Starting the Process

7 09 2009

Well, to tell you the truth, I really haven’t spent a lot of time thinking up ideas for my game.  Lately I’ve been keeping up with Robert Bohl and Joshua A.C. Newman’s podcast Oo!  Let’s Make a Game! They spend an hour a week designing an RPG, then release their brainstorming sessions online.  One part of their process that impressed me was their conversation on what the game’s about. For this reason, I’ve decided to start something of a one-man conversation to help me cut down to the very marrow of what my game’s about.

Yesterday I read through Ron Edward’s article Narrativism: Story Now on The Forge, which advises that for a game that immediately generates narrative, one should first determine what the game’s about, then head straight for the conflicts that illustrate and explore the game’s theme.

So, enough useless rambling.  Now on to the useful rambling!  This weekend I’ve been staying at my grandparents.  They live on a small farm in northwest Kansas, a sprawling, bare land of golden crops and skies as blue as the sea.  A highway and a busy road run by their house, the roar of cars a constant a background noise as constant as the wind.  Something about this land has impressed me.

Yesterday, a thought struck me as I took a walk down the road.  “What would it be like if the highway was silent and empty?”  It was that seed that has slowly begun to take root in my mind.  And so, I’ll end this post with my first, embryonic statement about what the game’s about.  In an already failing community that has been completely cut off from the outside world by mysterious forces, how do people learn to coexist and survive when they are forced to return to a way of life they thought had already departed from the world?

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2 responses

8 09 2009
Robert Bohl

I’m glad our show was useful to you! Your concept sounds very cool. Do you have any idea what you want the cause of this cutoff to be? I have stuff I want to say but I don’t want to step on your process.

8 09 2009
noahtrammell

I’m debating about defining the nature of the cutoff. In my last post, I mentioned a Freak Storm, full of green lightning and voices on the wind and all that pizzazz. I’m not sure if I really want to define the cutoff too much.
In Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, it’s pretty clear that the world is post-apocalyptic, but he never really defines what happened. I like this because it leaves it open enough for the cause to be different things for different groups. Also, it takes the focus off of the event itself and puts it back on to the way it effects the characters.

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