The Warden is one smart dude, and since he has decided to discuss his process creating the uber-secret Project Pheonix, I thought I’d do something similar.
Anyone following this blog has already had access to the Untitled Game System v1 document. UGS is the backbone and basis for the games that I’m going to be developing for my gaming group – Starship Commandos and A Team of Losers. Starship Commandos v1 Playtest document is done. I’m turning to A Team of Losers now, but as both games focus on military characters (present-day and future) much of what I have done for Starship Commandos will work well with A Team of Losers, as will a lot of the modern military stuff I did for the Spec Ops line of SEP.
But what am I trying to do? Having that target, that idea for what the rules are supposed to do, really helps in the design process. I will be frank with you – the very first games I designed, way back in university during the days of D&D 2E, had no real design philosophies but were built to work in a genre other than fantasy, so I had an SF game and a modern magic game. Following that, I had a long fallow period until coming home from Korea.
At the outset of SEP, I was publishing support material for d20, though I was still privately toying with design. These were mostly “fixes” of d20. It wasn’t until the desire to run games similar to the stories that I was writing led to Sword Noir: A Role-Playing Game of Hardboiled Sword & Sorcery.
Let’s be honest, Sword Noir was a hack on PDQ, more specifically, on Jaws of the Six Serpents. I really like Jaws, but it needed to be tweaked to do what I wanted to do. That tweaking led to wholesale revisions that led to Sword Noir.
Centurion: Legionaries of Rome was really the first game I designed from the ground up, purpose built for specific goals. Nefertiti Overdrive is a synthesis of the design goal approach of Centurion and the genre emulation of my earlier games.
UGS is closer to Centurion in its birth than Nefertiti Overdrive.
But that’s another story.
You can find the Warden talking about Project Phoenix here.