Interview: Brian Cooper from QuestKick.com

Recently I was contacted by Brian Cooper about his new web application for game masters called QuestKick.com. What is it? What’s it about? I decided to ask Brian a few questions to figure that out!

Quest Kick BannerQ: Can you tell us a little about yourself Brian and the impetus behind creating Quest Kick?

Sure. I have a background in building web apps. Most recently, I was the lead developer for Vivid Seats and built their latest website.

In my free time I run a Pathfinder campaign (we just finished book 2 in Kingmaker), and I was sitting there thinking one day about all the hassles I deal with when I run a game, like trying to manage all these notes maps, NPCs, and other stuff. Also, I was thinking about all the things I’d like to be able to do with my campaign that I can’t right now because it’s too difficult, like tying music to specific scenes, or telling players private information that only their character knows.

So I thought, why don’t I just build a web app for myself to do all these things I want and simplify my job as GM? Then once I started designing all my ideas on paper, I thought this could actually be something other GMs would want to use too. Then that got me thinking about all sorts of other ideas, like being able to get published game content through the app, or getting access to RPG specific background music.

Q: Why web-based instead of app-based (iOS/Android/Win/etc.)?

Web-based can be used on any kind of device: laptop, tablet, or phone. You don’t have to install software on your computer. It’s in the cloud, so you can access it from anywhere. You don’t have to worry about losing your data. You never have to update to get the latest features. Also,
your players may bring their tablets, phones, or laptops to the game. They can easily use Quest Kick from whatever device they happen to bring.

Q: What do you see as the most common ways Quest Kick will be used at the table?

Well, there are a few things most GMs will probably use Quest Kick for at the table. One of the main ones is using the concept of a “scene”. Your game is really made up of different scenes, so you need a way to manage these. For example, there may be a scene where there is a pirate raid on a fishing village. You can load that scene, which will show you everything you need. You’ll see notes on what happens, a mini map of the village, links to related NPCs, items, etc.. You’ll even be able to play a soundtrack tied to that scene. There’s an “auto-organize” feature, so you won’t have to create the links to related NPCs and stuff yourself, they will just automatically show up.

Some other ways they will likely use the app are:

  • To see at a glance the date and auto generated weather.
  • To send private notes to players.
  • To share info about their world with players.
  • To roll custom dice by tapping a hot key on their keyboard. For example they may assign a listen check to slot 4 that rolls 1d20+10. Then when they hit 4 on the keyboard or click on the slot, it rolls that listen check.

Q: Will Quest Kick be free, paid, or some combination thereof?

Quest Kick will have some free features, and some that you only get if you are a premium subscriber. You’ll be able to run a very basic campaign for free, your players can all use the app for free, and you can access any of the free content in the Add-on Store.

However, in order to get the full benefit of all the features, like running multiple campaigns, uploading your content to the Add-on Store, uploading multiple maps, or being able to auto generate NPCs, you’ll need to be a premium subscriber. You can also purchase paid content from the Add-on Store.

questkick-1

Q: What RPG systems will Quest Kick support initially? What’s planned for the future?

Quest Kick is RPG system agnostic. It can be used to run pretty much any tabletop RPG. In the future we may provide tools for specific systems, or allow people to add their own tools (e.g. character sheets), but at this point it’s too early to say for sure.

After it’s launched we’re going to be continuously improving the app based on customer feedback. We want people’s opinions on what they like about it, what they want to be improved, or what features are missing. People will basically be getting a product that will continue to evolve.

Q: An “add-on store” is mentioned on the site – will users or RPG publishers be able to contribute to the add-on store?

Yes, both premium subscribers and game publishers will be able to upload things like adventures, campaign settings, music, illustrations, or NPCs, to the Add-on Store. They’ll have the option of making their content free or charging people for it. Then, as a GM, you’ll have instant access to all this free and paid content that you can drop into your game. And you’ll be able to access the content from any device.

Q: If you had to name one ability of Quest Kick as your “killer feature” what is it?

Well I do love the “scene” feature I described earlier. I think it will make it so much easier to have all the info you need at a glance, and it will improve your game. For one thing you’ll spend less time digging around through notes, which means your players will be more engaged. For another thing, you may be able to add things to your game that you weren’t able to before, like having a soundtrack tied to different scenes. That’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but it would have just been one more thing I’d have to deal with in some other app.

Q: How long has Quest Kick been in development?

We’ve been working on the project for about a month, but it’s been mostly design, strategy, and marketing so far.

Q: When do you plan on opening Quest Kick to the public?

It’s too early to say for sure, but we’re shooting for end of 2013 – beginning of 2014.

Q: If there’s a question I haven’t asked that you’re dying to answer, what is it and what would the answer be?

Can people pre-order a subscription?

Yes, thanks for asking. You can already pre-order your subscription on www.QuestKick.com. I encourage people to do so for a couple of reasons. First, Quest Kick is self funded and we’re on a tight budget. The more we sell in pre-sales, the more features we can get in to the initial release. Second, you’ll have access to exclusive options like discounted memberships, early access to the app, and special badges on your profile. We also have an option to be on our beta testing team, which would get you first access to features, and the ability to help guide the design of the product with your feedback.

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A big thank you goes out to Brian Cooper for answering my questions and I have to say I’ll be curious to play with QuestKick.com when it’s further along in its development. It definitely looks impressive and has some cool features!

Check out QuestKick.com for more!

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