Sunday, September 3, 2017

Script Change: Official



Hi all!

As of today, you can download a PDF version of Script Change that is formatted and easily printed.

I started writing Script Change, from what I can remember and what Google Drive tells me, in 2013. I had started playing indie games a while before, and earlier that year, I'd written about how I'd used the X-card in a game of Monsterhearts. With the X-card, though, I used a secondary card introduced by Kira Magrann called the O-card, effectively a way to encourage people to do the thing that you were enjoying.

I have a lot of feelings about safety mechanics, trigger warnings, and so on. I really appreciated the X-card. It gave me some new freedoms, I could try things I wasn't familiar with. And the O-card was great, but I realized that I didn't need it if people already knew what I was looking forward to, what I wasn't sure about, and if I had something other than the X-card to show what way I thought the story could go.

Script Change has had many, many updates. Briefly, there was an applause function to encourage people to do things, but I felt it wasn't genuine enough. Thinking it through, I really thought the core things in it – rewinding to redo scenes for whatever reason, pausing to take a break and get perspective, and fast-forwarding to get over things that are too much or that we just don't want to bore ourselves with them – are more important than anything else. I've added some smaller things in the end, like the Wrap Meeting for debriefs, Instant Replay to reduce confusion, and the Highlight Reel to help keep people excited and enthusiastic for the game.

The biggest thing about Script Change is that it's supposed to be flexible. It demands a conversation about consent, and about what people want in a game. It reminds people that games are not set in stone. We aren't chipping into marble, here. We are telling a story as we go, and we can change things to make it more exciting, more fun, more of whatever we want - and less of what we don't want.

Script Change is not the only content tool out there, and there is a lot to be said about doing what works best for you. But, it has been a labor of love for me, because I want people to play games that they enjoy! I want them to have experiences of a lifetime with the chance to pause and get ready for more, or even just a chill beer and pretzels night where the tonal shift can be easily fixed with a "rewind."

I hope that you'll check out Script Change and if nothing else, just see if you can glean something new from it. Most of all, I hope you have a hell of a good time playing some games. <3

Download the PDF here!


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Friday, September 1, 2017

Five or So Questions with Jack Berberette on DOTS

I found out about the DOTS GoFundMe that Jack Berberette is doing to purchase and use a Braille Printer to make braille games available for gamers through G+, and Jack was willing to answer some questions! Check his responses out below, and give the video he made about braille translation a view if you can!

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Tell me about your Braille printer project. What excites you about it?

One of the things I've learned, after starting on this project, is that electronic equipment, learning materials, books, and more are beyond expensive for the visually impaired. The braille embossing printer, for example, is normally $3,500 to $4,000 dollars (it just happens to be on sale right now). The bottom of the line printer is normally 2 grand! I'm sure I'm not alone when I say, "I can't afford that!"

I translated (with some tweaks) The Black Hack RPG. The Black Hack is a FANTASTIC game system created by David Black. The game has been streamlined to a 6"X9" booklet with about 20 pages, give or take. A brilliant system put out there under the Open Gaming License.

Anyway, the braille translation weighs in at about 80 pages. Now if you went to an office store and had an 80 page book printed and spiral bound it would cost $5 - $8 bucks tops. I reached out to a few companies and they wanted over $200 to make 4 copies of the book (spiral bound)! Now let me put this in perspective...while the printing equipment is expensive, the paper only costs 3 cents per page, and no ink is used in printing braille. Their material cost is about $1.75 if you include the spiral binding and thick front and back covers. It would only take about 30 minutes to print all four books and let's ad in another 30 minutes to clamp on the spiral binding. Even if the person was making $15.00 an hour and we add in the $7 for the four books....the total cost is $22. AND...this is a "non-profit", braille printing company...other places had comparable prices.

What is so exciting about the printer, is that I will be able to print a duplex page for about 3 cents. This means that I will be able to afford printing a lot of things for free, or at cost depending on what's being printed. The Black Hack braille book, for example, I wouldn't charge anything but the few stamps it takes to mail it.

ALSO, and this is freaking awesome, the printer will print 8 levels of tactile graphics and comes with a full suite a translation and graphic design software. This means that I can translate D&D 5e character sheets, Pathfinder Character sheets...any character sheet in to braille with tactile squares where the values are placed (Ability scores, hit points, etc.). The plan is to glue felt into the squares and then print out number chips with Velcro on the back so visually impaired players can fully and independently manage their character sheet.

I can also printout dice labels and transform regular polyhedral dice into braille dice. I'm currently doing that but I have to, dot by dot, use a slate and style to create the numbers, then modge-podge them to each side of the die. With printed stickers, I could cut the out, slap them on then spray a poly protective coating. This would cut my time drastically and afford me the ability to make a bunch more sets which I give away for free!

With the graphics capabilities of the printer, we can even add in tactile dungeon maps for the GM. How freaking cool would it be for a visually impaired GM to be able to actually feel AND read a map of a dungeon?!

Here's a really cool video that shows how tactile graphics can be created/

What excites me more than anything though is the thought of being able to have the equipment to put a game book in the hands of a blind player. Giving them the same excitement of flipping through spell lists in that frantic time before your initiative comes up...just like a sighted player. Enabling gaming independence so a visually impaired player can experience the full range of activities a sighted player does.

LOL...I didn't realize just how excited I am about the printer until I typed all of that out. I'm very passionate about helping people and this printer will allow me to do wonderful things for the visually impaired community.


...(more inside!)