Author Topic: Tools for Building (Links)  (Read 1952 times)

beejazz

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« on: September 10, 2006, 10:47:07 PM »
I was checking out dicerolling ideas on the interweb and came across this:

http://www.darkshire.net/~jhkim/rpg/systemdesign/dice-motive.html

For someone who is math-minded, this could be a great place to start when balancing mechanics. Further links would be appreciated.
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beejazz

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« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2006, 02:46:46 PM »
Here's another link, which might be useful as a set of guidelines when we get into the specifics of the rules (movement, tactics, character creation, and weapon stats):

http://www.rpg.net/columns/list-column.phtml?colname=elements
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beejazz

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« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2006, 04:25:51 PM »
And another, from which the dice mechanics link was derived:
http://www.darkshire.net/~jhkim/rpg/systemdesign/
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snakefing

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« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2006, 05:25:46 PM »
I remember having online debates/discussions with John Kim in the early '90s.

Somewhere he's got some pages on GNS theory (Game - Narrative - Simulation) for RPG design. I'll look up the link when I get a chance. It's tough reading sometimes - the guys who like to write about this have developed their own jargon. Sometimes it's like reading a bad translation of another language - it bears a passing resemblance to English, but only superficially.
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snakefing

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« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2006, 10:22:12 PM »
Here's the link to John Kim's Wiki entries on GNS. You can follow the links from there to the separate entries on Game, Narrative, and Simulation.

But in case that's too heavy for you, the shorter version:

GNS analyzes role-playing games in terms of three components - Game, Narrative (or Story), and Simulation. According to its proponents, these are the primary motivations people have for playing.

Game refers essentially to the game as a challenge. For some players, this is the challenge of designing a good character build, then challenging that character in play. For others it is the tactical challenge of defeating foes in play. For others the challenge of just surviving and gaining levels.

Narrative refers to the act of making a story. This is more than just letting things happen - it is the active and collaborative task of shaping events to create tension, drama, plot, humor, leading up to climax and resolution. All the classic elements of literature, but in a spontaneous and mostly unplanned environment.

Simulation is the game of "What If?" What if magic were real? What would it be like to be a Jedi? Simulation aims at creating worlds, not for the sake of drama, or challenge, but just for the fun of seeing what happens.

Game, Narrative, and Simulation are not mutually exclusive, but at times they do conflict. In a given game situation, should you resolve it based on what makes the best challenge, the best story, or the best simulation? Often these things are consistent with each other. Occasionally they conflict, and one has to be prioritized over the others.

GNS advocates claim that game design really ought to favor one approach over the others. Different people have fun with different parts of the game. By making a game aimed squarely at one approach, you enable the most fun for some people. Other people, with different approaches, won't like your game and will choose a different one.

I'm not sure this is entirely true. From a practical standpoint, few gaming groups will be composed entirely of one type. Also, few people are squarely in one camp. And most of us end up having to play a game system based on what we know, or our friends know, or what's available.

Although I don't entirely agree with their prescriptions for game design, it is something to think about. My own preferences seem to run S > G == N.

So what kind of game are we designing? How do our mechanics support it? Right now it seems to me we are stacking up pretty much N >= G > S.
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beejazz

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« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2006, 11:02:05 PM »
Well *so* far, all we have is speculation, and mechanical speculation at that.
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snakefing

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« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2006, 03:24:43 PM »
[blockquote=Me]
So what kind of game are we designing? How do our mechanics support it? Right now it seems to me we are stacking up pretty much N >= G > S.
[/blockquote]
Quote from: beejazz

Well *so* far, all we have is speculation, and mechanical speculation at that.

That's true. There's still plenty of room for change. But mechanics are very closely connected to how the game actually plays in practice.

System with no classes or levels - More Simulation than others, but fairly compatible with all three.

Dice pools mechanic- Poor for Simulation because it is hard to make small adjustments. Otherwise pretty neutral between Narrative and Game.

Magic systems - Mostly designed as mechanics before concept and flavor. This tends fairly strongly toward Game, but that could change drastically as the systems are refined.

Combat tactics (action points) - Game or Simulation. Bad for Narrative because it tends to get to the nitty-gritty of combat rather than the whys and wherefores.

Adventure points - Tends toward Narrative, but can easily be turned toward Game. Very weak on Simulation because it is such a metagame mechanic.

So, looking at everything, I revise my earlier estimate to G >= N > S. But lots could change, we're still very early in the process. Just something I like to keep in mind
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beejazz

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« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2006, 03:40:14 PM »
That said, let's get busy with the writing! You know how impatient I can be! XD. We do need to figure out the game and what style of gaming (pacing and, I suppose, narrative) we want before we can really get into the issue of what and how to simulate.
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beejazz

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« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2006, 06:22:39 PM »
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Thanuir

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« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2006, 07:05:52 AM »
RPG toolkit wiki has lots of material for RPG design. I am one of the few active contributors there. The "other sites" section has useful links.

I highly doubt the usefulness of GNS in this project. Have any concrete design goals been laid out?

beejazz

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« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2006, 12:14:59 PM »
Yeah... I know what you mean about GNS...

And that link is pretty useful/awesome. CYMRO, you should check the d100 systems there. Those are some pretty nice systems, no?
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Thanuir

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« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2006, 02:09:47 PM »
Feel free to contribute. We need contributors (you can post your own systems there, they'll be under creative commons attribution-share-alike 2,5). And we have an old-school dungeoncrawl-project just starting, by me and the author of  d100 system (who uses CleanCutRogue as his internet alias).

The project is  here.

Hopefully threadjacking isn't frowned upon here too badly...

beejazz

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« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2006, 02:21:55 PM »
Meh. It ain't so bad. I know I mention this shiz fairly often elsewhere. And I may contribute, but some parts I feel the need to keep (primarily the stress mechanic).
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snakefing

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« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2006, 03:29:22 PM »
Quote from: Thanuir

I highly doubt the usefulness of GNS in this project. Have any concrete design goals been laid out?

To some extent, I rather doubt the usefulness of GNS in any project, at least as it is usually discussed. In another way, I think it is a useful approach to thinking about how various mechanics and rules will affect the way the game will play, and what kinds of people will be attracted to it.

The primary weakness of GNS in the discussions I've seen is simply the assumption that the three modes are somehow antagonistic to each other. Some people may find it so, but in my experience when actually playing, the mode often swings wildly from one scene to the next. You can play D&D in a highly narrative mode, but generally speaking the moment you start combat, it is going to change modes. Does this mean D&D is somehow against narrative play? Hardly.

But I would say that the D&D rules and mechanics for combat don't support narrative mode combat. Other systems do. So you can use GNS as a descriptive rather than prescriptive framework for how various aspects of the game will actually play out in practice.

Personally, I don't think in terms like, "I want to design a Simulation type game." I don't think it is even useful to say, "I prefer Narrative style." I might prefer Narrative in some aspects and Game in others. Not to mention what happens if I get together with others whose preferences may be entirely different. But it is still useful to look at the mechanics you are designing and ask, "Which styles are most strongly or most weakly supported?" The answer can and will vary between the different game elements. It's still enlightening to understand the type of game you are making.

I may look in on your links a bit more, as I have time. Right now I'm mostly helping with evaluating the mechanical and probabilistic effects of various proposals here.
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Thanuir

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« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2006, 09:11:14 AM »
I really (really) don't want to start debating GNS. Been there, done that, not in the mood of doing it again (If you really want to, post at the Forge or contact me through email/PMs).
This will probably sound rude, for which I apologize, but you (Snakefing) are misunderstanding GNS.

To save everyone trouble and headaches, I suggest simply using GDS, or the threefold model. It is much clearer and more useful for traditional roleplayers.