student 20 Productions

Random Thoughts of a Game Developer

Philosophies and Such

I’ve done a lot of thinking about Elements over the week; I haven’t been able to do much actual work (curse you, Real Life!!), but what I did accomplish was productive.

Elements is actually sort of a precursor work.  I have a grander scheme that I want to tinker with, founded on many of the same principles as Elements, but with significantly more depth and complexity.  A lot of the Darlings I killed (as I mentioned in my previous post) were actually transferred to the other system.  I’m not actively working on that system (called, tentatively, The Source) right now, but it creeps into my thoughts occasionally.

At its heart, Elements is a Skill Based universal system.  Basically, I’m trying to provide something simple to work with, fun to play, and easily expandable.  Of course, if the Role Playing Game market has taught us anything, it’s that leaving room to expand your system leaves room for further supplements to sell.  That’s not why I want to do it that way, however. 

I want it to be easily expandable so that groups can come up with their own house rules, and so on, adding on to what I’ve created.  Ideally, I’d love to have a thriving web community where Elements players exchange their rules ideas, and so on.  Expansions for the system would come from compilations of the best of these rules, cleaned up and playtested.  The fact that I could write my own extra stuff is a side benefit.

The thing is, though, that Elements is a starting point for me, not the end game.  I envision working on it for a good long time, and playing it, and enjoying it a lot.  That being said, I also want to do it so that I can work on the bigger project lurking in the background – The Source.

Now, why not just work on The Source, you ask. I am, is my answer.  Working on Elements is working on The Source.  The two games share many similarities (dice mechanics being a glaringly obvious one, universality another, and free-form character creation a third), but they are not the same.  Still, the things I’ve covering writing Elements are preparing me for my work on The Source.  To use a cooking metaphor, before one cooks a soufflé, one should probably try making a quiche, or something else.

I am making Elements sound like it’s just a stepping stone, but there’s no “just” about it.  Elements is an outgrowth of the older work on The Source, but it is its own project, and I love it.  The five-action-turn, diceless GMing, the Breadth-And-Depth skill system that forms the foundation of character generation: these things are all fun and wonderful and mine. It’s not like this is an omelet I’m making to sharpen my skills.

Elements is important to me.

Okay, next post will be more rules-substantial, I promise.  I could’ve written about rules tonight (goodness knows I have enough to write about), but I felt like writing this instead.  Take it for what it is, I guess.

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