View Full Version : The RPG Design Alliance

QT Games
08-28-2012, 11:39 AM
If you haven't heard of us yet (that's more than likely, since we haven't actually opened our doors yet), here is a short introduction to the RPG Design Alliance...

But first, a special thank you goes out to Pen and Paper Games for letting us post this announcement here. I would also like to extend a personal thanks to Aganauton, Flowswithdrek, Velexia Ombra and [Y] for all their hard work and contributions toward making the RPGDA a reality and RPG.net, for encouraging us over there. And of course to those who have brainstormed on the Alliance here and there.

Ok, just what is this all about anyway?


RPGDA Mission Statement:

To unite creative individuals that are committed to developing interesting and fun pen and paper role-playing games; and to provide them with a friendly, positive, and supportive environment in which to share ideas, collaborate and network.


What is the RPGDA?

The RPGDA is a non-profit organization with the goal, as our Mission Statement illustrates, to bring together people that want to create or help create quality games. The RPGDA is a place for Game Designers to find Artists; For Writers to find Editors; For Playtesters to find the next good game and help make it great.

Who can join the RPGDA?

Membership is open to everyone. This includes Indie Game Developers and established Game companies; Designers, Artists, Editors, Writers, Playtesters, either professional or amateur, you are all invited to join.

Why should I join the RPGDA? What are the benefits?

There are many reasons why a game designer, writer, editor or artist would want to join the RPGDA. One reason is the friendly and co-operative atmosphere. We are committed to providing a safe place to work and network at the RPGDA. Designed to connect people, the RPGDA uses a database and query system to match members' skills with designer's needs. The larger the RPGDA gets, the larger our skill base and the more needs we will be able to meet! Looking to learn more about the industry and how games are made? Wondering if your game has what it takes, or what you need to do, to get it there? The RPGDA can help!

For those people that aren't designing a game, but have talent in relevant areas, the RPGDA can help you get your name "out there". Whether you're a writer, artist or other industry professional (or amateur), the RPGDA can help you connect with game designers that are looking for your talents. When you fill out your character sheet, you are making it easy for other members to see what you're good at; when you are available, and what you expect in return for your services. The award system and peer review system allows you see right away, how other members felt about working with a particular game designer. It also encourages friendly, respectful interactions, and helps members make informed choices for future participation.

For the game designer, the benefits of joining the RPGDA are self-evident. One of the biggest challenges publishing games today is finding the right people with the right skills for the game you are designing. With the RPGDA database, searching for the right people becomes very quick and easy. The award system let's you see who's been recognized by fellow members for outstanding work. The Peer Review system provides insights on each member's reliability, talent, and ability to work well with others. The Skills Matrix illustrates quickly what a member is expecting in return for their help.

Where's the website? How does it work?

We are building a website, complete with forums and other resources, where members and visitors can go to learn more about the RPGDA, ask questions, network, and get involved. While there are a few minor issues to be addressed, we are hoping to have the basic website up and running in the very near future.

Upon joining, each member (including Team Leaders - those that have projects they would like help on) will fill out a member profile, what we call the Character Sheet. On this sheet, you will list a number of pieces of information, including skill keywords, the times you are currently available, and your time zone. Individual skill keywords include what you expect in return for your efforts. Your choices are Recognition - "Just include me in the credits", Service Exchange – “I’ll do the number crunching for you, if you design some monsters for me”, potential royalties and/or a flat fee.

You can also list all of your contact addresses, any websites that showcase your talent, blogs you write or instant messenger names. There is even a place to list conventions that you may be attending in the near future, if desired. All of this goes into the RPGDA database.

Team Leaders will use the game submission process to submit their games into the Project Bay. The projects don’t have to be complete game systems, but could be as simple as art layout, or needing playtesters. The Team Leader lists what talents they are looking for, and what they are able and willing to compensate for that talent (as above).

As a new Development Cycle starts, a number of projects are chosen, based in part on member interest and time in the Project Bay, to go into the Development Cycle. The database uses a query to match the talent the Team Leader needs with the members that have the required skills on their character sheets, of the requested compensation type. The team leader receives a list of suitable people and can then contact those people to build their team.

The Team Leader also receives a sub-forum in the Project Forums. This is for the use of the team to work on the project. The team leader can choose to make their sub-forum private, for team members only, or public, so any member can pop in and offer advice.

At the conclusion of the Development Cycle, or the project, whichever comes first, each member of the team will write a brief peer review on the Team Leader, and the Team Leader will write a peer review on each member of the team. Peer reviews are added to each member's character sheet and any RPGDA member can read them. Members can also request Peer Review Arbitration.

At regular intervals, based on the peer reviews, the (traditional) forum reputation system, and member voting, awards and rewards will be handed out for various accomplishments. Neither the exact categories nor the nature of these benefits have been nailed down yet, so sorry, no details on that. Suffice it to say, there will be awards and rewards, and we’re pretty sure members will like them.

I don't need help making an RPG. I already know what I'm doing!

None of us are perfect, and having an extra set of creative eyes to proofread, brainstorm or spot mistakes can help improve the best game designer's work. Designing an RPG all by yourself takes a great deal of time, but there are others who also have talent and could help you finish the game in less time. And working with a group of people committed to unity and excellence means a more friendly and productive atmosphere, so it's a win-win for everyone who is serious about the industry and could use a hand, even if they don't "need one".

Will it cost money to join the RPGDA?

One membership tier will be free. Higher tiers of membership will involve paying a small monthly or annual fee.

It's not a great answer, but the simple truth is we are still ironing out the membership details and calculating all the costs, both initial and on-going. We are working to keep membership dues at the RPGDA as reasonable as possible, while still offering as many features and capabilities as we can.

Being a non-profit organization, excess revenue, if any, would be poured back into further expansion of the RPGDA and direct benefits to the membership.

Who will be running the RPGDA?

The short, easy answer: The Membership.

The longer, boring answer: The RPGDA is a non-profit organization. As an NPO, the RPGDA is subject to the regulations that govern NPO's. One of these regulations is the requirement to establish a board of directors. Any member may run for a position on the board. All members can vote for these candidates at yearly elections. So, in essence, each member of the RPGDA will have a say on how the RPGDA is run.

Are you still looking for help?

I'm not sure how to stress this enough but, Yes, yes we are. The RPGDA can always use an extra set of eyes, or pair of hands. We could use a few more artists, writers, website designers and graphic designers. Even if you only have a couple spare hours a week, the RPGDA would appreciate any help you could offer. The more help we have, the quicker all of this will come together.

Who do I Contact?

You can post a question here or at the RPGDA (http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/therpgda.proboards.com/) temporary forums, PM me, email me: info at QTGames.com or email the RPGDA: info at RPGDesignAlliance.org for further details.

Is there a mailing list that I can add my name to?

Yes there is. We are slowly building an emailing list so that anyone who wishes to be kept abreast of the development of the RPGDA can do so. Just send the details using one of the contact options listed above. The RPGDA promises we will neither share your email address with anyone or use them for other purposes.

So there you have it, the RPGDA. Thanks for your time!

QT Games
09-05-2012, 01:33 AM
Development Cycle Announcement:

This update focuses on what we have have worked out thus far concerning Projects, Submission Documents, Project Forms and the Development Cycle.

What is a Project?

A Project is a goal that a Team Leader wants to accomplish as part of their game.

A project could be as straightforward as “I need help creating a few monsters for my game,” or “I need 3 b&w fantasy illustrations,” to something more complicated, such as, “help me come up with 25 skills for each of my 4 base attributes and balance their use in my game, which is based on an exploding d6 mechanic”.

While the sky’s the limit as far as what a Team Leader can ask for help with, the more realistic the request, the more likely the project will be accomplished and according to their satisfaction.

The RPGDA will provide a guide for using the Development Cycle and the RPGDA effectively, but it is up to the project’s team to determine what is realistic for them to accomplish.

In order to post a project, the Team Leader must have an approved Submission Document.

What is a Submission Document?

A Submission Document is a useful form that helps prepare a Team Leader for working on their project within the RPGDA. It includes questions relevant to what a Team Leader wants to accomplish, and asks tough, but reasonable questions about their game to help them gain insights into their game’s weaknesses and strengths, helps them determine what they really want and need.

A Submission Review Committee will look over the submission to ensure that the Team Leader has a well thought-out plan and knows what they want. This is to prevent Projects like “I’ve got an idea for a game, maybe based on the Smurfs, but the Smurf’s are evil and red. I want help to try and develop it or something.”

We are still developing the baseline of this Submission Document, but are drawing on some of the excellent ideas for design questions that several members on RPG.net and elsewhere, have suggested.

Once a Submission Document has been approved, the Team Leader may begin submitting Project Forms to gain assistance with their game. The Team Leader also gains their own sub-forum in the Projects Forum to use as they see fit, whether it’s to help organize their team, post ideas, run Play-by-Post games, brainstorm, or just update the membership on the progress of their latest Project or their game. This sub-forum can be made private (only Team Members or Invited Members) or public (all members can view and contribute).

What is a Project Form?

A Project form is provided by the RPGDA for approval and contains everything needed to get help, including project parameters (need help revising skill system), skills required (writer, editor, etc.), contact information and other pertinent details. Completed project forms will be posted in the Team Leader’s Project Page, detailing their project, listing their requirements; what they are looking for, and what they hope to achieve. It is a mini advertisement to the general membership.

Once the form is approved (based upon completeness of information needed to process), the project will be placed into the Project Bay. Additional project forms may be submitted later for other needs.

I’m game, what’s the Project Bay?

The Project Bay (also referred to as simply the Bay) is the staging area for all approved projects waiting to enter the Development Cycle. Members can view projects in the Bay and learn more about them.

Projects in the Bay are listed according to their ranking. Projects on top of the list are closest to being selected for a Development Cycle and those further down the list are further away from being selected.

Wait, Ranking, what’s that?

Each Project will be ranked according to two criteria: The length of time an approved project has been in the Project Bay, and Member Votes.

The primary criteria will be length of time spent in the Bay, so as to ensure projects don’t languish in the Bay for months on end.

The secondary criteria, Member Votes, requires an explanation. On their character sheet, a Member will have the opportunity to rank their top three games waiting in the Bay. This is the member’s way of saying, “Hey, I really like the Pig’s in Space Game, it was well thought out, and I want to see it get into a Development Cycle.”

The ranking system will be heavily skewed in favor of “Time in the Bay” but an overwhelming vote from the membership could bump a new game up in the rankings, meaning that it will get into the Development Cycle sooner.

So who decides what projects go from the Bay into a Development Cycle?

The Selection Committee.

The Selection Committee’s primary purpose is to keep projects moving from the Bay to a Development Cycle in a fair and smooth manner. More on the Development Cycle in a bit.

The Selection Committee will do this by querying the database, and generating a report two weeks prior to the start of a new Development Cycle. This report will summarize the number of available members, the skills they bring to the table, the skill requirements of the projects that are being considered for promotion, and how many projects are waiting in the Project Bay.

Based on this report, the Selection Committee will be able to decide how many of the top-ranked projects are moved from the Bay to the upcoming Development Cycle.

However, the Selection Committee does have some leeway in deciding which projects are moved into a Development Cycle. If the Selection Committee notices that the two top-ranked Projects in the Bay are going to stress the membership resources, then they may choose to hold the lower ranked of the two Projects back for one month. In this case, the Selection Committee could choose to promote the next highest ranked project instead. Similarly, if there are a large number of Projects in the Project Bay and a mid-ranked project could be promoted without unduly stressing the membership resources, then the Selection Committee could also choose to promote that project.

So what is a Development Cycle anyway?

A Development Cycle, or DC for short, starts on the first day of each month, and lasts for 3 months. During this time, Teams formed by the Team Leaders work on approved projects. The DC is intended to fairly distribute the resources and benefits of the RPGDA among projects currently in the Project Bay.

While a project is in a Development Cycle, a Team Leader receives a number of benefits from the RPGDA:

a) The Team Leader will receive a report that details the results of the Talent Search (see below). This report will help Team Leaders build their team for their upcoming project.

b) The Project and game is spotlighted on the RPGDA website. Each Team Leader has the option to submit a banner to the RPGDA for this purpose. This banner will provide a direct link to the Project Page and will be seen by every person that visits the RPGDA, providing a nice bit of free advertising for the game.

c) The Team Leader can choose to receive updates on new Members that join that could fill a missing position on their team. New Members that list talents that the Team Leader is looking for would be similarly notified that there was an open position on a Project in development.

d) Of course the biggest perk is that the Team Leader gets to put together a team of motivated and dedicated people to help them complete their Project.

This is not to say that a project must last for three months. If a team finishes prior to this period, they can stop there, help with a new project, if desired, even beyond the duration of the Development Cycle.

At the end of a project, both Team Leaders and members of their team will provide brief feedback on their experience to help each other and future teams work together effectively and knowledgeably in a positive environment.

What is a Talent Search?

The Talent Search is a query performed one week prior to the start of the upcoming Development Cycle. This Talent Search will match available Members (and their skills) to the Projects that are being promoted to the upcoming Development Cycle. The criteria for the Talent Search is based on requirements that the Team Leaders have indicated in their Project Form.

The criteria can include (but is not limited to) compatible time zones and availability, the skills required, the number of people of each skill and what form of compensation (if any) has been indicated.

The results of this Talent Search will be emailed to each Team Leader. This gives the Team Leaders one week to contact potential Team Members, work out any required details and organize their Team.

What happens when my Project is finished in a Development Cycle?

This is up to the Team Leader.

If the Team Leader has everything they need for the time being, then the Project is completed, as far as the RPGDA is concerned. However, if a Team Leader has more projects that they would like help with, then they would edit their Project Form with new requirements and re-submit it to the Project Bay.

If the new Project was part of the same Game or System, a Submission Document would not be required, and the Project would be placed in the Project Bay with virtually no delay. If the new project was part of a new game, then a new Submission Document would be required.

How many Projects can I have going at once?

We are still working on this policy.

Our preliminary solution is that a Team Leader could have a Primary Project and a Secondary Project. The Primary Project would enter the Project Bay first. Once the Primary Project is promoted to a Development Cycle, then the Secondary Project would be placed in the Project Bay.

The idea is to allow a Team Leader to continually cycle Projects from the Project Bay to a Development Cycle and then back again, in a timely manner. At the same time, we want to be fair, and ensure that one or two Team Leaders don’t ‘corner the market’ with the available talent of the membership.

To reiterate, this solution is only preliminary and could change if we come up with a better way to balance the issues.

As with any healthy organization, we’ll make changes as deemed beneficial to the members. The RPGDA isn’t just about us. It’s about you too. We will be looking to continually improve the Alliance’s effectiveness as a dynamic tool for those looking to make great games. But first, we need to get this thing up ‘n running. Want to get involved? Contact us!

QT Games
09-09-2012, 04:56 PM
Hi all,
Any questions about the Alliance we are forming or any interest in getting involved and teaming up to make great games? I know there are game designers around here! We've got around 30 designers and gamers who've shown an interest over at RPG.net, but something like this shouldn't be limited to one website. Let me hear your thoughts on how we can make the Alliance a great resource for game design, and if you want to be on our emailing list for updates or even want to help us get it off the ground, let me know that too. Thanks!


QT Games
10-14-2012, 06:59 PM
I am a tad shocked. Is there not 1 game designer besides myself on a site with 20,318 members, and if there are, do none of you think creating an encouraging, productive atmosphere for writers, designers, artists, etc. to work and network is a good idea? The result is sure to be better RPG's than what any single designer could create on their own.

Our numbers have been continually growing, though almost solely from RPG.net. I selected your site as our second outreach to small game publishers and individuals. I can certainly look elsewhere if you are not interested. I just found it a bit hard to believe is all.

If you are interested in doing something great with a group of others of like mind, or by yourself, but would like to draw upon the resources and support structure available via the Alliance, let me hear from you. Thanks much and have a great week!

10-14-2012, 07:05 PM
If I could make a suggestion, you may want to look for folks that have posted about making/working on their own game creation and post a message on their thread.

QT Games
10-14-2012, 08:28 PM
Hi cplmac,

Thanks for your thoughts. I do like the forums you guys have provided and I'm definitely open to searching around the forums for folks, I just thought it would be much easier for them to find me than me to find them, since this thread has been on the first page of its forum since August, and I tend to be pretty slammed much of the time. Even so, when possible, I'll do just as you suggest. Thanks again!

QT Games
10-15-2012, 05:11 PM
I updated the link to the RPG Design Alliance. For some reason, it was going nowhere. All better now if anyone would like to take a peek at what we're up to! Mind you, the online tools and thus full Development Cycle are not up-and-running yet, but we're gearing up for a regular cycle, and are having a good time working together and brainstorming on games till then. Have a great week all!

QT Games
01-24-2013, 05:19 PM
Hi all,

Just wanted to touch base with you. We appreciate your patience as we've been working behind the scenes. It has been quite awhile since our last update. While it has been quiet, that is not entirely a bad thing. We were setting up the online tools and roughs for a website, and things were looking good, but we only wanted to contact everyone when we had a big announcement to make, not small updates.

There's good news and bad news, but the bad news is by no means insurmountable:

The Bad News: We have noticed over the past several months that most people have been sitting on the sidelines waiting for the RPG Design Alliance to make a grand entrance before getting involved. That's fine, but because of this, the skill set did not manifest as we were hoping, since so many have shown much interest in being in the alliance.

The Admin has experienced shake ups this past year with health and work (life gets in the way at times) and we have not been able to build the online tools we were hoping for. And because so many are waiting for the tools to be done before getting involved, it's been a catch 22 where we need people to get tools to get people situation. We had several people step forward and say they were going to build the tools we need, but despite their enthusiasm, the tools were not made and a great amount of time was lost. As the alliance expands and we gain more active members, we feel confident the tools will come.

The Good News:
Enough waiting. It's time for action! We want to encourage everyone that we have not lost the vision, only some momentum, but are still excited and committed, and the forums have seen regular contributions. We are not waiting for pretty, online tools any longer, but are moving forward the old school way and will do things manually so that we can get about the business of making outstanding games for a discerning gaming community.

Together, we can still accomplish much and look forward to the days ahead. We hope you do too, and that you will stop by and become a part of something meaningful. Don't see a ton of people posting? Everything starts small, but if everyone waits for everyone to get involved, nothing will ever happen. If you want in on the action and are willing to stand together to make a difference in the gaming industry, we encourage you to get involved!

Those of you who have helped build the alliance and/or are already contributing in the RPGDA forums, we are grateful, and if you had wanted to help and we did not call upon you for whatever reason (likely a staffing and time issue), we are still appreciative that you were willing and now’s the time to dive in! Thanks. Let's make 2013 our best year yet, folks! Spread the word and let's get rolling.

Best Regards,

Bob Whitely
RPG Design Alliance (http://therpgda.proboards.com/index.cgi?)
QT Games LLC (http://www.qtgames.com)