This being my first post, I've decided to discuss my gaming background, what prompted me to start this site and what I hope to accomplish.
Who I am
My name is Mike Summers. I'm a programmer, web designer and all-around computer geek. I was born in East L.A. but claim Oregon as my home. I currently live with my three cats: Darwin, Bear and Jasmin.
Why 'Old Guy Gaming'?
The domain OldGuyGaming.com wasn't my first choice. It wasn't even in my top 100 choices. But it was available and I didn't have to pay for the privilege of using it. Also, it is quite appropriate. I would estimate that the average age for D&D players is somewhere in their 20s. I've been playing D&D almost since its inception and I was in high school then.
My Gaming Background
I was first introduced to D&D in the 70s. Our earliest games were as simple as rolling to see how far away the nearest town was and fighting random monsters until we got there. We took turns DMing and our campaigns grew quickly in complexity.
My favorite campaign was one of my earliest. It was centered around a small town named White Eagle (after Gary Gygax's Greyhawk) and had a large abandoned wizard's mansion on the edge of town with a number of dungeons within a few day's ride. Everything was geared towards very low level characters and we had more fun there than we have in even far more sophisticated campaigns. This was in large part to the newness of everything. Unfortunately, all my maps, notes, books, dice and miniatures from that time were lost. :(
There have been many campaigns since then. Out of all those in our original group, I've moved around the most and have had to create new groups more often. But our original group has always managed to get together from time to time and play.
One of these friends dragged me into Ultima Online, followed by Dark Age of Camelot and finally World of Warcraft. It's hard to play one of those and make time for D&D, so my gaming wavered over the years. Each time I broke the addiction with an online game and returned to D&D only to have this evil friend taunt me with another distracting online game that would demand all my waking hours again until I could break free from its seductive powers.
My Return to D&D
A couple of years ago, I was playing WoW heavily and had written an add-on called dbCraft. It was very well received. A guildy put me in contact with a friend of his in England who ran a firm that was needing LUA/XML programmers (two tools which I had taught myself in order to write the add-on). It turned out that this guy played WoW and was using my add-on which pretty much replaced the interview. I started selling off all my stuff (and gave away ALL my D&D stuff) in preparation to moving there permanently.
A large part of my desire to move there was that I've had kidney troubles for years which I expected to worsen and living in a country with REAL health care looked awfully attractive. Unfortunately, once I had more fully researched the economy over there, I realized that his offer would barely cover rent and utilities and maybe food and until you acquire citizenship, changing jobs is somewhat complicated. So I stayed here.
Here we are sometime later and I've finally broken free of WoW for the last time. My thoughts turn to D&D but I had given away all my stuff. On top of that, version 4.0 has come out while I was away, TSR got bought out by Hasbro, Miniatures have become "collectible" with ridiculous price tags and a whole new generation of gamers has appeared. I had a lot of catching up to do.
Why Start a Blog?
Now I am looking at needing new books, dice, miniatures, gaming mats, and accessories. Not to mention learning the new rules. Plus I would need to create a whole new campaign from scratch. Basically, I was starting from zero, just like someone just getting in D&D. However, I have the experience needed to get up and running quickly and knew what tools I would need to get there. If someone else were just starting out, I'll bet they'd like to see how I went about it. A blog seemed like a great way to document the process as well as collect tidbits of info together all in one place.
Also, as expected, my medical problems have worsened to the point where I can no longer work. Freelance web design might be an option but I can't guarantee deadlines which makes that complicated. If this blog becomes successful, I may be able to gather a modest advertising income from it which adds a little bonus incentive. This may also give me a forum in which to develop and sell gaming products online.
In either case, I've always been fascinated with the idea of writing a blog. I'm certainly opinionated enough to come up with enough content. :) Plus it offers the opportunity to keep my hand in web design to some extent and the ability to do so unhampered by what a client wants.
Already I have enjoyed developing a WordPress theme from scratch. I started out with a completely stripped Starker's theme and built everything up myself. It may not look spectacular yet but I met my goals in functionality and will work on the look over time. I just wanted to get it finished enough that I could start posting right away.
My main goal here is to document my process in preparing and running a campaign. I want to create a step by step plan that someone completely new to the game can follow in order to prepare their own world.
Beyond that, I want to: share my expertise and insight, answer questions, supply source material that I've created (modules, maps, alternate rules systems, etc), provide links to related material, useful software and exciting artwork, and act as a depository for everything a DM will need to prepare and run a game.
I also want to cover the use of technology in D&D. Although it is a pen & paper game, that doesn't mean that computers and other bits of technology can't make the whole process move faster and be more enjoyable.
I will attempt to post twice a week, Tuesdays and Fridays, plus additional posts as time allows. I tend to write in the late evening so don't look for those posts earlier than Wednesday and Saturday.
My primary goal is to lay out the process to get a game ready from scratch. I told some friends that I was hoping to have a game ready in about two months. Two months from now would place us just before Valentine's Day weekend. That's not going to work so I'm targeting the weekend after that. If all goes well, I'll have everything ready for a game on February 20th, 2009.
I hope you'll stick around and watch the fun while I try to hit that date.