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Random Thoughts of a Game Developer

Archive for the category “16 Bit Heroes”

Power Girl and Other Stuff

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

Power Girl

Power Girl

Power Girl

Power Girl

A short Power Girl film. If you like it, make sure to give it a thumbs up. The folks who put this together also did several others. I’m actually surprised my brother has never linked to these. Power Girl.

Power Girl

So NagaDemon was kind of a bust – I came up with dozens of concepts, but only finished one, and never played it. I’ll get around to posting it here eventually, as soon as the rules are somewhere other than one of my dozen or so dead-tree notebooks. Oh, also after I’ve played it.

As for the rather… long period of time between posts this time, I took November off from writing, and then kept putting off updating my blog for reasons passing understanding. Laziness would be the key one, I suppose, although I kept wanting something substantial for a post.

Towards the end of November, I took a long, hard look at 16 Bit Heroes (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, click the link at the very top of the page), and realized that I had something there. Not that 16 Bit Heroes is all that great – the leveling system is overly complicated, the build-your-own-class system is needlessly restrictive, and there are a lot of other issues before we even get to gameplay. Still, I took a hard look at it, and I came to the conclusion that there was some pretty great stuff in there.

I dusted it off and set to work. As I delved deeper into the crunchy bits, I got more and more into what I was doing. I reduced the dice down to 3d6 (although I might up it to 3d10 later), ditched the class system completely, and kept looking at it. After a couple weeks of playing with it, I set down to serious work.

Power Girl by ~Budgies on deviantART

After a few hours of serious  writing and design work, I dropped the “16” from the title of the game. It stopped being about old-school 8 and 16 bit Japanese style RPGs, and started being about a more general sort of gaming. I started making specific adaptations to the system to accommodate my Essence game setting, and took a step back. It looked fantastic. So I dove in harder, and the game – tentatively titled Bit Heroes, or Essence Heroes if you’re playing in what I keep calling “my” setting but actually is a setting mostly forged by my high school gaming group – started to come to life.

Power Girl

So, if you’re wondering what I’ve been working on since my last post, Bit Heroes is the main answer,. The pace is close to frenzy, but it’s much more in control than it was when I designed 16 Bit Heroes in the first place. It’s still looking fantastic to me – the kind of game I really want to play. I’m planning to spend some time today fleshing out Stats, among other things. The roll-add mechanic is still there, but it’s a lot quicker now. Character Concept and Background have become real mechanics in the game. Map-based tactical combat is on the to-do list, but all the basic concepts are still there. I’m going to get to work on it (instead of playing Skyrim or Torchlight) as soon as I post this. If I can keep up this pace, I should have something more substantial to report shortly after Christmas.

Happy Holidays, all!

Oh – if you’re wondering about the way this post started, please refer to the comments section of my last post. Next post: Power Girl Cosplay, and other stuff.

Power Girl.

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16 Bit Heroes Playtest Alpha! Plus, upcoming Site update

Alright, here it is. The final, actual, corrected 16 Bit Heroes Playtest Alpha. It has a new introduction (short, but specifically written with the Alpha in mind, rather than ramblings of a mad game designer… which is what it was before). I’ve finally actually fixed all the reference errors in Chapter 2, removed superfluous tables, and tightened things up a bit. Please enjoy!

16 Bit Heroes – Alpha v0.1 patch 2

Incidentally, the Index is hyperlinked for your convenience – click on a chapter or section, and your .pdf reader should take you right to the chapter or section. The page references throughout the book are hyperlinked as well. I’ve only tested it in Sumatra .pdf reader, though, so I don’t know if Adobe Acrobat Reader or Foxit work, but they should.

In other news – an upcoming Site Update!

In the near future, there will be a site revamp (maybe even later tonight).  There will be a link above (or somewhere obvious) called “16 Bit Downloads”, which will lead you to the Alpha download, the 16 Bit Heroes Character Sheets, and all other supplemental material relating to 16 Bit Heroes. Yay! Organization at last!

UPDATE: The site change is complete – what do you think? The link to the 16 bit Heroes Download page is right at the very top, by the way – above the header image.

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Experience Chapter Done! One More to Go…

So, I’ve brought the 9th chapter (Experience) to a close. It actually went more smoothly and quickly than I expected. The Experience system is something I’ve been processing in the back of my mind almost since I started working on 16 Bit Heroes, and I guess that the usual kinks in the system I find when starting a new chapter were already worked out before I got to it. I usually have to work them out while I’m working the chapter, sometimes going back and editing previous references (the Equipment chapter has had to be re-worked in one way or another no less than eight times, and it’s still the chapter I am the most insecure about). Huh… I seem to be getting better at this.

In any case, I thought that a small excerpt of the Experience chapter might be illuminating for my few readers. You’ll noticed that Experience Points is abbreviated as “EP” rather than “XP”; more on that after the excerpt.


Chapter 9: Experience

16 Bit Heroes presents multiple methods of character advancement. Each method has its ups and downs; it is up to the individual Game Group to decide what’s going to work best for them[1]. Only one method should be employed in a given campaign; they do not provide identical advancement, so one character using one method while another character uses a different one can result in some serious character disparity.

All of the methods use a level-based system and an identical experience chart. As characters and adventuring parties succeed in battle, complete objectives, and engage in rewarding role play, they receive Experience Points (EP). Once they have enough EP, the characters gain new levels, improving their Abilities and Stats, and gaining new Spells and Techniques (or access to same; see the Improvement Tree method).

Common Experience Elements

There are several things that are common to all of the Experience methods. All of them use the same Level of Experience table, for example, determining at what amount of EP a character gains a new level.

In all of the methods below, the rules outlined apply to Classes on even levels, and to Races on odd levels. For instance, if you’re using the Improvement Test method, you make Improvement Tests for your character’s Class on levels 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and so on. Tests made for your Race or Personality are made on levels 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, et cetera.

Finally, all of the Experience methods use the same Multiclassing rules, which are described at the end of the chapter.

The Experience Methods in Brief

This section outlines each of the methods of improving characters through experience in brief. There are three methods outlined here. All of these are specifically “alpha”, which is to say that none of them are tested in any way – at least not yet. Some, all, or none of these methods may make it into the final system; it all depends on feedback.

  • Improvement Test Method: At each new level, the characters make an Improvement Test to determine how much their characters improve. Typically, a single Test roll is made, which is then compared to various Improvement Difficulties, each yielding a differing amounts of improvement.
  • Static Improvement: At each new level, a character gains specific benefits. There are no test rolls, and advancement can be easily predicted and tracked.
  • Point Based Improvement: At each level, characters receive a set number of Improvement Points, which can be used by the players to improve their characters.

There are also three special variants that modify the way the above methods work slightly; these are all optional. None of these has to be used at all, and one of them doesn’t even need to be playtested:

  • Buy It Up: The characters gain in level using one of the methods above, but new Spells, Techniques, and Skills must be purchased in game from trainers.
  • Party Experience: The characters do not track individual experience; instead, the Party has an EP total, and there is a unified Party Level.
  • EP Free: The characters automatically gain a level after a set number of Conflicts, or whenever the Game Group decides the time is right. This can be combined with Buy It Up and Party Experience, above.

So, here’s a little known fact in the history of RPGs: The abbreviation of Experience Points goes all the way back to the original Dungeons & Dragons rules put together by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. The original D&D had a lot of difference forms of currency, all based on different materials the coinage was made from. There were Platinum Pieces (PP), Gold Pieces (GP), Silver Pieces (SP), and Copper Pieces (CP). Between GP and SP, there was an additional coin, however – the Electrum Piece, which was, naturally enough, abbreviated EP.

A 640 BCE one-third stater electrum coin from ...

Image via Wikipedia

Electrum is a naturally occuring alloy of Gold and Silver, and was actually used for coinage in the ancient world Check out the picture… In any case, because EP is a completely natural abbreviation for EP, and the word Experience sounds like it should start with the letter “x”, XP was a natural abbreviation for Experience Points. And that’s why Experience Point is almost always shortened to XP – because Electrum Pieces (which hardly appear anywhere in RPGs today) stole the EP abbreviation.

Since 16 Bit Heroes doesn’t use Electrum Pieces (or any specific currency system, for that matter), I thought I’d go ahead and use EP for Experience Points. It made sense to me when I was writing Chapter 9, at any rate.

So, now that the Experience Chapter is done, I’m down to the Bestiary before the system is ready for playtest. It looks like I’m going to reach my “Done Before Christmas” goal. It would be nice to achieve a writing goal for once…

Well, that’s all for now. As always, feedback is welcome!

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Chapters 1, 2, and an Admission of Idiocy

So, apparently, I don’t know my chapter structure as well as I thought I did. Below are links to both chapters 1 and 2 from 16 Bit Heroes. Yesterday, I claimed that Chapter 1 was the Introduction. It isn’t. It’s the Abilities Chapter. The Introduction isn’t a chapter… it’s an Introduction. Of course,

I admit it - despite being a 10 year Open Source Advocate, this is better than LibreOffice Writer. Of course, the rest of Office 2010 is pretty much a toss-up with the Document Foundation's work, but no one's perfect.

Image via Wikipedia

Microsoft Word 2010 takes a different view of things, which I allowed to confuse me. I do not blame Word, I only blame myself. For the record, I think Microsoft Word 2010 is the best edition of Word since ’97, and it’s the only one that I’ve used in preference to LibreOffice

Yes, it's the same thing, but without such tight corporate attachments. By the way, if you install their current beta, you'll loose whatever install of OpenOffice.org you already have - no big deal, but noteworthy.

Image by rinoshea via Flickr

(OpenOffice.org‘s new name, in case you didn’t know), which I’ve used exclusively for, oh, 6 years or so.

In any case, as promised (although a bit later than promised), here are Chapters 1 and 2.  Have fun!!

16 Bit Heroes Chapter 1

16 Bit Heroes Chapter 2

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16 Bit Heroes Chapter 2

Today is the day I’ve decided to start putting out each chapter from the 16 Bit Heroes Playtest Alpha. Some of these chapters are more or less complete (especially the earlier ones), while others are set for playtest, but incomplete (for instance, when I get around to posting Chapter 5: Skills, the Advanced Skills are missing complete descriptions, but characters can’t get those until level 25 anyway, making them superfluous for starting up playtest). By the time  I’m done, you should have everything you need to make and play characters for the alpha.

Today’s chapter is Chapter 2: Abilities. This chapter is one of te more complete ones, and it goes over the basic Abilities of a 16 BitHeroes character, and how you can use them to make Tests and such. This chapter also has the first step in the character creation chapter.

Why not start with Chapter 1? Well, it’s the Introduction, that’s why. The Intro needs to be re-written before I let much of anyone read it. Writing an Introduction before you’ve finished the rest of the book is a pretty dumb thing to do, and I’m not going to revise it until I finish the rest; you don’t really need an Intro for a Alpha Playtest Document, after all.

In any case:

16 Bit Heroes Chapter 2

EDIT: Well, I feel like an idiot. I apparently can’t read my own writing, which is sad, considering the writing was done on a word processor in a perfectly legible font. The posted document is, in fact, Chapter 2, but Chapter 2 is Character Classes, not Abilities. I will make a new, revised post later today containing bother Chapters 1 and 2, explaining for the whole world to see that I don’t know the chapter structure in my own damn book.

I’m SO embarassed.

In the meantime, you can still grab Chapter 2 here. Chapter 1 will be up later today. *facepalm*

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