[MUD-Dev] Re: Administrative notes

Miroslav Silovic silovic at srce.hr
Tue May 20 12:10:42 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

> [Miro:]
> :Which brings us to another topic: MUD as strategy game vs MUD as
> :roleplaying game. I suggest you spend a couple of weeks on some
> :newbie-friendly MUSH, where you will be /forced/ to stay in character
> :all the time (since many MUSHes assume that everyone is in character,
> :and if you decide not to be, you're expected to warn the people
> :around you).
> :
> :For that matter, it's a good idea to take some spare time, and visit
> :any MUD type that you haven't visited yet. Sometimes it's amazing
> :to learn that people may have found solutions to the problems you
> :never even thought of. :)
> This is an area where I am *very* guilty. The small amount of actual
> MUD-playing that I've done would likely shock you! I'm much more
> interesting in a MUD as a programming project. That's one of the
> reasons why this mailing list (and the newsgroups, whenever they
> happen to flow to me via my stupid ISP) is so valuable to me - I can
> tap into a lot of concentrated MUD experience, without having to spend
> hundred's of hours playing!

*grin* There is no such thing as a free lunch. :)

But then, as mostly-MUSHer, I'm heavily biased about some topics, while
you can still take a fresh viewpoint. :)

I still think that detailed virtual world (i.e. tons of code) will
completely fail to immerse the players into it, without many other
things that usually aren't done. I'd even risk saying that the code
is irrelevant to the ammount of roleplaying.

The issues that do affect roleplaying are ammount of player interaction
and the ability to freely express themselves. The first can only be
achieved by /forcing/ the players to interact if they want to do anything,
and it has to be non-trivial interaction.
Example of interaction that does *not* further roleplaying:

Creamed fighter says, "Any clerics to heal me?"
Cleric lays hand on the fighter.

Example of a non-trivial interaction:

Fighter is creamed, comatose, and bleeding, 100 miles from the city.
It takes 3 hour's ride to the city, during which he'll bleed to death.
They came there to spy on the patrols from the city theirs is warring
with, and were discovered, and barely managed to run. They only have
two horses left. The lighter of the two people with him takes both
horses and gallops to the city, while the other sits with the fighter
and tries to make his pain easier, talking to him in-character.

	- suspense as the rider tries to reach the city and back in time
	- fear as the two face the possibility of rediscovery
	- long conversation during which things are discovererd from the
	  characters' past

Note: This actually means that MUD must give the *time* people need
to interact. Most MUDs require that things happen at the Stalone movie
pace. Unfortunately, it usually means that it requires equal ammount
of brain to play them. :)

Another matter are emotes. Some MUSHes have combat that only calculates
the outcome, leaving to the players to play it out.

I'd say that DuneMUSH rule is good here: 2-3 lines is a good emote
(1 is, well, crappy. >3 slows down the game, although some people, me
included, get verbose when circumstances require).

To me, emotes /are/ roleplaying, as they give 'soul' to the character.

Example, from one of my characters (I'm paraphrasing from memory):

(scene: Bayou near New Orleans. Certain women was basically hiking
through it. Corin looks like not-too-typical bayou guide:
Native american features, muscular built, wears jeans chequered shirt):

There is little sound slightly behind Sif's back, as if something large
passes through them. A man walks to the path, and moves in step with
her. He keeps an eye on the unsafe ground, aparently ignoring the woman
in his silence.

<This was spoofed. Some games that allow spoofing postfix it with the
name of the spoofer for reference, of course>

Anyway, the point: A single pose describes Corin as silent, somewhat 
strange type, but also very dangerous in unspecified way. Basically a
type you'd want to keep away from, but are immediately attracted to
savage charisma.

And this is what roleplaying /should/ be but rarely is, IMHO. :)


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