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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 81 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Solo Playtesting - Any Suggestions?  (Read 1518 times)
orig43
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Posts: 3


« on: April 14, 2010, 08:12:50 AM »

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Adam Dray
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« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2010, 08:50:59 AM »

Make up a bunch of characters. Make up a bunch of situations. Run the characters through the situations according to the rules as written (exactly). If you do something that isn't in the rules, ask yourself why it isn't in the rules.

Things to consider:
* generic conflict
* potentially lethal conflict
* social conflict
* all of the above, but between two player characters
* all of the above, but between three or more player characters
* "griefer" behaviors

Also, consider playtesting with friends online using virtual tabletop software, Instant Messenger, IRC, FoundryMUSH, or some other tool. It's easier to drum up people online to test things sometimes than finding people to play face-to-face.

It goes without saying, though, that if your game promises to be THE best ever, then you will have no shortage of players lining up at your door to playtest for you. Wink
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Adam Dray / adam@legendary.org
Verge -- cyberpunk role-playing on the brink
FoundryMUSH - indie chat and play at foundry.legendary.org 7777
Gregor Hutton
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« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2010, 10:22:30 AM »

I've done a fair bit of solo playtesting. I roll the dice and see where it takes me. I don't fudge numbers on many test runs. On others I try deliberately extreme methods of play. Maxing out one thing, taking worst case or best case values, and playing through many times.

Someone helped Rich Stokes by running Umlaut through a bespoke computer program to explore all the extreme ways of playing. The result was that it was indeed balanced and there wasn't an "optimal" build to start.
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orig43
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« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2010, 01:44:04 PM »

Thanks for the response it made me think a bit more on the subject. I've been trying to get a framework of some description that I can use. The way I'm thinking at the moment in broad brush strokes.

Use the mechanic in an opposed test with the same values (e.g. both have attack 20 defence 10) in opposition to see if the method is inherently stable/useful.

Repeat this at different levels.

Ascertain the value of 1 point of change. How often the greater score will win.

Ramp up the changes to see if/when it breaks.

Allocate numbers based on these results. I'd like to break this down some more...

The thought of number crunching via a computer sounds a great time save although probably not as applicable to my project. Any suggestions? Dice! Plus is the closest I found.
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Adam Dray
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« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2010, 08:38:27 AM »

For dice modeling, I tend to use Troll, Excel, or custom Java programs (I wrote a dice package that handles pools, melds, probabilities, and permutations).

Also, I cannot recommend enough the power of just grabbing handfuls of actual dice and making up scenarios in your head and rolling and testing. Charts and graphs are useful, but they lack the immediacy of seeing a die result on the table.
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Adam Dray / adam@legendary.org
Verge -- cyberpunk role-playing on the brink
FoundryMUSH - indie chat and play at foundry.legendary.org 7777
Callan S.
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« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2010, 11:54:01 PM »

Seems to be a focus on checking whether the games 'balanced' or 'broken'. I mean, either balanced or not broken don't seem...interesting qualities at all. Shouldn't you be checking if the system use produced interesting or fun results (atleast what are fun or interesting by your own standards)?
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Philosopher Gamer
<meaning></meaning>
orig43
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Posts: 3


« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2010, 02:32:59 AM »

I have to be honest solo playtesting hasn't seemed fun with previous efforts and I abandoned other attempted systems. I have lacked direction during the process and it turned more into a mathmatical problem that seemed quite nebulous and tedious. So far this stage has always been the give up point. I was therefore hoping to get  framework/advice from the community on which block to start with and how to build on that. Particularly as this project will be my first diceless attempt and is based on player choice. Like everyone my time and attention span is limited so I wished to make the most of both.
The core concepts on the latest one seems theoretically fun but I was going to check the fun'ometer when the current bare bones concept has been expanded to make it playable and get feedback from actual live playtesters. I suspect I am too close to the attempt to be impartial...
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Adam Dray
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« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2010, 09:06:34 AM »

Have you heard of "playstorming"? It's basically playtesting before the rules are all fleshed out. You playstorm with a bunch of people who are happy to be fiddly with the rules until you figure stuff out. It can be a lot of fun.
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Adam Dray / adam@legendary.org
Verge -- cyberpunk role-playing on the brink
FoundryMUSH - indie chat and play at foundry.legendary.org 7777
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