Yesterday went pretty well. By end end of my 12 hour work day I was able to take clues and sources, publish clues, and accuse suspects. I have the turn-processing mechanism in place, including mystery resolution for Detectives. The foundation is all there to add each of the special abilities for the various player roles, so that shouldn’t take very long.
I doubt that much of what I just said actually makes any sense without knowing more about the game. I mentioned it was a game about solving murder mysteries. Players accomplish this by investigating sources to retrieve clues. Each clue points toward a suspect, but only the player who actually retrieved who it implicates for the first few turns. There are two categories of players who have largely orthogonal goals: Detectives and Reporters. Each player chooses a role from one of these two categories when they take the case.
Detectives win by figuring out who the killer was (i.e. finding the suspect with the most clues pointing their way.) If a detective accuses someone who was innocent, they are off the case (and out of the game) so they have to be very careful with their accusations. On the other hand, an incorrect accusation lets the rest of the players know one suspect who didn’t do it, so they’re useful to the remaining players. When a detective makes an accusation each other detective is given a chance to make an accusation of their own. All detectives who accuse the correct suspect win the detective side of the game.
Reporters win by publishing the most clues about the suspect who eventually turns out to be the killer. Once a clue is published it’s removed from the game (except for guilt determination) so the reporters are racing each other to see who can publish the most clues about likely suspects. Reporters don’t actually “accuse” anyone, they just publish stories about them, so the reporter side of the game is time-limited by the detective game. At the end of the game the published clues by each reporter are totaled, and the reporter (or reporters) with the most published clues about the killer wins.
Each player has a role from one of those two categories. The roles have a special ability that helps them achieve their goals, but also causes trouble for other players. The roles from the paper prototype were:
- Police Detective - Exclusive access to the “Crime Scene” source. Able to take any public source “in for questioning” to keep other players from using it.
- Private Detective - Able to steal clues from another player before their exclusivity ends.
- Medical Examiner - Exclusive access to the “Body” source. Able to add extra turns of exclusivity to their owned clues.
- Ace Reporter - Able to steal a source from another player.
- Investigative Journalist - Able to make a player’s exclusive source shared so anyone can use it.
- Mystery Novelist - Able to publish multiple clues about the same suspect at the same time.
I think those special abilities are going to shift around a bit as the game goes online. The Mystery Novelist’s power, in particular, is too powerful, and some of the detective powers are not powerful enough.
Today’s development goals are:
- Victory for reporters
- All the special abilities
- The very beginning of Facebook integration
I expect the game will go from “standalone web game” to “poorly integrated Facebook Application” today. Woot!