Creating by playing

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This article is written to give an idea on the development process of Late Legends.

04-10-2017 by Coen (Qumatah)

As a longtime Nintendo fanatic I adore a wide range of games. I could spend hours and hours in those digital worlds, but I always wonder what it was I liked so much about these games. Part of me liked the mechanics. Part of me like the magical worlds and music. The wide arrange of interest (and the pursuit of why I like it so much) is the biggest drive to start with Game Development. Why is something enjoyable? Why does the game work like that? Why do you forget the time while playing?

But why Late Legends?

Good Question! Before Late Legends was a thing, I’ve worked on an RPGmaker game, but never got past initial testing. Most of it because I wanted to create a game with a lot of systems not present in RPGmaker. I started scripting, trying to implement it, but in the end, I lost interest. At that time, I started on Late Legends because game development was fun and role-playing games came into my life. The funny thing is that, if you start from scratch you can create everything, and doubt everything. You can ask questions like:

Needless to say, you can start to doubt every single thing in a table-top game. This process started and is yet to stop for me. I simply enjoy thinking about things this way. The passion for games is the same drive I experience when working on Late Legends. I have a background in design and web development, so it was only natural to create a website and designs for Late Legends. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The first campaigns

Back in 2013, I started with a one-shot that was not perfect in concept and execution but left me with the motivation to do more. I started a long-running campaign and introduced new ideas along the way to experiment with. The new ideas were hit or miss, I kept everything that worked and tossed everything that did not work (trust me, I killed a lot of darlings in Late Legends).

The highly creative and messy way of development required the dedication of the group of players. The session ran weekly and included new ideas weekly. This was both enjoyable and frustrating for the players. On the one hand, it was easy to let them create their own Class and give feedback on ideas of Late Legends. On the other hand, they had a role-playing system as loose as wizards sleeve and had to fill in new sheets over and over again (Sorry!). The story was OK (I hope) with an overarching plot inspired by Final Fantasy and Bravely Default (See: Termina).

As a Storyteller, it was very demanding at times. The more I did it, the more I wanted to work on it. Every minute of free time went into Late Legends for a while, but I soon realized that was not the way to go (I was blind to a lot of mistakes). As the session progressed, my focus shifted away from the system and more towards the story itself. The system itself kept evolving though: New ideas ranged from stat calculations, magical items, level up rewards, class specifics (We still had mana back then and were looking for a way to include more interesting skill mechanics), out of battle specifics like jobs and items.

More players started playing Late Legends, and I also participated in a session as a Player. This was also a lot of fun and brought me into new insights (I would advise my future self to do this earlier). The story of Termina finished around 2016. The group was left with fresh new ideas for the system. We started a new story (See: Crystal Chronicles), with new classes and new ideas. Late Legends kept growing, one session at a time. I kept this way of development until around Q3 2017, more on that next article.