Sunday, 9 April 2017

Character Creation, information flow.

Having parsed most of the character creation text, I am finding myself unsatisfied with my initial design for the creation process (see fig1 1. Hyperlink).

My original goals
  1. Create a short condensed character creation flow with minimal page flipping. Quick, obvious.
  2. Allow players to pick/roll results and get a feel (excited for) their character without getting bogged down in mechanics.
  3. Leave richer information/explanations to be cross-referenced later by the player if they desired a deeper understanding.
However! This hyperlink concept is not working as well as I'd hoped with BREAK!! because:
  1. Numerous sub-processes are required for different callings (classes) which complicate the flow. (fig1 4. Sub-processes)
  2. Complex information (stats, gear, blah) is accumulated and modified during the flow and can't be hand waived away to look up later.
While my hyperlink flow might work well for an interactive document, it felt unnecessarily complex for a print book. I tried to solve this buy bringing data/stats into the chargen section (fig1 3. Hybrid) to solve Problem 2 but this bloats the design (conflicting with my original goals) and doesn't help with Problem 1.

A solution?
Maybe the old way is the best. A long and linear approach (fig1 2. Linear). This is good because:
  1. Exceptions are dealt with/explained at time of creation.
  2. You only flip forward (clear sense of progress). 
But bad because:
  1. You get bogged down in detail.
  2. The key chargen tables are spread out over many pages, annoy for those familiar with the mechanics (I know, stick tables together in an appendix)
Flow analysis
Anyway, I visualised how information is extracted from the various structural approaches to see if it would help me design a solution. Not sure if it did, but it's a nice infographic.
  • Blue lines show references to other parts of the doc to collect information.
  • Dotted blue lines, return to chargen flow.

fig 1 - Character Generation Flow Analysis

 Still thinking...

1 comment:

  1. One option would be to have a quick reference section, either at the front of the book, as a separate free rpg day style booklet, or as a free pdf. That would let you get to do things both ways, althought with the downside of a longer book or more places for people to look. Without an app(preferably) or a hyperlinked pdf its a tough challenge. Its nice to see you thinking about/writing about this. I havent seen too many people discuss the challenge. How to make a book that can work equally well as a reference book and an instuction manual, when what makes it good at one makes it bad at the other.