Monday, May 20, 2013

Trust In You Material

Trust In You Material
by Tobie Abad

This article was born out of two events.  The first was my having recently viewed and read up on the very public meltdown of a certain Bakery and Restaurant after its appearance on a certain Reality Show, and the second was after reading the response of a fellow gamer online on why for that  person it is acceptable that there is a huge holding back on releasing any game system information for the upcoming Exalted 3rd edition game which I have supported on Kickstarter.  In both situations, there was concern about how people out there may have negative feedback and comments to say about one's product, and how the urge to control if not limit is has become the goal for some people.

I admit, there are a lot of crazies and bastards out there who seem to find satisfaction in simply finding more things to complain about or make fun of from other's hard work.  I will agree that not everyone who has posted such things have a truly helpful intention in mind.  But I do question the idea that some have that the best way to control the volatile flame wars that erupt on the forums is to limit access to the said system to the readers.  This, sadly, is the mindset I cannot wrap myself around to agree with.

Feedback, plain and simple, will happen whether or not.  And flame wars, sadly, do erupt whether or not the said system is good (or whether or not the said dish is delicious).  Plain and simple, there will always be people who will be overly emotional over things, and there will always be people who will not know how to properly give feedback in a more respectful or orderly fashion.

Hiding one's product from the public as a whole might seemingly reduce the number of flames that erupt due to your work.  But in my opinion, what that really does is limit your work from reaching your desired audience, and even worse, shows that there is a huge lack of confidence towards one's own product.  The fellow gamer wrote, "You don't see how introducing that kinda firestorm into the kickstarter period would be an negative thing? It would be potentially disastrous. better to wait until the kickstarter is done, at very least."  While the feedback might not necessarily reflect the thoughts of the people behind the product, that line of thinking quite frankly pushes once more the huge lack of confidence in one's product.   If that was the reason the people handling the product are not releasing more info about it, that doesn't quite bode well on what level of quality the product actually has.   I'd even add that such a fear is greatly unnecessary given the supposed Kickstarter goal has already far exceeded its target amount.

Trust in your Material.
That ultimately is what I feel more have to embrace.   Trust in your material, and let it out for the world to enjoy.  Embrace the fact that you can't please everyone, and try to be aware of sensing when something you've created is good, or really is crap.  Learn to embrace the fact that flames will always erupt, and the most you really can do is be thankful for those who appreciate your work, celebrate those who celebrate it, and always push yourself to make something better than your last output.

I've supported a lot of other Kickstarter projects before, and even helped out in checking for errors and sharing feedback with those who asked.  Living in the Philippines, more often than not these projects are still quite expensive to pay for, but given my desire to see these projects come out I do what I can to shell out what I can afford and support them.

Exalted 3rd Edition admittedly was one of the more costly Kickstarter projects that I've chosen to support.  I love Exalted, and I truly enjoyed the 1st edition version of the game far more than the second.    When I heard that a third edition was coming out, I was pretty psyched for it and excited to support it.  The idea that I had to shell out US$30 for the PDF, and over US$100 for the actual book was a painful fact that I had to accept.  I've purchased many other books before that ranged from $50 to $80 and those were already quite a punch to one's pocket than usual.    Having to pay so much more was a challenge I had to reconsider a few times.  In the end, I've decided to go for it and have it shipped instead to my brother in Los Angeles.  Maybe sometime in the middle of next year, I can afford to have someone bring it here to Manila.

But now, with 19 days to go before the Kickstarter ends, with it having struck $400,000+ which is far more than the $60,000 goal they set, I feel very disappointed that no actual clear system previews have been shared.  Given the huge promise of how the game will be approached in so many different ways, it would have been nice if the people behind the project were releasing far more than just fiction samples at this point in time.

And no, I still don't agree that keeping the crunch hidden is necessary because it keeps any flame wars from erupting, which may damage the Kickstarter campaign.    We've all chosen to contribute to the project because we believe in the team and want the product to succeed.    Block yourself from any possible negative feedback, and you just end up like that couple with the restaurant who blocks out all criticism immediately as words from haters, and become blind to when you might actually are doing some crappy work.

I am still hoping they soon release more information as well, to at least show us how confident they are with the product so many of us have already pledged money to pay for.

This, for example, was a nice thing to get.  It is a tangible example of how some changes in direction are happening.  Fourteen Updates so far, and we've had some fiction, some artwork, a table of contents, and two merits.   I really just hope to see more in the days to come.

I trust in you, guys.
But I need you to trust in your material, and send us some trust in you system notes.

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