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Author Topic: Let's make a game!  (Read 19219 times)
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« on: October 09, 2002, 01:07:18 PM »

People keep suggesting doing cool stuff, and then not starting the projects up themselves. Guess if you want something done...

OK, here's a thread for a theoretical game design that anyone can jump in on. Hopefully if all goes well, it will serve as an example of how people do game design. If we manage to complete the thing in it's entirety, that's great. But as I feel that it's not particularly likely, and since I'm starting without any ideas, I think that it probably belongs here in theory rather than in Indie Design. If at some point it becomes obvious that it is becomeing a real project we can move it to there.

Until then we'll just consider the whole thing a giant hypothetical case.

So, who want's to start. I could, but I'm kicking it off, and feel that someone else should have first input.

First question, though, I will post. We need to look at a premise. Elements like setting, color, characters, and setting, and what do the players do in play. What sort of game whall we make? Design goals first, then design.

Mike
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talysman
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« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2002, 01:33:27 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
So, who want's to start. I could, but I'm kicking it off, and feel that someone else should have first input.

First question, though, I will post. We need to look at a premise. Elements like setting, color, characters, and setting, and what do the players do in play. What sort of game whall we make? Design goals first, then design.

Mike


I dunno what the premise should be, just yet, but I suggest that the setting should be pretty simple (modern day or generic historical period with maybe 1 twist) and character types should be very limited. a group game designed in a forum should probably be a small game, and so far I think it's obvious that the best small games have ben those that have limited themselves to one character type.

fighters, rogues, and wizards have been done to death. how about one of these two:

    modern day bards
    pseudomedieval pacifist monks
    [/list:u]

    for modern-day bards, you could presume a song-based magical ability (no actual spells, just the ability to influence emotions with music) and an ancient tradition passed down from parent to child... maybe they are fighting the music labels? (heh, ok, maybe not...)

    the pacifist monks could follow a simplified zen/taoist-like philosophy and gameplay could revolve around attempting to achieve enlightenment through simplistic and overcoming passions. hmmm... sort of the opposite of the modern-day bards.
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John Laviolette
(aka Talysman the Ur-Beatle)
rpg projects: http://www.globalsurrealism.com/rpg
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2002, 01:39:55 PM »

Hmmm. OK, but why these characters? What do they do? I see a lot of sittiong around and playing music and listening to poetry. Dull, dull, dull. Are they sorta superheroes of their age?

Mike
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talysman
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« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2002, 01:42:47 PM »

Quote from: I just


the pacifist monks could follow a simplified zen/taoist-like philosophy and gameplay could revolve around attempting to achieve enlightenment through simplistic and overcoming passions. hmmm... sort of the opposite of the modern-day bards.


I mentioned this game idea to someone and he suggested "SILENT IS THE TAO" as a possible game title.
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John Laviolette
(aka Talysman the Ur-Beatle)
rpg projects: http://www.globalsurrealism.com/rpg
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2002, 01:51:03 PM »

oop, I feel it coming on...

He's a modern day bard with magical musical abilities. She's a pseudomedieval pacifist monk with Zen/Tao powers. Together, THEY FIGHT CRIME!

OK, for the uninformed there was this random website where it would assemble improbably pairs of characters and put them together into a sentence like the above that always ended with "together they fight crime."

I wouldn't suggest that premise (necessarily), but why these characters, with these abilities? What sort of action does play revolve around? Zen investment banking? Why just these two aberrations from the timeline? What do they suggest?

Mike
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Jack Spencer Jr
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« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2002, 02:07:57 PM »

Bikers. The PCs are bikers.
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Bob McNamee
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Posts: 685


« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2002, 03:04:54 PM »

or its centered around a Rennaisance Festival...
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Bob McNamee
Indie-netgaming- Out of the ordinary on-line gaming!
Bankuei
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« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2002, 03:24:37 PM »

Come on now, modern day bards... It's hiphop superheroes!  From Jeru the Damaja("Can't stop the prophet", fighting his arch-nemesis, Mr. Ignorance) to Redman and the Wu-Tang Clan, modern day bards with a hiphop twist.

Chris
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JMendes
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« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2002, 05:06:54 PM »

Hey, :)

Quote from: Mike Holmes
He's a modern day bard with magical musical abilities. She's a pseudomedieval pacifist monk with Zen/Tao powers. Together, THEY FIGHT CRIME!

Heh... Lol. :) Anyway, in all fairness, I think the original poster meant those as either/or alternatives:

Quote from: talysman
the best small games have ben those that have limited themselves to one character type.
<...>
    modern day bards
    pseudomedieval pacifist monks[/list:u]

(Emphasis mine...)

Quote from: talysman also
I mentioned this game idea to someone and he suggested "SILENT IS THE TAO" as a possible game title.

I think this title is way cool. :)

Cheers,

J.
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url=http://lisbongamer.mc-two.com/]Lisbon Gamer[/urlLisbon Gamer
Mark D. Eddy
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Posts: 157


« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2002, 05:31:34 PM »

So the idea is pseudomedeval pacifist monks? Oriental or Occidental?

The problem is one of conflict. There isn't much there. Seeking enlightment and/or God's blessings....

...oh...

Pseudomedeval pacifist *Western* monks. Fighting in prayer for the well-being of the world around them. Against the powers of Hell. Mind trips, mostly. But then there is the influence of the secular world, and dealing with the people around them. Hmm... does this bare outline jog anything loose for anyone else?
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Mark Eddy
Chemist, Monotheist, History buff

"The valiant man may survive
if wyrd is not against him."
Paganini
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« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2002, 07:48:14 PM »

OK Mike, great idea. This is the perfect oportunity for me to mention an idea I've had kicking around for a while, but haven't had enough time or ideas to really flesh out.

Here's the deal:

You all know that I'm a musician right? This involves a lot of travel time between gigs. So, what do I do? I listen to talk radio. [1] So, what does this have to do with gaming? Well, the first seeds of the idea took root when I observed that a lot of the radio personalities don't really seem to be that crazy about each other. The sports commentators make the occasional snide remark about the guy who does the morning news. The weather guy makes fun of the sports guy's Golf skills. They can't say too much on the air, and it has to all sound like they're joking (actually, they probably *ARE* joking) or they get in trouble, right? You can't diss your colleagues where the public can here. So I started thinking... yeah, they're really kidding around, but what if they really mean it?

At this point, I wasn't really thinking in terms of a game, just in terms of "Ha ha, radio station wars."

But then I started noticing the technical difficulties. The weather guy would start doing his forcast a few minutes early and cut in on the traffic guy. The line to the wall street rep would be suddenly cut to a commercial. Rush Limbaugh is replaced by CNN news.  

The wheels began turning, the eyes began to gleam with feindish game designer's glee. So, the station probably just had a new engineer who hadn't learned all the ropes yet. But, what if it wasn't? What if all the radio guys are engaged in an all out war for air time? Man, I thought, now *that* is an RPG. The characters are all different radio personalities (like "The Weather Guy," "The Sports Announcer," "The Media Chick," etc.) fighting it out for their moment of glory. It's great... ready made conflict, ready made characters. On the air, you can't go too far, or you lose immediately. But backstage the gloves are off! And why not take it all the way? Guns, grenades, knives, you name it. Or even do it with TV! I've got this vision of Dan Rather in the newsroowm with an AK-47 holding off Connie Chung...

So, great idea seed, great hook. But I haven't had time to do much with it. What would the players actually do in a game like this? How would the scenes be framed? Would you play out all the backstage stuff, having turf wars in the brodcasting building, or would every scene be played out like a broadcast, only painting the full picture through little hints and nuances?

[1] I would listen to classical music, but the local classical station is an FM that fades out pretty quickly. The local news-radio station, though, is AM that I listened to when I was at a music camp in *Michigan* (!) and I live in South / Central Illinois - about an hour east of St. Louis.)
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talysman
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« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2002, 09:15:55 PM »

JMendes is right, I meant them as two seperate "jumping off" points. either a game about modern-day bards, or a game about pacifist monks. like I said, not much of a premise yet, just two seed-ideas to get things started...

the modern-day bard idea: no idea yet what the specific conflict would be, but I was thinking loosely in terms of the conflict between artistic integrity and commercialization. this is why I jokingly suggested fighting the music labels.

the monk one... ok, maybe I was thinking something and not articulating it. a friend of mine is publishing his own RPG (he doesn't have details on his website yet, so I won't describe it.) anyways, buddhism actually forms part of the setting and the mechanics -- in the two playtest sessions I was in, we were presented with a mystery (sort of like Call of Cthulhu) which we had to investigate and resolve ... but although there was a potential for battle, experience rewards were higher for nonviolent resolution, and even higher if the "villain" was put back onto the road to enlightenment (we wound up just killing the villain in the first session, but in the second, we scored big! all three tantric monks who had strayed from the path were put back on track and their victims were saved... AND we surprised the GM with our solution.)

so anyways, I was thinking of something like this for the monks, but without necessarily an actual buddhist philosophy. the monks would be pacifist by nature and would have a couple other goals related to enlightenment... game play would revolve around tests of the monks: can they resolve the conflicts they encounter without resorting to violence or otherwise sacrificing their core values? could they possibly even bring someone else closer to enlightenment?

I'm basically thinking of the teevee series "kung fu", but with david carradine in the middle ages instead of the wild west. eastern-style monks, but maybe in a pseudoeurope instead of a pseudochina.

THEY FIGHT CRIME! heh.
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John Laviolette
(aka Talysman the Ur-Beatle)
rpg projects: http://www.globalsurrealism.com/rpg
RPunkG
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« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2002, 09:41:28 PM »

Say the year is 2100 and man has colonized the Moon and Mars.  Earth, exhausted of resources is home only to the vagrants and criminals who sturggle politically (doing deeds to receive favors with politicians on the Moon) to be the next humans exported to Mars or the Moon.

But these politicians are evil so they must be stopped!  He's a red planet!  She's a grey moon.  Together, THEY FIGHT CRIME!
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"I'll tell you what I think of it.  I live to see you eat that contract!  But you better leave enough room for my fist, because I'm going to punch you in the stomach and break your god d*mned spine!"
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2002, 08:05:57 AM »

I hesitate to go with the modern bard idea soley beccause it is so much like Star Children, IMO. Or at least likely to drift that way. OTOH, while the monks have their problems as well, I think that we can look more closely at them.
Quote from: talysman
the monk one... ok, maybe I was thinking something and not articulating it. a friend of mine is publishing his own RPG (he doesn't have details on his website yet, so I won't describe it.) anyways, buddhism actually forms part of the setting and the mechanics -- in the two playtest sessions I was in, we were presented with a mystery (sort of like Call of Cthulhu) which we had to investigate and resolve ... but although there was a potential for battle, experience rewards were higher for nonviolent resolution, and even higher if the "villain" was put back onto the road to enlightenment (we wound up just killing the villain in the first session, but in the second, we scored big! all three tantric monks who had strayed from the path were put back on track and their victims were saved... AND we surprised the GM with our solution.)

so anyways, I was thinking of something like this for the monks, but without necessarily an actual buddhist philosophy. the monks would be pacifist by nature and would have a couple other goals related to enlightenment... game play would revolve around tests of the monks: can they resolve the conflicts they encounter without resorting to violence or otherwise sacrificing their core values? could they possibly even bring someone else closer to enlightenment?

I'm basically thinking of the teevee series "kung fu", but with david carradine in the middle ages instead of the wild west. eastern-style monks, but maybe in a pseudoeurope instead of a pseudochina.


OK, now yer talking. This is sorta being done a bit lately in the "Fighting Evil in a Secret World" type games that are coming out (see Dread), but I think this has really got me interested. I see a game which is totally non-supernatural, but deviates from the world by conspiracies or something. So, these western monks have knowledge that some ancient organization is trying to take over the world or something and only they can thwart it.

Essentially the mission based thing. But each individual monk has his own personal issues to sort out along the way as well. I'm seeing some sort of "flaw" trait(s) that each monk starts with and tries to work down to zero. At which point his tale is done and you make a new character. Or somesuch.

How about if characters are just not allowed to do anything violent. Just against their nature? Or perhpas only as a last resort, but with dire circumstances? Lots of ways to go. Sparking any ideas?

Mike
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Emily Care
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« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2002, 09:24:09 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes

How about if characters are just not allowed to do anything violent. Just against their nature? Or perhpas only as a last resort, but with dire circumstances?


Dire consequences all the way.

The premise seems to be something "like how do you fight evil without becoming like it?"  Let them be able to kill/hurt/maim etc. but let it have impact on their ki. Their special abilities should be warped or temporarily limited and to get them back they need to undergo extreme trials and/or help others to gain enlightenment.   Special abilities would be things like Crouching Tiger caliber martial arts, energy healing, clarivoyance etc.

(I've been reading "The Catalpa Bow", so I'm all about having people stand under cold waterfalls and eat only leaves from trees--though the trials they undergo in this game should be more plot related.)  

--Emily Care
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