Archive for May, 2009

Not all ideas produce great games

May 25, 2009

It’s sad to say, but not every idea you start to develop will turn into a great game.

It’s important to recognise when what seemed like a good idea turns out to be rubbish, either over complicated, too difficult to produce or just not fun.

Look for ways to change what you are developing to remove the pain, but be ready to put the idea out of it’s misery if it’s not coming together, and move on to something else.

There are lots of good ideas, but not enough time to develop them all. Don’t flog a dead horse, but move on to the next thoroughbred when it feels like it’s time.


Repeating yourself

May 18, 2009

Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself on occasion. Returning to previous themes is a very valid way of expanding upon them and developing the ideas within them.

Multiple blog posts on the same topic will catch your new readers, and remind your long term ones of the previous posts. Multiple games focussed in the same style or theme allow you to build on previous ideas.

Returning to old work lets you see the flaws in it you couldn’t see when you first did it, the detatchment produced by time gives you a more independent view of your work, and allows you to improve it.

Don’t rely on repeating the same themes, mechanics and ideas, but always be aware that returning to the past can help you build something new.

A Bit of Bad Luck

May 12, 2009

A Bit of Bad Luck is a new Necromunda scenario for one player and an Arbitrator.

A gang runs into a motley crew of Hired Guns as they leave the scene of a recent gang fight. Battered and bruised, they need to take on these foes before they can enjoy the loot from their previous encounter.

This is a great scenario to make use of my Hired Gun creator, it’ll let you create the adversaries in seconds, and allow you to get going with the game nice and quickly.

I’m also trying a new look for main Necromunda page, check it out, and see if you like it better than the old design.

Fantasy Worlds

May 11, 2009

It’s easy to set your game in a fantasy world, and much harder to get by in a sci-fi realm. Using the real world falls somewhere in between.

The reason for this is the shared understanding of the faux-medieval culture to most people likely to be playing your game. Everyone understands knights, dragons, merchants and maidens. Using these cultural shorthands save a lot of explaining, allowing you to focus on the differences that are important to your game, whilst being able to farm out some concepts to a shared understanding.

It’s a lot harder in a science fiction setting as there’s no shared understanding, especially if you are creating your own future. The world building has to be much more in depth, you have to make choices over what you are aiming for, whether it’s Blade Runner, Star Trek, Firefly or something completely different, you have to make your world choices, and make sure people understand them.

Picking the middle ground of the ‘real world’ throws up a few more difficulties, you have probably got a shared understanding of some facets, but by no means all. The real problem can lie in the need for correctness that some of your players may exhibit when presented with a real world scenario. In a fantasy world, you get to decide how fast a dragon flies. In the real world you’d better get the airspeed of a 747 right, or have a good reason for the abstraction, or you’ll be defending yourself from nitpickers forever.

Pick your game setting carefully, make use of fantasy settings to give you a shorthand, but don’t force this, and don’t let yourself become lazy. Pick what works for the game you want to create, and be prepared for the work you need to do to make it real.

Trickle down

May 4, 2009

One of the biggest benefits of the web is the trickle down effect you see when you can put up lots of content, and keep it there forever.

My most popular pages are some that have been around for a long time, especially my Countdown game (over 20,000 games played) or my Necromunda pages. If we were still living in a print world, we wouldn’t see this. Something would get published, then forgotten about. once the next issue arrived.

Taking the existence of powerful search tools into account, and repeatedly growing your content, you can create a snowball effect. It’s not about starting off with a bang, but looking for slow and consistent growth.

Make content available to people, make it easy for them to find more of your content, and keep it around in the same place for a long time, and this will grow your visitors, pageviews, and hopefully you can convert that into people playing your games and haveing fun.