hey matt what should the default key bindings for my pc first person shooter be?

I'm glad you asked.

(some people have different needs than what i'm going to talk about, because they have german keyboards or dvorak keyboards or non-standard hands, so you should let them bind their own keys, but let's assume we're working with qwerty keyboards and a standard set of hands, and you want to bind the default keys to something that doesn't piss most players off)

you're using wasd to move.

know that not everybody uses the same home keys. some people use shift-awd, with the middle finger on w (type i) and others use awdv, with the index finger on w (type ii)

know that some functions are needed all the time (like while the character is moving) so every player should be able to hold w and still get use of those functions.

when holding w, most (type i) people have access to this set: [ctrl]-[shift]-[caps]-[tab]-q-ert-fg-c (but not v)

when holding w, most (type ii) people have access to this set: q-erty-fgh-vbn (but not c)

assume that most people can't hit the keys outside of those sets without hurting their hands.

(there is a larger set, that includes all the keys on that side of the keyboard, that you're allowed to use for any function that the player doesn't need to use, while moving.)

the intersection of these two sets is qer-fg, so those are the only keys you can assume every player always has access to, even while moving - so only use those keys.

c-and-v are almost usable, everybody can get to at least one of those keys. what you should do is map the same function to both keys. have them cycle through spells or weapons or something.

(when I say "only use these keys" I'm being capricious, what i mean is "think about this shit")

star wars rpg

star wars is a bad setting for crpgs because, ultimately, light sabers do not simulate well as rpg weapons. It says on the box - where the box is one of the world's most beloved movie series - that it can cut through anything. You can't do that with dice rolls, because a jedi would not miss that often. If you strike a man with a light saber it should cut off his limbs, not just his bags of hit points. It's a disabling weapon as much as it is a parrying weapon. The same with blasters - in the films a shot with a blaster will kill a man. These are deterministic mechanics. They could be done in a tactics game, where the player controls a small force of expendable units.

In fact, there's a bunch of ways you could design a game to carefully represent the mechanics as they exist in the setting, but what you ought to do instead is design something that plays well. This is the ultimate problem with using an established setting, because a game doesn't play out like a movie or a book - and shouldn't.

If you map exactly to how the setting works, the game won't be fun. If you make it fun, it won't map exactly to how the setting works - and it won't feel like star wars.

iron chef

other things that could be redone as iron chef style events
-architecture, building
-drawing, painting, sculpture
-carpentry
-birding
-music
-something fashiony like hair and makeup
-making mechanical stuff: vehicles cars, boats, planes, motorcycles, machines for a given purpose.
-dance
-fighting... getting back into sports here, which is probably wrong.

Should not neccessarily be something creative, but has to be something skill based or competitive.

The whole thing is to take something mundane and make it into an event - with commentators and everything. It's a celebration of stuff we don't usually celebrate, or not like this.

But the thing that makes iron chef special - rather than top model or contender and the rest of those - is that the thing is almost fetishized. They ham it up, and then they play it as if it was straight - and this is important.

The analogy is something like you get when you compare pro wrestling to boxing, for example. This is a hard analogy because pro wrestling is such a terrible show.

But this bit: they make the contestants into characters. They make the contest into a performance - but they play it straight. has to be played straight.

fairy chess rpg

see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairy_chess_piece

chess pieces can have two sets of movement rules - they either move, or move and capture. the set of moves you make to capture can be different from the set of moves you make ordinarily.

leapers
these move a set number of places orthogonally in each direction - the knight is a (2,1) leaper. they usually use the same move to capture.

some of these have designated names in muslim versions of chess.
wazir(1,0) dabbaba (2,0)
fers (1,1) knight (2,1)
alfil (2,2)

a king can move like a wazir and a fers.
an alibabba can move like a dabbaba and an alfil.

these ones are also named on wikipedia, but they don't sound as cool. It'd be a good idea to invent muslim names for these pieces.

threeleaper (3,0)
camel (3,1)
zebra (3,2)
tripper (3,3)


riders
riders move an unlimited distance in one direction, but cannot pass through other pieces. In a orthodox chess game, a rook is a (1,0) rider, a bishop is a (1,1) rider, and a queen can move like a rook and a bishop.

you can extend any leaper to make a rider - knightriders, (2,1) riders, are pretty common. generally, the nomenclature is just to stick -rider on the end of the name.

hoppers
hoppers move by jumping over other pieces - in those cases the pieces are called hurdles. A hurdle can be any piece of any colour. in chess variants, the hopper usually captures by landing on the same square as the captured piece. A hopper that captures pieces by jumping over them - as in checkers - is called a locust.

you get pieces that move as leapers or riders but capture as hoppers.

you also get hoppers that move as leapers or riders, but which must end their turn with a hop. The grasshopper is a hopper than moves like a queen but ends with a hop.

possible general nomenclature for this would be some prefix like assassin - so the grasshopper would be an assassin queen.

The special thing about making chess-based tactics games is that units are fragile - do not have hit points - and are limited. This is worth preserving even as rpgtactics stuff is added.

what rpgtactics stuff could we add? defender classes that protect nearby units. constructions like walls, etc. probably a bunch of interesting setting stuff.

i'm not sure if i would want to make it a one character deal, like chessrogue.

unit prototyping, as in diablo, or as in 4x space games - alpha centauri is the one i think of.

trade versus plunder

pinker talks about this here (thanks jack) and it has an application in games, where

-plunder is a zero sum game (you win whatever I lose)
-trade is a positive sum game (everybody wins, but less immediate gain and more long-term gain)

combat in d&d is a kind of plunder (you kill the guy and take all his stuff) - but most other npc interaction is also pretty plunderey.

so in d&d is it better to
a) let the players screw over npcs (and the dm)
b) treat npcs (and the dm) as people, the same you would treat players
c) have the npcs (and the dm) screw over the players
d) all of these things

if the idea is to create a fair (ie non-violent) society, what you do is to always avoid unfair trading, and treat npcs (people you don't care about) as if they were players (people you care about).

this way everybody wins, and this is what happens in actual societies in the real world over time, simply because people are risk averse (which is why you get societies with less crime, racism, torture, war, slavery and animal cruelty over time) - that's the crux of what pinker's new book is about: we are better people than our ancestors were, because that's the winningest strategy, because wherever there's a deviation from fair trade the injured party will find a way to force the other party to trade fairly. societies naturally (which is not to say easily) find the solution where all parties have to manage the least risk, or at least, societies should want to do this, if fairness is the goal.

but that's contrary to the nature of games like d&d (i.e risk is good, conflict is good, everybody should not win, usually the players should win, the game is more fun when the players are dicks)

the question is, what does this do to your gameworld over time? how can you design a gameworld that persists as a gameworld even when the players are dicks?

milestones

(suggested tabletop rpg construct)

milestones are interesting bits in the story. probably this means the group story, not individual player stories.

you track milestones encountered per day - the 'daily tally', and milestones encountered since the previous level up - the 'larger tally'.

when they rest, and begin the next day, their hp is restored, but the daily tally resets to 0.

have them add the daily tally to every skill roll. have powers that do different stuff at later milestones. later in the day you're running out of hp, but your abilities are more effective.

every 10 (or whatever) milestones in the larger tally, level up.