Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Some consulting about Software for Random Generators

Character Generation Systems are more interesting when there is a good character sheet to display all the details. Also, random generation systems are also more interesting when you can get it all done in a short amount of time.

Applying a bit of entrepreneurship in the hobby, I might as well check how much it would cost to make the program. Since I'm consulting with the head of our development dept. I might as well ask about other forms of tool generation like the Wilderness map generator and a Holdings generator.

I know typically software savy GMs tend to make these things for their campaign, but I'm not one of those guys. My software skills are for 2d and 3d graphics programs. My skills regarding the excell and others are basic. (although I did make an excell sheet for 19th century ships of GURPS vehicles for my Mahadlika game).

I guess, there is a niche market for a Universal Wilderness Encounter generator and the Fief generator of near realistic levels. Realism is the baseline of most settings, and adding fantastic elements is pretty easy comparatively. I guess what should make the list is Warfare Economics and Logistics Programs as well. Below are some Ideas for Programs, depending on what the meeting turns up I'll know how much it will cost to make these things.

Wilderness Encounter Map Generator. Rolls up the strategic and natural hazard features of an area. Compete with GM and Player map print out in B/W. A plug in makes these maps adjusted for war campaigns. Color would be a more complicated program. Future expansions work on larger and larger chucks of a campaign world, up to the point it can detail sections of a continent. Ideally a whole campaign world can be made in a few clicks and experiments with different settings and can be done every campaign. Useful up until premodern settings.

Fief generator. Roll up and create Villas, Manors, Throps, Villages, Towns, Cities, and Capitals fitting for any real-world setting. The Extension of the system helps build economies and price modifiers for regions.

Since these are all universal, it allows the GM to quickly generate detailed and random equipment tables for every region or location, or chose to bring it down to micro-level and roll up shop inventory, and roll up assets of an individual.

Fief-generator Expansion: Setting Economics. Configure your setting Economics, so that you know how much resources for war and conflict it can support. Basically, have an electronic Quarter Master or Steward who will tell you how much resources you have at this time. GMs can find this useful when running military campaigns where players like to take on the tasks of great personages of history.

This kind of program would be great in keeping track economic conditions and impacts of events. As well provide a list of probably natural calamities and events that would affect the world.

Since these are all universal, it allows the GM to work out the currency of their game world, modify inflation up or down, generate detailed and random equipment tables for every region or location, or chose to bring it down to micro-level and roll up shop inventory, and roll up assets of an individual.

Detailed Character Generator. This is something of a novelty, a detailed character creator that allows for characters to be created with some stat-able biometrics. Of course, the realism and the range can be modified by GMs and World builders but it is a way to roll for someone with a level of detail, which only requires the polish of imagination and creativity.

If this would be possible, all the programs are designed to shorten the work done in world-building and campaign detailing to a few hours a week for the busy GM. All of the crunch that Modern Economics and recent historical and anthropological finds regarding conditions of the past easily integrated into the setting. So GMs will spend most of time time detailing their settings and exchanging campaign creation files to discover more ways to add more verisimilitude or randomness to their setting. Part of the GM's obstacle is deciding on the infinite amount of elements to weave into the story and these programs give the GM a shorter list of options, or decide for him so that he can focus on the creative story telling.

This is me daydreaming. Of course, the step in the direction of possibly making this is looking at the opportunity cost of doing so, and the cost benefit analysis. at least the dream has a price tag, and if I can figure that out, maybe someone who can more afford it would make it and I'd buy it from him/her.

My target cost for these programs are $10 (Php500) each, assuming there are more than 5,000+ plus purchase of each. At that price-tag I would buy it without blinking. The business plan would be that the community likes the product enough to "buy" it so that it will keep producing more stuff. The amount of detail and verisimilitude that can go into campaign creation is up there. Consolidating all the realistic world builders into a program and a business that plans to run to a finite amount of time with an acceptable shareholder exit strategy would be nice so that the company will only produce what people want not products with no market which are 90% marketing 10% crap.

Imagining a GM armed only with a netbook, churning out reams of Campaign details. Maps he can assemble with some tape and a few minutes or through a large print service. Players move into an uncharted area, and with one click and a very fast laser printer, print out a 4x5 letter size tactical map with hexes in assemble it in 5mins with the help of the players under a plastic sheet for white board markers.

A GM creating several detailed fiefs in just under an hour, with the rest of the week just writing up and drawing NPC portraits. Communities of GM uploading zip files of these works for other GMs to grab and modify in just a few hours a day before the upcoming game (of course giving credit to the source GM).

Players having their own Army or Holding Spread Sheet to keep track of their resources in military or grand scale campaigns. Being to update real time details like losses, gains and random event impacts. A detailed and fairly random set of NPCs with aspects only the GM can see. The GM can even run PvPs of factions battling it out.

GMs can now easily run Political Intrigue Campaigns with all the numbers, factions and the resources quickly generated into player friendly stat sheets. Especially since the Gm has his hands free detailing faction write ups instead of calculating assets or rolling each and every NPC.

Mass combat details for units printed automatically in card form to be easily organized and laid out. With enough space for Unit Portraits.


Unknown said...

Well, Nikolas, if you could be in touch and guide me or even create a more detailed plan/sketch to these app I'm really interested and making them.

I'm particularly interested in making them to Mac/iPhone, but I have two others friends who could make to work in Linux/Windows environments…

If you could do that, I'll be very interesting! Thanks in advance!

Unknown said...

I charge around $4 for my generator packs, which have 6 text generators and one graphical generator each. They sell pretty well at those levels, but I doubt they'd do nearly as well at $10. You might want to scale down you plans for price and copies sold considerably.

That said, if you want to chat about making and selling generator software for gaming, send me an email or IM.

Unknown said...

Forgot to put my contact info in that post. You can find it (and my generator packs, if you're curious) here:

justin aquino said...

thanks guys, to be clear I post the flow chart of what the programs are supposed to be like.

I didn't think of scaling it smaller for a Phone app.

Anyway I'll reply to you guys when I finish with the flow chart. Its an easier way to figure out how dense the program is supposed to be so that expectations can be transparent.