Saturday, October 31, 2009

Early Thoughts on Wave and Gaming

NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow, so predictably, I've been thinking a lot about gaming lately. If all goes well, things are going to continue to be quiet around here through the end of the month. Last year I quit NaNo early, partly because I got massively distracted by a sandbox I was working on, but mostly because the novel was terrible. So I'm hoping that doesn't happen this year.

Anyhow. The main thing that's had my attention lately, gaming and otherwise, has been Wave. Trollsmyth and I have been using it to chat about gaming and setting stuff, and it's been great for that. It's a more convenient format to re-read than e-mail, there's a lot of tools for organizing conversations, and most importantly, conversations have a lot more structure to them. Everyone talks about the real-time, simultaneous editing, and it does conversations run a lot faster, but being able to break a conversation into multiple streams, or head off in another direction if I think of another question a few days later, is the main advantage Wave has over my other forms of communication.

The improvement in my between-session activities is good enough to make it a permanent tool in my gaming arsenal, but naturally I've also been pondering the use of Wave as a gaming platform directly. There's a different ways here to adjust (and perhaps improve) traditional play-by-post gaming; in particular, Wave's editability suggests a lot of possibilities, and the ability to easily manage a number of Waves with different combinations of participants should come in handy as well.

Trouble is, one of the main things I like about the online chat gaming I've been digging so hard lately is the ease of immersion. The 15-minutes-a-day format of PbP doesn't really encourage that. It's got other advantages -- and I don't really have another spot for a 4-hour block of gaming in my life right now -- but that's still a serious drawback. So I'm starting to think about what would take the best advantage of the PbP format, if I was to run a game like that. There's no point running a game that I'd be happier with if it was in chat. If I'm going to use the medium, I want to do something with it that only it does well.

Unfortunately, right now when I ask my brain that question ("What would PbP do well?") it keeps spitting back "Vampires!" So I think I'm going to give it a few more weeks.


  1. Myself (and some friends) agree that WoD games are probably one of the best formats for Wave.

    I keep seeing people experimenting with D&D worlds on Wave, but there is just too much crunch for easy Wave use I think.

    I was actually thinking of Hunter rather then Vampire though. Possibly a game set in a Watchmen style 1980s setting.

  2. Ooh. Very nice. Yeah, I would never ever run a modern variant of D&D by post, and probably not by chat, either. Too much overhead, combat takes too long. I was actually a little worried that WoD would be *too* heavy -- I've been playing a lot of Labyrinth Lord and Swords & Wizardry lately, otherwise known as the "Ability checks? What's an ability check?" edition. Nevermind skills, etc. But I suppose it is a lot lighter than 3.5 and Associates, and if people have had success with it, that's encouraging.

  3. ...otherwise known as the "Ability checks? What's an ability check?" edition.

    Heh... Have to remember that one.