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Author Topic: Group design of a RPG - right here  (Read 11981 times)
Tobias
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Posts: 446


« on: August 18, 2004, 11:24:07 PM »

Hello All,

I'm wondering, has something like 'group design' of an RPG ever been tried on the Forge? On-line? Everyone free to contribute?

90% chance it'd become a real hodge-podge, but diamonds are compressed dead organic matter anyway, right?

If anyone's up for it, I'd like to know. Many a way to try it - heck, we could even use Universalis to build it. :)
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Tobias op den Brouw

- DitV misses dead gods in Augurann
- My GroupDesign .pdf.
contracycle
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Posts: 2807


« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2004, 11:41:59 PM »

It has been tried on this and other fora.  The problem is always the same: nobody really owns responsibility for the design.  As a result, as ideas diverge through discussion, membership and interest fall off as possibilities are ruled out; usually it trails off to end with a whimper.
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Tobias
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Posts: 446


« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2004, 03:30:14 AM »

Ah. Any links to old efforts, here or on other fora?

I can understand the dying with a whimper thing... it's to be expected, I guess. What if you have a deadline, or converging effect in the design anyway, to prevent just that?

Universalis (which I'm really into right now) has a 'scene' structure - so what if design was in 'scenes'? (Or in modules, whatever). The Universalis method also allows relatively easy transition into 'playing' and non-playing.
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Tobias op den Brouw

- DitV misses dead gods in Augurann
- My GroupDesign .pdf.
jdrakeh
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« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2004, 09:12:06 AM »

Quote from: contracycle
It has been tried on this and other fora.  The problem is always the same: nobody really owns responsibility for the design.  As a result, as ideas diverge through discussion, membership and interest fall off as possibilities are ruled out; usually it trails off to end with a whimper.


What you need to avoid this is an organized design comittee with defined officers and structure to adhere to (not in sofar as rules themselves go, but in defining said rules). That is, assign two people to design character gen rules, two people to design conflict resolution rules, two people to design character growth rules, etc - and naturally, you'll need some people to make sure all of the pieces work together. In short, run the group design effort as you would a business (because hey, that's what it is - the business of making a game).
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Sincerely,
James D. Hargrove
Andrew Morris
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« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2004, 09:20:53 AM »

Yeah, I think James is on the right track with his suggestions. I think the most important thing to avoid the project just fading away is to have someone who is in charge of the project, authorised by the group to make final decisions and arbitrate any disputes.
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Emily Care
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« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2004, 10:42:38 AM »

Quote from: Andrew Morris
Yeah, I think James is on the right track with his suggestions. I think the most important thing to avoid the project just fading away is to have someone who is in charge of the project, authorised by the group to make final decisions and arbitrate any disputes.


I can see this model working.  

Here are links to the other such project I know of:

Let's Make a Game!
Enlightenment (GGD Group Game Design)
Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character Design and Setting
Applied Design Theory: Enlightenment Group Game Design cont.

best,
Emily Care
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Black & Green Games
Tyrant
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« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2004, 03:46:05 PM »

Being done.

The Hive/Defector is being written in collabrative effort between several people, and yes it did involve much banter and discussion, however I'd like to point out that it is currently in Beta format and is almost ready for playtesting. Once we decided to get serious, we did indeed get serious about it.

Nothing is online thus far, it's currently being layed out and all that stuff, art is being done currently.

The group consists of people in the US, England, Germany, Sweden, Mexico and assorted other parts of the globe. All of us contributed ideas to the system, and a few are doing the art.

James has a good idea, however you'd want to make sure that these mini groups didn't conflict with each other. Having three or four groups instead of one large one can lead to massive errors in communication.

To date the largest problem we had as a group was my execution of my computer leaving me without the tools or the access to keep my domain online.
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Andrew Morris
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« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2004, 04:08:05 PM »

So, Tobias, are you willing to be the person responsible for making this happen? If so, and you get this going, I'd love to contribute.
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LordSmerf
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Posts: 864


« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2004, 04:17:25 PM »

The problem with collaboration is that most good game design is highly focused.  As soon as you reach a point where no one person or group says "the buck stops here" you are setting yourself up for incoherency.  That is not to say that the Forge can not be used to develop a game in concert, but someone has to be at the top keeping everything tied together and making sure that everything gets integrated.

For example, i would consider Tony's work on Capes (found here, here, here, here, here, here, and here to be highly collaborative.  Tony, Sydney, I, and a number of other people hash out ideas and generally try to make Tony's game better.  However, it is important that one person be in charge because a couple of steps back in the design process i really felt that the game should go in direction X while Tony really wanted direction Y.  If no one had creative control and was able to say "yeah, your idea is ok, but we are still going to do it my way" then there is a good chance that my interest would have faded.  However, even if i think that there is a better way to do things, Tony is the decision maker.

Now that roll of creative control could be taken up by a committee, and it would probably be fine.  But if no one took that position you would not really have a unified design with a single purpose which i think is vital to getting a game finished.

That said, if you have an idea that you think would be fun to do up in committee the let's get to it.  I am really enjoying being involved in Capes, i can see involvement in further development being a lot of fun.

Note: Capes is in no way owned by me, and it is entirely possible that Tony does not see development in the same light as me so he might not even consider it to be collaborative.

Thomas
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Andrew Morris
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« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2004, 04:26:38 PM »

Thomas, I agree. That's what I was talking about with one person being responsible for adjudication and final decision making. In a LARP I was involved in a while back, about half a dozen people had creative input, but there was one head honcho. As he put it, he alone possessed "The Foot." None of the rest of us had The Foot. We'd come up with ideas, debate, and argue them out. Sometimes we'd resolve the issue. When we didn't, The Foot would come down, meaning discussion was closed and the head guy would make a decision. It worked out well. So basically, I was asking if Tobias wanted to take on the power of The Foot and get something going.
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hix
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Steve Hickey


« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2004, 05:26:26 PM »

I've noted two other instances of collaborative game construction on the Forge. The first is Jake Norwood talking about creating a space combat game:

Interesting Space Dogfights

And, from memory, Universalis (although it was created by Ralph and Mike) was adjusted after extensive feedback from playtesters. So that might count. I believe those discussions are still available at the very beginning of the Uni forum.
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Steve

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jdrakeh
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« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2004, 08:51:40 PM »

Quote from: Tyrant
you'd want to make sure that these mini groups didn't conflict with each other. Having three or four groups instead of one large one can lead to massive errors in communication.


That is what project supervisors/leads are for - it's there job to act as a liason between the smaller groups and to keep all of them up to speed, making sure that each of the stays on the same page. Alternately, an actual liason position could be created to deal with inter-departmental schism.
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Sincerely,
James D. Hargrove
Tyrant
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« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2004, 11:42:05 PM »

Quote from: jdrakeh

That is what project supervisors/leads are for - it's there job to act as a liason between the smaller groups and to keep all of them up to speed, making sure that each of the stays on the same page. Alternately, an actual liason position could be created to deal with inter-departmental schism.


Isn't that a bit complicated? I mean sure if you are designing the biggest thing since D&D or White Wolfs Vampire, then of course you need a team of people doing various things. But for a book that might be no more than a hundred pages?

Of course this may be argued on a professionalism standpoint (Act like a big dog, get treated like a big dog), and I'm not saying that your views are wrong. I just don't think that they work for me. I do have a pretty special group of guys working with me though, we've known each other for years, through our mutual association with The Abyss (kult-rpg.org) and I like to think that even though we all come from different countries we have the same goals in mind, to create.

I would absolutely hate to 'hire' someone to do any of thier work because I wouldn't know then as well as I do these guys, and couldn't trust them as well either.

On the other hand this may all devolve into another 'style'. Some designers need structure and order to get things done, others may prefer all out random creativity.

As an aside, I suppose one could consider me the project lead, as I usually post a set of rules and then discuss them, making revisions as they are needed. If someone has ideas for another part, he will post them and we go about the same tasks.
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TonyLB
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« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2004, 04:39:43 AM »

I'm sure there are as many different ways to collaborate on-line as there are groups to try them.  That having been said, are we all talking about the same thing when we say "collaboration"?

Thomas (LordSmerf) is quite right that Capes is being written very much as a collaborative effort.  I wanted to make sure that I could actually put the vague notions in my mind into words that other people could understand, and I am humbled and grateful for how enthusiastic people have been both in forcing me to clarify my descriptions when they were lax or contradictory, and in showing me better ways to achieve my underlying goals.  So I came to collaboration primarily as a way of enforcing and aiding communication.

By comparison, I think I see some folks here who want to create collaboration as a way to reduce individual workload, and some who want to create collaboration as a way to foster a creative community, and so forth.

These are all worthy goals, but they're not... you know... the same goal, and putting it all under the rubrik of "collaboration" might cause confusion the same way as having a hard-core Gamist and hard-core Narrativist talk about creating "a good story".
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jdrakeh
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« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2004, 08:09:43 AM »

Quote from: Tyrant

Isn't that a bit complicated?


It's way less trouble than it seems, plus there are some people who really like the challenge of coordinating projects like this.

Quote
and I'm not saying that your views are wrong.


Oh, I know - I'll be the first to conceed that they might be [wrong]. I merely take an organized approach to most work/hobby related things.
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Sincerely,
James D. Hargrove
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