Economics Doesn’t Believe in Magic
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On a writing forum an author asked for users to think of what societies would do with the magic system he designed. Here’s a short rewrite of his setup:

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Ironwood, a Roguelike Game in 7 Days
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Ironwood is a roguelike game developed for the 2014 7 Day Roguelike Challenge. “Roguelike” is a pretty poorly defined genre, but generally speaking it’s a turn-based game with generated environments, emergent gameplay from simulationism, and a steep learning curve. (For more, see an informal definition, a formal attempt, or a current take on its broad use.)

Updated 2014-04-07: You can play Ironwood in your browser right now! Big thanks to Snarky for the Javascript port: Ironwood

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CTF Liveblog
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Friday

It’s on Friday afternoon and time to start working on Capture the Flag game. After chatting with friends I have some vague title/theme ideas. In the sprites there’s this row of pieces that look like a broken crest:

crest pieces

I’m not really sure what they’re supposed to be, but they prompted some theme ideas that fit with teams playing CTF over and over on random maps. Maybe there was a great evil sealed away that has broken free. It was defeated, but its wild magic broke the world into ever-changing pieces. Which is not so bad as things go, but it would be nice to put things back together again. There’s a bit of a tragedy of the commons, though – whoever is the one to reassemble the seal to fix the world will have the power to shape it, so rival groups (families? clans? guilds?) are trying to take the pieces away from each other and remake the world to their design.

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Random The Flag
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Oryx 16bit Fantasy Characters

I’m going to spend next Friday to Monday making a game. I was inspired by Oryx’s 16bit sprites, they’re a beautiful, cheap resource for game prototyping (the license is a bit confused for business purposes). I’ve been wanting to (and failing to) make games for years, so I’m going to ensure I succeed by defining the game by the time I spend rather than the infinitely long wish list plan I can invent.

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FTL: Simulationism Lost
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All weekend I’ve been captaining a series of (mostly doomed) Trek-like starships in FTL, a new indie game. The gameplay is mostly derived from time management and roguelike games (more on that later), as you juggle crew between tasks, shift power between systems (straight up “more power to the engines and target their shields!”), and balance exploring the galaxy with fleeing from an ever-advancing plot device that’s too boring to describe.

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Timing
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Luke, who writes backwards like DaVinci did some more game design with help from #bbg (on irc.freenode.net – anyone’s welcome to drop by to talk browser game development, it’s a great place). Reading his note photo, it looks like he’s breaking cards down into Settings, Characters, and Monsters. There’s not a lot more info, just that he’s spending his hours planning out his game.

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Breakdowns
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When Jim asked me how many hours I could put to So Play We All this week, I said “Negative three”. That turned out to be pretty accurate, as I managed to drop on the floor all but the three most important things for my week. Unfortunately, Oaqn didn’t make that top three so I sent $20 each to Jim and Luke. So, let’s look at what I funded this week.

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Keeping Jim Busy
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Oops, got totally distracted by flying back to Chicago and forgot to write my So Play We All response post on time, so there’s $10 each to Luke and Jim. Late but not lost, here’s that response. (Luke didn’t post an update this week, so I’m only responding to Jim.)

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Rewriting My Competitors
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It’s really clear that the polls So Play We All are measuring progress. When we have a quiet week, there’s a lot fewer votes. This week, there were 4, evenly split between Luke and I. The SPWA site doesn’t have code to handle ties so it highligted me as winning, which I guess means the bugfix is not my problem. :)

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Two Turnarounds
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I was really impressed by Luke in week five of So Play We All. He built a playtestable game fast and, more importantly, he learned from it. He’s decided to completely rework his gameplay. Player interaction wasn’t what he wanted and he realized it would be a huge amount of work to write. It’s not easy to decide you’ve spent time building the wrong thing, and that maturity impressed me.

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