Wednesday, July 15, 2015

10 Things Every Game Needs And How Otherworlds Uses Them

For those of you unfamiliar with the article being referenced, you can view it at the link found here.

Essentially Mark Rosewater complied a wildly renowned article detailing 10 things every game needs. So in this article, I'm going to not only enlighten you on the 10 criteria that need to be met for a game, but also how Otherworlds meets each of those things.

1. Goal 

Every game needs a goal, the goal is to incentivize and push players of the game to a certain direction. It gives them objectives to build towards and then rewards the player upon satisfying said objective.

Roleplaying games intrinsically have goals, in general in the form of quests and adventures (or in survival games by surviving.) It would be boring however if I only mentioned things that most RPG's have, so a unique way that Otherworlds pushes you towards a goal is through character Destiny.

Destiny is a unique mechanic designed for Otherworlds that is a strong goal that your character has and feels the need to work towards. By having this destiny a key part of the game, it further entwines the stories the World Master tells and the way the players get involved in the universe. Furthermore, characters are stunted from reaching their full potential until resolving their destiny.

2. Rules

I must admit, I'm struggling a bit here to tell you something unique to Otherworlds in regards to general rules. Obviously as a whole, the rules that make up Otherworlds are very different than your typical game, so I'll go into a few of those.

For example, Guards - advanced devices that  absorb oncoming damage (think Halo's shields.)  This adds a unique layer to the game, allowing weaker characters to take a formidable hit without killing over. Also, characters can tap into the energy of their guard energy for super natural abilities. This is a limited resource however, so players will have to manage their characters properly.

3. Interaction

Roleplaying games are the definition of social interaction, in fact I feel like most gamers would argue that it's the best way to socially interact with others. 

Otherworlds heightens interactivity between players by using characteristic traits that encourage roleplaying. Since characteristic traits don't give a direct bonus and are more used for a "roleplaying bonus" it makes for more group problem solving.

Additionally considering how much loot that can be acquired in Otherworlds, players will frequently want to barter, trade and help each other out by equipping their characters' the best they can. Characters aren't stunted to just a few pieces of items, so constantly looking to improve or change to a different angle of strategy for your character can be common.

4. Catch-Up Feature

Every game needs a catch-up feature. No one wants to be beat down repeatedly with no way out. Otherworlds solves this problem by the chance of critical success and failures. Successes and failures are determined by varying degrees of success. So despite being in a tough predicament, you'll always have at least a small chance of doing something spectacularly amazing to potentially win the fight!

5. Inertia

Every game needs to end. Traditionally RPG's can carry on from weeks to years, so in this case I'm going to apply it to encounters. We have all had those encounters with just a few enemies, but because of the games' rules, the encounter takes too long. 

Sometimes games are just designed badly, making it so the bottom end of things rise higher than the lower end. For an exaggerated comparison, imagine if in D&D every creature had at least an AC of 25. You would quickly find that your games are taking longer because inertia isn't built in game to make the game progress forward. 

You would frequently encounter scenarios to where your attacks were seldom landing, almost as if the game was designed to not have combat. In Otherworlds this is solved with more options and the way that skills and stats are designed.

For example, having one degree of success, will give you an edge in combat and happen fairly frequently. Eventually however, if the encounter is taking a long time, one of the two creatures will score multiple degrees of success, allowing them to do special actions such as blinding the enemy, landing a more devastating blow, knock them prone, etc. 

6. Surprise

I hate to be spinning my wheels, but the critical success and failure system works wonderfully for surprise. Because of the chances being decent at scoring a minor bonus, you'll get a little excited often, but eventually you'll end up doing something truly legendary by scoring four degrees of critical success. 

7. Strategy

I love me some checks and balances in my games. For those of you unaware of the lingo, it's basically a way to design a game, so everything has a weakness. Think rock, paper, scissors. Each of the components can win sometimes and lose sometimes. 

This is illustrated by the various weapon and skill mechanics that allow for certain items and characters to shine in certain moments more so than others. Oh, you're a heavy tank wielding a rocket launcher? You'll be able to march onto the battlefront and dispose of the enemy vehicle causing problems. Is your enemy fast, your heavy mace will be easier for them to dodge than your sword. The door is made of steel? Use your acid-imbued gun to melt it. 

Every challenge has multiple ways to complete it and battle is no different. One of my all time favorite games aside from MTG is Final Fantasy: Tactics. I love it so much because every play through is different and you can encounter and battle in the game so differently than others.

I took that same strategic depth and interwoven it into Otherworlds, allowing for simple, elegant and strategic combat.
8. Fun

This is admittingly the most subjective thing. However I know Otherworlds is fun - how do I know? I witness people smiling, laughing, and requesting more events. Getting the chance to play more is the number one request I hear from players, so I have every reason to believe it's fun.
I'd like to make a small game designer note - I believe one important thing to consider in making a game fun is to reward your players for trying to accomplish the goal of the game. That goes for any game, not just Otherworlds.

9. Flavor

Otherworlds is a unique take on science fantasy. So unique in fact that I feel almost as if it's hindering on first glance. It doesn't have your standard science fiction tropes of having intergalactic space battles, trek suits, or time travel. Likewise, it doesn't have your traditional fantasy dwarfs in the dungeons type things either.

But, I'll take what I can get. Otherworlds is heavily focused on the fantasy side of things. The various races that inhabit the worlds are more akin to traditional fantasy than say horrifying aliens. It has a strong focus in adventure, with a unique cast of races and some technology sprinkled in. 

I do believe we'll start seeing this genre catch on more and more. I only hope Otherworlds is among the first to be known for it.

10. A Hook

Every game needs a hook - what's Otherworlds?

Unique worlds, looting, shooting and monstrous creatures await you. Otherworlds is driven by limitless exploration and the tales told by these brave adventurers who come face to face with their destiny to uncover the secrets of Otherworlds.

Otherworlds is the limitless RPG. The worlds, characters and stories you want to explore is up to you.

With all of this being said, I hope you've found this information valuable and have something to take away from it. Feel free to contact me here: