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Random Thoughts of a Game Developer

Archive for the tag “Playtest”

Closer to Playtest than I Thought

So, a friend of mine took a look at what I have of 16 Bit Heroes a few days ago, and pointed something out to me that I had missed. I have been under the assumption that I needed to finish the system book before I could start playtesting. That would mean a few more months of steady work. He told me I was wrong. The system is about two chapters away from complete readiness, and could probably be played with only a small part of each of those chapters complete.

In other words, my friend Pat let me in on a secret that I should’ve guessed at myself: it’s idiotic to wait until you’re completely done designing to start playtesting.

He’s right, of course. For instance, how can I possibly guess at how to properly put monsters together without seeing the characters in action at various levels? How can I find the balance between overpowered and underpowered with magic items unless I try a few out? How can I know where to set values at for the spell creation system until I know how that system will impact the rest of combat?

So, now I have a revised list of things to do before 16 Bit Heroes playtesting begins. If you want to know what it is, read the following list. If you don’t care, skip it – you won’t hurt my feelings. Although, it is a pretty short list

  1. Complete the ALPHA Spell and Technique Creation System. This is needed so that magic and combat techniques can be used during playtest. Part of this will include the creation of a few simple monsters for Summon magic.
  2. Complete a simple outline version of the Combat System
    Dragon Quest (1986), also known as Dragon Warrior.

    Image via Wikipedia

    . It doesn’t need a lot of details yet – basically a simple flowchart or numbered list. The details can be forged through playtest.

  3. Complete a basic equipment list – basic weapons and armor, basic adventuring equipment. This is all done in my head and needs only to be written.
  4. Create a couple basic monsters. As mentioned above, this is needed for Summon magic. It’s also needed for combat encounters.

That’s about it. Experience can be hashed out during playtest, as can most everything else that needs doing. By providing only the magic creation framework for the start of playtest, I can leave the creation of an initial spell list to the playtesters (which is cool, since it’s how several spells in the world’s most popular role playing game came into being oh so long ago).

So… instead of looking to start playtesting near the end of the year, I’m thinking a couple weeks, maybe a month. Once I have everything that I think is needed for playtest, by the way, I will find a way to post it here, along with a new license for use for when people  want it.

I’m excited about this. It was an eye-opener to say the least, and I just want to say “thanks” to Pat for pointing it out to me. In any case, I’ve got some writing to do.

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