Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 57:42 — 52.8MB) Episode 145 with your hosts, Liz and Mike! Liz tells us how to run around a field hitting people, Mike tells you that you can’t do Samurai movies in Samurai games, and we talk about things we haven’t actually done. Geeky Week! Liz is …View full post
Recently I took part in a game of ViewScream, the first game (that I know of) designed specifically to be used over video chat, such as Google Hangouts, Roll20 or Skype. We’ve mentioned the game before, but this was my first chance to actually play it.
As with every single played-over-Hangouts game I’ve ever played in, connection problems plagued us, and an unfortunate lack of understanding the rules almost robbed us of one of the reveals of the scenario (Black Widow, Brown Recluse), but otherwise it was a cracking good time. We all did our various bits to try and give the impression we were all trapped in isolated areas on a dying spaceship, including where we set up our computers and cameras; I used a cheap head-mounted torch that has a “strobe” setting to make it look like I was being lit by off-screen flashing alarm lights, and used bits of computer I have lying around as props.
One thing I didn’t really grasp until actually playing it, but the game leaves a lot up to the players. For example, (spoiler) I was given the instruction to change my personality after one of my problems was resolved (/spoiler), with nothing to indicate why or how. Evidently the game (or at least the scenario) thought I was entirely able to come up with my own idea. Which I did (one of the Evil Aliens invading the ship had, in fact, bonded with me / taken me over), but I kind of bottled on actually bringing that out into the game explicitly. Ah, well, next time!
If you’re interested in more opinions on our game, two of the other participants have done write-ups:
Way of the Zeppo: [RPG Review] Viewscream by Rafael Chandler - review of ViewScream
A 6- and Other Grave Mishappenings: AP (ViewScream) – Black Widow, Brown Recluse - AP of the game – has spoilers of the scenario, but also the 24-ish minutes we actually managed to record before connection issues became so horrible we had to start again.
Ever wondered what the earth might be like 1 billion years from now? I mean a billion years is a long time. So long in fact, that it might be difficult to imagine how far into our distant future that might be.
In the grandest sci-fi timescales I can think of that’s nearly 999.96 million years after Paul Atreides usurps Emperor Shadam IV (Gratuitous Dune reference) and that incredibly distant future history happens 20,000 years from our own here and now. But wait, lets put that into context and point out that we, the collective we of humanity that is, barely stopped scratching around in the dirt with stone tools and started using flint knives around about then!?
RPGs are no strangers to the use of maps, many systems utilise them during combat while adventures often employ them to provide players with a feel for the regions they’re exploring and acting in. One of the downsides of maps is the amount of time that can be required for their construction, especially if you want something that incorporates a substantial amount of detail. Luckily for us then that the Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division of the New York Public Library has just released 20,000+ historical maps under a Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication (which basically waives their copyright to the fullest extent possible). The maps are available are high resolution downloads and while the majority are focused upon the New York region of the USA there are still hundreds if not thousands that span the wider world.
The freebies don’t stop there however. As part of their attempt to digitise the maps the library have also released a tool called the Map Warper which allows the public to align and overlay the historical maps with the location as it exists today using. The merge of historical and present day maps can be exported as basic images or even as Google map readable files, allowing GMs to then add game related details before making them available to their players (see this overlay as a basic example).
Already I can see it’s potential in games such as the Vampire Giovanni Chronicles that Mike has talked about in the past where the action jumps across multiple time frames. Or alternatively how about a modern Cthulhu game where the players come across an old manuscript from the 1920′s? You only need to look at the classic gamecube game Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem to know how awesome that could be. So if you run a game set in the real world then I would encourage you to check out this amazing resource and if you do let us know about your experience with it.
Episode 145 with your hosts, Liz and Mike! Liz tells us how to run around a field hitting people, Mike tells you that you can’t do Samurai movies in Samurai games, and we talk about things we haven’t actually done.
- Liz is LARPing this weekend! Yay!
- L5R One-shot!
Things In Samurai Movies I Don’t See In L5R, or Why Can’t I Run My Favourite Samurai Movie In Rokugan? – rambling thoughts on Rokugan versus some of the material that inspired it.
Ever wondered how you get into Larp? Want to start but don’t know what to bring or how to be prepared? Liz goes through it all!l
“Best Character You’ve Never Played”
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