Saturday, May 31, 2014

Wrapups and Kickoffs

Tonight we wrapped up our Star Wars-ish game. The group had laid a trap for Darth Vader, knowing he'd be coming for Duke - who had earlier promised to join him on the Dark Side. but then reneged. They had found an abandoned Separatist base from the Clone Wars, equipped with a killer weapon - a giant light sabre that could slash to orbit, powered by a volcano through a giant force crystal.

Long story short, they lured two Star Destroyers into range and slashed, cutting one in half and destroying the other's sensors in the nose, then destroyed most of the Stormtrooper-carrying shuttles with the giant sword, and fighting off two others trying to land with their fighters. Simultaneously, Vader, in a Super Star Destroyer, let off a massive blast over the volcano, frying their electronic systems with an EMP burst. They used luck to say their systems were hardened military issue, and rebooted scans in time to see the Super Star Destroyer in orbit, ready to bombard them. They used the sword weapon one last time, and hit the SSD, then fled, taking the crystal with them. They sent the Y-Wing up to destroy the SSD's hyperspoace engines, which it did with torpedoes, smashing through a screen of tie fighters first on the way, then it to leaped for hyperspace and safety.

We then set up for out _Look! Up In The Sky!_ game, creating the Confederacy of Calamitous Doom, known to everyone else as the Incompitint Basterds. They have a Time Share of a Secret Base at Six Flags New Orleans, shared with other super villain groups - never repaired after Hurricane Katrina - for one month a year, as well as a platoon  of Goons and a platoon of Mooks, 6 vintage AMC Gremlins, and an excellent PR department with a PR Specialist, a Graphic Artist, A Lawyer and Law Clerk, and a Copywriter.

The League consists of The Commander of the Serpent Armies, The Mole, Bubblegum Girl, and Communist Man. They start off having just killed their nemesises Mongoose Man, Clown Girl, Edward Scissorhands, and Captain Capitalism, protectors of New Orleans. They had led the heroes into a bubble trap laid by Bubblegum Girl, and while they were stuck, they were hit by a random meteorite. Bow New Orleans lies open to them - provided they can keep the other super villains, whom they time share the Amusement park with, away.

Lowell Was Right! - One Week In

Just a note - over one week, Lowell Was Right! sold about 80 copies in Pay What You Want. Of that, 23 wanted to pay something. Average amount paid by those who paid was almost $4.00, so just under $100 total gross. Now this is way more than I would expect if I sold them for $10.00 each. This title is in a tiny little niche of a niche of a niche, and is hard to actually describe. It doesn't fit into any genre, and it's not OSR or a Story Game or a big publisher new school game. So, I'm pleased, and maybe PWYW is the best way to get stupid little games like this out. :D

Friday, May 30, 2014

Gut Feel and Game Design

"Gut feel" is is a two edged sword. "Gut feel" is an internalization of logic - a shortcut to the proper answer without conscious thought. It is also, by the same token, an internalization of 'what has been done before', and thus also a shortcut to the *safe* answer. The shortcut only works on what you have internalized, which means you totally comprehend it, which means it is utterly and completely known territory. What we don't know is always vastly larger than what we do know, and what we know - that is, that which we have a fairly vague but useful understanding of - is always vastly larger than what we comprehend - that is, what is known so well we have internalized it. "Gut feel" therefore can only lead us to what we already know. It cannot lead out of that territory, which can only be understood by exploring, learning, and studying that which lies outside our internal oikumene*. 

*Koine Greek for "Known World"

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Interesting Results for Lowell Was Right! Experiment

Interesting results for my experiment with releasing Lowell Was Right! - A Very Different Now as Pay What You Want. The vast majority of people are paying nothing, meaning the game is worth nothing to them. This is entirely expected. I anticipate very few of these people will actually do anything with it - if it's worth nothing, it's worth nothing, after all! A few people are paying the recommended amount of ten dollars. About the same number of people are paying various strange amounts in between. The first is rather unexpected - I anticipated only one or two would feel the game was worth the full price. The second is more what I expected. What isn't expected is the strange amounts some people are paying - the game is worth exactly four dollars and 16 cents to someone. How they arived at that price is... beyond me. The various payment amounts average to a bit over a buck per copy sold, which is slightly more than I expected. Anyway, an update for you all! :D

Friday, May 23, 2014

Lowell Was Right! Escapes!

Last night, Lowell Was Right - A Very Different Now escaped into the wild. She had been contained past the proper point of release, and it was time to allow her to escape, where she can live the rest of her short life in something approaching freedom before she expires, unnoticed, in the leaf litter of the vast forest of words that is the internet. She is feeble and toothless, and if you should chance to see her, gently avert your gaze until she passes. She cannot possibly harm anyone in her state - her fiercest onslaught consisting of gumming at one's ankles. Take pity, and hide your eyes, and do not mark her wandering path to her inevitable, obscure death.

Thank you!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Releasing Lowell Was Right!

So I'm releasing Lowell Was Right! this coming Friday. If I can figure out how, it will be released for Pay What You Want. This is because I figure I could count on my fingers all the people who would actually be interested in this game, with a few fingers left over, and if I release it for PWYW, a few folks may actually enjoy it if they happen to DL it. It may be the tiniest niche anyone has ever published a game for! As usual, there will be lots and lots of tools for generating all kinds of weird stuff, so maybe someone will want it because of the pieces, like buying an old car for parts. :D

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Performing Gigs in High Strung

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Using the Club's TN, roll one die. If the roll is at or under the TN, Something Will Go wrong.
Club TNs - Local = 7, Metropolitan = 5, Regional = 3, and National = 1.
Roll on the following chart to see what that problem is:

Roll    Problem
1    There is a cold going around and the band has it. All TNs have a penalty of -1
2    Someone mislaid the electrical cords! Band must borrow replacements! All TNs -1
3    A percussionist sprained a wrist. All this member's TNs at -2
4    One of the members has a family problem, and can't make it - roll a die,  highest is it
5    A Lead member had an accident at work and cut a finger. All this member's TNs at -2
6    If any member is hooked on drugs, stash is stolen. All this member's TNs -3
7    If any member is hooked on sex, member is shot down. All this member's TNs -3
8    If any member is hooked on booze, member is drunk. All this member's TNs -3
9    If any member is hooked on partying, member is exhausted. All this member's TNs -3
10    One member is in a funk. Roll a die,  highest is it. All this member's TNs at -2
11    The Roadie's van broke down, and he has to get a ride. Band is late! -2 to all TNs
12    Club has electrical fault! All amps randomly go out through performance. -2 to all TNs
13    A member is too sick,  a buddy subs, but doesn't know songs. All band's TNs at -2
14    Club's sound guy is utterly polluted. All Vocal TNs at -3
15    Whole band partied too much last night! Hangovers result in -2 to all TNs
16    Drunk audience member climbs on stage! Chaos erupts! -2 to all TNs!
17    Fight breaks out at club! Cops come! No gig!
18    Roadies get lost, can't find club. Band must borrow equipment. GM assess penalties as appropriate.
19    Main vocalist has laryngitis. Other band members have to take all vocals
20    Club's transformer blows. No juice, no electrics in the performance

The Performance

Gig are the central pacing mechanic in High Strung. Gigs earn you Notice and  Hope. Without gigs, the band will go nowhere.

When a band performs at a gig, the individual songs are not tested - except for debuts of important songs. The gig as a whole is a test of the band, and everyone in the band has to contribute for it all to work.

At the end of the gig, each member of the band makes a skill check, counting the number of successes. The successes are applied to the individual aspects of the performance - Vocals, Lead, Bottom, and Rhythm. The successes are normalized by averaging - if there are two performers contributing to Vocals, divide the Vocal successes by two. This gives a number-neutral rating for the performance.

Add together the four categories, and multiply by the rating of the Club. This gives you the amount of Notice the band has gained for the gig. Each performer gets a base of one Hope point as well. If an aspect of the performance is 3 or more, each performer contributing gets a second Hope point, and if the aspect is 5 or more, each contributing performer gains a third Hope point.