Monday, December 31, 2007

Game Diary Summary - December

I had some trouble in Photoshop, working on the Jova province, but I worked that out yesterday. I also found a formula to plug into my names spreadsheet to give me a random name from the long list (around 500 names). I used that to select the 50+ star names for the Capitis district of Jova (the one containing Aldorus). Only problem is making sure I don't somehow duplicate the same names.

I continued working with spreadsheet formulas for automating the star system creation process. This time I was doing the Raw Material, Ag Prod, Ind Prod, and Wealth Index. While doing this, I discovered a problem with the Wealth Index mods and changed that to work better.

I added the names for the 53 systems of the Capitis district (Jova province), but I'm concerned the names don't have enough variety. I have a large pool of Hindu names with some others mixed in. It's perfectly fine to have mostly Hindu names of course, but it might be better to have a wider variety as well. Not sure I'll change it though.

Also, each star system has a circle with the color of the star. However, if the map is printed in Black & White, you won't be able to see these colors. I could put a fill pattern in each as well, but I'm worried that might look bad (especially in color). Not sure how I want to do this . . .

As I mentioned yesterday, I need to figure a way for the stars to show the type in case the map is printed in black and white. So, I looked a different fill patterns but none of them looked right. I ended up using the actual letter for the star (ie: M, K, etc.) and put that inside the circle or the star. Frankly, I'm not happy with this solution, but I'm really not sure what else to do. :-(

I finished assigning stars to the Capitis district last night. It's a very time consuming which begs the question whether its too much of a hassle for the regular player. Of course, a GM may not be doing it for an entire district or province, etc.. However, it's already made me question the validity of doing trade routes which depend on going through all the planets and moons to find the highest level starport for that system. Of course, I could do trade routes differently or just not do them at all since their really aren't that necessary. Once again I'll have to "think about it." ;-)

I've been doing a sample system, including all profile values. It's given me some valuable data that, among other things, shows me some changes I need to make. For example, the Wealth Index is still very out of wack. I got a planet with a 10 for industrial production but with a wealth index of zero. So, I'm going to look at that too.

I think it's becoming obvious to me that I need to drop the Wealth Index. It's just not working very well or constantly. With that in mind, I also will need to rework the commodities (supply/demand, and prices). Also, I've pretty much decided not to have trade routes: in several games (like Elite), there are no routes and frankly they just aren't that necessary.

Sigh. The more I test the Raw Materials and Ag/Ind Prod stuff, the more I come to the conclusion that it's a terrible mess. I may have to just chuck the whole thing if I can't get it to balance right.

Good news and Bad news: the bad news is that I've abandoned the whole Raw Materials, Ag/Ind Prod, and Wealth Index process, which means I've wasted a lot of time on it. The good news is that I've replaced it with a much simplified version involving trade modifiers. I had worked so hard on my idea because I wanted something original but I just couldn't get it to work inconsistently. The new system isn't very original, but I know it will work.

I've completed two practice star systems for the Jova province. I'm not doing the whole province, but I want to have at least one or two samples to include in the rules (including the one with Aldorus since that's the capital).

After getting a second opinion from a friend, I've decided not to have letters or symbols for the stars on my map. I was concerned that the different stars wouldn't appear different enough in black&white. However, after talking to my friend, it seems that there is enough shading difference to make it work. This will keep the map from looking to "busy" with letters or symbols. Also, there will be another table showing the type of star anyway, so it's not really necessary to have it on the map as well.

I worked a little bit on the second district for Jova, including the different stars and their names. I noticed something I did incorrectly for the Capitis district so I need to go back and fix that as well. Basically, I had too many M class stars so I will change some of them to different classes.

I was reading my bio page on the website. I wrote it in September and at the end I say I hope to have the game ready by December. Well, it's the middle of December now and I'm no where near done. :-o On the other hand, I only have another chapter and a half to go, but it's taking longer and longer to get it done. At the moment, I think the most realistic estimate would be summer 2008 before I'm ready, but we'll see.

Over the weekend I largely completed the second district for Jova (although I still haven't settled on a name for the district itself). I plan to add the image to the wiki along with info on star systems. I will add an image of the big Imperium map as well.

Okay, so now I have a name: Kurai, which is japanese for "nobility". Also, I counted up all the stars (both primary, secondary, and tertiary) and there are 170 total stars in the Jova province. Hurray!

I'm done with Jova now and so I need to turn my attention to finishing out the Star System chapter. The main thing left are the commodity/trade rules which should be just a few pages long. However, I still need to wrap up the Jova content to make it nice and clean and understandable. :-)

Although I was gone part of the last week for the Christmas holiday, I did get some work done. I had added the Imperium map to the rules, but I was unhappy with how it looked. Yesterday, I added a lot more to the map (surrounding countries and the Magna Supremacy) and now I'm a lot happier. I also put descriptions into the rules for the different regions, etc. Next, I plan to include the Jova province info.

I redid the Imperium crest in photoshop, again using the 5 arrow motif. I then redid the header in the rules by including the new crest and redoing the lettering. It looks a lot better now. Yesterday, I added the Jova province info. Now, I need to add the Aldin star system info, and then do the commodities/trade section. Once that's done, I'll be finished with the chapter.

I've been trying to think of a prose piece for the beginning of the Star System chapter. I had written one already but it doesn't really go well with the chapter, so I may move that prose to the next chapter.

I've made a large update to the wiki, adding the info on star systems and their creation. I included the Imperium main map and the one for the Jova Province.

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