If you saw last week’s post, you got a glimpse at the big picture in my head, the Questionable Adventures survey system. I’m proud to announce the alpha testing of it is going live for people to quest through and help collect data to make it easier for designers of games make tabletop RPGs even better!
Please remember this is essentially a proof of concept and alpha testing of some code elements. It is nowhere near the end application. Just like any video game, the first development iteration of Questionable Adventures looks nothing like the final product!
So… what exactly does the end goal look like? Let’s bullet point the key aspects so it’s easier to digest:
- Questionable Adventures is not just a survey site, but meant to be a full fledged storytelling game that is built around a survey framework, complete with art assets and animation.
- Rather than playing a pre-rolled character, you will have your own custom character, complete with race, class, background, skills, and even an equipment system.
- There will be multiple different campaigns (and one-shot adventures for shorter survey paths). Each one has a theme, but can be called back upon by other campaigns for even larger story-arcs.
- The current story exists to help the proof of concept. The full version of Questionable Adventures intends to be a far richer world to explore with far more paths and possibilities.
- Interactivity between survey takers. There is a wealth of useful data in observing players interact with each other under controlled circumstances that can provide game developers an advantage in creating their games to account for many more possibilities than they would originally have thought up.
To better illustrate the development of story complexity (and why I kept it really simple for the proof of concept, let’s look at these two images:
The first one is closer to what I have now, although a tad simpler. It’s quick and easy, perfect for a proof of concept. The latter shows a crazy pathing of possibilities, almost like seeing the explosion of development on a map and how everything expands outwards and flows along to different possibilities and overlaps (this visualization is actually derived from pretty much that). Obviously for simply creating a proof of concept for quick testing it’s just a little too much investment of time and effort.
Now you’re probably asking why not just make a game? Why incorporate surveys into it? Glad you asked!
- This allows creating an invaluable pool of data for game designers. They can see what their player base prefers, what they get hung up on, as well as a huge slew of correlations between different games, playstyles, etc.
- Tabletop RPG developers have to rely entirely on playtesting for this sort of information and otherwise have to guess and tweak constantly to create a successful game. Now, this will not replace such processes, but having access to actionable data about players and trends in their gaming practices will allow game designers to quicken their development of the next iterations of a playtest.
- Innovation of new and revolutionary game mechanics will occur more rapidly as designers will spot underlying ties in data that may take years, if not decades, of playtesting many iterations to spot… and then they have to playtest them.
- And let’s be honest: If we just made a survey site without making it FUN™ we probably wouldn’t be able to collect as much data as possible. I know that even I don’t want to fill out hundreds of possible data points about my own gaming habits through pages and pages of text and not get any entertainment out of it!
And so we come back to the current proof of concept for Questionable Adventures. I hope you enjoy seeing it’s early stages as well as see the potential of what we can do with it.
If well received, I definitely will be progressing ahead on the project and taking it from mere prototype to a full platform to aid game designers everywhere, regardless of if they do tabletop RPGs, board games, or even video games.