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USH'S MATRIX GAME- Whole game discussion and post-scripts... please read!
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Ushgarak
Paladin

Gender: Male
Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

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USH'S MATRIX GAME- Whole game discussion and post-scripts... please read!

Due to a busy schedule, this is very late in the day. But here are the notes and summary of the Matrix game that was played in the second half of ’04!

From the moment the original Matrix game came out, my brother was interested in the role-playing potential of the system. Several of us had played role-plays before set in cyberised worlds in plots (like Shadowrun or Cyberpunk) that the Matrix took clear inspiration from- as all Matrix aficionados know, the essence of the Matrix was not its originality, but its fantastic blend of earlier ideas, much like the original Star Wars film (though admittedly Star Wars transposed the setting to sci-fi; Matrix stole its settings from… I dunno, countless things!).

Of course, not long after the Matrix came out, The Phantom Menace did, and regardless of competitors Star Wars is still the big one in our lives. Rules development for Star Wars based on the Feng Shui system (whose system of mooks was perfect for putting super-beings like Jedi against endless amounts of battle droids) started immediately, and the first Episode (the Avalar story line) started to be played three months after TPM came out, hence the original setting being three months after the battle of Naboo.

But even in the midst of all this, The Matrix was hanging around my brother’s mind. Feng Shui the game is a simulation of action martial arts movies, with its own tongue-in-cheek plot blending action from ancient samurai films to futuristic technology fighting, was actually far closer to Matrix than Star Wars.. The Modern Feng Shui setting (the whole thing is linked by time travel but most people start modern) is full of Kung Fu cops and gun nutters and was so close to the exact style of the Matrix- little wonder, as Feng Shui is based on the same action film inspirations as the Matrix is- that it was practically screaming for adaptation.

In Star Wars, Fu had become Force, and the Force trees had to be constructed from scratch. But in the Matrix, Fu… well, it was FU! It could stay as it was. Many of the trees you guys use are barely adapted versions of the very original- Sharpened Claws, Hands of Light, Storm Turtle, Leaping Storm, and several others are all from the original game, though they have been tweaked. All the more advanced Paths- weapons, blocking, and oddly enough, Venerable Grasshopper- were created by my brother and myself.

After the original SW game finished, my brother put some thought into a possible Matrix plot. Remember at this time, huge swathes of it were far more mysterious and unknown than they are now. The original plot was set in Hong Kong, with Asian Agents (led by Agent Chang), and the storyline was the players with a Morpheus-sympathetic brief, set at the same time as the original Matrix film, deliberately causing as much devastation in Hong Kong as possible, to distract the System’s attention away from Morpheus, who believed he had found the One and needed breathing space to pick him up. System-wise, my brother put early work into the ‘grid’ system, which allowed people to create their own programme set-up by inserting tetris-style blocks into the grid, with better programmes being larger and more awkwardly shaped.

All this was done, and then promptly forgotten about. Even Star Wars was not played again for a while, though other games were for extended periods. Matrix as a concept lay dormant.

So, time passes, other games get played, fun is had, I join the boards in 2001, Star Wars gets played here again, and then I ask Rich if I can adapt his Star Wars game for on-line play, which slowly grew, as we all know. But Matrix did not come back into the frame until the PR machine for Reloaded got under way.

Obviously, this was big business. My brother had quietly resurrected his old Matrix idea already when the build-up started, and then when demand started coming his way come the release of the Reloaded trailer, he already had his plot ideas in place.

Much had changed. His original plot was untenable- for a start, fighting Agents was just too awkward for continual play. Secondly, it was becoming increasingly clear that whatever the ACTUAL logic of it (like Morpheus being spotted at Heathrow in London), thematically and stylistically speaking- VERY important to catch the atmosphere of these adaptations- all plot action took place in ‘The’ City. Thirdly, he wanted the plot to move on from just being spun off from the original film.

The grid system, and an early template creation, remained intact. Unlike Star Wars, there were to be very few templates, as the grid system would provide variety. The basics of guns being the best mook killers, but all important duels being resolved up close, were laid down.

So, a new plot was needed. My brother’s first problem was- what credible enemies can he give to the players to meet? Now, remember, all this was being done long in advance of plot spoilers for Reloaded, which my brother never goes out of his way to get anyway. He had no idea Renegade programmes existed. Agents were too powerful, Mooks too crap. Lesser Agents? But why would the System use anything worse?

The answer was logically simple, plot-wise more tricky, but led to the story starting to write itself. The best enemies for players, balanced by default, were other humans! The Dojo fight scene was amazing; credible enemies in that form could come very quickly.
But then why the hell would you be fighting other humans in the Matrix? A simple traitor plot was a. very hard to justify in the Matrix world and b. had already been explored by Cipher.

And so Jericho was born. His character was based upon that of Captain Remius from ‘The Hunt for Red October’, played in the film by Sean Connery. Remius is the Russian strategic genius Submarine Captain who suddenly on day spontaneously makes a highly risky defection, along with his entire crew, faking an accident to make it look like his submarine, Red October, has been destroyed. Obviously it doesn’t go that smoothly or there would be no plot, but those are the basics.

But why would Jericho defect? In Red October, Remius has ideological grounds; Red October had been built as a surprise weapon to use on the West, and Remius thought the conservative Russian faction that built it would doom the world, and so he had only one choice. Jericho was in a war of annihilation and survival; you cannot ideologically differ from that. Even worse, who could he defect TO? Not the Machines, that would make no sense, and would again be too Ciphery. The only possibly of a third faction at the time was the Oracle. Most fans were pretty sure she was a Machine helping the Rebels, before this was actually revealed in-film. But whatever she was or was not, it was clear that the cause and means she supported was Zion’s war, so he couldn’t defect to anything she represented.

So, two concepts came forwards, and in one of those neat little developments that keep hitting the Star Wars games, future Matrix developments made this ideas look VERY smooth, even though when they were designed, my brother had no idea of these developments at all. First of all, Jericho’s given motivation was that, as the strategic genius, he knew Zion would lose the war, and he needed another option. As originally written, this was just meant to tragically illustrate how he staged his deception just before the One was found, Of course, come the end of Reloaded and all of Revolutions, he is absolutely right! As the game was not eventually played until after Reloaded, and here after Revolutions as well, it looks like that part was written in retrospect- but no, it was written in advance!

Secondly, Melitus was created- a powerful programme of the System, who was running certain ‘Operations’ that Jericho could hook into. Creating a personality like this was a terrible risk- at the time, it looked like the System was just faceless Agents and that was it. But Smith had a personality, so other programmes could, and so Melitus was given one. Over time, his immovable but very powerful form was developed.

Of course, the fact that the Merovingian performs almost the exact same role in Reloaded, AND the Brothers often made note of the ‘two Ms’ of the film, good M and bad M, and Melitus just happened to start with an M as well, and that Melitus was given a hatred of the Oracle, which the Merovingian ALSO apparently has… is HONESTLY all complete coincidence! When Melitus was created, no-one had even heard the name Merovingian linked with the Matrix.


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Old Post Jan 16th, 2005 01:46 PM
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Ushgarak
Paladin

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Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

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Once it was becoming clear that Renegade programmes existed, much of this work looked comic. Justification of Melitus working for the system was now unnecessary- he could easily have been the third party Jericho could defect to; heck, even the Merovingian could have sufficed! But my brother did not change Melitus’ backstory; he simply used the Renegade factor as a bluff. Melitus looks like a Renegade up until the very end, where it is revealed that he works for the System after all. This worked well as a plot development, and stopped Melitus being far too similar to the Merovingian for comfort. The similarities between the Kuylen/Dooku issue and the Melitus/Merovingian issue are amusingly disquieting...

However, once Reloaded came out and these things were blown, changes were made- most notably, the addition of the Xiao Emo. Renegade programmes obviously now made a plentiful source of other villains for the players. Of course, this story already had its fair share, but the Xiao Emo was added as a test. My brother’s favourite RP game is Call of Cthulhu, a 1920s based occult investigation game, and his head is filled with tons of mythological beasties who the Oracle describes as Renegade programmes. Why stop at Vampires and Ghosts? The Xiao Emo (‘Night Demon’) retains the link to the eastern setting of my brother’s earliest Matrix ideas, and made a cool extra enemy. Incidentally, Dexx noted that the Xiao Emo was even worse than the Twins- he sure as heck was not! The Twins heal all damage every time they go ghosty- imagine fighting that! The Xiao Emo might be able to move around in a horribly cheaty way, but if you hurt him he stays hurt!

Other parts fitted into place quickly. Dallas- a Captain for the players, to stop any inter-player arguing about who is boss and to keep the Captain as distinctly better. Dallas had to be different from Morpheus, to keep things interesting, and yet still clearly worthy as Captain. This was turned into a plot development, as he originally seems absurdly incompetent but as time goes by you slowly see just what the deal with Dallas is- the man who always believes that everything is going to work out just fine. And, so it seems, for him it always does. However, this made an amusing contrast with Morpheus, who loses half his crew, harboured a traitor, and has found a clueless kid who he ‘claims’ is the One and gets heroic adulation, whereas who is chanting the name of the always-successful Dallas? Hence Dallas hating Morpheus, which gave even more of a reason for the players to not think well of Dallas at first, before learning the point later. That all worked quite well…

The Shehazarard (a name with more spellings than I can cope with)- a ship with a name taken from a mythology not yet used by the films. Fight scenes in airports, Chinese restaurants, huge corporate buildings… Melitus’ Realm hidden in the Matrix… Jericho’s crew- Loomis, the 80s horror movie obsessive and gun nut, Khali, the merciless psychotic killer, Medea, the slightly clueless but good-hearted Buffy rip-off… other members of his crew would be generic and added or taken away as needed. Jericho’s crew were meant to have a distinctly human edge in the game to bring across the unpleasantness of fighting genuine freed humans in game, to bring home a point about perception and reality when the reveal was made that they were AI clones- but if they acted exactly as humans and were treated exactly as humans, WAS there a difference? Unfortunately this point got completely lost in gameplay, on and off line! Oh well…

And so the plot came together. But unlike Star Wars, which was always being improved, Matrix turned out to be FAR more complex; although the basics needed no adapting, hammering down the system to be balanced (Feng Shui itself is totally unbalanced) and interesting was a *****. The game was half finished when played and was being continuously refined and improved and rejected and re-started and the bloody thing still isn’t settled. The plot was stronger than the system for sure. Which brings us to what happened on-line…

… but that can follow. Later, I shall talk of bringing the game on-line, go through the plot events (curiously small- the fights are so big, the actual plot is less expansive), go into detail on the Philosophy section, tie things up, thank everyone for helping test the system, and start early discussion on the upcoming new version and game. The game itself is still a long way off I am afraid.

In the meantime, please feel free to discuss things, make comments, and ask questions!


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Old Post Jan 16th, 2005 01:47 PM
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Tptmanno1
Life Ponder-er

Gender: Male
Location: Dreaming...Or am I living...

Cool....
I have to ask..
Was it just an Amazing coincidence that Burn and Loomis were seemed to be "Destined" to fight each other?
Its just funny how simiar the two characters are...


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Old Post Jan 16th, 2005 08:01 PM
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Ushgarak
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I guess the gun nut description brings a certain closeness. But Loomis was alreay all done and had been played out once already before Burn was even created!


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Old Post Jan 16th, 2005 10:59 PM
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Dexx
wingless

Gender: Male
Location: Bucharest, Romania

nice.
also...i can't help to ask. to we get the experience we so richly deserve from this campaign before teh next game starts? stick out tongue

Old Post Jan 17th, 2005 10:09 AM
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Ushgarak
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Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

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The system has to be re-done first!


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Old Post Jan 17th, 2005 01:32 PM
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Barbarossa
King of the bitchslappers

Gender: Male
Location: Feeding the Duckies.

Uh Oh, Re-done means. (Yoda Talk)


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Old Post Jan 17th, 2005 07:08 PM
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Peach
mordrem

Gender: Female
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Which means we'll be waiting a while, huh stick out tongue

And I still hate Khali, even though I finally managed to kill her...


__________________

under the pale tree - my [email protected]

I can hear the call of the dragon...

Old Post Jan 19th, 2005 03:27 AM
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Tptmanno1
Life Ponder-er

Gender: Male
Location: Dreaming...Or am I living...

arrg....
I need to shotgun somethign!


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Old Post Jan 19th, 2005 04:40 AM
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Peach
mordrem

Gender: Female
Location: verdant brink

Moderator

Why am I not surprised?

stick out tongue


__________________

under the pale tree - my [email protected]

I can hear the call of the dragon...

Old Post Jan 19th, 2005 05:01 AM
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Barbarossa
King of the bitchslappers

Gender: Male
Location: Feeding the Duckies.

quote:
Originally posted by Silver Stardust
Which means we'll be waiting a while, huh stick out tongue

And I still hate Khali, even though I finally managed to kill her...


Uggh, Khali. Wasn't she the one that sat there skewering me for several turns, Before the agent showed up and lipped a Hummer over while I was in the Driver's seat......


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Old Post Jan 20th, 2005 10:57 PM
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Ushgarak
Paladin

Gender: Male
Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

Co-Admin

Before the story analysis, some known facts about the new system:

- As SW is planning to be also, the used dice will change, from the positive/negative d6 to a d20 (twenty-sided die, for those of you who don't know that terminology). The reason for this change is actually coming from Matrix- Star Wars is just following suit- because of power-balancing in Matrix. There are LOTS of powers in the Matrix, and the d6/d6 system has too harsh a probability curve to be properly balanced. A d20 has a flat probability curve of 5% per number.

- The ethos will remain the same- talking and investigation will be less than Star Wars, in favour of enormous set-piece battles, rather like the films! These battles will be inevitable, but will have a win/loss structure like before; most major plot difference will depend on how well you fight.

- Provision will be made for a Philosophy section, in which, of course, there WILL be talking, and as it will be separated from the combat section, the pure fighty types won't be saddled with all that 'Matrix crap'... I am also personally planning a Philosophy practice session this time, to mirror the training sessions for fighting.

- The Templates are being re-designed from the ground up. Hacker, Veteran and Natural are still the main types, with each having three sub-variants. The Downloadable poriton of things will be a much smaller deal than before. The Hacker variants will equivocate roughly to Gunner/Martial Artist/All-rounder, the other template variants will be less direct. However, it is intended that pure gunners will not exist any more- everyone should be able to fight a duel against a martial artist up close to at least SOME extent.

- The Paths are being re-built also, as is the fighting system. it is intended to stay highly tacgical as it currently is... and in fact it will be becoming a little more in-depth. There may well be an effort to seperate out basic and avdnaced Paths. The older players will be encouraged to take whatever paths they want; newbies will be advised to stick with the basic ones, because whilst sturgglin to learn how to play, they don't want to worry about too much other stuff!

- The balance of combat is being changed so that people hit more, but can take more damage. Right now, there is far too much missing in combat, and hence far too little reason to use big powerful moves instead of small fast ones. Also some of the duels are extremely dull miss-fests. So, in the Neo/Smith spirit (as opposed to the Neo/Seraph spirit), you will now be whacking each other all the time! As this effect will be built into the new use of a d20, it will likely carry over to Star Wars as well.

- The other major change, which is the new complication to fights, will be 'Steps'. This is based on the idea that we don't want fights to be 'A attacks b, B attacks A, A attacks B, B attacks A..." ad nauseam. TRhe frame system kinda makes it not quite that simple, but all that means is that faster characters hit more often in a sequence.

No, the change we want here is that people will make SEQUENCES of blows. So the vibe will be- A makes SEVERAL blows on B, then B makes SEVERAL blows on A.

How will this work? Well, an 'attack' costs three frames, as before. But now, you will make several blows IN that attack, though currently, your flurry ends if you miss. Each attack can have three 'steps' worth of blows, and each fu power now has a step cost. So in a single attack of three steps worth, you could make one huge three-step super attack, or three little one-step attacks, or a two step and a one-step combo...

... except the complication is that you don't actually get three steps worth like that. You keep making your attacks until you make one that takes you past three steps. So, you could make two one-step attacks, and then make a huge three step one! Although this would technically take you to five steps, that's not the point- you were not past three steps until your third attack, so it is valid. It is far more efficent, then, to use a big step attack at the end of a combo.

Hence, people will be encouraged to make combos, to build up to a big finisher. Two small blows and then a huge killer blow in a row will become common. You can expect to see 'Straight Punch' become a three-stepper, so Agents will do a build up before the big blow! In effect, think of steps as 'mini-frames' inside attacks.

- Several Paths are complete and nearly ready to go. The weapon paths- including Jade Emperor's new rival, Silver Prince- are all done, as well as old favourites like Sharpened Scales and Hands of Light. Testing will begin once this basic set of Paths is ready... and I will be asking you guys to help! As an example, Jade Emperor is now decidely a high-step cost path- sword blows are powerful but cannot be easily comboed. Iron Butterfly has very LOW step costs. Step costs cannot actually be zero, but Iron Butterfly has attacks that do two blows in one step. New powers will start buggering around with the combo system, to allow players to build up awesome attack chains, which will be rather more like the films!

So, there you go...


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Old Post Jan 20th, 2005 11:00 PM
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Tptmanno1
Life Ponder-er

Gender: Male
Location: Dreaming...Or am I living...

Damn,
No more pure gunner Burn...
I liked that...
Wil; he be able to keep all his Gunner powers? or will I have to ditch him.
But I like the idea of the steps, probably would need something to figure it out, Like say another CTF game.....


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Old Post Jan 21st, 2005 12:59 AM
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Peach
mordrem

Gender: Female
Location: verdant brink

Moderator

A training mission sounds like fun...

And I'm still very much liking the Iron Butterfly path big grin


__________________

under the pale tree - my [email protected]

I can hear the call of the dragon...

Old Post Jan 21st, 2005 03:46 AM
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Barbarossa
King of the bitchslappers

Gender: Male
Location: Feeding the Duckies.

Meh, I had to rebuild Barb anyway, he was like two systems obsolete.....


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Old Post Jan 21st, 2005 03:51 AM
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Ushgarak
Paladin

Gender: Male
Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

Co-Admin

Meanwhile... development continued.

The first story of the game (the term 'assignments' was added by me for on-line use) was played, the mission at the airport, which I shall describe in more detail later. There were not many paths at this time, and everythting about the paths, the templates and the download system were entirely experiemental. Agents were ready to go, however, and our Natural- played in the same amusing style as our Acolyte Scrace in the Star Wars game, not surprising as the same guy was playing him- promptly got the shite kicked out of him by said Agent during the course of the mission, eventually, I seem to remember, being driven away by me in one of those motorises stairs used to get into planes with (he was somehow stuck on the airport roof at the time. Long story.)

Well, lots worked, and lots didn't, and the game was continually changing and changing and changing as time went by...
By this point, my brother introduced the idea of a second ship to manage excess players- at this time, the idea of the second ship was to allow players to join mid-story, whilst the main players played out conventional, followed soon after for that ship, but there were no personalities designed for it yet.

It was roughly at this time that I opened up the earliest thread in this area sounding out whether people would be interested in playing such a game here. Matrix fever was at its peak and a lot of people had asked about the idea, throwing around ideas about setting up ones of their own etc. It must be said, not wanting to sound pompous, but one reason I made this offer, which was quite a challenge at the time, is simply because I didn't like the look of the other ideas floating around, none of which really seemed to catch the point.

However, there was a problem. Bear in mind at this point:

1. The RP area was a lot smaller than it is today

2. There were no rules in the SW game- no visible rukles that players had to worry about, anyway.

My problem was that the Matrix game is designed, thematically, about the fighting. There was one exception to the no-rules SW game- duelling, which was regulated with a simple system of numbers (though the same victory criteria as existed in the full, off-line version).
This was because duels were such an integral and important part of the SW experience that it could not be left to a loose game mechnaic- however, SW duels were rare, so they could be taken care of separately like that.

Not only are Matrix duels NOT rare, but pretty much every single fight ever in it is actually of distinct importance. If you are going to play a Matrix game, it is important that these fights are detailed- typing in "I kick him then block then punch him" a hundred times might be simple but would make for an incredibly dull game. I knew that if Matrix were to be played on-line, which was a prospect I was looking forwards to trying, then it would need to be played with an in-built rules framework to cover the system. So that starting thread was created with, basically, two questions- 1. Would people like to play a Matrix RP built on the same basis as the SW one? I knew the answer to this would be yes. 2. Would people be willing to accept a rules system for it? Here I explained my reasoning. Somewhat to my surprise, the answer here was also yes! People seemed willing to give it a go.

And then nothing happened for a long time. I let people talk over possibilities, let slip the odd idea about how the plot would work (you had a ship and a captain and would be going on Zion missions between the first and second films).

It took time for the game to pan out at home, and much of it was still being played by the time you guys started. But eventually, enough had been played, and enough testing been done, for me to try and convert the system on-line.

And so I did, but not how it currently exists. I tried to design a simplified version of the Feng Shui system, with enough variety in to cover the basics of how it all works, without any of the complications.
Sequences were of four actions each, no frames- however, slower moves would increase your exertion, which might lead you to lose an action. This was a simple conversion of Feng Shui- it was assuming that a sequence was 12 frames in which you would normally take four three- frame actions. A 'slow' action was equivalent to a four frame action, obviously enough, you can only take three four-frame actions in 12 frames. The Paths were in, but you bought entire Paths in levels (starting off as a simple and advanced level, then a mid-level was pout in as well), and these levels allowed you to do various things- at first one thing per level, and then more. Fighting skills were out of 5, which was simply the same system as now scaled down in number- so if a 13 had become a 2, a 14 was a 15 etc. You might ask why fighting skills in FS basically kick off at 10 or 11 rather than 1, the answer is simply so that they are compatible with all other skills, which of course start off at your stats.

One thing that I could never port over properly was the grid-based download system; the visual nature of it was impossible. So instead I substituted a 'simple' points based system, which got the essence, but not really the point, as without the shapes, it was just a slightly extraverted character creation system- spend points to be better at different things.

Still, everything was in place, and people started to make characters. This was a long and slow process with lots of mistakes and problems and corrections being made on my part, and then a few times I had to tweak the rules as things were going wrong, and eventually we got KINDA of an idea together, only I was being overloaded with players, so now the Percy became not a means of adding in players mid-way through a story, but a fully realised second ship with which to take part in the main plot. The Captain and Operator were added about the time you played Assignment III.

Of course, we kicked off with a training mission, and a damn good thing too. Because it was player versus player, it was VERY easy for me to run, hence I could concentrate on seeing what was and was not working. Those who played I am sure still have their own memories of that mission- its still there for everyone to read if they want.
Incidentally, whilst it was testing the new rules and people's familiarity with their characters, it was also testing an ideal which has since become more prevalent in SW as well- organising a team, with a leader, and putting a plan together. Technically this should always be the way all RPs work, but there was a lot of hand-holding in SW as very few were used to RPing. I was looking for that to change, and in Matrix, it had to be like that from the off.

From there, we moved into the Dojo for more training, the Zion thread for mood acclimatization, and finally, with much anticipation, into the opening mission itself. The rest is history, and the plot events I
shall discuss later.

The player team fluctuated a lot until we eventually stabilised on a core group of dedicated players- which was nice. However, as everyone remembers, things were changing all the time in the Matrix, as the System made its insidious alterations...

Here is mainly what happened. Basically, my cut-down version kept doing things unsatisfactorily. So to fix the problems, I added more rules and tweaks. And then suddenly it hit me that all I was going to end up doing was create a system just as complex as the off-line one, but simply not working as well. Amidst tweaks to Paths and powers and the Download system I was already making, I took the huge plunge one day and thought... I am going to convert the whole lot, to the off-line system. I knew this would be a ***** and it would not work at first, but that in the long-term, it would be worth it.

And so eventually it all transformed to the full system we have to day, with pool and sequences and frames and the whole enchilada. But of course, I appreciate this was tough on you guys. The reasons that the rules kept changing every 30 seconds were therefore twofold- first, the main system off-line was continually being changed, as it was in effective beta testing. And second, because I was slowly converting the on-line system to the off-line system!

So I am really sorry you guys had so many changes to put up with- but you were helping test this game, and that help from all of you is very much appreciated.


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Old Post Jan 27th, 2005 02:03 PM
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Ushgarak
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Which may in turn lead you to ask- why, then, 18 months later, is the build-up to the next game still going to start with training and a system overhaul? The answer? Well, it just shows what a fiddly bastard system the Matrix has been to create...

For to be sure, the theory has proven superior to the practice. In the end, off-line and on, the full story was played, and it actually worked out pretty well, but often this was in spite of, rather than because of, the system. After numerous revisions that you all had to live through, the system WORKED, for sure- you all had your fights with little trouble. But it is full of holes, basically, which myself and my brother know, but we weren't telling you about, of course. Also... it didn't QUITE have the feel of the films,. Duelling was too much about trading blows and missing; big blows were never worth the risk, and you had to be Jericho-good before it felt like you were dishing out serious punishment (Agents not withstanding, of course).

Also, it was clear by now that the Download system had failed- the best simple example of theory vs, practice I have ever seen, In theory, the thematic idea of fitting in your blocks of programmes into your download grid was fabulous and everyone loved the idea. In practice, it ended up being totally exploited and boring and pointless. Some people just had crapper characters, others were producing sheets of 'best loadouts' for everyone else to use, until everyone was the same. By the end of the story the dream there was ruined- there is nothing like players trying to maximise a system to show up how rubbish it might be. No solution has solved the problem, so the decision has been made to dump it, basically.

On-line, the problem has never been so bad- basically because I never really simulated the system, it being just a matter of spending points. Even so, if you look at it objectively, it really is an unnecessary complication, and the last thing that the Matrix needs is ANY unnecessary complication- the necessaries are complicated enough! Actually, in the grand scheme of things, this system isn't complex- there are games that are way more so- but it is hard to describe things on-line, and furthermore Matrix is so tactical in play that it is important that players can take the rules for granted and concentrate on fighting correctly. Some version of downloading will still exist, but it will be a much smaller deal than before.

Matrix really has been a hard slog- for everyone irritated by continuous system changes, please don't think them whimsical cruelties on our part. It is a bastard to MAKE them on our part, at least as much as it is for you guys to adapt to them, and there is little worse than seeing hard-worked changes not work. At times, my brother has considered giving up on Matrix entirely and dumping the whole game. When you feel like this, it is best to change direction- my brother would suddenly skip back to Star Wars and do changes there, and he has also spent the last two years or so writing his own game, rules and setting from the ground up, which he has just finished- however, THAT proved such a hassle as well that he has sworn to never do that again either! And then, after a few months away, he will suddenly mail me a shedload of new Matrix rules to look at. Creativity works in bursts like that, and you can never worm on the same thing for long.

So rather than try and slowly introduce you to it, this time, you are going to be right in there testing the new system from the outset. It is better than before, for sure, but like any system needs testing for holes.

Meanwhile, the most unexpected change was that I then decided to port
the whole off-line system to Star Wars as well, with NO acclimatization period of slow changes, because as I described above, that proved to be a waste of time. You may ask- why did I feel the need to do this if it was less necessary with Star Wars?

A fair point. Take, for example, the fight against the augmented slaves as they boarded Xeth and Roan's vessel in Star Wars in the first episode of the new campaign, falling into their ambush. You will note that you guys slaughtered them easily. All the game system did there was slow down an inevitable result. If the whole game was like that, the system would be a waste.

But I had always had to be making compromises in SW for their being no system that players could see- some things were not adequately done. The new Campaign was approaching, and big things were planned for it. WITH the system in place, nothing would be out of bounds, and I could do everything that happened off-line, on-line. The much larger battles were never much good with no distinct system- now, everyone knows where they stand and what is going on. Frankly, the entire Dark Side plotline would not work without the system- I can TELL you that Osokans are very dangerous, but only when you see them in action with rules and how close they come to taking you out do you truly get that feel of danger and dread. The Light Side will likewise have its won threats- already Balek has been put into new perspective by the rules. It might not, then, be essential in Star Wars- but it certainly makes the game better. And as it had unexpectedly worked so well in the Matrix, it should work in SW, which was the easier game- remember, from our point of view off-line, Star Wars is the basic game, compared to Matrix being the advanced one.

So that is basically the story of how the Matrix game came to be here, and how it then drastically altered the AW game in turn!
As ever, feel free to raise points, discuss, or ask questions. To follow- the plot summary, a talk about Agents, and the Philosophy plotline.


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Old Post Jan 27th, 2005 02:03 PM
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Peach
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Location: verdant brink

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quote:
he was somehow stuck on the airport roof at the time. Long story.


WHAT?! Hah! That's hilarious....

Osokans mad

Meh, I never had any trouble with the rule changes...


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I can hear the call of the dragon...

Old Post Jan 27th, 2005 05:52 PM
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Ushgarak
Paladin

Gender: Male
Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

Co-Admin

You'll be amazed what he has gotten up to over time, in ANY franchise...


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Old Post Jan 27th, 2005 06:32 PM
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Tptmanno1
Life Ponder-er

Gender: Male
Location: Dreaming...Or am I living...

Tell us, tell us!!!

Yea the rule changes don't really bug me, Its just perfecting the system, I hope you DO eventually get it right, so were not continually changing them,
It would also be fun, later on down the road, after this game has een kicking for a while to go to newer players "YOU think you got it hard?? We were fighting Agents while the rules were changing EVERY OTHER MONTH!"
Just for S and G


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Old Post Jan 27th, 2005 08:53 PM
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