Sunday, July 06, 2008

making games again

I have a new job now. It's cool. It leaves me sane when I get home. I don't lie awake at night wondering if there was something I forgot to do. I can do other things in my spare time. One of those things is a project that's about to go up for sale on IPR.

The other is, y'know, making games. I'm back working on one.

Galactic, as a game concept, kinda got away from me. I took so much feedback that I was left with something I didn't recognize any more. And aside from Doyce & co who loved it, I got a lot of "we played it for fifteen seconds and disliked it so much that we just gave up."

Maybe part of that is the crowd who are stepping up to try it--and that's a genuine concern, as I'm not out to make a twin to Primetime Adventures. But I kinda feel that way about the game, too.

This game, the way I see it, is more of a medium-weight game, like TSOY or FATE. Or maybe like what Luke is doing with Mouse Guard. I want the game I wanted when I was 11-15, when all I had was Star Frontiers or Traveller or Space Master. I don't want "here's three paragraphs on the setting" or "here's your character's two scores." I don't want 70 pages of skills and character traits either.

Honestly I thought for a long time about whether TSOY would work for what I wanted to do. And I even brought it up with Clinton. He was of course more than happy to support whatever I wanted to do, but I ended up with a long enough list of changes that I figured I might as well start from scratch.

So here's what I want, and fuck if I'm going to do that bloated Power 19.

  • A set of character abilities that bear at least some resemblance to ye old games of yore. Not stat+skill (because oh god no) but not arsty game nouveau like "roll your Discount plus your Rage against my Shoe Size."
  • Characters with healthy background info that matters. Where are you from, what baggage do you carry from your past, etc.
  • a play experience that is lightly focused. The characters have an overarching mission, but it'll sorta be like the Elder Scrolls games, or Mass Effect, where you can do lots of stuff on the side.
  • Lightweight GM burden. That's probably the kicker. Good info on how to tell a story. Because I didn't know what to do when I was 15, and I had not yet played any "brain damaging" games. Hell, I'm not sure I know what to do now.

So that's kinda what I'm up to. I'm gonna post about progress as I go.


Robert Bohl said...

I'm really excited to hear you're back to being excited by this game, Matt. I was not in the "played it for 5 seconds and hated it" camp. In fact, I got a whole new game group that coalesced around this game.

I'm looking forward to what you do with it.

Parthenia said...

So what's your new job?

And are you going to GenCon?

Tim White said...

I'm actually going to introduce a whole new group of people to Galactic this upcoming weekend - I'm hoping that I can both make characters and get some play in with the four hours that I have to spend...