Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Gaming Craft

I like gaming. The social aspect is fun, yes, and story telling, but it's this whole crafting/art project portion that really hooks me.

As I've aged I'm finding it a little harder to just make things willy nilly without thought as to why or for what purpose. I've tucked about as many little monsters about the house as Adam will let me. I've given ones to many friends and all family members. Why make more things? Well, making things is FUN! But... why? That's where gaming comes in. Now I'm making not just "something" but rather a prop or an accessory. A visual aid for something that involves more people than just me. Purpose.

D & D : Prep is fun

Up until this point I've mostly been playing in games but 2016 is the year I dip my toe in trying to run them. Picked up the D&D 5e suite of books/rules and have run 2 little one-shot games for my friends. Wouldn't say they've been that successful but I've definitely enjoyed having friends over and having an excuse to think creatively. The first game involved a 2 level map where I drew the ground on graph paper and then had a tree branch level drawn with dry erase markers on a glass shelf (resting on several cardboard tube tree trunks). The second involved a dungeon map slowly revealed as people explored it.

D & D : ready for that dungeon crawl

Turns out peeling off square by painful square of "fog of war" isn't super fun. Also, candy colored "fog of war" really doesn't add to the "dungeon crawl" vibe... The problem wasn't the taping down (that actually worked super well) but just the general scrabbling for a hold on tiny paper piece in order to pick up. One takeaway from it though was that drawing the map was a good exercise in thinking about the story and helping me build out an idea. Drawing is my best way of building a narrative- something I've known for a while.

Rogue Trader : Homework

Another delightful gaming craft recently worked on was the Rogue Trader Yu'Vath Battlestation Assault Plan. Given a rather math-y description of a patrolling ships around a point of interest, friend Nate and I wrote a little simulator to help find the best approach. Mind you, this is for a game I'm not even in. Was thrilled to have a valid reason to use the three.js library again and limber up my mind, wrapping it around 3D math/space/modeling. Not sure how long Nate will host it for, but the simulation is up at this site right now. [code posted on Github]

Monsterhearts : The PCs
While not really a craft, I've found games (mine but especially others') to be an excellent source of sketching and art. Friend Kelly drew the characters from a game and then flattered me by asking to help with inking/coloring it. I appreciate that with her effort/interest/involvement I managed to overcome the wall of white space most my sketches hang in and provide the vaguest of something for background (drawing backgrounds being my majorly failed 2015 New Years resolution). Never mind the fact that it's mostly a munged photo I found on the Internet...

I was going to follow this up with several more gaming sketches but alas this week's plot didn't get far enough...

Named arrows fly better

Along the gaming craft tangent: applying game content to other activities. Friend Suko and I continue our once-a-month shooting. I've marked my arrows with names of 4th Terminus characters and not only does it help me improve my aim/track my shot history but it also tells a story with every round. "Oh Hayley, once again going off target. Morgan, always flies true. Jayce, right where I send him and look at that- the Jaya arrow is snug up against him. Again." What I need to do now is figure out a better way to label the arrows. Right now I've scribbled the names on the nocks (over half of which need to be re-aligned) but the ink rubs off so easily there.... Anyway, the important take away is that once I named my arrows and could track which offset/corrections were needed for each I was able to hit the bullseye three times with the arrow named Jaya. Just saying. The other arrows need to start pulling their weight.

In conclusion gaming is fun. Friends are great, telling stories with them is a fantastic way to pass the time, and using said content to overlay on other actives makes everything better.

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