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Title: Game Jam
Post by: vikingmage on August 01, 2007, 03:12:26 PM
I don't know if this has been done before ... and being new to the site I could just be recreating something that has been tried a hundred times, but has just been pushed so far down the messageboard it needs Indiana Jones to dig it out.

I am an illustrator/artist with a love of comics. In the past I have started a number of comic jams. Drawing one panel of a story, then leaving it open for another artist to continue the story. They then kick it onto another creator. etc etc etc until the whole thing reaches a natural conclusion or it hits someone whose enthusiasm has flagged. The results are almost always surreal and very entertaining.

Well I was thinking ... what about designing a game in such a fashion. Grab some willing designers ... decide on a random order of attack. The first designer starts a paragraph off .. kicks it onto the next person. Who knows what weird genre ... character statistics ... game mechanics ... illustrations ... adventure ideas ... well eventually fuse together. It might be a nightmare ... it might be something wonderful.

We could come up with some basic ground rules. No entry longer than half a side of A4 at 10pt type. Pass on to the next creator after a day ... etc.

Anyone fancy this?


Title: Re: Game Jam
Post by: Vulpinoid on August 01, 2007, 05:47:46 PM
Just a few comments based on past experience when trying to set up this sort of thing...

I don't know how well this would work with setting up a game system.

It would work with setting out a roleplaying scenario or story.

One person describes the events of scene 1, then any outcomes or ramifications from the different possible results. The next person then describes a new scene linked to the first, with possible variations that might come into play based on the events that have come before...the third person can then design another scene with variations and influences based on the first two...etc.

Maybe allowing a dozen scenes, or allowing everyone in the loop to generate two or three scenes.

For a game system, it might be better to lay down some ground rules.

Example 1.
We're basing this on d20. We are designing a city where each participant gets to describe a location within the town (docks, red-light district, markets, artisan's district, university, space-port, etc.) and they get to design a prestige class which is available to the members of that part of town. Once everyone designs and describes their part of town, the character class, and a couple of NPCs, the whole lot is thrown together to make a wild and wacky place where time and space collide. 

This has the advantage that it will result in a playable setting, no matter how wacky it may be. But it doesn't provide the true flexibility and chaos of designing a system from scratch.

Example 2.
The only dice we're using for this system is a d6. The simple mechanic that forms the basis of the rules is that the better you are at a given task, the more dice you roll. If a die beats the required difficulty to succeed. One person starts by designing an attribute/skill system...the next person designs a Combat system...the next person designs a Magic system...the next person designs a character class or two incoprorating things that have been developed so far...the next person can choose to design more character classes or can start to develop aspects of the setting...and so on.

Of course, if the designers were limited to a page each, then it could take two or three designers to fully describe the combat system before moving on to the next stage...


I'd also make sure each member has two or three days to complete their part of the text before handing it on to the next person. Some people might want a week or so, to work on their sections, but if there are more than two or three people involved, then this means it might take a month or more before a participant gets the chance to work on it again (which will often cause interest to flag). Getting someone to complete their section in a day, will often mean people find life gets in the way and they just don't have the time to work on their part. If a person gets skipped a couple of times like this, they'll also lose interest pretty quickly.

Don't get me wrong, it's worth doing, but I haven't seen it done successfully when it's been done as loosely as a comic jam.

V


Title: Re: Game Jam
Post by: Seth M. Drebitko on August 01, 2007, 05:57:32 PM
I suppose one way to handle this could be to set up a group who would break up into little pairs each handling one aspect of the system. I think there is to much involved to simply add a paragraph or so. I would be interested in something like this but it would be difficult to figure out:

1. Who works on what
2. What order things should be handled

Again I do like this idea and will think on it for a bit. As for now I think it would be cool if a small group created the setting, then every one broke up into groups and created and rpg  based on the setting. This would provide a variety of interesting rule sets.

Regards, Seth


Title: Re: Game Jam
Post by: vikingmage on August 01, 2007, 06:56:36 PM
Thanks for the feedback and excellent suggestions.

The Mechanics. One of the reasons I enjoy comic jams so much is often you have to deal with "out there" concepts dropped on you by others. This causes you to think around problems you wouldn't have let yourself in for if you were in complete control of the beast. If someone before you decides the system is the first 1D4 system ever ... then you have the challenge of designing your section (whatever you decide this to be) using 1D4 mechanics. If you are boggled by the challenge of doing the next obvious section of the rules, then move on and create some other aspect that appeals to you.

It maybe better to split off into small groups or teams to create designated sections. Then pass the beast onto others to work up complimentary sections on setting or character creation.

Certainly my idea of having just a day to write and pass on was just a rough idea. I am happy to set the individual deadline at anything that individuals feel is workable. My experience with comic and story jams is the longer the period chosen the greater the chance of the project stalling. Everyone's excitement boils away as they wait for their turn and the wait becomes longer and longer as the project sits on someone's hard drive.

Maybe if we had a running order
1) Introduction to the concept of gaming
2) The Setting/concept
3) Statistics used to define the player characters
4) Character Creation
5) Task Resolution
6) Background Details
7) Useful items and Equipment
8) Creatures and Monsters

Etc. ... then it passes around in that order. It would certainly be fun for everyone to get a crack at adding items into the more open ended sections of Monsters (if the game contains such things) or Equipment. The course of the game creation may actually make certain sections redundant and create others (A Game of Conflict Set Aboard High Speed Trains wouldn't need a monster list, though it would demand a section on Railway Systems or Passenger Types!)

The Challenge would be how each creator responded to the changing nature of the game.

Naturally the final product could be streamlined and edited by consensus of the entire team invovled (Especially after a spot of play testing.) after the main rule booklet was roughly completed.



Title: Re: Game Jam
Post by: Vulpinoid on August 01, 2007, 09:42:31 PM
New idea to bounce at you...


Maybe if we had a running order
1) Introduction to the concept of gaming
2) The Setting/concept
3) Statistics used to define the player characters
4) Character Creation
5) Task Resolution
6) Background Details
7) Useful items and Equipment
8) Creatures and Monsters

Some people naturally adept at devising really cool settings, others have a natural affinity for numbers and mechanics. It would totally suck if the guy who loves settings and stories got stuck with the mechanics because they were next in line. They could possibly do a bit of background text to explain how the numbers described so far fit in with the world, but in the scheme of things this kind of sudden and disjointed break in continuity just doesn't mesh well in a roleplaying book where continuity is one of the things that makes a game playable. If you've tried reading through Cadwallon from Rackham games, you can see how hard it is to read through a beautifully presented text that has very little continuity and no index.

Jam-style comics are known for their sudden changes of direction, and those who read the genre know to expect sudden changes in storyline. That's the paradigm of the style. A decent number of the players I've dealt with have trouble with any set of rules the first time they read through them, and it takes a couple of games for the concepts to settle in their minds (this has applied in conventions, LARP, Miniatures and Table-Top [yeah, I'm one of those multi-discipline gamers]...). Trying to explain rules that twist and turn all over the place would baffle, bamboozle and generally annoy the s^%t out of most of the gamers I know.

I'm just looking for ways to keep some of the Comic-Jam feel, while devising a playable end-product.

Hypothetically, we get six players involved in the challenge. Each is assigned a base concept for the game:
* Locations (Key places that will show up or even a map of the World)
* Setting (is it mediaevil? cyberpunk? high-fantasy? super high-tech?)
* Gods (How are they worshipped? what do they do? are there any? If not, what takes their place?)
* Base Mechanics (coin flipping? dice? cards? scissors-rock-paper? ouija board?)
* Game Concept (Whether it takes a G,N or S stance, what do the players do?)
* Character Types (Are they kings and rulers? Heroes? Ghosts? Sentient Worms?)

They key to this concept is to pick a number of base concepts that don't really overlap too thoroughly, and where they do, the next stages will help to sort out the mess.

Once the base conpcets have been laid out, everyone moves on to more specific concepts that link the base concepts into a working whole. Everyone moves on to the next two concepts on the list and comes up with a way of how these work together. In the example above, the girl who devised the setting, next moves on to the gods and how they impact apon the base mechanics. the guy who decided the game concept next moves on the the character types and how they tie in with the locations of the world.

This should give everyone a better idea of the direction the game is heading, and now the pieces are filled in. Everyone now gets the chance to nominate an area that they think needs some more work in the game (eg. equipment lists, magic, npcs, better defined skills, television shedules in different parts of the world, the rituals of the pig-bear cult...?), and each person is randomly assigned one of these topics to expand upon.

Each phase of development might last a week, and during this time work is done concurrently by everyone. At the end of each week they throw their ideas together, and the groupstarts working on new ideas within the structure that's developing.

Just some ideas...

V


Title: Re: Game Jam
Post by: Seth M. Drebitko on August 02, 2007, 03:09:53 AM
Just a thought but what if we are thinking the the totally wrong path. An rpg as was stated is (generally) a very planned out thing. What if they all took turns answering one of the questions on something similar to the power 19. This way it ensures  going into things that everyone knows the structure of the game and is mostly adding in their own style to something that will still fit nicely on top of a predefined frame.

Regards, Seth


Title: Re: Game Jam
Post by: Filip Luszczyk on August 02, 2007, 06:25:33 AM
A year ago there was a Reverse Engineering Challenge here - it involved creating character sheets, exchanging them, and writing games that use these sheets. I think it's the closest thing I've heard about.

I agree with Seth, anyway - it would be very tricky to organize such thing without a good frame.

However, one thing that definitely could be done witthout much problem would be something like this:

First, everyone interested brainstorms a game. Everyone adds one feature, or states one feature that he doesn't want to see in the game. For example, it could look kind of like these:

-There are elves in the setting.
-Cool, but they can't be the protagonists.
-Fine, but the resolution incorporates Runes.
-Ok, and no damage or other variable values can be tracked in this game.
-And I want to see a lot of desert environment.
-And some sci-fi elements.
-And it doesn't involve any hard moral or ethical choices.


Repeat until you have a solid enough framework. Then, some unfortunate soul needs to design the game :) (I think it's better if a single person works on such a brainstormed concept, as writing a game is not a linear task, like producing a story or drawing a comic. A single author ascertains design consistency.)


Title: Re: Game Jam
Post by: vikingmage on August 02, 2007, 10:23:02 AM
I love the idea of bidding in an idea and adding a restriction. A few rounds of this could actually create an interesting framework for the game. It might result in a wonderful list of first rate ideas and a challenging list of restrictions to work around.
I still don't see why then has to be worked on by one person. Taking Vulpinoid's suggestion aboard about assigning roles based on interest or skill ... why not take the Concept/framework sheet and then split into the individual sections.

It may well end up as an unplayable mess, but even if it does I still think there will enough good ideas that will spawn other projects.

In the broadest sense, just to kick start it off, what would potential creators prefer the game to be ... Gamist/Simulationist/Narrativist?
I suspect that creating a Simulation game in this manner would be rank insanity, but the other two are possible.


Title: Re: Game Jam
Post by: Seth M. Drebitko on August 02, 2007, 03:48:26 PM
Filip I too like the idea of biding on concepts. So far I have thought of this much in the way of structuring it.

x number of people join up and receive a number of influence points.

In the first round of concept design everyone in turn order picks one element for free.

For example:
-I want to pick dark fantasy
-well I am going to throw post apocalyptic in
-I want to add steam punk
-I want damage checks no hit points though

After this every one would go around in turn order again doing one of two things:

-adding onto existing concepts
-developing new concepts

Points function in the following method:

Each brand new concept costs 1 point which is burned up and leaves circulation (note expanding on your own concept burns the point)

You may expand on a concept by paying 1 point  to each individual in that chain thus keeping the points in circulation. For example:

I want the Elves to be nasty protagonists who hunt other species to drain the magic from their veins in order to power their sorcery.

well some one laid fantasy down, Elves was then plaid on fantasy so the player who turned the Elves nasty pays one point to each of those other players.



The bidding ends when every one passes in a row, or their are no more points to be spent.

As far as system style I prefer a cross between gamist, and simulationist.

regards, Seth


Title: Re: Game Jam
Post by: Seth M. Drebitko on August 02, 2007, 03:49:23 PM
Sorry Narrativist and Gamist blast no edit button

regards, Seth


Title: Re: Game Jam
Post by: vikingmage on August 02, 2007, 04:45:33 PM
Seth, what a brilliant concept. I love it. It almost becomes a game designing a game!

I am also very much in the Gamist/Narrativist camp.I know my players (who will have the end product inflicted on them!) and they are solidly Gamist in nature.

Do we have six interested individuals already? Certainly a lot of folk are reading this thread (or the same three people are reading it a lot of times!)


Title: Re: Game Jam
Post by: Vulpinoid on August 02, 2007, 07:49:59 PM
Do we have six interested individuals already? Certainly a lot of folk are reading this thread (or the same three people are reading it a lot of times!)

I think it's the same few people...I've read it thirty times or so.

As for the GNS split, I think a good game involves elements of the three in harmony, but most games will tend to one of the extremes. I probably tend more toward the Narrative camp when roleplaying, but that because I get out my G's and S's through miniatures and other forms of strategic gaming. That and I almost always end up being the GM in our group, so I've had to learn how to tell good stories.

We've got players from all three in our group, but the guy who sits between the G and the S just annoys the crap out of everyone else. The girl who sits between the N and the S just bores people because she likes to simulate the mundane aspects of everyday life, while other people are roleplaying for a bit of escapism and getting away from those daily chores.

V


Title: Re: Game Jam
Post by: Christian Liberg on August 02, 2007, 08:34:31 PM
Hey guys.

Count me in, on the people who reads the thread. I think this concept sounds hilariously, and im so much in, when we get the 6 designers.

Im in to a mix of gamist/Narrativist as well.

Christian


Title: Re: Game Jam
Post by: Filip Luszczyk on August 03, 2007, 06:27:11 AM
As for one designer per game - I'm suggesting one, because from my experience democratic design simply doesn't work well. Someone needs to have creative control over the whole thing. It could work provided that people involved know themselves very well, know exactly what each of them is aiming for, and are in consensus as to the direction they want to give the project. Otherwise, everyone's pulling in his own direction, and at the end of the day, you have a beautiful trainwreck - but not a beautiful game.

I.e. it could work, but it's risky.

The point buy system is a game in its own right, indeed ;) It ascertains an equal input on the concept stage, in a way (other than there's still an issue of some propositions having more potential impact on the project than others). Dunno if a strict bidding system would actually be needed in such "game jam", or would it help in brainstorming.

Also, I don't think G, N and S as categories apply to games, and using them in such context rarely helps anyone. Most probably, each of you understands these terms differently, too. What I see here is that you're trying to use them as convenient shortcuts for saying "I'd like a game that does this and that but doesn't do this", but it doesn't serve communication. I think it's better to avoid the jargon and actually describe design goals in more specific terms, i.e. "I want a game that gives tools for creating stories about X and Y", "I want a game that facilitates experiencing GM-created story", "I want a game with rich setting and no rules that could make experiencing it difficult", "I want a game with tools to create an interesting setting through play", "I want a game with some strategy", "I want a game in which I'll have opportunities to win by doing X and Y", and so on and on and on.

Anyway, currently I have some other stuff I need to do, so don't count me in :)


Title: Re: Game Jam
Post by: vikingmage on August 03, 2007, 10:20:14 AM
I dont think its going to be a democratic design. It will be a frankenstein beast of ideas and concepts. Maybe someone will take a editor/streamlining role at the end. I know as part of a chain of work in comics I have had my beautiful pencils hacked to pieces by a hamfisted inker and then smeared with photoshop tone until I wanted to take my name from the final comic. Thankfully I retained photocopies of my original pencils.  It was a beautiful trainwreck of a comic, but not a beautiful comic. But things don't always need to work out that way.
The challenge to the creators will not be just pulling in their own directions, but responding to the other creators and responding with good work to the vibes being generated by others. Its risky, you are correct!

Yes, maybe using the GSN thing in this context doesn't help. It isn't a game that will be carefully created, but almost grown in a gaming petri-dish with the spores of 6 or so games designers. It might be that each individual GM might opt to use or ignore certain parts of the game .. which is a reality for most systems which bubble away between all three ports in the GSN storm.

I suspect the game will have a rich setting, maybe some innovative mechanics and anything else is a bonus. I am hoping that the process itself will be a rich learning experience. I have always created my games solo and then let my groups input with suggestions. Never tried this with anyone else.


Title: Re: Game Jam
Post by: David Artman on August 03, 2007, 11:20:41 AM
I think the bidding for elements idea is strongest so far. (Hmmm... it's also a Unversalis technique, so maybe we're just playing Universalis Online? We could certainly adopt its challenge mechanics, for our internal conflict resolution amongst designers!)

However, I'd advise you to start with more fundamental design elements than those you've mentioned so far, and then work up to specifics and techniques.

Genre elements and mechanics don't matter at all until you've resolved these elements:
* GM duty apportioning: scene framing, definition/declaration of task/conflict, control of characters, credibility apportioning in general
* Reinforced player stance(s): actor, author, director, fluid (Note that GNS speaks to "agenda," not "stance," FYI.)
* Fortune's place: at the start, at the end, none (i.e. no randomizers)
* Setting scope: scale of "world," importance of characters; OR scalable or generic system (i.e. any setting, any scope)

With those in place, you will be able to make far more directed contributions when you begin to speak to task or conflict resolution procedures, genre, character stats (if any), mechanical comparisons/calculations, allies and adversaries, locales and societies, etc. In general, if at any time you feel the planning for this is "guaranteed" to lead to some jumbled mess, it is probably because you've put the cart before the horse (i.e. haven't resolved fundamental elements and so folks could validly extend a higher-order element in wildly different directions).

As further advice: Run it on a wiki, to make it easiest for folks to create new elements and extend existing ones. You might even be able to use wiki categories to control the "design currency" (DC) exchange between participants (ex: I have 30 DCs; everything I extend, I tag with my user name as a category; anyone can click that category name to see how many pages I've extended and make sure I haven't asserted more than 30 DC of elements). Furthermore, when it's all "done" (more likely, done enough), a few of the more artistic- and linguistic-oriented participants could smooth things out, clean up the language, organize the presentation, and polish it for publication.

Finally, if you REALLY want this to come to fruition with any degree of serious success (i.e. more than a mere mental exercise with no end product goal) then you should back off on the notion of one-day or even three-day "turns." Using DC as above, especially on a wiki, means that everyone will have equal opportunity to contribute. Now, you might want to have "Milestones" which represent hard cut-offs to make (first) fundamental design choices and then (second) system and setting extensions and finally (third) specific supplements to the core rules. Maybe even re-issue DC at each Milestone. The point here is that you'd want thorough "buy in" at every stage, for all participants (i.e. everyone's had time to spend their DC) without rushing folks to make decisions in a day or two. Again, a wiki makes this sort of "parallel development" much easier to manage, especially given the aforementioned non-linearity of an RPG design as compares to a Comic Jam.

Long point short: plan for something like months per Milestone, not days per "half page" (a poor metric compared to something like "one conjunction-free sentence or assertion," IMHO).

THEN... you have the happy task of figuring out who will collect the POD sales revenue, to distribute them equally to the other designers.
;)

(Oh, in case it's not obvious... I'd be interested in participating, depending upon the format chosen.)
David


Title: Re: Game Jam
Post by: Seth M. Drebitko on August 03, 2007, 08:45:43 PM
SORRY FOR THE LENGTH

Ok I think David is spot on the very most important thing that needs to be decided on is the big stuff, minor things like setting are simply a method of application for the larger chunks. I have thought up multiple methods of this endeavors application (including publication methods), as I feel the first place we should all start is at what people want to get out of this.

1.   Collaborative design, divergent application

   In this method a key would be the creation of one of two things before the other, system, or setting. After the group has collaboratively gathered together the aspects they would like to include in the system/setting they must go about actually organizing and creating the thing. From that point every one will go to their own separate corners to return and reveal the missing half to the previous creation.

     As for publishing in this method all of the participants would sell their own products via there own methods. A special deal could be set to provide a discount if a person purchases all of the participants books in bulk.

Pros: In this model every one has 100% creative control over either the setting or system of the game (I suggest setting) while the rest creates some form of unified base which binds it all together. Another pro to this method is that while each finished product will have a binding concept to one another they will be able to support individual and cross promotion.

Cons: In this method the Jam part really ends after the half every one works on together does. This method also eliminates group “success”, where as no matter how good one half of the game created together is if the end you create stinks well your out of luck.

2.   Shared development, shared risk

     In this method every aspect of the game is created together and is subject to change as desired by the participants. In this method the primary concern system or setting must be addressed (as with the previous method) so that it can be formed to set the stage for the other.

     As far as publishing methods two stand out to me. Ransom model, and as previously stated on person handles the splitting of the funds. I could also see with this method subscriptions in which participants would participate to create expansions together that would be released at set times.

Pros: Once its all set and done if one person can’t hold their end for what ever reason to a subscription method they can lean on the others and leave out there cut on the product if they don’t participate in its creation. This model also provides the most possibility for shared success at actually becoming something larger than itself. All in all if even a handful of the authors could find a groove together they could create a solid line of product without worry of falling through on their fans if one takes on some hardship.

Cons: This model while potentially providing shared success can result in shared failure. Another key is to not bite off more than you can chew, if every one but 1-2 people bails and they have a dedication that they made to keep supporting the product they are in for some hectic stressful nights…if they even choose to continue. This method as previously stated also has a strong possibility for failure, as well as dissatisfaction with the over all project.


     So one thing I personally think we might want to do is think over exactly what it is we want out of this. I personally think it would be cool if we all did a combination of the two, focusing right now on option two leaving option one open for the future. A small subscription to provide continued support could be easily managed as well as provide some extra pocket change and pr for personal side projects.

     Now as far as creating system I think if every one got a certain number of points to use, and then was handed the game designers reference book ( a huge listing of all the aspects of rpgs) and was charged with picking through and deciding which elements they prefer. The group could then get back together they would all get to see what the other participants find important in a game and then get to prioritize and fit things together. At least this way we would all at least be coming at the problem with the same instruction manual so to say.

Well that’s just my .05 cents (sorry for the length), I would love to see opinions and if its just horrid that’s cool we can always move on lol.

On a side (and final) note the game designers reference would in no way limit your creativity and if you’d like a copy I have one kicking around and can e-mail it to you, since I can’t remember where it originally came from.

Regards, Seth
Those That Follow, Don’t let humanities last hope, be your dieing breath


Title: Re: Game Jam
Post by: Christian Liberg on August 05, 2007, 09:33:20 PM
Very good points David and Seth. you are both very correct, we need to adress the bigger things, which i think you already made quite clear.

I like the idea of a wiki, which would also support Seth's second point ( shared development ) very well. Option 2 would also be my favourite. If we team up with doing some project management ( which i think we should) we would indeed have the possibility to create a milestone based development.

one thing that i would like to see happening would be something like this.

  • Actual milestone
  • Review of milestone
  • Correction of grammar and the likes
  • actual Milestone
  • Part closed

To ensure that we are done with a part before opening up a new can of worms. A good idea would be to dump even further down, and create small milestones, and major milestones. Although i agree that the half page a day metric isnt the very best, it is "easily" achievable. You know when you delivered, and you feel the reward for it. If we create smaller milestones, we would have the possibility of acknowledgin the progress of the group every week or so, to keep up motivation.

In option 2 there needs to be ressources enough allocated to allow a few people to bail, but few enough people to make a coherent product. So i would probably say a few more than the 6 mentioned previously.

To use the ransom model is a very good idea, starting the ransom at a relatively small amount, and work our way up. But if we decide to use the ransom model, we would need to have planned for timelines of fairly done snippets of the game ( for preview reasons ) rather early in the process.

Seth could you send me that reference manual?

Chris


Title: Re: Game Jam
Post by: Seth M. Drebitko on August 06, 2007, 03:20:29 AM
http://legendaryquest.netfirms.com/
Found it, scroll to the very bottom of the page to find the download. Off to work see you all later.
Regards, Seth


Title: Re: Game Jam
Post by: Christian Liberg on August 06, 2007, 04:39:21 AM
Thanks Seth. way cool

i managed to find a direct link to the book, so here the rest of you guys go.

http://legendaryquest.netfirms.com/books/Patterns.zip (http://legendaryquest.netfirms.com/books/Patterns.zip)

Chris


Title: Re: Game Jam
Post by: belgar on August 07, 2007, 08:23:30 AM
"Genre elements and mechanics don't matter at all until you've resolved these elements.."

While I'm new to this site, I am not new to gaming and I strongly disagree with David's claim quoted above.  Genre elements and mechanics are crucial to Jam creation!  It's what sparks the concept and keeps one on course.  You lose the genre elements and ignore the mechanics, and you lose your way.  Yes, you may end up with a working game, but you will have strayed from the idea that got you excited about the one you set out to create.  And chances are it won't be as exciting as the system you set out to create.  Trust me - I know this for a fact.

We all have different ways of approaching the creative process, and to limit oneself to the techniques dictated by one person will cause a stagnation of new, exciting games!

Sorry, David.



Title: Re: Game Jam
Post by: David Artman on August 07, 2007, 12:58:56 PM
While I'm new to this site, I am not new to gaming and I strongly disagree with David's claim quoted above.  Genre elements and mechanics are crucial to Jam creation!

At no point did I say they are not crucial to the finished product.

I did however say that there are more fundamental elements to RPG design than those and that, without resolving those fundamentals, every higher-order element you might choose to add can be riffed on, literally, in billions ways. That's not jamming; that's having everyone mail in a recording of one measure of music and playing them all at random tempos: cacophony.

You don't do music jamming unless you choose a place to play, a time of day, and whether or not it's public, right? So why talk about "let's jam jazz" until we know those things? Jazz might not be at all suited to the venue (too loud, too quiet) or to the audience (we got space at a rough biker bar), and we won't even get a jam started anywhere at all if folks just show up whenever they feel like it during a 24 hour period.

Quote
It's what sparks the concept and keeps one on course.  You lose the genre elements and ignore the mechanics, and you lose your way.

Just not true. Universalis is a published game with no setting and something like two basic mechanics regarding inter-player (NOT inter-character) disagreements. And those mechanics can change with the consensus of the players to be totally different. Nevertheless, players report very high success with both defining interesting genres and expanding mechanics to evoke the feel that they want in the game. Q.E.D.

Further, in fact, I proposed the first fundamental element when I suggested we copy its methods to manage designer credibility in this endeavor. Thus, the "dictates of one person" red herring below is, patently, false.

Quote
We all have different ways of approaching the creative process, and to limit oneself to the techniques dictated by one person will cause a stagnation of new, exciting games!
Sorry, David.

Believe me, you've nothing to apologize about. Absolutely nothing whatsoever.

You might want to take a bit of time with the Articles section linked above, to help familiarize yourself with the terminology in use here: most of it has very specific meanings.

Oh, and welcome to The Forge....
David


Title: Re: Game Jam
Post by: David Artman on August 07, 2007, 01:10:14 PM
Oh, forgot to add: What is proposed is a cooperative endeavor, so "we all have different ways of approaching the creative process" is kind of moot. If someone wants to go their own way, spurning the group, that's when the person make their own game. Alone.

I believe the OP intended for this process to lead to surprisingly emergent design, not random impulses of a band of individuals wrenching the reins (like some Comic Jams) until the poor horse is so muddled and weak-legged we have to shoot it.

RPG design is not quite as open to wild-eyed, devil-may-care serialized collaboration as something like a linear narrative or even music (which, too, is inherently linear, at least in time). A better "swing thought" for getting this endeavor off the tee is to imagine we're going to build a model... of something as-of-yet totally undefined.

Now, do you think you can say "let's make it a hand-carved wooden WWII fighter jet" before we've had some conversation about "what materials do we have; how much of it; who's bringing what tools; where are we building it?"

In closing, there is absolutely nothing keeping you from starting up something similar or even identical, if you disagree with the aforementioned fundamental priorities (which, mind you, are already mostly ratified and even slightly extended by the current participants other than yourself).

I'm not saying "buzz off"; but I'm definitely saying "catch up to us first, please, don't ask us to slow down for you."
(I do so love my metaphors....)
David


Title: Re: Game Jam
Post by: Vulpinoid on August 07, 2007, 06:29:09 PM
Such is the nature of things, as the course of this thread has developed we seem to have moved further away from the dynamic concept originally envisioned.

I will readily admit that I was one of the first to state that the comic jam concept probably wasn't suitable for the development of a roleplaying game. But we seem to have deviated a lot further from the original vision than even I had expected.

Time for me to play devil's advocate.

Perhaps, we should split this idea down two paths. One being a collaborative RPG developed through a wiki. One being a jam-style RPG a lot closer to the original concept presented.

Personally, I think the wiki idea is a good one, and can definitely result in a playable game. But now I'm developing a perverse interest in how terribly wrong the train-wreck could get if it were done comic-jam style. I certainly wouldn't expect a playable game, and I've seen such things reach catastrophe in the past. But such a mess could set the groundwork for the wiki developed game.

Wiki Page 1: Here's the mess.
Remainder of Wiki: here's how we've turned this pile of dog's balls into a working and playable game.


Just an idea.

V


Title: Re: Game Jam
Post by: Christian Liberg on August 08, 2007, 12:44:26 AM
Hmmm i have been sitting wondering, and have kinda gotten to an idea, which basically revolves around the idea of a comic jam, but not quite.

Please take note, that this is not entirely the same as what vikingmage suggested, and perhaps it could be a contest in its own, but its an input, which i think could be an interesting angle on the game jam idea.

lets say the following.

The basic premise of the universe is metaphysically that of a wheel. the wheel is divided into several same size compartments. These compartments are very different. there are portals from each compartment to another, giving limited access between the worlds of this universe. In the center of the wheel is a HUB,  at the circumference of the wheel there is the ether.

X = the number of game designers interested in this specific contest.

the basic premise of the universe is that of a wheel. the wheel is divided into X numbers of compartments, each compartment is given a number from one to X. Now each game designer has a starting compartment, and he has a day to write something up about this compartment. the next day the wheel revolves and the game designer now has a day to write something about the next compartment. going all the way around, until we get to the compartment where we started. Now we read all the ideas, and write the things together. when we are done, we take another turn of the wheel so to speak.

If we decided the first full round of the weel would be only blurbs about the world, stories and so on and so forth, we could get to the next parts on later runs of the wheel. Things could get really cool, if we could create a character sheet, which could be used on all the different worlds of the wheel, so that eventually players could travel through the world using the same character sheet, but not necesarily the same system.

I know that was not at all like what was intented at first, but just my input to try and maintain the comic jam feel, and maintaining some sort of consistency in the game.

However i myself would also like to see where such a train wreck as the originally proposed idea would lead us. And perhaps we are thinking to hard about it, setting it in rules and systems and the likes. hmm me figures.

Chris


Title: Re: Game Jam
Post by: David Artman on August 08, 2007, 07:35:59 AM
Are we taking two steps back, now? Uh... OK.
(Belgar: uh... never mind. I thought we had our feet under us, but it looks like we're still growing our legs.)
:)

I say, if ya'll want to literally copy the Comic Jam, then GO! Start right now, right here (or right now, in a clean thread). But right NOW.
(Heh... Design NOW should be our Forgist slogan.)

Forget order or turns, forget time limits: GO! Now. Do it now; don't even reply to this post. First posted, first credibility; no challenging or trumping or denying.

I'd suggest you make a length rule, however, to avoid someone driving it completely off a cliff before anyone's even gotten a toe on the running boards. How about maximum of five clauses (i.e. Universalis Facts) per post; and you can't post again until at least fifteen other clauses are posted? Be sure to continue the numbering of the previous poster, as that will show 'simultaneous posts' and, thus, where contradictions, denials, or incoherency might occur accidentally.

See... here's where we can go faster and farther than the linear medium of narrative: we don't have to pass around an artifact. Post when you want, so long as you don't deny an existing clause.

Examples (Disregard; these are not actually starting things off)
1. Characters do not have mental stats (i.e. player cognitive ability is used, not mechanics, for tests or wit or logic).
2. There is only one significant world in the game (i.e. not space-faring or multidimensional or anything like that).
3. The world is largely unknown/unexplored.
4. Animals are as smart as characters.
5. Some animals are far superior to characters.

Now GO! Start it up. Just do it. Don't sit there thinking; go make the thread....
David


Title: Re: Game Jam
Post by: Vulpinoid on August 08, 2007, 03:48:37 PM
David,

Are you taking it on yourself to be the resident dominatrix?

With all that whip cracking...
Now GO! Start it up. Just do it. Don't sit there thinking; go make the thread....
...it's a bit hard to tell.

I'm not advocating that we take "Two steps back", I was merely wondering what the originator of our concept thought of the direction this thread had taken his idea. Then trying to brainstorm a way to resolve the original concept against where we now seem to stand.

I work on the assumption that there are inherent flaws in the "Internet forum" mode of communication. One of those is that subtle hints of irony, sarcasm and constructive criticism are often blown out of proportion and look like insults to some people.
 
In closing, there is absolutely nothing keeping you from starting up something similar or even identical, if you disagree with the aforementioned fundamental priorities (which, mind you, are already mostly ratified and even slightly extended by the current participants other than yourself).

I'm not saying "buzz off"; but I'm definitely saying "catch up to us first, please, don't ask us to slow down for you."

Just because we've shot off in a certain direction with this idea doesn't mean we're heading in the right direction.  And it certainly doesn't mean we're taking the original author's idea in a direction they may be happy with.

There's a lot of potential in the ideas presented here, so before we get railroaded by one person's agenda, it might be a good idea to explore them a bit more.

V


Title: Re: Game Jam
Post by: Seth M. Drebitko on August 08, 2007, 04:43:30 PM
For the sake of not seeing this thread tangent further off, how about we all sit tight until the creator of the thread gives his yes or no as to if he thinks the thread has gone to far off track. If he does then cool deal no need to discuss it people can part ways to other challenges or stay with this one as so desired.

Regards, Seth


Title: Re: Game Jam
Post by: Ron Edwards on August 09, 2007, 04:38:09 AM
I support Seth's post, as moderator.

I also think that as soon as anyone started talking about "we," vikingmage was undermined. This was supposed to be his Endeavor, and I think it got jacked.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: Game Jam
Post by: Ron Edwards on August 09, 2007, 07:50:06 PM
To clarify my poorly-worded post, I am the moderator.

Also, supporting moderation isn't necessary here. It's best just to let it be what it is. If anyone has any questions about the Forge community and how moderation relates to it, send me a message.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: Game Jam
Post by: vikingmage on August 25, 2007, 01:33:00 AM
Sorry about the delay in getting back to this topic. Thanks for the support of the project from everyone. I have to say I began to feel drained of the willpower to carry on when the whole thing seemed to lurch off the original concept. I was still excited about it, but couldn't see a role for myself, except maybe as an illustrator. It appeared that massively more experienced and talented souls were signing onboard and wanting to create ... and that just made me feel nervous.

If people still want involved then I think the suggestion from Vulpinoid is a good one. Two seperate projects. One called Project Glorious Trainwreck. The other Wiki project. I am happy to support both, the former with my daft ideas and motivation, the later with my illustration skills (and I am not a bad little scribbler!)

Thanks Ron, Seth and Vulp for the support. Cheers to the other souls. Lets create!


Title: Re: Game Jam
Post by: David Artman on August 27, 2007, 09:07:32 AM
I have to say I began to feel drained of the willpower to carry on when the whole thing seemed to lurch off the original concept.

Dude... do your own thing and forget about counter notions. That's all I meant above, with the "GO! Do it! Start right now with five facts!" post above. Your "pure jam" Glorious Train Wreck doesn't require any planning beyond the basic "metarules" I suggested above or something similar:

"First posted, first credibility; no challenging or trumping or denying.

I'd suggest you make a length rule, however, to avoid someone driving it completely off a cliff before anyone's even gotten a toe on the running boards. How about maximum of five clauses (i.e. Universalis Facts) per post; and you can't post again until at least fifteen other clauses are posted? Be sure to continue the numbering of the previous poster, as that will show 'simultaneous posts' and, thus, where contradictions, denials, or incoherency might occur accidentally."

Quote
The other Wiki project. I am happy to support both, the former with my daft ideas and motivation, the later with my illustration skills (and I am not a bad little scribbler!)

Me, too. I'd like to Jam (again, if it's going to have any chance of reaching a usable conclusion) and I'd happily help with a wiki project.

For the latter, we need some kind of host setup; I could host temporarily, until the design is "finished" and compiled into PDF format. But for the former, you can just start a new thread with your Metarule of Element Addition and press the GO! button. (Cross-link to it in this thread, so we don't miss it, OK?)

David