Thursday, December 22, 2011

All I want for christmas is some good ideas

Well, as is usual, this blog's pretty quiet.  I haven't been up to anything of note, especially with the game.  I've been doing a lot of other stuff, much of it pointless ,but it's hard to focus on game development, and even harder to get ideas for either fluff or crunch when I am in the mood to work on things.  It's all quite frustrating.  I don't know how some people do it.  I guess this is why I've got no intention of breaking into the tabletop games industry.  Hell, I'm surprised I've done what I have with a little pet project, even if it's mostly pulled out of my ass.

I have made some art recently, though.  nothing all that impressive, just my own take on a meme.  Of course, it's also an in-joke, as it's art of a character nobody outside my gaming group of friends would be likely to recognize. 

All because of some silly images featuring the girls from that Madoka show.

Unfortunately, I can't seem to get the full size in there without breaking things.  And, I don't usually draw in this style; this is an intentional parody of other things.  It was fun, though.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Horror at the Museum

...I don't update this enough.  Though, it's the usual "I've got nothing interesting to talk about, certainly nothing relevant to the game this is nominally a blog about."  Though, if dev. blogs tend to be full of other content too, nobody cares, I guess.  Mostly, I've been too distracted with video games and not very creative, lately. 

In slightly more interesting news, I'm volunteering at the local science museum for the month of October.  In which, they put on one of those haunted house affairs.  And now the title of this post makes sense.  Volunteer work looks good on a resume, but just how do you say "I scared people in a haunted house" and not make it sound silly?  Last week was the first night and we had some technical difficulties, which hopefully have been worked out by now.  But, I think the first night isn't the best to expect, and more of a high-pressure dress rehearsal.  Spending my Saturday nights as a cheap jump scare is a bit weird, but it' better than sitting around doing nothing.  ...Besides, scaring people is fun. 

That's mostly it ,beyond playing of various games, finishing others, and so-on.  Typical life activities and such.  Still looking for jobs and all that crap.  Finished watching Steins;Gate.  Work does progress on the game things, though in an undirected fashion.  My colleagues and I have mostly been working on the setting, when we can.  It's still horribly not fleshed out.  Sometimes, some bit of mechanics comes up and gets discussed for a bit, but I think for the most part, development is wanting a bit of drive.  I'm unfortunately lazy and easily distracted like this, and will thus hit large phases where any pet projects of mine, be they art or whatever else, are put on hold for long periods. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Crisis of Development

I really need to update this more often.  Maybe if I, like, post some art at least once a week or something, to enforce a regular update schedule.  Not to mention get up to speed on drawing again.  And it's not like this game development stuff isn't in need of illustrations...

Anyhow.  Meat of the post.  Still no real updates on DitS as far as general development, beyond some bits of a setting.  More on that later, as I should drop the bombs first.  I may put DitS on indefinite hold (well, after a few last checks and fixes) so that I may work on it's bigger sister project focused on more general mecha musume/cyborg girls and such.  Chances are, most of what I have will end up a portion of the greater work anyway, so I do sometimes wonder why not?  Main reasons are actually more those of fluff, as a way to dodge some inexplicable negative stigma attached by a doubtless small yet annoying vocal minority.  It's like if you admit to liking Strike Witches or anything to do with it on the internet, you're officially weird or some shit.  But, I digress.  Another motivation for the change is that starting (kind of0 from scratch and a more general approach than "everyone files, always" will make it a bit easier on cooking up the fluff side of the game, which DitS currently lacks pretty much completely, which makes it a bit "weak" as a coherent project.

And, speaking of fluff, there's been some vague work toward it.  Mostly, it's not much so far, just a framework from which to develop things further.  I'm not the best nor most creative writer, and I tend to forget to get into big discussions on this stuff to get help from friends.  What I've got is the following: a not-Earth alternate world map, because those are fun, combined with a "nations of hats" (warning, link is to TV tropes) idea.  So, there's the GRIMDARK country, and the fairly normal/modern country or region full of infighting, and the happy magical pseudo-utopia county, and the giant technologically-advanced country that's a megacorp which bought out its own sovereignty, and so-on.  This allows for characters to have unique bits of background, possibly including an influence on crunch as ell as fluff.  It also lets GMs select a specific setting location to focus on what kind of tone they want to convey.  Or...something. 

There's also been some talk about multiple character origins or natures beyond nationality.  Possibly, this will relate to things like whether one is wearing powered armor or is a full-body cyborg, or other such things, but I honestly kind of dislike this rout, as it may invite too many rules exceptions or changes.  To make a parallel to old White Wolf games, I'd rather it be more like Tribe/Auspice from Werewolf or the like, than something where character A is an unmodified human, so all these rules should work differently to reflect that, and Character B is the default cyborg.  At most, any of the various background bits shouldn't do much more than modify a few attributes up and down and/or provide a couple of other minor bonuses and penalties.  That's about it, though.  I will say that it also kind of gets in the way of one major/defining quality I want to add to the setting as a whole: the modification of the human body with heavy cybernetics is widely portrayed as somewhat distasteful, and the unaltered human body is uplifted as an ideal, particularly in propaganda or within the military units composed of cyborgs.  I'm not sure why, but the idea just seems fun, if maybe a bit dark.  But, it leads to things like a justification of slightly non-human qualities in most PCs, and a sort of motivation or two.  If you survive through your term of service, you can get a much more lifelike body.  Also, talk of making sacrifices to protect others and so-on. 

  • DitS may be shelved so I can just focus on a project that's near-identical but bigger in scope; but I'm an indecisive ass.
  • Some rudimentary fluff exists, to go with the rudimentary rules.
  • I might start posting art as a regular update feature, 'cause i need the practice.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Speaking of moving...

I've done just that.  I am now back home in Louisiana, and all that.  Hopefully, this will mean development of the things this blog is supposedly about will pick up.  I do have more free time, and can probably run my own playtests and all, now. 

This is a short one, but I don't have much to ramble about at the moment. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Things Slowly Move Forward

Without a single playtest game, DitS dev work has bogged down to a stall.  Couple games that might start, but it's like nobody wants to play or something.  I don't know, it's weird, but since I'm not actively doing everything myself, I'm not the most aware of the situation, either.  That will probably change in the near future, as I'm about to have a lot of free time on my hands. 

On the plus side, there's some things we can chew through without playtesting, thanks to something known as the Monte Carlo method.  Hey, if it works for theoretical physics, it damn well better work for dice-based games.  A friend was kind enough to run a program to test some combat aspects that require no human input.  Mainly, how long would we expect a one-on-one fight to last, with PC-like characters in a duel, using different ways to calculate HP and damage reduction.  After much working out of bugs, we got some nice results, which I won't replicate here, because they are long, and boring.  His blog's got a bit of an article about messing with this stuff.

Anyhow, the results were at first startling (because of a programming error).  But, we still came to the conclusion that Dark Heresy is a lot less lethal than it initially appears.  Most notably, with everyone able to reduce damage by their Toughness bonus (usually, around 3), with a bit of added armor, they take no damage from attacks about half the time.  So, we kind of dropped the whole toughness-based damage reduction from DitS.  Toughness now adds to player health.  Which has been slightly reduced in overall total as well.  We might need to re-check things, but combat should probably last no more than about 10 rounds, on average.  Nobody wants to back-an-forth for 20 or more rounds of shooting before downing one target.  Hell, ammo won't normally last that long, anyway.

A summary of current system errata spawned by these investigations:
  • Characters no longer gain damage reduction from Toughness.  They only reduce damage with worn armor.
    • This calls into question whether toughness needs to remain as an attribute, but I will find other uses for it, and it is important as some other mechanics require rolling it in checks.  
      • Some thoughts on uses include mucking with the injury table, or mucking with one's maximum speed.
  • Characters begin with [10+toughness bonus] HP, instead of 15.  This hardly changes anything.
    • On the plus side, we don't need to go in and re-balance most weapon damages, by altering the health side of things.
    • Corollary: Anything that does 2d10+X damage can really ruin your day.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

What's in a Name?

And now, more tales from the pre-history of DitS.  No real new content, so I'm up tp inventing odd things of my own, instead.  Although for a quick update, I am slowly working on a table to character traits to add a bit of spice to character creation. 

Now, Dive into the Sky is an odd name.  It also wasn't always the name for an RPG about girls with airplane legs.  Originally, it was for some story-writing project that never went anywhere, mostly because I'm not that good of a writer except for isolated incidents for which I have inspiration.  So I can maybe write something ,but piecemeal, and not straight start to finish.  Said project involved girls flying jets, and various cyberpunk or near future technologies.  I'll maybe talk about it in more detail later, I did get at least one nice thing out of it.

But, where does that weird and whimsical title come from?  Touhou music remixes.  No lie.  See the video below. 

As is by now no secret, I'm a fan of the Touhou series.  An actually like it for the shooter games as well as the characters.  Also the addictive music. 

So, why do I name a game this?  Mostly because back when the idea was first tossed around, people wanted to call it "Lesbo Jet Fighters" and it deserves a little more dignity than that.  Only problem is now my old story project needs a new name, should I ever get back to it. 

And speaking of names, I'm terrible at them, whether it's names for characters or games.  I...kind of need one for the General Mecha Musume Game (name subject to change) I intend to work on when DitS is more or less done with.  Any suggestions?  Best I can come up with is like Iron Maidens or Warrior God-Princess or something. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sometimes, I love my job

I realize this isn't about DitS, but I have no updates on that front yet, sorry.  In the interest of being active, I may therefore ramble about other things.  Such as my job. 

I work at a particle accelerator laboratory.  Now, before you go thinking this means something fancy, it doesn't.  I don't have the credentials for a job at Fermilab or CERN.  I'm more the guy actually around to keep a small university's machine running and do work on it when nobody else has the time for it.  This is a fun job description, although it can entail some pretty varied tasks. 

So far, I've installed a new control system for the machine (an NEC 1 Mv tandem pelletron, for the curious), taken apart the source to clean it, put together a beam line, and whatever other odd jobs come my way.  Things may sometimes feel like being a glorified plumber or electrician, but when they don't there's usually something fun involved.  Stuff like liquid nitrogen or alkali metals.  One of my current tasks is to clean an old vacuum evaporator bell jar, and to do that, I'll be using an alchemical potion, of all things. 

Last month was occupied almost completely by a summer camp for high school students put on by the university, and was a lot of fun.  It so happens that I enjoy teaching, and it's even more fun when the students want to learn.  We went over several different things, for different groups, with me handling some of the nuclear and medical physics experiments and things.  

Unfortunately, said job is only temporary, and I'll be looking for a more permanent one as of the end of the month.  Still, it's been fun and I'll miss it.  Oh, and if anyone wants me to ramble in more detail on any science things like how this stuff works or whatever, just ask.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Current State of Dive into the Sky

I might as well post a bit about the current state of the homebrew. 

At the moment, DitS has already had a few minor edits for clarity and stupid fixes.  These aren't in the current PDF, either.  They are as follows:
  • The mention of magic points in the entry for the Willpower attribute has been removed.  There are no magic points; I scrapped that idea early on and forgot I mentioned it there.
  • The "Death Spiral" injury table entry has been moved to the 111-120 result, pushing all permanent injuries further down.  
I've also got some largely untested but probably common-sense character creation tweaks.
  • Starting characters may not have any skill rated at better than twice the skill's base attribute.  This is to cut down on extreme minmaxing right out of the gate, which some types of people are certain to do.
  • If one prefers point buy to rolling of attributes, the following method may be used.  Characters have 100 points to spend among their attributes, which all start at 20.  
    • Particularly cruel GMs who don't like the idea of everyone having a potential statline of 40 in one place, 30 everywhere else, can only give out 90 points instead. 
That's it, so far.  Hopefully I'll get some sort of test on weapon ranges and character movement done soon, as i just know that will need work.  probably also weapon damage versus potential character defenses (to tweak lethality of combat versus time spent poking each-other in combat), but that one is much, much easier to figure out.  

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

An Introductory and Explanatory Post

Well, I have created a blog.  It probably won't be much to look at for a while ,but I might as well explain what it will be about.  Which could take a while, so sit back and get comfortable. 

Something like three years ago now, I made a little homebrew game as part of a challenge someone had posted on 4chan's traditional games board to create a game, any game, in a week's time.  There was no requirement on overall quality.  So, being a bit caught up in the craziness of it, I decided to make a game based upon mecha musume.  Since Strike Witches was big at the time, I specifically made it based on girls with airplane parts. And thus, Dive into the Sky was born.  It sucked.  A lot.  The rules were unbalanced and not all that great. 

Still, it was popular enough to get some amount of interest, and I'm never one to completely abandon a good idea.  I resolved to go back and fix or remake the game, but I never got around to it.  Some distraction or another always seemed to come up.  And then I got bored at work a couple months ago and started working on a complete revamp of my game during some of my time previously spent being bored.  Took me a few months to get something put together.  The fruits of my labor may be found right here.

Now, this game is far from complete, and I think it's got some holes that need fixing.  The main purpose of this blog is as a way for me to rant about any current development work as it happens, in the form of weekly updates or so.  This will hopefully be a good thing for a few reasons.  First, anyone who actually likes the game can give swift feedback.  Second, this blog's mere existence will help get my game out there and thus get more people testing it.  Third, I have this funny habit where if I don't get my thoughts down on paper or discuss them with others, I'll keep second-guessing myself. 

But wait, there's more!  I have another plan for a game.  Dive into the Sky is at a stage where it needs to be playtested and any minor tweaks or fixes made, so it's not completely unbalanced and provides good fun.  I have an idea for another game which is far less further along.  Similar to Dive into the Sky (AKA DitS, if I ever use that abbreviation), in that it will deal with mecha musume, this game will not deal only with aircraft.  It will be modeled more after Cosmic Break or Busou Shinki, with a dash or two of Armored Core.  What this means is more crunch, a big emphasis on different pieces of equipment, and some other things.  I will be posting about this project as it develops.  First thing probably being a working title for it.

And that's the main focus of this blog.  A place for me to post rants about RPGs I'm working on in my spare time.  As the descriptive subtitle suggests, there may be other things I post about as well.  I draw, and might as well post my art here.  If I write any bits of fiction, I'll post them, too.  And if I have any general rants about games I'm playing or physics or whatever, I'll post those too, if I think they'd be interesting.