Worries

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Q_x
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Worries

Post by Q_x » Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:24

What worries me is what we did through last year in terms of progress, would be better done in a week in 3-4 person team, without nerve-wrecking infections, without dealing with anything, if we would just sit down, sip brews or beverage and chat happily evening after evening. Plus extra serendipity factor. Plus, we'd be able to playtest things on the fly.
I'm trying to figure out any way to push forward the infrastructure, but no clues how that could be done in terms of being close to chat and sip type of meetings. Chat and eat soup, chat and cook, I guess multitasking is also a factor that boosts creativity here. My original sandscape was my first idea for rapid prototyping, so far the best - even if it's a bit of utopia. Do you have any ideas to improve anything that would result in developing experience closer to "congregation", faster, smoother?
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tex
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Re: Worries

Post by tex » Sun Apr 15, 2012 02:47

I agree. If I can be frank, relative inactivity made me wonder if I should participate, and I like to think I'm going to make a valuable contribution. But I almost walked away. If I'd known about the virus problems the server apparently had, that would've tilted the balance more in favor of participation, so I suggest making that fact a little more prominent, painful as it may be to admit.

And if people see it's not so hard to show up and make a contribution, then they'll be more likely to lend a hand. So I'd actually recommend against some of the "read these ponderous tomes before contributing" messages I've seen here. It almost turned me off to the project, even after I'd read all the docs I was supposed to read. I know, I know, it means more noise and bother as the project leader(s) have to filter out bad contributions, but is it a good price to pay for attracting more people?

I want to add finally that I'm evidently the ranking FNG, so I can only offer a new guy's perspective, and I hope I haven't offended you fine folks.
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Re: Worries

Post by Q_x » Sun Apr 15, 2012 06:53

The problem here is rather simple:

You have to read a set of rules, doesn't matter if this is ORC or any other ruleset, to play. You don't have to know the world, history, detailed faction specifics to play.

But, there is little chance to play now, as the game is far from being "beta". What we can do is playtest, improve or invent stuff. If you want to improve our docs - you have to keep close to our dictionary - that is eg. using "creatures" rather than "units". For inventing stuff - that is developing the game - you just have to know where you want to go with it. Every change makes a difference, and we have to have a clear direction set. Else - we're just running like a bunch of headless chickens. For example, we have pretty simple resource management (when compared to MtG), because we want the game to be rather short and focused on tactics, rather than on resource management. Everyone coming here would immediately tweak it more towards how MtG looks like - thus probably destroy subtle balance of how we envision the game, time of play and level of excitement.

It's even worse than that, as we're not making a single game. My dream is that there can be really different games and scenarios played with the same set of cards (or a subset) and with changing rules. The project is ready to host such rule sets. It is even said that our rules may not be official ruleset in the end. So that you should be able to have 200 card decks and play whole day, as well as having 30 cards and playing for 20 minutes during a tournament. To have it that way we not only have to think ahead, but also drop some ideas, that are good otherwise.

Now, to summarize: to actively develop the game, not just throw ideas, one must know (read) what we want the game to be in the first place. Later she or he can disagree and discuss with the vision - no problem here, but knowing what the project wants to achieve is the first step.
While coming here I went through every single blog post, wiki article and forum thread. It was not that much back then (but now there's no blog history). Else I'd possibly miss some eye-opening stuff, waste people time asking answered questions or be pointed to read a piece of doc that's written already.

If you can see any other way to be immersed quickly (in a dev-ready way), shoot. For now you just have to know how and why we want to work the way we do (Project philosophy), what are our goals as a project (GDD or General Design Document), how we want to meet those goal in Original Rules Concept, or "Quick rules" (LDD or Local Design Document). For more in-depth information there are eg. Facton Concepts or Style Guide. I think it's not much. It's not easy either, so feel free to help us if you wish.
I must agree, however, that wording could be different here and there...

Back to the point - problem I see is we're struggling with lack of proper mechanisms to develop things quickly. It would be easy to blame snowdrop here, or just say the overall mana level is rather low in the team, or, as I did it, invent a tool for it, while being incapable of doing anything more, but it's not all that simple. We need the way to invent, test, and change rules and cards, and probably also record tests and share how things were going while testing. This is done normally sipping beer and playing by the table. What we use now is way harder, and involves days of preparations to get Lackey or GCCG running with static set of cards. As I see it, at the moment this is our bottleneck.
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Re: Worries

Post by tex » Mon Apr 16, 2012 08:12

Q_x wrote:What we use now is way harder, and involves days of preparations to get Lackey or GCCG running with static set of cards. As I see it, at the moment this is our bottleneck.
Gah, that's awful. Is it worse to do it up manually? If it were me testing gameplay solo I'd probably write it up longhand. If it were with a partner, I'd just bounce turns back and forth on a thread or wikipage or something. Seems like a good use of logged IRC + collaborative wikipage that shows textually what both players' game state is.

Maybe I should go pester Knitter about sandscape . . . not gonna lie, PHP is not my favorite language, but I shouldn't let that stand in the way of being helpful.
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Re: Worries

Post by Q_x » Mon Apr 16, 2012 09:15

There no real solution I can think of. Play-by-mail was one of my proposals, quite similar to your IRC / wiki idea. There are some problems, mostly amount of typing involved. Still hours are turned into days.
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Re: Worries

Post by Knitter » Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:31

tex wrote:Maybe I should go pester Knitter about sandscape . . . not gonna lie, PHP is not my favorite language, but I shouldn't let that stand in the way of being helpful.
Please do :D

I don't really see a way to make things go faster, at least not as fast as being in the same place talking and playing directly. The only solution to speed development would be if we could all sit down around the same table.

So, unless we can gather together we will continue to develop in a small pace seeing that there aren't many people developing cards and rules (2 or 3?).
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Re: Worries

Post by tex » Mon Apr 16, 2012 18:42

tex wrote:Maybe I should go pester Knitter about sandscape . . .
Knitter wrote:Please do :D
Do you know him? What's he like? :lol: Seriously though, I assume I can pester you over the Code forum if it comes to that?

Real quick, about sandscape, looks like I'll need to learn most of the technologies you're using more or less from scratch, so I dunno how long it'll be before I'm productive. It looks like I can start to do that and start to work on ORC clarification.
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Re: Worries

Post by Knitter » Tue Apr 17, 2012 09:41

Yes, the code section in the forum will be a better place to ask any Sandscape related question, also I'm frequently on IRC and I can also reply using the wtactics provided e-mail, <my nick>@wtactics.org.
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Re: Worries

Post by Knitter » Tue Apr 17, 2012 13:14

Q_x wrote:.. if we would just sit down, sip brews or beverage and chat happily evening after evening. Plus extra serendipity factor. Plus, we'd be able to playtest things on the fly.
While the ideal setup was for everyone to gather together in some place (ever though about vacations in Portugal :D ), how easy/useful would it be if we could use some sort of video conferencing?

A simple setup of two webcams where, for example, if I was playing with snowdrop I would have my webcam pointed at my table/cards and he would have his webcam pointed as his table/cards. Would it work to bridge the distance gap a bit?
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Re: Worries

Post by Q_x » Tue Apr 17, 2012 17:41

Most probably this won't work as intended. Your hardware will crumble while videoconferencing into huge lags, the quality will be too low to really read off the cards and so on. At least that's what snowdrop said to me when proposing it looong while ago, so I haven't even try.

Meeting on holidays seems like a valid option, I'm financially immobilized, but who knows what can happen. :mrgreen:
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