Friday, July 31, 2015

Elthos RPG Beta Test Report - July

Hi everyone.  July has seen some significant progress in the development of the Elthos RPG and supporting Web Application known as The Mythos Machine, and I'm quite happy to say that the feedback I've gotten has been tremendously helpful. Among the items that have been improved or are currently being worked on:

1. Beta Video Tutorials have been created and linked to a InfoGraphic display of the Primary Features of the Mythos Machine.
2. A variety of forms have been improved to make the application more attractive and more responsive.
3. World Templates have been added and I now have two, Fantasy and Wild West to select from. More will follow, one for each genre.
4. Site Administration and Reporting has been improved.
5. Rules Book Updates have been ongoing and I am now on Version #8 of the Final Draft (oxymoronic in a way, but ... )
6. Some minor bugs were crushed.
7. Improvements made to the World Print Report. New options for output were added, and filters improved.
8. Working on but have not completed a re-rationalization of the Magic Categories System.
9. Planning for the Wandering Monsters System drawn up and reviewed.
10.  I produced a tidy little FAQ regarding the project.

So, I'm making steady progress with it, although I admit it feels like I'm moving at museum speed. I also have to say that the revised Beta is working somewhat better than the Beta 24. It seems that it will be a slow pick up in terms of getting people on the system and trying it out. For one thing, we've had the big lead up to GenCon 2015 and my guess is that almost everyone who is into RPGs is there at this point... except yours truly, and I guess the rest of us who couldn't make it this year. So I can't expect to make much of a dent with the Beta Test at the moment. Understood. Still, I will keep trying.

My guess is that Elthos will be among the early crop of a new breed of GM Helper Software products, and it will take some time for these tools to become well known and popular. There's a lot of hurdles ahead. Pricing, marketing, and improving the products will take a lot of work, and probably a considerable amount of time to build up steam and take off. I'm ok with that. For one thing, I don't feel a dreadful need to rush ahead. Anyone who knows me and has followed the Elthos Project will know what a wonderful understatement that is. For those who don't, I started working on this project in 1978. In 2004 I taught myself programming in order to create GM Helper software based on my Elthos Rules. By 2000 I had a fully realized feature rich Visual Basic application that does a lot of what you see today in terms of features on Roll20, Fantasy Grounds and other similar applications, and quite a bit more that you don't see.

Unfortunately, the original Elthos Gamesmaster's Toolbox application was written in Visual Basic, which means that it was simply too buggy to send out into the wild. I tooled around with it and used it for my own games for half a decade before deciding to shelve it for the next big thing. So in 2006 I started work on a mini-system called the Elthos "One Die System" for use by the Literary RPG Society of Westchester, and then in 2007 I began programming that system for use via a Web Browser. My goal was to create a light weight mini-system that would be easy to learn, and easy to run, providing GMs with the ability to create their own Worlds based on the Elthos RPG rules. That system is called The Mythos Machine, and I've been using it among my friends since 2009, making various updates and improvements and making sure that the Rules and the Mythos Machine are coherent and work nicely. So far so good. I'm now in Open Beta and looking forward to people trying it out and hopefully getting useful feedback.

Ok. Back to the salt mine here. For those of you at GenCon  have a great time! I'm totally jealous.

But for those who are not at GenCon and maybe looking for an interesting RPG thing to check out ... Elthos RPG Mythos Machine might just be the thing. Please take a peek and let me know what you think of it. 

You can find it here:

Just click the floating Cosmological Map card to get started, and make a free Beta account for yourself. Scroll down the Main Screen to find the Beta Tutorial Videos to get an idea of what the Mythos Machine is about. I do hope people will find it fun to use and useful!

If you want to get a quickie idea of what the Mythos Machine is about you can check out these videos which shows off a little bit about the Mythos Machine's Primary features...

Player Viewpoint
Create a World
World Configuration Options
Create Places in your World
Create Campaigns in your Places
Create Adventures in your Campaigns
Manage the Things of your World
Manage Races of your World