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Author Topic: My first game design  (Read 7009 times)
Clinton R. Nixon
Posts: 2624

« Reply #15 on: July 31, 2002, 08:41:01 AM »


That's totally funny. I was actually more embarrassed that people would see the date on my earliest bit of game design - it's only 3 years old - and realize my relative youth.

I do still have my first full game - a really poor generic system called Too Much Coffee Role-playing System - up in the Game Bookshelf at my site. I keep it there, not because it's good, but because it still strikes me as funny when I read it.

Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games

Posts: 5574

« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2002, 08:50:18 AM »

heh...I can't provide links to my first game design.  It was written on a manual typewriter with a cloth ribbon spool on onion paper and bound with a Swingline between two pieces of cardstock cut from a shirt box.  As I recall it was a straight riff off of Star Frontiers.

It has a place of honor in an old trunk right next to my hand drawn Dungeon! map rip-off and several riffs on FASAs Star Trek Simulator, and several spiral bound notebooks full of Twilight 2000 rip offs.

Some of my not quite that old stuff is available electronically.  On 5 1/2" floppies for my old Apple IIC written in Bank Street Writer and printed on a Smith Corona d200 dot matrix printer on accordian paper.  Anyone who knows how to get THAT stuff into a PC readable .txt file would earn my eternal gratitude.

Zak Arntson

Posts: 839

« Reply #17 on: July 31, 2002, 09:20:56 AM »

Wow! I've got some old rpg files for some word processor on the Commodore 128, but that's about as old as it gets from me.

Looking back on game design, I remembered some other stuff, too:

Huge "Fantasy Heartbreaker" designs, that approached Rolemaster in terms of number of stats. I would think up three or four basic classes (fighter, rogue, cleric, wizard) and draw up tons of venn diagrams and create a zillion classes based on their various combinations. Things like "2 parts fighter, 1 part rogue = Bandit." That and schools of magic venn diagrams to turn some basic concepts (illusion, evocation, necromancy) into a zillion different schools.

I also read a bunch of Lawrence Watt-Evans, who wrote a great pulp series (Lords of Dus) and writes a lighter-hearted, fun fantasy series (Ethshar I think). His Ethshar had particular types of magic, like Warlocks, Oneiromancers, Wizards, Witches, Illusionists, Sorcerers, you name it. They all had their own weird rules. I was heavily influenced by that concept. My games never had a straight wizard/cleric split.

Okay, so I wrote tons of RPGs as a kid. I could go on for pages, probably, but I'll save myself the embarrassment. :)

Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters

Posts: 2341

« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2002, 09:37:13 AM »

The first game system I ever developed was strongly influenced by TSR's Top Secret (the original, not S.I., which didn't exist then), with its ridiculous number of derived statistics.

Oh my god! My first game, dating way back to when I was in junior high in the late 70's, was called Espionage. Every skill was derived by performing a complex calculation on multiple attributes. Tragically, the only manuscript of this treasure of design and innovation has been lost.

My second game, dating from the early 80's, was a fantasy heartbreaker (in the "never published" sense of the word). But with this one, every skill was derived by performing a complex calculation on multiple attributes. And I still have it, the entire painstakingly hand-lettered complete manuscript. If my scanner wasn't down (due to a fried SCSI card), I'd put up some scans of my illustrations. I was particularly proud, at the time, of my race of four-armed, hairless, halfling-esques. If I recall, they were called "darklings," despite pale, semi-translucent skin that revealed their blue veins. Coolness incarnate.


My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
Tony Durham

Posts: 3

« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2002, 05:24:12 PM »

I was a test monkey for my roommate's strange game designs in the late eighties. The most memorable was Space Tourists. It had several stats, several figured stats (nine, I believe), tons of professions and races, and a randomized virtue/flaw table. I still fondly remember playing Carmen Randello, a formerly great porn producer who was desperately trying to get funding and cast for his magnum opus he felt would bring him back on top of his profession. (The Next to Last Temptation of Christ: Getting Down in the Temple)

On reflection, the system sucked. Most of the session problems I can now see were caused by it. Oh, but what we could have done with a narrative system!

Maybe I should get in touch with Nick again. Might be interesting to see what he would come up with now...
Matt Machell

Posts: 477

« Reply #20 on: August 01, 2002, 06:42:15 AM »

My first game design was a Fantasy Heartbreaker, which evolved with every other RPG I was exposed to. It went through phases of being a sprawling multi-genre nightmare (Superheroes in a modern fantasy setting, yay!)

The first non-heartbreaker was a called Celtic Shadows, a game of Druids in the modern world. Very WOD like. But quite a good character advancement system if I recall, you only got xp if you had behaved according to your five personality descriptors during the session.


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