We’ve covered the progress of Del’s Warpunk Studio quite a bit here on Purple Pawn. I recently got a chance to conduct an interview over email with Del.

First off. Let’s start off with who you are, what you do, and how you got into the game design business.

I’m a Canadian gamer and independent publisher in the entertainment industry that started as a designer of PDF print and play board-games. I now specialize in expanded universe material involving virtually any medium with an added focus on useful web-support. I have created a framework to follow when designing an expanded universe and I used this methedology to create the Blak Universe which now includes a boardgame, a card game, animations, fiction and a host of additional media. This is dubbed a “Hybrid Media Universe”.

I started as a designer about 9 years ago when a sci-fi tactical infantry simulation I designed was published in an RPG.Net column. That was pretty cool and I made a decision to just keep with it. I have written and drawn my whole life and am a lifetime gamer, starting to game design as a kid as a natural part of games like Dungeons and Dragons which requires you to do add your creations to the experience. I studied criminology, visual arts and writing at the university level and am self taught in web-design.

You mention the expanded universe material, which we’ve covered a bit on the site.  Can you tell me more about the inspiration for this? How did it come about, and how do you plan to support it in the future?

I grew up in the 80s and 90s when popular game and science-fiction franchises started to rule the market. It really seemed quite natural to intentionally create a sandbox including both narrative and interactive products. Some people in entertainment disagree with this, stating that if you make a movie you should
never think about how a game will fit in, or vice-versa, but I wanted a publishing project with a wide range anyways. The Blak Universe was penned to partial completion and is a meta-interactive setting in what you could call a military cyberpunk genre. I guess you could say I found the world’s biggest
niche to fit into.

Blak will be published to completion in the coming years and I am working hard to include novels and film as part of the library of Blak media, in the end. I am also in negotiation with other creators about them creating products to fit into Blak.

Can you give us a brief overview of the Blak universe?

The Blak Universe is split into two Eras and attempts to answer the question of what will happen as a result of our
capitalist age. The first Era shows the Corporate War, economic and guerrilla warfare between super powerful companies, and Era Two shows the end result of this war 50 years later. With the advances in cybernetic technology added to a Marxist revolt stirred by the abuses of the Corporates the Techno-communist Industrials form and eventually declare war on anyone who would oppose them. Heroes of these times fight bravely and are often out gunned, out numbered and surrounded.

Currently the media released as part of this setting include two games, a short story, serial fiction, animations, desktop and browser themes, a song and more. These are split between the two Eras and the Warpunk web-site is the center of publishing and accessing for it all.

Let’s get into the meat of things now.  Tell us about the actual games you’ve released.

Cell: The Corporate War is a somewhat abstract strategy card game (based on a similar principle as the game of Go) where players take the the role of a Mass Corporation. Players take turns building the sprawl by placing Cells, giant arcologies that add either residential or commercial resources to allow playing of the army units. Control of the Cells is decided by placing gems on the cards on the board-map. These gems each are worth a trillion yen.

The main army units are Hover-bikers, the Ronin or Hackers with each having their own special properties and can be used against your opponents army units. There are also special black market army units that can be won in auction by the highest bidder using the trillion yen on the board as currency.

Additionally there are 4 randomly enacted Events which can drastically change the state of play. These are Terrorist Nuke, Net Plague, Mass Rioting and NEMESIS.

Cell has been released through www.thegamecrafter.com and was partially designed with the TGC methods in mind.

Blak Dragon is in playtesting with a free print and play version availabe for free as a means to cast a wide net for feedback and test-play.

Players can control cities and capital ships that are deployed on a simple 3 dimensional hex-board. As well these larger areas have their own tactical maps for simulation of boarding party battles, weapon strikes and tactical deployment information like command center locations, hangar decks, and storage areas.

Vessel commands are issued with Command cards that have to be played in a cunning manner as there are a limited number of these powerful abilities like Network Commands, Ship Movement, Beam Fire, Rally Troops and even Self Destruct. Combat and skill use are decided by a simple combination of ability stats and some random dice elements.

Blak Dragon also has a robust technological strategic computer system that portrays use of network and hive mind drone systems that can be co-opted through computer hacking by a vessel or a boarding party. There is also a system of hidden movement for cloaked units. In Blak Dragon players can field units with genetically engineered or cybernetically implanted abilities like finger claws and night-vision.

Blak Dragon will probably not be released through The Game Crafter and will be a traditional boxed set. It is designed to be greatly expanded and collectible.

Can you tell me a bit about your experience with The Game Crafter?

Well, to be honest, it’s a new service and they are working out the bugs but I am largely happy with it. What needs to be understood is they aren’t set up to be a mass producer in the industry and rather are a service for people to get their prototype or hobby game printed with bells and whistles. They do this very, very well. However, someone like me and a few others in TGC community who are working towards a higher volume of orders need to focus more on doing our own marketing and try to work TGC into our methods rather than trying to rely totally on TGC as our publisher.

The customer service is excellent and the biggest selling point to me is once I had finished uploading the Cell files and set my royalty I could just leave it. They take the orders, they print the sets, they ship. I don’t have to fill my garage full of boxes while praying they sell.

Heh.  I know a bit about a garage full of boxes…Is there anything else you’d like the readers to know before we wrap things up?

Yes! I am launching a comedy journalism web-site this Sunday. She left Me For A Bot will expose the world of modern technology for what it is. Crazy. There is already a framework and a debut report posted.

See www.sheleftmeforabot.com

My thanks to yourself and the rest of the Purple Pawn crew.

Warpunk Studio is an advertiser on Purple Pawn.  Ad space was purchased after this interview was posted.