Playtesting continues to bear fruit. Last night (Thursday) we poked and prodded at SC3, as the guys made characters, worlds, and aliens. We also decided which mechanic to use (StarNova) and how many troupe characters each (three). John found some formating issues, a couple simply fixed, others requiring more effort. Tim also found a formating problem in CharGen, one which one of my Saturday players also hit - fixed by making the sidebox text more prominent.
This will be a problem with running StarCluster 3 - it requires some time and effort to set up in play. The good part is, if you set it up in game with the players helping, everyone learns and buys into the system. The good thing about the GM setting it up out of game play is that you can jump right in, but you don't have the understanding of the setting you gain with making it. I expect 3rd party pre-made settings to be a popular add-on, either for profit or for free.
I also came up with a simple and easy to use method of using senses. In a game featuring aliens and animal uplifts, senses can play a powerful role. Humans have a fine sense of sight, but everything else is pretty poor, so all the skill chances are normalized to human sight. In SC3, human sight is ranked at 3. If McGruff, your bloodhound uplift with a sense of smell ranked 5 wants to Track a fugitive, how does it work?
Well, Tracking is normalized for Human sight (3). McGruff is using Smell 5. Subtract that 3 from the sense you are using to de-normalize it. 5-3 is +2. Each point of difference is worth a Small Modifier. McGruff, then adds 2 Small Bonuses to his Tracking skill check. Suppose a Human (Hearing 1) wanted to Observe a conversation by overhearing it? Subtract 3 from 1, getting a result of -2. The human would have 2 Small Penalties to his Observe skill check. Works a treat!
Now, using a different sense for swimming would not net you any result, because like many skills, Swimming is not sensory based. However skills like Analyze could very well be sensory-based. Senses need to be ranged as well, with standard range modifiers, but that can wait til tonight to finalize!