RPG Map Design – Part 1

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Aside from work, my main creative outlet over the last year or so has been roleplaying. Specifically I’ve been running a D&D campaign for a group of friends, and designing maps and encounters on Roll20 has been pretty enjoyable. Naturally, most of the stuff I’ve made for the campaign will only really make sense for the people playing it, but a handful of the things I’ve made/written might be worth posting on here.

I’ve always had a liking for in-game maps – they capture the link between the mechanics of what you’re actually doing and fictional narrative that runs in parallel to the gameplay. I.e. you might literally be navigating a level, avoiding hazards and enemies, but ‘in-fiction’ you could be robbing a bank, exploring a forgotten temple, etc.

I’m hoping to post some annotated maps that represent more complicated encounters, but for now, here are some fairly basic ones:

Arena
Pretty straightforward – a large arena with shifting terrain, to keep things interesting between encounters. Each version has four different ‘biomes’ from top left going around clockwise.
Left: Desert Mesas, Hot Springs, Canal, Grassland
Right: Volcano, Graveyard, Forest, Snowscape

Underground Market
I knew the group would be visiting here quite often as one of the main shopping areas in the campaign, and might end up involved in a scrap with the enforcers or try to sneak past them at some point, but so far things haven’t kicked off to the point where I’ve had to use it.

Blessed Crane Warehouse
And finally, an underground warehouse with a smuggler’s dock, a wine cellar, two large storerooms and a ‘war room’ (the one with several chairs around a map). The group has visited this place a few times, and most recently defended it from a group of zombies that attacked from the canal. Meanwhile, two larger monsters were smuggled into the central storeroom in a shipment of exotic teacups (most of which were sadly broken). It was pretty fun, although I don’t think the combat necessarily made full use of the encounter space.

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HitRecord BG&E2 Contributions

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The last year or so has been pretty quiet, but there have been some creative highlights – namely getting involved with the Beyond Good and Evil 2 community collaboration project. Ubisoft is putting together a long-awaited sequel to Beyond Good and Evil, and are sourcing some of their content from the platform HitRecord.

It’s essentially speculative work/like entering a competition, which has its downsides, but HitRecord provides a limited safe space for collaboration and remixing, which is pretty cool. The game is a sci-fi/action game based around space pirates and human-animal hybrids, and the contributions are mostly visual art and music, but my contributions have been remixed into some pretty cool posters and ‘radio stingers’ for the in-universe pirate radio station, which was really cool to see.

I have no idea whether any of these will actually make it into the game (I’ll certainly be posting more about them if they do), but they were certainly fun to work on. In the meantime, the BG&E2 Project has a whole bunch of talented people working on it, and HitRecord in general is a whole platform of interesting collaborations, so definitely check them out if you have the time.

Pirate Radio Stingers

This challenge was a lot of fun, with a very limited number of words to work with. Very fun and satisfying to hear my stuff voiced and sound-mixed so well:

Weather Report: https://hitrecord.org/records/3679529
Magnetic Storm: https://hitrecord.org/records/3570893
Our Own Little Experiment: https://hitrecord.org/records/3569769?startTime=17
Scorcher: https://hitrecord.org/records/3545966


Propaganda Posters
This one was mainly drafting slogans to prop up the evil system within the game’s setting, which is in this case is built on the oppression of human-animal hybrids:

Links:
https://hitrecord.org/records/3591591
https://hitrecord.org/records/3640407
https://hitrecord.org/records/3621800

Also hey, this blog exists again. What’s up with that? Since I’m no longer a student and my job doesn’t really tie into anything on here, I won’t be posting regularly. But I’m trying to establish a balance of work and projects so hopefully there’ll be a few things to put up here, if only for me (-:

 

HSS8123 – Three ‘Found’ Poems

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Excerpts from my final degree show project

MMXV (Lenz v. Universal Music)
m
y my, jukebox ravager
fame, metrosexual envy
my label’s moxy even,
mum waxes verdant!

Supreme Ruler: Trump Rising
Supreme Ruler Ultimate – Version 9.0.70 Changelog:
• Leaders for Modern World updated
• New Facilities available: Trump Tower, Trump Wall
• ISIS and Kurdistan are now active regions
• Units without a valid region now eliminated on load
• Greater use of high volatility settings
• Clear out product display data when a region dies
• Tactical nukes will now auto fire
These changes apply to all players regardless of whether they add the new Trump Rising DLC Content.

Derek Savage vs. I Hate Everything/Your Movie Sucks
Eager rage nerds grade adverse ads.
Dad Derek sees red, seeks erasage.
Dark saga ravages geeks, greed agrees.
Nerd evade adverse drek.
Derek deserves served.

 

HSS8123 – 20 Things I’ve Stolen, by David Weinberger

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  • I took an extra napkin from a Taco Bell for unspecified use “later.”
  • I sat on a bench on a hot day, enjoying the breeze as the man next to me fanned himself.
  • I read the headlines of a newspaper that was for sale in a kiosk box.
  • I divided a single-serving DingDong in two, and had it for dessert on two consecutive days.
  • I listened all the way through to a Metallica song emanating from my neighbor’s radio, but closed my window when the commercial came on.
  • I remembered the movie times in my newspaper from the day before so I wouldn’t have to buy a copy of the paper today.
  • When a friend’s cat chose my lap to sit in, I petted it, precisely to discourage it from moving to the lap of its rightful owner.
  • I said “What a long, strange trip it’s been” without air quotes.
  • On the Amtrak “quiet car,” I listened to a man in the seat ahead of me explaining to the bored woman next to him how he gets such a great shine on his shoes. I have since used his technique, successfully.
  • I have stared carefully at reproductions of great paintings.
  • I asked for and received a “tasting spoon” of mint pistachio ice cream, anticipating, correctly, that I would not like it.
  • I smelled the aromatherapy candles in an aisle in the Stop ‘n’ Shop.
  • Frequently have I browsed stores with absolutely no intent to purchase. On some such occasions, I have felt fabrics I did not intend to buy.
  • I placed a bag on the seat next to me on the subway.
  • I continued to wear in public running shoes after the Nike “swoosh” wore off.
  • In a Italian restaurant, I entered their “win a free lunch” contest by putting into the jar a business card from a job I had recently left, with my new phone number written in by hand.
  • I have retold the joke about the man who meets a pirate in a bar without ever once explicitly acknowledging that I was not its author.
  • I gazed with lust at another man’s bikini-clad wife.
  • I deeply inhaled the smell of popcorn in a movie theater, but I did not buy any.
  • One late summer evening, I purposefully and with intent committed to memory the purple of the clouds. That I still remember the edge of the chill was unpremeditated, however.

Poem stolen from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-weinberger/20-things-ive-stolen_b_116817.html

 

HSS8123 – It’s degree show season!

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Times are changing. I have a cool copywriting job, and my artsy postgrad is coming to an end (in that order, which is slightly inconvenient). I’m enjoying both, but it’ll be nice to not be multitasking quite so much.

Normally I would be posting about this on the course blog, but whaddya know, its been hacked (apparently by a Chinese viagra company, but I’m not sure I believe that rumour). So there will be a lot of lengthy blog posts happening here instead for the time being. Any posts marked with HSS8123 are related to my final degree show.

There’ll be a mix of stuff: some image dumps, some reflective posts, some sharing of relevant things I’ve stumbled across, and bits of content from the final show. If any of that sounds like your cup of tea, stay tuned, or check out the event page. For now, enjoy some silly teasers I put together while procrastinating the actual hard-work parts of the project:

 

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HSS8123 – Kanto Centos

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A cento is a poetical work composed of verses or passages taken from other authors
Wikipedia – Cento (poetry)

No matter what their specialties or aims, there is one code that they all follow—when two Trainers make eye contact, they must have a battle
Bulbapedia – Pokémon Trainer

 

Seafoam Islands
Hey, wait up! What’s the hurry?
You looked at me, didn’t you?
I never saw you at the party.
That glance… It’s intriguing.
What do you want? Why are you here?
Are you on vacation too?
I was getting bored.
Have you ever gone swimming in the sea at night?

The Fighting Dojo
We martial artists fear nothing!
I haven’t seen you around before. So you think you are pretty tough?
Nothing tough frightens me! I break boulders for training!
Hey there! I’ll take you on!
I’m going to take you down! Prepare to be shocked!
My chance of losing? Not even one percent!
Huh? Who? What?
That can’t be!

Silph Co. Office Building
You! How dare you enter uninvited?
It’s off limits here! Go home!
Our invisible walls have you frustrated?
Stumped by our invisible floor?
Does our unseen power scare you?
Why did you come here?
I don’t care if you’re lost.
Only the chosen can pass here!

Mt. Moon
What’s beyond the horizon?
Did you come to explore too?
What’s most important in everyday lives?
Ahh! Feel the sun and the wind!
The sea cleanses my body and soul!
Isn’t it relaxing just floating like this?

Ssh! My brain is picking up radio signals!

 

Seven Stories/Late Shows followup

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Its been such a busy few weeks that I’ve barely had time to take stock, but I’m very happy with how the event went. It was a real evening of discovery, with pop-up performances from the wonderful Doug Garry, Jayne Dent, Rowan McCabe, Rosie Calvert & Will Finn.

I still can’t quite process how great it was they were also keen to get on-board and delivered such killer performances. And nothing went wrong! No angry parents who heard their children being exposed to metaphors, and no keyboards dropped in the Ouseburn river. I’m so relieved, and so grateful to Seven Stories and the Culture Lab for making it possible.

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For a more detailed behind-the-scenes look, check out my course blog posts here and here, or watch some video clips from the event itself here! I wish I more time to write (i.e. enthuse endlessly) about this, but for now life is still coursework mayhem. Really interesting coursework mayhem – Creative Arts Practice is a wonderful course that has given me the chance to get stuck into a lot of cool things – but still. Maybe soon (-: