Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Game Development 101

It all starts with an idea

So as mentioned in my first post, which thankfully wasn't my last as it happens, I'm intrigued at the idea of creating my own war gaming rules set.

Lets face it, anyone who wants to do that is special on a very very basic level.  I'm looking at both Straw and Parker here.

The truth of the matter for me is it all comes from a set of die I have at home that I have never used for their true intentions.  These, somewhat special die, are called FATE or Fudge dice, and they are simple D6 without any numbers on them.  Instead there are 2 + symbols, 2 - symbols and 2 blanks sides.  The system they are designed for uses them to basically determine luck.

I look at them every now and then and think "I bet those could be used for a war game".  I mean surely luck is as good a measure of success in a game as just raw numbers right?

Now I think this is a perfectly reasonable idea at its core, and I reckon I can make something of it as a system, but there are a few things that I need to sort out.  Clearly I've got a start point with the mechanics (though see below for why I have a lot to do on that front).  I know I only want it to be a skirmish sized game (nothing more than 8 models a side), and I am kind of trying to work out a genre which isn't overly touched by the market, but would allow for people to use models they already own rather than (certainly at the moment) having to consider the idea of model design and manufacture.  Lets face it I'm doing this on my own and I certainly don't have the finances or artistic skill to get this going on my lonesome.

So, in essence, we really are at the start of this whole idea.

However, I have my dice, and I think the first thing to do is put down on paper roughly how you want this to work.  Time to get out the old mathematics and work out if Fate dice are any use for a war game.  Well the answer is likely, Yes, but....

Most games go with the idea of a target number and if you get that at least once then you succeed at what you want to do.  I don't have numbers so target numbers go out the window.  So the game has to work on the luck side of the dice.

A single dice has a 33% chance of being positive, neutral, or negative.  Two Die are pretty much the same, but you get an 11% chance of a double plus or double negative.  I look at that and realise this could be quite good.  A stronger model gets more die and therefore a chance of getting double positive, however they also get a chance of double negative and the doesn't make sense.  As you add more dice you get higher grades of success and failure, but as it happens the chance to get a neutral result drops a little as well.  It all sounds cool, but its the fact that as you get a better chance to get a really good result you are also equally likely to get a really bad result.  Can I get around that and make it more interesting.  And what do those results actually mean.

I'm going to tackle that last bit first, because I have a decent idea for that.  So each model will have a luck table (ok so this is for damage because we know that is what most of us think about in a game), each slot in the table will relate to either a positive, neutral or negative value.  Better results higher up, yadda yadda.  So what you roll in terms of luck is how well you have "hit" the target.  Seems simple enough.  In a similar way to Guild Ball certain results will give you certain triggers to do something even more interesting.  However, I can also include triggers on Negative results which actually impede the attacking model (the big oaf with the overly large sword fluffs the blow so bad they fall over failing to control the weight of the weapon).  And yes, I want this to be as cinematic a game as possible.

So how to handle the whole probably/luck thing.  I have two ideas here and I need to work them out.

1) Give "trained" models inbuilt + or ++ to their attacks, meaning they offset the bad results.  Defensive/Nimble models could have inbuilt - or -- to attacks made against them.

2) Make the tables so that the "trained" models have positive results (some damage etc) down within the negative sections.

I think I need to play with this.  I personally feel the later means that trained models have no hope at all of getting bad results.  In essence even with a bad roll and everything stacked against them the table will mean they get something good out of it most of the time.  I think the modifier still means there is a chance, even if it is smaller, of falling into that bad area of the table.

Number of die being rolled then has its own interesting considerations.  I think small models (or weapons) get less die, so unless you have a really well trained model they just can't do as much, but the small size also means the deviation on what they do is reduced, smaller is more consistent in essence.  Larger models/weapons give more die, meaning you get the chance for bigger results, but if you aren't trained you also have a higher chance of getting things terribly wrong.

It's an idea at least.

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