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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 158 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Boulevard] Taking some cues.  (Read 4987 times)
Joshua A.C. Newman
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Posts: 1144

the glyphpress


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« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2006, 10:34:43 AM »

I foresee no issue with jumping around on a timeline.

Maybe distinct places on that timeline give you different bonuses: At the beginning, you're rolling lots of Piss and Vinegar dice and only a few Burn dice, but as the timeline goes to the right, the Burn dice accrue and the Piss and Vinegar diminish.

You use Piss and Vinegar to accomplish your goals stop the war, run a self-perpetuating commune, make your band famous and Burn dice give you control over the rest of the world they're your getting arrested, having the commune break up, signing with Sony/EMI. When those thing happen, you get Burn dice. When you roll them, they count as successes, but with a cost.
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the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.
dindenver
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Don't Panic!


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« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2006, 08:34:39 PM »

Hi!
  I think the players (especially as a creative force) should have total say on the order of their scenes. I think what effect a scene has on a player should be what it ment to the character when it was all done.
  Like say, Player A declares, "I wanna do scene 3 next" And they play it out and he sets it up to be a tragic love affair between his Marxist anti-corp and her Nihilist Greenpeacer and when the scene is over, the player thinks its an epic romance for the ages but the Character thinks it was just another lay with a vapid hippy.
  But, I don't forsee a prob with non-sequential play. I don't see a prob with knowing the ending before you know the beginning and I do see lots of opportunities to make the game play the way you want it to!
  Sounds cool man, rock on!
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Dave M
Author of Legends of Lanasia RPG (Still in beta)
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joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2006, 09:47:52 AM »

Quote
But, I don't forsee a prob with non-sequential play. I don't see a prob with knowing the ending before you know the beginning

Quote
I foresee no issue with jumping around on a timeline.

For the record: I'm not asking if there's an issue with non-sequential gameplay. I'm asking if there are new opportunities opened up as a result of non-sequential gameplay.
Does it mean that we can do certain things we couldn't before?

The example I was focusing on was: You can affect the character without ever affecting the player. You mark a point on the timeline, and the player can choose to NOT PLAY THAT POINT IN THE TIMELINE. On the flipside, by controlling the timeline, ("you go here now, player!") you can affect/impact the player without changing any of the events in the character's life.

I'm trying to figure out what this whole non-sequential thing gives me, especially in terms of seperating player and character.

JOSHUA:
I love the piss-n-vinegar and burn idea.
Tony LB was talking about the game Peanut Butter and Jelly.
To quote him:
Quote
There are two types of cards in the game ... some which are the components of your sandwiches (bread, peanut butter, jelly) and some which are meta-cards (flies to ruin other people's sandwiches, ants to steal ingredients).

You play an ingredient card, it starts a sandwich. Immediately, people are thinking "I'd rather play a meta-card than an ingredient, because I can get stuffplusslow down my opposition." But they're pretty much screwed, because there are way more ingredients than metas in the deck. So occasionally they get a meta, but mostly people are just playing ingredients.

When you complete a sandwich you remove the cards from the deck, and keep them as a stacked sandwich. Sorta like tricks in Bridge.

But ...but... when you play a meta card, it goes back in the deck.

So there are three phases of the game:

First, the ingredients are prolific, and metas are rare. Sandwiches are built. Conflict is sporadic. As more sandwiches are built we shift inevitably into ...

Second, the ingredients are getting scarcer, and metas are therefore more common. Sandwiches are sabotaged left and right. Conflict is rampant. As sandwiches manage to get completed (often by the most rapid, brutal sequences) we shift inevitably into ...

Third, the ingredients are all but depleted. The metas are now virtually useless, because there are not enough ingredients to give them power. The game slides gently to a halt.

Now ain't that slick? Doesn't that make you want to design a two-resource game?

Could piss/vinegar and burn do that?
Maybe piss/vinegar goes away, but burn always remains. And... you can increase burn too...
I like the idea of a two resource game.

Maybe, though, those two resources are Naive and Pretentiousnes. Because as soon as you turn piss-and-vinegar into a resource, people will want to preserve it. And we don't want people to preserve their piss and vinegar. We want them to throw it around like mad.
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Joshua A.C. Newman
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Posts: 1144

the glyphpress


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« Reply #18 on: September 19, 2006, 10:32:12 AM »

I think the resource is based on where you are on the resource, so there's maybe no say in what you have at what point in the timeline?

Here's what I think you get from your temporal hopparoundery:

You get to establish some goals for the character.
You pretty much have to play tragedy. Tragedy is good.
I can see long-term play taking spots in the character's life.
Look at historical fiction. Would you read a story about Patrick Henry, even though you know that he's denounced and dies a broken man after the Revolution? That's why I want to read the story.

The Conan stories were written out of chronological order. They didn't suffer from it at all.

I think maybe you have to play the death first. Then you figure out if it was worth it.
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the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.
joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2006, 03:57:07 PM »

Quote
Here's what I think you get from your temporal hopparoundery:

You get to establish some goals for the character.
You pretty much have to play tragedy. Tragedy is good.
I can see long-term play taking spots in the character's life.
Look at historical fiction. Would you read a story about Patrick Henry, even though you know that he's denounced and dies a broken man after the Revolution? That's why I want to read the story.

The Conan stories were written out of chronological order. They didn't suffer from it at all.

I think maybe you have to play the death first. Then you figure out if it was worth it.

Tim Alexander suggested that the game is largely figuring out if it was worth it, as well.
The thing is though, Tim suggested that resources be collected... and at endgame you make a big roll to see if it was.
At least, I think that's what he was suggesting.
I don't like THAT so much - the idea that what "justifies it all" is a big test at the end.

I think that the "figuring out if it was worth it" is done through the narration, and not mechanically.

********************************

So, why using non-sequential jumping?

DinDenver just made an awesome point to me in IM: Maybe the characters life progresses one way, but the theme progresses another.
That's part of it.

The other is that non-sequential jumping allows you to add meaning as you go on... which means you aren't just making kick-ass scenes, you are making kick-ass scenes that re-enforce other ones.

Ex.
Jonny is high as a kite, speeding along in his car. He rounds the corner, crashes the car - totally wraps it around a telephone call. His girlfriend, who was with him and high as well, dies.

Jump back to another scene. Jonny is losing his virginity to another girl, in this car.

Jump back to another scene. Jonny is receiving the car as a gift from his father. His father is this rich lawyer who only connects to his son through buying stuff. This is his attempt to reach out. Jonny is ungrateful, and his father feels so. fucking. defeated.


Or... another example...

Ex.
Mark's death scene is him getting jailed for murder.

Jump back to him peacefully protesting against an oil company's illegal practices.

Jump forward to him chucking a molotov cocktail at a big warehouse.

Jump backward to him losing faith in non-violent protest. He's drunk and sobbing, and his best friend got arrested earlier. "It's all for nothing. If all I'm doing is talking, they have the option not to listen."
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Tim Alexander
Member

Posts: 304


« Reply #20 on: September 19, 2006, 07:46:19 PM »

Hey Joe,


Tim Alexander suggested that the game is largely figuring out if it was worth it, as well.
The thing is though, Tim suggested that resources be collected... and at endgame you make a big roll to see if it was.
At least, I think that's what he was suggesting.
I don't like THAT so much - the idea that what "justifies it all" is a big test at the end.

I think that the "figuring out if it was worth it" is done through the narration, and not mechanically.

Actually, I was suggesting both. Figuring out if it was worth it would absolutely be impacted by the interim fiction, but I suggest there might be benefits to reinforcing that mechanically. Specifically you have the benefit of sweating the outcome until the very end because "Damn, I've got my pool of six, and that's not bad but it certainly doesn't guarantee that it's good enough and dammit I only have a couple of scenes before it's DONE... can I turn this around?"

Quote
So, why using non-sequential jumping?

DinDenver just made an awesome point to me in IM: Maybe the characters life progresses one way, but the theme progresses another.
That's part of it.

The other is that non-sequential jumping allows you to add meaning as you go on... which means you aren't just making kick-ass scenes, you are making kick-ass scenes that re-enforce other ones.

Ex.
Jonny is high as a kite, speeding along in his car. He rounds the corner, crashes the car - totally wraps it around a telephone call. His girlfriend, who was with him and high as well, dies.

Jump back to another scene. Jonny is losing his virginity to another girl, in this car.

Jump back to another scene. Jonny is receiving the car as a gift from his father. His father is this rich lawyer who only connects to his son through buying stuff. This is his attempt to reach out. Jonny is ungrateful, and his father feels so. fucking. defeated.


Or... another example...

Ex.
Mark's death scene is him getting jailed for murder.

Jump back to him peacefully protesting against an oil company's illegal practices.

Jump forward to him chucking a molotov cocktail at a big warehouse.

Jump backward to him losing faith in non-violent protest. He's drunk and sobbing, and his best friend got arrested earlier. "It's all for nothing. If all I'm doing is talking, they have the option not to listen."

Yep, great stuff. I've always liked non-sequential timelines in games for exactly the above sort of nuance.

-Tim
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Joshua A.C. Newman
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Posts: 1144

the glyphpress


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« Reply #21 on: September 19, 2006, 07:56:41 PM »

This seems totally fun to me.

I think it's time to throw together some mechanics and get some playtest.
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the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.
joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #22 on: September 19, 2006, 10:41:20 PM »

Quote
I think it's time to throw together some mechanics and get some playtest.
Quote
It might be time to go into the think tank and do some development, maybe set yourself a 24hr deadline to get a bare bones game put together. You've got some reinforcement that the material seems sound, go do something neat with it and bring it back to us.

Gawd, you people! Okay -

Step One: Finish reading Invisible Monsters. It starts with the tragic ending, and jumps around a lot. I want to read that to find out... What's the point to it? Why the horrible loss of self? Why the transformation from one blank slate to another?

Step Two: Re-watch Slaughterhouse Five. Watch how the scenes jump based on thematic or physical similiarities. Watch how a scene is later explained. Watch how much the non-sequentialness kicks ass.

Step Two, part B: Figure out what Thematic Scene Linking is.

Step Three: Then go write some rules, and then playtest.
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Ice Cream Emperor
Member

Posts: 46


« Reply #23 on: September 20, 2006, 04:49:11 AM »


Man, I totally missed this. The idea of mechanics that specifically address non-sequential scene framing sounds absolutely awesome. I think a key will be making sure that whatever you do with that, it remains closely tied with the "punks travelling through their fucked up lives, desperate for meaning" aesthetic. Slaughterhouse 5, for example, has a very different feel for me -- the idea of being unstuck from time results in the opposite of desperation, in a sort of resignation.

One possibility is to make sure that every point in the timeline can, at any point in the game, have its meaning completely reversed. So okay, we decided that here is where he crashes the car and kills his best friend -- sounds pretty bad, huh? Now even when we're playing his earlier scenes with his best friend, maybe we're already sad about how it's going to turn out, maybe we start getting all saccharine and even a little resigned to his friend's fate. That's no good. Those early scenes should be the battleground for establishing the meaning of the later scenes.

Maybe somehow we can do something in this previous scene that will save his friend, that will make somebody else die in the crash instead. Or that will make it so his friend was totally doing it with his girl on the side so he deserved it, damnit. Or just do anything so that you can never look at the timeline -- even at the final, crash-and-burn scene -- and believe that's really how it all went down.

The only concrete suggestion I have in this regard is that when a scene is Thematically Linked (whatever you decide that means) with another scene, that means that resources gained in the current scene can be spent to either outright-revise or instead reopen that other, completed scene. This encourages people to build up coherent Themes as a way of managing resources and affecting each other's stories. Especially if you want to have players play out their protagonists largely in solo scenes, this is a good way to reward players for participating in scenes that don't relate to their own characters -- because if they do so thematically enough it will get them what they want elsewhere.
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~ Daniel
Ice Cream Emperor
Member

Posts: 46


« Reply #24 on: September 20, 2006, 04:54:14 AM »


Thinking of Donnie Darko, I cannot help but add the suggestion that one thing that you could do in any "earlier" scene (story-earlier, not game-earlier) is kill your character off, negating all his future fuck-ups (and non-fuck-ups). So instead of your best friend dying in that car crash, it was you. So you never burned down the liquor store, and you never punched that cop, and you never gave that great speech in the middle of the school assembly about how "it's all a bunch of fuckin' lies" that made Carol fall in love with you.

But maybe your best friend did. Maybe he got so fucked up after you died in that crash that he started having issues of his own.

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~ Daniel
joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #25 on: September 20, 2006, 11:02:06 AM »

Quote
Thinking of Donnie Darko, I cannot help but add the suggestion that one thing that you could do in any "earlier" scene (story-earlier, not game-earlier) is kill your character off, negating all his future fuck-ups (and non-fuck-ups). So instead of your best friend dying in that car crash, it was you. So you never burned down the liquor store, and you never punched that cop, and you never gave that great speech in the middle of the school assembly about how "it's all a bunch of fuckin' lies" that made Carol fall in love with you.

But maybe your best friend did. Maybe he got so fucked up after you died in that crash that he started having issues of his own.

Hm. This is really, really interesting.

Not only are we trying to figure out why he did these things, we're trying to figure out IF IT WAS WORTH IT.
Whether it'd be better to just... die.

*deep breaths*

That's intense.
I'm not sure if I want to introduce this or not, but this is a really cool idea.

Quote
One possibility is to make sure that every point in the timeline can, at any point in the game, have its meaning completely reversed. So okay, we decided that here is where he crashes the car and kills his best friend -- sounds pretty bad, huh? Now even when we're playing his earlier scenes with his best friend, maybe we're already sad about how it's going to turn out, maybe we start getting all saccharine and even a little resigned to his friend's fate. That's no good. Those early scenes should be the battleground for establishing the meaning of the later scenes.

Maybe somehow we can do something in this previous scene that will save his friend, that will make somebody else die in the crash instead. Or that will make it so his friend was totally doing it with his girl on the side so he deserved it, damnit. Or just do anything so that you can never look at the timeline -- even at the final, crash-and-burn scene -- and believe that's really how it all went down.

This is totally awesome. I especially like the last line - the idea that it's never REALLY the way things happened. Not entirely. Not without the context.

Quote
The only concrete suggestion I have in this regard is that when a scene is Thematically Linked (whatever you decide that means) with another scene, that means that resources gained in the current scene can be spent to either outright-revise or instead reopen that other, completed scene. This encourages people to build up coherent Themes as a way of managing resources and affecting each other's stories. Especially if you want to have players play out their protagonists largely in solo scenes, this is a good way to reward players for participating in scenes that don't relate to their own characters -- because if they do so thematically enough it will get them what they want elsewhere.

My CURRENT thinking is this: You can't actually change a scene, short of killing yourself a la Donny Darko.
But... you are encouraged to tell scenes really fragmentally, so that when they get fleshed out, there is the opportunity to reverse their IMPLICATIONS.

I'm not sure if this is what you meant by this, but that's where I'm headed.


Oh, and man... We're totally playtesting this in the next few weeks. Just so you know.
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