Project Update: Rebooting Orchestra

Yeah, I’m not writing about Defender of Azekal today, because I’m still working on some system design stuff (namely how to handle loading of enemy data) that isn’t terribly interesting. For those interested, I’m working on arrays through a number of separate files that determine the enemies’ statistics and the animation they use for the battle. As I mentioned, trying to figure that out is probably not that interesting, unless you want to learn more about loading up lists in Stencyl, which I kind of doubt.

Orchestra, on the other hand, is a little more interesting to discuss for a broad audience. As some people may know, it got its start as a week-long writing brainstorm that I put up over on 1km1kt. It wasn’t very refined (as things written in a week tend to be), and generally failed to really create a deep or well-rounded games, I wrote it before I was really into game design theory (as a serious study), so it was not really thought through in many ways. In short, it hasn’t really seen the attention that it deserves-the StoryNexus world fleshed out the setting, but it hasn’t seen its own mechanics again. And its mechanics were pretty simple; it had an interesting system of die priorities and specializations, but other than that it wasn’t anything super great.

So what’s coming in the reboot? One of the things that I originally did was to limit the amount of setting in the game, to try to make it focused more on the rules than on the world. I’ll be going through and essentially adding the entire Codex to the game, and putting it in the prominent starting spot. In addition, I’ll include the Game Master’s Codex, for lore that few people would know in-universe but which impacts almost everything that people do at a mechanical level that might need more explanation.

Another thing I’m working on is a new die system. I’m going to be using a system similar to what I used in the first couple things of Rise of the Tenno, which is on hiatus until Warframe becomes more stable, and will probably wind up with a different system. The core that powers Orchestra will be a 2d20 probability curve with a combination of modifiers and limits; this allows characters to function pretty well without too much of a problem with unlimited scaling at high levels making the die essentially become an escalating factor (one of my major gripes with the d20 system is that characters just keep leveling up linearly and a level 20 and a level 1 are just the same character, but one has +20 and one has +1).

Off-hand, I’m aiming for Orchestra to be a “light” game, clocking in at about 90 pages. Of course, the first Orchestra was supposed to be 12, and came out at ~40, so we’ll see where it leads.

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