Tags: design


The Perfect Game

If you could make your dream computer game/RPG/board game, what would it be? Describe it. Reality is no barrier.

An MMO based around colonisation of a new planet with the following features:
  • A community that wasn't dominated by dickheads.
  • Where you could have a genuine impact on the world.
  • Where almost everything was crafted.
  • Where the world was dynamic and responsive to player's actions/despoilment.
  • That had GM led/operated events.
  • Based on a standard, but perhaps lower than normal, subscription option.
  • That wasn't a WoW clone.
  • That had no pretensions about outdoing WoW and was targetted at its own niche.
  • No classes/levels.
You would arrive on this new planet with some basic items and exchange credits and you could take off in any direction and do anything you wanted. Almost like a bigger, slower, more complex 'Minecraft' in a way.

Stingy whingey

Tabletop gamers seem to be a curious breed when it comes to selling by unconventional means. You can sell gamers something directly and by and large we're ahead of the curve technology wise, especially when it comes to the adoption of electronic publishing, try something a little more unconventional though and things break down.
  • Donationware doesn't seem to work, you release something for free and ask for donations or hook up a 'donate' button and pretty much nobody ever does. They'll happily take what you offer, but you'll be lucky to see even a single return, even on thousands and thousands of 'sales'.
  • Shareware doesn't seem to be a model that can work particularly well, but the closest example is probably the practice of offering preview/quickstart sets cheap or free to get people's attention. I can't say that's made a noticable difference in the couple of cases I've done anything along those lines but White Wolf did it a bit more and for several games, so you'd have to ask them if it really worked.
  • Freemium model seems to be one that could work, giving away the base game for free and then charging for extensions, but in gaming you only really NEED the main book and can make up the rest yourself. In MMORPGs etc it works because you need the item/expansion to keep playing and to be competetive. I'd be interested to see how Eclipse Phase is doing.
  • Subscription ideas were something I bandied around a few years back but nobody really took seriously. DDI appears to be working, sort of, though I only think I know one gamer who actually has one. Dungeonaday seems to be rattling on but is the potential subscription base big enough to support one site along these lines or any more? I'm not sure that it does.
  • Hostageware does seem to work, to an extent, there's been a few releases put out on that basis and I met my target in terms of social media dissemination. It might be worth trying on a monetary basis some time, but I think you really need to be a 'name' in order to get enough enthusiasm for your product.
We need to innovate, find new and effective ways of supporting gaming 'auteurs' and small companies and the other way around finding ways to provide useful services to gamers and effective ways of providing value for money, but unless we can overcome some of these payment difficulties and people's seeming conservatism when it comes to alternative finance models, we're kinda stuck.

No, I don't think I'll be buying WFRP 3.0

I like RPGs and I like Fantasy Flight Games' board games like Descent and Arkham Horror so I'm clearly in their target demographic for WFRP 3rd edition, right?

Well, I still don't see myself getting it. While I'm willing to drop £30 to £40 on a game idea that interests me - even if I'm never going to play it - I can't justify that for this.
  • It's not a system I can produce material for
  • Nor is it one fans are going to have an easy time producing home grown material for.
  • It's big and bulky - and fiddly - which means transporting it around isn't going to be easy and it's likely to lose components and fall apart.
  • Speciality dice means people can't use their own dice and I've still not managed to purchase any spare descent dice.
  • All the fiddly bits take up table space, we don't usually play around a table and don't like to...
  • ...not to mention for people who DO play around a table, all these fiddly bits take up valuable battle-board/miniature space.
  • It was already expensive, but now we find out that we in the UK will be effectively paying $30 more than the US people are.

Usually a positive argument for RPGs over computer games is that they offer better value for money. WFRP 3rd is going to cost about as much as two console games, which for CRPGs you can get up to 80 hours of play out of each, so WFRP would have to offer 160 hours of gaming goodness to represent equal value.

I don't see that happening before something goes missing or gets broken and I don't see supplements being particularly quickly released, or affordable either. I'm curious of course and I'd like to get a look at a copy, but I'm not £80 curious.

Yay and, indeed, woo.

Despite various, costly, plumbing disasters I've picked up two very nice, very big jobs lately. One is for Axe Initiative and the other for Socialgears. You can also expect to see a couple of articles by me in Polymancer Magazine someday soon and the glacial pace of Cubicle7 releases should, hopefully, result in some of the work I did for them back in the pre-Cambrian era coming to light as well. Which will be very nice!

Working for Socialgears is a bit of a break for me, the pay's reasonable but it's a lot of hard work. It could lead into greater things though. They seem impressed by my ideas and it could be an in for me into working more on the world building, lore and quests of more CRPGs. Browser games are huge and, from there, I may get other opportunities. To make sure I get a proper grasp of what they're doing and their game as it stands - which is why I'll be working on improving - I'd appreciate it if people could help me out with it. Their app currently runs on Facebook and you can join it HERE, which will make you part of my adventuring party. If you also want to join clan 'Postmortem' you'll get a nice joining bonus and it'll help me explore their current iteration of the game from a user standpoint and design and write more intelligently for it.


just me

Hexadecimal Martians

Wells' Martians, despite their love of the number three, had sixteen tentacles in two clusters of eight, suggesting that they might naturally think in hexadecimal.

I wonder what implications that might have for Martian mathematics and technology, would computing come easier to them? Strange things you end up thinking about...
just me

As is usually the way...

When one rests one gets ideas...

1. Chinese/Japanese Western - The chinese/american colony of the 1420s succeeds much better, landing on the west coast long before columbus lands eventually resulting in a chinese dominated America with a more modern, frontier outlook than China. This eventually results in a revolt against the homeland influenced by European traders and settlers in the east. Possibly derived from the Revolt of the Three Feudatories. Haishangxin being the capital in the West, probably heavily Manchu settled and more traditionally minded, New Amsterdam being the settlement in the east much more influenced by the western traders and settlers.

Possibly replace the civil war with an East/West war in the 1800s between traditional culture and slave ownership in the west and more progressive eastern ideas and technology.

Key concepts...

* No mass production, pistols and other weapons produced on small scales by master craftsmen with varying reputations and properties in the same way sword smithing was held up.
* Gun blades.
* Gun Fu.
* Martial arts.
* East/West fusion.
* Steampunk.
* Bamboopunk.
* Very low magic (crafting/martial arts) setting.

2. I worked out a way to make my battle card game work, I think.

3. Decided Cthentacle has to be done, really.
Global Frequency

Remember Marvel Superheroes?

The Marvel Superheroes System, FASERIP (Fighting, Agility, Strength, Endurance, Reason, Intuition, Psyche) was a system of pure genius and, if we're very nice and pledge a few bucks Phil Reed will create an open gaming license version of the system, available for free.

How phat is that?

You can pledge HERE