Our ultimate goal for NecroMech is to become an Augmented TRPG. A TRPG that utilizes digital technology, while retaining the rolling of dice and use of miniatures, to take immersive, in-person “around the table”, gameplay as far as it can go before players have to don their sword and shield and head out into the woods. But we realize that Rome was not built in a day…
The first step is to release NecroMech, January 2018, as a Tabletop Roleplaying Game (TRPG) that people want to play. A TRPG that is delivered digitally through subscription with on-going dynamic content update. A TRPG that starts to take advantage of integrated digital content to enhance gameplay, including adventure photos, video, story narration, and Non-Player Character (NPC) dialog.
However, despite an easy to learn and use rule system, when trying to maintain believability, there are going to be circumstances where an encounter is complicated. Irrespective of how well the rules are designed for playability they can become onerous and slow the pace of gameplay. Consequently, the second step is the development of the App-based N.E.R.V.E. or NecroMech Encounter Resolution and Virtualization Engine. N.E.R.V.E. will be designed to remove the need for the players and Game Master (GM) to have to work through the calculations inherent in any given encounter, leaving them to focus on the storytelling and action. In essence separating “the art from the science”. With an intuitive User Interface (UI) that effectively takes Participant data, the “who” is involved, Environment data, the “where” is the encounter happening, and Action data, the “what” is being attempted, to generate a simple Outcome – the percentage chance of success.
This will also require development of our own delivery platform – NecroMech Central. A cloud-based deployment for Player Portal, Content Management and Subscription Management. This includes the support of annotation, user-defined external content links, search, bookmarking, and other usability enhancements.
The third step takes Encounter Data into the cloud and adding a Simulated Intelligence Personal Assistant for TRPGs. Although the ultimate scope of what will be possible with a “gameplay assistant” and recorded encounter history has yet to be imagined, features could include:
- Inherent situational awareness, where for example, the description of a “warehouse at night” is sufficient to generate all required environment parameters, or the players geographical location alters bribery parameters.
- Automatically present the player with options for a given situation based on “best fit”, “player personality”, “encounter history”, etc. For example, use a cudgel rather than a knife in dealing with a female guard.
- Introduce a level of variability outside normal parameters… history of a character’s physical condition, similar past interaction, luck, etc.
- Intelligent Non-Player Characters (NPCs) that automatically decide on their actions based on circumstance with only character design determined by the GM not specific actions.
- Prompting players about past “contacts” that could help in the current situation (without them having to record or remember).
In parallel we will continue to pursue integration with:
- Digital Gameplay Surface(s) for dynamic encounter management and display, use of additional digital assets such as drill-down images/animations of doors and locks, and automatic miniature position recognition.
- Augmented Reality (AR) glasses that support Heads-Up-Display (HUD) of situationally relevant information, content look-up, as well as cut scene animation of dealing with that pesky opponent.
- 3rd Party Tools vendors for maps, character (sheet) management, etc.
As well as:
- Support of 3rd party generated content and associated subscription revenue share model.
- Game store revenue sharing through (custom) pre-paid subscription cards and unique digital content; reversing the trend of dis-intermediating the game store as more and more TRPGs go to digital (predominantly PDF) distribution.
- Turning the game store (and other venues) into a value-add gameplay destination, where players would be willing to pay-to-play.
You can follow more on this subject in our LinkedIn Group Augmented TRPG
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