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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 74 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [sic] Submission - Cyberbarians  (Read 2350 times)
Anders Larsen
Member

Posts: 270


« on: July 29, 2007, 03:15:44 PM »

Here are my post-contest feedback tread

The link to my game is here: http://anders.blimmer.dk/sic/cyberbarians.pdf. Well, it's there, but I do not think it is playable.

I did not had time to give very many feedback during the contest - so NO OBLIGATIONS for you here! I will try, though, to give everyone feedback after the submissions.

 - Anders
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Vulpinoid
Member

Posts: 803

Kitsune Trickster


WWW
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2007, 03:51:40 PM »

Don't worry about the game not being "finished".

I think there are a lot of us who didn't consider how tough the challenge would be when we first entered it.

I struggled to give some comments to everyone, and I think there are maybe only two or three people in the whole contest who gave feedback during the course of the development week.

I'm treating this contest as a chance to fine tune my abilities and feed off the community of people around here. There have been some great ideas brought forth and some interesting concepts introduced. I'm thinking of stealing a few, twisting them to fit into the conventions of the game I'm developing ("Tales").

Give me a day or two to look over what you've done, and I'll make sure I give you some constructive feedback on your final result for the contest.

V
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A.K.A. Michael Wenman
Vulpinoid Studios The Eighth Sea now available for as a pdf for $1.
Filip Luszczyk
Member

Posts: 746

roll-player


WWW
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2007, 01:53:25 PM »

First, I really like your game. Out of all the games in the challenge, it's probably my favorite Smiley

Your game has a strong and evocative concept - i.e. it has its twist of originality, but it builds on a simple and solid foundation without trying to be original in every aspect forcibly. I think you communicate the feel of the setting well enough to give the players enough material to work with - it isn't needlessly detailed, and at the same time it refers to cliches and genre conventions that make it very easy to fill in the blanks.

The system generally seems playable. Obviously, it almost certainly isn't perfectly playable yet, but no game written in such a design challenge can be. However, the whole point was to get as close to playability as possible in a week of work, and I think the game is close enough to the point when nothing more could be improved without actually refining it through playtesting.

I'd expect it to work as it is without breaking to pieces on the first run, anyway.

Now, time for nitpicking Smiley

It's a rather minor point, as it doesn't affect the game's playability itself as much as its presentation and clarity - and I'm not a native speaker of English myself, so my own games are probably not free of the same problem. Still, there's quite a lot of language mistakes in the text. Not to the point of making it completely unintelligible, I think, but they somewhat hinder reading. The game could use an additional grammar check (there are some spelling errors and missing or incorrect words, but I think you should be especially careful about your use of verb forms, as you often mix singular/plurar and 2nd/3rd person forms).

I think I mentioned it in the ongoing feedback thread already, but Natural Biker sounds weird to me in the context of an implant.

For character creation, I recommend giving the player a spread of values to assign rather than points to distribute. It would be a bit faster, I think, but the main reason why I suggest this is that you have increasing advancement costs based on implant's level. This creates the usual min/maxing issues common in games that use different ratio during character creation and advancement. Namely, the most cost-efficient initial distribution involves pumping all the points into few high values, leaving the rest at minimum. Improving the remaining abilities from weak to average is simply faster than it would be to improve those few abilities from medium to strong.

E.g. if I start with physical values at 4/3/3/3/1/0, it will cost me 31 points to pump everything to 4, and only 5 points to get to 4/3/3/3/2/2. If I start with 3/3/2/2/2/2, maximizing everything is going to cost me 36 points, and I'll have to spend 7 points to reach 4/3/3/3/2/2. For these 2 points of difference, I can raise two virtual implants from 0 to 1.

So, a pre-determined spread for character creation like 4/3/3/2/1/1 would be more clean, I think. Another way to make things more even would be to have constant costs for advancement (e.g. 3 or so per level). Advancement costs might need some fine-tuning anyway, but only playtesting will tell.

You suggest staring with some loose role-playing, and coming up with the goal for the character after a while. However, I think that something needs to happen to give the player some more concrete context to set the character's goal in - e.g. it seems like currently the GM needs to deliver some punch to make things roll, but as it is there are no instructions for that. Basically, you need some kind of "ignition spark" for the session, and currently there seems to be none. I.e. you come up with the kicker after some scenes of "loose roleplaying" - but what to do in this initial part, other than wander aimlessly until someone comes up with some immediate problem to deal with?

Now, it doesn't mean that this makes the game unplayable. However, I think there's a serious risk of the session breaking down unless the players and the GM figure out that they need to steer these first scenes in a direction of creating some interesting conflict.

Given that - should you decide to write another version of the game - you no longer need to worry about the "instant playability" requirement, you could include some situation prep, or ask the players to write the kicker before starting play. Otherwise, something similar to DitV initiation scene could work, possibly.

Conflict resolution seems rather solid. Three things come to my mind:

-You lack rules for group conflicts, or instructions about what to do if more than one player wants to participate. Maybe everyone rolls, and only the person who rolls best can "deal damage" to one other participant of the conflict, or something in these lines?

-Maybe it could be good if activating the virtual part of the implant had a variable cost based on its power. E.g. activating 2/3 implant could cost 5 Blessings, and every X Blessings could change to one die in a later roll. It seems to me that currently it might always be the best idea to start from the strongest implants, but obviously, I'd have to see it in actual play to know for sure.

-As I look at the consequences chart, it seems to me that having a choice between removing an action or gaining Trouble on 3-5 wouldn't hurt. Also, it's not perfectly clear whether adding Special Action or rebooting an implant requires a doublet/triplet of either 1s or 2s or both doublet/triplet of 1s and 2s (the former would seem logical to me).

And that's probably everything that comes to my mind. As said earlier, it's nitpicking, as I think the game is generally solid, all in all, and I'd expect it to be fun to play.
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Filip Luszczyk
Member

Posts: 746

roll-player


WWW
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2007, 02:06:20 PM »

Quote
2nd/3rd person forms

Duh. I meant mixing 3rd person singular and the remaining forms, of course.
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Anders Larsen
Member

Posts: 270


« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2007, 03:26:28 PM »

Hi Filip

Thanks for the feedback, I am glad that you like the game. I must admit that I am very exited about the concept myself, I was just a bit afraid that I would not do it justice.

You bring up some very good points.

About the language issue. When I made my game-chef game I had time to let some friends look it though and make corrections, unfortunately it was not possible to get time to do the same with this game. But when I make the next version I will certainly get someone to look it over.

Quote
I think I mentioned it in the ongoing feedback thread already, but Natural Biker sounds weird to me in the context of an implant.

Yes, you mentioned it, and I used a hour or two to try to find better names, and failed; I guess my brain was not working properly at the time. But I agree with you, the names for the implants could be better.

Quote
So, a pre-determined spread for character creation like 4/3/3/2/1/1 would be more clean, I think. Another way to make things more even would be to have constant costs for advancement (e.g. 3 or so per level). Advancement costs might need some fine-tuning anyway, but only playtesting will tell.

I completely agree with this. I must admit that character creation, consequences and advancement was thrown together mostly blindly; I have very little idea of how well they are going to work.

Quote
You suggest staring with some loose role-playing, and coming up with the goal for the character after a while. However, I think that something needs to happen to give the player some more concrete context to set the character's goal in - e.g. it seems like currently the GM needs to deliver some punch to make things roll, but as it is there are no instructions for that. Basically, you need some kind of "ignition spark" for the session, and currently there seems to be none. I.e. you come up with the kicker after some scenes of "loose roleplaying" - but what to do in this initial part, other than wander aimlessly until someone comes up with some immediate problem to deal with?

Having some loose roleplay before the players create the kicker, was really done to move the kicker out of the preparation phase. But now that I think about it, I actually think that it will be easier to write the kicker after you have played a few scenes. And then you are right, there need to be some guide or mechanic to start the game up. One thing I am thinking about is to have some scenes that help the players defining their clan. But right now I am not sure how to do this.

Quote
-You lack rules for group conflicts, or instructions about what to do if more than one player wants to participate. Maybe everyone rolls, and only the person who rolls best can "deal damage" to one other participant of the conflict, or something in these lines?

Yes, group conflict is a big missing part. I have had some thoughts about how this could be done, but because of lack of time and space (and good idea) I had to leave that out. But it is certainly a high priority for the next version.

Quote
-Maybe it could be good if activating the virtual part of the implant had a variable cost based on its power. E.g. activating 2/3 implant could cost 5 Blessings, and every X Blessings could change to one die in a later roll. It seems to me that currently it might always be the best idea to start from the strongest implants, but obviously, I'd have to see it in actual play to know for sure.

I am not sure that this will be a problem, you are just better at some thing than others, and of course you will try to mostly use the implants where you are best. But you can only use an implant if the special actions of the implant apply to the current situation, so you will not always be able to use your best implant. But I am not sure, so it is something that I will be aware of when I playtest the game.


Again, thanks for the feedback.

 - Anders

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ja-prozac
Member

Posts: 41

nerd with an attitude


« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2007, 08:54:45 AM »

First look

I found some mistakes (reape - rape, of cause - of course, run of - run off). If I noticed them
they have to be big.

Setting:
While I like the whole idea there was some things I found lacking. There's not a word
how does virtual world look like. You could cut some of the setting to include at least
few examples. Also, corporations differ only a little even if talking about their objectives.
One or two sentences on how their AIs(gods) look like and act. I understand the lack
of space, though.

Mechanic:
Achievments are easy to understand, at least for me, so the suggestion to come up
with them later is not really needed and forces players and gm to improvise. This can
be imho deadly for the session as there's nothing to push the game forward.
 
Maybe it's a feature not a bug, but brdige pool doesn't really  counts as much in a conflict.
It makes up for hitpoints, but you can easily power up lack of dice with.other options
with draining the implant as an overkill( 5 - 9 more dice to roll). This way conflicts may last long
time. Again, this may be a feature not a bug.

I didn't like the part about final conflict in achievment and AI mission. Feels little forced for me.
Who says it's final conflict and how many conflicts have to be resolved before it? Not to say
it's hard to win conflict with so much of free dice to the opponent.

Overall, I like the game and would play it sometime.

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