Transition Village III

For the last five weeks, I’ve been managing a ghost town, thanks to a creative support team and some wonderful players.

Once or twice a year, my transmedia, alternate reality game team gears up for a new project. During the weeks leading up to launch, we run Transition Village, a smaller-scale experience designed to keep momentum going.

This is a time-intensive job, mainly for me. Monday through Saturday I write individual responses to between 10 and 20 players each night, giving them (mostly) free rein in a small, “choose-your-own-adventure” world of my creation. During Transition Village seasons, I normally stay up late at night, typing interactive fiction into the wee hours. I don’t get a lot of sleep, but I do have a lot of fun.

Transition Village players are among the most creative, fun-loving people I’ve had the pleasure to communicate with. Most evenings I’m up laughing out loud or just smiling, and I’ll nudge my husband and say, “Look what this traveler sent in! I love it!” The way our players take this world and run with it, developing characters of their own, even submitting their own art and music, never ceases to amaze and thrill me. Transition Village is one of my busiest and happiest times.

In order to engage players who are watching from outside of the village, or players who just want more than one interaction per day, we also offer the Transition Times newspaper. This is a group effort from all members of our team. Each week, every one of us submits a few items to be included in the online paper, and that adds a bit more to the world. Mike does the hilarious horoscopes. Rob does the ghost humor and other related columns. I do the Ghost of the Week and the Traveler Spotlight. Brent does any video elements (plus he’s the voice of Dr. Dark Owl). Necole edits the newspaper (whew!) and contributes an article once in a while.

This past Friday I finished Transition Village III. Yes, that means our next “real” game is right around the corner. My lips are sealed on that one.  ;)  (but maybe you can sneak some information from Mike).

After I finished TVIII, I woke up on Saturday and realized I wouldn’t need to plan responses for that night. It was a little weird. I’m able to catch up on my sleep now, but I will miss my little ghost village and my awesome travelers.

Then I looked at the message boards, where players were commenting about the final episode for this season, and I felt an overwhelming amount of appreciation and love. To answer many of your posts, yes, the PMs do read the boards.

:)  And, thank you, thank you, thank you.  :)

Today’s blog is my way of doing an informal, post-game… thing. Transition Village, though fairly popular, is really just a transition between larger games, so we don’t normally do an official chat after it ends. If you have questions or comments, you can feel free to post them here – keep in mind that TV is technically an ongoing world, so I can’t give away too much!

Basically, I just want to say thank you (again) to the players and the lurkers. If you didn’t get in this time, don’t worry. There’s a new experience coming soon, and you’ll be sure to have a place there. If you prefer our Transition Village style of game, then hang in there. The Governor will reopen for visitors before too long. He always does.  :)

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17 responses to “Transition Village III

  1. just want to say thank you to you and the whole team again :)
    it was awesome, as usual!
    keep it going !

  2. First, let me just repeat my thank you’s. I really think you have something completely unique and awesome with TV, and I hope you keep doing them (though jeez, I know it’s a ton of work).

    Some post-game chat-type questions for you:
    – Did any player/players do anything that was just so completely in left field that it was difficult to come up with a response?
    – I felt that we lost a few players along the way. Would you agree? How do you adapt to that situation?
    – How many possible endings were there? What was the defining moment when the ending that happened was definitely going to be “The Ending”?

    I have to admit that I was having a hard time keeping up, getting responses in on time, and I know I missed a really key moment and screwed that up. So, I can’t even imagine how much you had to juggle. I saw that some of your responses came in during the wee hours of the night and really appreciate how much love your pour into TV.

    Thanks again, Funnel Pro Team. I’m a big huge fan (I’m wearing my Proscript Party shirt now, actually, haha), and I’m really really looking to the next!
    Much love,
    Jane

    • Jane, awesome! I’m wearing my Transition Village is Full shirt, myself. ;)

      Did any player/players do anything that was just so completely in left field that it was difficult to come up with a response?

      Not this time, actually, though that did happen once or twice in TVII. For the most part, everybody in TVIII was well-behaved and followed my outline pretty closely. ;) It has happened, though. My personal philosophy about Transition Village is that players should be allowed to explore and shape their own destinies (within reason), so I generally try to go with the flow. It can be challenging to answer some responses that take players in directions I didn’t expect. Thankfully, there is some structure to the world that allows me to steer things in the proper direction without going too far off track.

      I felt that we lost a few players along the way. Would you agree? How do you adapt to that situation?

      This happens every time, and it’s to be expected. Life gets in the way! There are never hard feelings when someone has to leave the village. :) If someone has a necessary item and then drops off, I will find a way to leave the item in a conspicuous location for the next person to find. Up until a certain point, I simply replace anyone who has “vanished” with someone from the waiting list. Once we get past about the mid-point, however, or once we’ve reached a capacity that is testing my sanity ;) I generally stop bringing new travelers in.

      How many possible endings were there? What was the defining moment when the ending that happened was definitely going to be “The Ending”?

      Transition Village usually has two main objectives: The first is to bring one of our in-game characters back to life before our next game begins. The second is unique to the season of TV you’re playing. This time there was a war against the Governor, and the objective was to save the village. I’d say we got the optimal ending (it was meant to be a little bittersweet this time). :) There were several options I had planned out depending on how players would handle the situation, ranging from a burning mansion and massive casualties to the ending we actually got. It was nice to see that, though players had several opportunities to back out of the battle, every single one chose to work toward saving the village in his or her own way. *squish*

      I have to admit that I was having a hard time keeping up, getting responses in on time, and I know I missed a really key moment and screwed that up.

      You (and everyone else) brought the place to life (pun intended), and every single player pwned. The last thing I want is anyone feeling guilty for taking a day or two off!

  3. Hey, I had to stop by and say hello as well. I really love the interactions with those of you on the Funnel Pro team.

    This was my second time interacting in anything you have made and my first time in the village. (Which I was happily putzing in the Blacksmith’s house until it was politely suggested I leave).

    I rather enjoyed my time here in Transition Village and the chances I got to play a little larger than life. I missed one day due to my own real life and was sad to have missed a potential interaction.

    I look forward to the next game you put on (and hope to get a chance to play them all!)

    I have a couple of questions myself.

    Had you already chosen the flowers to represent the Governor’s allies before my (rather sappy) request for the flower as payment for fixing the Doctor’s sword?

    Was there a way for the visitors to save the visitor who had been burned? Did someone miss a connection there?

    And a question that seemed to come up, related to TVII I didn’t see asked; was the Dragon this time the one that was saved last game?

    Patiently awaiting the next mission!
    Alex

    • Alex, so glad to hear from you! :)

      Had you already chosen the flowers to represent the Governor’s allies before my (rather sappy) request for the flower as payment for fixing the Doctor’s sword?

      Actually, yes. The flowers were a simple and peaceful way to represent the ghosts who respected life, etc. I hadn’t actually planned on you requesting the flower from the doctor, but it was a good move. Definitely saved you from any misunderstandings down the road — but it made you a target for the baddies! ;) And you were not sappy at all.

      Was there a way for the visitors to save the visitor who had been burned? Did someone miss a connection there?

      Alas, someone was always going to die this season. It just depended on who was in the right (wrong) place at the right (wrong) time. Necessary loss. Nobody messed up. If she had been revived, that would have been fine, too, though that didn’t happen.

      And a question that seemed to come up, related to TVII I didn’t see asked; was the Dragon this time the one that was saved last game?

      I’m glad you asked. This was a different dragon. The dragon in TVII was a good one, and that lovely creature is currently off enjoying a nice vacation. :) This dragon was born straight out of Erdu’s hatred for others. Yucky guy. :P

      (PS: You’ll find us going by something other than Funnel these days — don’t panic. It’s still us).

  4. Another player here. I just had to drop by and say gratz! I followed along in Purity Towers, but didn’t actively play, so this was my first “real” FP experience.

    The game was great! I’ve never played an ARG like it; I’m with Jane- it’s completely unique.

    I have just one question: What makes some ghosts “allergic” to Frenghif? Did they share something in common with each other in life, or is it just random?

    • Hi, Nessa! :) Thanks!

      What makes some ghosts “allergic” to Frenghif? Did they share something in common with each other in life, or is it just random?

      The allergy to Frenghif Iron is fairly common among ghosts in Transition Village (good or bad). Not everyone has it, but it tends to be a problem for older, more jaded ghosts. That’s all I can say. ;) Hope that’s not too much of a dodge.

  5. Hey there! Yet another player here, and I’m already missing the village a bit.

    I think everyone has asked all of the questions I had on my mind. I was considering whether or not the dragon was the one from TVII and getting him to spit Earl’s ghost out, but he got nommed before I could react. Glad to hear he wasn’t Drake, though.

    Thanks again for an amazing experience. Sorry if nabbing the can of whipped cream without permission was against the rules, and for my general insanity and lack of control when writing my moves at 3AM. Already looking forward to TVIV; do you have any plans for it, or is it too far in the future?

    Thanks yet again!
    ~ FractalP

    • Hi, FractalP! Taking the item was fine. It was only fair, since the ghosts tried to cook you in an oven. ;)

      Already looking forward to TVIV; do you have any plans for it, or is it too far in the future?

      It will happen, and there are plans. I can’t say exactly when TVIV will begin (because that would take the fun out of it :) ), but watch for it a little while after our next game. The village needs time to recuperate!

  6. Just wanted to chime in with a thanks for the great game! I was finally able to participate in one of these, and I’m so glad I did. I don’t really have any questions… but I do hope it won’t be too long until the next one of these. Thanks again!

  7. Just wanted to chime in and say that I had a great time with this game! I was able to play PT a little bit before RL got in the way, and it was a bit of an obstacle this time as well, but I’m really glad that we got the short grace period, haha. I think I probably missed the deadline every other day…

    Again, thanks for the awesome experience. There’s always something nice about coming home after a long day and finding that there’s a message from TV waiting for you!

    • Ironnikki, no worries. The real world is a pesky thing; it often doesn’t seem to understand that we’d all much rather be playing. ;) I know exactly what you mean about coming home to a message — only I got to come home to a bunch of them!

  8. Howzit? It’s Kendra, The Reptile Translator. I just wanted to add my thanks for you and your staff coming up with a great ARG that is definitely in a class of its own! Some things I wondered about while playing:

    -In the Strange Trees news articles, was there any particular reason why the reptiles were humming? I sort of ran with the lounge lizards joke, but maybe there was something else we missed?

    -How did you come up with the idea to offer player-created tributes/challenges for the game? This really intrigues me as a really uniqute way for ARGs to recruit more players/financial support. I also love how it is a good booster for creativity and in some cases expanding comfort zones (Singing at the top of my lungs in the middle of the day does that. Hee!).

    -Do you have any advice for those thinking of running their own indie ARGs?

    Again thank you for your creativity and the chance for us to visit the village.

    • Hi, Kendra! :) Thanks for participating! It was fun.

      In the Strange Trees news articles, was there any particular reason why the reptiles were humming? I sort of ran with the lounge lizards joke, but maybe there was something else we missed?

      The article was actually Necole’s creation, and I used it as part of the story, taking the humming to mean that they were meditating. Your lounge lizard joke was not lost on me, though. I laughed out loud nearly every time I read your moves! As far as I was concerned, your expertise spoke to something inherent in all reptiles, though they may not know it about themselves yet. They were happy to work with you because of your connection to cheesy lounge music. :)

      How did you come up with the idea to offer player-created tributes/challenges for the game? This really intrigues me as a really uniqute way for ARGs to recruit more players/financial support. I also love how it is a good booster for creativity and in some cases expanding comfort zones (Singing at the top of my lungs in the middle of the day does that. Hee!).

      In our first ARG (Man of the People), we offered regular creative tasks. This was mainly Mike’s invention, and we found that it was a fantastic way for players to get engaged. It also keeps our energy up when we see what players do with our worlds. To tell the truth we normally just design games that we would like to play. If I were playing TV, I would like to have some creative tasks once in a while. :) These aren’t mandatory, though. Not everyone wants to sing or dance or draw or write — and that’s just fine!

      By the way, that really is my favorite song. Total win with the recording.

      Do you have any advice for those thinking of running their own indie ARGs?

      Oh, boy. :) I suppose I could do a whole blog — or series of blogs — on that topic. I love this community, and I am thrilled when more innovative people bring their ideas to the public. This gives us all more to work with in the genre, and it pushes us to do better. I can’t tell you what will work for every indie ARG creator, but for us, it’s been essential to work with people we trust, to respect our wonderful players, and to dream big while staying practical at the same time. If you’d like I’ll see about elaborating in a later post. :)

      I hope we see you in our next game!

  9. Pingback: The Style Divide: Mike Pynn guest blog | Irene L. Pynn's Blog

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