So many irons in the fire.

Starting up so many projects, working partway through them, and stopping again, to learn exactly what? That I can’t finish something I’ve started? Well, that and some other things. I remember some research I did into one project or another before shelving it for something else, getting work into one before hitting another wall.

You know what I recently worked out in RPG Maker? I worked out level advancement. That’s really, really hard. I’ve brought up spreadsheets now and again, and let me tell you, it’s been an uphill battle to figure out what characters can take, and what’s just grind-tastically unreasonable to expect from a player.

The Job System is a defining feature of Final ...

Too many choices if you ask me. Individual choices matter less the more of them you’re allowed to make.

A bazillion years ago, I worked out part of this particularly interesting conundrum that arises from computer roleplaying games. Mostly that one playthrough of the story proves that most computer roleplaying games only have about one playthrough in them. Which in turn is rather sad considering their market price.

But I noticed something interesting about certain, eh, Final Fantasy titles, in the form of Self-Imposed Challenges. I mean, they didn’t personally interest me enough to try them, but they were interesting enough to compel me to do research with a slant toward Emergent Gameplay (hence the title). Sandbox games try for this.

Fallout 3 is a pretty open sandbox kind of game, and I think it was an improvement over The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. Really, I think experience point awards and a more solid level system was what made it work (also perks as rewards for advancement). Where I think the game really fails is how empty it remains after that.

Anyway, it seemed to me that the formula for a successful, long-lived game (you know, with replay value) lay somewhere in its ability to support Emergent Gameplay. I thought the right combination of mechanics would create such a playground, that it existed somewhere in the overall length of the game and how it responded to player action.

I figured out lots of different pieces to this puzzle, one at a time. “Advancing the clock” never really seemed to be much of a problem, but making those “hours” work when put up against character levels and such, that always seemed more difficult to manage. I might have it now though. Now it’s mostly down to a matter of testing.

I’m looking for just the right mix of combat and non-combat character advancement. I like gaining experience for solving puzzles alongside gaining combat experience. It feels better to me, than all one or the other. I’ll keep you posted.

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