Thursday, December 15, 2016

All Down the Line

Here are several descriptive phrases of the setting I'm currently working on:

Exploration and (re)discovery
Magic, technology, and science
Post-cataclysm era
Fantasy themes using different mythologies
Multiple planetary system (not Sol)

I have some vacation time coming up, and I'm hoping to get some work done during that time.  
Although I'm not a Project Coordinator, I do see the need for a project plan to keep things on track.  It helps to establish project milestones, and track what you've accomplished, as well as slippage and what needs attention.  I used to be a bit of a procrastinator, and it still rears its head once in a while, so anything that keeps me focused is a welcome addition.  

I'd like to accomplish a few things before the end of the year, so I can have a smooth transition and keep moving forward.  I continue to write as much as time allows, even if it's just a sentence to two.  I've also started collecting various images for inspiration, and examples of art I'd like to incorporate in the book.  I'm a visual person, so this helps me in many ways. 

So, short an sweet for an update.  Hopefully you're enjoying the peak behind the curtain thus far.  Feel free to post below, and share your thoughts!  :)

Monday, December 5, 2016

No Use in Crying

I had my laptop stolen this past weekend.  The same laptop that has all of my notes and development for the RPG I'm currently developing.  Yeah, that laptop.
I'm just thankful that I did a backup a couple of days before, so it wasn't a total loss.  Still, it's a bit of a blow, and I've been a bit "out of sorts" lately.

I'm also at the point in playtesting where I need to do so more consistently.  Unfortunately for me, I have to wait until the new year before I can get a group together; it's a busy time of year for everyone, and just not feasible.

It's still way too early to begin actual writing, because the rules are still in flux.  The mechanic is solid, but the rules are still being tweaked.  As a result, I'm in a weird holding state, where I'm waiting for interaction.

Before you ask, no, I'm not ready for open playtesting.  Believe me, I badly want to get this out to everyone that's interested, but it's just not there yet.  I guarantee that I will let you know as soon as it's ready to go.

So in the meantime, I think I will use my time wisely and begin setting development.  Even though the system will be universal, I want to create the first setting for the system as well.  Who knows, if things go very well, maybe it's the first of many.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Goin' Home

No real updates this week, just wanted to wish all of my U.S. folks a Happy Thanksgiving.  :)

Thursday, November 17, 2016

On with the Show

And now, back to our regularly scheduled program!

Sorry about the delay, but Life kinda distracted me.  Nothing horrible or tragic, just...Life.  Work, family, friends all swirling about, and before you know it, a couple of weeks have passed.

Enough of my lame excuses, you're not interested in that!  Let's talk about what I've been up to, and how far along I am with my Mystery Mechanic (maybe I should TM that?).

Update #5

  • Mechanic update - Tested alternate mechanic and found that it over complicated the process.  However, I do need to implement additional resolution parameters to make the numbers work.  The percentages are even for certain results except for these two; it's mainly because they're set as a pair instead of being separate values.  I've been thinking about implementing these two values as story effects (Positive and Negative), which could then be used to interpret the dice.  Haven't had the chance to playtest this yet, but it's on my To Do List.
  • Speaking of my To Do List, it's starting to really fill up.  I've been so focused on development, I've let other points slip; setting up an LLC, TM a couple of items, registering domain name for the future, etc.  Most of these items are for the future, so I've been ignoring them as a result.  I'm kinda bad about that.  :(
  • Setting(s) - I've been jotting down notes here and there, collecting art for inspiration, and doing a bit of research.  I have a firm idea of what the first setting will be, but I don't want to give it away just yet.  I hate to tease, but I want to make sure that it's solid before I present it to a larger audience.  Expect an elevator pitch soon!
  • Playtest - I'm starting to think I should create a page just for playtests!  Data was collected, and the players were very informative.  Simple character creation was conducted, which was completed in a short amount of time.  Next step will be to include more character creation options, and see how they effect game play.
  • Preliminary writing - Typed out the Contents page, which will change over the course of writing.  Still, it was nice to see what it could look like in the future.  Also started outlines for several chapters, and some initial writing for those as well.
  • Art - Not even on my radar yet, but I have high hopes!
Well, that's all I have for now.  I don't have any more testing planned for the immediate future; upcoming holiday and family come first, after all!  I'll be more diligent in the future concerning updates, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Try a Little Harder

Completed another round of early playtesting this past weekend, with interesting results.
I had a simple outline for the group that evening; give a brief rundown of the core rules, explain character creation rules and create characters, and end with running some combat simulations.  The group understood the rules easily enough, created some diverse characters to test the combat system, and we were off.

Combat flowed fairly well, with some good input from the players.  I was doing one-on-one combat with each player instead of group combat, mainly because I wasn't quite ready to test out that mechanic yet.  Players gave their input after a few turns of combat, and I jotted down notes during and after each combat.

The playtest was pretty much done, and there were some good conversations about the mechanic and how to implement it in this setting or that; I have to admit, I was feeling pretty stoked.

Then one of the players asked a question about the resolution mechanic.  It gave me pause, because I didn't have an immediate answer.  The group discussed the issue, and delved deeper into the root cause and potential fixes.  More testing started up to quantify the issue, and how to resolve it in the future.

This may seem like a failure, but I count it as a huge win.  Sometimes, you're so close to what you're working on, you fail to see what may be wrong; that whole, "Forest for the trees" thing.  I can't stress enough how important playtesting is when developing.  Even when you think you're done, do it some more.

I'm also very fortunate to have some very sharp individuals for playtesting.  They really dove in with little guidance, and put the mechanic through its paces.  That last part about testing and trying to resolve it?  That was all them.

I've run some simulations, using the mechanic as is, as well as a revised version.  Interesting results thus far, and there may not be as much of an issue as previously thought.  I'm hoping to do some extensive testing this weekend, using some scripting to get a large batch of results.  AnyDice is great, but I need something a little meatier.  Hopefully I won't have to reinvent the wheel; developing an RPG system is enough work as is, thank you very much.  :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Dirty Work

Ugh, what a week (or two)!
Without too many boring details, work has been very hectic lately, and I haven't had the time to update this blog.  Not that there's a thousand voices clamoring for updates, but I'd still like to remain as consistent as possible.  This has the benefit of keep me as open and transparent as possible, as well as keeping me focused on the task at hand.  You get updates on what I've been doing, and I keep my nose to the grindstone.

So, what's been going on?  Not a whole lot, to tell the truth.  :(
I have a lot of potential updates, but these hinge on further playtesting.  No matter how good it looks on paper, it doesn't mean squat until you put it in action.  I'm not at the point where I can put together a playtest package for anyone interested; if I had to estimate, I'd say that I'm out of pre-Alpha and well into Alpha now.  I'm taking my time, ensuring that I end up with a quality system that everyone will enjoy (I hope!).  

On a different, but related note, I've started jotting down some notes on a couple of setting ideas.  I've thought about basic fantasy, space opera, and wuxia as potential settings, but haven't settled on any one just yet.  There's always the possibility that I go with something completely different.  I haven't been focusing my efforts on the fluff just yet, but when I do, I'll let you know.  ;)

I have some playtesting scheduled for this weekend, and I hope to make some headway in fine-tuning some of the mechanics.  I will be focusing on character creation and a new resource mechanic this go around, as well as testing improvements made on other elements of in-game mechanics.  Once I collect enough data, I should be able to implement more updates to the system, as well as adding new additions to be tested later on.  I can't say when I'll be ready for a more formalized playtesting packet, but I am getting closer.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Mixed Emotions

Another playtest in the books!

Although not as revealing as the previous playtest, it did point me towards an interesting option.  I've been busy with developing mechanics, and haven't really broached the subject of setting yet.  I do have some ideas, but I haven't spent any time exploring or fleshing them out.  "Mechanics First" has been my mantra, and one that I intend on sticking to.

This has led me down the path of Generic Systems, a la GURPS, Savage Worlds, and so on.  The mechanic lends itself to flexibility, as well as customization, which fits that niche very well.  It also opens up the possibility of multiple settings, and maybe getting different authors producing material.  Of course, it would help greatly if I published the rules first.  ;)

In the meantime, I will continue to develop, playtest, and post my thoughts here.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

No Expectations

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm in an odd state of inspiration and creativity right now.  The process of brainstorming transitioning to concept is almost seamless, and as a result I'm furiously capturing as much information as possible.  I know not to look a gift horse in the mouth, and realize that this good fortune will not last forever.  In the meantime, I'm enjoying the glow of creativity and seeing where it leads me.

Update #4

  • Character Creation - Starting to define this better, and thinking about where to implement starting character maximums.  One issue was pointed out where a character could have very little skills and still be very effective.  As a result, I've added a modifier for untrained skill usage, with the caveat that the GM has the option to disallow skill usage untrained.  
  • Rough outline of the Contents section, still playing around with the placement of certain chapters.
  • Created a few simple tables, which in turn led to a more streamlined rule for damage.
  • Opposed vs. Non-opposed rolls - Created mechanic that handles non-combat rolls for opposed and non-opposed tasks.  Very simple to incorporate for on-the-fly tasks and impromptu tests.  Can't wait to try this one out!
  • Powers - Just starting to crack this nut.  I was considering a more free flow system, but I don't think it would fit in well with the existing core mechanic.  At the same time, I want to avoid being too simulationist (?), and avoid too much system crunch.
  • Playtesting continues this coming weekend.  Converted existing characters from another system, introducing players to the system, and will gather feedback at the end of the session.  
I'm really looking forward to playtesting, especially if it's as productive as the last round.  It's a different group, and the mechanics are more defined, so the results will be interesting.  I'll try and post an update this weekend on how it went, if I have the time.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Some Things Just Stick in Your Mind

A short update, but one I wanted to jot down for posterity.  ;)
So, I wanted to expand playtesting by converting the game I'm currently running, to the new one I'm developing.  Sure, it's nowhere near finished and rules aren't streamlined, but hey, gotta start somewhere.  In the midst of converting player characters, I accidentally discovered the mechanic for wound recovery.  This then segued into powers/magic, and finally into some special properties of gear.

Pretty amazing what a simple exercise can accomplish.

I've also come up with a target number mechanic that fits in very nicely with the core mechanic.  It works well with on-the-fly challenges, and is adjustable to represent varying levels of difficulty.
I'm looking forward to testing it out, and seeing how well it performs at the table.

In the meantime, I'm writing down everything that I can, no matter how trivial.  What's really odd is that I'm internalizing the brainstorming process; I have a broad idea, and when I go to make a note, I already have a solid concept.  I'm trying to pace myself right now, because I don't want to burn out before I get started.  I'm familiar with the creation process of RPGs - from concept to completion - and it's a marathon, not a sprint.  Still, I want to strike while the iron is hot, and develop as much as I can.

That's all I have for now, hopefully I'll have a more cohesive update this weekend.  Later!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Little by Little

The things you learn from a simple playtest.
As I mentioned previously, I ran a playtest this past weekend of the core mechanic.  Nothing too complex, just a few sample characters with very little variations between them.  The scenario was simple; determine initiative, attack and/or defend, determine the outcome.  The players were briefed how the core mechanic worked (I handed out a one page reference guide), and we were ready to go.
I lost count of the number of questions after the second round.
This was not a failure by any stretch of the imagination.  As a matter of fact, it was quite encouraging to see so much enthusiasm.  The testers had very good observations, which forced me to further define certain mechanics that I had thought were explained previously.  There was a potential issue that's now been resolved, a few interesting recommendations, and I've had to reassess character creation parameters.  This may seem like a lot, but it's not as extensive as you may think.
I've already made the necessary changes, as well as incorporate a few new mechanics here and there.  I was so focused on opposed rolls, that I failed to address non-opposed ones.  As a result, I created a simple mechanic that should address those instances when a character needs to accomplish such tasks.  Pretty rudimentary when you think about it, but I guess I had the blinders on and totally missed the obvious.  Doi!
All in all, I would say that it was a successful first outing.  I was able to put the core mechanic thought some test runs, and although there's some fine-tuning to do, it worked very well.  The players picked up the mechanic very quick, and play was at a good pace.  I'm still very excited about the system, and I'm looking forward to further development.  We'll see if I feel the same a month or two from now.  ;)

Update #3

  • Further development of core mechanic
  • Opposed rolls vs. non-opposed rolls defined
  • Resolution of multiple actions, movement, and defense
  • Attacking actions vs. Defensive actions
  • Non-combat mechanic better defined
  • Added limits to character creation
  • Added penalties to non-trained skill usage
Still haven't broached the topic of creating an LLC, which I REALLY need to do.  I also need to start looking at reserving a domain name for down the road, and a few other items on the business side of things.  Boring and mind-numbing, but very necessary,  I'm open to any and all recommendations and advice of others that have blazed the trail before me.
Until then...

Monday, September 19, 2016

Tumbling Dice

I managed to do some pre-alpha testing of the dice mechanic this past weekend, and lo and behold, inspiration struck!  The core dice mechanic works fairly well, but I found a way to expand it a little further.  I still need to determine resolution speed, but I have some ideas on how to tackle that as well.  All in all, it was a good round of testing, and I'm looking forward to implementing the changes I'm working on.  I plan on doing some more testing this weekend, and getting some more feedback on the game mechanic as a whole.
Not much of an update this time around, although I'm sure I'll make up for it when I do post one.  ;)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Questions Answered

First off, thanks to all who contributed to my previous ramblings on copyrights, trademarks, and IPs.  You provided some great information, and I really do appreciate it!  The smart thing is for me to form an LLC, so I can protect myself and stay sane at the same time.  That's always a bonus in my book.  Feel free to add to the discussion, or share any of your personal experiences.
In the meantime...

Update #2

  • Testing of the stripped down mechanic this weekend.  I'm eager to see how it holds up, and how testers react to the system.
  • Further development of Ads and Disads.  Removed the redundant, boring entries.
  • Started race creation mechanic.  Includes racial ads/disads, building your own race from the ground up, and existing races.
  • Added more combat actions, table for success levels, and added in some optional rules.  
  • A note on optional rules - some of these may end up being incorporated into the core mechanic.  Need to do some more testing to see.
  • Need to determine starting character points, and beginning max.  Also need to determine different character point builds for different starting levels of play (Beginner, Veteran, Advanced).
I've started on some background setting stuff, but nothing worth mentioning (yet!).  It's a different experience for me, since I usually start on fluff and fiction first.  I'd be lying if I said I didn't have an idea of what I was going for, but I haven't been focusing on that yet.  Once I have a better grip on the business side of things, I'll share more setting and mechanics information with you. 
Until then, l8r 0n...

Friday, September 9, 2016

Promises, Promises

I'm big on promises.  Promises mean a lot to me; I don't make or take them lightly, and I make damn sure I do everything in my power to follow through.  If I it's something I know I can't do right away, or it will take some time, I make sure I inform the person(s) and keep them abreast of the situation.
I keep my promises, and I expect people to keep their promises to me.
Why the diatribe?  Well, I wanted you to know how serious I am when I say the following:

I promise to get this game out to the public.

Granted, it may be a simple PDF, free download, or even a Kickstarter, but I will get it out in the wild.  There's a lot to do, and I plan on documenting the process as I move forward.  Speaking of which...

Update #1

  • Core mechanic is ready for preliminary testing.  I ran some simulations, and the numbers look good.  I plan on running a couple of combat scenarios next week, and taking notes on what works and what doesn't.
  • Skill list is pretty much complete (for now).  
  • Starting to work on Advantages and Disadvantages, although they won't be called that.  I've started a list, but some of them seem either redundant, or a bit vanilla.  
  • Combat, damage, and action examples are being fleshed out.
  • Character creation is close to completion.
  • Race creation needs to be addressed, i.e. needs to start.
That's it for now, folks!  Feel free to comment, and I'll post more when I can.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

September 7th, 2016
I recently declared my intentions here about developing an RPG.  As promised, I've created this very sparse blog to record the day-to-day, ho-hum activities that are involved with developing this project.  So what have I done so far?
Well, I've developed a preliminary game mechanic for starters.  It utilizes D6 pools, but in a unique sort of way.  I've run a few trials with it, and so far, so good.  I really need to get my hands on a simulator that can be adjusted to specific parameters, and run it through a couple hundred times for results.
The core mechanic came together pretty quick, and all of the other bits and bobs have followed suit.  I'm shooting for simplistic, with room to modify as needed.  Character creation will include rule options for race creation, as well as archetypes. All in all, it's coming together quite nicely.
One thing that may strike people as odd is the fact that I'm developing system mechanics first, and setting after.  I do have experience with developing both game mechanics, and setting (check it out) previously, with emphasis on setting.  This time around, I wanted to focus on game mechanics first; I'm hoping that it develops into its own thing, but I don't want to get ahead of myself.
Douglas Cole was nice enough to share his own dealings with game development, and I've found the information very valuable.  I do need to look into an LLC, just for the sake of sanity alone.  There's also the question of registering a system mechanic, which I have very little experience with.
I have a long road ahead of me, but I'm looking forward to the journey.