[MUD-Dev] The limits of system

Jamie Norrish jamie at sans.vuw.ac.nz
Mon May 19 17:48:36 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

Matt Chatterley writes:

> On Sat, 17 May 1997, Jamie Norrish wrote:
> This is a good assessment. It's also fair to say that if you have a
> degree of success in a very hard task, you may learn more than total
> success in an easy (or easier) task, but you would learn very little
> from complete failure in an incredibly hard task.

Yes, though the granularity of the system kicks in at this point.

I wonder if anyone has considered the following. As I think I
mentioned in my introduction, I am torn between the relative ease of
invoking a comprehensive and global system on a MUD, and the knowledge
that there is far more flexibility and ease of use in a mechanics-less
MUSH, for example. It has just occured to me that one possible
compromise is to have the system in place (object interactions,
perhaps even some skills) but have such things as whether a skill
succeeds or fails based on the choice of the player.

This allows for a world which is not the sole province of the players
to create and maintain (not just in terms of room and object descs,
but also object interactions, results of succeeding or failing at a
task, etc - so a system handles wounds, the consumption of food, the
fact that my walking stick just broke, etc), and yet which allows
players to have some control over the dramatic aspects of the game.

Now, I'm not explaining myself well, so I'll give an annotated

Jamie walks along the forest trail, but finds that it stops dead at a
steep cliff whose top is many feet above his head. Peering down at him
he sees Rat-man, his mortal enemy. Determined to catch him, Jamie
begins to climb the cliff.

[Ie, I type "climb cliff". I then get told the chances of success
(based on all relevant factors, including my skill at climbing) and
asked to choose whether I succeed or fail. I decide to fail, because I
don't want to catch up to Rat-man just yet - to do so would be
anti-climactic. I'd rather wait until I've got him in a public spot,
to humiliate him with his defeat.]

Jamie starts to clamber up the cliff, recklessly seeking hand- and
foot-holds even while looking ahead to reaching the top.
Unfortunately, his haste makes him careless, and half way up his foot
slips from its position. In a spray of dust, he slides down the
cliff-face, landing painfully among the rocks below. Above him,
Rat-man laughs and disappears.

Does this appeal to anyone?

> > However, I am firmly opposed to the idea of the system
> > of the game having anything to do with what is a social function.
> I'm not entirely sure what you're aiming at.. but in an RP environment, I
> find it desirable to completely isolate the players from all notions of
> coding and so forth (beyond suggestions to improve things).

Not only this, but for coding to have no hidden function in social
concerns. Why code a tithe to the guildmaster when the guildmaster can
simply ask all the members for that tithe, and be given it or not
according to the choice of the members? I find it very irritating when
potential interactions are ruined in this way.


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