Monday, March 24, 2014

Flappy bird – the poison of pure entertainment and author guilt?

The author of the game Flappy Bird eventually took down the game, stating he couldn’t take it anymore. With some attributions to him of saying it was too addictive.

Is this perhaps the modern guilt (rarely felt) of having something which one took to be a simple sideshow entertainment, and watch it instead become something that does nothing but add an addictive drug to millions of lives? I’m guessing that’ll be taken as hyperbole – nobody is breaking into their families home to pay for this drug, right? But it’s simple math, really – the void, the hundreds, then the thousands, then the millions of hours of peoples lives sucked away. On little. On nothing. And here’s some money for making that happen – no, wait, here’s some more money! And more and more – not joy, just money, and people burning away their lives – not as some community or together. Just burning and burning.

Shorn of the naiveté that lets such a game become a special treat, a special occasion amongst its author and friends, it’s rather like one of those tribal hallucinogenic, used in various honoured rituals – except when it hits the street and just becomes yet another slumped in an alley high.

But that’s the thing – people treat ‘It’s addictive!’ as a great compliment and achievement for a game at this point in time. And why not? When something grips you, owns you, are you going to say you got owned by something weak and bad? Or flatter the thing you’re going back to time and time again that everyone sees you at, over and over? Sip that coffee and reflect.

Dong Nguyen. Did he feel this modern guilt – felt it and the mounting funds every day were just damnation after damnation for releasing something that had a warm place in his heart and to find it just turned black and drugging entertainment once it hit the street?

Maybe he’ll get a movie one day. And get more money over the whole thing, eh?

With a bit of luck the thing will be a student effort.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Coder Block: Size and Audience

Over at I've talked about coders block - possibly the problem of running into audience expectations (and maybe my own expectation as such) which I don't find fun. That of the big, long thing of a game. What's so important about size?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Beast: The Blue Sky

The blue sky, a creature with a bulbous head and shrunken, toga'ed body and a mouth in a continual 'o' shape, has a strange psionic power that compels it's foes to utter 'Would you agree with me the sky is blue?'. Strange power, not because the victim is forced to chant these words, but because the blue sky will never agree the sky is blue! Not from petty considerations like at night it's black. It just cannot bring itself to agree with its foes on even the most petty of truths - its foes are from another tribe and even such a small thing brings embittered, accusing silence from it. It's psionice force builds up on 'you just don't agree with them' and in a strange way it seems it forces the question simply to drive this absolutism of thought that unlocks its further psionic attacks. Once the silence builds for long enough, it feels justified in attacking any intruders into it's lair - which is often rocky outcroppings and cliffs, where its mutterings echo back to it on a regular basis.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Another beast: The Ad Populum

A replicating beast, grasping, bald humanoids naked but for flimsy loincloths, though repeated mostly by illusionous replicata. The irony is that while it's many replica's are very different colours from each other, many vibrant hues and not at all compatible with each other, the creature is colour blind - it sees it's many members as uniform and singular. The creature never find difficulty here though, for it, through it's many mouths, simply says they all agree. They never discuss what exactly they agree on, except that it opposes their foes colour - and so they never find that their differences in colour are incompatible. They see themselves as a one colour rainbow. Curiously there seem to be able to see some amount of colour in an intruders form and that is the source of their violent reaction - the difference. However this colour vision must be from a very small tunnel vision and the much larger peripheral is colour blind. Smitten with their intruder foe, they do not look at their fellow 'replicas' and so the uniformity of their side remains intact to them.

Copyright Callan S./me, blah blah, 2014 (which goes for everything I write on this blog as it does for other bloggers on their blogs too, but it's worth mentioning as a reminder every so often)

Monday, March 10, 2014

RPG design discussion : Has the wound closed?

As one is apt to do at noticing the same thing twice and deciding a possible trend: Recently a mainstay of the more indie RPG design area has taken to deleting posts on his blog. Bland posts at that. With another, a few months ago, I couldn't seem to be acknowledged as knowing how a particular mechanic worked - it seemed some kind of 'audacity' on my part was what made me not know, rather than a lack of knowledge.

I think roleplay design discussion might just be going back to a good old authority model. Someones the authority, listen to what they say (learn it wrote, in other words) or piss off.

The wound - the point where people would leave their notion of personal authority cut open so things could get past such a callus - the wound is possibly healing. And really, who keeps reopening a wound in their mind?

It's probably not being noted anywhere else as even a possibility, so I thought I'd lodge it here at the cold black of my corner, far flung from the buzzing white of the main conversation.

Further, here are some RPG monsters from a game I'm developing at least for the duration of this post.

The Pryde: A swelling beast, like a puffer fish but with the hairs of a lion, no needles/points and no head. It is actually incapable of doing anything/any harm unless it has a wall on the other side of its foe, in which case it swells as much as it would have anyway, crushing it's foe between its hot air expansion and the wall. This tends to make it expand more, taking the kill for it's own doing, with a balloon like expansion through doorways or through cracks in walls until the extension pressure on these points is so acute the whole thing bursts with the smell of spent breath.

The Lecturn: A vulnerability of this stilt like creature is that it will extend itself to be higher than it's foe. It's position is to take advantage of height - but the extension of it's stilt like legs often means it piles in on itself. Curiously it still makes attacks at this point, but as if its foe were still below it - often shooting its darts into the earth just before it's foes boots. It cannot see itself as anything but above and so often makes itself fall far below for doing so.

The Faux Supernatural: A more hidden beast, it squeaks out from the gap in space and time formed from when one person says one thing, but they actually think another. It looks like a mystery, possibly even to a religious extent - and it works at this as the clockwork squeaking of its parts attest that it rotates to keep its foe in front of it at all times. For behind it is hollow, a set, with cogs and drive belts and spindly copper rods supporting or pupetering the apparatus. It would have you only see the magnificence of the miss informing words non elucidean to the point of supernatural wonder effect. Often accompanied by Inter Portalis, so as to provide the walls it needs to block off such observation, while the Inter Portalis lives in symbiosis by having a use.

That's three for now. I didn't realise they'd take awhile to write up so I'll save some more for tomorrow (which tomorrow's tomorrow, I dunno). For all their fluff text they no doubt come down to having an AC of between 10 to 14 and a half dozen to a dozen HP and that's it. That's about as much as there is to them.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

'Making it up' - there's more than one species of it

As is a theme on this blog, forums tend to inspire my writing the most. So here is a post of mine (google, please believe me! Eh, what-ev...) on the matter of two different types of making things up (modified slightly to become it's own post here).

Emerikol, if I understand you right, you do alot of prep beforehand and then in play you reference your extensive prep so as to determine what might be around or what might occur. In play you restrict yourself to only referencing the prep for the determination of what else might exist, not just making things pop into existence out of thin air. And this restriction on relying on the prep only makes the world more palpable and solid, as a result.

If I'm even slightly understanding you right, I'm just saying this because I'm not sure the other posters get the difference - and there is a difference between working from prep to determine what else might exist Vs just making stuff pop into existence because it might engage someone.

I will say though, although I don't know what it was like in the game with the guy 'totally making it up', I've roleplayed for so long I basically have alot of prep about game worlds in my head - it's all written in my head and doesn't need to be written down. I don't think 'totally making it up' is such a problem as you describe it (oh, it'd be better if I wrote it down, I totally grant). I suspect what was happening is that GM was simply trying to guess what would tickle players fancy then say that exists, in what is essentially sucking up to players. I'd find that hollow as well. Though I've been in worse games.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

[ Pathfinder ] City of Golden Death defeated us the other night

In retrospect I like the brutality of this module. I only say in retrospect because roleplay products can be so varied in where they go it's hard to know the overall direction until you've finished.

CoGD basically had either monsters with massive bonuses to hit (maybe +15 or higher) and womping damange (about 20) or a few push over monsters we devoured and utterly destroyed in a moment or two. Which actually works quite nicely!

The thing that really defeated us though is the overall supply chain of healing within a time frame - we had three days before the city floods with molten gold (probably not a good idea to be around at that point, eh?). And we had no real cleric. We had one once, but now the best we had is someone who chose their class levels at random! Yeah. So I think we had all the healing of a level 1 bard even though the character was level 5.

In the end, in a session that had two powerful enemies that nearly crush the life out of us, my fighters on 16 hp, the rogues on like 7 hp and never mind the wizard or the multi multiclassed characters hp. The last thing we'd found had said it's master had put it there to kill anyone who follows. It's MASTER! Uh yeah, when it kicked the living crap out of us and we have no heals and no HP, how much are we going to be able to take on it's master?

And yet I think some players wanted to continue!!

I guess I just didn't feel like having this character fight and likely die, so I said no, we just cannot do this - the city of golden death has defeated us!

I'm not sure what the GM will do with the module or whether another players idea of leaving some traps at the entrance and fighting the master there will be what happens next.

I think the GM could always run it again at some point, if they want to get more use out of it.