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The RPG Network Project Starting to Come Together

by Hawke Robinson last modified Sep 10, 2017 03:34 PM
I have had a number of ideas on the backburner for nearly 15 years, and I am finally starting to bring them to the front. The technology, and probably the market, I didn't think was ready back then, so I set it aside until I thought I saw interest growing, and the Internet use of users might be interested. Now I think my ideas for "The RPG Network" might have some interest, and I am hoping to get things launched by sometime in November, other priorities permitting of course.

It might still be too soon for this, but I am going to give it another shot. The idea is pretty simple, a suite of resources for people to hire professional role-playing gamers (tabletop, live-action, etc.). Someone recently described it back to me as "Uber for gaming". Not quite that complicated, but they are in the ballpark.

The RPG Network - http://rpgnetwork.net

It starts with RPG Professionals as basically a simple market for people to search for GM's that fit their interest, budget, setting, game system, game style, etc, as a platform for GMs to post themselves. Some recent parallels from other industries might include freelancer or onforce.

There are a lot of working pieces to make this experience work, and so initially I have them as separate domains to make it easier for me to test out different (opensource and custom-coded) platforms, but link them all together through typical Single Sign On (SSO) technologies.

The GMs currently listed on the site are interested in the possibilities, we will see how it turns out as far as anyone actually willing to pay for something that most enjoy for free. It might still be too soon, but I think I should quit procrastinating.

The price points may be too high. In later versions I might make a more bidding-based system with more flexibility in the rates. GMs are welcomed to raise or lower their rates as they wish, but we'll start with these price points until we get more feedback from people that would actually be willing to use this service.

I first started testing out these ideas out around 1998, and it was definitely too early then. I took another stab at it around 2007, and the remote access/video technology still wasn't quite there yet for non-techies, and non-techies just weren't experience/savvy enough with remote-office-like technologies. Now people are a lot more comfortable with many of these technologies that I have been implementing in professional markets since the 1990s.

I originally started thinking about this back around 1995, when my gaming friends were all moving to other states and countries, but I decided there weren't enough people online for it to be very marketable,, and the online gaming technology was primitive. I had run tabletop RPGs back in the 1990s via CuSeeMe and similar technologies, including hosting my own WhitePine Reflector to make it possible, And it worked "okay", but wouldn't be something most people would want to pay for I figured.

Now that Skype, Google Hangout, Facetime, FB, and others have somewhat usable virtual experiences with video conference, whiteboard, app sharing, etc. it might be something that people are comfortable with.

This is all part of RPG Therapeutics, as service offerings, outside of RPG Therapeutics usual Educational & Therapeutic services.

This platform allows for in-person tabletop and live-action game scheduling, and also online versions (mostly tabletop until VR and AR come along more). In later versions of this system, it will probably just all be under something like RpgPros.com or RpgNetwork.net, but for now it is actually easier for me during the development stage to break it across the different domains and servers, then integrate into one site later.

Here are the sites that are part of the network. Remember, this isn't actually publicly functional yet, I'm testing lots of different technologies and approaches. They are just placeholders for the public right now.

http://www.rpgpros.com - The Market/Platform for GM's to place themselves on, and prospective players  to look through and purchase hours.

http://www.rpgschedule.com - The schedule tool for finding time slots available, and spending the purchased credits from rpgpros.com for the appropriate GM / GM Level.

http://www.gmranking.com - A rich profile listing a GM's style, preferences, systems, settings, etc. The way it works is that the players fill out their preferred gaming style (partially based on Bartle's Taxonomy of Player type, and other concepts developed by RPG Research and RPG Therapeutics) on scales of 0 through 10. This way it is less "good/bad" GM, and more of a "dating site" for finding the right matching GM style to player style. Hopefully this will be more useful than a simple 5 star or other just popularity style system. GM's will list their styles, and players will provide reviews based on this system for others to get future feedback in making decisions.

http://www.rpgranking.com - This does the above, but for game systems rather than players and game masters, to help GMs and players find potential matches to their style.

http://www.rpgcert.com - RPG Professional Certification Testing and Lookup. This is where people can verify an RPG Professional's certification(s), and RPG professionals can schedule to take their certification tests.

http://www.rpgtrain.com - For those not ready to take the certification test, this site has resources for getting the training necessary to pass the rigorous RPG Certification tests.

 

 

 

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