Tuesday, March 1, 2011

More on mapping tools into the character level

I'm here in Orlando Florida, visiting my son Klaxon. So far we are having a lot of fun - went to the Kennedy Space Center yesterday, and we'll be taking in a couple of spring training games and meeting up with orklord next week.

Some time ago, I posted that IMO, a key to good traditional design is making all the player operated in-game tools map to something about the character. This is why one doesn't lose immersion while rolling to hit. In the game world, that roll is the character using a weapon. You can project that to less concrete examples - in many of my games, Personality Traits are part of the character - If a character is using his Hotheaded 2 Trait, he's losing his temper in a profitable way. Similarly if he has the Edge Night 1, he has special training or other experience using the cover of night to his benefit.

It seems to me at least that when there is no such mapping, the use of a player tool becomes jarring, because it has no equivalent mapped ability in the game world - the player must handle it at the player level rather than the character level. Where there is no tool too use, this is not a problem, as in many games where social interaction is done without any mechanic. Since no tool is used, the player stays at character level, engaging directly with the game world.

Just interesting stuff, I think!


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