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

clawrenc at cup.hp.com clawrenc at cup.hp.com
Wed May 21 16:04:21 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

In <199705210941.LAA00172 at regoc.srce.hr>, on 05/21/97 
   at 08:27 AM, silovic at srce.hr (Miroslav Silovic) said:

>> In <199705190115.DAA06158 at regoc.srce.hr>, on 05/18/97 
>>    at 06:19 PM, silovic at srce.hr (Miroslav Silovic) said:

>> Tho I haven't cleaned up the details, the presentation I have in mind
>> is very much that the shared reality experienced in the MUD is a
>> physical construct resulting purely from the mutual mental actions of
>> the players.  Probably this will be presented in much the manner of
>> (all) the players being once near-omnipitent (demi-)gods who were
>> mutually responsible for the initial creation of the universe, but are
>> now much descended from their former stature and power and
>> concomittantly bereft of much of their memory.
>> See!  User-programming is perfectly in character.

>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. :)

I don't see this.  Were I a god, I would expect to be bound by
strictures that don't apply to me as a mortal.  Consider the handling
of side effects:

  Uhh, let there be light!

  Okay, we have uniform non-directional source-less light.  The 
    world just *glows*.


  Uhh, let there be directional light!

  Where's it come from?

  Okay, let there be directional light coming from this location!

  Err, what direction does that light go from there?

  Blast!  Let there be directional light which radiates spherically 
    from this location!

  Do you really want a point source?

  Bugger!  Let there be directional light which radiates shperically
    from this sperical surface whose centre is located here!

  And just what are the component frequencies and intensities of 
    this light?

It becomes rather similar to the recent ambiguity debates.  I see this
as a variant upon programming with programming merely being a semantic
form which allows precise and formalised description of a desired
behaviour (as well as the debugging as above).

>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. 

I don't make that distinction.  Programming for me very much occurs
within the world -- its just a question of interface and presentation.

>In other words, ordering the reality to change is a
>game system operation. But implementing the change is event outside
>the game.

I contend that any order expressed with sufficient precision to
guaranteedly and unambiguously define a precise and scope/function
limited desired change in he game world is effectively
indistinguishable from a program except for the format of its

>> 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)?

>Using words 'proxy' and 'personae' together in the context above is
>not self-consistant. :)

Why not?  The character in the MUD acts as a proxy representation for
the personae adopted by the human player.

>> If you take the former view, then yes, walking into the wall is both
>> surprising and probably unacceptable.  If you take the later view
>> (which I prefer) then walking into the wall is not only preferable,
>> but not walking into the wall breaks the logical consistancy of the
>> world.

>Errr, uhhhh, you just said that for you, there is no difference
>between IC and OOC. The fact that you use the two terms in the same
>article as the above is the logical contradiction (since mentioning
>'in-character' means that character has its own existance, which
>human merely empowers).

Ahh.  I'm using a looser definition of IC and OOC than you are.  I
define IC as that field which is logically consistant with the in-game
systems and rules and is not externally referencing.  OOC is thusly
defined as that class which is inconsistant with the game world, or
references matters external to the game.

>Of course, choosing 'not to break the logical consistancy' in this
>case also means irritating the players to no end (example: you type
>north 6-7 times, lag, loose count, and then try to go east. *WHAM!*)

Yup.  This is what I expect as well as what I "grew up with" in my
early MUDs.  It is up to you to pay attention to your environment in
the game (cf earlier comment on lack of or presence of independant
cognitive abilities of MUD characters).

>To my worldview, characters don't bang their heads into the wall when
>they try walking, period. The alternative does not contribute to
>anything, but detracts from playability.

Funny.  I bang my head into walls, ceilings, and doorways with fair
regularity (well, not that often, but it happens).  Being 6'4" helps,
but doesn't excuse all of it.

>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. The only way to consider MUD a roleplaying
>game, IMHO, is to assume that player merely gives guidance to the
>independantly existing character. 

Hurm.  Okay, then by that definition I have don't intend to support
RP'ing in my default world.  I'd wondered about that.  Thanks.

>Since you stated that you never do
>playing but do mostly coding (correct if I misremembered)...

Nope, that was Chris Gray I think.  

I MUD a fair bit, tho in spurts (its been several months).  Typically
I'll MUD 10 - 20 hours a week for about a month or two, and then drop
off from all playing for several months or maybe a year or so.

>I can tell
>you that the experince is very hard to describe to somebody who never
>played a high-impact scene. 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.

Yup.  It is something I can appreciate, doubt I would enjoy, and am
uncertain if I wish to enourage or explicitly support in my games (has
little relevance to my interests or sense of importances).  Jaime's
recent post discussing having the game presenting a possible choice to
the player (do you succeed or fail at climbing the cliff) illuminates
this well.  Such a question or decision requested by a game system is
inherently antithetical to my concept of how a desirable game system
works to an extent that I doubt they can be reconciled.

I don't want a Doom-esque twitch game, and I don't want a masked fancy
dress ball.  I do want an intellectual puzzle which I can delight in
exploring and manipulating.  I'm looking for a more visceral and
mental game than one where emotive content is of primary importance. 
This is not to devalue the emotive content of my game (which I
consider invaluable both as motivating and reactive factors), but to
place it as merely a component structure in the game design and not an
overriding form.

This all being true, I do enjoy manipulating the presentation of my
character in-game to create desired effects on other player's views. 
Often this is expressed in terms of
personality/character/language/usage tweaks such that others form
certain classes of expectations of my character (or don't realise that
disperate characters are all mine).  Thusly I usually have characters
that I loosely classify as, "the populist" (the character I most
dislike), "the philospher", "the killer", "the iconocalast", "the
avenger", "the antagonsitic", "the enthusiastic", "the changer", "the
inciter", "the gamer", and "the descended diety."  I've taken this far
enough to have one character rabble rouse a mob to go lynch another
character of mine (who was an overly effective PK'er) with the result
that the PK'er had a slaughter fest (I think he got almost 40% of the
lynch mob (not bad for a permanent death game)), and killed my first
character who then complained bitterly of being unfairly picked on yet

J C Lawrence                           Internet: claw at null.net
(Contractor)                           Internet: coder at ibm.net
---------------(*)               Internet: clawrenc at cup.hp.com
...Honorary Member Clan McFUD -- Teamer's Avenging Monolith...

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