Friday, October 1, 2010

Commando RPG Update

Between a new graduate class and working towards acquiring a new job, I haven't been able to get much accomplished in terms of RPG work over the last two weeks. I will provide some updates, though:

- I've been watching World War II movies like a madman. The Operations Manual is going to have a pretty extensive section on resource materials, and one of these is going to be a rather sizable filmography. I'm not going to focus on every single WW2 movie ever made; for the purposes of the core RPG, I'm focusing primarily on movies that take place in and around the European / North African theater, and involving mostly small unit, commando, or espionage actions. If / when I do supplements, I'll develop a separate section of reference materials for those.

- I've always thought of them mostly as "Books to get your Napoleonic Soldiers in the right uniform color schemes", but the Osprey military series of books have been an invaluable resource. I've been buying them just about as fast as I can read them right now. Also, apparently they are releasing a new series of books on individual weapons that had a great impact on military history - very cool.

- I recently downloaded and skimmed through the WW2 RPG "Behind Enemy Lines". I downloaded my PDF through DriveThruRPG, and it's a Mystique Enterprises reprint of a 1982 FASA RPG. Wow. At some point I'll have to write a more comprehensive review of this game, but it is a perfect example of those early 80's, high-realism, rule-for-everything, extremely over-engineered RPGs. I think it's a well-made RPG, but hopelessly complicated in terms of what I'd want to play. Still, contains a lot of good information.

- Although I only purchased and played through it once this summer, I went back and replayed most of Call of Duty 2 a week or so ago. It was good to play it again after doing so much work on Commando, because I could eye the game from the perspective of "How does this video game relate to what I'm creating"? As an example, take rifles. You've got the British Lee-Enfield, the Kar 98K, and the Springfield 1903 - all bolt action rifles of relatively similar size, caliber, and operation. If a soldier of any of the three main armies picked up any of these, within a few minutes he could fight with it without much confusion at all.

In a game as "big-grained" as mine is, the tiny little nuances that differentiated these three weapons from each other are pretty much meaningless. A full-powered bolt-action military rifle is pretty much going to do the same thing the same way as any other full-powered bolt-action military rifle. Much the same will go to the many various pistols and submachine guns that will be available; some will have slightly different stats one way or the other, but none of these weapons will be particularly ground breaking; the idea is that they are different because one is a German MP-40 and the other is a British Sten MK II, not because of some difference in damage ratings or combat ranges. Ultimately, this means that the sorts of weapons a character picks are based less on "which submachine gun does the most damage" but rather "which is the coolest / fits my character best".

- I have debated long and hard over just how to "package" this game. I will probably release it as a PDF, since that's simple and easy to do. The major debate in my mind is whether or not to design the PDF for printing or for use on a computer screen. And, if for printing, should it be 8.5" x 11", or done as a book fold? Questions questions. I'm thinking the initial release might be done as a computer-formatted PDF, complete with (at least some) internal and external hyperlinks. At the very least, it could be printed out in an awkward manner. And yes, I will avoid using Courier New as the body font. Instead, I'll probably use a neat typewriter font (like the teaser poster uses) for titles and headers and the like, and do the rest in some other more readable font.

What do people think? For the initial release (the "1.0" version), should it just be a computer-friendly PDF, a print-friendly PDF, or something else entirely? I did have an idea at one point to make a pure "Notepad-formatted" .txt file just for the fun of it (courier new whether you like it or not), but that might get me thrown out of the party...


Rob Lang said...

Just got out of hospital and I'd like to say Hurrah! for Commando. I can't wait to give it a read.

J. E. Badelaire said...

I'll see that and raise you a glad you're doing well (one hopes?).

I'll keep you in the loop as things progress.