Sunday, February 26, 2012

Up the Hill Backwards Bowie would say. To say I've been throwing ideas around for a long time now for the game system for WILD would be putting things mildly. But just recently I've been doing things a bit differently and seeing if it works, and there are a few things to thank for that...

First up, strangely after discussing this with the lovely wife last week, the BBC posted a news feature (entitled "The Myth of the Eight Hour Sleep" which you can read here). Basically, it discusses the theory that our sleep patterns have been frelled by artificial lighting and other things, and the whole "I must get eight hours sleep" is a myth. What is revealed in Roger Ekirch's book "At Day's Close: Night in Times Past" is that in the past we went to bed was the sun set, slept for about four hours, then woke, did things for a couple of hours, then went back to sleep again for another four hours.

I was chatting with the wife about it as it sounded like some of the Transcendental Meditation she was looking into, how those two hours in the middle of the night can be some sort of "super clarity" time, when the brain is active, working well, but rested and uncluttered from the day.

I must admit, I had that moment last night, having gone to bed early due to stinking head-cold. I woke about 1am, with a clearer mind, and realising what I should be doing.

Which brings me to the second part. I'd been looking at some videos online about RPG design and stumbled upon John Wick's series of videos discussing just that. Something he said in the second or third one really struck home...

With his business partner, Jared Sorensen (who did the awesome "Lacuna - Part I: The Creation of the Mystery and the Girl from Blue City"), he came up with the big Four Questions of RPG design:
1) What is your game about?
2) How does it go about doing that?
3) What behaviors does it reward?
and 4) Why is that fun?

Which got me thinking about how I was going about writing WILD. There I was thinking about a generic system that I could adapt for other things, when I should be thinking about what I want from this game.

And then the moment of revelation came. Sod the character stats, and which dice and whatnot... what I should be concentrating on is how Dreams work in the game. And bingo... it came to me. With the excellent advice from Derek (who was one of the rules brainstormers for Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space) I think it's just about sorted.

Now all I have to do sort out what the characters can do, what they want to do, how they'll get up to it, and what mechanics are needed to facilitate that.

It's just a bit different from how I normally do things. Rather than starting with Stats, dice mechanics, and then seeing how it all works, I really am walking up the hill backwards, doing things from the reason to have a rule, rather than the other way around. Hopefully, this will result in a better game system for the setting, something simple, easy to use, easy to remember without lots of referring to rulebooks - that's intuitive and makes sense for the game.

Anyway, enough chatting, I need to get some work done!!!

Until next time!

Sweet dreams.

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