Nim’s Island

I saw Nim’s Island over the weekend, and obviously this movie wasn’t going to be one of the better movies of the year being a children’s movie, but I thought I’d give it a little review anyway.

The movie itself really felt like a modern re-imagining of Swiss Family Robinson with a family who lived on a deserted island in the South Pacific that wanted to be left alone and didn’t want others to taint the island. The island was complete with a nifty little tree house (at least part of it was in the tree and no where near as good as the one in SFR), and invaders from a cruise ship named the “Buccaneer” and animals that the girl talked and played with.

Jodie Foster played the role of an adventure writer which brought an often humorous aspect of the movie, but in the end turned out to be rather pointless. She spent the entire movie getting the courage to make it to the island to help Nim, only to get there the night before her dad returned. I think her part was really necessary only because the other storyline was fairly thin in content…

Overall, i did like the movie. I thought it did a great job of bringing out the imagination of children and adults alike. In the end, I do believe this was the point as using your imagination was a strong theme throughout the movie. Nim was constantly in an imaginary world thinking of what it would be like to be in this book that Alex Rover wrote, and Alex herself was also constantly imagining the world itself as well as her fictional character whom she talked to throughout the movie. It really sparked something in both me and my daughter who saw it that I really do think it was worth watching for just that reason alone. On that end I think it copied Swiss Family Robinson really well, a movie that did the same exact thing when I was a child.

The world of Lodra

So without further adieu I present you the first of what may be many maps of my new world. I do note that this is a very early version of it and may and will change in a number of ways. For now it gives a fairly good idea of what I’m going for.

Map of Lo

An update on the Hard Drive

Well I got the new hard drive earlier this week and I continue to have the same issues, though no where near the frequency that I had before… I’m not really sure what is going on anymore. I have done a memtest for 6 hours to ensure I had no memory issues and the memory is good, also didn’t crash once during the tests which tells me there isn’t likely an issue with non-hard drive stuff. This is a hard drive issue somehow. I changed the cable for the SATA, and still no good. I’ve moved the positioning of the SATA interface from primary to secondary to #5 and 6 and that hasn’t seemed to help either.

I’m starting to think that I either got a second faulty hard drive from Seagate, or my motherboard is having some issues with the Hard Drive connection. I am going to try a few other small ideas today including changing the BIOS but if all that doesn’t work I’m going to send the motherboard in under the warranty and hope that works. If that doesn’t work I don’t even know what to do next.

Finding a Hook

One thing about any new Campaign Setting is that you really need to find a hook for it. By this I mean you need to find something about the world that hasn’t really been done fore, that distinguishes it from the others and makes it fun. You can’t just turn out yet another generic world and expect people to buy into it largely because Forgotten Realms is already out there with such a rich history and large world that it will be impossible for you to be able to compete with it. Not only do you have FR to deal with but you have what is likely hundreds of other generic campaign settings that are out there like Dragonlance, Greyhawk, the GURPS worlds, and all the tohers. There’s a lot of generic worlds, and you can’t be one of them.

For my campaign, after pulling the hood off of the MMO aspects that had been there, I realize there wasn’t a huge hook there. I had a ton of MMO hooks, but not many hooks for the actual world itself outside of a couple new races to play and new categories for old races to be stereotyped as. I do have some however…

The first major hook is that instead of being a world… it was going to be a moon. However, this is one hook that I am strongly considering dropping. Now being a moon could do many cool things, but the negatives of it are equally if not more so huge. Much of the coolness of this I think would largely be graphical, meaning you look into the sky and instead of seeing X moons and X suns, you see X moons, X suns, and a ginormous planet. This changes the visual landscape quite a bit. But this would also have huge effects on seismography, weather, day/night cycles, and seasons. And herein lies the issue… You see though we as humans have been to the moon, we really haven’t stopped and considered these issues as much. As an example… we say there is a dark side and light side of the moon but this is hardly true. When there is a half moon in the sky that means half of the light side is in fact dark and half of the dark side is in fact light. There is a day/night cicle there just as much as here, but it isn’t as regular because it is predicated not due to it’s rotation, but due to where it lies by the Earth in proportion to the Sun. How is this changed when you add a natural rotation to the moon (after all our moon is abnormal that it doesn’t rotate which is why we have our tides). And how does a lunar revolution around a planet affect the seasons? If it takes a month to revolve around a planet… if it is say spring or autumn, is it possible that during one part of the month you have winter conditions and another part summer? Would 50-80 degree differences in temperature in a relatively short period of 1-2 weeks be fairly normal? And what does this mean to the game? These are all interesting questions and would certainly bring an entirely great new hook to any game, but may also take months of research just to come up with a realistic answer. Sure I could fudge this stuff and just say it is “earth-like” which is very popular to do, but I’ve never been copasetic with this type of explanation… or even the explanation that “well it’s a magical world, anything can happen.”

Another hook is a more spiritaul world than deity driven one. In a sense this is similar to what we see in the Final Fantasy games where the magic is driven by the elements. Not that this is a direct correlation, but this is closer to what I am talking about than what we generally see in RPGs where there is a set of Gods ruling over the universe and magic. The idea is kind of to combine the established tradition of Priests and Mages into one where you still get the effects of both. Yet I also still want to maintain the idea of religion oddly enough and want to enforce the dilemma of faith versus magic. It is an odd dichotemy that you don’t often see.

Another hook is a post-apcoloyptic setting. You see these settings quite a bit in modern or futuristic settings, but not nearly as often in a fantasy setting. (Unless of course you see an MMO wanting to find a sequal to get a new land ala Everquest 2 or Asheron’s Call 2). I’m not saying what or how it is happening here… but suffice it to say something happened and now we are in a world where the ruling empires are no more, there are struggles for control, much of civilization is cut off, monsters are resurging, new ones are popping up as magical mutations become rampant, etc.

In truth, this last one seems to be the main hook in the game. But is this enough? Essentially I currently have 1 big hook and 1 minor hook, and 1 hook that I likely won’t use that would be moderate if I did. I could use a couple more decent hooks that really make my campaign one significantly interesting. One that I’ve always toyed around with is some sort of inherent magical manifistation in non-magical classes… Eberron did this well with dragonmarked, I also loved the guardians in Sovereign Stone, but the idea really comes from Shadowrun in reality. Something like this might really give an in play difference to the game. But this may not be enough….

My Own RPG?

The reason for my fairly long speal on D&D and the OGL yesterday was largely for one main reason. The idea occurred to me a couple days ago that I could work on converting my idea for an MMO, which I’ve largely been working on for about 12 or 13 years, into a pen and paper RPG. I had made similar thoughts in the past but mostly as a form of testing the systems that I had come up with for the world. Continue reading “My Own RPG?”