart from experimenting with style, I want to explore the setting more.

Perceived difficulty: 6/10
Estimated time needed: 20 hours
Progress so far: 10%

Write an article about the snel hest meme

Yes, I like horses. No, not real horses, I like the abstract concept of a horse. This is extremely hard to explain to other people, even Swedish people who know what snel hest is, because this is more than just a silly mathematical equation. I’ve tried to explain this in Swedish, English and Chinese, but I still haven’t written anything about this idiosyncrasy of mine. Let’s change that!

Perceived difficulty: 2/10
Estimated time needed: 2 hours
Progress so far: 0%

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This post is fetched from the Kaleidoskop website, but since it’s a project I will work with intensely in the coming weeks and it will mostly be a project I write on my own, I think it’s appropriate to write something about here as well. However, in the future, when I post updates regarding this project, I won’t do so here, so kindly refer to Kaleidoskop.se.

Since Nostalgi was published a couple of years ago, we have received feedback on the game, both from players and reviewers. In general, we’ve enjoyed very positive feedback, especially from players on gaming conventions, and this is also where most people have been interested in buying the game. In short, it’s been obvious that more people than the two of us (Olle Linge and Martin Ackerfors) enjoy this game of story-telling, bickering and boasting.

However, listening to feedback from players and reviewers, as well as playing some on our own, we have come up with a number of things we think could be expanded or changed to the better in some way. At the outset, there were only a few things on our list of things to add or fix, but as the list has grown longer and longer, we have decided that the time is ripe to write a new version of the game.

As you have noticed, this post is written in English, and that is the first of the changes we will make. The sequel will simply be called Nostalgia and will be entirely in English. Some sections will be translated from the original, others will be rearranged and still more will be extended. However, most of the game be re-written from scratch.

This does not mean that we will change the core that made Nostalgi such an entertaining game. Instead, we will define the key ingredients that made the first version good, and then polish and repackage them to form a better product. There is as yet no deadline or estimate when Nostalgia will be finished and published, but we have already settled on most of the content; now we just need to write the book. As opposed to most other projects we’ve been running, the ambition is to write more about the process here on the Kaleidoskop website, so stay tuned!

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These days, it seems in vogue to either lambast internet piracy or endorse it. Some people regard it as their quest to quench this fire, which is, allegedly, burning through the revenues of the big media corporations. Other people regard the present copyright legislation as something that is doomed and that other ways of thinking and new strategies are needed.

Even though I and my Kaleidoskop friends have decided to publish three of our games (Haragada, Nostalgi and Terone) for free download via The Pirate Bay, this should perhaps not be over-interpreted. First and foremost, this is a wish to spread our games to as many people as possible, regardless if they later buy any product or not. It is also an experiment in marketing and a wish that there can be an alternative to the current system of intrusive copyright legislation and enforcement.

Even if you’re not interested in role-playing or are unfortunate enough not to be fluent in Swedish, I still hope you can help us by downloading and seeding the torrents linked to below. Any feedback regarding this decision or any of Kaleidoskop’s games is naturally more than welcome. If you want buy Kaleidoskop games, the easiest way is to visit our website.

Here are the torrents:

Bibliografi
Haragada
Nostalgi
Terone

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The most recent edition of the Swedish gaming magazine Fenix features a vote for the best Swedish role-playing game published last year, along with a vote for the best expansion. Even though it should come as no surprise to me, it still jolted me to see that I had written one entirely on my own, co-authored another and contributed to a third. Because of the fact that most information about this is in Swedish, I feel that I should write something about these projects and why I would be happy if you went to the Fenix website to vote.

Tornet mot stjärnorna (English “The Tower to the Stars“) is an expansion to the role-playing game Skymningshem: Andra imperiet, published by Rävsvans förlag, focusing on high-level conspiracies in a sprawling universe. The problem this time is that the enemy, if it is an enemy, is not a race of slimy aliens, but an idea (a meme if you are familiar with that terminology). The text is written by me in its entirety, although I owe much to the original creator of the game,  Krister Sundelin, who also hired me to write the text. It’s my first freelancing project and means much to me in so many ways that I should probably have written a separate post about it earlier. Now, however it’s merely something I’m proud of to have completed.

Nostalgi (English: “Nostalgia“) is a short and to-the-point game about a group of old heroes or heroines who retell their youthful stories of adventure and bravery to their grandchildren. The goal of the game is to present oneself as the greatest of the heroes, exploiting the fact that no one really remembers what actually happened. Haggling about what happened, scoring minor, ego-boosting points and generally trying to impress the children are all integral parts of this game. I co-wrote and co-developed Nostalgi with Martin Ackerfors, and even though we’ve been thinking of an English version, the game is currently only available in Swedish. Nostalgi is published by Kaleidoskop.

Haragada, also published by Kaleidoskop, is a game focused on life (or as it happens in most cases, death) revolving around the decadent desert city of Haragada. It’s a game of sword and sorcery, using rules heavily inclined towards creating a good story. The game is a collaboration between all members of Kaleidoskop, and is thus in itself an interesting creation for me.

This seems quite impressive, and perhaps it is, but to me, it’s merely the result of work I’ve done a long time ago. Tornet mot stjärnorna took roughly 200 hours to write, but it was almost finished more than a year ago, and even though the other projects were not so voluminous, they were also completed almost a year ago. So, what lies ahead? Will the vote for the best game and expansion in 2009 also hold three items to which I’ve contributed?

No, probably not, at least not three independent projects like last year. I hope that I will be able to publish my major game, Magneter och mirakel (English: “Magnets and miracles”) in 2009, but I won’t promise anything. The text is almost done, but there is layout an illustrations still to be done or decided upon, which will take time and energy I don’t feel I have at the moment. I’m in no hurry to publish this game, but it will be the most comprehensive of all Kaleidoskop’s games so far when I do.

However, Haragada was a project completed almost as fast as it was instigated, and since it turned out alright, I’m prepared to do something similar this year, granted time and good ideas. Also, some minor writing projects might be completed, but considering that I have a novel to write and Chinese to learn, I think it unlikely that as many projects will come to fruition during 2009 as did in 2008. Regardless of this, the major thing here is that a lot happened in 2008 and looking back, I feel immensely proud and satisfied.

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After an eventful weekend with two releases from Kaleidoskop at the local gaming convention LinCon 2008, both Haragada and Nostalgi are now available for sale on the net. Both games are in Swedish and can be ordered from our website: www.kaleidoskop.se

Haragada is a role-playing game focused on creating interesting stories incorporating powerful people in the decadent desert city of Haragada. The game is the result of a short campaign we played last autumn, which was interesting to such a degree that we thought it would be worth to publish the concepts it embodied. While Andreas was the driving force early in the process, the rest of us soon got involved. Personally, I have written parts of the setting, and I have also edited the text.

Nostalgi is more of a story-telling game in which the players assume the roles of veteran adventurers, who, after a long and dangerous career, have finally settled down to tell tales about their former glory. However, the truth is often not enough to convince grand-children that any given retired adventurer is the greatest of all adventurers, so creative use of imagination (lies) is encouraged. Nostalgi is co-written by myself and Martin. We have vague plans of making a translation to English, but I will not go as far as to actually promise anything.

It feels incredibly good to publish these two games. Not only are they the first of my projects to be printed and sold in this way, but they also constitute an impetus to creativity in general. In short, publishing something makes me want to finish more projects I am currently working on. I am also awed by the power of synergy, which is especially true for Haragada.

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LinCon 2008

After a good night’s sleep, it is time to explain why I have not posted anything since the April monthly report four days ago. I have been at a gaming convention in town, LinCon 2008 (in Swedish), and I have lacked the energy to write something creative here in the meantime. At the convention, me and my Kaleidoskop friends organised drop-in role-playing of two of our products, The Supercrew (in English) and Nostalgi (in Swedish).

Even though we did not intend to attend at first, an e-mail from the convention organisers convinced us that it was worth coming. We were able to get premium location at the convention and had lots of people around our tables, most of them playing, but some of them also bought our games. Combining playing and selling rendered a much better result that just selling, not only because many people who tried the games also bought them, but also because only selling becomes tiresome after a couple of days. Venting creative output with strangers in a gaming session is then an excellent break.

In general, I am very satisfied with LinCon this year. Previous years, we have always encountered problems with the organisers, who have seemed be looking to annoy people rather than help them. Not so this year, everything has been perfect in that regard. I am also quite content with our part, except that I am a bit disappointed that one of our new games, Haragada (in Swedish), did not sell as well as we had expected. Hopefully, we will be able to polish our presentation of the game when we make it available online, and be able to convince everybody what a great game it is. However, this disappointment is compensated by the fact that Nostalgi sold very well. Both games will be released for online purchase very soon.

Compared to GothCon 2008, few people I knew beforehand attended the convention. This did not turn out to be a big problem, but it still affects the general impression of the past few days. I attend conventions mainly to meet people I seldom meet otherwise, and with a few exceptions, this was not possible this year. However, organising events and selling games demanded enough time and was entertaining enough to make LinCon 2008 worthwhile indeed. Considering my Taiwan adventure, there will not be any conventions for a very long time. Therefore, it feels good to round things off with such a successful event!

Update: Here are some photographs taken at the convention by Tobias Radesäter:


Our banner with The Supercrew characters attached.


Playing Nostalgi, from the left: me, Martin, Calle, Linus, Anders.


Still playing Nostagi, from the left: Niklas, Martin, me, Joachim.


Still playing Nostalgi, Martin with Anders, Fredrik and a lot of strangers.


Even more Nostalgi with Peter, two strangers and me, along with Andreas reading a book.

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Kommanditbolaget Rävsvans Förlag och Linköpingsmaffian tillkännagav idag att Rävsvans Förlag har köpt varumärket Kaleidoskop och de intellektuella rättigheter som hör till för en hemlig köpesumma. Rävsvans Förlags ägare, Krister Sundelin, försäkrar att ingenting egentligen kommer att ändras hos vare sig Kaleidoskop eller Rävsvans. I praktiken får Rävsvans en mer eller mindre självständig studio i Linköping. “Vi breddar vår produktlinje, samtidigt som vi kan utveckla våra egna produkter med erfarenheterna från Linköping.”

“Det är en spännande tid för oss” säger Martin Ackerfors, talesman för Kaleidoskop. “Det här ger oss möjlighet att utveckla oss och satsa på nya produkter, samtidigt som vi får tillgång till Rävsvans Förlags försäljnings- och produktionsorganisation.”

Sammangåendet kommer att kunna beskådas på LinCon, då Rävsvans och Kaleidoskop kommer att sitta vid samma bord och svara på frågor. Förhoppningsvis kommer det finnas utrymme för en panelutfrågning om sammangåendet också.

Om KB Rävsvans Förlag
Kommanditbolaget Rävsvans Förlag är ett litet företag i Skövde som producerar rollspel, både som print-on-demand och som elektroniska dokument för gratis nerladdning från nätet. Debuten utgjordes av spelet Trollvinter, följt av det oseriösa superhjältespelet Too hard to duck! Västmark var det första rollspelet som släpptes i elektroniskt format, och spelets tredje utgåva är det tredje spelet som släppts i tryckt form.

Rävsvans Förlags filosofi är att utnyttja fördelarna med print-on-demand-teknik och elektroniska dokument för att skapa och sprida rollspel som inte skulle bära sig med konventionellt offset-tryck på den svenska rollspelsmarknaden, huvudsakligen små spel med annorlunda miljö för specifika målgrupper, och att göra detta utan att tumma på kvalitet.

Om Kaleidoskop
Kaleidoskop är varumärket för den rollspelsskaparstudio i Linköping som bland annat har släppt Terone och det hyllade Supergänget. I den närmaste framtiden kommer ökenfantasyrollspelet Haragada och samberättarrollspelet Nostalgi att färdigställas och publiceras.

Kaleidoskop står i bräschen med nyskapande rollspel via elektronisk distribution eller print on demand. Gruppen slog upp portarna under 2007 och utgörs av Martin Ackerfors, Svante Landgraf, Olle Linge, Tobias Radesäter och Andreas Williamsson.

April, april! Ovanstående är förstås ett skämt, i alla fall biten med att Kaleidoskop skulle ha köpts upp av Rävsvans. Visserligen tycker vi om Krille, men de tiotusen han ville köpa våra själar för är knappast tillräckligt (okej, det där var också ett skämt). Dock är det sant att Haragada och Nostalgi är på väg ut. Vi kommer också att finnas på LinCon (1-5 maj) tillsammans med Krille. Vi ses där!

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GothCon 2008

After having turned on all heat-generating equipment in my apartment, I have now finally thawed enough to be able to write something here. It appears that my three-day visit to Gothenburg have left my room in the hands of the Frost Giants, because the radiators here are not enough to force them out. Anyway, this post is supposed to be about the gaming convention I visited (GothCon XXXII).

I left home Thursday afternoon together with a couple of friends. We had decided to arrange a shop, selling Kaleidoskop games (of which there are three at the moment), but apart from that, my plans only included meeting a lot of nice people I rarely meet in real life. I quited visiting gaming conventions in order to play games a long time ago. Sure, I do play games while visiting the conventions, but that is not why I go there.

My overall impression of this particular event is overwhelmingly positive. First and foremost, it was incredibly inspiring to be able to sell our games (even though I have not even written any of those we sold). It sparked more motivation for me to finish the projects I am currently working on, which feels very good. I have also experienced the fantastic synergy created by co-writing role-playing projects, something I hope was an expression of something general and not merely a fluke.

I probably could go on more about details, but I seriously doubt that anyone would be interested. Therefore, I will conclude by saying that this was, if not the best, then at least one among the best gaming conventions I have ever visited. As usual, it had little to do with the event itself, but was rather a product of all the nice people and the aforementioned Kaleidoskop activity. I look forward to upcoming events, when we will have had time to publish more games and polish our cooperative publishing initiative even more.

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