Saturday, March 12, 2005

It smells like Doritos and Mountain Dew ...

"Doctor, there's an infection in my dice-throwing hand."

"Yes, it's ... Gamegrene."

New link added in Gaming, of the pen-and-paper kind. Smart essays without navel-gazing. Some good OGL stuff, and practical guides ot out-of-the-way systems. They're spot-on with a mention that D20 Call of Cthulhu was a well-designed and unjustly discarded system.

Oh, and you'll notice a Creative Commons tag down and to the right. I'm going to start popping up some gaming ideas here soon; some more serious articles on media theory are also due; and some teachers have asked permission to link to and summarize some of the screenwriting articles, so this seemed in order. The CC site itself is very clear and helpful -- I wound up using the cartoons provided to guide me in chossing which variant of license I wanted.

I wonder, although it would take a gamer/lawyer multiclass to be sure (don't allow it, GM's, the Lawyer's front-loaded), whether one could fold the OGL concept of D20 gaming into a specific Creative Commons license. Anyone?

19 comments:

Bug-Eyed Earl said...

You the man, John. This is exactly what I needed.

If you keep this up, I'm going to end up owing whatever career I have toi you.

So you better stop now. This is like Oppenheimer being warned before he split the atom.

Anonymous said...

Beware. While CC may be a good license guide, you should always have your own lawyer, sometimes two. The only thing worse than haveing a lawyer is not having a lawyer.

Anonymous said...

Beware. While CC may be a good license guide, you should always have your own lawyer, sometimes two. The only thing worse than haveing a lawyer is not having a lawyer.

MAX WALKER said...

OGL = Online Gaming League?

caseyko74 said...

I just want Top Secret to come back. Many a night was lost to playing Top Secret when I was a kid (of course we used the "Q Book" from the James Bond game for weapons and gadgets).

Rogers said...

OGL = Open Gaming License.

The problem (I'm simplifying here, but bear with me) with role-playing games as they boom/busted through their cycles is that you had to learn a different conflict resolution/dice system for each genre/gameworld. And each was copywritten -- so if you wanted to write something for a game, or even design a game, you had to grind out your own non-infringing dice system AND/OR get permission from incredibly byzantine, poorly run (on the average) gaming companies. It was an industry which fit the small-press model beautifully, but wasn't operating under small-press rules.

The designers of the last edition of D&D (with Ryan Dancey taking point) essentially Linuxed the rules -- the game system of using a twenty-sided die itself was now "open-source."

There were other, more subtle business motivations to this decision, but it was a startling precedent. Now small game companies coudl spring up, write supplements, etc. using the D20 (or D&D for you non-players) rule system -- which would create a market-space worth of free advertising for the D20 rules sytem, which then made it the dominant "first blurt" identity of what role-playing was all about, etc. etc, goodness all around.

After an intitial boom, the market is settling out. But the result in my mind, is a much more vibrant, interesting gaming landscape -- not because D20 is such a great system (I prefer Unisystem, actually, adn Savage Worlds kicks monstrous ass), but that influx of new blood and heightened awareness really kicked things about. Creative people who wanted to tell STORIES but weren't rules jockeys, could now contribute to the gaming world in a much more streamlined way. It was also, quite frankly, a variant of Creative Commons concepts before CC got big.

Crow T Autobot said...

I like the usage of the OGL out there. It makes game shopping a lot easier, and a lot faster getting to know the individual tweaks a specific game has. My issues are still in the complexity of the engine. I GM a Star Wars d20 game currently, and I'm finding that my story is having to be pushed back in favor of figuring out DCs for stuff and having stats, skills and feats for NPCs.
I haven't played Unisystem, so I have no idea what that engine is like. But the best and easiest gaming engine I've found is from Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu. Simple, flexible and fast skill-based engine.


It's cool hearing that there are Gamers in the entertainment business. It's kinda surprising that more game universes haven't been mined for inspiration. I'd sure as hell watch a Shadowrun movie/TV show, or a show that had its script based on the actors playing their characters in an RPG.
Ya just stat the characters to fit the actors physically, then the writer(s) and director fill the GM role. Then the season DVD releases could include footage of the games that evolved into episodes. There's a concept for ya to pitch sometime John. :-)

Steve said...

Just found GameGrene, eh? Great site, I've been reading them for sometime now.

Thomas said...

...as far as a horror game that's easy, I like "vs.monsters". Phillip J. Reed wrote the original game in 24hrs, inspired by McCloud's 24hour comic.

FREE download here.

www.philipjreed.com/downloads/vsmonsterslow.pdf

TG

Rogers said...

Actually, there's an anime series which publishes the D20 stats of its heroes. The name escapes me -- Ross would know.

If GF had gone, I would have done "Night of the Cattle Mutilators" from my Modern D20 game as an ep. You can hunt up the storyline in the messgaeboards over at ENWorld.

CoC classic is nice, but right now I dig Savage Worlds -- ran a game when Devon Grayson was in town with vampires, transgendered Sailor Moons, Matrix agents, a baby proto-mass and a Johnny Socko robot and the whole thing ran smooth as butter.

Bug-Eyed Earl said...

I don't suppose the anime you're thinking of is Record of Lodoss War, is it?

One impression I always got from people who play D & D is that the two different versions- the one with the little figurines and the one without, are held in contempt by fans of the other; am I wrong? I just get this impression frmo talking to people who play it both ways.

I don't know why, but I find that idea very funny.

Rogers said...

Well, since WOTC released the pre-painted figurines, the barrier's come down somewhat. It wasn't the figurines themselves, I think, it was the fact that painting and preparing them took hours, the expenditure of which implied a committment to the hobby which often accompanied obsessiveness.

To be honest, however, pretty much everyone's who's tossed a D20 has used a figurine to track movement at some point. And one may wish to remember that the tradition of figurines is linearly descended from HG Wells and his rules on miniatures battles (I think it was Small Armies); and even more, that such tactical and strategic analysis of military battles was considered a more then respectable hobby, and indeed a useful tool in the serious study of military history at the time.

There will always be a schism between the "beer-and-pretzel" players and the "elf-ears at the con" players.

Rogers said...
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