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Nathanael Rouillard
Works at WIN Technologies
Attended Bablake School
Lives in Harringey, London
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Nathanael Rouillard

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An open letter


As a former pupil of Bablake school (1992-1999), I was delighted to discover that you were organising a hustings. After all, it was Bablake that got me interested in politics, when giving pupils the opportunity to ask questions of our local politicians; I do not imagine that they were expecting a room full of sixth-formers from a politically apathetic generation to grill them like an Angry Jeremy Paxman. Political involvement is a wonderful thing.

Imagine my displeasure upon learning that you have decided not to invite a representative from the Green Party to take part, despite inviting UKIP; a party with a disproportionately high media representation compared to their actual levels of support, and whose party membership is smaller and less active.

Bablake has always stood for intelligent education, a sense of fair play, and has provided me with a strong moral framework. I sincerely hope that this is not indicative of these values being thrown aside in favour of the lower effort option, because what I see now is absolutely disgusting to me, and an anathema to the values I was taught to hold dear at Bablake.

You are failing to educate people if you only provide information that covers the right wing side of the political spectrum. You are not providing a fair playing field if you decide to give a voice to UKIP but not to the Green party, and quite frankly, it is unethical to do so, as you are lying through omission, and painting a distorted picture of the political options available; one that is dominated by white men from highly privileged backgrounds, and of varying levels of right wing attitudes - from right of centre, all the way to just shy of fascism.
I am not a member of these, or any, political party, for none of them truly represent my positions, but we have to make these decisions whilst properly informed. Our democratic duty is too important not to, and your decision hinders the people from being able to make that informed decision.

I had hoped for much better from Bablake, but right now I am bitterly disappointed in you. The school is letting itself down, and it is letting the Alumni down.
I sincerely hope you will reconsider your position

Regards
Nathanael Rouillard
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Stories.
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I really shouldn't be thinking about yet more LRP events I should run. Just because I have the beginnings of a composition for the thematic music for a techno-thriller heist sequence sitting on my workstation, doesn't mean I should write a techno-thriller game.

Hmmm.
+Joe Rooney. Know anyone who might want to run a techno-thriller game that would benefit from a soundtrack? Or are we the only people who use soundtracks at our games?

We can't be.

+Leah Tardivel?
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Danger Zone!
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I don't really know what to say about this, but it's cheerful, uplifting, defiant, and with just that little bit of a bitter edge that makes it so delicious.
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<3
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Birdman had one of the finest movie scores I have ever heard. To be disqualified from the Oscars the way it has, is complete and utter bullshit.
Antonio Sanchez’s gorgeous drum-score for “Birdman” was disqualified before it even had a chance to win an Academy Award
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Nathanael Rouillard

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I want to do YouTube Comments poetry now
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This is my Jam. :)
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Love the historical retrospective.
Join lynda.com as we celebrate 25 years of Photoshop with inspiring stories from luminaries who have helped shape the most prolific design tool of our time. #lynda25ps http://bit.ly/25ps-f
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Prop makers and costumers; Joff Leader, the man behind the sci-fi LRP Pioneers, is looking for people to create aliens for his game.

Help a lovely chap to make an awesome event even more awesome!

"Crafters and creature makers, your help is needed.
While Peter is a brilliant creature maker, he has also taken on a lot of the admin burden for Pioneers and I can't in good conscience require him to fulfill my pathological need to fill the game with exciting alien creatures all by himself as well.
We have a budget for this sort of thing and would very much like to spend it with you. Please get in touch."
Log in to Facebook to start sharing and connecting with your friends, family and people you know.
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The economics of LRP

There's a weird sense of entitlement in LRP (or LARP if you will) where a lot of people seem to think that their ticket automatically makes them a customer of the organisers.

Let's just break down what an LRP event costs (I'm looking at the smaller events here - specifically the 30-60 player sort of bracket - for the sake of argument, and nice round figures, let's say that it's a 50 player event)

+Joe Rooney might be able to make some corrections to costs, as he handled the detail on that side of the event, and we were extremely fortunate to have so much kit donated and lent to us by other systems. These estimations don't take into account lots of the costs, that I've handwaved away because I'm not looking to give a full rundown, but illustrate how cheap a ticket to an event really is.

Site hire; this can be hugely variable, but it's probably safest to budget at least £1000 for this in the UK. Hopefully you can find something that meets your needs for less, but for more interesting sites, you're likely looking at more. Much more. For a really good or interesting site, don't be surprised if it ends up going to £2000, or even higher! (And there will come a point where the games you want to run have requirements that either require a compromise on the scope of your vision, or an increase in your site costs)

Props budget; those weapons and costumes aren't free. Maybe you got them donated, and that's great. That certainly drops your budget needs, but even if you were fortunate enough to know someone who has donated all the costume and weapons you need, and even if you manage to borrow props, you still need lighting, set dressing, all the custom bits and pieces that are specific features of your game (be it trinkets, weapon types, paperwork, or what have you). A fairly nice looking sword can easily cost upwards of £60, although there are some cheaper generic options available that seem to do a very passable job, but they're not showcase items, so whilst more than adequate for mooks, and your general rank and file, you might want less basic looking weapons for showcase characters (basically, your named NPCs). Your NPC's are all outfitted by... well, you. So you'll need to have a range of weapons.

Let's say you have twenty crew members who are ready for a ruck, then you need to have twenty different sets of costume, weapons, armour etc. And that's just assuming that everyone they play wears the same clothes, and carries the same weapons. This is... this is unlikely. (Although you can certainly make a setting where this is a feature). The cheapest sword that I can find online that I would be comfortable purchasing as a crew weapon is £30. They're perfectly servicable, and thankfully there's a few styles of sword available at that price, so twenty split between a few sword types, with a handful of spares is "only" £600.  If you're running a low, or no combat game, then your weapons budget is reduced or eliminated (although you will probably want to spend those savings elsewhere... such as on costume). Thankfully a lot of LRPers have multiple weapons and many crew will effectively lend you weapons (by using their own). However, you probably still need those twenty weapons. Then you have costume. Depending on your setting, a decent basic costume can absolutely be done for £30, but it will take time, and someone will need to make them. For twenty crew, that's £600, for one set of costumes, and a whole lot of time. I predict that you'll need be borrowing a lot of stuff.

So you have your costumes and your swords. Hopefully borrowing things will cover the shortfalls, and give you some variety to work with. That's still £1200 on costumes and swords for your 20 crew. They have no armour, save for what is lent to you, but armour is expensive, so you'll probably have to make at least some of that yourself.

What's that you're saying? You could do it cheaper than that? You've kitted yourself out for less than that using charity shop finds and sewing stuff, and modifying clothes?

I've factored that in, and assume that some of your kit will be made that way. (In fact, you probably can't make it to this budget if you don't). However, you're also not kitting out just one person (yourself), but are kitting out twenty people of unknown sizes, unknown gender, and unknown shapes. Just kitting out twenty people whose measurements you know before hand would be tough and time consuming. Barring some very good fortune, you're not going to clothe your crew for less than £600 unless you're able to borrow costume.

In future events you'll have props and costume to expand upon, but also storage costs. It doesn't really get significantly cheaper; you just don't necessarily notice you're spending the money (and you'll add stuff and replace stuff anyway).

You may need to pay on-site costs (gas, electricity etc) That's really difficult to predict, as it varies wildly depending on the types of events you run, but let us assume a fairly hefty fuel bill for an onsite generator - I suggest you avoid this where possible, but this is probably the upper end of what you could expect to pay; £25 to run your generator for 24 hours is not an unreasonable expectation. Remember that the more power you use, the faster you'll burn through that diesel, so if you're only using it to power a few lights, then that £25 might well last you an entire weekend.

Then there's transport costs.
Most people don't have a van to bring all the kit for running an event in. Let us assume for arguments sake that everything fits into one van (and you'll be surprised how quickly that gets full, and even more surprised at how the last half of the stuff you need to pack will fit into the last quarter of the van), but a weekend hire of the van (include at least one day either side, so for an event starting on Friday night, and ending on Sunday, you need the van from Thursday to Monday AT MINIMUM or you will curse your existence) needs a budget of £150-200, plus fuel. (for an 80l tank, at current prices, you're looking at just shy of £95 to fill that tank, but your fuel cost will depend on distance travelled) but let's say it's only £50 of diesel, and hope we're all right.

So, costume and weapons can easily cost £1200.
Site hire needs at least £1000 budgeted.
Utilities cost for a weekend event; hopefully under £50. And if it's hooked up to the grid, your site shouldn't be costing you more than £20 for a weekend of utilities unless you're using a HELL lot of fuel and power.
Transport costs are £200
Diesel for the van; £50

So far, this event is probably costing £2500. (And given the number of people on site, this might be a bit of a low estimation)

However, this cost is actually nothing; you're not taking into account the most expensive thing you need to run your event. You are not taking into account your time, or the time of the people involved in crewing.

You have twenty crew for this theoretical event.
Assuming they turn up at 4pm on the Friday to help you set up, and leave on the Sunday at 4pm after helping with take-down, doing no work before, after, or between the hours of 1am and 9am, they have worked 33 hours. Ignoring that if they were employees, this would be unacceptable, this is the sort of thing that people often do. For free. Because their payment is non-monetary. Which is a good thing, because on pure hours worked, they would be earning a minimum of £214.50 (pro rata) each. That's minimum wage by the way, not living wage, and certainly not what my time is valued at.

So you just got £4290 worth of work out of people. For nothing.

Then there's the work you do yourself.

Even assuming that it's just you doing the prep work (costume making, prop making, driving, writing, doing admin etc.) your event is about to become more expensive in value.

For an Insurrection event, I could easily spend the equivalent of three months working time on preparation, running, and closing down the event. Ask yourself how much money you earn over three months, pre tax. That's how much you need to value your time. I'm going to use some old figures (because I'm not comfortable talking about what I currently earn) but early Insurrection events easily consumed time to the value of £9000. Just from me. I was not the only person involved at that level, so you can imagine how quickly the actual cost of an event goes up.

But let us assume it is just you, and we will for the sake of argument cost it at £9000

At this point we will handwave away the material costs I personally incurred, or the investment in equipment, software, etc and the administrative costs, because my point is already made quite ably.

Labour costs are £13290.
Operational costs £2500.

Ticket sales should thus come to at least £15790 just to break even.

You're selling 50 tickets.
Let us assume that you have managed to sell every ticket. Your break even point on each ticket is £315.80. You make zero profit.

Thankfully, you're not doing this for the money, but because you like running games, and it's your way of giving to the community.

Your fifty tickets need to go for £50 to cover site and immediate costs. They don't pay anyone anything for their time.

Larger events can be run commercially for that sort of ticket price (well... actually, I believe they're generally a bit higher than that), but that's because of the economies of scale. You need hundreds of players, multiple events per year, and a volunteer crew just to break even.

This is why at these game sizes, your players are not customers; they are paying their share of the cost of hiring the site, and getting kit and props together. Nobody involved is being compensated for their time.

If they want to pay £600 a ticket, then I will consider running an event where they are my customer. But only if I can fill most if not all of the available places. (And only if I can find a site where I can be sure of making those numbers work, for the sort of game I want to run, and they're not expecting an improvement in the quality of the event, and it involves nobody else doing any prep work)

This is for the exact same event. It is no better for you being a customer, nor is it worse. It's just a hell of a lot more expensive. This idea that being "a customer" is somehow better, is baffling.

Yeah. We're doing it for the (game design) art. Don't ever say you're our customer. You wouldn't like the price if you were a customer.
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The UK Larp FB page had someone insisting that they were a customer of LRP events, the amount being paid being irrelevant. (Basic lack of understanding of implied terms, and how consumer protection laws work)

PD is a commercial thing, even though they are also doing it out of love. They aim to make a profit, and whilst it's not money they pay, they do compensate their crew. So it's volunteers, but they get their food paid and event credit.

As to the profit; I'm paid, but the commercial entity (such as it would have to be for me to want to run this event with paid staff) would have to make a profit beyond just paying me.

That might just be me and my tendency to switch from "doing it for the love of it" to capitalism with a sharp turn of the dial though.
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Education
  • Bablake School
    1992 - 1999
  • University of Teesside
    Computer Animation and Production, 2000 - 2003
  • Warwick Business School
    HOST Programme, 2010 - 2011
Basic Information
Gender
Male
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Work
Occupation
Usability and User Experience Consultant
Skills
UX, Usability, Design, UI, HCI, User Experience, Illustration, Copywriting,
Employment
  • WIN Technologies
    Visual Designer, 2013 - present
    Designing interactions, interfaces, and visual elements for web and mobile gaming on the android and iOS platforms.
  • Insurrection LRP
    Game Designer, 2008 - present
    One of the Game Designers on the award nominated Live Roleplay Game; Insurrection LRP Working with internal and external stakeholders to understand their needs and create actionable, functional requirements. Writing solutions in response to requirements. Designing an immersive and interactive Live Action Gaming experience.
  • Freelance
    UX and Design Consultant, 2010 - present
    Providing freelance design, marketing, and business consultancy services, including book cover design and illustration, marketing, and business analysis. I am currently providing UX training course development services to QA.com for their upcoming UX learning route. Offering freelance design and consultancy services in UX, UI, art and graphics fields. Clients have included upliftingstunts.net, a wheelchair cheerleading stunt team who needed a logo design which can be seen on their website and T-Shirts, and Aequus-Therapy.com.
  • Insightsoftware.com
    Usability Designer, 2011 - 2012
    Usability advisor, expert, and designer for Insigntsoftware.com. An agile organisation, the role is to design and wireframe UI elements, workflows, and interactions for the flagship cross ERP (Oracle E-Business Suite/JD Edwards) reporting product "Insight" and it's next generation web client. I sign off and approve developer implementation of designs. Key Responsibilities Driving usability decisions in Product Management and Development organisations Leading the development of the user interface for the next generation of Business Intelligence and Analysis software dealing with corporate databases and ERP solutions (Oracle EBS, JDE) Designing and overseeing user testing labs Driving a UCD approach within an Agile software development environment Creation of User Persona’s, Wireframing, and Prototyping Designing and developing the User Experience Ensuring that UI consistency is kept on track with an international development team based in multiple time zones. Balancing the design needs of Product Management with those of the Software Development teams, and finding solutions and compromises which allow project goals to be met within acceptable costs. Promoting new UI methodologies and technologies Lobbying for modernisation of underlying user interface technologies to keep products in line with new thinking resulting from usability and user experience research. Key Achievements Enhancement of the "Insight Budgeting" tool for which customers had been requesting modernisation and enhancement. Designing the new report designer, allowing for complex "Big Data" report templates to be built visually, allowing the customer to create custom templates pulling data from multiple simultaneous SQL based data sources.
  • Marconi
    Senior Media Designer, 2005 - 2010
    Key Responsibilities Leading a team of 5 producing 2D and 3D assets for acoustic simulation and UI/UX projects respectively whilst liaising with other production teams. UI and UX design, development, usability assessment & consultation for touch screen control interfaces and management/efficiency tools. Lead developer of enhanced media and 3D graphics used for bids and presentations as part of rail and metro marketing campaigns. Construction and Project management of the creation of 3D models of London Metro and Underground stations for Tubelines and Metronet OPO projects, including the Tottenham Court Road re-design, Waterloo, Euston, and Liverpool Street amongst many others ensuring delivery according to scheduled deadlines through management of team resources. Various levels of video production, including project management, design, pre-production, production, and post production. Liaising with clients on design decisions and objectives. Design Visualisation/Pre-Visualisation Marketing material design and implementation. UX Development and maintenance of division intranet presence. Information Architecture Approval of Holiday and assignment of labour within the team. Design of UI/UX for touch screen interfaces including icons, station maps, asset selectors, and navigation management. 3D & 2D modelling. UI/UX design and development. Liaising with clients on design decisions and objectives. Graphic Design Design Visualisation/Pre-Visualisation Acoustic Modelling Lead role in research into potential new technological aids such as real time 3D tracking and mapping using new technology and software developments to save time and money in the creation of 3D models. Software and services branding. Marketing material design and implementation. Key Achievements Developer of media and 2D/3D graphics used for bids and presentations, helping to win large contracts worth millions of pounds including a £12 million contract supplying London Bus with new bus stop timetable displays. Creation and delivery of technical drawings as well as recreating substandard drawings at an acceptable quality for a major rail FTN upgrade project, saving the company large non-conformance fines. Developed in house 3D design capabilities as integral part of a acoustic modelling/simulation team developing tools for use in acoustically problematic environments. Developed a 3D design process to help streamline engineering design and keep site visits to a minimum by teaching engineers 3D design tools to help visualise designs more efficiently, saving the company money on site visits and design rework. Core part of a team involved in winning acoustic design approval for all Tubelines operated stations away from the incumbent provider, saving the company millions of pounds, and lowering costs for the client. Key role in UX development of HCI on MICA software controling all Tubelines operated stations on the London Underground.
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Harringey, London
Previously
Croydon - Ealing - Coventry - Brentford - Middlesbrough - Singapore - Paris - Tours - Mussoorie
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Nathanael Rouillard's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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