[MUD-Dev] "short" Introductory Message (fwd)

clawrenc at cup.hp.com clawrenc at cup.hp.com
Tue Jul 1 18:24:06 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

In <Pine.GSO.3.96.970628042112.7843O-100000 at tay>, on 06/27/97 
   at 08:36 PM, Martin Keegan <martin at cam.sri.com> said:

>On Wed, 25 Jun 1997 clawrenc at cup.hp.com wrote:

>> Re: Quests
>> >Well, the game didn't attempt to make any allowances for people who
>> >completed all the quests - once you were finished, that was it. You
>> >normally sat around as some flavour of wizard until the next quest
>> >upgrade. These only happened every 18 months or so, and the game
>> >simply wasn't designed to deal with people who played that long.
>> Outside of the faults of repeatability, this is a fault of goal
>> oriented games where there is a single primary goal.  Shades, MUD1/2,
>> MIST, and all their descendants more or less suffer the same problems. 
>> Once you've reached the top there's little to nothing left but the
>> attack the system itself.

>What I distill from this is that goal-oriented games are basically
>single user games like Advent with multiplayer capability. When you
>finish a SUA, you terminate the game. This doesn't happen with muds,
>hence the problem.

Precisely.  Just what is there for a player to do once he's made Wiz
on a standard MUD other than thumb twiddle or torture the local

>> I'd propose a system where the primary goal is not accomplishable.  It
>> is factually and logically impossible.  Then have the game being
>> approximating the goal in various flavours.  cf Legend and its
>> balancing of the skill tree.
>Hmmm ... is there any mud with an Eightfold Path?


>> >I think it was Mtf who first said that Island was a great example of
>> >things NOT to do.
>> Its so much more intrigueing to do a game which exemplifies the things
>> *not* to do, yet which remains playable.

>	for(i = 0; i < MAXOBJS; i++) {
>		if(!strcmp(objarr[i][0], some_string)) {
>			...

Polling and canning loops are easy to label as Bad Design.

>> >I'm afraid that this issue has design implications. Most people don't
>> >like to be challenged (see Marian's similar thoughts). Once you have
>> >enough muds competing for players, muds can gain a competitive
>> >advantage by not doing things players don't like - by not challenging
>> >the players. 
>> Thus we have standards, and things that break standards.  QWERTY vs
>> Maltron vs Dvorak etc.  I think we are early enough in the growth
>> cycle that its still breakable.

>Oh come on! People log onto a non-StockMUD, type a single stock
>command, and quit when it doesn't work. The diaspora of which you
>speak last happened with AberMUD spawning Tiny, LP, DUM, Diku and
>YAMud. Not much else apart from Mordor has happened since 1993.

I agree, but you're missing the point.  The populations are implicitly
different.  Specifically the MUD playing population is not static. 
The percentage of people who are playing MUDs today who were also
playing MUDs in '93 is *way* under 100% -- my guess would be in the
10% - 20% range.  The attrition rate per year is asounding.  Change
the early experiences of the new players and the field will change. 
Sure, there will always be players who only want DIKU-clones or
LP-clones, or whatever.  Similarly there are a lot of people out there
who consider anything past the Infocom titles as needless variation on
a minor theme.  They are a percentage, a vocal percentage to be sure,
not a driving force over a series of years.

To an extent Bartle was right: don't worry about losing off players,
there are always more.  The playing population refreshes itself,
fractionally, every year.  (I'd be *really* interested in a study on
what that fraction was.)  As the years pass that fraction accumulates
and forms the new orthodoxy, the new old timers, the new scoffers at
new fangled toys.

Now we may consider Meridian 59, AlphaWorld, or Palace as (more or
less) cutting edge.  Give them five years without change and try to
get anything but an unstifled yawn on them from even the most naieve
new player.  Is the MUD field any different?

>> <<remembers: me'n'economists mix about as well as rabid cats and
>> dogs>>
>I'll look into this.

Simple answer: I disagree with their classical definitions of money,
value, and the purpose of business.

>In recent discussions with EdFromO, it was noted that "We should have
>had a rule preventing anyone who can't spell "you're" from becoming
>an arch". I'm surprised the RP people don't lash out at bad spelling
>for its potential to destroy the suspension of disbelief.

Two disincentives:

  1) Most players can't type and/or have atrocious typo rates.
  2) Many new players spell poorly (and have no concept of grammar).

RP'ers feature just as heavily in this group as the rest.

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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