Caliban Tiresias Darklock caliban at darklock.com
Wed Jun 18 05:33:03 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On Tue, 17 Jun 1997 20:43:09 PST8PDT, Martin Keegan <martin at cam.sri.com>

>This whole argument could have been avoided by the adoption of the
>compromise used on Usenet whereby the word "mud" is used to mean
>"persistent computerised realtime virtual world", thus encompassing Dikus,
>Tinys, LPs, Abers and the rest. 

You know, I used to get yelled at for that with alarming frequency, so I
quit doing it and separated the two camps into MUD and MUSH. Which was
perfectly acceptable until this thread. *shrug* I can't seem to win, so
I don't particularly care anymore. It was central to the concept of the
thread that they be separated. The argument was inevitable, although I
had hoped we wouldn't get into it. I even tried to avoid specific
codebases, an effort which proved futile. I tried to leave things
nebulous so no one would feel slighted, but people felt slighted by not
being specifically mentioned. 

I recall being on another mailing list once, mentioning the different
types of servers available to run a MUSH on, and catching hell from the
designers of a MUSH server called TinyTIM. It seems I didn't mention
them, even though they claim to have invented something on the order of
60% of the systems used by modern MUSHes. It also seems that there are
all of two games using their code, and the code is not available to
anyone. In other words, you can't run your own MUSH under it, so it was
completely irrelevant to the post. This strikes me much like that.
Specific codebases and specific groupings of servers were irrelevant to
the post; but the readers demanded them, and when I obliged I was called
some sort of codebase bigot. Yeah, well up yours, and next time be
careful what you ask for. 

>This gets around labelling, politics,
>insane acronyms like "MU*", and deliberately confusing nonsense like

Actually, it doesn't get around anything, because none of THESE people
want to be associated with any of THOSE people and none of THOSE people
want to be associated with any of THESE people. So when you lump them
together, they yell at you, and when you pull them apart, they yell at
you. Because everyone has a different definition of THESE and THOSE, so
however you divide them, you're wrong. It's a religious issue. People
seem to forget that religious issues have no right answer, and therefore
have no wrong answer either. 

>The use of the term "MUD", expandable to Multi User Dungeon is outdated
>now and causes too much argument - let's try to keep the signal up and the
>meta noise down.

Yes, it's outdated. So am I. So I'll use it that way if I want, dammit,
I've earned that right. And yes, it causes too much argument, which
resulted in the noise, which obscured the signal. It was something like
'THESE do combat well and THOSE do immersive roleplay well so why don't
we take a look at them and see how we can come up with a hybrid that
does both well?'... I thought that was a pretty good question, but I
just caught a bunch of flak for it. 

C'est la vie. I haven't said much since. Haven't really had a lot to
say. My opinions and views certainly aren't valued here, as I obviously
don't have enough spare time on my hands to study two dozen different
server architectures. Therefore, I must not have any clue what I'm
talking about. 22 years of programming doesn't account for much. 20
years of roleplaying doesn't, either. I don't know the architectural
difference between TurdMUD and CrapMUD, so I must be totally clueless. I
wonder where people get off accusing *me* of bigotry.

No, I don't have a new server I'm designing, or testing, or planning.
All I really have is an interest in how the end product works from a
player perspective. Maybe it's my background in interface design, I
don't know. Maybe it's that I'd rather see games I want to *play*, not
games that are utterly technically superior to everything else. And no,
I'm not an expert in every server on the net. I know what games I like
to play. I know what games I don't like to play. I don't care how
elegant your server's world implementation is, if the interface bites
and it takes me three weeks to learn how to play it, then as far as I'm
concerned it's a failure and it sucks. No matter how complex and
detailed your world is, no matter how technically wondrous and
unprecedented your technique and architecture, if it's unplayable, you
have failed. 

This is the exact same sort of theory that most commercial game
companies have founded their empires on. A game is designed to be fun.
Not to be a study in the psychosocial dynamics of roleplaying, or the
tendencies of players to form specific types of play styles. It's
designed for people to play, and people play to have fun. There's plenty
of room out there for everything, but a bad game is a bad game and
there's nothing else to it. It can have the best damn server in the
known universe and still be a bad game. And if you don't provide the
right tools to build a good game, well, you sort of HAVE to build a bad
game with it, don't you?

Development does not stop at the code. There has to be an interface on
the end. And when you neglect the interface, you just perpetuate the
same crap we already have: eight million servers, with eight million
interfaces, and at most a third of each makes sense. There's a lot of
effort invested here in putting complexity in the server, because we
can. Weren't those the words of Doctor Frankenstein? What did he make
again? It certainly wasn't any sort of commercial or social success, as
I recall. Just because you can doesn't mean you should. 

And that's signal. Pure, raw signal. I'll probably catch hell for this
post, but if you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much
space. No, I can't do a lot of the things people on this list have done.
No, I don't have some wonderfully successful product I've put together,
and I probably never will. What I *do* have is some opinions and ideas.
They're obviously not yours. But I'm willing to share them, and to
consider other people's ideas as well.

I thought that's what this community was about. But I'll shut up now.

-+[caliban at darklock.com]+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-
 I am here to grind your eyes harder into the miasmic bile of life; to 
 show you the truth and the beauty in the whisper of steel on silk and 
 the crimson scent of blood as it rises to meet the caress of a blade. 

More information about the MUD-Dev mailing list