Home Forums General General The Future is Now. Reply To: The Future is Now.

Guy Farrish

Sounds a good idea -in theory – but at the moment I think the future remains some way off.

I don’t find a problem reading on a screen – even on phones with my eyesight – what I have a problem with (and so do several other player I know) is search and cross referencing parts of rules during a game.

I often (always?) get to the relevant section faster than those frantically scrolling and swiping on screens. This isn’t because I am some sort of rule savant, it’s because (I think) the way the information architecture is constructed in rule sets and transferred to digital devices. They are written (generally) by people who have grown up with paper systems and information tends to be organised in a particular sequential fashion – you read section A and then B expands on it and then it splits into two concurrent strands but we have to put one first so C comes before D etc. In paper form this is not much of a problem, indeed you may be thinking what is the twit on about? Howe else would you do it? – it takes less than a second to flip from S. 5(i) on p.12 to  S.18(iii)c on page p.64. This isn’t necessarily so in pdf on a device.

If you designed rules so that the action sequences flowed as they played and could be viewed via active key words that were properly thought through and indexed, your digital set might have an advantage. As it is, we currently lack commonly available software and writing skills to make this work and analogue beats the **** out of digital – for the moment. It needn’t and shouldn’t but the real digital solution to rules is probably not to simply put the analogue version on pdf. I regularly read rules sets that have bits of melee criteria, for example dotted about in ‘movement’, ‘combat’, ‘reaction’ ‘combat resolution’ sections, and it makes sense particularly when reading the set through the first few times. (generally not always – some never make sense!). Once you’ve done that however what you need is a way of referencing and indexing those bits so you can look them up in one go in an integrated sequence during a game.

Sticking your fingers in the relevant pages of a booklet and flipping backwards and forwards is currently a lot easier and quicker than electronically doing the same thing. And yet it needn’t be if the digital versions were written, tagged and indexed for the relevant medium.

When the hardware/software combination is perhaps rethought for such tasks (actually not that likely the way things are going – users are regarded as particularly dumb by the companies selling tech) you may just be able to tap ‘melee’ on a logic tree and get all the relevant bits on screen – as it is, for the moment you will be scrolling up and down menus while the analogue amongst us are throwing the random number generators and advancing through your broken line.

(I expect to be corrected almost immediately)