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Our company is designing and writing material for the world’s most popular roleplaying game, we’re live on Kickstarter! Ask me anything about roleplaying, D&D or game design.

Joran Heimering
Feb 7, 2018

Windmill Slam Games is a Dutch company by gamers for gamers. Our first project, On the Shoulders of Heroes is live on Kickstarter (http://kck.st/2DA3Fk6).

 

The On the Shoulder of Heroes campaign setting is inspired by old school roleplaying games, traditional fantasy, Germanic and Japanese mythology. It is based on the idea that the world was built by the deeds of great people – both good and evil. I’d be happy to tell you all about the project and about myself.

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How does the creative process of making a game works? What is more difficult, making it graphically stunning or or writing the history?

Feb 13, 12:13PM EST0

Sorry, I don't make video games - just pen and paper/board games. From personal experience though, I can say that some of the best video games have rudimentary graphics.

Feb 13, 5:05PM EST0

What is your top 3 best fantasy games?

Feb 12, 8:32PM EST0

RPGs, or some other type?

Feb 13, 7:10AM EST0

What was the first game you played?

Feb 11, 4:17PM EST0

That was a long time ago. The first video game I finished was Zelda Ocarina of Time, and the first board game monopoly. How about you?

Feb 11, 5:47PM EST0

According to you what should every aspiring video game designer know about designing games?

Feb 10, 11:38AM EST0

I honestly don't know. I do board and card games only. The best of luck with your endeavours. 

Feb 10, 11:42AM EST0

Your twitter id is Vikingesque. On a fun part, do you like Vikings? Are you also waiting for the new episode?

Feb 10, 6:45AM EST0

I think Vikings are awesome! We've designed the setting to give it a Vikingesque feel. I do enjoy the show a lot as well. Are there any other shows that you would recommend?

Feb 10, 6:54AM EST0

Could you suggest few best roleplaying games on the xBox 360?

Feb 9, 12:47PM EST0

Absolutely! The Mass Effect series is great if you are into sci-fi. I also enjoyed Southpark - the stick of truth. Diablo 3 and Eternal Sonata are most fun when played cooperatively. 

Feb 9, 1:04PM EST0

Do you know of any good offline multiplayer role-playing video games?

Feb 9, 5:57AM EST0

I enjoyed playing through Eternal Sonata with my wife and a friend. The Borderlands series can also be a lot of fun to co-op! :-)

Feb 9, 7:15AM EST0

How widespread are roleplaying games in your country?

Feb 9, 3:40AM EST0

We don't really have a history with them, but interest is increasing. 

Feb 9, 4:18AM EST0

Do you think board games will come back into fashion over video games? 

Feb 8, 8:47AM EST0

I think they go hand in hand. 

Feb 8, 12:33PM EST0

Is this a board game? Do you think it will be able to compete well especially since we already live in a day and age where mobile and computer games are more popular?

Feb 8, 5:55AM EST0

 It's a campaign setting for a role-playing game. Because it's a different market we do not compete with video games directly. 

Feb 8, 12:34PM EST1

What would you say is another more popular game or book that’s quite similar to what you have created?

Feb 7, 10:38PM EST0

At this time any published campaign setting is more popular than ours. Ones I personally admire are Eberron, Forgotten Realms and The Inner Sea.

Feb 8, 2:39AM EST0

What makes "On the Shoulders of Heroes - Reborn" different than other games?

Feb 6, 10:48AM EST0

I’d say that we bring a unique mix between old school and new content. Something that is magical but makes sense at the same time.

Feb 6, 10:59AM EST0

What type of gaming engines do you use for developing games?

Feb 6, 9:36AM EST0

We do not actually program games. We work in pen and paper games.

Feb 6, 10:56AM EST0

Did you receive more advanced training in gaming design after you had completed your education?

Feb 6, 7:50AM EST0

Nope, I’m completely self-taught. I do have many years of experience playing games and I feel that my bachelor in language and culture helps me a lot to flesh-out cultures and to look at things from different perspectives.

Feb 6, 10:55AM EST0

According to you what is the major difference between Blender Game Engine and Unity3D?

Feb 6, 1:25AM EST0

Sorry, I know nothing about these things. We’ve written a book, we’re not programmers.

Feb 6, 10:52AM EST0

What is the process of character creation in the role-playing games? Does it demand a lot of creative outlook to each character or do you work on the plot and add characters accordingly?

Feb 6, 1:12AM EST0

Making a character in a roleplaying game can be a very personal thing. For me it starts with a concept. I typically will allow myself to be inspired by books, movies, or real life. From there I will investigate on how I can translate the personality, traits and abilities of the character into the rules of the game. A character can be as simple or complex as you wish, with a funny name and only basic stats, to a fully developed persona with a 10-page background story and a long list of friends, family, strengths and weaknesses. When running the game and when creating characters myself I prefer to discuss the story and party with the other players composition beforehand. It’s good to settle on some basic rules about the game and the game’s reality, which campaign settings help define neatly as well. When I am running a game myself I try to involve players in the storytelling as often as possible. If a player has written something in the background about their fighter having been a member of a mercenary company called ‘The Screaming Skulls’ they might encounter a group of their former comrades when they hang around in a tavern.

Feb 6, 10:50AM EST0

What are some of the common problems you might face while developing the game with Java?

Feb 5, 6:39AM EST0

The only Java we use is coffee. ;-) Our game is a pen and paper game.

Feb 5, 6:56AM EST0

What's more time consuming? Developing and designing a game or printing and production?

Feb 5, 4:09AM EST0

Design, and in our case writing, takes a lot longer. We’ve been working on this book for about 6 years (!), while production and printing can be arranged in under 2 weeks.

Feb 5, 5:49AM EST0

If someone is interested in the field of game design would it be smart to play a variety of different games?

Feb 4, 6:49PM EST0

I think so. When it becomes a job you are no longer just doing it for yourself. Investigate what is popular and what the community is looking for and likes.

Feb 5, 5:48AM EST0

Can you tell about the team you work with when building games?

Feb 4, 4:28AM EST0

Absolutely! I met my best friend Daan in high school, about 13 years ago. The two of us have an amazing mind link, which really helps us work together efficiently. We do most task ourselves. Several free-lance artists help us illustrate our works and some of our good friends and family give us feedback.

Feb 4, 5:46AM EST0

What are some of the most popular game designs you have created? and why do you think they became so popular?

Feb 3, 5:37AM EST0

We have no other game designs (yet).

Feb 3, 5:51AM EST0

Did you become designer because you are a player first or is it the other way around?

Jan 30, 1:28PM EST0

I feel that for a game like this its impossible to design anything useful if you are not fully aware of the rules and gameplay. To my knowledge all designers for the game are intimately familiar with the rules behind it.

Feb 3, 5:49AM EST0

What was the most difficult part of the production? Will it be similarly difficult for the mass production processes once the business is fully launched?

Jan 29, 9:04PM EST0

I find that hard to answer. Finding an audience is kind of rough. I hope that especially that will become easier over time.

Feb 3, 5:48AM EST0

What other campaigns are being implemented all around the internet for the fundraising?

Jan 29, 8:21AM EST0

It’s just the Kickstarter project. Having several running campaigns would not be very transparent for our fans.

Feb 3, 5:46AM EST0

How many people are working on this project? What is your main role and task?

Jan 29, 4:48AM EST0

It’s just the two of us, but we are grateful that we get good feedback and help from friends and family. I am the head writer and designer. My partner Daan does proofreading, the image engineering and graphic design.

Jan 29, 5:39AM EST0

How did you end up with this project? Whose concept is this?

Jan 28, 9:38PM EST0

I started working on it out of love and it grew from there. After I graduated from university I decided to start working on the project while I was looking for a job. My friend Daan later joined in and now I am back at it full time.

Jan 29, 5:38AM EST0

Who do you expect will back you on this Kickstarter campaign?

Jan 28, 2:06PM EST0

Fans of the game! And our friends, family and supporters.

Jan 29, 5:35AM EST0
Show all 3 replies

What is the purpose of this book? Why are you trying to reproduce the different aspects of the games?

Jan 28, 8:50AM EST0

A campaign setting is designed to facilitate the game for players and the Dungeon Master (storyteller). The DM tells a story in which the players play a part. They all create characters, which have their own talents and abilities and work together to overcome obstacles. Having a book such as this one, which describes a world, its history and its inhabitants, saves the DM a lot of time. It can enrich the experience to know about the world in which the story takes place. 

To be clear: we are not reproducing - we are expanding. ;-)

Jan 29, 5:35AM EST0

What inspired you to create this book compilation?

Jan 28, 12:44AM EST0

A very old D&D book that I got my hands on in a second-hand store on a vacation to the US. In Europe D&D is very small and there is almost no secondary market, so reading all these cool old books really got the ball rolling for me.

Jan 29, 5:30AM EST0

Who are your target buyers? What is the demographics of these buyers?

Jan 26, 9:09PM EST0

People that are interested in roleplaying games, and Dungeons and Dragons specifically. We also heard of some fans that thought the world to be interesting enough to use it in other games. Most of our fans are males between the ages of 20 and 60.

Jan 29, 5:28AM EST0

Why were you inclined to do Germanic and Japanese mythology designs? Is it the only fitting design for the On the Shoulders of Heroes?

Jan 26, 11:43AM EST0

The Germanic part is us enjoying the Viking history and paying homage to our own history. The Japanese part we used because of the contrast, which works well to get people thinking about their own believes and ideals. In (older versions of the) game the Japanese culture was assigned to the militaristic hobgoblins, a trope we wanted to continue in our work. They can be the bad guys, but they can also be interesting allies against a greater evil. The concept of people achieving great things can work in any setting, but we’ve chosen this environment because we thought it was cool.

Jan 29, 5:26AM EST0

Will there be another version of the book? How many more to come?

Jan 25, 9:52AM EST0

We currently have two versions of the book: 3.5 and 5.0. Both versions support available editions of the game from the publisher. If they would come up with a 6th edition we might go along with them – but it’s nowhere in sight. Of course, we’d be happy to offer conversions to other game systems if our fans want them.

Jan 26, 11:26AM EST0

How long have you been doing designs for roleplaying games?

Jan 25, 9:24AM EST0

I’ve been designing my own stuff ever since I started playing. I’m one of those people that likes to give their own twist to something.

Jan 26, 11:25AM EST0

Who does the writing and copyediting? How long did it take to finish all the writings for the book?

Jan 25, 12:04AM EST0

I’ve done most of the writing and my partner Daan did all the imagine engineering.  Luckily, we have friends that were happy to proofread for us. We’ve done the graphic design and layout together. We’ve started on the project over 6 years ago, but I’ve only been working on it full time since late spring 2017.

Jan 25, 4:05AM EST0

How long have you been playing RPG? What satisfaction do you get from the game?

Jan 24, 9:21PM EST0

I started playing Dungeons and Dragons in high school over 16 years ago. It helped me find friends for life and to express myself artistically. I like to think that the campaign is a culmination of that. The game has entertained me for thousands of hours: if I wasn’t playing it, it was thinking or reading about it.

Jan 25, 4:07AM EST0

How are you connecting with the possible backers of your Kickstarter campaign?

Jan 24, 8:34PM EST0

We're keeping the updated through the Kickstarter update system. We also have a Facebook page (/Vikingesque) and a Twitter account @Vikingesue.

Jan 25, 4:08AM EST0

What are your projections for this new year? How many books should you be able to sell before the year ends?

Jan 24, 8:33PM EST0

A fair question. We have no idea. We hope a lot of 'em, but we'll see. It's a good product and that's what most important to us.

Jan 25, 4:09AM EST0

How long did it take for this compilation to complete?

Jan 24, 6:33PM EST0

We've been working on the project on and off for over 6 years. 

Jan 25, 4:10AM EST0

What is next for your company, aside from a possible book?

Jan 24, 2:14PM EST0

We’ve got big plans for another book with a focus on new types of monsters for players to fight. Such a book requires many illustrations, however, which means it will have a hefty budget, so we lean on this first project to fund part of it.  We’re also working on a card game based on the movie business. You can stay up to date on that by following our Facebook page (Windmill Slam Games).

Jan 25, 4:13AM EST0

How do you think the gaming community will receive this book? Could this be part of their collection and obsession with RPG?

Jan 24, 12:55PM EST0

We find it hard to predict. The market is very big, but also very diverse. We've received positive review from critics and warm replies from readers of test prints.

Jan 25, 4:15AM EST0

Do you have any social media accounts that we can follow?

Jan 24, 9:31AM EST0

Absolutely! You can follow us on Twitter (@Vikingesque) and on Facebook/Vikingesque.

Jan 25, 4:15AM EST0
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