Nathanael Cole / Alliterated Games

Hero image

RPG

Lighting Mechanics in Video Games, Tabletop

After re-reading my last post, I started thinking a lot more heavily on the idea of lighting mechanics, and how they both are and can be implemented in games both video and tabletop.

Video Games

I find that lighting is most often used in video games for purely atmospheric and aesthetic purposes. That’s all fine and good, but let’s get down and talk about actual mechanical uses of lighting in games. In these cases, we’re looking for games in which the lighting has direct effects not just on the mood and sensory input of the player, but on the game’s tangible play. What I’m not talking about are games which use light to limit your intake of the game (Google the infamous “duct tape mod” for Doom III to see what players think about that kind of thing). What I am talking about are implementations of lighting which enhance the actual playing of the game.

While Dragon Warrior was already discussed as having a nicely-implemented lighting system, it doesn’t fit my criteria as defined above: DW’s lighting limits your perception, and doesn’t actually enhance the mechanics. I am hard-pressed to think of a single video RPG that I’ve ever seen to make use of lighting mechanically, in fact. Read More »

Read More »

Games That Changed My Life #1: Dragon Warrior

A blog entry draws near!

I’ve been working on this idea for a while now, and have decided to take some time to write up some nostalgia-injected mini-essays on the games that changed my life. I’ve got a list worked out now, which I will go through in chronological order of my exposure to and immersion within them. The titles on this list do not necessarily correspond to those on my list of all-time “favorite” games, mind you. Instead, each of these interactive gaming experiences somehow made its own unique impact upon my existence, and my overall development as a human being.

I’m going to kick this list off with the game that got me started as a gamer: Dragon Warrior, for the NES.

Dragon Warrior was the game for which I originally begged and pleaded my mother to buy me a NES at the ripe and impressionable age of ten. I recalled seeing it elsewhere – at a friend’s house? in a magazine? on TV? I can no longer recall – and instantly believing beyond all doubt and concern that every. single. ounce of my essence needed to acquire and play this game. I cannot now tell you how I knew this then, or from whence this undeniable need stemmed, and I doubt I could even begin to explain it back then, either. All I can tell you now, in hindsight, is that this craving somehow manifested itself into me purchasing a subscription of Nintendo Power Magazine before I even actually acquired a Nintendo. Why? Because Nintendo Power gave the game away for free with every subscription. Read More »

Read More »

Timiro Nights: Let Me Tell You About My Burning Wheel Game

I know I’ve mentioned this game a few times before, but I’d like to take some time out right now to put some spotlight on one of my small handful of ongoing projects. The campaign I call “Timiro Nights” started as an extended playtest for my now-abandoned KnownWorld Palladium RPG rules hack. After only three sessions, I had grown tired of the cumbersome mentality of the mechanical source material – no matter how you package or rearrange its numbers, the Palladium RPG system is just a sad sack of unbalanced hackneyed crap.

But damn me if I can’t shrug off my love for the core fantasy setting! It’s straight-up old school fantasy excitement, and my love for it is nigh boundless. The lands are rich with adventure, the gods come down and fuck with mortal pawns like it ain’t no thang, social conflict and strife are everywhere, and ancient beings of infinite malignant power lie slumbering beneath the world’s surface. It’s just plain rad, if you ask me. Of course it also helps that this was the setting I first ever “officially” tabletopp’d in, way back in my middle school years.

Anyway, long story short: KnownWorld was getting old, Palladium’s core system blows hobos, and we switched to Burning Wheel. We’ve had a much better time since then. So allow me to introduce our heroes! Read More »

Read More »

Warhammer FRP 3rd Ed: First Hands-On Experience

This past weekend I had the unexpected pleasure of running a last-minute session of the new Warhammer Fantasy RPG – the 3rd Edition boxed set from Fantasy Fight Games, to be specific. The folks over at Gnome Stew have an excellent “unpacking” article on the game, with lots of pictures of its juicy innards, so I’ll skip that part and get right to the fun.

I’ve had this for a couple of weeks now, and have been itching to give it a test run. I wasn’t expecting to break it out in full game mode so soon, having only read the player book and most of the GM book (and not even touching the magic books yet). But when the call came in, it was the first thing that popped into mind, and in hindsight, I think it was a great idea. Despite none of us having any real experience with it, the end result was a very positive one. Read More »

Read More »

Having Trouble Coordinating Your Game Sessions?

I am currently running a game that meets once a month, sometimes a little more than that. Arranging these game sessions has been fairly taxing in the past, as sometimes one or more players (or even myself) will forget when the next session is, or instead won’t know all the details of their future schedule when we get to the part of the night wherein we set the date of our next gathering.

After much search, trial, and error, I’ve found a fantastic free online service that makes session-arrangement much less of a scheduling headache. It’s called Agree-a-Date. This service allows the scheduler to pick any number of dates and times he or she will be available, then have the other players pick out individually which of those offered time slots also work for them. Additionally, it includes an open-ended question and voting system, allowing easy polling of such things as “where we playing tonight?” and “what do you guys want to do for dinner?” and “who can pick up Steve this time?”

If you ever have similar problems getting our players to agree on a date for your next session, check this one out.

Read More »

Final Fantasy XIII: The Sine Wave of My Enjoyment

So far, Final Fantasy XIII has been an unexpected sine wave of fun for me. At first, I was truly wowed by the intensity of the visuals that the experience provided. I can not recall ever playing a game more graphically stunning in my life. It is truly at the cutting edge of the videl gaming medium in that regard.

I also enjoyed (and still do now, if not more so) the slow-but-steady incline in mechanical complexity of the gameplay. Where others decried its simplicity, I saw budding potential. I’m glad to see that now, several chapters in, I was right to stick out the slow advance of mechanics, as the top-down complexity of the combat system is a whole lot more satisfying to a strategist-type player, like myself. At least, I find it more satisfying than I ever found the combat mechanics of the previous iiterations in the series, save maybe for FFXII (my admitted favorite FF game so far). Read More »

Read More »