Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Onward Ho for Elthos!

The great thing about the Elthos Project, from my point of view, is that it's very light weight for me to maintain it.  It costs me almost nothing to run the site.  Just the cost of the hosting service, which is really about $6 / month.  And at that price I can keep the site going, basically indefinitely.  I have no debt, no employees, and no liabilities.  The code is completely mine, and I own the underlying rules system.  So there's very little that could knock me off my little perch over here in Nowhereland.  And that's a good thing.

The truth is, I really enjoy tooling around with the thing. Pretty much every evening I get home and say "ok! What to do with Elthos tonight?!", and I'm off to the races.  Sometimes its programming new features, or noodling through a bug, while other times its adding new Campaigns and Adventures to my various Worlds in the Mythos Machine.  It's actually such a great project, I couldn't be happier with it.  I've always said RPGs is the greatest game-hobby ever created, and that's because there is just so much one can do with it!

Anyway, after the shocking revelations regarding how my competitor is doing in the RPG Market, making millions of dollars and gaining hundreds of thousands of users (650,000 they say, as of last week), I was really quite put out for five minutes or so.  How annoying!  My great idea making someone else millions of dollars! Awful!

But instead of crashing in despair I decided to take the positive view, which is my normal bent of mind anyway.  The truth is what my competitor has done, that I have not been able to do at all on my own, is PROVE there is a huge appetite for World Building Software out there.  That's good news.  I have exactly that kind of software already built.  Now granted, mine may not be as complicated as some of the others, and my UX may not be as clean and crystal clear as it should be (and will be)... but it is a perfectly viable product that offers Gamesmasters a way to build and manage their RPG Worlds, and invite their friends to generate and maintain their Characters online.  It has dozens of enormously time saving utilities for Gamemasters nestled inside of it.  I know, because I'm the principal user, and for me - oh yeah, it's fantastic.

Anyway, I'm happy with where things are going with it. Just this week I enhanced the Markdown system so that it's now providing quite a bit of flexibility for GMs to style their World Prints the way they want... without providing too much complexity and annoying the hell out of people.  Just the right amount of BB Codes, but not too many.  You can add images, floats, PRE regions, and style them with an array of Classes I provided.  I'm still thinking about how to improve this further.  But even if you don't use it at all, the default print style is quite nice actually.

So things are going well, and I do want to thank everyone who expressed support for me and Elthos after my last post.  Thank you so much!  I really appreciate it!


JD McDonnell said...

It sounds like the barrier you're facing is the establishment. They're D&D and you're not and our stinky dumb world cares about such things. Have you ever thought of making the game more OSR friendly? Possibly a derivative that works with the OGL as well as Elthos?

vbwyrde said...

Thanks for the comment JD. I'm often puzzled by why Elthos is NOT considered OSR, let alone "OSR Friendly"... I mean you don't get very much more Old School than a system created and played since 1978. As for incorporating OGL, frankly I'd rather not do that. It took me years to incorporate Elthos RPG, and that is my own simplified rules system designed specifically with programming the thing in mind. The idea of trying to do the same with D&D or any of the other "Big Wigs" seems like a recipe for disaster. There's also the matter of ownership of the base rules system. Since I own the base rules for Elthos, it means I never have to worry - EVER - about some third party coming in and either ripping the rug out from under me, or anything of that sort. I planned for the very long term with Elthos. I started working on the program (then called The Gamemaster's Toolbox) in 1994. Consequently I don't want Elthos and the Mythos Machine to be tethered to other systems. Lastly, there is the matter of "keeping up with the Jones'" on several fronts. Honestly, I really do not want to constantly be compelled to re-program Mythos Machine every time some Young Hip & New rules system is spewed out. I am happy to leave that to others who have business models that incorporate that excess of work. Nope, not for me. I want Mythos Machine to stabilize on Elthos RPG so that in the long run my users do not have to worry that their Worlds will be upended by Rules Revisions, New Editions, or Edition Wars between competing vendors. No no no thanks on all of that.

So yes, I've thought quite a lot about it. Not that my thoughts are worth a farthing, but the overall effect is ... I tend to shy away from the prospect of incorporating other systems into MM. But thanks just the same for the thought. I honestly appreciate it. I just don't think it will work for me. Huge business mistake or otherwise. Thanks!