Archive for February, 2013

The Rebranding of Sykhronics

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

This past weekend I began a process of rebranding my company. Shortly after leaving my AAA job in 2005, I created this logo.

SykLogo_Brown

Thing is, that’s not even one of the better logos I used, it’s just the most business’y one.



More here.

As you can see, I used to be really in to playing with typography. Sykhronics is a name I’ve been using for the past 15 years. In the early days, it was my portfolio website. When I decided to go “Fulltime Indie”, it became my business. It’s always been the hub of “me”; Whatever “me” is doing.

I’ve tried on several ocassions to come up with something better, but it just hadn’t worked out.

Until now.

NewSykLogo7

Yay! There we go! Lots of things going on here, but most importantly I was able to creatively satisfy my type design itch.

The process involved me going to twitter and asking a simple question: Read this, and what does it say?

NewSykLogoWhite

Some of the results were extremely amusing (SykBronies!? Ha!). So after several iterations, we ended up with the orange logo above.

Notably absent is the H from Sykhronics. If you’ve never heard of Sykhronics, you’re probably asking “why was there an H there anyway?”. Well after some thought, lots of head tilting back and forth, I decided to try it without. I think “H less” SYKRONICS makes a lot of sense. The only downside is my own natural instinct typing it and reading it. My muscle memory for typing Sykhronics is so well developed, that I know when I’ve typed it wrong without even looking. Hey, that’s what happens after 15 years. 😉

Now the logo isn’t perfect. I’ve had several folks call out the K and the C for looking like “WTF” and E. I’m okay with that, because overall the design is consistent and interesting. 9 characters, all with hints of a circle in them, with sharp cuts.

Something I’ve wanted in the logo forever is a character. So part of the design is the O creature. It’s very much Pata Pon’esc, which I’m always a iffy about (looking too much like an existing franchise), but it’s fine. I like it. It’s interesting. Like a little floating eyeball with fangs. Gives me *SOMETHING* to use as a mascot, which I’ve always wanted.

Anyways, I’ve gone ahead and printed some biz cards. They look like this.

SykBizCard-PlasticFinal

I’ve always been of the opinion that as a game developer, our business is fun, so we should be having fun everywhere. Hence why I went with such a bizarre job title (Formerly just “Game Developer, Owner”).

And that’s that. So far I’ve just started with the biz cards. After GDC I’ll make it the website too. Ta!

The Werewolves of Millers Hollow MOD: Predator (Chupacabra)

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

WolvesThis is a modification for the social deception game The Werewolves of Millers Hollow (also sometimes known as Werewolf, Mafia, and Witch Hunt).

Pick an unused card from the deck. I like the Witch (the orange card). Herein, this card is now known as the Predator (or Chupacabra, because it’s funnier). The Predator is an additional “non human”, and its goal is to hunt and kill off the Werewolves. The humans are indifferent and want to kill anything that isn’t a human (after all, it has no qualms about killing humans to find wolves).

The Predator MOD introduces a new state for players.

  • Missing – Dead or Alive, a player is not revealed after going missing. Can not be targeted.

The Predator adds a 2nd nighttime kill phase before the Werewolves, but non-wolf victims of the Predator “go missing” instead of dying. Every night, there is a potential 0-2 kills. Neither group knows who the other is targeting. If the two groups ever converge on the same target, they battle with each other ending in a draw, and the victim is injured instead of dying. The moderator should reveal that the player barely survived the night. There are no additional effects.

Unlike the Wolves that require the moon to release their power, the Predator can change at will. If the Predator is ever the target of a lynching (i.e. daytime), he/she reveals themselves to be the Predator, and immediately goes in to hiding. If the Predator is ever the target of a kill (i.e. nighttime), they also go in to hiding, and this should be revealed as the player has “gone missing”. If the Predator is ever forced to go in to hiding by the Werewolves, it should be thought of as an ambush, and the Predator’s target does not go missing, but was killed ahead of time by the Werewolves as part of the trap. The point of this unusual special case is so that the regular townsfolk are unaware that the Predator has been outed.

Once the Predator has gone in to hiding, they must kill werewolves to survive. If day arrives without a werewolf kill, the Predator is found dead alongside the remains of his/her final victim (neither are missing). At this time, all missing players can reveal their cards as the “trophies” of the Predator. If the Werewolves and the Predator target the same victim, the victim is again injured and the Predator survives another night.

The game ends when all the Werewolves have died… or that’s what you’re supposed to believe!

Once all werewolves have been killed, if still alive the Predator has choices. They can wave goodbye, and they leave the town peacefully. If the Predator achieved the final werewolf kill during the night, this is an honorable way to go (though not required). Alternatively, the hiding rules are still in effect, so if they’ve gone in to hiding they can choose to kill a final human. If however the Predator was never revealed, they can choose to continue the game by killing townsfolk.

Interactions with Other Cards

  • The Fortune Teller – The Predator appears to be an ordinary human. If you play by revealing cards then do so, but if you play by saying yes/no to Werewolves, say no.
  • The Little Girl – The Little Girl can open her eyes during the Predator kill phase.
  • The Hunter – If the Hunter finds the Predator or the Predator finds the Hunter, they both die (no hiding), and the usual Hunter rules are ignored. The Hunter should listen for them being told that they have “gone missing”, and contrary to the missing rules, always reveal themselves.
  • The Lovers – Treat a relationship with the Predator the same as a relationship between a Human and a Werewolf. If you partner is revealed to be the Predator, you commit suicide. If you are the Predator and your lover dies, you don’t die but go in to hiding.
  • The Witch – If poisoned, the Predator dies (no hiding). If hiding (Predator) or missing, you can not be the target of healing. That said, once the Predator is killed, all players that were missing are found (i.e. his/her ‘Trophies’) and can be healed (including the Predator).

Alternative Rules: Invisible Kills

Typically, only the humans and special humans go missing, but not the Werewolves. This is to simplify a problem that crops up where the Predator kills off the Werewolves without knowing.

The solution is to every time the Predator kills someone, reveal to the Predator whether they were a Werewolf or not. Nodding yes (Werewolf) or no (human) is a good way to do this. Then at any time, the Predator can choose to leave the town by waving instead of picking a victim.

Once the Predator leaves, if all the Werewolves have died, the town should play one last round, to see if they notice.

Alternative Rules: Serious Injury/Trauma

During certain circumstances, a player is injured instead of killed. To play with Serious Injuries, players that are Injured are considered mute, and can not speak during this round. Though they can not speak, they can still be the target of a further kill, lynching, or go missing.

Alternative Rules: Stalking

During the night, the Predator has the option of stalking a player (thumbs up), or killing a player (thumbs down). Only killing causes an encounter with wolves. Stalking works similar to the Fortune Teller/Seer, revealing to you whether the target is a human or a werewolf. Typically a Predator will always kill as there is no consequence, but that changes once they go in to hiding.

Once in hiding, the Predator must kill wolves to survive. If a human is killed, they are poisoned by the blood and die. Predators are safe to spend their turn stalking a player instead of killing them.

If the Werewolves and the Predator ever target the same victim after the Predator has gone in to hiding, the victim is injured, and the Predator dies.

Alternative Game: Alien Abduction

The Predator is now The Alien.

Any time a player goes missing, they actually don’t die. Instead, they are locked up somewhere (space ship?) fully alive but unable to do anything. They must continue to follow the rules as if they were alive (closing eyes), but can say nothing. If they are a Werewolf, they do not participate in the kill phase (eyes stay closed).

The goal of the game for the Alien is to abduct all the humans. The Werewolves and Hunter however can foil your plans.

During the night, all abducted players play a simple yet difficult game with the moderator. Examples include rolling a 6 on a 6 sided dice, a ‘crit’ on a 20 sided dice, or winning 3 rounds of rock paper scissors in a row. If they succeed, they escape.

Until you’ve been outed as the Alien, you have the choice of abducting someone, or releasing/killing someone you’ve abducted. Give a ‘thumbs up’ gesture to the moderator to release, and ‘thumbs down’ gesture to the moderator to kill.

Like the Predator, if you’re lynched by the townsfolk, you are outed as the Alien (due to use of your teleporter to escape). If you are the target of the Werewolves, you go in to hiding (missing). If the Alien and the Werewolves ever target the same person, the Alien is chased away by the Werewolves and nobody disappears/dies.

Once in hiding, the Alien can continue to abduct anyone. However, if a Werewolf or a Hunter escapes, all abductees are freed and Alien is killed.

During any night, the Alien can choose to leave the planet by waving goodbye, taking all the specimens he collected with him. The game then resolves as normal with the remaining players.

Alternative Rules: Alien Experiments

This is a work in progress. Just some ideas for a place to go.

  • The game begins with no werewolves, no seer, but people are going missing.
  • Instead of lynching, you vote to lock a player up in a cell. Thus, you need a Sheriff.
  • The moderator keeps 2 piles of cards on hand for experiments. Include the Fortune Teller and the Werewolves, and the other pile has humans, optionally the Little Girl, and optionally the Hunter.
  • During the night, the Alien abducts up to 2 player, experiments on the remainder of the players, and releases any number of players
  • Experimenting is the process of taking a players card, shuffling it in to one of the 2 piles of cards, and giving them a new one. The Alien decides which pile with a thumbs up (wolf pile) or thumbs down (human pile).
  • No effort is made to watch what cards go in to each deck. With science, anything can happen.
  • Get extremely confused. 😀
  • Alien stuff continues until he is killed, and the rest of the game resolves as a game of Werewolves.
  • Lynching begins once townsfolk are found dead. However, the town can decide not to kill (not that they will).