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A new play by mail game from GrimFinger - Printable Version

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A new play by mail game from GrimFinger - GrimFinger - 03-02-2011

Over the last few days, I have been fiddling with formats for a new play by mail game that I want to try my hand at running. My aim is for something very small, for a relative handful of players, one very simple in design, and hand-moderated, rather than computer moderated (aka automated).

My inclination, at the moment, is to utilize PDF format for the turn results. The game, itself, will be predominantly text-based, but with PDF format, at least I have a little more flexibility with font sizes for the output of turn results, compared to going with a straight forward ASC II text format.

Right now, I am trying to sort through the layout of the turn results, in order to determine which sub-set of information lies where, in relation to other sub-sets of information, in the overall sequence of things. It's not a crucial thing, I'm sure, but rather, largely an exercise in aesthetics.

I post this message, primarily to let site visitors learn that some progress is being made with this game. The game, itself, will likely end up being a learning exercise for myself, to try and teach myself how I can run a PBM game in the current day and age.


RE: A new play by mail game from GrimFinger - Ramblurr - 03-06-2011

Awesome! Can't wait to learn more about it.


RE: A new play by mail game from GrimFinger - GrimFinger - 03-07-2011

(03-06-2011, 10:30 PM)Ramblurr Wrote: Awesome! Can't wait to learn more about it.

Since I am not a programmer, my approach is looking at three different options.

(1) PFS: First Choice - This is what I used to run a play by mail game in the old days. I ran it using an Emerson 386SX PC compatible with a 40MB hard drive and 1MB of RAM in conjunction with a Panasonic 1124i dot matrix printer. Since I used it before, I know that this approach can be used, although computer and printer combination would be different, now.

(2) Alpha Five relational database software - I purchased Alpha Five several years ago for this very purpose, but I have never bothered to take the time to actually figure out how to set everything up as I need it set up. I e-mailed an Alpha Five programmer type fellow a few weeks ago, inquiring about setting things up for me, but I have never heard back form him, as of yet.

(3) Open Office - More recently, I have lightly experimented with using Open Office, since I use it on my computer at home. The database aspect of it can probably be tied into the game, so that the turn results can be at least partially updated in a quasi-automated way.


For a theme/setting for the game, I have pondered space conquest, prehistoric era, inner-Earth scenario, Martian invasion, and even a Biblical off-take, to include a few.

The Biblical off-takes that I have pondered as a theme/setting include a Mark of the Beast scenario, for one, and a mid-Genesis or post-Genesis event.


RE: A new play by mail game from GrimFinger - Ramblurr - 03-07-2011

Hm. I imagine PFS might be a headache to get up and running on a modern computer, maybe not though. Alpha Five looks like quite a powerful system, hopefully you'll get a response from them.

Quote: I have pondered space conquest, prehistoric era, inner-Earth scenario, Martian invasion, and even a Biblical off-take, to include a few.
Those last three are particularly interesting... I would definitely give one of them a go.

Where in the continuum from top-down (i.e., big picture) strategy to single-character RPG style are you leaning?


RE: A new play by mail game from GrimFinger - GrimFinger - 03-08-2011

(03-07-2011, 08:33 PM)Ramblurr Wrote: Where in the continuum from top-down (i.e., big picture) strategy to single-character RPG style are you leaning?

I am not leaning towards a single-character RPG. I am more inclined to go the conquest route, with multiple characters controlled by the player, as well as armies.

I am not a big fan of economic-intensive games, so it would not be very likely to have a lot of details, from an in-game economy standpoint.




RE: A new play by mail game from GrimFinger - ixnay - 03-22-2011

Are you on a windows machine? MS Access is fairly powerful for small databases, and makes forms and reports pretty easy (unless you want to get tricky.) The guys who are remaking Empyrean Challenge are using it. On the mac side, I hear Filemaker is very good.

If you find yourself trying to implement something technical and come across any stumbling blocks, please let me know if I might be of any help!


RE: A new play by mail game from GrimFinger - JonO - 03-25-2011

I don't use it but SQL Server Express might be worth looking at, simply because it has more graphical interfaces available for it that cut down on the scut work than anything else - mySQL is my own first choice, but even the free edition there is a full fledge database and the freebie front end is not very intuitive.

Speaking of database management systems, did you know that the original version of Illuminati-PBM was written in dBase II? All of the logic was handled in procedures, and Draper was limited to having 64 variables at a time.