[MUD-Dev] Re: Issues from the digests and Wout's list

Caliban Tiresias Darklock caliban at darklock.com
Wed May 21 14:16:31 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

Miroslav Silovic wrote:
> I don't see it: If I were god, I'd change the world by something
> that starts with 'let there be *', not by something that starts
> with @create blah. :)

Sounds like 'let there be' to me. Most MUSHes will allow:

	&cmd_make me=$let there be *:@create %0

If you really want atmosphere, you can create other neat little commands
that will let you type 'and let X be given free will' to @set X=PUPPET
or something.
> Changing the reality is not the same operation as programming, since
> the former happens inside the game universe, while the latter happens
> in Real World. In other words, ordering the reality to change is a
> game system operation. But implementing the change is event outside
> the game.

There's a certain level of trust in MUSH programming, which can be
abused in much the same way as anything else can. However, it does allow
the players to take some level of interest in and responsibility for the
game; while it is true that the occasional dork will walk around with an
object called the 'Gleaming Sceptre of Instant Death', it's logical to
assume that people like this would -- in the game world -- be able to
acquire things that *look* like powerful magic items but are in fact
only fancy props. The major problem is the abuse of OOC information; for
example, when someone walks up to me carrying the 'Gleaming Sceptre of
Instant Death', I can acquire quite easily the object number, owner, and
flags of the object. Through this, I can determine quite readily that it
is just a fake; but it is up to me as a player to act as though my
character has no clue it isn't really magical. This involves trust,
something which is given freely in the MUSH world, but almost never
assumed on a MUD.

> > >The similar example: causing commands that failed because of typos to
> > >have IC consequences (for instance, typing 'west', when there is no
> > >exit to west, should produce an error, because while player didn't
> > >know that there is no exit, character certainly did know that.

I've seen MUSHes (and I dislike this greatly) where commands that fail
completely do so silently, with no message or other feedback. Would this
be preferable to you? I for one don't like it, but it has valid concerns
behind it.

> > Again this comes back to the question of distinction I posed a couple
> > days ago (which got very little feedback).  Are you the human merely a
> > background mentor for the character in the MUD, or is the character in
> > the MUD merely a proxy for you the human (along with whatever personae
> > etc you wish to assume)?

I think it's a combination of the above. You direct your character's
actions, true, as though he is a proxy; however, the character takes the
action as he sees fit. If you direct him to do something monumentally
stupid, he *may* refuse. "I can't do that. What's *wrong* with you?"
Likewise, if you direct him to do something monumentally stupid by
mistake, he may go "*shrug* You're the boss!"... like any other person,
the character is not always predictable.
> Since your dillema was posed as a question, here's my take at the answer:
> If player is assumed to be on the MUD as himself, then the MUD is
> a strategy game. 

When I first moved to MUDs from MUSHes, having been away from them a
long time, I had a difficult time adjusting. I'd walk in and say
something like 'Greetings, fair maiden. How goes?' and they'd look at me
a moment and go 'What level are you? Wanna group? I have a good
damroll.' -- which would be entirely inappropriate and grounds for
deletion on most MUSHes. It was just appalling. ;)

> The only way to consider MUD a roleplaying game, IMHO,
> is to assume that player merely gives guidance to the independantly
> existing character. Since you stated that you never do playing but
> do mostly coding (correct if I misremembered), I can tell you that the
> experince is very hard to describe to somebody who never played a
> high-impact scene. 

I use two personas on most MUSHes. One for playing, one for coding. It
tends to give real substance to the IC/OOC question.

> With practice, you learn to build a 'sub-persona'
> in your mind, and shift gears to it while playing him or her (this is
> what I do and what most RPers I know do). Splitting one's mind and
> then watching over your character's shoulder is the most important
> source of fun for both RPers and actors. But in your view of MUDding,
> this never happens.

It's actively discouraged on most MUDs. You can't get into character
easily when you're surrounded by people that are asking where to get XP
and complaining that they're never going to level and singing old disco
tunes on the channels. You just can't suspend disbelief under those
circumstances. Not a minute goes by that you aren't reminded that this
is a game, and your level is your score, and there are people out there
with higher scores than you. 
> Opening separate topic: Many times, *very* clever ideas that while on the
> drawing board lead to great immersive RPing experience, also
> lead to a MU* that won't survive its first year.

A sign of bad planning and misunderstanding of why people play MU*s,
> For example, GOHS MUSH had *great* world design, livid economy, detailed
> character creation, and a starting base od dedicated players. It had no
> means of out-of-character communication, thereby forcing the players to
> meet only on IC grounds.
> It died because of it.

I've seen similar situations, where someone takes a personal prejudice
and makes it mandatory because it's their game. It's not your game,
unfortunately; no matter how much of your heart and soul goes into it,
the game always belongs to the players.
> The reason is that players /needed/ un-immersive communication to talk
> to each other, planning things, and basically creating something that
> could be call 'accelerated coincidence'.

I've been in similar situations in live action games, where I was
supposed to be plotting something with another character, and couldn't
find him. I later found the player who had been assigned that character,
and he confessed that he had become very very confused while reading the
character sheet and never gone into character. It was his first live
action game, and the language and terms of the game system were
unfamiliar to him; while he could have returned the character for a
refund, he would have had to do so in front of some two hundred
participants, which would have been terribly embarrassing because he was
a pretty well-known figure around the convention. Sometimes a game
breaks down just because you can't get to the right places to resolve
the issues; I knew the player in question, and had gamed with him off
and on for years. I could have easily, given contact with him, clarified
and explained the game system. But as a result of the lack of
communication as players, both of us ended up having a thoroughly
unsatisfying experience, and I'm sure the parent faction was a little
disappointed at not having their spy team properly in play.

We would have been a great team, too. ;)

More information about the MUD-Dev mailing list