student 20 Productions

Random Thoughts of a Game Developer

Chapter 5, Quick Play, and a Cautionary Tale

So, a while back, I decided to start putting Chapters from 16 Bit Heroes up so that people could start playing with it, and to show that when I say I’m designing a game, I’m not talking out of my ass. So, I transfered the individual chapters 2 through 5 into separate.docx files, played with the formatting a little so each chapter would look nice on its own, and started putting them up. I got a little feedback, which has been very helpful (and I am very thankful for it, believe me). Then disaster struck in the form of stress-induced writer’s block.

I took a break from more or less everything for a few days. I cooked a fantastic dinner for Thanksgiving (cooking is one of my many methods of dealing with stress – the more extravagant the meal, the better). I cleaned the crap out of our apartment. And then I sat down in front of my tiny little netbook and finished the Magic system. Yes, it’s done, spell creation is easy and fun, costs and difficulties ramp appropriately, and so on. I think it’s going to work with a few playtest inspired tweaks, and it was very much a learning experience.

Along the way, I thought “hey, after you finish with the Magic system, you should go back through the document and read everything so far, and make sure all your page references are up to date”. Word 2010 makes that sort of thing easy, so I sat down the other night to do just that. I skipped chapter 1 (since it’s basically just a placeholder now anyway) and dug into chapter 2… and started to pull out my beard almost immediately.

Shortly after I finished Chapter 2, I had a few ideas about some stuff. It mostly came up in Chapter 5, when I started putting Stats together. I thought of a new way to do things that made everything run smoother and faster, and dealt with a design problem I was having by removing it from the equation entirely. It was a brilliant idea, if I say so myself, and I ran with it. I ran back to a couple earlier chapters to change references to the old way I was planning to do things, and didn’t really see  any. At a cursory glance. At the time I thought “I’ll just do a final proofread before I let anyone read it, that’s all.”

Time passes. I get the idea to post chapters as I mentioned above. I forgot about the proofread. It turns out that in Chapter 2, there are several references to later rules that no longer exist. The moral of the story: To err is human, to proofread, divine. Ahh, well, lesson learned.

The incorrect information in chapter 2 has now been corrected, I am happy to say, and no other chapter was so tainted. More importantly, all you really have to do is if you find something in a later chapter that contradicts the version of chapter 2 you have, the later information is correct. I will, of course, be uploading a new document… but I’m going to wait until I have the rest of the book done. I know that’s not very nice, but I want to make sure this doesn’t happen again. So, I’m afraid that you’re going to have to wait for a while. Part of it is that I want the next thing I upload after Chapter 5 to have a useful index; as a friend recently pointed out to me, that’s an important thing. The other part is that I’m so damn close, I don’t want to pull things apart again and get distracted.

So, here’s Chapter 5, as promised:

16 Bit Heroes Chapter 5

And, as a bonus, here’s a diceless game called Quick-Play that I cranked out in 101 minutes after a moment’s inspiration I had while watching Penn and Teller’s Bullshit (there is no connection between the two that I have been able to discern). It was quick to make, isn’t perfect, but sounds like fun… to me, at least.

Quick Play

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2 thoughts on “Chapter 5, Quick Play, and a Cautionary Tale

  1. Wowzers…Quick Play is one of the best diceless mechanics I’ve seen you come up with yet.

    I remember ages ago, one of your first attempts started wtih 1000 Storms while we were chowin’ down some chili fries back at Embers before it went under.

    I can’t help but wonder if there’s a way to work the “resource management” style of that set up into Quick Play’s “pick a number” system… (don’t break your brain trying to do this…LOL)

    • I think it can be done, but not without making the system more complicated. I might add that to my project list; that could be a lot of fun to play with. It wouldn’t be called Quick-Play, but it might be a sort of “Advanced Quick Play”. Food for thought… Yum!

      I liked the 1000 Storms system, but it didn’t actually work that well. There were good ideas in there, though. I especially liked the setting. Maybe I’ll use it as the default for Elements whenever I get around to that system again. Wuxia martial arts, magic, action, intrigue… it was a lot of fun.

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