by Gareth-Michael Skarka
May 1, 2001
Well, "Dead Channel" has certainly been a prophetic title, hasn't it?
At least since March...
I'm coming to you here, one last time, to let you know that I'm bowing out from the Skotos Several. Development on Arcana (at least by me) will cease... and I'll tell ya why.
First and foremost, the format of a Skotos game is a new one for me. I've professionally designed, as of this writing, 6 RPGs (4 released, 1 currently in layout, and one going into playtest). An online, text-based game, however, has an entire set of strictures and considerations that don't apply to tabletop games. These considerations place limitations on design that I hadn't thought of, to be honest. First of all, the fact that the action must take place within a finite location was something that I had to adjust to... this is simply not something that you have to think about when designing a tabletop game.
Second, my chosen genre presented some difficulties. Simply put, I've been wrestling with this problem since October, and I have come to the following conclusion: It is my opinion that successfully conveying horror in this format is close to impossible (or at least impossible for one with my very specific skills). I just don't think that its possible. Not for me.
I struggled with this for a while, trying to make a go of it, until I ran headlong into another problem.
At it's current stage, the Skotos development tools require some degree of direct programming. At it's final stage, all construction of Skotos stages will be able to be completed via web forms, with little or no programming required. This would be the perfect situation for me, since I have about as much programming skill as the average lemming. However, under the current version of the platform, some programming is necessary. Unfortunately, some programming is too much programming, for one of my limited ability.
So, I approached Shannon and the kind folks at Skotos and explained my situation, and then waited for the ridicule and derision to fall down upon my ears. To my delight and surprise, they were more than understanding, and took my questions and concerns in stride. They asked me to compose the final installment, which you are now reading, so that I might explain myself to you, and bring some closure to the proceedings that surrounded my abortive attempt. They're a class act, through and through.
Arcana may see the light of day and some point down the road, depending upon the wishes of the Skotos crew. Who knows what the future may bring.
It's been nice having this chance to share ideas with you folks. See ya around.