[MUD-Dev] The Lessons of Lucasfilm's Habitat

Jon A. Lambert jlsysinc at ix.netcom.com
Sun Jun 1 23:09:41 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

> From: clawrenc at cup.hp.com
> Subject: [MUD-Dev]  The Lessons of Lucasfilm's Habitat

A few comments on a very interesting paper:

I vaguely remember this game since I was a member of QLink for
about a year.  Never played it though.  

> The initial incarnation of Habitat uses a Commodore 64 for the
> frontend. One of the questions we are asked most frequently is, "Why
> the Commodore 64?" Many people somehow get the impression that this

300 baud network with a C64 on the front-end?  Graphics probably
similar to "Zak McKraken and the Alien Mind Benders" or "Neuromancer"
if anyone remembers those.  I particular like the way they define the
range of user interface from an unacceptable "There is a tree here." to a 
Quake-like rendering with animation and stereo sound.  There is
in fact a large range of middle ground to explore here.  I think the
cartoon-like interface might be attractive for a couple reasons.

1) Even non-artists could produce acceptable graphics with the aid
   of some good drawing tools and quickly too.
2) I think QLink held all the graphics for the game on a 170K diskette.
   Surely that's something that could be transmitted quite quickly at
   once or over the course of play with little latency. Admittedly
   there object set was quite small.

If your theme is a dark and brooding one, Cartoon-like can be
a distinct turn off.  ID's Heretic had cartoon-like textures and 
creatures which hurt the feel of the game IMO.  Quake on the
other hand has the opposite effect.  Its downright disturbing. 

> by typing on the keyboard. The text that a player types is displayed
> over his or her Avatar's head in a cartoon-style "word balloon".
This is cute.  The word balloon idea is neat.  I was leaning against
avatars since the range of emotions expressed might be limited.  

Any thoughts on avatars, good or bad?

I think the illustration of how the Death power weapon was handled
by 2 different administrators was particularly interesting.
In-game handling versus admin brute force handling seems to be more
desirable from the players viewpoint.  Many of the disgruntled player
posts in rgma would seem to back this up.


"If I'd known it was harmless, I would have killed it myself"
*- Through a Scanner Darkly - PKD -*


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