Monday, October 14, 2013

Behind the Blog - Dark Future Games

In the Grim Dark Future, there is war, and blogging about said war. Also blogging about anything and everything else going on. Blogging is a thankless job most times, and while our online community is pretty awesome in general as we celebrate all things Grim Dark, hobby, and miniature related. Seldom is the curtain pulled back to shine a light behind the scenes. The people who devote themselves to the dark god's of blogging work away frantically keeping the posts flowing. So in this series we will be speaking to some of our communities most dedicated. Getting a small glimpse into the minds of our fellow bloggers, and pillars of our online world. To get this glimpse a short series of questions went out into the warp, and these are the bloggers who responded.

Today we speak with T.J Atwell from Dark Future Games

Dark Future Games is a blog with several authors, that normally strives not only to give back to the online community, but the local community, and for positive interaction with it's readers. TJ is a great guy in person, you can see him and the DFG crew regularly  at Adepticon,  You can chat with any of them out of the blue and they are more than down to meet readers and hang out while throwing back some drinks. They always post a variety of hobby and strategy content. 

The guys support the local community with events, and run a fantastic Facebook group to further the interaction between members of the site.

Please list all the sites you write for.

I am the owner of Dark Future Games.

What originally got you into blogging?

I originally got into blogging because late 2008 seemed to be a terrible time for forums when it came to noise (random people being jerks online etc..) and having just started to look into expanding my horizons, I felt like the crowd at the forums weren't really my style. That's when I found BoLS, which then led me to From the Warp.

Back then I think there were less that 40 blogs on the rolls at either of those sites and when I dove in and found people like me talking about their hobby and getting good feedback (without the noise), I immediately started blogging.

After that, I found that I prefer to share my hobby more by helping others, which eventually led to tutorials, tournaments and additional authors, all of whom left a mark on DFG over the years.

Chris Vinton and Chuck Groff are pretty much my partners now on the blog and help to run things behind the scenes and it is those two guys who push me nowadays to be more creative or to try new things on the table. That isn't to say that other authors weren't great or influential, but those two have been my hobby rocks over the years

Is there a story behind your blogs name?

Well, my current blog name is what I actually go by in real life. However once upon a time, I was Old School Terminator. A name I took on after starting DFG and I followed some blog traffic stats to a forum that somebody had linked DFG, but all they were doing was point others toward my blog for my weekly EBay links. I typically sold off old stuff to buy new stuff.

I had been selling off over 100 old school metal termies for a few weeks and instead of referring to DFG by name, he said "this old school terminator guy runs a site and sells stuff, can't remember the name, but here is the link.

I eventually changed the name because I got tired of people calling me it in public even after learning my real name. I miss it though and still catch myself starting articles with "old school here."

That's a interesting story about your screen name TJ, (notice how I didn't call you Old School). but I asked about your blog's name? =P

There goes my selective narcissism! That's a blogger for you. "Let's talk about me and what I've been doing."

I know it isn't super interesting or dramatic but I really liked "In the Grim darkness of the future, there is only war," but since that is a super long, acronym-impossible name for a blog, I called it Dark Future Games. Which just seemed to be easy to say and stuck in my head. The Michigan crew of Sammy, Lord Solar Steve, and The Judge started calling it DFG and it was a sure thing from there on out.

Can you name two articles you have written in the past you really enjoy and why?

I don't really have any single favorite articles, but I have series that I am particularly fond of, which is what keeps me coming back to write more.
The first is It Came From the Forums, which is a series that I started when I realized that forum gallery photos don't populate as well on search engines as blogger or word press images, leaving some of the best of our hobby locked away in forgotten archives. I wanted to not only show off these armies as I found them, but also wanted to drive people to the forums for a positive reason to help them maybe gain more quality members. Also, I hope people go to those forums and encourage the artists to continue to set the bar higher. In the end I just want to see cooler minis and I know that I am always better when I know somebody is watching.

The other series that I really enjoy are our Hell O' Ween celebrations. While Hell O' Ween is something we started last year, we have always celebrated the season as it is such a fun season and everyone gets to embrace a little good hearted villainy! 
How do you keep up with blogging and how much time does it take up out of your personal life?

That's a great question and it really has changed a lot over time. When I first started, I would post only when I had something to post, then I started learning more hobby skills and started becoming better at the game, so I started producing tons of tactics and tutorials, sometimes spending an hour or so a day on producing article and one time I even wrote an article that took seven hours to get the way I wanted it to read.

Over time, I also started adding links to other peoples articles on our Free Downloads and Tutorials page and that started taking hours to keep up with - not even writing articles, but just site maintenance.

Nowadays, I am more laid back, I tend to hobby all week and then get all my photos and thoughts together on Sunday night and schedule all my posts in advance for the week ahead. Then I can respond to comments and explore blogs at my leisure through the week rather than feel like I am at work while enjoying the web.

Are there some really great blogs that inspire you or that you would like to shout out?

Absolutely, there are many that I visit for inspiration, but the blogs that I go to set my own personal hobby bar and to get inspired are Dave Taylor's blog and Eye of Error

It is pretty much guaranteed that I will be inspired or will learn something new every time I go to those blogs.

Two more blogs I really love for kit bash inspiration are Eternal Hunt and Spiky Rat Pack. Those two blogs are piloted by incredibly talented artists who are seriously some of the most talented conversion artists in the world and I am constantly challenged to attempt to convert on their level

If you had one tip for a newer blogger what would you tell them?

I have seen blogs come and blogs go. Some were just personal blogs and other advertised themselves as the next BoLS. 

If you really want to stick it out for the long haul, you have to treat blogging as a marathon rather than a sprint.

So if you are doing it as a personal blog, then just stick to the things that are important to you, rather than what you think other people think is important.

If you want to be a super blog or a blog that is driven by traffic, then you need to set goals for page views (or however you measure success) and then have a plan each month for how you will meet or surpass that goal. Re evaluate how you look at blogging, measures of success etc.. every month and set new goals.

No matter what kind of blog you run, none of us started blogging to be on our own, otherwise we would be doing this whole thing publicly, so you have to make friends. Visit other blogs, leave comments and participate. Before you know it, you will have meaningful traffic and discussion on your blog and will build a following of your peers. Also, it is fun to bring your friends on board. At various times, I have had tons of different authors (I think there have been 18 over the years). New faces can bring fresh perspective and can breathe life back into a blog

Any final words before we wrap this thing up?

I have met some of the coolest people and participated in some meaningful projects all due to my blog. I have made life long friends, helped charities, had places to sleep when traveling, felt at home partying with strangers, seen my blog on somebody's t-shirt, sold armies, bought armies and got the inspiration and tips to take my hobby to levels I never dreamed of - all because I started a blog one day for the hell of it. I stuck to it and took risks and have been rewarded with some great times that I will take to the grave with me.

No matter what kind of crap you can find on the Internet, you can also find positivity and choose to share positivity and that ideal can take you and your hobby places. Our readers get that and I just want to thank them for 5 great years of blogging. Here is to 5 more!

So special thanks to T.J for taking time out of his busy schedule to do this article with me. Special shout out to the Entire DFG crew I am pretty sure T.J. named several of you off above someplace, but really keep it up and keep doing what you guys do. 

You can find the "IT CAME FROM THE FORUM" series mentioned above here.

You can also find the 2012 Hell o ween articles here

And of course you can track the ongoing 2013 series here.

Thanks for joining us today and keep an eye out as we have several of these coming down the pipe for the series. As always feedback, and comments are more than welcome, and if there is a blog or blog author you would like to see highlighted please feel free to speak up or shoot me an email and I will see what I can do. 


  1. T.J is a great guy and I've loved his blog since I started blogging. Glad you did a write up on him!

    1. TJ is a great guy I can agree with that.

  2. Very cool! Was fun to get a peek 'behind the curtain' at one of my favorite blogs!

  3. Thank you for the interest and the interview. I think this is a great idea and I am excited to see who we meet through this series!

    1. This has honestly already been a series that has been a lot of fun. The responses are always interesting, and it's cool to get an idea what other bloggers are doing behind the scenes!

  4. I think this is a great idea and I am excited to see who we meet through this series!
    Cool flash games


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