Program Notes

I woke up early this morning because there was a certain black beast that needed food right that very moment. I figured I'd stay up and try to work on a few things. The thing that I want to get out into the world sooner than later is a role playing game that I've been working on that has had the rather inventive name of "8-bit computer game". I've been thinking about this game for ages. Essentially it's a RPG about the birth of the computer age and the struggles that folks went through to get the machines that I love and adore to market. I've noodled several ideas around this (board games, computer games, various iterations of different RPGs depending on the system that I was thinking about at the time). I'm currently approaching this as a solo game because it's something that I can playtest pretty easily. One of the major things that I've been trying to crack with it is the interpersonal relationships between the folks that you're working with to achieve your dream of bringing a machine to market. I'm still working through those concepts. The easiest way to get interpersonal drama is to have other people (and if I pursued that path I'd probably use Robin D. Laws excellent Dramasystem (which I still might do at some point). Modeling people is hard, especially in the context of a solo RPG game. Make them complex and messy like real people and you have a bunch of variables for the player to keep track of. Make them simplistic and they become archetypes or human shields that the player doesn't have to interact without the game forcing them. I'm still noodling this and wondering which way to err with this project.

(The programmer in me is screaming "just turn it into a computer game and then you can have all the variables you want").

Not to mention that RPGs are also about presentation and the system that I figure is the most future-proof and capable is LaTeX. So that's one more thing to learn how to wrangle (though I'm pretty happy with the results I've had thus far).

The other issue is my perpetual tiredness from my chemo treatments. I'm starting to pull out of that, but I'm still finding myself wanting comfort and naps rather than adding more things to my plate. At the moment I would rather sit with Bespoke Synth and make an album of weird little experiments than write out an RPG.

Which leads me to my intention / commitment to RPGenesis. I don't think I'm ready for a full-on game jam quite yet. I'm still gong to tinker with these projects, but going into full-on game jam at this point feels like one of those folks trying to get a barbecue started over a bunch of old ashen coals: throwing more charcoal lighter on it isn't going to cook anything meaningful.

I'm still feeling these things out (my energy, my desires, and my designs). One part of me thinks that doing the game jam would bring myself the commitment that I need to move this forward, but another part was relieved to learn that I was OK with letting this go for now. Part of me is also thinking real hard about turning this into a computer game. So there's obviously more work to be done on the design end, not the "furiously throwing letters into a text editor" end of this.

Game design is hard work. My admiration goes out to anyone out there that ships a game, no matter how small.