[MUD-Dev] d20

Travis Casey efindel at earthlink.net
Tue Aug 14 10:56:07 New Zealand Standard Time 2001


Saturday, August 11, 2001, 10:13:36 AM, Michael Tresca wrote:
> On Monday, August 06, 2001 8:00 PM maddog at best.com posted:

>> I am still not convinced that D20 is the ultimate game mechanics
>> for computer-based (or should i say "mediated"?) fantasy
>> role-playing.  Do you guys think so? I did spend 4 nanoseconds on
>> a translator for D20 to D200.

> Rather moot, really.  That's like saying, "I get bored with the
> Windows environment so I will not develop my game for it."

> Why, yes you will develop your game for it.  Because if there's
> lots of people using it, you'll make lots of money.  Unless of
> course you're not in the business of making money.

There's a fallacy here -- the assumption that the larger potential
group of consumers is always better.  There are people who make --
and sell -- software that runs on Unix variants, but not on Windows.
They do this for several reasons, but here's two major ones:

 1 - They're not *only* interested in making money, but have other
 interests.  E.g., providing the best, most stable solution they
 can.

 2 - While the Windows market may be bigger, there's also a lot more
 competition.  Take TheKompany, for example, make Kapital (a
 personal finance manager for Linux/KDE).  They don't produce a
 Windows version.  Why not?  Well, I don't know them, but I'd guess
 that because in Windows, they'd have to compete with Quicken and
 Microsoft Money.  To do so, they'd either have to make their
 product a lot cheaper, or add a lot more features to it.

> It's easy to put down a game system.  They all have flaws.  But
> the assumption that you should develop for only the QUALITY (game
> system, platform, etc.) is to assume that the general populace has
> enough knowledge to know what's good and bad.  This is simply not
> true in the majority of cases.  The market ends up being flooded
> by folks with more advertising money than the folks who make a
> rival quality product.

> One of the Gen Con seminars about starting your own game company
> was very insightful.  As the panel put it, "if I slap the D20 logo
> on my RPG and I see sales double, what do you think I'm going to
> do?  Want to be different and poor?  Be my guest."

Of course, you'll note that, to date, only one major game company
besides WotC has produced a d20 RPG -- thus, there's very little
evidence to support the idea that a d20 logo would double sales of
an RPG.  It should also be noted that WotC's d20 license allows them
to pull the rug out from under you at any moment -- under the terms
of the license, they may change the license at any time, and you
have 90 days in which to cease distribution of any materials that
don't meet the new license.  According to their FAQ, this means you
must contact all distributors who still have copies of those
materials and have them destroyed -- at your expense, of course.

Further, the d20 STL doesn't allow you to produce a complete game --
you are not allowed to include certain information necessary for a
new player to understand character creation and advancement.

And lastly, it's all moot for online games anyways, unless you want
to go MUSH "a human GM enforces the rules" style, or try to
negotiate a license with WotC.  The d20 STL cannot be used with any
game in which the rules are implemented by a computer.

> D20 may not be the ultimate game mechanics system for
> computer-based FRPG.  It does, however, have a recognized presence
> in the pen-and-paper RPG world.  If you want those customers to
> play your CRPG, it may be worth exploring.

The pen-and-paper RPG world is small, compared to the computer
gaming RPG world -- most of whom won't have much of an idea what the
"d20 System" is.  Further, while d20 has a recognized presence in
the pen-and-paper world, that doesn't mean it's a *desired*
presence.  It could be that the d20 logo will help things sell, but
there's no proof of that yet.

--
Travis Casey
efindel at earthlink.net

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