Thursday, April 29, 2010

Creature Creation: Animal Intelligence and IQ.

The Chimps' emotional response to death caught on film is something that gets me wondering about Non-human races that are not as smart as we are. What I find exciting about this is that a "little" more intelligence could mean a very basic culture (communicate collective knowledge and pass on successful strategies), the ability to use a greater variety of tools, and insight to creatures that can give that Non-human threat but enough room to cause a character's or player to rethink or re-examine their personal codes.

The study of Ethics is something basic and should be compulsory (IMO). My not-so intimidating description of ethics is: the knowledge of learning if what I do harm people in any way. RPGs are one of the best medium to explore it harmlessly. Now and then cultural and personal biases and conscience needs some good-ol' re-evaluation if I'm taking a certain assumption for granted. Which leads me to the scary next topic.

Scary Revelation about IQ. There is something quite shocking about the history of IQ. Summarizing it quickly: it was intended to help French students catch up, it was carefully made clear that it was never meant to "measure" intelligence.
Some recent thinkers seem to have given their moral support to these deplorable verdicts by affirming that an individual's intelligence is a fixed quantity, a quantity that cannot be increased. We must protest and react against this brutal pessimism; we must try to demonstrate that it is founded on nothing . - Alfred Binet
What is scary about IQ is that it was used in Eugenics. Henry H. Goddard used it to promote his Ideology. It was where the terms Moron, Imbecile, and Idiot came from. It was instrument in Buck vs Bell 1927 where there was compulsory sterilization!

YIKES!!! I mean, after finding that out, I'd stay as far away from IQ as a Measure of Intelligence as much as possible (just learned it TODAY!). I know IQ tests have changed much today, but still: using it to discriminate between people gives me a lot of negative association signals. I guess thats why they have targeted Proficiency and Intelligence exams instead. Good thing there are no organizations that use IQ tests to choose its members (/sarcasm).

Multiple Intelligence theory is not just the prevailing hypothesis it is a factual Theory (like Evolution, Germ, Gravitation). Savants with intelligence specializations like Spatial, Mathematical, Language, Music, etc. all point to several different intelligences.

Personally, I think most working intelligence comes from Environmental. I would put it at about 2/3rds. Obviously education and learning habits are environmental. Multiple Int. theory, and the questions still left unanswered is a strong argument of the possibly we have yet to uncover so much. I think society has a way to go in eliminating the natural bias and overvalue of a small number of abilities for the appreciation of the diversity of it.

I guess I have a personal bias in such an assumption. I find it better to assume people are smarter than I used to or others would give them credit for. It just seems to be a better diplomatic strategy over all. Even when people may not appear as intelligent, just because they ask questions about assumptions I take for-granted should not and other possible habits should not be a measuring stick. Especially since I don't have access to all aspects of their lives.

Progress Update: keepinig me Busy

This is what is keeping me busy right now. I'm doing this on a laptop so it is slow and the screen size doesn't help. As a priority I'm not able to move as quickly to do my game design writing.

Then nice thing about 3d is from the stand point of a drawing artist: I have a model I can keep coming back to for new poses and angles. I hate how just when you think you have everything, there is another angle shot missing and its just not the same.

When i was trying to draw my comic, again and again I was stumped by angles and perspectives. A little artist secret is that skill comes in the form of memorizing a ton of these images. the memory it takes up is better served in more often used skills in my opinion, like social and critical thinking.

Drawing skill, the external computational one gains from language, notebooks, picture references and mathematical formulas are available thanks to technology. I think its better use of attention to just keep it organized instead of holding it all.

So I'll have to do about a dozen of these faces to get the hang of it. I have to keep notes how many "faces" I have to do per individual feature: like noses, mouth, lips, etc. There is a technique required in 3d in order for a mesh to be animated, where all the "faces" or shapes that make it up are squares. I mean ALL! No triangles or it will screw up on render. I wish I had a 22 inch screen to work on it. Screen size affects productivity, I'm sure many of the desk jockeys already know that.

Studio dreams - Open source software means, costs that would have been going to material capital goes to human capital.

I was doing the numbers of the cost to have my own production line and borrowed money from a bank at 20-12% interest (its rather high over here). Calculate ROI and have several previous projects to have a good intuition about project cost, scheduling, and organization. 3d Graphics, non-super realistic can earn a good return in about less than a year IF the crew is fully trained.

Add up a non-professional crew from the ground up and it might take 2 years, including possible man power loss to get ROI. Of course the ideals and assumptions made are all pretty optimistic. Its better to just continue on my path as developing the open source 3d arm of the company than go independent. Income and project diversity and adaptability matters more when there is no complete mastery yet.

AND, if I going solo means less time doing what I find fun: writing my homebrew.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Creature Creation: Science Behind Size

I got this from the NYT article about Big Bang Theory. The blog of the scientist who makes the show credible. This recent post nicely explains the relationship of creature size to strength, metabolism and means. Even with the limitations we can still come up with hella scary creatures, its just a little more challenging but whole lot more plausible.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Gaming about Gaming

RPG Blog II's if If RPGs Were More Like Pro Sports… Reminded me of a discussion some friends and I were having: Why not go all the way for a CCG?

A friend of mine and his wife had an idea for a Gamer Card game. The object of the game is to have fun. You get it by having "Player" and "GMs" that contribute fun in points.

In the Card Game, Players try to recruit, steal, or convert people into players or GMs. These Character cards are used to run campaigns and adventures. Characters, Campaign and Situations allow certain other cards to be played. Playable action cards are made up of many gamer situations as well as system that will allow for in jokes (blank template card).

Theres dice rules and sub rules representing game systems and home brews. WOTC DnD, Old School gaming, WOD, FUDGE etc. will be represented in a way that they allow for the odd outcomes that usually result from their games.

Game ends after a "Game Year" and players tally the fun, stories, "take home lessons" and inspiration they get.

Playable cards would be like: Escalate Argument, Joke Gone too far, In-Joke (all new players get -1 reaction, all old players get +1 reaction), Moves because of Job, Has a Family, Needs time with Better Half, Nanny, GMing with dependents, Burn Out, Game Compulsion (-1 to social life, character obsesses to the point of being unable to balance other relationships) etc.

Ideally, players make personalized cards of friends and each other through a character creation system that is not joy-killing overtly powerful. Everyone puts their cards online to download and print so they end up "playing" a game all the way in another state or country. Old gaming buddies who moved away, retired, etc can be in the deck to relive old times.

Epic cards can be in the form of Gynax and Anerson, or Local Legends, Web Comic Characters etc.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Game Design: Organizing the Art

Art is something that can really help bring out the imagery with a cost efficient expense of effort. My inspiration are the first empires and how they became myths and legends of unattainable greatness contrasted with the present and the rise of new empires.

The chapter is mostly finished with most of the work left being house cleaning and layout its time to start thinking about art.

Quality output: sketchy and rough. I'm my own artist and I need to take it easy or else burn out.

Introduction Art
Product: 2 page spread image with 1/2 page of text
Features: Silhouettes of a great city and armies (clashing or marching from it)
Prep: Choose from a set of grand city scape angles (will be hard part and take the most time), sketch, and find a way to create armies. If unsuccessful with 2d, fall back on a 3d, then trace over and embellish.
Decision: (noting my decisions so that when I do change my mind, and do alterations when I begin I can follow the chain of reasoning). - An RPG without Dungeons (Blashphemy), it is about climbing the status quo to be great princes, kings, generals, warlords or emperors.
- estimated time 2-3 weeks. 1 week looking for a good pic. +1 week with basic 3d work.

Character Creation: Ability Scores
Product: 18 sketched elements. 4-5 elements occupying 1/5 to 1/4 page.
Features: 3 per ability score, equal distribution of gender and featuring all races. Ideally exceptions: smart Orc, charismatic dwarf, strong elf, weak orc, ailing dwarf, graceless elf or gallyn. Mental attributes can be displayed via symbolism surrounding the character: Alphabets, language, numbers, etc for Int. Wis is represented by intuitive symbols, which I will research. Charisma can be seen a physical and mental.
Prep: Just use the Fantasy Reference: Fantasy Figures. Must make list of what to draw: 18 quick sketches. research appropriate symbols for mental attributes.
Decision: This is low priority but one of the easiest to do. Sketches for this is good practice and allows me to brush up on my skills, as I move to more difficult works.

Character Creation: Background: Races and Social Status
Product: Peoples and Races make about 18 sketches. Occupies 1/4-1/5 for every 3 or 4.
Features: Features art for each peoples, races, social status, and samples of their genders.
Prep: Researching Ancient Near East modern interpretations. Not much in costumes, but stressing more on physical features. Some peoples look very much a like.
Decision: For the small size of these pictures, they pretty much sum up more than words what the player is going for. I think it is always important that such background distinctions be made. Detailed text regarding backgrounds of cultures will be left for the Campaign setting Chapter for Players.

Character Creation: Professions
Product: 12 Archetype drawings occupying 1/4-1/5 page for every 3 or 4.
Features: 12 Achretype portraits. Probably between half and full shot.
Prep: List of Races and Archetypes and what they will be doing. Sample poses for these characters. A list of 12.
Decision: Like backgrounds, important. Particularly dispelling how Uncool certain achetypes are and marketing each archetype as playable by any style.

Character Creation: Character Values
Product: A page of Symbols and Imagery of Concepts incorporated in the layout.
Features: A tree of images and a metaphorical tree.
Prep: ??? Will figure this out.
Decision: Represent the concept of self-interest and how decisions are based on this, regadless of the rationality of it all.

Character Creation: Starting Equipment
Product: 4 Half pages of items.
Features: Illustrating items to show what they are and their parts.
Prep: Get a short list of most important Items. At the quality expected 20 key items. This includes slaves and servants.
Decision: Illustrate, that way when players want to modify and customize bits of their gear there will be a baseline for it.

Character Creation: End page
Product: 1 or 1/2 page
Features: Either an outpost, inn, camp or oasis where strangers meet and stories exchanged.
Prep: Finalize what it is going to be.
Decision: Closure for the chapter and the player to know what is enough to start.

A new Gaming Template: Instead of Party of Adventures jumping into a dungeon, killing and taking stuff move towards something slightly different. Diving into Conflicts, and giving this conflict an image: Intrigue, Espionage, War, Politics, Trade etc. Give it an image so that people can approach it.
Ethics and RPGs. a game that allows GMs who want to try ethical problem solving. Game Theory branched out from Economics, as more mathematically precise tools to predict human behavior and decision making. The ability to predict social consequences to actions was once monopolized by great empire builders are now in the hands of players. The ability to shape a civilizations and peoples becomes a new sense of accomplishment beyond gold, treasure and xp. While the GMs have better tools in simulating these things and providing the neccessary challenge and unforseen consequence.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Progress Report: April 24 2010

Part 1: Character Creation, 8,355 words
Part 2: How to Play and Adventuring, 8,055 words
Chapters and Topics (no order)
1. Character creation walk through - Floating boxes of examples. Do this once I finish all of How to play. Probably take an hour to make, another hour for the sample character's story write ups. I should use the NPC personalities generator for this.
2. Sample Play - 10 pages of conversation , triple column with illustrations. 2-3 weeks. ideally I would like a comic book, it would probably take me a day to write an outline, another to download all the pix i can find of gamers over their tables, another day arranging the drawing work flow, and a week sketching, and a week finishing up.
3. Starting equipment - Write ups of key equipment pieces, packages, and typical assets per status level. probably in a week. what takes the most time is figuring out what equipment needs to be in, packages and accounting, and compiling notes on art. A week for the art. What art will be important in explaining things.
4. Skills - write up description of skills and mechanics with regards to key skills. Most complex skills done. A week to organize, another week to sketch, and another week to finish up art.
5. Adventuring: Travel, Work and Effort Chapter - reorganize and finish up. finish up by tomorrow (at least the reorganization). will organize art needs, 2 weeks.
6. Combat - conclusively finish up, assess and critique short comings and write down decisions as to why. Probably next week, squeeze in a couple of hours for this. Next week, write up all art requirements or needs for explaining combat best. Practical and Illuminating illustrations about combat flow would probably take a week to organize and sketch, and another week to finish up.
7. NPC generator and typical encounter roster - very quickly generate personalities on the spot. I might probably write up several role-playing personalities and how the GM can randomly and less-predictably spin the personality to something different. reminds me of cooking where if you have elements of savory, fat, acidity, texture etc you have to always put a contrast. It should just take a week for the NPC personal variety generator. Art for this 2 weeks.
8. Creatures - A fantastic menagerie of creatures and their ecologies. Most earthly domesticated animals will be intact. A bit of xenobiology for some of the hazardous creatures. A week at most. The art will take a while. 3 weeks: organization, art (sketches and finishings) and write ups.
9. Character sheets - after character creation and combat has been tested to satisfaction. Character sheet and its art will probably take 2 weeks. female and male blank body templates for sketch over armor and weapons. another set for small bodied characters.

a week of art probably produces on average 2.5 sketches, and another week to finish up.

10. maps - Roman empire and the Mediterranean as my baseline is 7.5 million square miles. At 20km hexes and only the area of the Roman Empire 5million sq km that would be 120 PAGES! Oh crude. Being practical and considering how much time everything else is eating up: 2-3 weeks on the maps. a two page spread the area of the Roman Empire at its height. 2 page spread of a particular setting start up point and adventure.

Conclusion 26 weeks from this week. Half a year. That will keep me busy and entertained. Hopefully i don't burn out. Along with these progress reports, this would be a fun ride.

Leave with some of the sketches I'm doing so far:

A rather plain drawing of a Kavad man... ick. but what the hell, might as well finish it.

This is for the character sheet armor profile. It is supposed to be an ambigous armor because textures like: plates, bands, lamellar, scale, mail, padding, cloth or leather is not that visible. Intended for players to draw over.

Basic Combat Shot.

Very basic, of course, more action lines and perspective will do well to improve on this. Note as i said before, this is from a very pixelated picture. So pixelated I can't really see what the other guy really doing so I just have to make sense of the picture on my own.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Progress Report: Excuses

I've hit some speed bumps, like everyone else its work and I shouldn't talk about it here.

So far I've been busy revamping my stamina system. Physical and Mental Endurance management is a BIG deal for me and I want the game system to reflect that well. Its a detail that I've observed never taken into consideration in games but happens to drive more real life decisions more than people credit for.

Effort and Risk. Two things that should be in the decision making process that Reign in what players CAN or MAY do. If I can get this system in place and people get the natural hang of it, no problem.

Often when I munchkin I take advantage of systems that doesn't take the two into consideration. If I don't exploit it first in a way to show the GM the consequences before it ruins the game, it might come by to bite my fun down the line.

So in my system its pretty much built in. It took some time to test the math and the consistency of the rules, particularly of effort. Fatigue and effort systems are tricky, if you learned to manage and pace yourself at work or was the type to work till you burned out then you might agree with me that the balancing act may be harder than the task itself.

A little background of my observations come from a history of compulsive behaviors that run in my the family (mother and siblings), add in flow (perpetuating feedback loop) and lowered self-control during times of fatigue and exhaustion and it becomes very nasty and self destructive condition. Subtle Personality changes are quite notable depending on my energy levels, to my loved ones its not so subtle.

Anyway, back to the topic: Effort, energy, fatigue, sustainable work and that balancing act. Re-writing all that after I discovered my system was getting too complicated and not consitent. It should be a mark-down and forget system. i figured it out, and to my knowledge, it kicks ass that I as able to make very versatile. I'm happy and reassured to know no one saw that stoopid mistake.

Word Count - I've been studying up speed reading, and I've come the conclusion it is more ability than skill. I read about 150 words per minute at a good comprehension, that is rather slow. So I realized that I should cut down my word count for explanations at 100 or 50. I was thinking details would rock, like explaining the principles of sword physics BUT i realized if people would WANT to read on that they are better off going to ARMA than seeing it in equipment entry. At most it should specifically help the reader Wiki item and details online with helpful key terms.

A Song of Ice and Fire. I got my copy of the green ronin book today. For the quality of the paper, I'm just mildly disappointed that they couldn't get better artists. I was not aware the word count was sparse. I was hoping for a BIG map.

There is nothing like amateur art to inspire you to draw. Easy enough to do, but even if you manage to equal or relatively improve on it, you are never compared to the standards of professionals. Its a cheap shot, so the point is having some fun. As long as you just show the art and don't go around pointing and heckling what you improved on there is no harm in it.
Maps. I calculated that if I wanted to make a setting the size of the Europe, Levant (up to Euphrates) and the bit of Africa with enough detail to have days travel in hexes (32km) it would be around 64 pages on a letter sized book. Yeah, thats a lot of work, but 64 pages of maps is worth way more than 64,000 words. If I made a map, it would go a VERY long way in shortening the word count while leaving the GM feeling free to improvise. Of course a picture takes more work than 1,000 words IMO.

A TON of things to draw... but where to start. Ok, i just came from downloading a bunch of pics off the net from weapon sparing shots. Action shots, with center of gravities in dynamic motion. So I've got a lot of new stuff to edit, alter and trace over. The pictures are blurry, very small and pixelated.

Thats ok, I only really need is the silhouettes so that I get my joints and proportions right. Since this is an Ancient Setting (early Iron age), armor is rare so most of the fighting will be with shields and lighter blades (shortswords). So I'm beginning my set up processes. Maybe line up some work and expectations so that I can breeze through it.

Action shots are always useful in decorating the Combat Chapter. I recomend tracing the sparing shots in the flurry of action. One of the nice things about it is that

i wish had faster internet and find more social interaction shots. Several people talking and their emotions clearly visible from their body language. That would be the next bunch of pix I need to get to fill up the book art.

Next would be Group shots. Groups of people standing together in a relaxed mood is useful to illustrate the archetypes and parties. Travel shots, where a group of people are trudging along is another useful template to trace over.

Imagining how the book would probably be like after all those dreams and ideas were made real can be addicting but it keeps me motivated to chug on.

Thanks to china made slim drawing tablets and open source programs in making this hobby MUCH cheaper. The tablet I'm using is bigger than my screen. Here is another cheap tablet. It is a Chinese version of this tablet at 1/2 the price. I think if you order it in ebay Philippines and have it delivered it still comes out way cheaper. CDRKing is a china made electronics importer in the Phils that gets a lot of everything at 1/2 to 1/5 its regular price ($270 LCD projectors- dream gaming table). The capital is so cheap, makes me want to start a Digital Art and CG studio. Time to stop dreaming and start working.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Leverage - Make a Will Save

Leverage is magic of an acolyte of game theory. It may not look so magical when one looks at it with outcome bias but apply some good old'fashion role-playing by taking an alternate perspective and its hell'a powerful.

Getting leverage is not easy, like many things in strategy and tactics the idea is 0.1% of the work involved and the other 99.9% is actually acquiring that leverage.

We usually all deal with leverage in everyday things. The problem of most people face with getting leverage is where to start looking and how to go about getting it. Now THAT's the adventure.

A demon will come to take the Queen's infant child away, and the King has set out the adventurers to find a way for stop the creature. Let me point out that the demon, is one that all the king's men, all his armies, his gold, etc. cannot stop... except for the likes of innovative and cunning heroes.

The stage is set and the party begins to play a game of questions with the GM. its like playing the game of riddles of old. what will stop this demon, and what can the lowly PC's do that the king cannot!

Getting a leverage over a demon is quite the adventure that can lead to discovery of uncomfortable and sordid secrets about the king, his queen and the kingdom they rule.

Game Design Inspiration - Ishtar.
Overtime, sexual taboo is something society is getting over in the real world. Opening up conversation and rational inquiry about the matter can be quite enlightening, particularly when one examines sexuality in its history and what it has come to transform into. Fun in games is playing on the REAL needs of characters, I'm not just talking about whoring but families, spouses, urges and relationships.

I'm not the type to put sexuality in the center of my games, but I like it if the characters are not-all asexual beings. As normal people they are much at the mercy of their passion as the rest of us.

I'm curious given the cruelty by way of righteousness the Assyrians has inflicted on its rebels and forced vassals relates to their Goddess who is patron of War and Sex, the Sacred Profession of Prostitution and the overall power women had in their society. The ideas and how they are related makes titling Imagery and Scenery of powerful women along side powerful men. Something like our modern sensibilities regarding sex, family and responsibility.
That would be awesome to incorporate into a game setting.

Friday, April 16, 2010

World Building in 3d

World building is not just exclusively in writing, but it also extends to art and digital art. Writing up campaign settings, characters and heroes is the default way to build a world, but for some Art is an equally valid way.

I'm trying to learn blender for many other reasons. One of the best ways to learn is to study up on what I want to achieve and find the tools I will need to accomplish it.

So I'm researching 3d landscaping with blender. I have no problems finding 3ds Max (the system I've been trained in) tutorials, I own the books. But 3ds Max is not something I can share with regular people. The company I'm working for spent $5000 to purchase ONE seat license. Its enough to purchase a 2 china made cars! I can spend that same amount and spread it over computers and training for blender!

So I'm starting from scratch-ish. not exactly scratch I learned how to learn with 3ds max. I know how to get answers and a better process of experimentation and knowledge retention.

I've been looking for something to work towards, specifically a reusable use of my time after the I learn what i've set out to learn. I stumbled on 3d Medieval world. As I see it there are several uses for building 3d art for a game: learning it, for my players and I, pitching it to other entrepreneurs.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Dull Stuff: Game Design Research

How stats are rolled - 20% deviation is something I see pretty often in performance testing and mass in both human and animals.

Rolling 3d6 as stats doesn't respect the natural deviation of +20% deviation for untrained human averages. You have a results that have ~+80% deviation.

Why can't someone roll up top most 30-80% deviation for human abilities? One reason is that part of these abilities come about through work and experience. Another is that Rolling with the odds 1:216 of the lowest of the low or the highest of the high has strange utility/payoff/motivations alterations to players. If you want to play odds, then if you read up on mutations (different from parents) and evolution: the odds of getting a positive mutation with a marginal advantage is actually millions of times more unlikely than a negative mutation. This is because mutations are at the bottom line copy errors. In fact, because of technology we are able to stave off unforgiving natural selection for most of these errors but as life continues to thrive through technology a lot of these negative mutations will remain in the succeeding generations. (In a way Robert E Howard's view of civilization is kind of correct)

Unfortunately increments of 20% just creates 3 groupings: Low, Median, and High. So I use the 10% deviation so that I have 5+1 groupings. The +1 is for exceptional cases I intentionally made available if one are lucky enough to roll a natural 18. Its an adventure game, allowing for exceptional abilities is part of the fun.

IQ has about a +40% deviation. Since Attributes are generated assuming an unrefined ability and there is stat progression through experience, the character rolls up the first +20% deviation and then can make up the additional 20% when they advance. Since character advancement is does not follow age but over all capability and productivity (i got this from economics, as wage follows productivity), a character can quickly grow smarter, wiser, or more influential as they progress.

Animals and Creature Creation. I plan to use a modifier in strength progression for upright biped, semi-upright, and quadruped. Here is a good article about how much they can carry which has a source reference. Well written and very useful information if your a system designer. Hereis a more detailed one, if you have more time to read.

Googling I found elephants can carry up to 25% their mass. The decline of an elephant from the horse (which is max 30%) is a trend worth noting for quadrupeds. I'm sure the trend gets worse and worse, but all I have to plot the progression of weight to work are Horses, Oxes and Elephants.

Thanks to Excel I found a exponential progression of mass to work ratio that follows a curve of diminishing returns as a creature gets larger.

More Learning through Game Design - Game design is a great way to practice some math, statistics, and algebra. Making a race of semi-upright elephants or baboon crossed jackals (gnolls) which have tool using abilities would be a fun exercise. Getting the attributes I would want them to have in strength, speed, and intelligence and draw up reasons for them to have evolved in such a way. Then having to defend and explain things rationally.

Effort and Work. What is so exciting about that? Well its the internet age I can easily look at human and animal performance levels. One of the things I can observe and actually measure more and more. This is thanks to the economics lessons I've been taking and how its giving me more of a handle on metrics.

Anyway, looking at soldiering, health and fitness, mariner safety guidelines and animal performance there is a VERY strong pattern that is quite tangible. There is something tying together energy recovery efficiency, and productivity in hours. Again I notice the rule of thirds in play in the 10 hour rule vs the 16 hour waking period. In basic soldier performance and fitness, there is the reduced sleep hours of 6 to 4. There is also the expected amount of drills and labor that go into a day for soldiers and animals so that that an excess of energy regeneration doesn't lead them to be a danger for themselves.

Looking and accounting for all of that, I have found a simple progression for constitution. Noting the underlying function of energy recovery efficiency should be correlated to the maximum effort one can summon up in the measurable instance.

Another thing that supports my interpretation of constitution is effort progression. As I've compared sustainable but significant effort and concentration vs maximums performances, there is a 1 to 10 relationship. A great example would be running vs walking. A reasonably fit person can sustain a pace of 4-5kph as much a day. Compare that to how fast average humans can run. If you follow the KE rule of speed exponentially increasing effort, Running at x7 your walking speed is actually performing at an effort of 10x more than walking.

This is consistent with animals as well. A horse carrying a fully armored warrior is only good for 2 hours. Thats 50% more of the effort before the horse starts visibly suffering stress and discomfort. So a Horse (which sleeps at 4 hours) puts in 20+ hours of work in just those 2 hours. Factoring in relative increase of speed, if the horse was galloping at x2 his speed that would be 60 work hours.

This is based on the KE formula and it all follows pretty closely performance consistencies per target group. I'm just happy to have it all come together to make a consistent and (relatively) simple endurance/stamina system.

As Strength is the Size and Power of the engine, Constitution is its energy generator or converter. Of course this is not perfectly aligned with the real world, BUT its a simpler formula that will do the job at the accuracy needed for the game.

What is exhaustion? What is it to productivity experts? I've noticed that Fatigue and Exhaustion affects people in their ability to intensify their work effort and ability to concentrate. Most striking for Managers is how it affects attention and concentration. Defining the condition of tiredness, fatigue and exhaustion is important in a game narrative because most of the time, it is the relative condition that makes certain mundane feats Amazing!

I've noticed that as I work while tired, I tend to make more mistakes. To make up for that I take more time. So if I had intense work, that burned up my productive hours for the day I then hit a point where I am tired and I slow down to a pace so that I don't make too many mistakes.

Considering the Roman marching pace of 5hours at 60lbs (27kg). According to KE calculation that is x3 effort march or 15 hours. An hour shy from using up the 16 productive hours of a healthy person in a day. At this point, soldiers take a break and pace themselves while the engineers start up with the labor of getting the fortified camp set up.

According to my calculations, I'm at 9 Con. Causing me to sleep 10 hours after an exhausting day. Thats a 1.5 work recovery ratio. I tend to give in to my compulsions at around hour 9-14, even more at hours 15-16, -2 penalty, (I compulsively write: There are a lot of pedantic posts I successfully save vs will that doesnt get on this blog).

Exercising and getting my con to 10 is a start. I don't know if I'll ever get it back at 11, where I was able to sleep 6 hours for a whole day of energy.

this article on sleep makes further sense of my odd sleeping habits for me.
Strange that It both educated me, gave me something useful to track my work hours with, and I can use it for the game. I plan to study up statistics at least have a better than layman understanding of it for business and negotiations, and game (and gaming) purposes. In gaming the gamblers fallacy is quite useful when playing the odds.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tutorial for Drawing: Kavad Girl.

Here is the example of what I was able to do in about 3 hours (Sorry I was taking my time and enjoying my weekend). It would go a lot faster if I had several projects lined up and all the images downloaded ahead of time. I used a drawing tablet for this.

Here is the set up. It takes about 10 mins
  • Change the Angle (Flip).
  • Change the Proportions by Skewing
  • Set up the Layers: Action Layer - where I did most of the tracing, and Hair Layer- where i can experiment with the hairstyles.
  • Grayscale the image and use a Blue Color over the Grayed Image, so that it is easier to see my lines from the references. "[" and "]" resizes brush size. Go to 1pixel thin.

After all the preparation the rest of the sketching takes relatively less time. It took me roughly 30mins to do this. My speed bumps were my standards, as with any such work. Lower them and power through. After finishing with all the lines, Merge it all, and make a large brush with half opacity.

Here is the byproduct, the Kavad (dwarven girl). Planning to use this to show off the game Races and genders.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

GIMP ON! Some Art tips

Art tips for your Game Book.

I spent a good hour and a half learning all the Gimp Hot keys. I bought a notebook to write down all my notes for GIMP, Scribus, Inkscape and Blender. I was able to get most of the hotkeys down, at least all those I'll need when I'll be tracing or drawing over some art.

The hotkeys I'll need is all those that do most of the work without picking up the mouse. The work flow is, to do everything with the keyboard and tablet. Of course, GIMP and Photoshop is designed for this purpose in mind. The set up might require a mouse, so it is important to have an ide

Step 1: Learn all the Hotkeys. At least have them all down on a notebook or a print out where you can easily see them. The Drawing process (tool and selection hotkeys), including navigation of layers, basic manipulation of layers, saving and loading files.
Step 2: Work surface Preparation. Have an image in mind. You can sketch it out on a notebook or paper, where you keep your writing notes. Go online and download all the pictures that have elements or faces that look like what you want to accomplish. Have them all one folder.
Technique Tracing will cover some more details as you prepare.

Step 3: Know your parameters. Art for Books and Cards tend to be small. 400x640px already takes up more than 1/4 of the page, or 1/3 if you have generous borders. Small Pix are your friend. Details are painful and time consuming. When the image is naturally small you work with way less. Remember to Zoom out often to keep your eye on the "big picture". You might be wasting time with details no one can see.

Step 4: Set aside some time and manage Expectations. The advice from before: "If your standards are too high, your doing it wrong". Just get the job done in the amount of time you set aside. Its a learning process and expect the worse at the start and manage your expectations. If you want criticism you can go to 4Chan's Art/Critique page (warning for the material and 4chan's notorious reputation is well deserved) or set up a deviant art account. Expect thousands of hours before being professional. for inspiration look at Old-School RPG Art. It may look bad, but you can just emphathize the fun these guys must have had drawing it. Focus on the Fun and Enjoying the activity. In no time you'll get better at it.

Step 5: Learn by Doing. Its gonna take some time, so might as well enjoy it. All the techniques will sink in about 4-5 hours a week of frequent practice and note keeping (a process to concertize the ideas).

Well my credentials as it goes with doing this kind of thing.

Technique: Tracing. These days many great artists trace the outline and just improvise on the details. There are unforgiving deadlines and the job keeps getting more competitive. Not everyone has the most acute Spatial Awareness.
If you love GMing and RPGing you might tend to have other intelligences as your strong points, in the economy of abilities (aka trade offs). So there is no point to ever imposing unrealistic expectations.
For me, there is a lot of Psychological Preparation in Art. I'm studied art as my major, like many people. A lot of my best lessons come from the management of expectation in getting through with disappointment and criticism.
So if your probably got most of step 2 ready, one more thing to check out is watching quick sketching tutorials in youtube and deviantart.
Check deviant art for some artists that can be very helpful because they have a lot of tutorials or are inspirational. Here is the list of artists I'm following that may be relevant for viewing. Hopefully people won't get the wrong expectations, but they really do help in improving technique or ideas for angles and "shots": (le-mec has a Youtube tutorials) (does a lot of work for RPGs) (A really good costume designer and cosplayer) (really good evolutionary scifi/fantasy monster maker) (you'll find historically inspired art) (great mech warrior/battle tech art)

I'll post a sample work a few days from now, when I find some sweet free time and know what I actually want. No expectations, if you see my deviant art its been YEARS since I've last drawn. The practice is good despite how crappy it may look.

Last note: When you get a "technique" it is best to write it down. Even if it may be trivial. even if the drawing ends up below "former standards" it helps remind you of what your building on and from where ever you are starting from.
Is it not pleasant to learn with a constant perseverance and application?
- 1st quote of Analects of Confucius

Friday, April 9, 2010

Getting Serious with making my own RPG book (for myself)

Because I'm a cheap bastard. I've tried to draw my map and I've been using Autorealm. There are some serious considerations when using the program. One problem is exporting things to images. The damn thing won't follow what's on my view. I gives you the option to export view, but if I change the px size different from my screen size (and it doesn't have my screen size) the image comes out weird.

I've tried working systematically by narrowing down the best way to work with the program. I've removed the hex grid that slows it down really bad when I go to large macro views, since it has to redraw every hex/box. All manners of trying I can't get it to create an image with a decent amount resolution for printing purposes.

Looking at Campaign Cartographer 3, I'm not about to shell out $44 (I am a cheap bastard). I tried to Identify what I need: Particularly what makes a good map. In some forum discussions drawing is still one of the best ways. I do admit It simplifies a hell lot of things but it is best to be able to import symbols and images off the web and remaking it for my own personal purposes in my map.

A Map maker should be able to allow me to Make a Gi'normous continent and work on parts of it one at a time. The program should allow me to make efficient use of my time and effort. I don't need to recalibrate the map I just made with the other stuff I didn't get around to make just yet.

So what I really need is a Vector Drawing tool. When I checked the free GNU vector drawing program, I'm happy to find that the Cartographers guild people use Inkscape. While I'm downloading Inkscape I might as well check all the other programs I'll be needing to make my own self published RPG book.

Scribus is another thing I'm downloading. Its a desktop publishing software, so that when I finish writing up everything on Open Office I can just organize i and lay it all out there. Oh yeah I also use Open Office.

I'm not sure if I've said it enough but I also use GIMP as my free Photoshop substitute.

I really should get around to making a set of articles on a simple low-stress and skill process in teaching how to learn these things. Although, its more of a self-help thing and I'll need a by a separate note book so that I can keep track of the hot keys and personal reflections about the processes.

I was trained in 3ds Max but I've mostly forgotten it and I'm relearning it again but for the purposes of self reliance I'm going to learn Blender. I always wanted to render SOME of what ever setting I developed into 3d.

My other problem right now is a decent Scanner. I'm a "turtle" bringing a little bit too much stuff with me sometimes. I sometimes draw on my little sketch pads and can't get them to scan properly into the computer. I've got a cheap 3-in-1 B/W laser printer from samsung and scanner can't read my shadings. It gets more aggravating when scanning takes so much time and technically it is a nightmare to set up.

I've gotten a cheap-ass tablet to draw on and I will like to show people how easy it is to learn to draw on one, more comfortably than on paper. You can get spoiled drawing on a tablet. Super-easy erasures, variable opacities for tracing, multiple brush sizes, and getting the hang of pencil weights.

Finally getting to apply some advice a writer friend game me, to help me write more: "If you can't write because your standards are too high, you're doing it wrong." Thats one of the best advice I can getting the job done. Its a hobby and I'm here to enjoy it, if my self consciousness is getting in the way of me having fun -screw it. I can always edit it and fix it. The same advice can apply to drawing as well.

I'm planning to enjoy making this RPG book and finish it. Its going to be amateur but I'm doing it for me. I guess one day, I'll find the time to edit it all and improve on it, building over the stuff I will have a better idea relating but given what resources and time I have what ever comes out just has to be fun and fulfilling.

Some Further notes and concerns.

While exercising all I can think of is how much self management this is going to take. How much forward thinking, in the manner where I try to pessimistically assess how much real time I have and what corners I have to cut: that finishing IS a bigger deal that getting it just right.

I gotta give credit to OSRIC. Looking at it, made me feel like a little kid again, inside my head it was like: "making my own would be fun!". Unlike my other past times: playing computer, at least this one has a more tangible product that other people can potentially enjoy.

Some Basic Specs:
Home Printer Friendly
Half tone art
Letter size
Giant Map that can be assembled via Poster Print Option.

Some Other Useful things:
Flow Charts - I heard that Japanese RPGs make good use of flow charts. I like the idea and being clear and concise is always a big plus. It may take some of the "flavor" out but I can always stylize it later on in GIMP or Inkscape. Open Office Draw is more designed for Flow Charts. Character Creation, Combat, Story telling Flow, even sample adventures all can benefit a good ol'fashioned flow chart.

Add on Systems. RPG creation is a continuous process and you never can make enough stuff to make gaming easier. Mass Combat Rules, as an add-on Card Game System is not another thing i can add up. All kinds of "generators" will come in useful, for GM's who want to Auto-pilot the adventure creation system.

The Age of Magic: The Axial Age

In World history, many of the great Philosophers and their Philosophies came around the Axial Age. In RPGs, particularly Fantasy Settings you can get inspiration when you take these great learned people and put them into the context of magic. Budda, Confucius, the Greek Philosophers, and

Drawing a template from how these all developed and how their teachings influenced the lives of their students and their peoples it is easy to make comparisons to magic. It changed the way people looked at the world and others. This change of perception, opened up a whole new reality. The physical world and the mysteries of the other opened up immensely after these great thinkers.

I'm a big advocate of critical thinking and see it the equivalent of magic in the modern world. The difference of what can be done and the problems you can overcome with critical thought can change things as drastically as how we imagine magic should be. I see it so powerful as to not only create financial success but bring great happiness.

Although, the advancement of thought does come with some dangerous consequences:
If one learns but does not think, one will be bewildered. If one thinks but does not learn from others, one will be imperilled. - Confucius
I'm aware that selling these ideas to players is practically impossible. Going esoteric can be such a turn off. The image I get is a bunch of ideas and philosophies that really take you out of the game, into philosophical discussion. I'm not promoting that, I'm trying to do is see how pragmatically these ideas and philosophies applied.

Stories of Confucius and Budda are pretty fun as something that people encounter in their game and experiences. The anecdotes and situations they solve quite handily could have been actually very messy affairs in reality and only in hindsight they came up with their amazing answers.

Anecdotes of Confucius on the other hand, were it wasn't some amazing answers that got people to praising him BUT hard and difficult truths that kept him a out of a job until he died. Imagine the situations of Confucius in a game: where the players are up against a rock and a hard place. if he tells the truth, he can get into trouble, if he sucks up nothing gets done.

A useful story about Gautama Budda is his life and how he grew up. I like how he really was well to do and it was concern about suffering and harsh reality that lead him to make some amazing conclusions about life. I find the same basic essence of that story useful for characters. In the Budda inspiration, it is the setting dressing that makes characters look at the world where every thing is going their way, but actually it is not. That there is something very real that is being hidden from him.

Basically, stories of the great minds of the Axial Age and how they changed the world with ideas (which is a small but important part) is a great direction to take in a game. The problems they solved and the people they helped make the characters some bright innovators and bringers of change. Of course, with such ideas and the status quo there is going to be some violence and intrigue which players always enjoy, at least the causes are more meaty than just wealth.

I forgot where I heard this: "Adventures are a just bunch of homeless people stabbing other people and taking their stuff."

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Ancient Clothing and Appearances Musing

Ancient clothing has some tough problems and some easy ones. Tough are the surface area calculations. There is not enough data in modern clothes comparisons online to gain a better idea of how much cloth. Once you know how much material, it becomes a simple matter of substituting it.

I really like how simple clothes can be and how much economics functions around it. Cloth, back in the day has always been a laborious and complex processes. Fabric being prone to wear and tear of use made it constantly replaced asset.

Climate and Weather has a lot to do with clothing. The pattern becomes really easy to see when you look at ancient peoples and realize flaxen linen was very difficult to make and ate up farm land that could be used for food production.

How "clothy" people were back then was a measure of status. Keep in mind that ancient peasants tend to own tunic and made up for their presentation by cleaning up and making simple woven decorations of colorful flowers and woody vines. While your tunic was being washed, you walked around in your loin cloth.

In many pictorials, loin cloth was what many men wore. In some cultures, this was the same for women. If you see a tunic, a simple sleeveless long shirt with broad shoulder cuts that act as make shift short sleeves, that person is a peasant. The condition, given how linen was thicker but of poorer weave, allowed these clothes to be durable at the cost of discomfort.

The tunic, or the shirt as simple as we can imagine it: a long square cloth folded like a poncho, but narrower. it was just enough to cover the torso and stitched up on the sides. Imagining the variations is not so hard when you really need to skimp on cost a lot. In the end, everyone tends to fall in the dominant strategy or most effective pattern: the tunic.

Women wore tunics. Would they have the luxury of gender differences in clothes? Both genders wore the same things. Children were naked until a relative or neighbor was kind enough to give them a spare set.

Footwear was woven in straw. One good example is Redcliff where Liu Bei makes straw shoes for his marching men. Anyone in a village can just get a piece of foot shaped wood and weave a shoes and sandals from long fibrous grass.

Other than sandals, there are a ton of other things people weave for practical use. Baskets, backpacks, pouches, satchels, sacks...etc. Strangely what I don't see in Ancient near-eastern pictorials are woven hats.

Its funny that the costume of the ages was being more fleshy and with less and less clothes. It is no surprise, hand and body painting, tattoos, scarring, piercing, branding, body alterations and make up were ways to spice things up. A more authentic look is less, and more "permanent" art.

Come to think of it, cultural aesthetics like foot binding, head shaping, circumcision, piercing, tattooing could be a cultural feature to be identified as from one race. That just gave me an idea that Ear clipping, could make a bunch of humans "elven". Imagining Nobles with Neck-elongating rings giant eunuchs, enlarged earlobe, and dental alterations. Albinism, which is enhanced by incest breeding could be a special trait of a particular aristocratic house.

The frequency for genetic diseases from incest, particularly those that create schizophrenia, psychopathy, and compulsive disorders can make aristocratic houses frightening asylums. A quick google for odd diseases is a treasure chest of memorable character traits. How about an "oracle" who cries tears of blood or other psychosomatic induced physical manifestations of stimgata and other biological manifestations. (roll Will power please!) A few more: hair loss, blackening nails, hair becoming white, pupils losing color, traumatic blindness, retinas turning blood red, green blood, discoloration from a mineral imbalance... etc. etc...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Ancestry of Game Design

First there was Natural Philosophy, the knowledge of how the world worked before math became involved. Next it grew into the Philosophy of Geometry, when the math allowed the Philosophers of different peoples and cultures create metrics by which to measure the world. The discipline of Physics came next, and people were able to measure, reflect and predict the motions of their surroundings. Around the same time General Science and Mathematics, began to branch off from the tree of philosophy.

In what is considered the modern era, we have several philosophers tackling people and their behavior, attempting to get it all down to a science where there is a level of certainty and predictability. In the development of the economic discipline we have great altruists and philosophers who tried to sum up the behavior of men.

When physics and its ability to predict accurately came around and explain became more a consistent way how the world works, great economists began working towards that same level of truth. Alfred Marshal, comes along and makes economics explanatory and usable through math. He creates the interactive formula of supply and demand that we can apply to behavior and not just buying habits.

Decades later, Game Theory emerged, as the mathematical tools of economics became more sophisticated. Enter the 2 grand fathers of games as we know them: HG wells and John Von Neumann. Both brought gaming, beyond their previous boundaries. HG wells, as any war gamer and RPgamer made games and design to the masses. John Von Neumann furthered Game Theory, ambitiously attempting to give it physics-like utility.

Game Theory is the science of structured interactions and the complex patterns that emerge from them. It slowly gaining momentum as it is used in developing more efficient and fair methods of interaction, especially in State Policies, Biology (Medicine), Business, and War. The same principles can be found in game design, as hobbyists try to make their setting and game more challenging, sustainable, and fun.

We gamers, typically GMs, work on Game Design to build a better game. In my experience, we address challenges in making behavior, fairness, sometimes Ethics, stimulus and problem solving work in the way we see the world. Game Design is a way to simply and communicate the complex ideas of how the world ought to, should, can be from the GM's perspective.

One can say that he can learn about the entire personal philosophy of a Game Designer from the way he makes his games or tweaks a game system. The values and expectations he plays on humans or sentient beings can be seen in their treatment. How the GD approaches Social Status, Fate, Luck and hard work. To those who grew up on RPGs, Game Design is a language to discuss and relate these ideas and to test, share and express them with others and their unpredictable reactions.

The language of Game Design, is the language of everyman trying to make sense of his perspective and let others see the world in his point of view.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Metric Madness: World Building

Some Useful Notes, in making your detailed equipment lists.
  • A regular backpack is surprisingly a small 16L in volume.
  • Typically When you Double the Volume of a Container you increase the enclosed surface area by x~1.578.
  • If you increase Volume by 50% that is an increase of surface area of x~1.31
  • 1 liter or 1,000cc of Wood (default African Mahogany) is ~0.45kg to ~0.85kg
  • one of the denser woods available is ~0.9kg to 1L
  • the densest wood is ~1.5kg to 1L
  • A link of Useful Wood densities
  • the density of leather Leather is ~0.76kg to 1,000cc or 1L
  • Earthenware is ~2kg per 1000cc (same as bricks)
  • Iron and Bronze is about ~7.8kg per 1000cc
  • Steel is ~7kg to 1,000cc
  • Body Surface Area of a 150lbs 5'9" person is 1.822sq m
  • Only 2 sources of cloth in the ancient era: Wool and Flaxen Weaves (rough spun to fine linen). Amount of Coverages determined Social Status.
  • In an ancient world setting, Wicker and Woven straw materials are the common substitute to leather and cloth. Leather was expensive.
  • 706 sq cm shield (1' diameter target sized) 1" thick made of mahogany would weigh about 0.86kg. Plus its 5" diameter 2mm bronze boss 0.197kg, that would make a total of 2.2kg target shield.
  • Before Stoneware, Coopers, and the high availability of leather through trade, storing supplies on ships were in mostly in heavy earthenware jars. They were porous and mildly waterproofed with glaze and paints, preventing efficient storage. Wooden Boxes and Casks were few and rare. Thick woven basket cases protected the fragile pots, along with stuffings of hay and grass.
  • Area of a Torso about 7,150sq cm (using the larger medium size). w/ 2mm thick of leather it weighs about 2kg (4lbs). In GURPS and OSRIC where the leather armor weighs 10lbs (4.55kg), that would make the leather 4.55mm thick on average. Thicker by 100% to 50% on vitals (9-6mm or 1/3 inch) and less 50% on joints (2mm).
  • Mail, at 4.55kg, that is 0.636g per sq cm. Assuming mail is a centimeter thick on average (not the individual rings) all together, then that is about 636g per 1000cc (of 2mm thick rings).
  • Bone Density is 1.5kg per 1000cc or Liters or 0.001 cubic meters. Interesting, only black ironwood is as dense as bone. Ivory shafted maces or axes, polished, engraved and lacquered.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Answering Sources; Old School Inspired Tinkering

Answering Sources. Ancient Empires before Alexander is a great read. As for Anarchangels's question regarding taxation. Sorry I don't have a detailed account of my sources. I'm only an amateur and I don't exactly have a degree in History.

Most of my inductions is from looking at practical economics and applying it to the romans and Persians they understood it intuitively. Wagon designs, type of draft animal (mostly donkeys or onagers), before the metal reinforcement of the wheel, and limitation of wood quality, and very few specialists will severely limit the capacity per individual wagon.

The mention of Egypt and their importation of lumber was already a clue that many empires were not as wealthy to transport good quality hardwood for wheel making. Imagining the map, looking for locations rich in hardwood, typically colder temperate climates with river access (to send the logs down the river), were so few.

I brushed up o bit on the study of the Lumber process in 19C Philippine Ancestral Houses. Wood is a "modern" convenience by the standards of the time.

I got to looking at the discussion about Tin and Copper trade disruptions. It got me thinking maybe wood was also a valuable commodity that was ignored. If you look at the use of it in a macro-scale: shipping and land transportation, then the reach of empire becomes severely limited by the availability of it.

So if you factor wood as expensive, naturally cost of transportation and exchange of goods will have a different picture. Even with Roman roads, wood wears down quickly. A wagon might be good for a couple of years then replacement is needed. It even makes more sense when you consider that the less frequent they transport, saving up for a seasonal trip, the cheaper all the costs are going to be. Again, more advantageous since seasonal winds can determine the fastest time to go to where.

Economic Principles of Supply and Demand happen regardless of the awareness of the merchants and the consumers. It is only natural that one particular strategy or pattern becomes most cost effective and becomes the "default" method, dominant strategy, until technology changes that.

  • Allen, The Persian Empire.
  • Cook, The Persian Empire.
  • Olmstead, History of the Persian Empire.
  • Briant, From Cyrus to Alexander.
  • Cook, The Persian Empire.
  • Lancel, Carthage.
  • Bagnall, The Punic Wars.
  • Goldsworthy, The Fall of Carthage.
  • Picard and Picard, The Life and Death of Carthage.
  • Warmington, Carthage.
  • Goldsworthy, The Fall of Carthage.

Old School and Economics Inspiration. Tinkering with my Game System again like almost every life long World Building GM, we all have our own homebrew game system. I'm wondering if there is a homebrew system out there that triest to precise in its use of language and science more than a particular "style" .

These days I've been reading about economists, Alfred Marshal has become a hero for me. He reminds me of that the GM who tries to model reality and human behavior correctly by numbers. He is the guy who developed the Supply and Demand Curve which is no mean feat given that 200 years people struggled with the concept. His book principles of economics, is basically the first "game" system that tried to express reality in near Physics-like precision.

Right now, I'm making a Game System based on Old School DnD and my obsession of getting thing scientifically sound. OSRIC's simplicity is refreshing and fun to look at. Of course, even with the simplicity you can still introduce some modern concepts.

Reading OSRIC really struck me how different my world view is now. In fact it helped me define it well, because almost every chapter got me arguing in my head against it. That sounds bad, but I know its fantasy and all but C'mon! 25lbs Zweihanders!?! Wielding a 6ft blade in a confined space!? Thats a freaking 7ft radius, covering areas of 35-70 sq ft.

Sorry, nerd rage.

Game Theory led me to study a lot of other things that are now practically scientifically factual. Like the definition of intuition, rationality, empathy, awareness, concentration etc. Multiple-intelligence theory is makes a lot of sense in game theory because it basically points out that our differences in strengths reflect our differences in strategies in the way we live.

Multiple Intelligence theory fill the gaps very ell and ties up a lot of loose ends. There is a social intelligence and Humans have a particularly specialized set of processors for it. Reading up of psychopaths and autism, the absence and limitations of these different intelligences are more pronounced. You can even observed the trade offs, where some Psychopaths compensate by better rationality and some autistics are, pardon the term, idiot savants.

Diminishing returns, and overspecialization at great cost is observable in both the mind and the body.

As for Strength, Dexterity and Constitution.
Beginning with Strength, I've realized something fascinating in my study of Fight Science: Mass = Strength. Bone and Muscle mass is Strength, the "Magic" happens when Kinesthetics is factored in. The skilled ability to shift weight and center of mass allows a person to multiply the force they exert without building up muscle mass.

Baseball Fast ball pitchers are ~180lbs yet produce 150 kg of force to hurl a ball 45 m/s. Boxers of around 160lbs are able to produce 1000lbs of force. I'm aware "hay-makers" are impractical and baseball throws take almost a second to wind up. Its just that even in attacks that are 1/3 of a second including recoil, how much weight we can put behind in that fraction of a second can change so easily and quickly when the whole body is a lever itself. That height and the balls of our feet allows us to shift in center of gravity very quickly forward and back. Forward adding some mass behind an attack, and back as we step forward stopping the momentum to allow us to move in another direction.

The kinesthetic practice of physical skills basically make attacks more and more effective as they better and better time the blow. I begin to imagine that a the success and force of the attack is based on the opportunity presented and how skilled the warrior is in that opportunity. A successful attack by a great margin represents a warrior who has timed a blow so well as to use up enough of a second (where part of the second is the attack, another part is recovering from that attack), to throw enough weight as to deal enough lethal and stopping damage.

Imagining two ancient fighters of the with their shortswords and medium shields. The attacker shifts his weight down, crashing his shield arm against the other's. Catching him in an angle where his is off balance, forcing him to abandon his previous intent to prevent him from being knocked back which will make him lose precious instances.

From an unanticipated angle, in the instant between two thoughts of the defender, the training of the attacker comes into play. Almost involuntarily, in one smooth motion, he catches back the weight returned by defender. His back leg moves forward encircling around the defenders shield and whipping his arm towards the defender's exposed chest. He puts enough weight to penetrate deeply hardened leather, flesh and bone. Thoughtlessly puncturing vitals and flooding blood into to lungs, stomach and throat. The force exhausted he recovers his weapon, in time to parry a blow from the corner of his vision and put his shield between him and a second attacker.

Dexterity is interchangeable with Strength in combat. Although you need to choose the particular mode of attack to gain the benefit of a higher recovery which is reflected in a defense bonus. Again the economies of action can be observed, when you are shifting a lot of weight and power around and you need just as much time to recover. Dexterity is used in precision based attacks, which has around 1/3 to 1/10 less power. In return a more flexible, unpredictable and adaptive set of movements can be taken since very little of balance is sacrificed.

I'm not sure yet how much more accurate dexterity will be compared to strength based attacks. The relationship is more of a relative difference. I'm not sure yet if I should reflect strength with a penalty instead.

I'm also aware that certain weapon weights are really dependent on its wielders mass. Its all about balance again. Spears and Axes have a couple of problems with balance. The way the sword's pommel counter balances the weight of the blade means it can multiply the speed and therefore the damage exponentially (KE equation) vs weight which multiplies it proportionally.

Weapons which don't fit a certain balance Profile cannot be used with Dex, or with severe limitations. Spears are tricky, since holding it a certain way will limit its movements and reach but increase its speed, while another way gives that all important reach.

Axes are strength based, the ease a stronger person has in wielding it without great loss in recovery is a big advantage. In the curves of damage potential (supply) vs opportunity (demand), the Character will choose his optimal damage potential depending on the available opportunity, as opportunity increases (because of better recovery) there is more damage potential.

No surprise that a 330 lb 6'11" Goliath will have a much easier time wielding the 4lbs 3ft long axe compared to men less strong. Like swords, axes benefit from length. You don't need a huge blade size, like in the fantasy art. Looking at Viking war axes, a small head is all you really need. A stone counter weight wouldn't hurt. When there is no counterweight, the body has to get the mass somewhere, and it takes it from the center of balance which slows the body down. I'm afraid though, this giant will break the axe's wooden shaft unless its reinforced with metal. On a economized attack, he can make an easily generate 855lbs of force concentrated on the narrow line of the axe blade. Definitely would cleave into a 15lb Scutum unless you catch it on the metal boss.

I'm beginning to notice that low center of gravity helps in recovery and in shifting balance quickly, while a high center of gravity helps add more weight to the attack since one can move more weight easily along the greater area of balance, the large triangle area where the balls of the foot and toes create. More large area means more leverage to generate force. Dodging giants makes sense. So Dwarves are good defenders, because they have a fast recovery for their mass while having less weight to throw... weird. How could I reflect that? But dwarves then can afford to wield more unbalanced weapons which have more damage potential.

my mass to height formula. this assumes ultra lean character, increase or decrease appropriate. Typically a 10% body fat is normal.

[(weight in kg)^(1/3)]/ Race Factor = Height in Meters.
Race factors

Orcs = 2.5 (shorter and broader)
Humans = 2.35 (default)
Elves = 2.2 (tall for their light mass)
Dwarves = 2.85 (very short for their mass).

If you have read up to this far, you might guess that I went physics crazy with all the biometrics. Can't help it, with Fight Science in Nat Geo and Arma's science of anachronistic combat how CAN'T you not do the formula and get at your own conclusion of what it all could mean?