My (Windows7) LAN Party … The Invention of Awesome

So my friend signed up for the Windows7 party pack with free copy of Windows7. I guess you had to give a story about how you’d have some sort of Windows7 party and if they picked you they would give you a box of party supplies (balloons, streamers, party favors … all Windows7 themed) along with a free copy of Windows7. My friend applied for the free copy and gave some story about how he was going to have a boat party and sail around the harbor… he did it just for the free copy of course… but since I was having a LAN party he offered to donate the decorations. So I kind of had a Windows7 party… But I’m a little bitter because had I known about the free windows deal I would have signed up because my LAN party was no typical frag-fest and it would have most certainly awarded me my own copy had I applied.

Okay so here’s what I did: I combined a typical LAN party (Call of Duty 2, Soldat, Left 4 Dead, Demigod) but added Live-Action-Roleplaying elements to it. Of course my guests were completely unaware of this feature until I “rescued” them from “real-life” wearing a mad-hatter hat, some Ozzy Osbourne sun-glasses, and wielding a kick ass (plastic) crusader sword. I escorted guests from outside my apartment and opened the gate to my parking garage using none other than my totally legitimate Game Master magical powers (electronic key fob) and escorted the refugees of reality to the safe room… the Realm of Anti-Reality (aka my apartment).

Bare in mind my friends aren’t huge Live-Action-Roleplayers (neither am I really, though I’m totally for it 😉 and also bare in mind that not everyone showed up at the same time… so I’m running back and forth from my apartment, in and out of the safe room, up and down elevators, being stared at by several NPC characters (my neighbors) while looking like a crazy mad man holding a plastic sword and pretending to open the automatic gate with his “force powers”. At least it’s kind of near Halloween time, but mind you my LAN started in the middle of the day so there was lots of daylight and little chance at going stealth.

Anyway… so at the safe room I started the character creation process. My friends were like, “you’re are nuts” and I’m like “just bare with me here, if you want to opt out then you can be an NPC and you won’t be affected by any spells…” and they’re like, “Spells… oh god, what are you up to Jason.”

Naysayers! But I was determined to convert them and they were all willing to give it a shot.

So the first part was the character creation process… First they had to give themselves a new Name. Then they had to choose their character class… Thief, Assassin, Peace Keeper, or Wizard. Then they had to pick a side: The Green Berets (allies of the Pirates) or The Red Army (allies of the Ninjas). All of this info went onto their sticker name tag. Then I gave them 5 gold coins and their XP score card (note card) and gave them a single bronze mardi gras bead necklace (to indicate they were level one).

As we played games throughout the night I would award XP and gold for winning matches. People would keep their own score (we used the honor system) and as people leveled up they would get more beads and higher ranked colors (such as silver, gold, and then purple).

Gold coins would be used to buy items such as nerf guns, ammo, snacks and drinks (honor system again… 1 coin for all you can eat/drink per trip, unless you were a thief then you might just steal the food and hope a peace keeper didn’t catch you).

Yeah so early on in the night my fiancée, as a thief, chose to steal all of the “good” food from the counter and set up shop with all of her stolen goods charging high prices per item. She also stole the pizza from me when I was paying the delivery guy and then extorted 25 XP from me (the Game Master) before letting anyone have a piece. She played her part well… perhaps too well.

So later on in the evening I introduced spells and gave out class specific quests. For the spells, I created a few basic ones to give people ideas and then asked everyone to take a note card and write their own spell idea down. You had to write down the spell name, what it did, and your name (author of the spell). Spells were things you could cast on yourself or on another person and were semi-game related… stuff like, “Spell of Melee Weapons Only” where you could only use melee weapons, or “Call of the Wild” where the person had to yell out a roar or give a battle cry whenever they were about to attack someone. Someone got both of these spells cast on them during free-for-all Call of Duty and it was pretty funny to watch. Another spell I liked was, “Spell of Questioning” the person had to form everything they said into a question (even if it was a statement)… the guy was like, “Who just killed you!? Was it me? How ya like me now? … Do I have the enemy flag!?!? Shouldn’t I be protected right now!?!?!” I’d hand these spells out randomly to people, everyone got one to cast sometime during a match and they got recycled and more were added as the night went on.

Yeah so the spells were pretty wacky and highly un-balanced and ad-hoc but it added to the craziness and people really got into it.

Then there were the class-specific quests. There was an over population of assassins, so the few peace-keepers there were had their hands full. One of them even got corrupt and started selling nerf guns and ammo to the villains. So I created a quest for the other two peace-keepers to grief that person for the rest of the night. I gave a quest to some of the assassins to stealth kill execution style to the back of the head certain targets (with nerf guns or in game… whichever was possible). They couldn’t be caught by the peacekeepers or else it wouldn’t count. At this point there was just one Thief and it wasn’t my fiancée. She must have eaten a poison apple because she was a sleeping beauty for the rest of the night 😉 So I gave this thief a quest to steal all of the peacekeeper’s nerf guns without them looking and then hide them somewhere. He also had a separate quest to steal their peace-keeper hats (which ironically were mobster hats) and throw them across the room.

There was only one Wizard. I gave him the quest to create five new spells and hand them out to random people… He took it upon himself to create way more than five and instead of giving them to people he sold the spells. He then would create immunity spells to cancel those spells and sold them to other people. Yeah so he kind of got super rich with gold and I had to eventually “patch” the game and nullified any immunity spells that were out there and I made all previous nullified spells re-activated.

I even had Wii Sports Resort going, and a little Air-Soft shooting gallery with little plastic ninja and pirate “army men” in which you had to shoot only enemy targets and avoid hitting your allies. Of course it was completely safe and eye protection was required. I kept a global scoreboard of Pirates vs Ninjas… I think Pirates won… though there was lots of friendly fire and collateral damage so it’s hard to tell if this was intentional.

Yeah so I don’t know if anyone has ever done something like this. If not, I just invented something awesome.

the sleepy giant… (is not very reponconsive*)

2009-10-08 the sleepy giant… (is not very reponconsive*)

So I’ve been trying to cram as much summer activities into every last shred of daylight left nowadays so game development has been simmering on the back burner lately. However since my last post I’ve been incrementally working on new game modes for Bowmaster winter storm (yet to be released). The design is highly interchangeable so I’ve been having fun creating some interesting victory and defeat conditions… for example (hypothetical):

Mission: Fire Dragons Invade the Town!

You are victorious if you accomplish any of the following:
1. Kill All Fire Dragons
2. Destroy the Enemy Castle

You will be defeated if any of the following occur:
1. Your hero dies.
2. Three of the five escaping villagers are killed.
3. The refugee shelter is destroyed.

Here’s an example of how crazy and modular these conditions are…

Mission: Beat the Clock Jumpy Happy Land

You are victorious if you accomplish any of the following:
1. You jump 99 times.

You will be defeated if:
1. The game timer expires.
2. You die.
3. You use any weapon.

Disclaimer: This is just a hypothetical example and this exact level scenario will probably not be in the game (maybe in a separate challenge mode… oh cool idea jase).

So hopefully I’ll have more chances to work on game development in the near future. For now I have to make room in my apartment for the Epic Rocktober Birthday LAN Party that’s about to go down. Time to get rid of boxes and boxes of childhood memories in the form of old schoolwork papers, soccer and little league trophies, old PC Gamer magazines, empty N64 boxes etc… it’s so hard to say goodbye. I feel like I’m defragging my life… what sucks is that it doesn’t happen automatically overnight while I’m sleeping…. like a sleepy giant… (you thought Bowmaster WS was the giant… nope. it was me all along. How’s that for a plot twist?)

*responsive – a “happy word” according to that little “I’m a PC” girl that is a on the new windows7 commercials. Rockin’ slideshow. My favorite is the kitten in the sea of marshmallows. If you dvr’d the season premiere of House then look for that commercial. It’s hilarious. I watched that thing like five times.

Kylie’s Windows 7 Happy Words Ad