The Hit Parade: Connecting Storytelling to Hit Points

The second entry in this series focuses on what happens when a character “hits” another.  A reminder of the four goals I’m trying to achieve:

  1. Make combat a more compelling storytelling experience.
  2. Have combat better reflect player choice in action and equipment selection so that it doesn’t feel disconnected and random.
  3. Make combat gameplay more engaging by expanding tactical outcomes and choices.
  4. Don’t add undue complexity or slow down the game.

I hope it can achieve these goals by applying a philosophy on how hit points are interpreted from both gameplay and storytelling perspectives.

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Connecting Story with Gameplay in To-Hit Rolls: Attribution Via a Preponderance of Evidence

The first entry in this series focuses on characters making a deliberate attempt to attack and injure an opponent. 

I hope it can achieve these goals by collating all of the modifiers that you’re already taking into account in attack resolution and making them a more explicit part of the process.

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Combat System Notes

These blog notes offer suggestions to add storytelling and tactical opportunities to combat in RPGs.  Too often, combat is simply a war of attrition with little of the drama seen in sword-and-sorcery fiction.

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Quiz and Dragons: A Legacy in Soup

This appeared for an issue of Incredibly Strange Games prepared for an August 26, 2017 live event at Seattle’s The Fuse Box.

The ceiling above the arcade was tuned to the color of a carpet on the receiving end of a chainsmoker’s orgy.

I had not yet completed my chrysalis into an Ultima nerd in 1992, so like the rest of 1992 I was in thrall of the mighty Street Fighter II’. While the heshers argued loudly over whether using Ken’s light kicks was “cheap,” I shambled my proto-Britannian larval self over to another machine emblazoned with the Capcom logo, put in a quarter, and lost my mind.

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Where the Rubber Meets the Road: A New Perspective on “Real”

This short article appeared in an issue of Incredibly Strange Games as part of an evening of Strange Games held on March 25th, 2017 at Seattle’s Fuse Box.

Atari Games released Hard Drivin’ to arcades in 1989. It was one of the first solid-filled polygonal racing games with dedicated hardware that attempted (ahem) to realistically simulate actual vehicle physics. It was amazing for the time, and I first experienced it as a sit-down cabinet with force-feedback steering wheel and a real clutch and gear shift. It was also a hit, and 1990 saw a sequel called Race Drivin’ that added additional tracks and cars. Sweet!
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The Enigmatic Populist Legacy of Eric and the Floaters

This short article appeared in an issue of Incredibly Strange Games as part of an evening of Strange Games held on March 25th, 2017 at Seattle’s Fuse Box.

“We’ll call it ‘Eric and the Floaters.'”
“It has a perfectly good name as it is, sir, I mean it says what it does on the tin.”
“No. ‘Eric…and the Floaters.'”
“But sir–”
“Eric. And. The. Floaters.”

From these humble roots, early 1980s Westerners were introduced to the unforgettable world of Eric and the Floaters.

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Frasier Crane’s Audience Hatred as Explained in Obocchama-Kun

This short article appeared in an issue of Incredibly Strange Games as part of an evening of Strange Games held on March 25th, 2017 at Seattle’s Fuse Box.

Kelsey Grammer is a right-wing sociopath who hates his audience. On Frasier, he plays a liberal elitist who fumbles his way through life thanks to his pampered upbringing and thought himself a “doctor” who practices the “art” of “psychology” and never seems to be able to cure anyone, least of all himself. It is Grammer slyly mocking those he loathes. If you haven’t read the origin of the theme song, let composer Bruce Miller summarize it for you:

“Hey baby I hear the blues a-callin”-refers to patients with troubles calling into the radio show
“Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs”
“But maybe I seem a bit confused”-Frasier’s personality was a bit????
“Maybe, but I got you pegged”-Frasier does understand these people and helps them.
“But I don’t know what to do with those Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs”-it’s a tough business….gotta deal with these “crazies” every day.
“They’re calling again”-oh, oh….should be self explanatory.

Right, so Grammer hates his audience. And the character he plays, Dr. Frasier Crane, hates his audience, too.

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In Search of the Fabled Flagorithm

My Pretentions

Wherein a frustrated businessman is thrust into the harsh light of international industry, and comes to grips with a challenge far greater than himself:  The Flag Unions.

What’s this got to do with HUSSAR?  Palettes.  It’s always palettes.

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Developing a Palate for Palettes

Super Palette Bros


What do kitschy paint-by-numbers kits, Japanese kimono design, animated beer signs, and mood rings have to do with old school video games?  The answer, if you’ve been paying attention, is palettes.  In this post, we’ll look at how and why palettes exist, what affordances they offer, and insight into this lost art.

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Introducing HUSSAR


A little over a year and a half ago, I started work on a project that I thought would be relatively trivial:  build a plugin for Unity that will help people develop games for old systems.  Where this endeavor took me was surprising, as it turned into a full suite of tools that would allow someone to take an idea, prototype it, simulate it with the restrictions of the actual hardware, and then export functional assembly language for the Sega Master System, NES, Genesis, SNES, or PC-Engine.  Introducing…HUSSAR!

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