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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 88 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Platforms  (Read 1787 times)
Jared A. Sorensen
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« on: May 21, 2001, 01:36:00 PM »

I've been tinkering with a game called Platforms. It's "the 2-dimensional game for 3-dimensional people" and is supposed to capture the feel of a character-based, side-scrolling video-game (ie: Super Mario Bros., Metroid, Ghosts n' Goblins, etc. etc.). So movement is in 2-d, characters (and how high they can jump) are measured in pixels, rather than turns there are "screens" and so on. So far it's turning into a generic "side-scroller" engine into which you can plug-in your own custom worlds (like Super Mario, fire flowers, mushrooms and Goombas or a Gradius-style shapeship shooter).

Absurdly gamist, but it looks like it good be fun...especially for little kids. Characterization = almost none, lots of strategy and excitement ("Roll well or you'll fall onto the spikes and lose a life!") -- cool.
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jared a. sorensen / www.memento-mori.com
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2001, 01:46:00 PM »

Hey Jared?

I know you're into the "because it was there" school of RPG design, but ... um, why bother? I mean, we HAVE Super Mario Bros and all that stuff, and it looks cool and goes "beep," whereas the pencil & paper RPG doesn't.

If the only reason is "because," well, OK - I never argue with the will of God or whims of Jared. But I was just wondering whether there was some OTHER reason that I was missing ...

'Course, I like the idea that we're tending to explore Gamism, and maybe this kind of thing is how the best D/F/K and other mechanics for that purpose can be worked out.

Best,
Ron
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Jared A. Sorensen
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« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2001, 03:20:00 PM »

I know you're into the "because it was there" school of RPG design, but ... um, why bother? I mean, we HAVE Super Mario Bros and all that stuff, and it looks cool and goes "beep," whereas the pencil & paper RPG doesn't.

If the only reason is "because," well, OK - I never argue with the will of God or whims of Jared. But I was just wondering whether there was some OTHER reason that I was missing ...

'Course, I like the idea that we're tending to explore Gamism, and maybe this kind of thing is how the best D/F/K and other mechanics for that purpose can be worked out.


My reasons are...threefold (hah!):

1)  Write a totally gamist RPG.  I think I was inspired by D&D (and my interest in the RUne RPG).  I bought the basic D&D game last week (the '79 version) and was pretty surprised to see how gamist it is.  I mean, 3rd edition is like Hero Wars compared to this!  The example of play is really telling -- one player maps the dungeon, one player is the "Caller" and the other player keeps track of treasure.  The Caller position is fascinating -- this is the guy that speaks to the GM and tells him the group's actions.  Anyway, I'm just trying to cast aside all Narrativist concerns for awhile and "try on some other pants."  

2)  Write an RPG that will interest wee folk.  Hence the game's use of drawn-out maps on graph paper (kids could design their own levels by drawing it out on a piece of paper and then go through and assign attributes to the stuff that they drew).

3)  Write an RPG based on the video games that I grew up with.  Use the bizarre characters, settings and world-logic from the coin-op Nintendo games of the 80's as RPG elements.  Super Mario Bros. is just too ODD not to be used as a setting.

4)  Grist for the mill.  It's an experiment but I hope to get a few things out of it.  A playable, fun game for one.  Second, some insight into Gamist design.  Third, inspiration for a more Narrativist game dealing with these fantastic characters -- especially one suitable for kids.
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jared a. sorensen / www.memento-mori.com
Zak Arntson
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« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2001, 03:26:00 PM »

I can't see this being better than a video game, unless you introduce some sort of competitive element.

Each player has X points to create a "level" with which to destroy the other players.
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Zak Arntson
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« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2001, 03:40:00 PM »

One more note:

I can totally see the glee of designing levels on graph paper, then marking attributes of certain sections.  Then having the other players try to pass the levels.

If you made a CAD program for this game, you could print the levels up all pretty-like and have little character counters.  But then, why wouldn't you make a 2d side-scroller creation program on the computer.

But yeah, I fully remember designing new levels for video games when I was younger ...
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hardcoremoose
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2001, 06:51:00 PM »

Well, I did just this sort of thing as a kid...long before I got into D&D (which was when I was eleven).  I didn't always have a video game system, so I had to make do with what I did have...pencils and paper.  My friends and I did this sort of stuff, and while there weren't any rules as such, I still remember it fondly.

As far as it being a legitimate form of game design...well, I know that Jared benefits from "the art for art's sake" mentality.  I envy him for that, as I often fall into the "what's the point" mindset, so I'll be the last to naysay an idea, even if I secretly have inner reservations.

Besides, a Castlevania or Oddworld platform RPG would be kinda cool.  :smile:
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Jared A. Sorensen
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« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2001, 08:31:00 PM »

It's up!
http://www.memento-mori.com/platforms/
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jared a. sorensen / www.memento-mori.com
james_west
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« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2001, 09:20:00 PM »

Quasits & Quasars, a british fanzine from the early eighties, printed something similar in an early issue if memory serves (which it may not, this being nigh twenty years ago.) At the time, video games were still very much in their infancy.

                   - James

PS - you should take that in the "great minds think alike" vein. I once wrote a rules system to simulate having bottle-rocket fights, another "why bother" system in that we did it ourselves all the time. (We were 17 at the time.)

[ This Message was edited by: james_west on 2001-05-23 01:21 ]
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