• Random Movie Quote

    Neil Sussman: I don’t know you. I don’t know your work. But I think you are a genius. And I am never wrong about that.

    — The Big Picture (1989)

Chasing Down a Dream

g3173I had to do a lot of thinking about this post. The main reason is that I wanted to make certain that this wasn’t just another Crazy Brain tangent. I’ve been flailing around with the rules for Dream Palace and the Luna System for a long time now. . . too long. While I’ve had some really good ideas and come close to making a complete game, something has been holding me back. So I decided to pull back from both projects and look at them from a distance.

There were elements that worked excellently in both games, but there were also some aspects of both games that simply were not working for me. Then I tried looking past the rules and tried to see what I, as a gamer, was actually after.

I have stated before that I am looking for a game that will keep up with my imagination. I’ve been happiest with freeform roleplaying online. If you say you do something in freeform, Boom! it’s done! The only time you have a conflict is if another player disagrees with what you have played out.

It finally hit me that I have been trying to design for what I think other people will like, and not for myself. I know that sounds foolish, especially since this is a company that makes games for other people to play. However, game design is also an art. If I, the designer, am not making something that I would not want play myself, how can I expect anyone else to want to play it? I want to make something Amazing. Dream Palace and Luna are close to what I want, but they aren’t quite there.

So, I am announcing the creation of the Dream System. I’ll be taking elements of both Dream Palace and Luna and merging them with some new ideas. Wish me luck! Maybe this time I’ll get a game that works At the Speed of Imagination.

 

The Last Dream Palace

Madison Theater Peoria IL

One thing that I can thank my mother for, besides giving birth to and raising me, was introducing me to the Dream Palaces of Peoria. TV was our main form of entertainment in the Sears household, but every once in a while, Mom would take us kids to downtown Peoria and treat us to a movie.

Our movie trips took place during the 1960s and 70s. During this time, the old movie theaters, the Rialto, the Palace, and the Madison were still actively in use. Higher up on the bluffs, there were also the Varsity and the Beverly. They were all mere shadows of what they once were, but I used to delight in the remaining workmanship that went into their interiors. The concession stand would be a tiny plastic thing compared to the huge lobby. While we would wait for the movie to begin, I would stare up at the high ceiling and lose myself in its detailed designs.

During the 80s, those Dream Palaces came down to make way for new buildings. The Rialto came down first. The last movie shown in it was The Jerk starring Steve Martin. The Palace joined the Rialto soon after. The Varsity and Beverly came down after struggling for a few years. At one point, the Varsity had been split in two, with the balcony turned into a separate theater. The large theaters were only useful when there was a huge blockbuster movie. Otherwise, people were happy to visit the smaller metroplex theaters.

The Madison stayed up, however. They added it to the National Register for Historic Places on November 1, 1980. It went unused until 1996, when Jay Goldberg Events & Entertainment reworked it into a venue for live concerts. The theater closed in 2003, and this last surviving Dream Palace lays waiting to be used once more.

Cinema Treasures

Madison Theatre on Facebook

Landmarks.org

Peoria Journal Star

A Real Dream Palace – Brooklyn’s King Theater

After nearly 40 years of neglect, Brooklyn’s King Theater reopens. Watch the video to see a jewel restored to its former glory.

Dream Palace Playtesting

DP LogoI have created the new Dream Palace Playtesting Group on Facebook. It is an open group and if you wish to participate in the testing of this tabletop game, please feel free to join.

The Clock Won

Dream PalaceFor those of you that were anticipating the world’s first taste of the Luna System, I have some bad news. I won’t be able to make the March 14th deadline. Since I made the announcement, I came down with gout one weekend and I’ve been suffering from some kind of lung crud for the last few days. The antibiotics and prednisone are taking care of it, but my urge to design was overwritten by searing pain and the need to breathe. By my estimate, there is no way at this point that I can have the session come together in a way that the players will enjoy.

I am a great believer in snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, however. Instead of an Alpha Playtest of Luna System, I will instead be conducting a Beta Playtest of Dream Palace. The files for the session I had originally planned back in December are almost finished and I believe I have figured out a solution to something about the game that’s been bugging me for a while now.

So, those of you that would like to meet me in Peoria at Just for Fun for a session or maybe two of Dream Palace, consider yourself invited! I haven’t established a time that I will be there, though. Please check back later for additional information.

 

Dream Palace Conflict Resolution

DP LogoIts taken me a while to describe this accurately. Dream Palace has a unique and elegant system for resolving conflicts within the game. I’ve had to do a lot of “unlearning” when it came to game design when I came up with this.

I got into roleplaying games when I was barely out of my teens. At that time, roleplaying games had to be a near mirror of Dungeons & Dragons in order for it to be considered marketable. Things have changed over the years, though. Computer and console roleplaying games have taken the top spot over tabletop games in popularity. I’m hoping a fast and easy to learn roleplaying game will help bring players back to the tabletop.

You can read about Dream Palace’s Conflict Resolution mechanic Here.

The Crazy Brain Won

If you are a regular reader of this site, you may have already read the epic struggle between Me, my Crazy Brain, and my Perfectionist Brain.

If you haven’t read it, go here and do so. I’ll wait.

You’re back? Good.

Personally, I don’t mind the Crazy Brain at all. When it gives me an idea I can work with, I can get positively euphoric as I play with it in my head. However, it can also lead me down some tangents when I am working on a project. I can be quite the idea machine, but if I don’t spend any time actually developing them, they go nowhere.

I can get so bad that in our last gaming session together, Ralph Mazza wanted to show me a game that is somewhat similar to what I am doing, but then told me it was probably better that he didn’t because it might give me ideas.

I have been working diligently on Dream Palace for the last few weeks, but the Perfectionist Brain had been holding the project hostage. “Is this a Competitive game or a Cooperative game?” it kept asking me. Actually, this was an important question since it would affect how the game ends. Dream Palace has major elements of both. It is Cooperative since all the players are striving to come up with an entertaining story. However, it is also Competitive since all the players are jockeying to influence the story.

Miraculously, my answer was delivered to me. I have been reading  The Art of Game Design: a book of lenses by Jesse Schell. There is a section in there that addressed the question and allowed me to come up with an answer. There are some already established games that can be played both Competitively and Cooperatively!

A primary example was the old arcade game Joust. It has a “Survival Phase” in which both players need to live through in order to get 3000 bonus points, and a “Gladiator Phase” in which on must kill the other to get the 3000 bonus points.

Being able to play either way made sense for Dream Palace. A movie is primarily the combined effort of those involved, but there is always the possibility of a single star rising from the ashes or a poor movie. So, the Crazy Brain’s idea about Star Power tokens will be added to Dream Palace.

Star Power tokens will be awarded to active Cast members by members of the Audience for actions in the story that entertain them. It’s given me something to think about for the endgame, but should slow down the development of the rest of the it.

Thank you, Crazy Brain!

The Greatest Movies Never Made!

DP Logo

I am pushing forward with the development of Dream Palace. Like to know more about it? This is the Story Game of Hollywood Cinema. You can read about my goals for the game on its new page.