Monday, February 21, 2011

A name for RTC's next version

My rules-light roleplaying game RTC, which was based on my played-in-real-time game RealTime, needs a better name. RTC is a corny little initialism that reflects the game's origin: RTC is the core of RealTime's rules, hence, Real Time Core, hence RTC.

However, thinking about how to adapt it in hopes it can be the right game system for my reincarnation time travel game has led me to a few changes in the system that I think will improve it, make it more generally applicable. It'll be just a tiny bit less light, but still very simple and quick. In essence, it's version 2, but I think it might be best to call it a new start. I will add into the rules a few other things that RTC needed, strip out a few rules that never really worked that well, and since I'm breaking free from the arbitrary limit of "fits on a single page" I can also clarify and expand it. (It'll still fit on two or three sheets of paper.)

I'd like to give this a new name and promote it (to the extent anyone can promote a freeware roleplaying game), but I can't think of a good name. The problem is that it's a very simple and entirely generic game, so there's not much I can say about it that might lead to a catchy but appropriate name. It's a problem all generic games have; the game itself is, by design, bland, so it can fit with anything else you want to use it with, and thus the only good names are either dull acronyms or initialisms, or still something bland like "Unisystem". Or they're something that has nothing to do with the game, which might be the best way to go, but still feels corny.

When I try to think of a "hook" from the game's design to build a name off of, the only things that jump out at me are that the game has several eights in the design (there are eight main skills which run from one to eight); and that the skills are all verbs, to emphasize that the game focuses on action. The latter doesn't seem very promising; I haven't come up with any name ideas that build on it that aren't awful and corny. The former led me to the idea "Octave" but there's a few problems with that: it seems like the game will have to involve music, and people might mix it up with octaNe. (If that name weren't taken, in fact, it might be a good one.) No luck so far thinking of any other names that derive from the number eight.

I actually had a dream about asking people to help me come up with a name, a few nights ago. (Actually, I wasn't addressing people per se, just a formless miasma which didn't answer in any way.) In the dream, I came up with a name I liked, Indigo. On waking, I think of the name and my first reaction is, cool, I like the sound of that; it feels fresh and active. The second is, but it has nothing to do with the game, and is therefore corny. Even so, it still is better than Octave, or anything else I've come up with, except one thing. Apparently, someone else already got it.

I posted on Facebook asking for ideas and got a few interesting suggestions. Photon is nice: it emphasizes it being light and fast and universal. The only problem I see is that people have too many associations with it. In particular I think people will imagine it's suited for science fiction or high tech only. Another suggestion, Spectrum, is only unsuitable because my other roleplaying game, which is a very hefty rules-rich "crunch" system, is named Prism. And in addition to seeming like I'm obsessive about rainbows (I am, but I don't want to seem like it!) it might make it seem like the games are related, which they so aren't. It might even get them mixed up (at least amongst the 4.3 people in the world who've heard of them).

Without a good name, I feel stuck. I don't even know if I want to try to publish or release this (more about that in the next few blog posts) but if I did I would need a name and I don't have a good one. It's hard to brainstorm about names. I don't have any ideas where to start!


drscorpio said...

Octagonist - I like this although it isn't clear what it means in any real sense.
Octagony - Perhaps a little grim

Hawthorn Thistleberry said...

This made me think of a goofy one: Octothorpe!

Hawthorn Thistleberry said...

On my Facebook posting of this blog post, I commented on how, if Indigo sounded good, maybe I should look at other colors. Later I also added gemstones and elements. Based on this, I have produced the following list of names that sound okay, and aren't already used:


Hawthorn Thistleberry said...

Of these, I think my favorites are Sapphire, Cerulean, and Cobalt. (Which is weird, because blue isn't usually my color.)

But I'm leaving the whole list up there for two reasons. 1: In case anyone wants to suggest a reason why one of these names is better or worse than I realized. 2: In case the ideas I posted inspire anyone to post any more.

Hawthorn Thistleberry said...

Incidentally, the crystal structure of sapphire (corundum) is made up primarily of octahedra. So there's an eight for you.

Siobhan said...

I like sapphire just 'cos they're my favorite gems and I like that they're primarily made of octahedra.

Sapphires can be cut into facets! It's a many faceted game! Something like that.