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RPG Research Projects History List

by Hawke Robinson published Apr 30, 2018 01:55 PM, last modified May 01, 2018 10:47 AM
While we have posted textual and photo lists of the history of RPG Research at a high level, we haven't created an organized list, in timeline approach, of the actual research we've performed since 1983.

This page is an attempt to  capture more information about the decades of experiments and research related to role-playing games, by RPG Research staff and founders, in a timeline format. It will take time to fill in all the blanks, but we will endeavor to do so. Unfortunately much of the physical ccontent, photos, papers, etc. from the earlier decades has been lost, but we are endeavoring to dig up whatever is possible to supplement the textual summations, and provide links where appropriate for more details.

Other options, while this page is still being developed, include looking up our Amalgamation and Photo History pages:

 

 

1977-78

RPG Research founder introduced to role-playing games as a player.

Beginning of early informal, but useful, experiments with tabletopRPGs

 

CRPG Systems:

 

 

CRPG Games:

  • Zork

 

LARP

 

SABM

 

 

TRPG

 

 

Research Questions from this time period

Pretty much just learning the ins and outs of RPGing, social dynamics, different stages of game master development (monty haul, killer, etc.)

 

 

1979 - 1982

Initial introduction of RPGs to RPG Research Project founder.

Informal but intensive and extensive experimentation with RPGs.

Primary learning the RPG variants, and beginnings of optimizing the experience.

Between tabletop and computer-based efforts, sometimes intensive periods of 16 hours a day, especially during school breaks, weekends, and summers, while still balancing many other interests, working, physical activity, outdoors activities, sports teams, etc.

RPG Research founder, early software development of role-playing game aides (dice roller, music, graphics/mapping)

Software development, text-based dungeon, if/then, story selection only.

Text-based dungeon, add randomization, combat resolution, action resolution, etc. above the simple story if/then.

Many, many computer-based RPGs (mostly offline).

 

Early online text-based RPG experiments through BBSes and precursor to Internet (ARPA/DARPA net).

Game systems/settings

 

CRPG Systems

  • Apple II & IIe
  • TRS-80
  • PDP (11?)
  • TI 99/4a
  • Atari 2600
  • IBM PC

 

CRPG Games:

  • Zork

 

RPG/TRPG Game systems/settings

  • OD&D
  • AD&D1
  • AD&D1 adapted to Middle-earth

 

LARP:

None

 

 

SABM

  •  Choose Your Own Adventure

 

 

Research Questions from this time period

Can you turn an SABM adventure into mor eof a TRPG experience, by pulling up creatures from the Monster Manual (etc.), and using AD&D rules, when run into encounters in the book, to see if overcome, rather than just the if-/then features of the book.

Experimented, writing in BASIC and others, how well turn CYOA's into text-based CRPG, but with randomization added for the encounter results and combat situations. Easily enough done, worked pretty well, added much to the Zork-like experience.

 

 

1983

Beginning of slightly more formal research efforts, increases in formality over the decades.

Beginning of writing down some research ideas, scoping possible experiments, observational notes, verbal surveys post-game, etc.

Project founder witnessing increasing experiences of backlash/stigma against gamers in Utah, Idaho, California. Verbal surveys of people implementing bans, attempting to determine why they thought they should ban, the sources they referenced (usually television and newspaper media).

Literature Review and 8 page essay on "The Myths and Realities of Role-Playing Games", and read aloud to the entire upper (small) private school Realms of Inquiry, "a school for gifted & talented children".Notably improved bias behaviors in the school toward RPGers, though still not completely eliminated negative attitudes.

Experiments in paid gaming. Received payment from every player for every game session, from regular groups. The players were happy about this, since they enjoyed the quality of the game, and they knew the money would be spent to enhance the game by buying more RPG books, miniatures, modules, etc.

While still mostly focusing on improving DM & Player skills for the game itself, after writing paper

 

CRPG Systems:

  • Commodore 64
  • IBM PC XT

 

 

CRPG Games:

 

LARP

 

SABM

 

 

TRPG

  • ICE MERP
  • ICE Rolemaster
  • Call of Cthulhu
  • Fasa Star Trek RPG
  • Car Wars (we adapted to RPG)

 

 

 

Research Questions from this time period

 

 

 

 

1984

 Experiments in computer-generated music for role-playing games, and ambient sounds during TRPG sessions (while running Dragonlance and other series).

Began creating verbal and handout surveys/questionnaires for feedback to help improve the gaming experience. In hindsight, these were efforts to optimize the game experience to improve immersion and experiences of flow state.

Experiments in group sizes (up to about 10-12 players per group)

Early experiments in number of groups per week (up to 6 groups per week)

Early experiments in duration of sessions (up to 16 hours, and as short as 2 hours).

Edperimented with incorporation of other physical activities to break up long sessions (6+ hours), and rejuvinate player excitements. Experimented with hack sack circles (cooperative in nature), boffer LARP sessions in the field, swimming sessions with in-water adventure themes tied in, etc.

Experiments with one-on-one gaming. Various games.

Experiments with "Gladiatorial Battles with the gods". AD&D 1st Edition

 

CRPG Systems:

  • IBM PCjr
  • Macintosh

 

 

CRPG Games:

 

LARP

 

SABM

 

 

TRPG

  • Twilight 2000
  • Iron Crown Enterprises Middle-earth Role-Playing (ICE MERP)
  • Rolemaster
  • AD&D 1st Edition
  • Paranoia
  • Elfquest

 

 

 

 

Research Questions from this time period

 

 

 

1985 - 1989

Experiments on using RPGs in educational settings.

Education program on RPGs, 5 days per week, last period, Realms of Inquiry. As a consequence all negative stigmatic behavior toward RPGers in the school was visibly eliminated. Can't account for thoughts, only behaviors.  While most participants did not go on to become regular RPGers, several did. Meanwhile those that participated but didn't embrace it regularly, at least no longer had misunderstandings about what the games entailed, and were defenders/advocates that it was "just a game", albeit different than others. PROGRAM PLAN/CURRICULUM - Realms of Inquiry "A School for Gifted & Talented Children", Salt Lake City, UT - Learn How to Play and Run Role-Playing Games. Monday through Friday, 5+/- weeks.

Experiments in organized play, RPGA and other events. 1986: CONVENTION - RPGA, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition - Organized, hosted, and ran RPGA-based 12 hour mini-convention. 12 players. Hosted at home, Salt Lake City, UT. 1987: CONVENTION - RPGA, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition (AD&D1) - Organized, hosted, trained Dungeon Masters (DM), supervised event. RPGA-based 2-day convention, 60 participants. Millcreek Library, Salt Lake City, UT

RPG unofficial/semi-official/official bans at SLC libraries spreading.

RPG unofficial/semi-official/officialbans at SLC public schools spreading.

Early experiments in facilities/environment effects on game play and enjoyment.

 Experiments in larger organized play. Same module for all tables/DMs, non-competitive.Increasingly standardizing training of DM's to try to deliver the homemade adventures in the same style based on earlier game testing participants feedback.

Experiments in running even larger TRPG groups sizes, including 20 players (merged 3 groups in Greyhawke campaign) over 1-2 months of weekly sessions. Had to implement a number of changes in DM and player style and interaction, to keep balanced and avoid boredom for others waiting turn, and keep down chaos. Merging 3 weekly full groups, 20+ players in overlapping shared campaign.

 Experiment with introducing RPGs to miners at a gold mine in central Idaho (The Lost Packer Mine). Used Iron Crown Enterprises Middle-earth Role-Playing. Several sessions after dinner each night.  They were very skeptical, but willing to give it a shot. Went surprisingly well.

 

 

CRPG Systems:

  • IBM PCjr
  • Amiga

 

 

CRPG Games:

 

LARP

  • Our own bofferr and adventure LARPs
  • Society for Creative Anachronism (yes, I know, they don't consider themselves a LARP)

 

SABM

 

 

TRPG

  • Paranoia
  • Doctor Who RPG
  • Mechwarrior (tried adapting to RPG)
  • Robotech RPG

 

 

 

Research Questions from this time period

 

 

 

 

1990 - 1995

 

 RPG SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT - MerpMaker Software -

 

 

CRPG Systems:

  • Amiga 2000

 

 

CRPG Games:

 

LARP

 

SABM

 

 

TRPG

 

 

 

Research Questions from this time period

 

 

 

1995 - 2003

 

Many experiments in audio/video remote TRPG sessions over various technologies, mostly CuSeeMe on WhitePine reflector, but also ICQ, and many others.....

Toward end of 2003, looking into therapeutic professions.

Information coming soon...

 

 

CRPG Systems:

 

 

CRPG Games:

 

LARP

 

SABM

 

 

TRPG

 

 

 

Research Questions from this time period

 

 

 

 

 

2004

Significant increase in formality of research on RPGs. Begining of the name "The RPG Research Project".

Research focus begins rapidly transitioning from studies mostly just on overal leffects of RPGs, data on RPGers, and using in educational settings. Focus now shifts larger focus toward potential of therapeutic applications (in addition to continuing to a lesser degree the prior research foci) to achieve specific goals for different populations.

Establishment of online repository (under other websites through Hawkes-haven.com, merp.com, etc.).

 

 

 

 

 

CRPG Systems:

 

 

CRPG Games:

 

LARP

 

SABM

 

 

TRPG

  • D&D 3.5

 

 

 

Research Questions from this time period

 

 

 

2005

 

 

 

 

CRPG Systems:

 

 

CRPG Games:

 

LARP

 

SABM

 

 

TRPG

 

 

 

 

Research Questions from this time period

 

 

 

 

 

2006

 

Establish The RPG Research Project's own dedicated website domain: rpgresearch.com

Begin moving content from older server to new server.

Uploading of much more content from decades of accumulated and scattered electronic and handwritten notes (many turned out to be lost over the decades unfortunately, though every now and then, something thought lost, someone finds, and can add to the repository).

Greatly increased time spent searching all university databases that had access to.

Greatly increased time spent reaching out to contact authors for permission to add their research to the site. For those without permission, still upload, but only make private accessible to the PI, not publicly accessible until permission granted.

 

 

 

CRPG Systems:

 

 

CRPG Games:

 

LARP

 

SABM

 

 

TRPG

 

 

 

Research Questions from this time period

 

 

 

 

2007

 

 

 

 

 

CRPG Systems:

 

 

CRPG Games:

 

LARP

 

SABM

 

 

TRPG

 

 

 

Research Questions from this time period

 

 

 

 

2008

 

 

 

 

CRPG Systems:

 

 

CRPG Games:

 

LARP

 

SABM

 

 

TRPG

 

 

 

 

Research Questions from this time period

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2009

 

 

 

 

CRPG Systems:

 

 

CRPG Games:

 

LARP

 

SABM

 

 

TRPG

 

 

 

 

Research Questions from this time period

 

 

 

 

2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

CRPG Systems:

 

 

CRPG Games:

 

LARP

 

SABM

 

 

TRPG

 

 

 

 

Research Questions from this time period

 

 

 

 

2011

 

 

 

 

 

CRPG Systems:

 

 

CRPG Games:

 

LARP

 

SABM

 

 

TRPG

 

 

 

 

 

Research Questions from this time period

 

 

 

2012

 

 

 

 

 

CRPG Systems:

 

 

CRPG Games:

 

LARP

 

SABM

 

 

TRPG

 

 

 

 

Research Questions from this time period

 

 

 

 

2013

 

 

 

 

 

CRPG Systems:

 

 

CRPG Games:

 

LARP

 

SABM

 

 

TRPG

 

 

 

Research Questions from this time period

 

 

 

 

 

2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

CRPG Systems:

 

 

CRPG Games:

 

LARP

 

SABM

 

 

TRPG

 

 

 

 

 

Research Questions from this time period

 

 

 

 

2015

 

 

CRPG Systems:

 

 

CRPG Games:

 

LARP

 

SABM

 

 

TRPG

 

 

 

Research Questions from this time period

 

 

 

2016

 

 

CRPG Systems:

 

 

CRPG Games:

 

LARP

 

SABM

 

 

TRPG

 

 

 

Research Questions from this time period

 

 

 

2017

 

Incorporated the non-profit 501(c) organization "RPG Research", dropped the "project" portion of name.

 

 

 

 

CRPG Systems:

 

 

CRPG Games:

 

LARP

 

SABM

 

 

TRPG

 

 

 

 

Research Questions from this time period

 

 

 

 

2018

 

 

CRPG Systems:

 

 

CRPG Games:

 

LARP

 

SABM

 

 

TRPG

 

 

 

Research Questions from this time period

 

 

 

2019

 

 

CRPG Systems:

 

 

CRPG Games:

 

LARP

 

SABM

 

 

TRPG

 

 

 

Research Questions from this time period

 

 

 

 

 

List of Research Questions

This section hopes to provide one area to find all of the RPG Research questions that have been asked over the years. Some might have some kinds of answers (likely generating more questions), or at least list the attempts for trying to answer them. Many others are placeholders for future research to attempt to answer these questions, either through additional literature review on the subject, or through direct experiments by RPG Research staff.

 

 

<coming soon, search for "research questions" for now, there should be tags associated>.