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Showing posts from February, 2024

Look Before You Leap (Day)

While someone born on February 29th in the year 2000 would be 24 in regular calendar years (they'd use March 1st as a birthday) they’ve technically only had six birthdays. While "technically correct" is the best kind of correct , we still can’t stop the ravages of age. Leap days/years are of course necessary with how we’ve set up our calendar: due to some large egos (and poor math), we need an extra day every four years to keep things like the solar year, equinoxes, and solstices on track and synchronized. While keeping track of calendars is something many of us neglect in our games, and those that do are likely try to keep it simple, adding a special “leap day” to games can provide an opportunity to include new adventures, events, items, or quirks. So in honor of our real world’s Leap Day 2024 , take a few moments with Never Say Dice to ponder some of the possibilities of this rare inspirational event. Character Changes Plenty of people are born on leap days. As mention

Empires of Need: Negation as Characterization and Worldbuilding in Adventure Games

Going in and out of fashion, crowding store shelves one moment then nearly vanishing completely only to be rediscovered through the indie ecosystem, adventure games go all the way back to the start of electronic gaming. The genre's birth may be one of the medium's first Great Divides, where similar situations are approached through different mechanics, design elements, and tone. (Another would be the way space combat branched into both turn-based strategic simulation and real-time, reflex-based action early in the mainframe era.) Exploring dangerous labyrinths in search of treasure, the central activity in the newly-published "Dungeons & Dragons" tabletop game, manifested digitally in two distinct forms. Each drew from different aspects of the game: the CRPG , which focused on stat-based actions with randomized variables (primarily combat), and the adventure game , which tried to recreate the narrative component of a DM describing a game's scenario and event

AI DM: Olyphants from Gemini

How far can we travel down a solo-TTRPG path with AI before we’re stopped? We’ve talked about the ways people solve solo gaming in previous posts . What we’re doing in this series , though, is using AI to create a solo RPG experience that's less bound by the limitations of pre-scripted offerings. While AI has been around for awhile, we’ve really only recently started to see big advancements become available to the general public. In our first post , we used Google's AI Bard to get suggestions on setting the scene, provide feedback on actions, generate random events/encounters, and give prompts to help with brainstorming. We’ve also worked with Bard and randomizers to create a new PC - a bard tiefling Echo Shaw, and even the generalities of an island forest area of Whisperwind. This week, let's address a potential major issue with this project and then focus on creating a particular point of interest in this town. The Olyphant in the Room A funny thing happened when I sat

Control(ler) Yourself!

The paddle. The light gun. The push-button guitar. All manner of joysticks, trackballs, and, of course, gamepads. The Nintendo Power Glove. The Coleco Super-Action. The Brøderbund U-Force. The Sega Toy-let (maybe... don't look that one up). We here at Never Say Dice collectively have lifetimes of experience with electronic games, and have seen all kinds of control peripherals come and go . From the straightforward to the truly bizarre , they all share a common purpose: to act as the medium between player and game, the means by which all interaction occurs beyond the one-way comprehension of audio and visual output. For such a significant role, though, the humble controller seems a little-recognized aspect of gaming as a developing artform and storytelling medium. When an idea catches on, it's quickly taken for granted, while alternate approaches are derided as foolish delusions or gimmickry. So, this week at Never Say Dice, we'd like to steer the conversation to electroni