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.

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