Wednesday, November 21, 2012

[TechTuesday] A bit on a late note...

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. As I prepare for that, and the doom that is Black Friday that follows, life has been very very busy. To make matters even more complicated, I'm coming close to finals in School, and am working really hard to get myself situated and ready to get married to the love of my Love on December 21st.

So to toss up some fun, I thought I'd share with you all my plans for the Valanas RPTools Framework. Follow the jump to get a taste of what is going on behind the screen...

Currently, RPTools has a really big following, and has even gotten to the point of having some publicized Adventures that people can purchase and run in the system. The gaming system is very flexible, though it does require a bit of understanding of what one needs to accomplish in any given adventure before putting it into a framework.

This past week in one of my college courses, a very wise teacher shared with me the power of GACCK. Not sure what GACCK is? It goes something like this:
G - Goal
A - Audience
C - Content
C - Consistency
K - Keep It Simple (Optional Stupid element)
This all can be applied to just about anything, and should be considered before even remotely starting any project. This blog is a good example of this... and only now after having put up a goal for it have I really gotten anywhere.

Needless to say, to make this any level of a success, I need to consider what my goal is and what my target audience is. Primarily, my goal is to have an Intuitive Gaming environment for the Valanas Setting, and the audience will include those who enjoy Manga/Anime and to some extent Modern Fantasy Heroic Settings.

What does this mean? Well, that brings us to the Content. In Mutants and Masterminds, the system we will use to translate our stories at the virtual gaming table. For those who don't have easy access to the core system, you can follow along by going here:

Otherwise, those familiar with the system can easily translate the above to the following:

  • We will need some form of common dice roll revolving around the 20 sided die.
  • We will need all the core statistics that define a character's abilities and resistances.
    • Includes the Eight Ability Scores
    • Includes the Five Defensive Statistics
    • Initiative Modifier
  • We will need a place to keep track of Combat Options.
    • Includes Attack Name, Effect Rank, Accuracy, Range, Area, Action, and Description
    • Damage and Conditions
    • Hero Points
  • If possible, any inclusion of Advantages, Skills, Immunity, and Special Senses.
  • Complications
    • Motivations, Relationships, and other related complications.
A lot of this can be translated into straight numbers for the sake of simplicity, and the rest in the form of easy access character sheets, as the framework itself is designed to help the player and GM communicate what they want to do and how it is resolved.

Where possible, we can utilize buttons that help players have a full understanding of what options they have. This will have two key functions: Primarily, it will act as a player aid for many players, and secondly, acts as a way to help the player translate what they want to do with the GM.
Thankfully, a LOT of what Mutants and Masterminds system uses a single die roll. Additional, a lot of the resolution is done on the fly, with descriptions acting as a primary element of things. And even in it's most complex situations, no more than two die rolls are made. One for the attack, one for resolution.

Since the "result" of an attack can be very dynamic, we will need to translate a lot of these effects with buttons the describe what is happening and what the power does. If the player feels they need to include an additional element of their character, they simply have to push a button to display it, or include it as part of the attack via a popup option.

In the end, we know that a lot of this will be as simple as allowing players to choose between varying degrees of descriptive trade-offs, and then possibly allowing the player to choose their attack with a drop down, and then displaying the automatic roller to see the result.

As far as damage goes, this will likely be kept track with a single Damage or Bruised counter, and appropriate conditions that display on each player's Token. The most complicated of this will likely include Nullify or Weaken powers (which attack the power entirely or the very statistics of this) as well as Variable Abilities (Which can do ANYTHING! But boy does it ever cost!).

For the sake of the GM, I will likely have to provide a button or two to help determine how many degrees of Failure a particular roll has resulted in, and possibly an easy way to award Hero Points (or, in the case of Valanas, "Ki Points").

The next thing to consider at this point is going to be how to translate all of these elements into a possible flowchart, or even to code for that matter. From that point on, it is simply a matter of play-testing it all and enjoying the game!

For those who have made it this far, what have been some of your methods for organizing and planning any important project involving people other than yourself? Also, what other elements would you like to see translated into the framework?

Till next time readers, I hope you all have an enjoyable Thanksgiving! Gobble Gobble!