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Showing posts from November, 2020

Progress!!! Weapons have been completed.

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Today has to be an editing milestone! A complete chapter has been edited in a single session. Most notable is the lack of any mechanical changes. Tweaks and restatements but actual changes to the mechanical operation of weapons were not necessary. It's a relief to know at least one thing goes unopposed - at least, operation-wise. This afternoon, we start on magic. This one will more than likely have changes. There are a couple of spells I put into operation with only vague descriptions on mechanics. I'm sure those will be either gutted or fused with other spells. Oddly enough, I'm okay with this. Part of the editing process is looking at the big picture confirming that the smaller components are in line with all other components. I have no doubt that as some elements are fused together, others will be broken apart.  With such a large section accomplished at once, and the remaining sections becoming increasingly smaller in size, the game guide can realistically be finished b

A Personal Adventure

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Rare is it I make comment on my personal life. This blog was set aside specifically for the discussion and development of Tortured Earth, its revision, and expansion of worlds. However, a little off topic discussion does well to break up the monotony. Many of the pictures I use to open the my blogs are actual pictures I've taken while traveling. I've always held a fascination with nature, wildlife, and the reclamation of abandoned buildings and structures, so the use of that imagery in Tortured Earth is almost second nature. Getting those pictures requires a little effort on my part, but the travel makes it well worth it. Couple this with the fact I live in Louisiana and suddenly I have yet another hobby.  This weekend, my wife and I are planning on traveling around the area taking pictures of buildings and objects in various states of abandonment. Hopefully, our trip will be productive and I'll have a whole new batch of imagery to add to my growing collection of apocalypti

The Power of Redundancy

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Last night, I finally closed the Attachment file. Added all the little bits and bobs that made it work, double checked everything and made sure it fit into the established mechanics. I closed it with satisfaction. As I opened the next file, I realized it was a duplicate. Fortunately, the original was in the email buffer and I was able to retrieve it. Once it was downloaded, I noticed the file name had been changed. I renamed it the previous file and, yes, managed to overwrite the Attachment file I'd just finished. So, as a prize, I got to redo the whole thing all over again. Take away lesson: Make frequent backups. Buy a good solid state hard drive and back up your project folder like the paranoid fool you should have become by now.  This is specially painful when considering I had a computer crash and take with it all files while we were constructing the first edition. It took nearly a month to restore all files and reconstruct the point at which the data was originally lost. Need

Finishing attachments - thoughts and considerations

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Last night I worked on the revisions of attachments - making sure the mechanics of both using and creating the items fit within the parameters of our gaming system. Although the concept may seem rather dry, the work is actually quite entertaining. It gives me a chance to review the overall mechanics of item creation and gives validity to the point investment of our crafting skills in general. In the years leading to the creating of Tortured Earth, many of the game systems we played treated non-combative skills more as an afterthought than an actual game mechanic. The mechanic usually fell into one of two categories: 1. At certain levels, you could add a skill giving you a static bonus. As long as the check fell within the general parameters of the skill name, you could use that bonus. 2. As the skill increased in potency (through either skill investment or level advancement), the skill increased in potency in all applications of the skill. In the first scenario, the skill use operated

Modifying Equipment

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Due to the modular nature of Tortured Earth, systems are being built to allow players the opportunity to modify and customize weapons. Of course, the easiest way to achieve this is simply to request the GM build it and allow the characters to find it either through negotiation or adventure. Using the crafting mechanics, players do have the option to either create their own devices or modify existing items. To maintain balance at the gaming table, the rules allowing such open-endedness must be in place from the onset. The section we are currently editing is actually a precursor to weapons and armaments. In it, we are insuring characters have the ability to modify and repair their equipment and create attachments. Unlike equipment, attachments are just that - attached. We've set the attachments as extensions of the item and lack their own IE (Life points for inanimate objects).  Rather, attachments occupy the IE of the item they are added to. Should that item receive damage, the IE t

Creating a plan during COVID madness

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One of the most stressful factors to owning a small business at this time is the uncertainty of what's next. Granted, there is never a real certainty as to what's next in the business sense. When starting an independent anything, the unexpected tends to become the norm. As a teacher, we are waiting to see what happens with the new president. The possibility of another shutdown looms as a real possibility. The only bright spot in that plan is promise of a potential vaccine. On the game developer side, a shutdown would be devastating. Conventions have become the primary means of promoting our product. Online venues are simply not as appealing as meeting in person for both ourselves and the attendees. Although online forums do exist as a means of facilitating role playing games, there seems to be a product specific preference towards larger companies. I have noticed there are options in which an independent company can use these systems in a generic manner. Drawing players to thes

Developing a Core Mechanic

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Sorry for the gap in blogs. As mentioned before, I'm a high school teacher by day. Between state testing, COVID numbers increasing, parent meetings, and all the other things tied into my job, I have to drop the things I really love for the thing that really supports all this. (Actually, I love teaching as well.) Each game system has some feature setting it apart from its fellow systems. In speaking with other game developers, the differences range from unique methods of handling firearms to general weapon skills to unique magic mechanics to space flight to story mechanics. Each system identifies a problem within the system they have traditionally used, redesigned the mechanics, and produce something unique enough to call their own. Tortured Earth is no exception. We initially started with a D&D 3.5 model. Our goal was to produce a class-less and level-less game system immediately faced a road block. When both class and level are removed from the game mechanics, the entire syste

Game Mechanics of Armor

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Armor in tabletop gaming can sometimes become a tricky element. Armor use usually bounces between damage reduction, difficulty in landing a successful strike, and bonuses to defense rolls. Each concept has merit when held in light of the proper combat mechanic. Tortured Earth's take on the concept focuses on Damage Reduction and Bonuses to Defense Rolls.  As a means of maintaining fluid game mechanics, we have approached the problem as a 2 part issue. Armor worn directly on the body, like chest plates, greaves, and vambraces, all provide resistance to the delivery of damage to the individual. It does not add to the difficulty of an opponent landing a successful blow. In some cases, it actually improves the ability of an opponent to strike the target (heavy armor reduces the speed of the wearer, thus increasing the opportunity of contact). Shields and other such 'barrier-type' defenses add to the opponent's difficulty to land a successful strike. Shields are not viewed a

San Angelo Comic Con, Review

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I managed to pull into my driveway at 4am - exhausted and zombified. To be honest, the show wasn't what we'd hoped for. It wasn't a bad show. It just didn't have the edge we typically book for a second time. For those developers using shows as a means of promoting your product, the issue is this: shows have to entertain the attendees. Vendors, guests, and volunteers are there to make the event an experience. Young shows often cut corners by using available space to house vendors and skimp on the entertaining parts. Tea parties, game rooms, panel rooms, and viewing areas all require space and organization. To pull a good show off, it is often a collaborative effort among several volunteers willing to spend time and energy developing various aspects of the event. When these factors are eliminated, the show becomes little more than a traveling shopping mall. And therein lies the problem - you can shop online without leaving home. A couple of years ago, Tortured Earth was p

San Angelo Comic Con - Day 1

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The convention is off to a slow start. To be honest, it's a little discouraging. We were hoping to make a splash in a new area, sell tons of books, and make loads of new contacts. Although sales are lagging behind and book sales are non existent, we are making good contacts. It's definitely a situation in which we will turn lemons into lemonade. During the day, we made some amazing contacts and actually picked up a few pieces. David Sanchez will be the illustrator for our new Nosferato vampire. His work is labeled as "hyper realistic" and to be honest, it's amazing. His attention to detail is outstanding.  Due to the slow pace of the con, I found myself with a little time to wander around the convention. I was very fortunate to bump into Mr. Sanchez. As soon as he told me he was an artist, we started talking about art and style. It caught me off guard when he referred to his style as 'hyper realistic'. We chatted for a bit, then we part ways. When I finall

San Angelo Comic Con

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Today we set up at San Angelo Comic Con and are actually looking forward to a good weekend. It's odd but the con layout is altered due to COVID restrictions. Fortunately, there are a few familiar faces and an enthusiastic staff. The convention organizers have been very helpful.  We're looking forward to a fun weekend - gaming, selling, and promoting. All the stuff that makes this a fun sideline. Our convention setup targets a larger audience. Where most companies focus on making a few high price sales, we focus on making volume sales. It's an odd strategy and does fall flat from time to time, but we tend to remain busy throughout the convention moving small items. Actually, the merchandise selection generates enough income to cover the convention costs and the cost of having workers running game sessions. For the most part, the model is successful. In case you didn't catch that conditional clause, we have had some stinker conventions. There is a delicate balance between

Promoting a Game

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This weekend, I will be going to San Angelo, TX to both vend and promote Tortured Earth. I've always found the convention scene a bit of a hodge-podge of gawkers, fans, geek enthusiast, and casual onlookers. The scene has always been both kind to me and my business and a bit like homecoming. In sort, it's a scene I absolutely love! The big question right now with the con scene is "What is going to happen?". With so many established cons going belly up and others postponing their events indefinitely, there is a lot of uncertainty within the community. Feeding into the madness are social and political issues and a general fear generated by the lockdown.  Attending San Angelo Comic Con is an attempt to venture back into normalcy. Hawking our wares, running game sessions, and interacting with the public (albeit with masks on and continually washing in hand sanitizer) are all tick marks in the "Normal" column. The goal will be to sell some books, run game session