Tina Alberino

AKA Alin Walker

Devlog 1: Formatting Plane, a Solo Journaling RPG

Making a serious game requires serious effort.

The past few weeks, I’ve been working on developing Plane’s aesthetic. For me, this process amounts to several hours each day spent staring at my screen, moving elements around until it “looks right.” Once you get over the initial frustration of, for example, not knowing exactly why something looks “wrong” or “off,” it can be pretty meditative. This is only a problem if you’re trying to actually finish the game, because entering this semi-meditative state tends to result in spontaneous idea formation and inevitable creep. The rulebook grows. New game modes, mechanics, and alternative prompts are added to the to-do list.

This is why I haven’t announced anything yet. I’m embracing the creep, allowing Plane to become whatever the hell it’s going to become. When the voice in my head whispers, “Add ten premade character archetypes and a character creation guide,” I trust it. When it says, “Design a custom deck and metal tokens,” I add it to the list. When it says, “Plan a second title, where the player is a dimension-hopping travel blogger,” I have to sit it down and tell it, “SHHHH. All in good time.”

I tried mentioning this exponential growth thing to my co-author, Kanishk, but I don’t think he fully understands just how much larger Plane has become since he last saw it, back when it was an eighteen-page Google Doc.

Yesterday, I spent a lot of time researching Kickstarter campaigns for similar games and drafting ours. Crowdfunding campaigns can be extremely stressful, especially if you want to make your project available to anyone in the world, which we do. I won’t be launching the campaign until after the proofs are finalized, so we’re probably a few months away from announcing anything publicly, but I did drop some hints on The Dread Machine, letting people know we are actually working.

Our Patreon and Ko-fi supporters will all receive PDF copies of the game and are welcome to participate in our secret Discord channel for Plane, a place that will only be accessible to Superbackers once our campaign launches. There, they’ll be able to submit playtest reports, get an inside look at the development process, and vote in polls to help shape the game. The channel will be opened to our supporters on October 31st, the day of The Dread Machine’s third birthday. (Our baby is growing up!)

Now that our overall aesthetic feels “right” (in that nebulous sense), we’ll be sharing some promotional imagery and quietly building some modest hype.

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Tina Alberino

Devlog 7: Crafting

I spent the last month catching up on home renovation projects, trying to keep my kids entertained, finalizing the last issue of The Dread Machine, and failing at making dice.

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