Jump Temp – The AI’s Entrance

I imagine AIs in Jump Temp as having more of a personal user interface. Imagine as you call out the AI’s name, it responds, not just by voice, but also by a visual interface. Small projectors around the ship turn on and seemingly the wall opens up like there was a door there all the time and the AI’s avatar steps through it and starts to interact with you like it’s any other person. The avatar of most AI’s are that of a handsome man or woman but there are plenty of creative avatars that an AI could adopt. Of course the “door” isn’t real, it’s just an image being projected and so the AI’s avatar is also a product of the projection.

So in reality, there are a lot of people that spend a good amount of time talking to the walls. Of course that’s probably where they embedded microphones so it helps the AI hear them better.

Jump Temp – Ram Scoop

Need to refuel but far away from home? Or maybe you’re not so keen on running into certain law enforcement officials, you know, for “personal” reasons. A ram scoop may be right for you! Sure it’s technically dangerous, and the course you pilot to skim over those gas giants could destroy the ship if you’re off by a few dozen meters, but it’s free.

Ram Scoop – Starship System
Cost 1d
System pool 1d

Conditional: Requires a 3d12 challenge using ship drive systems and the ramscoop’s system pool to pilot just over the atmosphere of a gas giant and collect hydrogen and oxygen from it. Provides one 1d of fuel replenishment for each time the rolls to defeat this challenge are ten over the challenge roll.

Properties: No Deplete

A Jump Temp Song

“Born Under A Wandering Star” Lyrics
Lee Marvin

https://youtu.be/NTymtAbaG08

Now for a more Jump Temp version

I was born under a wandrin’ star
I was born under a wandrin’ star
Drives are made for boiling, holds are made to pack
I’ve never seen a sight that didn’t look better looking back
I was born under a wandrin’ star

Grav can make you prisoner and the flares can bake you dry
Stars can burn your eyes, but only people make you cry
Home is made for coming from, for dreams of going to
Which with any luck will never come true
I was born under a wandrin’ star
I was born under a wandrin’ star

Do I know where hell is, hell is in hello
Heaven is goodbye forever, its time for me to go
I was born under a wandrin’ star
A wandrin’ wandrin’ star

(Mud can make you prisoner and the plains can bake you dry)
(Snow can burn your eyes, but only people make you cry)
(Home is made for coming from, for dreams of going to)
(Which with any luck will never come true)
(I was born under a wandrin’ star)
(I was born under a wandrin’ star)

When I get to heaven, tie me to a tree
For I’ll begin to roam and soon you’ll know where I will be
I was born under a wandrin’ star
A wandrin’ wandrin’ star

I left the chorus in the original lyrics because I like the contrast.

Actually, I always think of Jump Temp when I hear the album “Shatter Me” by Lindsey Stirling and especially “Take Flight

RPGs need a Keurig

I like drinking coffee when role playing, but what I mean is that there needs to be a way of taking the complicated rules and choices of an RPG and encapsulating them into an easy to use package.

A coffee capsule cost more but it’s easier to process when you want coffee. It also comes in smaller doses.

Can you tell I just woke up and made coffee?

I’m really not sure how to apply this yet, it just seems like it could work if someone tried.

Everything Is Light

I’ve completed my first Novella length work and I’m really excited about the result. Based on the original short story I posted here some time ago, the story grew very organically. I’ve heard from writers that their stories sometimes just appear on the page as they write and that was the case with Everything Is Light.

The story follows a simple trapper from what would be the equivalent of a bronze age town, but residing in a different universe from ours. The physics of this world are different from ours and follow their own laws and logic. Our main character Airin is drawn into a hero’s journey, where he’ll have to choose between the possibilities opened up by a genius ready to change everything.

The story is suitable for young adults and has several illustrations. It’s a quick read for an accomplished reader and a fun jaunt through another world.

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

I Didn’t Do It!

Want a murder mystery party game? I Didn’t Do It! is a great game for up to eight players. Each player is a suspect except one who is the investigator. The suspects have to account for themselves over the last 24 hours, only they may not be able to substantiate everything they say, and more evidence can contradict what they’ve said.

The mechanism for finding the murderer isn’t to establish evidence, it’s by finding inconsistencies in the alibis that the suspects give that the investigator hones in on who the murderer is. So, say enough to be convincing, but don’t say too much or you might become the prime suspect.

New Direction

I’m moving in a new direction. Something I’ve wanted to do for a long time now but couldn’t because of game my ongoing game development. I’m learning a new programing language so I can start coding for iOS devices.

I have to start my plans out small so that I get some experience and actually accomplish something. With that in mind, I have a few ideas that could be turned into apps without having to become a master coder.

In the long run though, I’d like to make a game platform. Something like an RPG’s game engine that allows you to take a game wherever you want. But that’s a bigger goal that will be built on the experience of building some more utilitarian apps.

Skree and Thrum

Skree and Thrum is it’s own game! I’m using the energy system for the mechanics and the results so far are really interesting. I’ve done a lot of refinements to the system and we did some play testing. So far that went really well, but I think I need a play example in the book to make things more clear.

The Energy System has a neat way of letting mechanics guide the story and then let the players tell it. It took some getting used to at first but the playtesters got into it later. A new feature in the system is that it ties story telling to mechanical advantages and advancement.

The setting of Skree and Thrum still needs a little something. It’s cool to go up against the aliens and challenges from the environment are dead simple to handle so that’s all cool. But the story needs more depth. More accurately, it needs the feeling of depth, because I like that the whole book is only 17 pages so far. No need for equipment lists or even skill lists. Just story and a few very open stat blocks.

I need something that really communicates to the players that they can go off in their own direction but guiding the world inside the vision of the story. I don’t think people want a “do whatever you want” statement but they’d like “there possibilities like this, this and this that you can use in your game”.

A lot of times this kind of thing gets hammered out in play testing. For example, one playtester wanted  a huge eagle as a companion. It didn’t fit in the story to have giant eagles but we imagined it as some kind of modified animal. Not a natural born eagle but some kind of altered beast. I don’t know what that means yet but I have ideas.

To Prep or Not to Prep

I have a problem. When I GM, I’d love to have rich detailed notes that breath life into my game. The problem is that every time I set out to really prep for a game, we never finish it. The game seems to go reasonably well. The players may even appreciate the maps or interesting NPCs that I came up with. They may even be really happy about the game. We just never pick that game up again.

I used to put it off as a fluke. After all, there are a few off the cuff games that we didn’t continue with. Maybe it’s just the odds that these games were the ones we didn’t continue.

As I intensified my efforts to prep more, I got more games that stalled. What is causing this? Does my presentation change? Do my players think they’re being railroaded because of the extra material? Do I over think puzzles and make them too hard? To all of those, I don’t really think so. I haven’t seen any evidence that says so. So what’s the deal?

Thinking About Design

I’m always trying to chip away at what I don’t know. One of the things I have a difficult time with is understanding things that are ascetically pleasing. I know it when I see it but I’m not terribly good at producing pleasing reliably. Another thing is trying to connect with people emotionally through a story or a game.

To improve on this, I’m looking into product design. I’m taking some tutorials that I hope will prove useful. Unfortunately so far, design is a collection of vague ideas that may or may not adequately guide me. It’s possible that these ideas are just building up a vocabulary to get me thinking in a different way. So far I don’t see a clear path to enlightenment.

So far the clearest information I’ve seen on design, is the book Made to Stick. There’s also a really useful document The Fundamental Templates of Quality Ads that reaches the fascinating conclusion that the most creative ads are based off six templates. Almost saying that by limiting an ad designer’s options to ones that are already effective, the designer is more free to explore more interesting  options than the ones that don’t work.

The part that worries me is that knowledge can limit the designer’s ability to communicate. I listen to conversations between designers or talks by them and they seem to be talking about intangibles that they can’t fully define. It worries me that I might gain a language about design but not the ability to design. In the mean time, the new language cuts me off from the average person.

I’m unlikely to know if I don’t try learning. I hope that by keeping the worry in mind, I remember what it was like to lack the knowledge. That way I’d retain the ability to communicate the problem to non-experts.

I hope.