Saturday, February 03, 2007

Mad Skillz

One of the important aspects of all role-playing games, even though it isn’t the coolest, or the most definitive, is the skill rules, and by extension the skill set that each character will be able to have and the player to manipulate to be tailored to who and what that character is as they want it to be. I have been thinking a lot about this ever since Friday when I was reading a discussion on a forum about a particular skill and when to use it. The first factor to consider in writing this section of the game is a matter of play style. The second factor is complexity. As usual both of these factors also have to take into consideration your game’s mood.

Most people it would appear deal with play style all on their own. They buy a game and they develop the way that they want to play it based on a number of criteria that changes based on their current mood, and the composition of the group playing, of course on both sides of the proverbial game screen. A big factor of that style determines how often they pick up the dice. Since it is such a fluid and variable condition things other than the audience dictate the play-style of a given game, except of course in the whom of the who will buy this product. The things it is dictated by are comprised of the set version of the things that the audience changes for themselves, and the aforementioned mood of the game.

Complexity is where I like to let my imagination run rampant. For skills I have this dream, this desire, to take a fairly dice intensive approach. If I were to go with such an approach, throwing mood to the wind perhaps, then I would have to design the skills to be used in a particular way. For example let’s look at using flying power armour in combat. In the complex approach you have to pilot the suit, read the instruments, be familiar with the weapon system in order to optimize your aim, and be able to fight in it. That’s four skills. Now, let’s say the combat computer is broken and aiming isn’t aided. Then you’d have to add in some ability to lead the target yourself, and determine windage to make a shot with any kinetic weapon at range, much like a traditional sniper. Of course usually many of these skills are lumped together cutting down on everything. It’s practically a requirement.

Mood: exhausted.
Music: Hot for Teacher by Van Halen and Stand by for Pain by Widomaker.

Van Halen: 1984
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Widomaker: Stand By For Pain

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