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Game Design General - /GDG/
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A thread dedicated to discussion and feedback of games and homebrews made by /tg/ regarding anything from minor elements to entire systems, as well as inviting people to playtest your games online. While the thread's main focus is mechanics, you're always welcome to share tidbits about your setting.

Try to keep discussion as civilized as possible, avoid non-constructive criticism, and try not to drop your entire PDF unless you're asking for specifics, it's near completion or you're asked to.

Old Thread: >>44925720

>Thread Topic:
How do you deal with designer's block? Focus on something else? Secondary projects?

Useful Links:
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>RPG Stuff:
http://www.darkshire.net/~jhkim/rpg/freerpgs/fulllist.html
http://www.darkshire.net/~jhkim/rpg/theory/
http://www.therpgsite.com/showthread.php?t=21479
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1FXquCh4NZ74xGS_AmWzyItjuvtvDEwIcyqqOy6rvGE0/edit
https://mega.nz/#!xUsyVKJD!xkH3kJT7sT5zX7WGGgDF_7Ds2hw2hHe94jaFU8cHXr0
http://www.gamesprecipice.com/category/dimensions/

>Dice Rollers
http://anydice.com/
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http://www.fnordistan.com/smallroller.html

>Tools and Resources:
http://www.gozzys.com/
http://donjon.bin.sh/
http://www.seventhsanctum.com/
http://ebon.pyorre.net/
http://www.henry-davis.com/MAPS/carto.html
http://topps.diku.dk/torbenm/maps.msp
http://www-cs-students.stanford.edu/~amitp/game-programming/polygon-map-generation/demo.html
https://mega.nz/#!ZUMAhQ4A!IETzo0d47KrCf-AdYMrld6H6AOh0KRijx2NHpvv0qNg

>Design and Layout
http://erebaltor.se/rickard/typography/
https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B4qCWY8UnLrcVVVNWG5qUTUySjg&usp=sharing
http://davesmapper.com
>>
>>44983651
>How do you deal with designer's block? Focus on something else? Secondary projects?
I have this problem less than I just get demotivated from a project the longer I don't work on it. And it's not like you can force that shit. I will stare at my work and just legitimately not want to do it.
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>>44983651
>How do you deal with designer's block?
I leave the project be for a few days. I might play some vidya (presently the newest Tales or Darkest Dungeon) or read a book or watch some animu or movies or read mango. Basically get away from the design frame of mind.
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>>44983651
>designer's block
I rarely ever STOP designing unless work gets in the way, I just end up designing something. This can be severely detrimental to actually finishing a project mind you, as I can sometimes take me a while to get back to the first project, and by then I have to tear out a lot of dead weight to get back to the good bits
>>
>>44983728
>>44984271
I hate this terrible habit of doing a ton of prep work on a project - choosing a core mechanic, deciding what features and options I really want, hashing out the setting, pages upon pages of concept notes - and then never bloody finishing it.

Every time I get to the point of compiling shit in a readable, usable book, my brain either shuts down or decides to do something completely different. I have design notes dating back OVER TEN YEARS.
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>>44984333
A dig back through personal notes tells me that I have been working on the same system, unsuccessfully, for the better part of my life. Not just my adult life, my ENITRE life. And I am still no closer to a workable Zombie-Tactics game than I was back then. At least back then I had a system that reliably worked, it was just way too clunky/breakable.
>>
>>44984333
This is probably my biggest problem.
By the time everything's thought out, the game is technically playable, and the setting is alive, I have no more interest left to get the damn thing into one document.
Having a design team with my own personal editor helps, but this last step is what gets me every project.
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>>44984730
>Having a design team with my own personal editor helps
I wish I had this. Someone with the patience and dedication to work with me on laying out and editing the book would do wonders.

But I cannot into teamwork anymore. Been burnt by too many idiots and assholes. I have a clear vision for the project, they have a clear vision for the project, but they refuse to compromise. Or worse, they say "I'll have it done in X days" and then X days pass, nothing. Ask about it, 'Oh, something came up.' Okay, no problem. X*2 days pass. Nothing. Repeat.

Sometimes I can springboard ideas off friends in casual conversation, which can work out pretty well. A lot of revisions have come about from a friend saying "That's neat, but how about if you do this slightly differently?" and holy shit, they had a good idea. Or a math friend double checks my numbers for me.

But any kind of "We are actually a team" work is doomed to crash and burn. For example, an acquaintance of mine once wanted to work on a webcomic together, he would write while I drew shit. Never once wrote a script. Never once commented on page layouts when I ran it past him. Never had more than vague plot points to mention. And he wanted to write professionally.

TL;DR: I'd team up with anyone in a 'you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours' arrangement on their games, if I had any reason to believe I wouldn't get burnt.
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>>44985079
>I have a clear vision for the project, they have a clear vision for the project, but they refuse to compromise.
This is why you need to collaborate in early stages of conceptualizing. Freeform brainstorming, using data matrices to determine the best courses of action, etc. Basically Engineering and Design fundamentals.
>they say "I'll have it done in X days" and then X days pass, nothing. Ask about it, 'Oh, something came up.' Okay, no problem. X*2 days pass. Nothing. Repeat.
Every project needs a manager, not so much a leader, but a manager who is going to write a schedule, before you even start brainstorming, and who is going to keep every member of the team on schedule. I usually give someone 3 strikes (how many timesthey make me rearrange their schedule or workload) then they're off the project and me or somebody else will pick up the load.
>any kind of "We are actually a team" work is doomed to crash and burn
It's quite the opposite for me. Despite me usually being the manager or heading the design team, it's my teammates who hold me to task and make sure I hold up my end of the work. Working alone usually results in me giving up at the first snag i hit.
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>>44983651
Thanks for saving the thread m8
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>>44985608
Yeah, I'm getting tired of these threads dying as fast as they have been lately.
In the interest of starting an actual discussion, let's do a little design in the vein of:
>>44985249
>What are some problems in gaming not answered by current, or popular, systems?
Personally, I feel like most wargames have cover systems that leave a lot to be desired. I think the problem comes down to the difference between a realistic system and one that is playable and fun.
>Additionally, what systems do you go to for inspiration most?
I always find myself writing RPGs with my Only War and 13th Age books wide open on my desk.
>>
I've got a resolution gimmick that I'd love to get feedback about.

Custom six-sided dice: two sides show Swords, two side show Shields, two sides show Wheels.

The basics of combat: you roll a pool of dice, and if you roll more Swords than your opponent rolls Shields, you do damage equal to the number of Wheels you rolled (and vice versa).

Swords are offensive successes, Shields are defensive successes, Wheels are qualitative successes.

What do you think? Worth detailing?
>>
>>44985853
what if you roll all swords, all shields or all wheels when attacking
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>>44985892
Not that guy but suggestion.
When attacking:
All Swords: hit, reroll dicepool, # of wheels=damage
All Shields or all wheels: Miss, obviously

>>44985853
Works well enough as a simple combat resolution. Doesn't seem to apply to anything else, unless every roll is an opposed roll.
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Would my parry/dodge/counterattack/confusing bullshit problems be solved if I just made 'parry' replacing dodge as a reactive response to a melee attack. Also the AP system seems to be tripping me up when both an attack and response is a straight opposed dice result.(with 1s as autofail and 10s as auto success)

Attached is the quick rules

Basically my current combat system is a pain in the ass and I'm increasingly thinking I could throw it out for something else but I don't know what with

pls help ;_;
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>>44983728
>>44984333

It helps if you see "being able to articulate the rules" as a vital element of the design process itself - basically there's times when you *know* how the rules work, but *explaining* that in a coherent way on paper is a different task that often means tweaking the rules and working on them a little bit more than you thought you needed to.

It certainly means that once I've started a write up I tend to keep at it at least for a while, especially as there's that element of the write up where you have to move the rules from "this is how they work" to "this is the *order* the rules must be written in for them to be usable by another human being".

Plus who doesn't like using the "add shapes" section of a word process that you never get to use otherwise?
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Weird question:

Is there a reason why the old D&D style initiative roll is still so often used rather than just using ORE's thing where everyone declares what they're doing, everyone rolls, and the order things happen in then being detirmined by the rolls themselves?

So in say a D20 system the people who roll 19 have their actions happen before someone who rolled an 18 etc...?

I guess what I'm asking is why does ORE's dynamic initiative work in ORE and not in a percentile roll under system, for instance?
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>>44986886
I don't know ORE. Can you elaborate on how its initiative system works?
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>>44986886
ORE's initiative work when everyone is rolling dicepools of the same type of dice for every roll.
A percentile roll doesn't have the height or width of a pool of d10's
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>>44987020
everyone declares what they’re doing and rolls their pools of d10s at the same time. Whoever has the most matches (5-5-5 would be three matches, a.k.a. a “width of three”) goes first, but competence is measured by the die number of those matches (5-5-5- would have a “height of five”).
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>>44986886
Not sure on how ORE does things, but there's three general issues with declare-then-roll:

1) Actions can invalidate those taken later in the round. Which is cool if you throw up a barrier in front of a charging orc, and not cool if someone else in your party ganks your target. You either have to accept that people are going to lose actions as a feature of the system, or let people re-declare if their action is no longer valid, at which point you're halfway to roll-then-declare anyway.

2) It makes planning tactics as a party more challenging, because you don't know what order people are going to act in. Can be mitigated as the above, or allowing initiatives to be interchangeable between allies. So if two allies roll an 11 and 3, either one can act on the 11 and the other on the 3.

3) It breaks down when players are in opposition to each other, as opposed to all the foes being on the other side of the screen. Who gets the last word in action declaration?

All of the above can be addressed, but at that point you're looking at something fairly more complicated than roll-then-declare, for little gain. R-t-D is simple, quick, and it works.
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>oh what about an RTS RPG
>wait wouldn't it have to be a TBS
>I guess a TBS would work
>wait isn't that just a Wargame TT
>but what about the RPG

Good ideas are for the birds
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>>44987313
>Tabletop RTS RPG
That's just a shit idea anon
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>>44987373
The birds, anon
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>>44987313
>Tabletop RTS RPG
Sure, why not. There's a board game that's just about managing sand timers as ships move around planets. Doing something similar for RPGs might be cool.
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>>44985942
I like that suggestion. Maybe make all Swords explode.

For a standard check, Swords are counted as successes, any Wheels improve the degree of success, and Shields are effective blanks.

I can think of a few different ways to enhance rolls (other than simply more dice) Weapon selection, for example, can provide extra successes. The most mechanically balanced weapon, a long sword, would provide one Sword, One Shield, and one Wheel.

Another could be sticky successes. If you had 6 dice in your pool and you make your roll with 3 sticky Shields, you get 3 Shield successes but only roll 3 dice.

A third is guaranteed successes. If you are guaranteed 2 Swords, for example, you can at your option convert 2 dice rolled into Swords.
>>
Did skyresh guy die? I haven't seen him posting anything new for a while here or in his art page for that matter
shit why does this man keep dying
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I have an issue that's both a question of how magic in a setting works and of game mechanics.

I'm designing a game meant for a small party where each party member can summon minions to battle, cast buffs on them, etc, but I don't want PCs to enter every battle with a fully buffed summoned regiment. I'd like for battles to start at a blank slate and build up from there, with the players committing limited resources each turn to summoning and casting buffs and other spells rather than beginning with all their strongest options on the field.

Basically, I'd like fights to have the sort of pacing that a battling card game like MTG, Duelyst, or Hearthstone might have.

How do I justify this in the setting, and what sort of game mechanics would reinforce this? Right now, I have the basic idea that PCs can perform basic (read as: out of combat utility) magic all the time but need to take on an "unlocked" form to summon corporeal minions and cast bigger (read as: combat-worthy) spells, but I don't know how exactly I should gate and restrict use of this unlocked form to create the gameplay flow I want.
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Ok I think i've sorted it out by using what was suggested before in a previous thread

Dodging would be preferable to avoid melee attacks by 'heavy' weapons and Parrying would be preferable to avoid 'light' attacks

Both dodging and parrying don't count as actions but you may only parry and dodge one attack per combat round.

Attached is a selection of mecha types.

What kind of mecha type does /gdg/ like the most and why?
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>>44989920
Mechanics wise, you have an accumulation stat, and each buff and summon has a cost. you gain your accumulation each turn, and can stockpile it for big effects or spend it immediately.

Setting wise, Opening yourself to the powers that allow you to do this takes a toll on your body and so you have to be conservative with it. You can do minor utility stuff by temporarily opening up the power, or perhaps imbuing a bit of power in an item?
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>>44989920
As for mechanics you could do something like 13th Age's escalation dice, but make it's effect more apparent and exploitable
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>>44989933
Glad to see you worked that out, anon! I prefer C.
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>>44990035
I think the accumulation works in an actual battle (and was pretty much the kind of mana system I was already planning on), but what's to stop someone from spending "turns" out of a fight summoning minions and buffing them?

And yeah, I like the idea that it just takes a bigger toll on someone to use (and maintain, in the case of minions) combat magic, but I still need to mechanically represent that somehow. I considered making some sort of stress/strain meter that increases each time they take on their combat form, but the problem with that is I don't want to discourage combat as a whole. I want them to be able to freely use their combat powers, but only when combat starts rather than preparing a lot of magic while on the way to a fight.

Is this making sense? I'm a bit loopy today.
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>>44990154
Well that seems easy enough. Either: the source of the power is sentient and punishes those who use it wontonly, or without the adrenaline and stress of combat, the magic puts a heavier strain on the body.

Maybe characters have a stress stat, and you double stress points outside of combat?
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>>44989933
Only once? Maybe to avoid being ganged up on, they can spend actions to parry and dodge more in addition to the free single parry/dodge?

As for mechs, all three are fine with me, though I'm okay with any mech as long as it looks a little bit detailed and avoids looking cartoonish, like having large areas of single colours with no additional detail.

>>44989920
Magic field restrictions maybe? Need to cast a field to start summoning, can't setup before hand and has a time limit due to being exhausting or similar.

>>44990154
Have combat use cards, stress build up can be represented by the deck being emptied.
>>
>>44990211
Yeah, I think that could work. I was also thinking something that the typical enemies they'd fight (some sort of magical creatures) would leave behind a resource that reduces strain. But of course if they're gaining more of it due to setting up pre-battle, then their recovery from defeating enemies wouldn't be able to keep pace.
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>>44990154
Have accumulation only occur as the result of you/your minions attacking or resisting being attacked.
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>>44990294
That's a good idea too, have magical enemies leave behind essence perhaps? It could be used for accumulation or to reduce stress.
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>>44990154
I'd suggest one of the following.

1) Area restrictions. You need to prep some sort of arena or field before you can start using your spells, and they're only active while you're there. This gives you a pretty clear "start" to combat without some sort of artificial or metagame restriction.

2) Put a timer on the abilities. It can be a hard time limit (possibly with a fatigued penalty or such afterwards), or some sort of "soft" limit where you accumulate penalties to magical actions while you have active minions/effects. Works well with your unlocked form idea.

3) Action exclusion. Once you use an ability, you're "locked in" to a thematic subset of your abilities. This would be more of a balancing act, where being able to adapt your stuff to the situation at hand is worth taking turns to build up.
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>>44985249
This flowchart will absolutely stunt creativity and design. Every single time.
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>>44989933
I'm a VOTOMS bitch so B is best.
>>
>>44990744
>Has no formal knowledge of the design process, has never published anything.
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>>44990866
But actually anon, I have. And I've worked in several companies where this design process was followed. It fails because everything that comes out is a lifeless turd that no one actually gave a single fuck about.
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>>44989933
Congrats on nailing that down!

I like C but since I grew up on Gundam I have a soft spot for A
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>>44990963
I've had the exact opposite experience with it.
The only failings are when people think that they know better than the collective decisions of the group and clock-out in regards to the rest of the project.
Good designers are going to make great shit, and the formal process only helps, but unmotivated fucks ruin it.
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>>44991272
In my experience either someone with rank shows up and pisses in the cereal or someone in the group steps out of their pants and tries to "lead", and by that I mean control everything. Multiple companies, countless projects. Every. Single. Time. But without it, you just get sparkly eyed creative people die out halfway through since they're having to wrap all that enthusiasm around the cold lifeless steel of procedural process.

The one project I've done that didn't have any of this crap was done on my own with my girlfriend and we've had no problems thus far. We don't follow the formal model.
>>
>>44991390
I mean, I love the formal model. I went to school just for the model and with the right people, it's awesome.
I've used it both in mechanical engineering and game design settings, and I have just found it to be the best way to keep everyone on task.
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>>44991451
What I find is, have a proper leader who knows what everyone needs to be doing at all times. Get one of those mobile apps that let you assign people individual tasks. Assign them. Done.
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>>44991490
I don't like leaders being in charge at that level, I prefer managers to keep everybody to a schedule. Typically a leader will manipulate the team(s) to get the product a certain way.
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>>44990680
I've been mulling over these options, and I think I like 1 and 2 the most. I might go with a mix of them (combat magic has no penalty in certain areas, but using it outside of them has a timer), but I have to do some more thinking about it.

Thanks for the help!
>>
What would you want from a fast paced roguelike esc RPG that could be played anywhere, like in the car, while waiting on food, or while waiting for others to arrive?
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>>44992324
>could be played anywhere
This is the hard part. It's gonna have to be rules-light to the max. Nobody's going to be carrying a rulebook around and dice are impractical. Maybe use a small deck of cards for resolution. I'd be impressed if it was anything more than a simply party cardgame and met those criteria, desu.
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>>44992489
All you need is dice and paper. I'm working on a diceless version as well.
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>>44990268
>Only once? Maybe to avoid being ganged up on, they can spend actions to parry and dodge more in addition to the free single parry/dodge?

I agree. Give everybody one free parry/dodge, but let people spend actions to prepare additional parries and dodges.
>>
Here's an idea for a roll-under in an attack situation:

>Player's stat+skill is the maximum
>Enemy's raw stat sets the minimum

>Anything above the maximum is a failure
>Anything below the minimum is a "dirty" success - where the enemy is allowed a roll to react and dodge/block/counterattack

too complicated?
>>
>>44990268
>>44993781
Thanks for the suggestions. Using that, a theoretical attack goes:

Combatants have 3 AP per combat round.

Attacker spends 2 AP to make an attack
>1d10 + MELEE SKILL + REACTION +/- situation and skill modifiers = Melee Attack Value

Defender may choose to dodge or parry melee attacks. Like heroin the first reaction is free

Defender dodging
>1d10 + REACTION + ENGINES +/- situation and skill modifiers = Dodge Value

Defender parrying
>1d10 + MELEE SKILL + REACTION +/- situation and skill modifiers = Parry Value

If Melee Attack Value exceeds Parry/Dodge Value the melee attack hits and inflicts damage

Heavy melee weapons have a penalty to parry
Light melee weapons have a penalty to dodge

In the event of a target being attacked by multiple opponents they may use any additional AP they have left over to dodge or counter

That look ok?
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>>44989920
>I'm designing a game meant for a small party where each party member can summon minions to battle, cast buffs on them, etc, but I don't want PCs to enter every battle with a fully buffed summoned regiment. I'd like for battles to start at a blank slate and build up from there, with the players committing limited resources each turn to summoning and casting buffs and other spells rather than beginning with all their strongest options on the field.

Something like an emotionally based buffing power? Like the caster has to feel threatened (e.g. be in combat) to cast buffs or summon more than a limited amount of monsters outside of combat.
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