Developer's Blog #29: The Numbers Game

Discussion on the 1879 roleplaying game.
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Developer's Blog #29: The Numbers Game

Postby TarlimanJoppos » Tue Apr 29, 2014 12:39 pm

Originally posted at ... mbers-game

Hey there FASA fans, Brad Decker with the 1879 team here. I know the whole team has been hard at work on their respective areas of the project, and I'm excited to have an opportunity to talk about some of the things I've been involved in. Before I jump right in, I'd like to take a brief moment and give a bit of an introduction of myself.

I've been interested in RPGs since my beginning years in the Boy Scouts, running and playing one-off games during free time on camp outs with whoever was available. I kept up with the interest in high school and into college, during which I was introduced to the FASA line. I first was introduced to Earthdawn New Year's Eve of 2006 when I started playing in Andrew's Earthdawn campaign. My elven Wizard Kasbak is still going strong, and currently getting ready for Master Circles. For his thesis to present for the advancement, I'm essentially trying to unify astral and thread magic mechanics with string theory. I mention this because applying mathematics to fantasy mechanics is also relevant to my current work for 1879. There is probably more than I'll be able to cover in just one blog post (not to mention some things I need to keep in my back pocket for future development), but there are still plenty of things I've had a hand in that I can bring up for discussion. So, without further ado, let's dive in.

If I had to pick one thing that I have contributed most on for 1879, it is math. Not just for game stats, though that too, but for running the numbers to determine how things being put into the game world would actually work, both physically and historically. One of the things I have enjoyed most about the FASA cosmology is how it takes fantasy elements and makes them realistically viable. Even the behavior of magic in many ways follows the expected pattern from the relevant physical laws. When the team comes up with a piece of writing, I'll research and figure out the math behind it to see how it would realistically work and be applied in game, and usually come up with some extra details that help flesh it out and make it more interesting. This has ranged from figuring out the orbital periods of the Gruv and its moons to figuring out size, design, and power output of Stirling engines that will be used to run some of the mines. In the books, a lot of this will boil down to a few numbers in a description or a set of numbers in a chart, so you won't see most of my behind the scenes work. The result however is that you will get a game that is not only internally consistent, but accurate with reality (at least as much as possible).

My mathematics work does tie in quite a bit in coming up with stats. I've had a heavy hand in coming up with how a lot of the Core Step mechanics will be applied to fit in 1879. This includes how the races are being implemented and how our Concept design and character advancement rules will play out. A lot of these items are also in progress or on the docket, such as spells and magic, and the equipment chapter in particular. Tying in with the steampunk theme, there are a LOT of interesting gadgets to write up descriptions and statistics for, and you should look forward to your characters having many fun items to use in-game. Here again, I'm doing a lot of research to make sure the things I'm submitting are both as physically viable and historically accurate as possible. Most of the things I have submitted are currently in for review, though hopefully it will be through soon and some examples can be brought up for discussion in a future post.

Not everything I'm working on is numbers and charts. I'm also doing quite a bit on the creative end of writing. Aside from the creative portions of aforementioned areas, I've headed most of the writing on the Analytical Engines chapter (and you may have seen some small snippets recently with the post on Engine Combat), and I believe this will be the prime example of my creative work that is out with the initial books. I also have a lot that will be going into some planned future releases, including descriptions with some new Concepts, steam-powered prosthetic limbs, an adventure that will take players on an investigation mission on a front-line base, and a letter regarding the Hat that was extremely fun to write (not sure where that's going just yet, but Andrew tells me we will find a place for it).

I'm very happy to have the opportunity to apply some of my aptitudes to my interest in gaming, and to get the chance to contribute to a project that will hopefully be enjoyed by many people for years to come. I know that not everyone likes trying to wrap their head around some of the crunchy bits of gaming that make things work logically, but I have fun with it and I'm looking forward to seeing the things we can come up with play out. I'm also interested in hearing about things that you, the fans, would like to see figured out. One of the great things about steam and clockwork technology is that you actually get to observe the moving parts while they function, and a large part of 1879 ties in with that theme. So if there is anything from the line now or in the future that anyone is curious to see the math behind, or if there is anything new that you'd like to see developed, by all means please use the forums to post on it. I check the forums regularly, and chances are if numbers are involved, I had a hand in it. And if there is one lesson I have been taught in every single math class I've taken, it is to show your work!
Andrew Ragland
Line Developer, 1879

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Re: Developer's Blog #29: The Numbers Game

Postby Kasbak » Tue Apr 29, 2014 1:43 pm

I've commented this with the shares on G+, but I feel it's worth repeating here that I really am interested feedback on what aspects of what I'm working on resonate with people. So if anyone has any comments, by all means, please share. :D

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Re: Developer's Blog #29: The Numbers Game

Postby Telarus_KSC » Tue Apr 29, 2014 9:52 pm

Nice peek into what you're doing for the dev team, Kasbak. I may have some questions later ;)

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