Frayed Knights developer Jay Barnson brings us another progress report for his multi-act indie RPG, with his latest focus being the challenges involved with coming up with and implementing good design ideas.
Instead, what seems to work best for me is also kind of a backwards approach to design. Instead of thinking about things in terms of their software-based game definitions, I find it is best for me to back up and draw upon my years (*cough*decadesdangIfeelold*cough*) of experience a game-master for dice-and-paper RPGs. I approach it as I would planning our Saturday night RPG sessions. I throw the door open to ideas, and try not to think about the constraints of the software we've developed. Approaching it from this higher level makes it easy. THEN I get down to the nuts and bolts of trying to figure out how to simulate it with the game mechanics.
Some ideas don't survive the translation into the limitations of the game engine very well. Quite frankly, the content and coding requirements for these ideas if I were to try and present them as literally and graphically as possible would be STAGGERING. As much as I'd rather show than tell, the limitations of time and budget, mean that I have to use smoke, mirrors, and text-boxes to present many aspects of the world. An elaborate ambush, an army of undead marching through the valley, an entire mountainside changing shape at the utterance of magical words, detailed AI behaviors those kinds of things are going to have to live primarily in text descriptions and in the player's imaginations.