Tuesday, March 21, 2017

TRPG Books as Process Documents

*That TRPGs moving to a shorter feedbackloop with the community through using best practices in Operations Sciences would create more powerful tools and newer better value services and material in this very poor market.

So in my studies I've noticed how much TRPG books compare to process documents. TRPG books are filled with models or heuristics in the form of game mechanics, as well as Roles, Tools, and Processes of how to perform certain activities. The most interesting parallel is how TRPGs feedback as compared to Process Documents.

Process Documents aka Business Process in wikipedia is the Institutional Memory of a Company. Its all the processes written down so that it can be corrected, measured and improved. It allows organizations to reach higher forms of sophistication and capability through having the shared memory of the documentation and being able to adapt to reality and changing conditions through the institutional memory.

What is interesting when I compare TRPGs to Process Documents is that it does not have the same feedback loop. We feedback to TRPG book by making Homebrews and picking and choosing our mechanics. That feedback ends there. Instead of an idea and feedback going up and around and making its way to other people so they can appreciate and see if this would make their job easier it ends there. With the Wiki and Crowdsourcing, the Collaboration of TRPGs as Process Documentation would be amazing to witness as it Rapidly Iterates the consequences of their Charter/Goals and Attributes (Mechanics, Processes, Roles, Functions, and Tools).

This leads me to wonder if the New Generation of TRPGs would draw from Process Documentaton best practice. That communities feedback to the TRPG system and allow it to evolve better and more streamlined mechanics and techniques. One example is to apply Chunking in a lot of rules (particularly to GURPS rules). Imagine if one can feedback to evolve 2-4 options in Combat Manuevers instead of the 13 or so options in GURPS. Or drawing from Lean principle, shortening the Cycle Time or feedback loop in combat and removing all the Waiting and Waste in a sessions' Experience. Process Mapping via flow charts and Issues with certain processes are available for customization. Like simulationists use these Process Modifications in their Combat. This adds this much more steps and requires the knowledge of this many options.

If TRPGs take the Wiki and Open Collaboration Route what service to Game Designers have in this new ecology? I guess they deal with the Hardest Part  of running games: Creating the Tools to Tailor the TRPG experience. Creating the tools to manage and budget the TRPG experience. Allowing people to have more consistent and exceptional emotional heights in their TRPG sessions. To craft the training, skills, and heursitics for TRPGers to better craft and design these tools and techniques.

When mega nerds apply  their sills to something like TRPGs and creating a sustainable environment for the hobby to survive and thrive I think the product would be amazing. I compare the TRPG game to that of a Problem Solving session, I find them very similar. Particularly when Achieving Flow.

Walker's Retreat: The Internet Changed the Tabletop RPG business
I agree with the article and one of they key variables to implementing this is having the Skills to create a better business model. Problem Solve this shit .

The Same skills applied to this:
How to run a Large D&D Group (7+ Players)
The tools and the techniques to process design the experience is what is needed more than the "Campaign Fluf" or mechanics. Off the bat, Drawing form myH Game Maters Skill list min-maxing the Cycle Time between players and maxing out the Player experience would be a key objective. particularly identifying all the MUDA and getting rid of clunky and inelegant mechanics. By improving the Cycle time The GM will be checking for 1-scene per Player engage the player as much as possible per scene and try to keep it under a few minutes. Ideally engaging 2-4 players at the same time so that the cycle time of wait is about 2-5 minutes per group. He will need to design "Scenes" which engage many players (2-4) simulateneously and try to check if he's "engaged" a player every Cycle. He needs to learn to Defer Distractions or Concerns, when a set of activities would trigger one group to dominate the spotlight for a period, he needs to learn to break up the activites and steps (exploiting peak end or cliff hangers) to deal with the other groups.
I'm just pointing out that skills that allow us to design better experiences in play is the riches vein of discussion. Consider every detail and atmosphere mechanic as just fluff generation and the real problem is helping the GM and Players achieve a emotionally engaging level of participation and experience.

*Bottom Line up Front (BLUF, a different kind of TLDR)
Poor Market. Size of the market and its value as compared to similar ways of spending time. 

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