[MUD-Dev] DESIGN: The purpose of MUDding?

Brandon Van Every vanevery at blarg.net
Thu Jul 31 23:55:37 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

> Brandon, who just joined us on the list, (we have 4 or 5 Bandons here
> now?) just plopped the following in r.g.m.a.  Copied here for better
> response:

Heh, yes, many Brandons.  This one is a 3d graphics guy, with a
longstanding interest in distributed 3d Internet/PPP virtual worlds.  Pity
I don't do the latter for a living, and pity that a 3d MUD is such a
mammoth project, so I've pretty well given up implementing one in my free
time.  Trying to be a balanced person and all... anyways, I'm lately
looking at text-based MUDs as a feasible prototype for what I might do
later in 3d.  For me the 3d isn't paramount, it is far more important to
answer the authorial questions, "Why build it?  Why are we interacting with
this?"  I'm slightly older than my college days, and I find that
hack-n-slash, models of economic accumulation, chat parties ala real life,
etc. are just not terribly fulfilling anymore.  For combat, I do Wing Chun
kung fu.  For wealth, I have a job.  For the tedium of collecting wealth, I
have a job.  :-)  For socializing, I have living fleshy people to talk to
(although it's hard to get certain kinds of conversations out of 'em, hence
my need for e-mail.)  For creativity, I could be painting, although I don't
really do enough of it.  So the question for me is "what would be an
expansion of the medium?"  If I can get the equivalent satisfactions from a
standalone game, or from a real human, or from a gory coding session at
work, then I tend to lose interest.

A lot of MUDding activity - spoofing, mimicry, perceptual takeover, etc. -
is taboo.  I think the taboos are the next authorial frontier, beyond
physics systems or chemistry systems or economics systems.  All that the
latter systems amount to is a multi-axial system of interacting numbers. 
They may create a richer tapestry of experience, and they may keep people
busy, but they say nothing about how human beings perceive the numbers. 
Taboos are a matter of cultural experiment, or experimental culture. 
Question is, who's out there that's willing to experiment?  Unfortunately,
because of my predisposition to push the boundaries of perception, I am
often labelled a troublemaker.

Hope this sparks some discussion, I'm a bit slammed right now getting ready
for SIGGRAPH and I'll be gone all next week.  But please let me know your

Brandon J. Van Every  <vanevery at blarg.net>      DEC Commodity Graphics
http://www.blarg.net/~vanevery                  Windows NT Alpha  OpenGL
The anvil upon which you hammer another's words is as hard or as soft
as you care to make it.  Wherein lies insight?

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