Wednesday, 31 October 2012

NaGa DeMon Diary 1. The beginning is nigh!

NaGa DeMon: National Game Design Month. Design a game, finish it, play it, tell everyone about it. In a month. Simultaneously a challenge and an opportunity to unbung the creative pipes and let the idea juice gush! I've been assisting Mr Nathan Russell on the Facebook page and Google+ Page, he's also updating a @thenagademon on twitter and using the #nagademon hashtag.

Taking part in NaGa DeMon makes you a Demon Hunter, winning makes you a Demon Slayer! I'll be charting my progress from Hunter to Slayer here. Either we can rejoice in triumph or commiserate together.


One does not walk simply walk into NaGa DeMon. A little preparation acts as a springboard into progress. I've blogged about that on the NaGaDeMon website, so I won't repeat it here.

What I'm doing

I have decided to extract the shared dice pool mechanic from Cloudship Atlantis and write a setting to go with it. I've played the nuts off the system itself, it needs writing down properly. The setting is the greater challenge here. I have two main ideas (had some others, too ill-formed to consider):

TRONlike 2013

A TRON-like setting set in the 2013 internet where player characters lead a double life of IT geek during the day and cybercriminal at night. Wars are waged in a sub-cyberspace between huge internet corporations, governments, anonymous hacking groups and script kiddies. Characters will topple government systems, battle the bulk of Amazon and right wrongs reporting in the press "during the day".

It's quite a well defined setting idea. A digital world that runs underneath the current internet. The shared dice pool mechanic will work really well for it.

The Wall

The town of Cling is set against an impregnable wall that stretches infinitely in all directions. The population remains stable, life is very dull; precisely why the characters want to explore. No explorer has ever returned. Every so often, things fall onto the little town glued against the wall, people call it a gift from the gods. Recently, quite a lot has landed.

A medieval setting with no magic but with some materials that make life on the wall possible (eg nutrient rich water supply). The PCs will become envoys in the first trip out to another colony - and return.

Get yourself involved

It doesn't matter if you missed the start of November, you can still join in. After all, some make RPGs in 24 hours. A month should be a doddle. It doesn't need to be brand new, the idea could have been festering in your mind for year or a project that just won't finish. Now is the time. Join the roll call, get into the social media and join us.

It won't hurt, much.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Write a game and play it. In a month. National Game Design Month

The NaGa DeMon is a particularly cruel beast. For eleven months of the year it lies in wait. Just as autumnal depression takes hold, it springs up like a particularly springy bastard and screams in your face:

Write a game, play it and let us know. You've got a month. Go!


It's the month of inexplicable outpouring of creativity. Shocked by the cold winds from the north, it's time to dust off that idea that's been freeloading in the back of your consciousness and make a game out of it. I am not sure why November is the month of the foolish expelling of thick creation juice - but it is. So get used to it.


It's the hardest competition there is because you play against you. You might drown in kudos on completion but at the very least you were there. You took part. You were part of something.

How do I do it?

The rules are quite simple:
  • Create it in November
  • Finish the game in November
  • Play the game in November
  • Talk about your experience
As far as 'game' goes, it means all sorts of things: RPG, boardgame, computer game, choose-your-own-adventure, card game, etc.

Why does this sub heading have a question mark?

Everything is being organised through the Facebook group by the extraordinary Nathan Russell. It's a name you might recognise: he wrote the unfinished but excellent Verge. He also dug deep into the very darkest parts of his psyche to give us the life shattering Droog Family Songbook (Winner of the 2011 24 Hour RPG compo). So, a stout fellow of considerable regard.

What am I going to do?
What are YOU going to do?

I've got a shed load of projects on at the moment but that's never stopped me before. I've wanted to write a computer game for ages - Elite in 2D. I also have 4 half-cocked RPG ideas hanging about (and a rewrite of Cloudship Atlantis).

How about you? Use November as an excuse and everyone else as support. Go on, I dare you. I double dare you.