First, let me just say that the word narrative is terribly overloaded in the game industry. Turn it this way, it means story. Turn it that way, it means the events in a game. Turn it yet another, and it’s a play style. Here, I’m using it to talk about genre. About the kinds of stories we tell with role-playing games. There are an almost innumerable number, each with a different narrative space.
Modeling with Mechanics
Hello all. Long time no write. We are hard at work on Et in Arcadia Ego these days, and that’s been the subject of many trips to the Baker Street Pub. While all of us had a feel for the genre and had our source material in mind, we kept having problems modeling that material with game mechanics. The problem wasn’t that the mechanics were bad—in a certain way, they actually accomplished the goals we set out to achieve. But we kept iterating on them, trying to make them match our inspiration, only to have them twist in our hands like so many fae promises. Last night we had a lot of progress stemming from applying some old-fashioned questioning our assumptions.
So, we’re not going to finish Dragon-Guarded Land by tomorrow. Looks like May is when it’ll be out. We’ve finished the text except for a few small edits, but we’re still waiting on some art and then I have to do layout. Then to get proofs from some print-on-demand services, and we’ll be ready to go.
But there’s one more important point: we don’t like the name. The name of this game has given us trouble since the beginning. We started with Destiny, which was too generic and, we later realized, too much like FATE. We used Loom for a while, but that was opaque and also a LucasArts trademark. We moved on to In a Dragon-Guarded Land, which we’ve lately shortened to Dragon-Guarded Land, because we liked the poem “The Realists” by W.B. Yeats. That title is misleading, opaque, and pretentious. While we love pretension, the other two are deal-breakers.
So we’ve been trying to come up with a better title. (more…)