Friday, May 30, 2008

Game Diary Summary - May

My wife the Editor has proofread the Introduction and Chapter 1. She's starting to proofread Chapters 2 and 3 today. Her comments have been very good so far: it's great to have another pair of eyes with suggestions on how to say things. That's one of the most important parts of being an editor, not just to find mistakes but to also suggest clearer ways of writing.

Beside the misc stuff, I'm also working on a new landing page for the website. I did a render using Poser today as the main graphic and worked on the text describing the game. I'm really very happy with how the image came out and relatively satisfied with the text. It'll be some time, however, before I can use it: have to play test first!!

I added the damage and ranges for starship weapons yesterday. Although I think the ranges are fine, I'm not confident in the damages. This will need to be tested fully to make sure they don't do too much or too little damage.

Chapters 2 and 3 continue to be proofread. Since my wife isn't a gamer, it's slow going.

I wrote the beginning prose for the Robot chapter. After several drafts, I'm very happy with how it turned out. I still have several more chapters that need prose, although I'm debating whether they all need to have that. I'd like to be consistent, but I don't want to force it or settle for prose that isn't very good (not that my writing is Shakespeare).

Chapters 2 and 3 are done being proofread. I need to go over Chapter 4 (Combat) before having the Editor proofread that. Last night I added the resistance nanos to the rules and looked over my To Do list to see what's left. I've been trying to estimate how much is left before I can have the game play tested. Right now I'm thinking by the end of May it should be ready, but I've been wildly wrong in the past, so we'll see.

I've been thinking that, once the game is published, I'll stop writing the game diary. Since this has really been an exercise to capture the creative process of building the rules, there much reason to continue it after that process is largely over. Of course, there are tweaks to the rules and future additions I could talk about, but I doubt I'd need to write about it that much.

Friday and Saturday weren't very productive, but today I've been able to get some work done in the Starship and Star System chapters. In the former, I added info on making FTL jumps (and went back to the Skills chapter and modified the Starship Navigation skill somewhat). In the Star System chapter, I worked on the Commodities section a bit, trying to make it more understandable. Although I used a fairly simplified system for trade, it's still pretty complex and I think a little confusing. I'm hoping what I did today will make it more clear.

I did some research on playtesting. I think I will have an open call on some of the forums and MySpace toward the end of May, assuming the rules are ready by then. I probably should have a NDA as well, but not sure how I'm going to do it. I'm nervous about the process since I'm don't know how others will react to it. I'm worried I'll have redo large sections of the rules because the playtesters will hate it. We'll see.

I added a new robot (Deranged Loggerbot) and a new faction (Gaia Brigade) to the rules last night. I'd like to add another couple of robots perhaps before the game goes to playtesting. Speaking of which, my former coworker Mark has agreed to play test my game. He's played several PnP games before so that's good. It's also good to have someone I know well to playtest.

I created another two robots (SpiderBot and Heavy AssaultBot), but haven't added them to the rules yet. I still have three other robots that I did awhile ago, but I have to confirm match with the current rules (since it may've changed since I wrote up the robots). My Editor has finished proofing chapter 10 so we need to go over that. Next I'll have her look at the Star Systems chapter. Obviously we're not going in order; she's just looking at chapter that are basically finished.

I've been slowing adding the prices of various items, mostly in the Gear chapter so far. It's time consuming because I want the prices to make sense, although I'm not very confident about them: playtesting will need to see if they're too high or too low.

I went over Chapter 10 with the Editor tonight. Next she'll be looking at Chapter 9.

I've completed most of the prices now in the Starship and Robot chapters. Although there were a lot of them, it went faster than I thought it would. I went through for the robots and added up their total costs, and the prices were about right I think.

The Editor completed Chapter 9 last night. Next I'll be giving her the Robot chapter to read, although I need to add another few robots. I've also added prices to the commodities list: however, there are so many of them, it will required some testing to see if the prices make sense.

I changed my mind and gave Chapter 5 Gear to the Editor to proof. The robot chapter is almost done, but I wanted to add another couple robots and didn't want to rush it.

Besides misc stuff, I've been calculating the costs for the starship based on their components. Doing it after the fact, is time consuming to say the least. The end amounts, however, seem reasonable to me which is good.

The Editor continues proofing the Gear chapter. We're going to be out of town most of this weekend, but I'll be back to work on the game some more Sunday night and Memorial Day. Of course, I'll take time out to grill stuff too!

I was out of town Saturday and Sunday, but yesterday I was able to complete the cost calculations on all the starships in that chapter. I'm told that the Gear chapter is going to be done proofing today, so I'll be giving the Robot and Starship chapters to the Editor to proof. Since there's still another two chapters to proofread as well, I'm probably going to give a current draft of the rules to the first playtester by the end of this week or beginning of next. At this point, the proofreading process is just to find typos, etc., not technical errors in the rules themselves. With that in mind, I'd like to get the game into playtesting as soon as possible and just update their copy as the final chapters get proofed.

The Editor finished the Gear chapter last night and I gave her the Robot and Starships chapters to do next. I also worked on adding notable NPCs to the Encounters chapter last night. I had left that section blank previously. I created stats for Prince Alexander, Lefty Lucy, and Durant Blixx. Next, I'll do the Magna Ambassador and Smitty Gurkin which will be all of it.

I wrote prose for the beginning of the Star System chapter yesterday. I ran it past my wife and she liked it! I also went through Chapter 10 last night and corrected a few things. I want to go through and correct the final touches before handing the rules over for playtesting this weekend or perhaps early next week.

By way, I added all the notable NPCs except Smitty Gurkin. I decided to leave him off for space reasons, but I can always add him later if I need to.