Saturday, 16 June 2012

Designer's Notes - take 2

I published a short blog on Rob Baxter's thoughts about the creation of the game last week, so this time here's my take. The first version at this piece was originally intended for the rule-book, but it had to be cut to make room for all the 'real' content.


Designer’s notes – Mike

The starting point of Sedition Wars was the miniatures, and however far we go on the journey we’ve started in this universe, it will always come back to the miniatures in the end. Our aim when starting Studio McVey, was to provide the best miniatures possible for painters, collectors and gamers - and I’d like to think we have done exactly that in the last three years. I’ll happily put our miniatures along side any in the industry. I’m intensely proud of the miniatures we have created with the help of some of the most talented concept artists and miniature sculptors in the industry.

We launched Studio McVey with the Limited Edition resin line, and while that allowed us to let our imaginations run wild – producing miniatures for any genre and style, we always had plans to be a little more focused. Sedition Wars is our opportunity to do just that – a chance to create an exciting and evocative universe to set the miniatures in.

The genesis of the Sedition Wars line was one of the Limited Edition miniatures - Lieutenant Kara Black. Right from the initial concept by Sam Wood, she seemed to have a life of her own, and we wanted to find out more about who she was. Little did we think back then – this game is where she would lead us.

We produced one of our most popular miniatures ever from these concepts. The initial plan for that piece was to sculpt the Spider Mammoth as well - but we decided to save that until later (Yes, we will do it at some point!).

We always wanted Sedition Wars to be Kara’s story (I know, it sounds like a terrible Lifetime movie), and we would follow her, much as you would the main protagonist in a video game. Initially the story was her fight against the Firebrand rebellion, and the ways that conflict altered and drove her. Then the Strain arrived.

I can’t remember exactly how The Strain was born – they were the product of the many creative meeting between Rob Baxter and myself. Once they had arrived, there was no ignoring them  – and they quickly spread and infected our thoughts and plans. We really had no choice! That quickly led to the birth of Battle for Alabaster – the first game set in the Sedition Wars universe, and the product for which we have launched the KickStarter campaign.

Once we’d decided to create Battle for Alabaster, we had to fix on what sort of game it was going to be – we soon came to the conclusion we didn’t want it to be a table-top skirmish game. The preferred option was for something fast and easy to play – but that still offered a lot of tactical flexibility, and most importantly – re-playability. We think Battle for Alabaster fits that brief very well – there is a claustrophobic urgency to the games, and they are certainly fast and bloody!

Rob started working on the rules late in 2010, and I took an early version to the following GenCon to see what people thought.

The response was fantastic and I had a great time demoing the game and chatting to people about various different ideas (some of which made it into the game), and that gave me the confidence to push forwards with the project.

The universe has grown and changed since it was first created – in fact it’s almost got a life and momentum of its own. Little ideas mentioned in passing suddenly became central parts of the story, and plot lines developed of their own accord. I think that’s the way it should be – if we were still rigidly adhering to the original ideas we had, Sedition Wars wouldn’t be nearly as exciting and (hopefully!) compelling as it is now.

So Sedition Wars: Battle for Alabaster is the result of over two years of effort – countless hours of work, but a fun and rewarding journey. Our aim was always to tell a story – if we can immerse people in that universe and keep them coming back to find out what is happening to the characters – we’ll have done our jobs well. We hope you enjoy playing Sedition Wars: Battle for Alabaster as much as we’ve enjoyed making it.

Mike McVey

1 comment:

Karitas said...

That's fantastic :)

One of the things that appeals to me most, as a guy who teaches Games design (for computer games..) Is this is yet another illustration of where these two areas crossover, and how very very similar they are.

I'm aiming to use tabletop mechanics and minis in my teaching next year, because of how the core concepts mate up.. but that concept art right there, is exactly what I teach my students to create for Computer Games characters.

I also love how this has evolved. it gets you liek that th3e creative process. and an idea that cant be ignored is a wonderful thing.

huge congratulations in getting that idea off the page and into a real, amazing, sucessful product. so many don't make it :)