Two Things RPGs rarely get right

I’ve found a simple solution for motivation that has worked remarkably well, and that is to simply lay off the forums. While time flies, time also needs to be filled with something, and creating a void can provoke action.

Going slowly stir-crazy helps, too.  About the most entertaining thing I’ve done is check out the pilot episode of Game Damage, a feature that Zero Punctuation’s Yahztee and a couple of friends are putting together.

I would go play a game instead, but I’m yet again in that funk where I don’t want to play games, I want to make better games. It feels better to make my own crappy game than play games that (due to my predisposition) feel crappy.  It’s a good funk for me to be in, a relatively new habit I’ve undertaken that makes a world of difference in terms of turning procrastination on its ear.

Yes, game development is imminent.  I’m so picky right now the only game I’m even considering playing is perhaps Strongbad’s Cool Game For Attractive People, and a lot of that is out of comedic appeal and not gaming appeal.

No Progress = Phenomenal Progress

Rereading Jesse Schnell’s masterpiece again, I was reminded of a classic saying in the industry, “Your first 10 games will suck, so get them out of the way quickly.”

Lately, I’ve been hurting because I haven’t made any apparent progress.  However, in reading that quote, I realized it’s actually been hurting because I’ve been making phenomenal progress:

I’m such a picky gamer, I won’t tolerate a sucky game, and consequently I suspect I may have burned through my first 5-20 games already.  By the time I actually get around to releasing something, I should be on my 40th or so game concept, and it should be awesome, right?

I then remembered something vital, and I’m going to commit it to the annuls of Blogdom once again: The Two Things CRPGS rarely get right. (These should sound familiar because I mentioned them at least twice already.)

1. Interactivity – The level of player’s involvement.

2. Dynamic Content – The capacity for the simulated world to change.

These both can be summarized as one thing: Meaningful Choices.  Without interactivity, the player does not have enough choices to matter.  Without dynamic content, the world does not react to the player’s choices and consequently they’re not meaningful.

This reminder came as from classic game elemental research.  I booted up Neverwinter Nights 2 and got as far as character creation before I remembered that the meaningful choices of casting Fireball versus Magic Armor was not sufficient to be entertaining, while the content itself was a largely linear campaign.  This conviction is a large reason why I’m hesitant to give Hinterlands or Spellforce 2 a try.

What I’m working on in BYOND is largely a one-man operation.  What I’ve actually been meaning to do (and this part I forgot) is leverage the dynamic content as a means to save myself the work of manually building a world.  The players became the worldbuilders through the process of playing a game with a high amount of dynamic content influence.

Simultaneously, I forgot the truly exciting part of the game, and that is the depth of gameplay mechanic.  It’s little wonder I’ve lost a lot of steam towards my BYOND development lately because of this: without putting the effort into developing a compelling game, how can I  (the picky gamer at heart) be excited about creating it?

So I’m working on that now.


(For those who are curious (all 2 of you) that car I mentioned in the previous entry was lost to a blown headgasket and not enough money to afford the repair.  Good thing I’ve ample family cars to borrow until I get back on my feet.  Otherwise, I’d probably have to start taking the bus.

That’s not an attractive prospect with freezing weather about.  As I write this, it is snowing beautifully outside, with over 6 inches sitting atop the roadway outside my house.  Looks like the weather has me immobilized for a week or two.)

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