The other day I realized something about Thrash. Something about the game inspires people to form strong and at times divided opinions on things. Maybe it’s got the cumulative opinionation (I think I just invented a word) of both RPGs and video games. I really do genuinely appreciate getting feedback on my games–Filip in particular has been tremendously helpful of late–but thinking back to all the discussions on the Thrash mailing list I can’t help but think that as fun as all of that was, at times there were problems with the signal to noise ratio there. I’d say “I’m thinking of switching from 1d10 to 2d6” and a big argument would follow. Certainly, trying to get the community to collectively figure out where to take the game was an abject failure. I really wonder how the FFRPG guys did it.
I don’t want to sound ungrateful or anything like that. If the above has slowed me down any, the majority of the 5-year delay still falls squarely at my own feet. When doing creative stuff, I have to take my own twisted personality into account, and remember that a lot of the time I work best in isolation.
So, right now I think I need to just hunker down and finish up the rest of the current draft. Barring any sudden amazing blasts of inspiration, I pretty much just need to finish filling out the less interesting bits of what I’ve already got laid out. The base character creation rules are done, maneuvers are pretty much complete (I’ll be needing people to look to see if any need to be added), the combat rules are complete, the Destiny rules need the wording cleaned up at most, etc. The weapon rules are still a little sketchy, and there’s a decent amount left to write in the GM section (though that’s mostly fluff and advice). From there I’ll have my local friends look at it (especially fighting game fanatic Suichiro), and then put a version up on the web for all to see.
2 thoughts on “Thrash 2.0: Home Stretch (of Lap 1)”
Add manga, anime and fighting movies to the mix of opinion-generating things. This is what you get for working on projects tightly tied with genres variously represented across multiple different media ;) Especially that there’s a relative lack of role-playing games covering the source material, so people cling to what they can get.
The main problem is low variety, I think – mostly in terms of general design ethos. Looking at the fighting games available, I don’t really see any that would fully fit my personal gaming needs at this point, and accidentally, it’s the same with many other anime-related stuff. Currently, it’s often easier for me to get satisfactory experience using systems that weren’t originally intended for the genre.
Democratic design, however, is rarely productive. Last time I’ve been checking out Returner’s FFRPG it was still in continuous development and didn’t look very consistent or playable – so I wouldn’t call their attempt very successful. On the other hand, take ZODIAC – developed mainly by one man, and basically finished and working for some years now.
Either way, designing in feedback void is difficult. Ideas always look good on paper, and without discussing and playtesting them it’s hard to create a working system. The problem arises when there’s more “shoulds” than “coulds” in the feedback, as at such point instead of suggesting possibilities people tend to bicker about their private visions. And agonizing over minutia like 1d10 vs 2d6 instead of looking at the big picture rarely adds anything, especially in the early development stage.
Designing in a feedback void is difficult, but creating in a general void is necessary for me unless I’m legitimately stuck. I’m finding that my optimum mode for RPGs is to alternate between soliciting feedback and just working.