Jan 17, 2006

Norfolk ain't Seattle

But I can't sleep nonetheless. After laying restless for half an hour I managed to get maybe half an hour's sleep before being awaken by a combination of adrenaline and a dry throat. Sadly, the only thing palatable from the vending machine was Dr. Pepper, so it looks like I'll be up for a little while. I'll take this opportunity to link to this interesting bit about texture.

When I read this I was surprised. I had just been thinking about changes that could give my games more kick. My designs tend to be on the antiseptic side, especially at first. This isn't completely awful, I tend to personally like games that are calculation-oriented. But I am in the minority, and for my testers the games would seem to drag on towards the end even when they were lasting under an hour. This was because the rounds tended to be quite robotic.

One of my games is Black Market. In it you are trying to acquire 3 rods of plutonium for the purpose of building a bomb and holding the world hostage. There is no board, really, it is just a simulation of market forces. You don't move pieces to different places or anything like that. In addition to buying the plutonium, you can buy guns, organs, and narcotics. These four are all generated according to a set of dice, and their market values change through a formula affected by the players' actions. Anyway, other than plutonium, which wins you the game when you acquire three, the other goods to purchase had no purpose whatsoever except as tools to make money. Buy low, sell high, and hope you don't get robbed. The game was pretty much done. I'd finally found a set of rules that made the market work well without bogging down the flow of the game with lots of crazy adjustments. However, it still needed that kick. So I decided to add special abilities to each of the other three goods. Now you can trade N number of good X to get effect Z. I haven't had a chance to test this yet, but I think it will definitely be an improvement.

Anyway, the article I linked laid out exactly what I was trying to achieve: texture.

1 comment:

  1. Mike Vroom11:21 PM

    Frankly, I think Black Market has a good shot. I remember play testing it, and the only thing that I remember as needing change or improvement was what you said on sunday that you had implimented. The game flowed, and only lagged when the players wasted time. Now you just need the designers to see the same thing we all see.

    Here's to their hopeful sanity, and your hopeful publishing.