Reflecting on the past
As I wrapped up writing my post last week I realized that the answer to my creative woes was sitting right in front of me... or rather, just a bit behind me. You see, two years ago I had an idea. It was a lofty endeavor, but one I truly believed would turn into something really cool. And it was. Here's an excerpt from a post around that time:
And so I started to think, "What do gamers really enjoy?" The answer was so obvious that I nearly missed it. Gamers love to game; to tell stories through gaming. What do essentially all gamers wish they could do more? That's right... game. Enter Derelict Radio.
Derelict Radio is an entirely new concept, built from the ground up to be what I have dubbed an Interactive Alternate Reality Role-playing Game Podcast. Let's break that down piece by piece:
Interactive - Listeners have the ability to manipulate the story of the Podcast, and yes, interact with it. Derelict Radio is more than just a story podcast, it's a two-way street.
Alternate Reality - The podcast and accompanying story is presented as though it exists in our world. As such, listeners may even interact with clues and objects related to Derelict Radio in the physical world. A great example that has happened already is a craigslist ad for an item within the game that anyone in the world can respond to.
Role-playing Game - Using randomizer mechanics and a rule-set that we as gamers are familiar with, listeners can become active characters in the story. This is different, but adjacent to the Interactive part, in that you are actually adopting a different persona, much like you would in any table top RPG.
Podcast - The central part of this is the podcast itself. Think of the Podcast as your weekly Game Master update, where your actions from the forums are played out, new story threads are introduced, and hopefully by the end of it, an exciting narrative is created.
The podcast gets a lot of inspiration from other shows like Tanis, RABBITS, Lime Town, The Black Tapes, Lif-e.af/ter, and The Message. If you have ever heard these shows and felt inspired by how 'real' they feel, then you have a good idea of what Derelict Radio strives to be. If you haven't heard any of the aforementioned podcasts, I highly suggest you check them out.
So you may be asking yourself how you would go about interacting with a podcast. After all, it's not a live show. That's where the Derelict Forum comes into play. The forum is where you create posts that will affect the outcomes of the stories presented int he podcast. Think of it as play-by-post RPGs, but focused more on investigation, research, and speculation. The best way to get a feel for what posts can look like is to go out to the Truth Board and read several for yourself. I developed a simple rule system that facilitates the style of play intended in Derelict. If you want to be a part of this journey, start here at the Core Rules section of the forum. It's a quick read, as in you can probably get through all of the rules in less that 30 minutes. The beauty of this though is that if you don't want to actually participate in the story-telling, you can still listen to what has unfolded each week on the podcast.
Derelict Radio was a wonderful experiment. I got to design a game, tell interesting stories, compose music, do sound design, and foster a community; all within a single project.
At the time I simply didn't understand how much time and effort would be required to carry the vision of Derelict Radio forward. The project survived for about six weeks before I was drowning. Podcasting was a new medium for me. I was just getting back into writing music after a decade of dormancy. Game design was new, and I really had only been running games and telling stories for a little over a year. On top of it all, I was just barely adjusting to being a father. I loved the creation, and to this day remain incredibly proud of the four episode run (which you can still listen to on the podcast feed). It brought together ALL.THE. THINGS. It checked all the boxes. But it was all a bit... much.
Since then I've adjusted to things. I've accepted certain things. Most importantly, I've learned a couple things. Derelict Radio was a proof of concept; a great way to test the waters of something big. And, as it turns out, it was exactly the kind of thing I want to do.
The bones of something awesome are already there. And while I don't think bringing Derelict Radio back is the answer, I think something very similar is exactly what the world needs. This time I'm coming in with eyes wide open and a healthy understanding of the commitment involved. This time I don't necessarily want to do it alone. This time I want to deliver something that will live on.
Knowing what I know from Derelict Radio, there's plenty of work ahead. I'll be documenting that work here. I'll be asking for help (which is so very hard for me). If you're interested in helping bring this idea to life let me know. If you have any ideas that you want to see incorporated into the format let me know. Most of all, stay tuned for great things.