Monthly Archives: February 2008

First Printing!

I set up my first printing of Awesome Adventures on Lulu today.  It’s being mailed to me, I’ll look it over, and if it’s Awesome, there will be more copies for people to buy.

Mass Effect

I beat it today.

It’s awesome.  Totally worth playing.  Totally worth playing again.

Hey you, go play Mass Effect.

Warriors From the Mystic Mountain: Design Epiphany

I had, until recently, a major design problem with Warriors.  Namely, special abilities.

In a Kung Fu game, you need special abilities.  Whether it’s your “Mighty Iron Fist Kung Fu,” or your “Fury of Nine Tigers Technique,” you gotta have them.  That’s a fun, awesome thing about kung fu.  (It’s something that both Exalted and Weapons of the Gods do totally totally right.)

In a hard core crunchy gamist-angled game, you need special abilities, so people can choose from a shopping list and customize their characters for awesome effectiveness, and make combats interesting and different.  (The success of the previously name-dropped games in this application is debatable, with points both pro and con.)

Anyway, writing up lists and lists of special abilities is hard.  There’s a lot of them, they have to be balanced, and for me, the biggest barrier is knowing where to begin.  Everytime I’ve tried to write such a game, I’ve pretty much given up in the anxious terror of inertia.  That’s why writing Awesome Adventures was so helpful for me; it’s a lighter game, so I could get straight to the writing and figure out a thing or two about wrting games.

Anyway, what I figured out I needed to do is organize the abilities better.  I came up with ten categories while pondering this.  So instead of having to come up with, say, thirty different abilities out of the blue, I only have to come up with three for each category.  And I find that now I’m thinking about it like this, categorically, I’m having a lot more inspiration, and the ideas are coming to me easier.

So the benefit to me, as a designer, is that it compartamentalizes my design, and breaks up the huge task into smaller, easily handled tasks.  This is an amazingly good thing.

Also, I’m hoping that there will be a benefit here in play, since these categories correspond to character play niches.  If one wants to play a mook destroyer, taking out hordes of lesser enemies, one needs only to look at the Crowd Control martial styles, rather than digging through the description of every single ability to see if it’s useful or not.  I hope this will be a play advantage over the previously mentioned games.

Anyway, here’s the ten categories:

Offensive:  Focuses on boosting damage and attack rolls, making sure your attacks are successful and potent.

Defensive:  Focuses on boosting defense rolls and withstanding damage, resisiting enemy attacks, and staying in the fight.

Crowd Control:  Attacks focusing on dealing with mooks and hordes of lesser enemies.

Area Control:  Focuses on moving enemeis or preventing their movement, and aiding the battle on a strategic level.

Support:  Abilities that increase one’s own capabilities or improve the abilities of others.  Buffing.  Possibly includes Chi management.

Recovery: Mid battle healing, minimize effects of enemy attacks.

Interference:  Debuffs.  Abilities that hinder enemies and impede their ability to act effectively.

Denial:  Focuses on negating the effects of enemy techniques and stles, possibly draining enemy chi or negating enemy buffs.

Utility:  Tricks, magical spells, with a primary focus on non-combat applications, but with possible combat benefits.

Movement: Focuses on allowing the character to quickly move between areas and get to (or away from) the fight.)

Snow and Ice

There was a huge snowstorm in Madison yesterday.  Maybe it counted as a blizzard, maybe it didn’t.

Just about every business was shut down in Madison.

But not WalMart.

For some reason, I decided to go into work.  Over two thirds of the staff called in.  We probably did only 10% of the business we normally do.  The roads were crappy when I drove in at 8:30.  And they only looked like they were getting worse.

Customers came in, and talked about seeing cars in ditches.  A semi truck jackknifed and our main parking lot exit was unusable for about an hour.   Someone spun out in our parking lot and was almost hit by a snow plow.  All major highways in Madison were completely shut down.

Dreading driving home, wondering if I’d have to call my four-wheel-drive boyfriend, my shift dragged on and on.

Finally, at 4:30 I got to go home.  The parking lot was freshly plowed, which meant my car was covered in snow.  I was able to drive out of the parking lot, went slowly on roads through town, and got to my house.

And promptly got stuck in the driveway.

If you’re going to get stuck and need to be shoveled/pushed out, I suppose your own driveway is a good place to do it.

Awesome Adventures- Table of Contents Done

Open Office has an automatic table of contents maker.  However, you have to have set up your text in a certain way for it to recognize your headings, which I didn’t do.  It’d be quite a bit of work to go back and adjust my headings.

So instead I went through and just wrote down all the headings I wanted in the table, and the page numbers there were on, and made a lovingly handcrafted table of contents.  I even managed to get it to fit on one page, which might have been difficult if using an automatic template.

All that’s left is the index and back cover text.