Sunday, February 27, 2011

Been Busy. Using Game Material for Learning Important Skills

My excuse is pretty valid. My baby boy was born and I don't have internet access outside work (and I'm on my paternity leave).

More on the topic of Gaming. I need to brush up on my accounting as work gets more complicated. I have moved to walking distance from work and now that I'm baby sitting some times I need to have some sitdown hobbies which can unwind my head, especially since I am now sleep deprived.

So I plan to create some income statements, with Accounting for Dummies (which is lighter and more portable than my accounting studies book since I'm only after reviews and exercises) and two very usefull Game Books: Traveller and Harn.

Contrary to popular understanding of Accounting, it is not just for Cash it can be used to account for Man Hours of Labor and types of goods used like Cash.

What would be useful to any gamer who wants to hone some important real world skills, handling and experience with Financial Statements, is to have it as part of the game. I've done this before when I became the book keeper in a Traveller game.

With accounting you need exercises to experience using the tools (like the acid tests, ROI, etc.)and it can be fun especially when the Player is trying to do some accounting "magic" for a game (like how entering capital, such as a space ship as Capital with depreciation or as an expense, and how it can affect the margins).

I got the idea of making more Accounting Examples from Harn Manor. The final product of a generated manor IS an Income Statement dressed up in Game Rules. This gave me the idea, what if I can doodle away some of my time balancing the books of Manor. Realistically these books are never as detailed as modern day equivalents, but it is a story telling exercise as well as an understanding of the process.

So Harn Manor, given some random variables and some tweaks can be a Income Statement Generator for various "Entities". I have yet to figure out how usefull in a game is a Balance sheet, since it focuses on Equity, a more legal and difficult to sort aspect to be put into a game.

How I wish there was a website that had Traveller and Harn Manor exercises, low-tech households converted into GURPS allowing the creation of other House-hold estates of different cultures and eras.

In which I would spend maybe an hour a day generating a House hold, which is a set of npcs, establish their economic relationships, and noting down other aspects of relationships while brushing up on my accounting.

If not a low-tech household, a ship enterprise for Traveller. Showing the different examples of financial strategies reflected by the characters preferred method of business. I guess here a Balance Sheet is important since it will settle matters of equity between Partners/Corporations.

Friday, February 4, 2011

[Damage Theory] Arrow Penetration Discussion

Steve Jackson Games Forums - View Single Post - Arrow penetration

The use of the book Williams The Knight and the Blast Furnace in Arrow Penetration.

Useful in making a better damage model for arrows and small projectiles.

Damage Theory Tables, as Promised; Open Game Design Notes

Earlier when i started blogging again, i promised that I will be looking at damage more closely. I'm interested in brushing up on my physics through it, just basic physics, i don't have the time nor the materials that would allow me a deeper look.

Here is the Damage theory tables made public. Its very bare and I only have a few entries. I'll let people edit, as well save private copy for myself if any vandals would come in. I've not begun being more specific, and most of my sources are from wikipedia. To make up the missing Joules value, I've made the excell sheet calculate it based on projectile weight and muzzle velocity.

The intent of the Damage Theory tables (there will be other Sheets, it is a Google Spreadsheet) that will be made to look at Arrows, Spear and Javelin throwing (by using Athlete performance data),

I will also have one column dedicated to Sources and Citations.

The intent, like my previous work, is to make the data available to hobby game designers who want the means to develop a better fire arm resolution system (for both table top, board game, miniature gamers etc.

I'm not that great at the math or the physics, but I'll put in stuff when I can. I think over time I'll have a few more entries to put. Strangely Google docs have a strange twist on Game Design, particularly Open collaboration and Note-sharing.

Open Game Design Notes. whats hard in game designing is the research, finding the data to model what we want for a game system. Because it is supposed to be a simple system, the complexity of math is near layman averages. That makes game designing, for me, attractive: I don't have to have great math, and I can improve on my math as I grow dissatisfied at how much compromise I made, because of the lack of ability, which drives me to study up a little bit more, depending on what time I have available.

I think I'm not that far off the mark, to think many amateur game designers have a ton of notes. those who try to model a particular kind of event or interaction, will have written many different rules, scratched them and began work from the ground up. I have 20lbs worth of old browning notes still being kept for the sake of appreciating my geeky past.

I think if one looks at the total of all their game design notes give both a narrative in scientific proficiency and story telling adaptability. Still there are some lessons, I'm sure not just myself fail to learn and consider in the next great idea, as well as many brilliant ones lost in the frustration and mess of all these notes.

So we have a ton of blogs, Open Game Notes. How about open game sources and compiled research? I'm sure often, there are those of us who have a great Idea but reality gets in the way to finish it. Some of us, don't really want any monetary reward for the idea or the contribution, some just want that Social Exchange or Social Norm. The satisfaction of the idea, mostly finished (except for our own little and personal touch) by the help of others is probably enough for some.

The problem is if those some, or most probably tiny few, can find each other and keep in touch with their own ideas and contributions.