Showing posts from August, 2008


I've been checking every day or two, to see how my first baby is going.

My first copy of the Eighth Sea has been sold.

Here's hoping it's the first of many.

Design Dilemma

I'm working on a new game concept.

Well that's not entirely true.

I'm resuming work on a game concept that got me stuck a few months back.

I keep trying to develop this game concept but my mind keeps shooting off into new directions that expand beyond the original concept in ways that complicate the simple premise.

It was this exact phenomenon that caused me to break my train of thought by developing the Eighth Sea to it's finished status. Now that I'm returning to my earlier concept, I'm finding the same problems developing.

Some would call this "development hell". In fact there are many who say that these festering ideas can evolve into truly revolutionary concepts as they grow in the back of one's mind.

I'm just finding the ideas to be a nuisance.

I think I've been hanging around the forge for too long.

When I started to develop a roleplaying game, I just thought I needed a good game mechanic and an evocative setting. I had given cursory though…

People are idiots...part 1

I'm calling this Part 1, because I know that I'm going to observe a lot more things that prove this point.

It was 2am, I've slept since then so I'm not sure whether to say it was this morning or last night...anyway, that's not the point of the post. I'd had some alcohol a few hours early, but it had been a while before I got in the car...I was pretty sure that I was safe to drive, but Iwas taking things carefully just to make sure.

I was heading toward a set of traffic lights where I know there is an automatic red-light camera.

A car is ahead of me by a hundred metres or so. I see the light turn red and it is solidly red for a good second or so as the car ahead rushes through the intersection. As I start slowing down, red and blue flashing lights start up behind me and a police car shoots around me to catch the traffic offender.

There aren't many cars on the road at 2am, but as I'm stopped at the lights for half a minute or so another vehicle comes through …

Game Mechanics 1.2

I'm taking a slight detour in my blogs about game mechanics, I had intended to be detailing aspects of what I think make a good combat system (and how I followed those ideas to generate the system used in Tales).

...instead I'll look a bit deeper at aspects of character generation.

I've already mentioned a strong favour toward perceived mid-points. Two of the scales I've heavily considered are...

Systems with lots of random value generation versus systems that place the focus of thought back into the hands of the players.


Systems where the the characters are incredibly detailed with skills, combat abilities and special powers defined to the nth degree versus systems that are almost freeform with arbitrary principles based on vague notions of common sense.

I've always felt that a good game can be judged by it's character generation system, and for an instinctive gut reaction, the generation system can be seen through the character sheet and the sheer size of it in…

Eighth Sea Now Available.

For any who may have been following the progress of my games, The Eighth Sea is now available for purchase.

Game Mechanic 1.1

There are a few schools of thought about characters in roleplaying games. Some believe that characters should be fully detailed in what they can do and where there limitations might lie. Others believe that a general notion of the character will suffice, and common sense should be allowed to fill in the blanks.

Both concepts are valid under different styles of play.

Spread across this split, you have people who believe characters should be primarily defined by what they were born with, versus what they've learned...that whole "nature vs nurture" debate.

Here's where attributes and skills come in.

While these two concepts have been a staple in most roleplayinggames for years, many independent games are moving away from the notion of attributes and skills. These recent games return to a simpler concept of simply assigning a character roles, then follow by allowing certain roles to complete certain tasks with ease. A combatant can physically fight but they may be no good at…

Game Mechanic 1.0

I've decided to document some of the game mechanics that I come up with periodically.

I've developed systems based on dice rolls, cards, counters and hand gestures, and each of these has applications to different styles of game. The problem with these conceptual ideas is that I can never decide on the type of game best suited to the mechanic. A poker based mechanic may lend itself well to a wild west game, a tarot mechanic may be good for a game about occultism or mysticism, but where do you place a complex die mechanic?

I've looked at plenty of games over the years and have seen many that have focused on a gimmicky mechanic.

Roll 3 dice, ignore the highest and lowest results and keep the middle die. Then compare this to a difficulty value that's generated by rolling a second die and cross referencing this to a table.

[The result of the die might produce a nice bell-curve, and the cross referencing effect might ground it well in the reality of the game world, but the combi…

Genre Advancement System

I've just offered a concept for a challenge at the Forge.

I've done this for a simple reason. I'd like to find out what constitutes genre in different people's minds. I could have simply posed a question, but I probably wouldn't have had anything useful come out of it, and would have had a dozen partial concepts.

I figure that offering a contest in this manner will generate a couple of well-considered and fully rounded ideas that I can then use as the basis for genre advancement within the Eighth Sea, or within some of the other game concepts I'm working on.

At the moment I'm finding a lot of products on the market to be very generic and flavourless. This seems to be with the intention of allowing different groups to inject their own style into a setting, but my question is how that style really becomes a part of the setting.

What makes "film noir"? What makes "horror"? How do you convey these concepts in a game mechanic?

It will be interesti…

Eighth Sea Complete??

After months of work setting up a first draft, a fortnight of hasty revisions and editing, I've reached the final stages of getting the Eighth Sea ready for production...

...only to find one more issue.

The PDF files I'm compiling for the internal pages have images on them that look like rubbish.

They're meant to be 300dpi or better, but when I look at them, they look more like 100dpi (barely better than screen resolution and certainly not good enough for a professional looking product).

I guess I'm going to be spending the next few days recompiling images.

Just when I thought I was done...

...oh well.