Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Game Diary Summary - April

The character sheet continues to come along. I spent much of the day working on it, after taking a break yesterday. I added the combat, weapons, and armor sections, and rearranged the resistance section.

I've completed the character sheet finally, although it's taken a long time it seems. The second page was easier, however, and I was able to hammer that out in only two days compared to the better part of a week for the first page. I can now switch to backfilling stuff in the rules that I didnt' get done the first time and revisiting parts that need to be reworked a little. One of the biggest sections I need to add features vehicle combat. I didn't do it the first time around, but I can't leave it out.

Yesterday I started writing the vehicle combat section. I didn't get a lot done, but it was at least a start. I realized, however, that I didn't have a good game plan for writing the section, so this morning I wrote out an outline to better organize my thoughts. This is usually the best way for me to work, which makes you wonder why I don't do it that way more often.

I completed the stunts section of Vehicle Combat. Although not a huge amount of content, it's still quite a lot, which makes me happy. I'm not sure how useful players will find it however, but we'll see.

So far today I've added another nice chunk of the Vehicle Combat section. I also added a new page to the website so people can read the current newsletter without having to actually subscribe (in case people are concerned about doing that). As part of the change, I modified the main page of the site so you can access the newsletter. I also made it a little better looking (but only slightly).

I finished off the vehicle combat section today, but I need to add some additional information: vehicle armor and force fields. I will include that in the Gear chapter.

I also decided to make yet another change (although a small one) to the Psionic abilities. I'm taking Detect Psi and Detect Aura and making them alone, instead of being prerequisites for other psionics. I'm also going to add three new ablities involving what's called a Tulpa, which is basically physical creatures formed by ones own mind (ie: mind into matter).

The last few days I've been chipping away at misc stuff in the rules, including adding some skills and adding vehicle force fields and armor to the gear section. Speaking of vehicles, last night I realized that I forgot to include rules for crashing damage in the vehicle combat section. Again, having only one person working on something like this can lead to missing things. I'm hopeful that anything I may've still forgotten will be picked up during play testing.

I didn't get much done yesterday. I've been struggling to get my wife's computer to work, which involved installing a new hard drive. Although it's working now, my hardware abilities suck so mostly i'm just frustrated, which doesn't help my creative flow to say the least. Grrrrr.

By yesterday afternoon I was back on track and I got a lot done in the skills chapter. I was adding some new starship skills which also entailed making some changes in the Starship chapter. When I had originally written that chapter, I hadn't included the starship skills yet since they hadn't been finalized. This meant that starship combat didn't really involve too many actual skill rolls. Although such combat still doesn't, it does include some references to specific skill requirements to use certain starship systems, thus tying them together.

Today I worked on redoing the Restricted/Black Market section of the Gear chapter. Along with that, I will add the Streetwise skill to the Skill chapter. While i had been working on planets in the Star System chapter, I realized that law levels as I had envisioned them wouldn't work so that meant going back and fixing it under Gear. I'm fairly happy with how it's turned out this time around.

Originally, which social class a character picked didn't really matter too much except when it came to factions and reputation. Yesterday, I changed that by adding different skills that the character would get based on the class. An aristocrat gets one skill (Diplomacy Rank 4) and twice the starting money; a middle class character gets two skills (Computer Operation and a Craft skill, both Rank 4); and the underclass gets three skills (Bribe, Smuggling, and Streetwise, all Rank 4) but get only half the normal starting money.

Since social class is so important in Imperium society, I felt I needed to make it more important for each character players make.

Today, I also wrote some prose for the beginning of Chapter 3: Abilities. I'll run it by the wife first to make sure it doesn't totally suck.

Good news: the prose I wrote for Chapter 3 passed the Wife test, so I guess it didn't suck too bad. Still, I don't think it's one of my stronger prose works.

The biggest thing I did today was add Software to the Starships chapter. I had left it blank when I did the chapter the first time around, so it was a gapping hole. I struggled with it a little bit because I didn't like how I was implementing it, but now I'm fairly happy with it. While I was working on the software for Starships, I also noticed i need to update the software section for the Robots chapter too.

I spent yesterday adding ranges to the weapons in the Gear chapter. Unlike the d20 system, I don't use a set increment for ranges. Instead, I use five different ranges (point blank, short, medium, long, and extreme), each with its own modifier (+2, +0, -2, -6, and -10 respectively). Originally, I had mods of -4 and -6 for the last two ranges, but while working yesterday, I thought those would make it too easy to hit targets at pretty long ranges, so I changed them to a steeper penalty. Anyway, I was able to fill in all the ranges for the different weapons.

Today I filled in the restricted status of weapons and other items in the gear chapter.

4/26/2008 For the last several days I've just been working on misc stuff for the rules: for example, yesterday I fixed the formatting in the table of contents. It's been wrong forever, but I've never taken the time to actually fix it.

I'm going back to work on Monday (4/28). This means I'll only be able to work on the game in the evenings and of course on weekends. However, over the last few months I've been able to get a lot done, so there really isn't that much left to do before I can have people start play testing. I'm not quite there yet, but it should be within a few weeks maximum if not less. Of course, I also have to find people willing to play test. That's a whole other question altogether.

This week I'm going to try and get some of the chapter ready for my editor (the Wife) to proofread. I still have work to do in several chapters so I don't want her to proofread those yet, but I can at least have you get started on some of the other ones. Once that's done, the rules should be ready for play testing.