Sunday, 6 July 2014

State of the Inkwell: I live!

It's true, I am still alive.

For most of the time since my last post, I've been mulling over the problem of dice mechanics. I didn't really get anywhere, so you won't be seeing that anytime soon I think.
I was listening to the RPPR podcast's Game Design Workshop in the intervening time and Ross Payton, one of the hosts of the show said something that resonated with me. In short, he laid out the idea that a small developer needs to put out as many titles as possible in hopes one becomes a big hit. This got me thinking about Viral Games.

Viral Games is (presumably) a one man endeavour. Viral Games put out several simple games, usually 24 hour RPG games but with a high level of polish. This isn't really a company as it doesn't charge for its products. Eventually, they created Engine Heart. While not a widespread success, it was popular enough for Viral to kickstart a print run and distribute it to stores. So, Viral Games is the model I'm looking to emulate at this point.

So, with that established, I can get to the project I've been spending the last two weeks on, instead of updating the blog. I decided to do some design as practice. My first attempt was a game with a difficult but genre appropriate combat mechanic. I had to create two core resolution mechanics in order to get the game functioning, but put it on the back burner. That wasn't the project that took up the last two weeks, that was something I've been working on sporadically since May. The real project is an adaptation of a popular franchise started in the 90s. I won't go into details until the project is ready for playtesting. At that point, I'll post it here. If I end up running a playtest, I'll put up the adventure, possibly an actual play report, and any possible change I want to make. Until I'm ready to 'release' it though, I'll be referring to it as AK.

I've put together AK pretty rapidly. The core mechanics took between 8 and 10 hours of work. Since then, I haven't put as much time into it in a single stretch. It's mostly been fitting together the parts needed to support the core mechanics, adjusting numbers and figuring out how to solve the problems that come up. Just today, for instance, I solved a problem around ensuring a total probability of success over two successive rolls on d20s. As a disclaimer, math is not my strong suit. Hell, I'd even call it a weakness. Luckily, I had a handy tool called Anydice on my side that removed about 75% of the work. Anydice has frankly been a life-saver. I've been forcing myself to learn more about probability, a necessity when you're dealing with dice based tabletop games. Anydice allowed me to skip the stuff that hurts my brain.
Maybe, after I release AK, I'll try some designing some 24 hour RPGs and/or 1 to 2 page RPGs. Who knows?

Point is, I still exist, and hope to bring you more content soon.



Viral Games (On DriveThru RPG)

Podcast episode in question (RPPR Podcast)

Anydice (The savior of my brain)

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