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

Matt Chatterley root at mpc.dyn.ml.org
Fri Aug 1 07:30:06 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On Thu, 31 Jul 1997 coder at ibm.net wrote:

> 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:

Well hello to Brandon, Brandon, Brandon, Brandon and of course, Brandon.
> From: "Brandon Van Every" <vanevery at blarg.net>
> Newsgroups: rec.games.mud.admin
> Subject: DESIGN: The purpose of MUDding?
> A reflective question: what is the purpose of MUDding?  An immediate
> and tempting answer is "it varies from person to person."  That's
> true, but how many different approaches to MUDding are there nowadays,
> really?  Leaving the "serious and scholarly" applications of MUDs
> aside for the moment, I've seen most people do MUDs for one of the
> following reasons:
> 	- to socialize in a "real-life" style
> 	- to play a "wealth and combat" game
> 	- to role-play
> 	- to code and build

I think this about covers it, although the 2nd can probably be broken
down into two styles of play - lets call them "Adventuring" and
"Hack'n'Slash". The former would be like a fairly well run D&D campaign
that was still fairly light on the roleplay - but you have the whole world
to explore, and to react to within certain guidelines and expected
behaviour. In the latter you dash about seeing how much you can find to
hit, and what you can accumulate. Although not incompatible, I do see a
difference between the two - many muds encourage either the latter, or
Roleplaying.. The former is my personal aim, and what I would *like* to
see in a mud. I probably play for reasons 1 & 4 mostly - to chat, and to
> I have a somewhat different interest in MUDs: "to transform the
> ordinary forms of online community interaction."  There are a lot of
> accepted conventions about how people and objects should behave on
> MUDs, mirroring the way people behave in the real world.  I'm
> interested more in stepping through the mirror, and seeing what's on
> the other side.  This can turn a lot of MUDding's "sacred cows" upside
> down: spoofing becomes an ordinary form of perception, player-killing
> becomes a non-issue because "death" isn't really separable from
> "life," the centrality of player and object ownership is not
> particularly important, and anyone might as well have just as much
> power as anyone else.
> Are there other admins out there who are interested in exploring a
> "Through The Looking Glass" approach to social interaction?  Or if
> not, would you care to discuss your reasons for not wanting to engage
> in such experiments?

Well, it could be interesting, but you have a few hurdles to overcome
before you even begin. How will peoples preconceptions of the type of
server (or in the case of people such as this lists crowd), muds in
general, affect their initial and prolonged reactions to your 'looking
glass' environment? I'd certainly like to be on the observer side of the
one-way-window, but I'm not sure I'd like to be being watched - who knows
what would happen.
> Here's an idea for a world that's borne out of the technical
> limitations of my computing environment.  I have a PPP connection and
> a clunker 486 that I'm due to replace.  Since I'm not willing to shell
> out mega-$$$$ for a dedicated line or a T1 link out of my home, this
> leaves me with very limited bandwidth to run a MUD.  Using a
> store-and-forward approach off my ISP's UNIX server, it might be
> possible to squeeze up to 4 people online at some off-hour time of
> day.  So, how would one successfully populate such a world?  I'm
> thinking with automatons.  Wherein players can connect into various
> automatons, control them, and nobody's really quite sure if they're
> interacting with an automaton or a real human being.  In the absence
> of controlling players, the automatons keep trundling along by
> themselves.  The universe itself would be similarly "screwy and
> suspect," to keep life interesting.
You can have quite a few players hopping about over PPP without lagging to
hell FYI - my personal record is probably 10 on any kind of server, over
28.8 PPP, and on a P90 (NexGen) with 8 megs of ram on linux. This was not
a limit because of resources - it was a limit because that was the amount
of people who actually showed up at the same time.

How would you populate it? Perhaps by some sort of 'automatic' or
'multiple login' technique - or perhaps players would do it themselves. If
you put no restriction on multiple logins, players will probably start to
use them at any rate - and anonymity adds an interesting edge to this.
> Cheers,
> -- 
> 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?
> -- 
> J C Lawrence                               Internet: claw at null.net
> ----------(*)                              Internet: coder at ibm.net
> ...Honourary Member of Clan McFud -- Teamer's Avenging Monolith...
> -- 
> J C Lawrence                               Internet: claw at null.net
> ----------(*)                              Internet: coder at ibm.net
> ...Honourary Member of Clan McFud -- Teamer's Avenging Monolith...

	-Matt Chatterley
"Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's
	mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them." -George Orwell

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