Were you trained in school to run off of support…and now it’s not there?

Probably not interesting to anyone, but I’ve just kind of realised that I was making or attempting to make games with the firm impression there was a reward involved. Originally it was peer accolades, more recently money of some level.

I think because I’ve been thinking on the money, I’ve come to the perhaps obvious realisation that no one is going to give me anything for making a game. No ones waiting to do that. With the peer accolades, way back when I first encountered double dragon and wanted to make a game, I thought those peer accolades and pats on the back were on offer. Same goes for a traditional table top roleplay game and making one of those. I don’t think anyones guaranteeing (like any of you who work, are guaranteed to be paid) me any money to make a game, and I don’t think anyones guaranteeing me any peer accolades either. I just had the impression, a naive one, that it was. I wont blame myself for that – it comes from a child like part of me and I wont blame that into non existence in a hurry.

So perhaps that’ll help with my writers block? No ones offering anything. Perhaps after I make something perchance I’ll get paid or a pat on the back. But no ones guaranteeing me something for having made something – not even five cents – no ones giving me any sense of certainty or security/support in that way.

I think I can work that way, but my point with this post is that I think the idea that I was offered certainty on some sort of reward for work was sputtering and bleeding away. And so too was my productivity. I suppose I was stuck in a cycle of throwing effort at something with the idea I would get support – but at the same time I felt no…possitive feeling? I guess this is pretty childish, but this is what they teach you in your early formative years at school – the pat on the head and appreciation from teacher for getting the work done. There will be no pat on the head – at least not of a level that befits me as an adult now (and by befits, I mean not just my due as an adult, but in practical terms of supplying resources for my adult life).

I think I can work and produce without the idea of any such support. A more clinched, tight work, but work done rather than lolling in a sense of non inspiration (that absent inspiration being the absent support). It’s funny, one of my own phrases is ‘Praise subverts agenda’ and here it is again. Waiting on that praise can subvert what your doing.

And I don’t mean praise mayonnaise – I keep several boxes of it stored away in case of any sort of mayonnaise emergency. At 18kg, you can bathe in the stuff! I know I do! >:)

Fun short term risk game broken by long term accumulation

I’m playing legends of zork at the moment, and I quite enjoy how you have a number of action points each day and you can spend them on finding more treasure, or banking the treasure you’ve found. But if you get beaten up whilst looking, you lose all the treasure on you since your last bank. But banking uses up an action point you could have used for treasure finding. See the fun dilemma?

Okay, so that’s fun. But I’ve been playing it and saving up for some armour (because everyone else in the game seems to have a huge armour stat and they keep beating me up in PVP).

The thing is, while that fun dilemma is fun, at a bigger picture level, it’s just slow accumulation. The bigger picture game is boring. There is no game of risking for potentially more reward. So that bigger picture, the way it is, actually spoils the smaller picture.

Of course you could just duplicate the smaller game at the bigger picture level. Like perhaps after you get X amount of gold and Y amount of RL time, you can face some risk and increase it by some percentage, or you can bank it and be safe. That’s a quick, clumsy idea for it.

But the interesting thing is how that bigger picture appears and spoils the game. I think this happens in mmorpgs too – I wasn’t thinking of saving up a whole bunch of coins, but because of item costs my mind shifted to it – and when it shifted, it shifted to a larger picture that spoilt the smaller picture/game.

I think it can sort of explain the love hate thing you can get for a mmorpg, where your attracted to it, probably because of a reasonably fun small picture game, but then your mind drifts onto the larger picture and that spoils it.

Fiction comes first; a dead end in design

I posted this here, and given it highlights a fairly massive divide, I’m putting it here as well

I suppose I’m scratching my head because it seems easy enough for fiction to be prompted by procedure, demonstrated in this account as well, but just about everywhere design focus is on fiction/freeform first. But that doesn’t appear to be able to go anywhere in terms of design – if the rules can’t direct the fiction, new rules designs wont change anything about the fiction produced. In a fiction/freeform first design, any new rules will only be inacted if it seems to fit the fiction – and even if those rules do manage to affect the fiction somehow, they’ll be quickly rejected since the priority is on the fiction choosing the rules and not on the rules choosing the fiction. It seems a dead end, in terms of design (not that it can’t prompt ideas for procedure first games – it’s good at that, I find).

I’m thinking it needs to be a banner, because I’ve had so many conversations that just got complicated and not heading towards any resolution – probably because I am operating from a rules first. And probably the other guy was working from a fiction first position. Except, atleast to me, you can’t go five minutes with fiction first without breaking out of it – if you want to do something, you do something – you can’t leave it up to some fictional idea. You implement a rule. And design, or atleast to me it is, is doing something.

Anyway, I think it needs to be a banner to get rules first discussion out from under fiction first discussion. Because currently if you try and discuss rules first with fiction first people, they go along with it for a little while, then more and more they start critiquing it in terms of fiction first. It’s that ‘going along with it for a little while’ that subverts rules first designing, because it seems to be talking about the same thing, but then those critiques from above kick in … and basically those critiques can never, ever be satisfied until you give up rules first and go fiction first. It subverts the idea of “Hey, with rules I can somehow satisfy the conditions they are critiquing the game on’. Anyone who sticks to that just gets frustrated at lack of progress with these people who appear to be rules first. Anyone who gives up at that frustration and goes fiction first is allowed into wonderful ‘story gamer’ land. A stagnant land where no rule can prompt any new fiction, because rules don’t get to prompt fiction.

Since it’s a blog I’ll just change subject slighting – the weird thing is that the ‘freeform’ play DOES have patterns of repeating behaviour that are much the same as rules. It’s just that they aren’t conciously aware of those patterns. Because whenever they do become aware, they instantly reject the pattern because ‘rules don’t control fiction’. Yet fiction is just a bunch of structures, much like rules – you just can’t conciously articulate them. 

Anyway, that’s one post on the matter completed, even if it wasn’t with a great deal of planning and drafting!

Unfinished RPG’s – practically all of them!

Was reading this

And looking at this

but for the life of me I just don’t want to play an unfinished game.

For ages I’ve tried to articulate that many roleplay games, whether it be 4E or Rifts and many indie games – they aren’t finished. Yet no one buys it. But here, he says ashcans aren’t finished and no one bats an eyelid.

So is there a criteria that can be met that will convince someone an RPG is actually incomplete and unfinished?

Short changed RPGs

Ran into this again on the forge, so I thought I’d address it here.

Where an RPG has an abscence in it that most normal board games do not have (like win conditions – and were talking about a gamist RPG in this particular case), you have to tell people on the cover or blurb. They are going to have the impression it comes with the game and your preserving that impression even though it’s false to do otherwise.

It’s like if you owned a island and on your island, on traffic lights red means go. You have to tell everyone that red means go. Yes, everyone on the island knows red means go – that doesn’t mean everyone else in the world aught to know as well. Yes, you could cry victim that the rest of the world just arbitrarily chose red and why should you have to keep explaining yourself for their arbitrary decision? But while your crying victim, are cars piling up?

Speaking of cars, it also reminds me of an episode of top gear where one of the guys is wearing a safety vest while driving in france. He goes on to explain france passed a law that if you don’t have a safety vest in your car, you can be fined…and basically they didn’t tell anyone about it. He gave the humourous counter example that england should pass a law about having an onion in your car, not tell anyone, and then fine all the french people as they come over.

Thousands of board games, card games and sports have win and losing conditions in them. You can buck that trend, but there is some moral obligation to your fellow human beings not to preserve an assumption on their part that isn’t true. I doubt anyone reading this blog would hand back $4.40 change when the change is $4.45. It’s only five cents…hardly anything! The guy might not even care! And yet I doubt anyone reading this would do it. And yet when it comes to an RPG, if someones got the assumption it comes with win condtions but that’s absent, something that’s atleast as big as five cents (I’d say bigger), do gamers think they need to say that at all? Oh hell no, RPG’s are different! So much so you don’t need to tell anyone, even!

Bull. Crap. You wouldn’t short change someone five cents – this is short changing them a game component they have good reason to assume comes with the game. Yet I’m sure many gamers would feel dishonest if they kept the five cents.

Moment to Moment

I’ve got this idea for an RPG, where the teenage characters face a system (perhaps they are child soldiers) which purports to protect and look after them, but generally fails and has abandoned them – leaving them in basically a lord of the flies sort of situation, but without being on a desert island. Also, and this is even more important, it doesn’t appear they have been abandoned.

Further it would go into how that abandonment essentially puts them in bad situation or at odds with each other (or both). But sans any recognition of being abandoned, what it gets into is the responce and idea that they are still being looked after and that they just have to ‘get it right’ or ‘follow the system right’. In this RPG, ‘following it’ will specifically be an invention of players, and yet characters will believe they are indeed following the system. No matter what their acts. No matter what their deeds.

It’ll plot basically a regression into an animal sort of form, which thinks only moment to moment as to how it responds and reacts, as the young, malable characters in question have continually thought themselves as under a system, and yet as they weren’t and often the only reaction was animalistic reflexes, they start to think animalistic reflexes are the system – rather than just like, simply being animals.

Perhaps having some scale of reactions, regressing all the way down. Each character is on the scale and if they choose to go down a notch, they get a strong bonus on dealing with a situation that would hurt or ostracize them otherwise. And so the regression will slowly be charted.

Mystic Sap, material #4

And wey hey! Pulling together some components I’m sort of been piecing together recently and shaping into the design I described in the previous material, we have this work in progress:



It should have an activex play now option activate in a short while, rather than just a download option.

This is some more concrete material in regards to what I’m working out.