7DRL – Day 7

It’s done!  The game is here:

Angry Troll versus Magic Bridge – Rules (public release)

A quick-start reference is also available for use as a reference during play or for refreshing previous players:

Angry Troll versus Magic Bridge – Quick-start reference (public release)

 

The final round of testing produced positive results and led to a few minor amendments to the rules document.  The game really is in a state where the next step is to get it in front of a wider audience.  At this point in the development, I have satisfied my testers, so the only way to get more information is to get new testers.  That’s usually a good time to issue a 1.0 release.

The final design document has been updated to include all of the final details.  The document topped out around 17k words, which is a bit daunting.  That’s what it required, though.

Seven-day Roguelike Entry – Mar 2013 – Day 7

Files referenced in the design document are here: Task 5 Instructions Task 6 Instructions Angry Troll versus Magic Bridge – Rules

 

It was a successful 7-day challenge for me, and I may consider doing it again next year.  I really enjoyed the high pace of testing, issuing a total of seven player tests over the seven days.  What a rush!

7DRL – Day 6

Oh, man.  The physical playtesting went better than could be expected!  These are a real quotes from one of the testers:

[During playtesting] “I really like this game. I can see myself playing this on my own time. I think [my wife] would like to play this, too!”

[Later]  “[My wife] played three times, and she was able to play just fine on her own for the last [time], and pretty [well for] the second too. She lost all of them, best was 13. She said she likes it a lot and its a fun game to play on her own. The only thing she doesn’t like about it is not winning. She did say she would play it more.”

I really didn’t expect such a strong response.  It turns out the game was really fun to play with other people around, too.  There are moments in the game when despair sets in, and everyone else just laughs at your misfortune.  Never miss out on physical playtests.  They are completely worth it.

I wrote the rules and updated the design document.

Seven-day Roguelike Entry – Mar 2013 – Day 6

Yesterday’s tests (plus today’s physical playtest) affirmed the game mechanics.  I did end up removing one of the fiddly rules, because it turns out that the trigger for that rule it too rare for people to quickly learn to remember it.

The final test is testing the written rules to the game.  Here it is, if you want to follow along:

Tester criteria:

  • Must have access to a PDF reader.

Materials required:

  • 52-card deck of playing cards (no jokers or other “extra” cards)
  • A six-sided die (standard die)
  • An object with a flat bottom and top that can be stood on top of a card (I chose a shot glass)

Time required: no more than 20 minutes

Instructions:

Results: (place your written piece below)

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7DRL – Day 5

Well, we’re into the heat of things now.  I have a complete game design out to testers right now, and tomorrow’s test will have testers looking at rules and other game documentation.  Tomorrow is also the physical testing day, when I will drag two of my testers down to a local brewery for tasty beer and lots of playtesting.

I’ve done some heavy work on documentation, so I’m all caught up now.

Seven-day Roguelike Entry – Mar 2013 – Day 5

Yesterday’s test of the gameplay turned out well.  The testers responded positively and requested more info on the rules.  That’s a good sign!

Today’s test is testing the complete game design.  I didn’t send out the rules; I sent out instructions.  There is an important distinction, because right now, I just want to know if someone else can play the game.  With rules, someone has to be able to understand the totality of the game and be introduced to the basic patterns that will drive their early experience with the game.  With instructions, you just have to follow the steps.

Anyway, today’s test looks the same as Test #5 from yesterday, but the content of the instructions are completely different.  Here it is:

Tester criteria:

  • Must have access to a PDF reader.

Materials required:

  • 52-card deck of playing cards (no jokers or other “extra” cards)
  • A six-sided die (standard die)
  • An object with a flat bottom and top that can be stood on top of a card (I chose a shot glass)

Time required: no more than 20 minutes

(instructions are in the attached PDF)  Task 6 Instructions

Results: (place your written piece below)

Count the cards in your draw deck, the face up piles at the left, and all of the face down piles of the bridge, and put them into the following table. The places correspond to the game setup.

[This answer space is removed from the blog, since the answer format doesn’t work for the polling function.]

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7DRL – Day 4

I’m behind on my documentation right now, because I’ve been doing a lot of physical testing.  I only have an hour or two each day, and my own testing plus designing tests for my testers take pretty much all of that.  It’s okay, though, because we’re making huge progress now.  I almost have a game!  I’ll start catching up on documentation tomorrow.

Seven-day Roguelike Entry – Mar 2013 – Day 4

I didn’t get a lot of response from yesterday’s test, but the two who did respond both said they were able to get through the basic rules of play.  This is huge, because I was worried that it might only make sense in my head.  This is why I test the ideas.

Today’s test just went out, and it’s a whopper.  I stepped through a demonstration of the game rules for player movement, player inventory, item uses, and the structure of a turn.  I didn’t introduce how to lose, yet, but that will probably be tomorrow’s job.  Here is today’s test:

Tester criteria:

  • Must have access to a PDF reader.

Materials required:

  • 52-card deck of playing cards (no jokers or other “extra” cards)
  • A six-sided die (standard die)
  • An object with a flat bottom and top that can be stood on top of a card (I chose a shot glass)

Time required: no more than 20 minutes

(instructions are in the attached PDF)  Task 5 Instructions

Results: (place your written piece below)

Count the cards in your draw deck, the face up piles at the left, and all of the face down piles of the bridge, and put them into the following table. The places correspond to the game setup.

[This answer space is removed from the blog, since the answer format doesn’t work for the polling function.]

[form removed]

7DRL – Day 3

My first highly productive day, and I worked on other things for most of the day.  I’ve finished deconstructing both Klondike solitaire and Rogue, and I’ve selected my design elements for the game.  Work has now begun on the form of the game.

Seven-day Roguelike Entry – Mar 2013 – Day 3

Results from yesterday’s test:Yesterday’s test was a probe for story content to flesh out my ideas of the troll and how it should be described or portrayed in order to be interesting.  I got some good stuff from my testers, and some of it is going straight into the game story.

Now, I’m trying to figure out the form of the game.  I did about an hour’s worth of internal iterations to come up with some basic mechanics, but I need to know if I’m going too far outside players’ comfort zones.  This time, I have to test some mechanics.

Tester criteria:

  • none

Materials required:

  • 52-card deck of playing cards (no jokers or other “extra” cards)
  • A six-sided die (standard die)

Time required: no more than 20 minutes

Instructions: (Use your own discretion to interpret the instructions, but don’t try to purposefully misinterpret. Vague or ambiguous directions are likely written that way on purpose.)

  • Get out the deck of cards and place them in a single stack face down.
  • Shuffle the deck to your satisfaction.
  • Create twelve stacks of cards in two rows of six. Place 3, 2, 1, 1, 2, 3 cards in the stacks right to left.p1
  • Place the rest of the cards to the left of the stacks as a draw deck, leaving space for one stack in between (marked in blue).p2
  • Turn the first card in the draw deck up and place it space 1, next to the bottom row.p3
  • Roll the die and remove the top card from the stack on the bottom row that corresponds to the number on the die. For instance, if the die roll was 4, you would remove top card from the fourth stack on the bottom row.
  • If the card removed is the same color as the card to the left of the bottom row, place it in the stack on top of the card. In the above case, if a red card was revealed, you would put the card on top of the red card in the bottom left. If the card is the opposite color, place that card in the space to the left of the top row.
    p4
  • Repeat this ten times:
    1. Turn over a card from the draw deck.
    2. Place the card in the appropriate stack to the left of the rows. That is the row you will remove a card from.
    3. Roll the die. That is the stack you will remove a card from.
    4. Place the removed card face up on the appropriate stack color on the left.

Results: (fill the following form out and reply to this email)

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7DRL – Day 2

Another busy day.  Having a family is a pretty consistent roadblock to development productivity.  How does Nicolas Casalini do it?

Results from yesterday’s test:

We found that setting up a game of Klondike solitaire can take around 1-2 minutes and playing a game can take around 2-8 minutes, with most of the testers feeling like the setup time was not long.  I was surprised, because the times are much longer than I would have guessed.  Later, I will be able to use this as a benchmark for how much setup and play time are required for my game.

A little more progress has been made on the deconstruction of Klondike solitaire, and a start has been made on the game’s story.

Seven-day Roguelike Entry – Mar 2013 – Day 2

For the story, I like the idea of an angry troll who lives under a magic bridge.  The bridge, being magic, wants to move, but the troll, being curmudgeonly, thinks the bridge should stay put.  The troll climbs out from beneath the bridge to try and beat it into submission in the grandest tradition of trolls everywhere.

I want to make sure I have a troll that is suitable for others to enjoy, so I have elicited troll stories from my testers.

Here is the test:

Tester criteria:

  • none

Materials required:

Time required: no more than 20 minutes

Instructions: (Use your own discretion to interpret the instructions, but don’t try to purposefully misinterpret. Vague or ambiguous directions are likely written that way on purpose.)

  • Read the story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff.
  • Write a short piece (no more than one page) about the troll AFTER the story. The piece can be in any form: a limerick, a haiku, a description of therapy sessions attended, a letter written home to mother… anything you can think of.
  • If the fancy takes you, you can write multiple pieces, but keep each piece short.

Results: (place your written piece below)

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