BLOG POST SIX - REWORKING GAME DESIGN THEORY FOR DYSTOPIA RISING: EVOLVED

Today we are going to talk a bit about general design concepts instead of focusing just on mechanical theory. As I see commentary and discussion happen in regards to the mechanical design theory for Dystopia Rising, I realize that there is an "invisible" design concept involved in the creation of Dystopia Rising that may not be apparent to the outside world. 

So today we are going to go into a design philosophy I have that could be entitled –

Meta-Design:
Encouraging Stranger Engagement (aka making friends mechanics)

An interesting thing that is obvious to me, but may not be obvious the everyone else, is one of the largest meta-design focus of the DR LARP system. The focus I am talking about is that nearly every skill, every resource, and every mechanical device is designed around the idea of causing excuses for players to interact with each other.

Dystopia Rising LARP is a build based on the core meta-mechanical idea of “skills allow you to engage large and live an epic life, while encouraging players to interact with strangers”. In combat, teams have the advantage over individuals. Teams with better gear do better than teams without gear. Gear production is created by people who have taken part of their build to be non-combat related. Production people are either completely devoted to the economy game or have combined combat and production skills with professions that are resource management based skill professions. Producers that take combat skills or want to produce on a larger scale need to work with players who have chosen resource management as part of their build.

To simplify I use the example of a single crafted sword. Someone needs to wield the sword, someone needs to make the sword, someone needs to make the workbench that the sword is made on, someone needs to get the resources for both the sword and the workbench together. This causes not only a flowing simulated economy, but also triggers the real economy of Dystopia Rising: player to player engagement.

Player to player engagement is steering by design that goes into the Dystopia Rising system. Your friends you made at Dystopia Rising, it is incredibly common that you interacted with a person as their character before you interacted with a person as themselves. The alibi provided by the game, the design steering to give you excuses to want to engage new people, and the meta-story of “us latching together against the rest of the world” are all design decisions made to help players have a more enjoyable time by interacting with each other.

So, when you are thinking about suggesting that a single Profession should have all of the means to be self-sufficient, when you want to add a skill to a Strain so that it becomes more standalone efficient, understand that single person efficiency isn’t always the goal of the system design. We make professions have holes so that players have excuses to play well with others.