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Fear the Boot » Podcasts

Nov 20, 2006

Congratulations to Keith Curtis, winner of our Baron von Bad Ass art contest!  Thanks again to all of you that entered.  We were really impressed by the quality of the entries.

During this show, we kick off our Xbox Live contest.  The prizes and rules are explained in the episode.  You can find the entry form here.

This podcast marks the beginning of our game design series.  We offer tips on concepting your game along with an introduction to game math.

We mention the Targum gaming magazine and the Roundtable podcast.  You can find those resources here:

Hosts: Adam, Chad, Dan, Tex

Trevor Chapman
over ten years ago

Deat Booters,

I liked your foray into the \'math\' of the game, but I feel you missed a couple of key points.

1d systems are spreading the probability evenly true, but when you add the factor of a modifier and a target #, then the probability matrix changes. For example the odds of rolling any one number is equal, but the odds of rolling higher than a given number is a different question and yields a different result (i.e. >15 on a d20 is 25%). And when you factor in the addition of ranks or additional values, that number is further changed. This type of system allows for the rules to reward or punish players for the appropriate distribution of character generation points, and this type of system can be seen in games such as DnD d20 and Shadowrun (yes Shadowrun).

Another aspect of probablity which also was not mentioned, was the idea of nested die rolls. This is most easily illustrated by your favourite game, Battletech. In this game the first 2d6 roll is to determine success/fail and then further rolls are made to determine hit locations. So if one asks will the PPC hit is a far different question than will the PPC hit the mech in the head. As explained by Tex, the bell curve of damage distribution in Battletech creates greater versimilatude, as the largest instances of damage are in the largest probable location.

The point I think was missed overall is that the die is but a factor of the math that goes into game design and hence the choice of if to use a 1d or multiple d solution is just as dependent on what you want from a storytelling perspective as it is on the simple statistics involved.

Also, tho\' a multiple d solution is more distributed in number generation, that fact alone does not make it a more \'realistic\' solution. The game mechanics that generate and result from the rolls are what create or destroy the versimilatude.

Also, sometimes a degree of realism is a game breaker as opposed to a game maker. Look at Shadowrun (again!) for the fact that a single shot can generate 3 different target numbers (1 for the attacker to hit, 1 for dodge and 1 for armour) and each of those has factoring successes that can take a single shot from a point of complete leathality to one of no effect what so ever, and the number of rolls and calculations involved can be quite distracting from the game play. That is a situation where \'realism\' is not worth the effort, and could be why single d systems (like d20) are so prevalent).

Thx for the great podcast.

Trevor Chapman

Bill Gates
ten and a half years ago

Excellent episode. It\'s nice to hear about some of the things you mentioned. One thing that I have to disagree with, however, is the need for a metaplot. A metaplot is the part of a setting with events already going on and is continued in later updates. For example, you may have two gangs at war in first edition, but in second edition 1 gang has been exterminated.

In my experience, such a thing falls in the same category of playing in star wars canon. Although it can add a lot of flavor to the game, it can also strip a lot of freedom out of the game. Suddenly you realize that 12 years ago your marksmen couldn\'t have had the r98 scope attachment given to him by his father, because it was made 2 years later in a stroke of inspiration by a man observing an eclipse after he survived the battle of new new york.

I look forward to your next episode and your continued support of the xbox 360.