[MUD-Dev] Life

Jeff Kesselman jeffk at tenetwork.com
Tue Jun 3 21:25:23 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

At 07:26 PM 6/3/97 PST8PDT, you jc lawrence wrote:
>In < at mail.tenetwork.com>, on 06/03/97 
>   at 08:22 AM, Jeff Kesselman <jeffk at tenetwork.com> said:
>>None of these are products that anyone outside of a fairly small and
>>closely focused community have heard of.  
>Agreed.  Everything survives or fails within its framework.  
>However, none of the above games had or have exclusionary memberships,
>and several of them engaged in broad marketing campaigns attempting to
>appeal to any computer user with anything from a Sinclair ZX80 on up. 
>They were very literally open to all comers with *nobody* banned.  The
>entire concept of banning a player just didn't exist.  

Would it be dodging the issue fro me top say its become a whoel brave new
world out there in the last 2 years?  USENET was simple and easy to
administrate and worked very well without banning anyone whilke the only
peopel who COUDL get on for the msot aprt where part of a small homogenous
group (academics for the most part.)  As soon as the masses flooded oin
alot of the old ways of doign thinsg started breaking down.  In particualr
the turmoil caused by offering USENET on AOL bare some study IMO for wehat
is abotu to happen to the MUD community.  I hate to say this, but AOL
brought on level os new user into the net who wer operating at a less
educated level then those already tehre. WE and the other online gaming
services are bringing what is perhapse an even LOWER level into teh net--
anyoen who can hit the "play on TEN" button in their copy of Duke.

I almost fgeel I owe you all an apology for that...

>>I'ld be intrested in your
>>namign a commerical MUD on a reasonably large service (GEnie, AOL,
>>and such) thats HASN'T had to deal with destructive players.
>An overly trite question given that I don't have access to the records
>of multiple commercial services who also offered such games.  

Hmm. Records arent the issue. i assume you have no access to record on the
MUDS you cited, either.  I will grant however that you may have
noexperience with these and haven't thus heard the horror stories from the
old timers.  I do and have.

>A subjective standard impossible to judge impartially.  I can write
>best here on SX MUD and Shades.  
>Neither I think had any real concept of a social community and
>implicit standards for that community.  (eg newbie killing was not
>seen as a "Bad Thing").  The base agreement was that the game was a
>toy, and you made of it what you would.  Agreement on what to make of
>it was a matter of happenstance.

Hmm. And you did not have the grousp factioning and fighting over what they
wanted to make of it? Interesting.  This would make it a counter example to
everything ive seen in the commercial domain. Can you give me a port and
machien that I can go loo kat?

>If they wish to determine that certain things are "unwelcome" and/or
>"crimes", then that is their choice.  Neither I nor the game will have
>anything to do with that (tho I (not the game) may try and discourage
>it).  If they wish to define various guild forms, social strata,
>status structures etc, they are perfectly capable of doing that. 

Heh. Okay. Il lwait and see. Ofcourse if you select your communtiy
carefully (on what basis Ild be very curious of, since you don't seem to
want to interfere even to that level) then it may not prove much one way or
the other.

My experince in teh commerical online world is that most peopel are NOT
"capable of doing that".  Which is my fundemnetal point.  But hey, prove me
wrong :)

>>The problems come abotu when that contract is not clear, so the
>>players cannot agree amongst themselves  as to exactly what the rules
>Read Bartle's document on Wizardhood.  While many take it as a joke,
>take it from me that the content is both factual and correct in theme. 
>I'll attempt to post it here later.

Grat. or email it directly to me, or send me a URL. I promise Ill read it.

>I have a set of ill-formed hopes which I hope to foster by creating a
>game which encourages their realisation without explicitly mandating
>them or expressing them in any codified form within the game.  Mostly

A wonderful ideal.  Ill be intrested to see how well it coems off.  Im
still not convinced that your players wont, given no clear game, start
factionailizing and definign their own and then fighting with eahc other
over what the "right" game is... but we will see...

>I don't have a lot of interest in approaching a game to adapt my game
>concepts to their internal ideals.  I prefer to approach the game as a
>new system which is to be examined in its own right, and then used
>from there with whatever idea I happen to come up with to fit it.  The
>idea is to examine the game as a system, and from there define a set
>of goals that appeal to you using that system, not to extract the
>pre-defined goals from the system and then charge willy-nilly after

Ah. I agree in part with you here.  In fact, my design for DSOII is my
approach at doing something about this in a  roleplay environment. Im also
a systems person (ever read Bateson's Mind and Nature? One of the boosk
taht imrepssed me most from my college days.)  I despise games wher the
goal is to "figure optu what the game wants you to do' in micro terms and
do it.  Ild rather read a fixed story oin a book where I dont have to work
on finding the pages.  In addition these pre-written stories are generally
BAD stories.

My solutuion (and i hope Don doesnt hit me for saying this) is a 3 tiered
game.  I have secondary players playign a meta-game thawt drives the
primary game.  they have goasl that they can only accomplish through
motivating the players of the primary game.  I exiswt at the third tier,
muckign with the world to create the needs of the secondary playersd and
the psoitioning of thweir resoruces where primary players can find them.  

The secondary game is somewhat rigid, its really a economic/political game
abotu on the level of Hamurabi.  The primary players can chose to get
invovled or not get invovled... or can accidentally get invovled.. etc...


>An example from the arcade game world may best exemplify here:
>  I used to play the arcade game "Tron".  It was a fairly simple game
>where you player stood on one of a number of floating disks in a room,
>jumped among them, and threw frisbees at a similar character at the
>other end of the room, who was also doing the same stuff.  The idea
>was to hit the other chap with your frisbees such that he fell off his
>platform and thus "died".  Similarly he was thowing frisbees at you,
>attempting to knock you off your platform.
>  As you progressed from level to level the number and placement of
>disks in the room varied, your opponent would start throwing more and
>more frisbees simultaneously, as well as throwing various other forms
>of nasty frisbees.  Essentially the pace of the game increased while
>adding minor environment complexity.
>  I quickly decided that the game was both boring and trivial.  So I
>redefined the game.  Instead of working to knock the opponent off his
>platform I made the game the challenge of consistently hitting his
>frisbees with my frisbees which made them both self-destruct with a
>great CLACK! and also earned good points.  As such I'd stay on level 1
>for as long as I possibly could, destroying everything he threw at me,
>attmpting to avoid killing him for as long as possible.  "Losing" was
>defined in this new game as getting killed, or knocking him off his
>platform sooner than absolutely necessary.
>  A nice side effect was that for a single quarter (US) or 20p (UK) I
>could play for over 2 hours while being quite thoroughly entertained. 
>I never did make it to a very high level in the game, or even get some
>atrociously high score.  I'd changed the goal.
>>>Remove the game and the game system entirely from the
>>>social engineering.  Let the players build their own structures should
>>>they wish to.  Don't enforce it.  Don't attempt to structure it. 
>>>They'll do a much better job than you could.  Best case: try and to
>>>channel and guide it.
>>Um.. by alll Ive obeserved and experienced this is just plain WRONG
>>for the masses.  The masses have little socail skills and virtual no
>>coping skills.
>I don't expect wonders.
>> The best they can manage on their own, in a totally open
>>envrionment, is the kidn of soiciety you see in south central LA-- 
>>gangs banded together to defend and fight grudges they have no idea
>>how to handle in any copnstructive fashion.
>Certainly.  That would be quite acceptable.  However I also expect to
eventually uncover social movers and instigators who go out and try and
create something a little deeper.  As Tom Leher sang, "That's not my
>>Unless your game defines the societal environment, don't expect there
>>to be one.  
>Quite simply for my concentration on the server as a server developer I
consider the societal environment to be unimportant if not totally
unrelated.  Its not something I consider that the game has either any right
or proper duty to be meddling with.  The game is there to provide a
structure and a set of value returns that the players can then do with what
they will.  If they chose to construct complex internally detailed
societies, then so be it.  If they chose not to, then fair dinkum.  
>That's not my interest and not my purview.  I rest confident that they
will do *something* in that area, and don't really care that much what.  If
they come up with something I don't like, well, shrug, I'll probably just
go off and try and create something in the same framework I do like.
>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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