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RPR Archive The RPF Summer Challenge

Discussion in 'Role Playing Resource Archive' started by Imperial_Hammer, May 16, 2009.

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  1. LightWarden Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2001
    star 4
    Well, the continuing existence of the Game Master's Guild didn't stop DLotF from making his entry. Though technically, chess doesn't fit Hammer's definition of a "strategy game"... which says more about the lacking nature of the definition than anything else.

    Yes, games (as in, games made by people who at least can attempt to claim the title of "professional") may make a distinction between "Strategy" and "Tactics" (which usually tends to be something along the lines of "strategy is big picture of goals and the means to achieve them, while tactics are your encounter-to-encounter, situation-to-situation way of dealing with your problem with the materials you have at hand), but I don't think that's what you're really going for, nor do I think that most players are looking for a red-hot logistics simulator (and if they are, they're going to be amazingly disappointed).

    Game design is hard work (and often pays next to nothing if you're doing tabletop), and the problem is that all of the systems I've seen the RPF turn out tend to be little more than digital paperweights whose sole functions are looking shiny and being a prompt for when you inevitably turn to the player/GM to resolve what you just did. By asking players to come up with a "shop" and system for gathering holdings, it seems as though you're focusing only on the most superficial aspects of the genre and completely ignoring everything else that has to go with it. As written, it merely becomes an exercise in accounting, and rather nonsensical one at that.

    You'll get systems wherein you guys have price tags on everything from shoelaces to cruisers, but no way of figuring out what everything actually does. Otherwise you have a series of ornaments and wait for the GM to tell you just how they sparkle when placed next to each other. And as soon as you introduce some sort of independent arbiter in the form of a mechanics system, you probably want it to be fair and possess some degree of balance, but the problem is that the more mechanics you have, the more likely someone is going to come up with a truly innovative way to snap the game over his knee, or at least figure out the most effective way to utilize the resources at hand.

    You mention System Lords, and in all fairness, System Lords seems to have succeeded in spite of its mechanics rather than because of it. I mean, it literally costs more to buff a dent out of some of the cheaper vessels than it does to replace it altogether, prefabricated bases cost twice the sum of their parts, and... oh yeah, there is no metric for determining how individual units stack up to one another. For 36,000, you could buy a Super Star Destroyer and an Imperial Star Destroyer... or you could buy 12,000 TIE fighters. If you Zerg Rush those two star destroyers, what happens? If the fighters can manage better than a draw against the star destroyers, then you've just uncovered a viable strategy and might be able to beat your opponent in an economic battle just because it's literally the only option that's been given to you. Everything else seems to be delegated to the GM, so there's no real strategy that the system provides other than finding the unit with the highest damage:cost ratio and grabbing planets with the highest profitability. Yes there's stuff like positioning and force composition, but that's the GM's doing, which is why I said "in spite of its mechanics rather than because of it". True, tabletop games

    And System Lords has had at least four or five games to technically playtest it, while you're asking for a system made in a week that doesn't copy it and is made by people who, as far as I know, don't really play a lot of strategy games.

    Unfortunately, I'm afraid that the end result is going one or two people submitting a scenario and a list of prices/potential incomes, a few other people are going to tell them how good it is, then we're go
  2. LordTroepfchen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2007
    star 4
    How did my old mentor always say . . . there are experts and then there are experts. [face_laugh]
  3. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 6
    I think I might take a crack at this, but with only a week this could be difficult, to put it mildly...

    To say nothing of everything LW pointed out, which, for good or ill, I have to agree with.[face_tired]
  4. Imperial_Hammer Manager Emeritus: RPFs

    Member Since:
    Sep 25, 2004
    star 5
    I'm open to extensions if there are people that are wanting them. LW and Ramza are right that its tough to do it in a week, outside of a real sitdown-and-bang-it-out power session. I didn't know how many ideas are half formed out there that this challenge could prompt towards completion (ex: that one project Peng, Ramza, and a few others are working on).

    Just let me know if you guys need it.

    As to the "definition," I stand by it, though I probably should have used a phrase like "minimum requirements" or something. They're purposefully left superficial to allow for a maximal range of movement in design. If you have a strategy game that doesn't involve those two things, GDG, launch, and/or PM it to me! I would love to see how such a game would work and function.

    Finally, as to Light's extensive analysis of strategy games, its definitely food for thought. Right on the surface, I would ponder how bad the "Christmas Tree interpretation" actually is. So what if the GM has to make the ultimate call? I don't think RDG or S_L made any claims that System Lords didn't run according to that principal.

    I guess this hearkens back to the old and deeper D20 debate about if a subjective GM or an objective dice should determine the ultimate end result of actions. I know Ramza and I have danced to this tune quite a bit when he was launching Aria. Might have had a few rounds with Xan too :p.

    Never really paused to consider that dynamic though with "strategy" games. I wonder if there is a better word to describe what exactly those "types" of games are about. Hm.

    I'm going to see if this talk gets any traction or not as a big long debate. If it flourishes, it should probably be moved to the GDG or its own thread for easier future reference. But if its just a small little thing, we can keep it here.

    -I_H
  5. LightWarden Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2001
    star 4
    The definition of a roleplaying game for the purpose of this contest is any game that involves both 1.) a character sheet (or some other means) through which characters can be defined and 2.) an element through which characters may be added to that sheet.

    I stand by the definition, as it's purposefully left superficial to allow for a maximal range of movement in design. If you have a roleplaying game that doesn't involve those two things, GDG, launch, and/or PM it to me! I would love to see how such a game would work and function.


    You may have noticed that while those two elements are common to many of the games on this board, they are by no means actually definitive of what just about everyone around here would consider the core idea behind the game and using them as the definition would be indicative of a rather superficial grasp of the genre. You could design a game without them, but you'd probably still be missing the point if you didn't already have an idea in mind that doesn't use them as a foundation. Like maybe "strategy" or "role-playing".

    "Right on the surface, I would ponder how bad the 'Christmas Tree interpretation' actually is. So what if the GM has to make the ultimate call? I don't think RDG or S_L made any claims that System Lords didn't run according to that principal."

    Because it's an utterly vestigial system that somehow is enough to give it a new label and position. It contributes almost nothing and yet is held up as an example. Why bother having a system if you're not actually going to use it to resolve anything?

    "I guess this hearkens back to the old and deeper D20 debate about if a subjective GM or an objective dice should determine the ultimate end result of actions."

    This is only a "debate" in parody. Every single RPG system I know of has some form of "Rule #0" which boils down to "these rules are merely guidelines, the GM has the ultimate authority. Have fun." I wouldn't call dice "objective", they're random(ish) and impartial, but they're still entirely based on the framework of the rules that surround them. People use them for a variety of reasons, often dealing with adding uncertainty, being able to quantify differences between characters or resolving struggles. It's a tool you can use to make things, it has no will of its own. You get out what you're willing to put into it./>
  6. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    Regarding System Lords, those are valid points, but I don't see how it being a bad strategy game (in that the mechanics are broken) make it any less of a strategy game. Honestly every videogame I've ever played ends up being patched endlessly because someone figures out how to break the system, the developers try to fix it, someone figures out something else ... rinse and repeat. The fact that the TIE vs Star Destroyer thing has existed throughout the game is probably down to nobody having ever tried that (or maybe the problem of having to transport non-hyperspace-capable fighters to the battle? I dunno, I'm not familiar with the mechanics at all).

    And any strategy game on the boards is hampered by the play-by-post thing, anyway. You need mechanics that can be resolved with once-a-week GM updates.
  7. DarkLordoftheFins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2007
    star 4
    I actually don´t see a problem around most problems pointed out here. Maybe it is because I don´t played System Lords or know it´s system. I think a game that is based on the idea of strategic moves by players must be a system based and without GM solution to situations, while having a random factor that can be used, utilized and in cases minimalized by players decisions.

    In other words. Ying and Yang are for philosophers and religious men. Only.

    So, as tempted as I am to create such a game, I must also say that the post-by-post game is the least suited environment to create such a game. Actually I do not believe this way of playing works rather well. But that´s only me and other might think different.

    Concerning the GMG. Alive? Lightwarden, I was the last poster. And it was two years ago. If you call that alive, you might hunt autograms of Julius Cesar! :p

    And by the way, I do not believe a GM cannot be impartial.


    May I ask what people think about a new, living GMG? Because I would think about doing one, if there is interest.

    -Fin-

    />
  8. Sinrebirth SWC and EUC Forum Moderator

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Nov 15, 2004
    star 7
    I have something in mind - when is the strategy game in mind?
  9. Winged_Jedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 28, 2003
    star 4
    I have an idea for this one, but won't be able to write it up today. Can we get a couple days' extension?
  10. Imperial_Hammer Manager Emeritus: RPFs

    Member Since:
    Sep 25, 2004
    star 5
    A week's extension it is. Challenge 9 is due now on August 11th. I will probably go forward with Challenge 10 tomorrow though and just run them simultaneously.

    -I_H
  11. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    Reposting because it's a good question: is there demand for this, guys? I personally think it would be a fantastic idea, but (obviously) not if it's gonna be just me and Fins talking. :p
  12. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 6
    It's an interesting concept, to be sure. Logical response to DENTAL, after all.:p

    Also working on a game for the strategy game contest, but I've hit a bit of a brick wall with finalizing the rules. I guess I'll just see if I can get an entry in.
  13. LightWarden Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2001
    star 4
    Can't you just unlock and bump the existing thread, append the opening post and call it a day? I like that idea more than that of a fresh start.
  14. Sith-I-5 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2002
    star 5
  15. LordTroepfchen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2007
    star 4
    I am all for this new guild. I actually would be ready to shut down Codex09 to bring the expected traffic into it. We have discussed this for some time and are holding back our first analysis of Podracer as we speak, because we thought it might be a good start.

    It doesn´t seem it was very alive ever? May there be a reason? And it´s opening . . . I like Fin´s better . . . and anyway . . . olbies in all honor: But if your patient dies, change your therapy. I really think we need to talk about new stuff in the RPR. Really. It´s not THAT healthy that we can dare to do the conservative approach around here . . .

    Let the dead stay in their graves. Give Zombies no chance [face_peace]

  16. Imperial_Hammer Manager Emeritus: RPFs

    Member Since:
    Sep 25, 2004
    star 5
    Either which way works for me.

    I personally side towards a new thread because I don't really see a reason why one would not have a new one. Doesn't cost us any money, there's no cap or memory restrictions on thread making. Start fresh, start new. Its cleaner, easier, smarter. If its old info loss issue, a link to the old thread in the OP can solve that.

    That being said if someone can come up with a good reason why we need to keep the old one going, I'd be happy to do what Light said. Bump and append. But there's got to be some concrete reason why a new thread is bad / the old thread is good.

    Lets hear what Xan has to say on it and have this debate play out, and that will inform what is done.

    -I_H
  17. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    I'm with Imp on this one. I would be perfectly fine with unlocking and upping the old one, but why? A new thread isn't a big deal, and has the added advantage of being a fresh start with the correct Guild Master's name on the OP. It's also been my personal experience that new threads are less intimidating to people.

    But again, perhaps there's some other reason why upping the old GMG is a better idea...?
  18. BobaMatt TFN EU Staff

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Aug 19, 2002
    star 6
    Having that big tome of past wisdom right there and easily referenceable, for one.
  19. DarkLordoftheFins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2007
    star 4
    Well, if you guys go there every day to look up your stuff we shouldn´t take away your libary, of course. I haven´t known all of you frequented it so often. Maybe you should leave a comment there from time to time . . . and not only every two years ;)

    Dammit that was me two years ago . . . well . . . [face_whistling]

  20. Sith-I-5 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2002
    star 5
    Can we make it a guild for Co-GMs as well, so I could feel like it was for me too?
  21. DarkLordoftheFins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2007
    star 4
    If you read my OP there is a special mention of Co-GMs. So I´d say we covered this ;)

    Anyway, I´d say the opinions are rather divided and the only people who want a new GMG have something very similar already. Grateful to everybody for your opinions. I´d say we can move on with the challenge, then.

    Thank you.
  22. LightWarden Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2001
    star 4
    I think you should keep the old one because it would set a poor precedent otherwise. We routinely bump the Tips/Advice threads even though people keep ignoring them because otherwise we'd get a redundant set of threads, which is horrible for a resource system. The more you consolidate threads, the easier it is to navigate them. If you only have a smaller selection of threads, then you can afford to page back a page or two to see if there's anything relating to your question (though an index would also be useful in this sort of thing). The less redundant new threads, the better (it might not have been a bad idea just to make it so this board only lets mods create new topics, just to keep out the spam and the narrow-scope single-reply topics, with a "general questions thread" for when people need only a single response)

    I can't think of any reason that you should make a new thread.
  23. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    Matt - As Imp noted, this is easily solved by linking to the old thread in the OP.

    Fins - We are discussing the challenge. ;) Until the Strategy Game challenge ends, your GMG OP is the most current entry in the Portfolio.

    LW - Hmm. Yes and no. IMO the Tips/Advice threads are more of article repositories than anything else, and hence should be upped whenever someone has another to add. A guild is another kettle of fish entirely.

    In terms of precedent, though... hm. Interesting point. I don't think there's anything wrong with allowing a Game Master's Guild v2 or a Society for Free-Range Gaming v2 if there's demand for it (and in the case of the latter, if someone comes up with a new charter) - but I can see how we might not want to have a Fanon Wiki Thread v2 or a Fanfic Relations Thread v2 or stuff like that. Imp, thoughts? [face_thinking]


    Incidentally, I don't agree that the RPR should be a static Library Of Knowledge with only one or two pages - it should be a true discussion forum, and with that in mind I don't see the harm in allowing simple question threads like "How many people can fit into a sphere?" that die a natural death when they've served their purpose. There aren't so many of them that they choke Resource.

    As for an index, we have one, but you'd be right in noting it doesn't include links to the Guilds and suchlike, and it should. I'll add that to my to-do list - unless someone wants to volunteer to compile that? :D
  24. The Great No One Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2005
    star 8
    my two cents is go with a new thread. it's always harder to reboot an old one and actually get people to POST in it than to start a new one. the intimidation factor maybe? i don't know what exactly it is, but most of the time with guilds or fan clubs it just doesn't work. however tips and advice? different story altogether. honestly, i don't see how doing this for guilds creates a bad precedent if it is linked to the old one. look at it like this, social threads have how much roll over? guilds are like a social discussion thread of a specific thing, but it's focused somewhat. tips and articles are not. least that's how i see it, if that makes any sense whatsoever. not so sure on my word usage/choice right this precise second.
  25. RachelTyrell Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2009
    star 1
    Well, I have just returned and begin making smart comments on the whole discussion, already. And that as a newbie around here. I consider myself as good as permabanished, already :p

    Yet, as Fin has asked me to contribute to the GMG and especially to the "Theory-Section" - where I was meant to publish two translations from my Master-Thesis about interaction in text based games - I thought I might give my two cents . . . it is about me, in a way.

    First: There is a draft of what a GMG shall be in the Challenge-Portfolio and there is one in the board. I read both and I must say they are different. Very much so. I think what Fin envisions is a stuff of people working with others on their games. On their problems. Making games better. What the others did was giving people a place for discussion.

    What Fin envisions is Codex09 for everyone, is it? Because we do this all the time there, mostly in chats though. But a GMG cannot touch Design. Which makes me doubt the success of translating the concept. It must concentrate on other things. Like in-game development. A topic I´d say is SERIOUSLY underdeveloped around here.

    I point out Sinrebirth´s 41 ABY or LordTroepfchen´s The Cold Embrace . Their clue comes within´ the game. They must worry about questions of "building up to it" or "not overflowing players with information and alienating them" . . . therefore questions I think can hardly be discussed anywhere on the board. OP-Design doesn´t help them in any way.

    So, that´s what a GMG shall do, right? Discussions on topic about defined problems submitted. Guided by a GuildMaster (I know Fin approached one more person to do it and the decision is pending, so maybe it will not even be him. Though I think he is most qualified, himself).
    That is not what happened in the old guild, which had a more "I wanted to talk about something"-approach

    Actually I wanna point out that it might not be a Guild, but a service program. An organ of help, actually. Providing 1. Insight (specific and general aka theoretical) and 2. Actual Help.



    That leaves us with only one question.

    Is it wanted?

    What happened to No2? Shall he reopen the old one? That´s not the issue. I think it isn´t what he offered to the community. Therefore it is no use discussing it.

    I actually have no clue why people want that, as I must agree it seems to have been abandonned (and ironicaly Fin being the last person to have visited it in a try to reanimate it) and as all of those who claim to value it´s wisdom have abandoned it, too . . . what is the point? I might lack the understanding of the dynamics of the board. But consider this an "outside"-opinion.

    Anyway, I think it wasn´t offered to reopen the old one and can´t be taken as an option. Correct me here if I am wrong, Fin. I obviously have some extra-info from the PMs asking about my participation. I never felt we talked about reanimating anything there. He wanted to build it from the scratch.

    So back to the only question that remains.

    Is it wanted?

    Do people feel the need to do something like this?

    I can´t answer that. I do not need a GMG. I actually kinda got one. When I restart my game next month I know where to go to and ask for help. But I am aware my little Club is pretty exclusive for now. But this community was very welcoming. So what about everyone else? What about those who have been here so much longer? If all others feel that way or simply think they are to smart for advice . . . we all had a good time discussing it.

    If it happens, I´ll be there Fin and throw out whatever you wanna have of my Thesis. [face_peace]

    ~RachelTyrell
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