Flog [flo log]

Januar 29, 2008

roleplay gaming – interview part 1

Filed under: game based eVideo,LARP,rpg — gamerflo @ 11:42 pm
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Hello out there!

So far I haven`t said anything about games. Here is the first entry about games. I think it´s better to explain, how I´m connected to games and why there are people, who want know my opinion about it.

Looking back for the last 22 years I can’t remember a time, I didn’t think about creating fantastic worlds, funny scenes or generating atmospherically written stories. All this began in a ski vacation at school. Some of the pupils had one of the first versions of a new German role playing game with them. It was called DSA, which is an acronym for „the black eye“ (German= “ das schwarze Auge“). This game is based on another game from England, but if you want to know more about that, just look here for the German and here for the English explanation. So I started creating fantasy stories and enhanced the existing rules of these „pen&paper rpgs“.

Maybe I should give you a short introduction, how such a p&p game is played. At first, I have to mention it’s not a computer game I’m talking about! Even when there are many computer games on the market, which call themselves role playing games, it is not the same! Our computers today are brilliant machines, but there are still some social things missing. Computer games are not able to imitate exactly this form of atmosphere and fun, you can have with p&p games. I should better say: Not jet. And I hope the next generation of computer games will pick up the last missing points. But now, how does p&p role playing work:

Normally a few people meet and sit around a table and every person plays a character, which was generated by the player and arranged with the game master according to a certain game concept. Yes, there is always one person who must manage and control the game. The game master knows the adventure story the players have to pass through. The players interact by explaining their characters moves and chatting with one another. The game master tells the story and the players react with their characters. The goal of this game is seldom to reach a special point in the game, but to sit together, interact and to enjoy the fun and thrill of an adventure. Young players often try to demonstrate their strength and are easily fascinated by the experience points given by the game master to expand their character’s skills. Every character has skills and talents. These values define the characters strength, stamina, speed, intelligence, willpower etc. Every time the players meet, their characters get better and more experienced. In many pen&paper rpgs the players use dices to check, if the characters can perform a certain action. All in all it’s an easy game.

In the late 90th, I met some people who told me about larp (Ger.larp) and I was immediately infected by the larp-virus. At that time there were about 49 (1995) – 197 (1999) larp events in Germany a year. (Now you can find more than 60 conventions a month. Even the equipment production is a booming commercial industry.) So I went to some conventions and in 2000 I decided to start an own campaign. I wrote down the necessary rules and we organized our first larp event. In the coming March we will have our 27th event.

But why do I tell you all this?

About three months ago, my former university started offering an e-workshop about eLearning, games and eVideo, in which I decided to participate. In this context, Mrs. Wagner, our group co-ordinator and supervisor, asked me to share my knowledge about basic game playing concepts. So I hope, I can give some information about role playing as a common parlor game. Here are the first questions I have been asked, the next will be in the next blog entry:

A|C|Wagner: „Alright, let’s start: can all the role playing games you play, be attributed to the category larp?“

[flo log] : “ No, definitively not. Pen&paper rpgs and larp are two different type of games. Although there are common parts p&p and larp share, there are in fact important aspects, where these two games differ. When you sit around a table and talk to each other, you have to work with your brain. You have to listen carefully and to imagine what you hear. Then you have to describe and to react. Depending on the game you even need strategical skills. If you play a character on a larp convention, you need more courage for performing and acting. The other players watch your behavior and try to understand your figure and it’s motives. Both kinds of role playing, serve a wide spread range of genres, e.g.. One can choose between J.R.Tolkien-like fantasy, vampire and dark horror, historical events and science fiction. But back to your question. I, myself, play and create p&p rpgs, as well as larps and even computer rpgs.“

A|C|Wagner: “ I, myself, had to get an access to the topic larp via wikipedia first, so how can we actually imagine all that? Maybe we start talking about the conceptional phase of such games?! How does one start?“

[flo log] : „There are many ways to plan and to coordinate a larp event. There are several aspects and even more motivations for the management of an event, but I try to make a simple example: First of all some people decide to coordinate and plan a larp event. A story has to be invented, a location has to be organized and the players have to apply for this event. They pay a admission fee and the people who organize it, buy all the stuff for the story. This can be masks and make-up or cloth and ambiance stuff or even meals and drinks. When players sign up to be npcs (non player characters= players who are part of the storyline) they get their role description via email. The player who wants to explore the story using a character created by themselves, sends his or her character sheet to the organizer. This sheet gets checked against the game rules and the player will be informed if he or she can participate. After all this, there are a lot of preparations to make and then all the people meet at the location. The organizers give instructions and start the game. Mostly a game lasts a weekend and the players act their roles, even at night. If there are questions from players, they can always ask the organizers, who are among the players. When the game is over, all the people drive back home again.

->This is the technical part of a larp event. The conceptional phase of story lining depends on the people who design the event and many extern criteria. The surrounding conditions are important for every convention. What kind of location do I have and what can i do and what can’t I do there. Indoors or Outdoors? Which season do I choose? How many players do I want to coach? What kind of game do I prefer and what do I need for the implementation? What price per person do I calculate? And so on…“

A|C|Wagner: „Are there any game concepts available on the internet, upon which one can base one’s own game? What are they like?“

[flo log] : „Yes, there are thousands of ideas on the internet. Many organizers provide their players with, online platforms to communicate. In most cases, you will find a forum or at least an email-address. When you are friendly and the organizers are none of those, who just care for there purse, you can always ask for help.

The best way to create your own game, is a well batched mixture of a great story, good skills in project management and to have the right touch in understanding the players needs. The story should not be the problem. There are so many books and articles written about anything. You just have to choose and mix a little bit and you get a nice story. Project management is learnable. But the key for a really nice event is the third point. What do players expect? What does a player fantasize? There is no secret recipe for a successful game. Players want to communicate and to have free time for social interaction, they want a solitary experience, they want to explore and to fantasize. They also want to understand the world they interact with. And one of the most wanted issues is emotion. When you can create emotional moments, they will never forget this experience.“

A|C|Wagner: „And how do players find each other? (are there actually any women who participate in such games?)“

[flo log] : „The internet! If you type „larp“ in google you get about 1.760.000 German entries. Thilo Wagners Larpkalender is one of the best webaddresses to find larp events near to your home. At your last event we had, were about 60% women but it depends on the genre. Numbers of women participating, have been increasing over the last years.“

If you have any questions just leave a comment and I will answer them in the next interview.

Januar 10, 2008

Internet here I am!

Filed under: Journeys — gamerflo @ 11:55 am
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I wish everyone a happy new year! Maybe not everyone but all these people who know me. So what happened the last 2 weeks?

I have been to France. With 2 friends I went over the Chistmas holidays to the northwest part of France more exactly said to the Brittany. We left Berlin and had about -2 degrees. When we arrived there were about 10 degrees. Juhu! Altough the travel was long and ardous we had our fun. The car (a VW Polo = a small German car) was not really unconfortable but in fact we filled it up to the roof with our luggage for 3 weeks. Most of the time we felt like sitting in a can. After 18 hours we arrived in Treouergat. (Don´t know how to pronounce it). I was very happy to stretch myself again.

Treouegat is a Place where is no receiption with the mobile phone and where the word „Internet“ is not known I bet!

For the last 3 years I can`t remember a time having 2 weeks no Internet.

Our house was really nice. 2 floors, 2 bathrooms, a well equipped kitchen and a fire-place! And the best thing, we were expected by a high class 5 stars menue with several special meals from the Bretagne. „The cook“ made these holidays to a palate joy.

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If you are used to become awake before the computer reading the first emails an checking the daily blogs (like I am) it is very strange looking halfawake on your screen realizing that there will be no connections and no incoming news. The next days I nearly forgot all the IT things which I actually wanted to do in my freetime. And so I did the only reasonable. I enjoyed my time with my friends.

I never thought that much about my time. Reading news, blogs and articles everyone of us finds more or less interesting steals so much of my time. So I decided to limit myself in 2008. I decided to waste daily not more than 2 hours for the Internet.

Resolutions for the new year! Yeah!

The rest of my time in France I visited some cultural places and had many walks at the rocky coast. I felt the hard salty wind of the atlantic ocean on my skin and enjoyed the ‚wild‘ nature.

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Back in Berlin I unpacked my bags and my computer immediately began to talk to me:“I need energy! Give me something to do, please.“ I tryed to do my best and to stay hard to myself. OK, not more then 2 hours a day. But this day I still had still my 2 hours!

2 hours later I was very happy about all these news, blogs and videos „my internet“ offers to me. 2 hours got 4. 4 got 8. 8 got 24.

Internet I am back. Happy new year Internet!

Dezember 1, 2007

Just started

Filed under: game based eVideo — gamerflo @ 11:18 am

Content will come soon…. 

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