Ave Imperator – Design Journal – 04 – Money Matters

I’ve been focusing quite a bit on the mechanical nuts and bolts around the nitty gritty of gladiatorial combat. Which is clearly an important part of the game. However another important part of the game is running the ludus, i.e. playing as the lanista. This play is split into three main sections, the first is managing your gladiators, training them, keeping them sweet, buying new ones and so on. The second major part is the political or social end of things, making contacts, settings up bouts, trying to earn a bit more here and undercut a competing lanistae there (actually, as I’ll mention again, undercutting is more or less what you dont want to do). The third part is the day to day running of the ludus, insuring you have enough supplies and money to pay wages, make meals etc. Its this last part I’m going to talk about for a bit. Continue reading…

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Ave Imperator – Design Journal – 03 – System Matters

As I mentioned in the last post after fiddling with the core mechanic for The City I ended up re-assessing the system I was using for Ave Imperator. My original goal for the system was to have to be as “realistic” as possible. Which is somewhat of a silly goal, when people talk about realistic systems they generally mean a system with a decent level of verisimilitude. People want the system to “feel” real. Not necessarily fully simulate reality (because that would be both extremely complex and demanding and also runs the risk of being rather boring). To boil it down even further, all I really wanted was a combat system that felt fairly lethal, as when talking about rpg systems most people equate highly lethal or “gritty” combat with realism. The system I had was decent enough, as far as it went. It was a dice pool system that worked for the most part but had some odd probablity issues (mostly the weird scaling on the probability of success). It was also open to abuse in that attributes were much more useful than skills. Which wasnt really an issue per se as the player would never be manually generating any characters (more on that later). But after playing BRP for the first time in ages last week, and working on dice probability stuff for The City, I just couldnt leave the Ave Imperator system as it was. So I’ve come up with something new, and, I think anyway, better. At least in terms of combat its a bit more involved but also hopefully more fun. Continue reading…

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Ave Imperator – Design Journal – 02 – Mirroring Lenin’s treatsie on steps

The title was just going to be “One step forward, two steps back”. But clearly that wasnt wanky enough for me. This is going to be short because its late and my thoughts, much like the organ they emanate from, are squishy and soft. I’ve abandoned UDK (don’t cry for me Epic) in favour of Unity. I then ran into one of the first problems I had with UDK – lack of cohesive learning material. There are few books for either (and software updates have made the ones that exist somewhat out of date). There are professional video tutorials, but they are a) for slightly older versions and b) despite telling you they will teach you how to use the program they will in fact teach you how to do one thing with the program, generally create a third or first person game. Which isnt really what I want to do. Continue reading…

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Ave Imperator – Design Journal – 01 – Historical Accuracy

I wanted historical accuracy to be important to this game; as such I did a fair amount of reading on the period and the reality of gladiators and their life. However the more I learned about the reality of how things were the more I realised that changes would need to be made. There’s no point clinging to historical accuracy when it gets in the way of fun or in some cases the basic premise of the game. Continue reading…

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Games I am making

Just over a year ago I started my MSc in Interactive Digital Media in Trinity. My goal was to use the course, which was advertised as “intense” and had interesting looking interactive narrative and game design modules to a) update my skillset and b) serve as a launching pad into getting a job doing narrative or design for games. A year later and I can certainly confirm that of all the things the course was “intense” was certainly not one of them. I also realised, after doing some research into it that working in the reality of working in the AAA games industry was rather disheartening. Continue reading…

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