[Rockistan] Web-Based PBM Questions

edited May 2007 in Story Games
This is ultimately a technology question.

A couple years ago I wrote a game called Rockistan for some friends and co-workers. The idea is that you're in a newly-democratic country, and you must bring the Rock to your people. The core of the game feels solid, although the rulebook and specifics need serious rewriting/thinking. Every week or two each player hands in orders which consist of a move for each of 10 turns, you have a number of different things you can do. There is a random element with modifiers for each move, depending on the state of your band and its members. The outcome of each move is interpreted by the GM, who reports the results to you. Role-playing mostly occurs in the context of correspondence with the other players via in-game messages or e-mail (as well as public postings).

How difficult would it be to create a web form that dumped each band's moves into a database which did some of the turn processing automatically? How difficult would it be to have each band have an individualized form, with different options available depending on what the band's status is. Ex: some bands may be able to book gigs at certain clubs, but not others. It would be best if only available clubs showed up.

I don't see this as a MMORPG like The Rockstar Game, but rather a 6-20 person Play By Mail game, and it would be nice to be able to introduce new people relatively easily by just pointing them at the form for their band.

Comments

  • edited May 2007
    Remi, if you're talking about automated moves, stored in a database, evaluated by a server script of some kind...it's pretty easy, really.

    Individualised options for bands: fine too.

    As with all these things, it depends exactly what you want, but if it's all fairly mechanistic...yeah, fine.

    Graham
  • edited May 2007
    Graham, where would be a good place to begin learning how to do this? I admit, I'm a bit intimidated by the technical aspects of this project, which is why I posted her on story games.

    For example, can I automate the options available to the bands? Like if their Charisma is past a certain threshold , they can always do an interview?

    What about extensibility? It seems like it would be good to start out with a simple system and add options as the game moves along, but how does one build with this in mind?

    I see the database handling all of the randomization stuff, tracking bands as they go along, opening up new options as bands improve. The GM would add commentary, make up new venues and characters as needed, and be generally responsible for the color in the game.

    What about having some way to dump the information into a simple report that could then be annotated and posted on the band's page?
  • edited May 2007
    Oh...sorry, Remi...I see, you're thinking of doing it yourself.

    It's an easy programming task, but it is a programming task (unless someone knows a shortcut I don't). So, when I said "it's easy", I meant it's an easy task in something like PHP. But that requires learning PHP.
    Graham, where would be a good place to begin learning how to do this? I admit, I'm a bit intimidated by the technical aspects of this project, which is why I posted her on story games.
    It really depends what you'd want to do. Would you want to go to the trouble of learning PHP? I mean, it's not impossible: that's what I did to write Breaking The Ice online. But it's a task.
    What about extensibility? It seems like it would be good to start out with a simple system and add options as the game moves along, but how does one build with this in mind?
    That's definitely possible, providing the database is designed so that adding options doesn't require redesigning everything. You'd have to ensure that the options didn't unbalance the game, though.

    I'll pause for a moment and wait for other software people to come in. They'll spot things I haven't and, quite possibly, tell me why I'm talking complete rubbish.

    Graham
  • edited May 2007
    Posted By: Graham WOh...sorry, Remi...I see, you're thinking of doing it yourself.
    Well, I'd be happy if someone would do it for me (or shepherd me through the process), but my base assumption is that this is something I will have to do myself. Basically this is an old idea that still has a lot of promise in my eyes, and I'd like to play it with people. (Just thinking about applying some of the story-games ideas to this excites me. Will you sacrifice your relationship with your girlfriend who has supported you for the last eleven turns to have The Perfect Gig?)
  • You could do it with a MySQL database, PHP and some HTML knowledge - so that means hosting that supports it. The database schema can be designed to be somewhat extensible, and really how solid the database is will enable (or restrict) what you can do with the app. I'm not an expert on MySQL or PHP but I've done database programming. What you're talking about isn't too complex.
  • Pretty much any basic hosting deal these days will toss in PHP and MySQL support. They're both open-source, well-supported and stable. What you're describing is not a complicated use of them.

    I taught myself PHP out of the excellent O'Reilly PHP Cookbook plus some Googling.

    WebReference.com is, as always, worth checking out for PHP tutorials.

    SQL for Web Nerds is a good introductory tutorial to databases.
  • Thanks, everyone! Hopefully I'll be back in a couple months looking for players!
Sign In or Register to comment.