This past weekend the BattleTech Line Developer made a visit to my area. While in part a long-overdue vacation, he also came to visit with the idea we would talk about the next several years of game development. So on Friday we roped in our second assistant, Paul, and got down to business.
While obviously I can’t really divulge what exactly we discussed, we did decide to share a little of the experience with the game’s fans. The “trolling” was done in good fun, posting photos of our efforts and discussions. But most of the time, we hunkered down and got several hours’ worth of work completed, including a product list through 2015 and timeline projections through 2018. Main plot points were solidified, along with cause-and-effect events. New and old factions decided, technology across several ranges debated, and some character “types” framed out.
By and large, the building of a timeline and event profile is mostly done through discussion. We start by looking at what we want the universe to look like at a certain time stop. Then it’s a discussion of how to get there, using broad story arc strokes. From that, we can flesh out some of the subplots and causal events. What we end up with is a firm story “skeleton” that we can then use to hang various future products on.
What products we decide on are driven in a large part by the market and higher company goals. These goals can range from number of products (print, electronic, etc) to types of game material (RPG, rules, TROs, plot books). Suffice to say, we hit all those points in developing a product timeline through 2015 and sketching additional material for the following 3 years.
Now, readers may be salivating thinking I’m going to share tidbits or clues for the future. Sorry, but no dice. With full control of the timeline and an “uncharted” direction ahead, we’re going to be pretty cagey from here on out about what’s coming. Nothing personal, mind. Just business. 😉
The following day, we met up with my gaming group, the Turkish Prison Crew. We had a special game event lined up, using a blend of TacOps, ATOW, and house rules. The event was a standard grinder format using all of the units found in the XTRO e-pub series. Even the satellite and patrol boat.
Typically, nukes were unleashed on the battlefield, ending one of the best gaming grinds in recent memory.
During the game, we wanted our group to provide suggestions for what they’d like to see in the coming years for the timeline. While much of what they suggested are clearly jokes…you never know…
(Oh, and for the record: we didn’t actually playtest anything over the weekend. In case people wondered.)