[MUD-Dev] New Topic: Butthead features

Brandon Cline brandon at sedona.net
Sun Aug 3 06:24:01 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On Sat, 2 Aug 1997, Jeff Kesselman wrote:

> hey all,
> I thougth i stir the pot with another contentious issue.
> No offense to Raph but my playing around with UOL brought this to mind.
> There is a philisophical/practical issue in the inclusion in your MUD of
> "butthead" features. What I mean by this are features that allow a pure
> butthead to annoy (or worse seriously harm) other players just for the
> cheap power trip of doing so.  We all know these personalities exist on
> the net SO...

Think we had a discussion along this line about pk a while back, an
obvious "butt head" feature as you call it.  Not sure what the final take
was on it but, it seems to comes down to...  Do you leave out/cripple
these possibly abusive features so that Mr. Butthead cannot annoy other
players or do you leave them in and either A) leave it up to the players
to deal with it, B) declare it unlawful although it is possible, or c) set
up in game laws and law enforcement etc. 
  To me, leaving out / crippling features that should exist in the mud
seems to be just as bad as Mr Butthead abusing them.  There's nothing
worse when playing a "thief" character and ya get the message "Sorry
you're not allowed to steal from other player characters."  (Wonders how
many people are going, "What's so bad about that?" :> )  Well, for one. I
see the next step in muds, and alot of what is being developed on this
list as  "environments" not "games".  Which is what I think alot of people
are asking for, IMO, I could be wrong.  In order to keep a consistant
environment, esp to satisfy role players and the like, everything must at
least have a reason within the "evironments" rules for being like it is.  

> How do you control them?

I don't know if it's such a matter of "controling" them as it is making
the "environment" consistant enough that either A) control is unneccasary
or B) "environment" features to counter balance or balance what ever
effect could be abused.  

> Do you just avoid features that could be so abused, or do you count on
> other mechanisms to keep this behavior in check and if so what 
> garanties do you have of success?
> This comes to mind because in my current project we are conciously avoiding
> butthead features.  That was our design decision. I see a great many
> features existant in the current UOl so obviosuly the designers there 
> took a differnet track..
> Some examples of butthead features include..
> (1) PC pickpocketing of other PCs... always upsets people.

For an example of above mention of balance and in game control, I see
plenty of muds that allow pickpocketing, but there is no way to catch the
thief, severly beat him, then take all his equipment, without killing him
of course.  On most muds low hp vs max hp means little which is a shame,
cause it'd be nice to just thrash someone costing them time, without
actually killing them, so as to allow death to still be a serious event. 

> (2) Fixed tport points so that others can lay in wait and way-leigh
> unsuspecting traverls before they can see whats up.

I'm hopin that a couple of adjustments in game mechanics will keep murder,
robbing, theft down to a minimum and in a sense governed by things within
the environment.  For example, risk of death, no matter what level of
skill a person has there is/should be a risk of death.  Then add something
a bit more crippling to death instead of just exp loss, like actual down
time from that character, or being trapped within the underworld until
someone ressurects you or ya make a deal with the devil etc.  Now, this
may sound as an advantage for the Buttheads, "Hey I just killed Joe, lets
drag his corpse out and cut it up into little pieces so he can't be
ressed", hehe, but the same would go for the buttheads, and if Joe ever
did get back, revenge would be indeed sweet.  Lotsa other little features
could be added to balance this stuff out, um, ways to hire npcs for
revenge, ways to keep from dying in the first place, ways to fake death
etc, hehe.  Dunno if this makes sense, I'm sure Im leaving out some stuff
but that's my general take on the whole thing.

> (3) The ability to take control of OTHERS PCs and make them do things (The
> Provocation skill in UOL looks at first blush particuarly nasty in this
> regard.)

Hehe...   <mud sex ensues>  , "Hey wait, Bob never said that" , "You're
not Bob!" ...

> There are lost more but there are some starter catagories.
> Thoguhts, all? Raph? Whats your UOl philosophy on managing these things?
> Jeff Kesselman
> Snr. Game Integration Engineer
    [Couldn't resist I fixed most of Jeff's typo's, hehe]

Brandon Lee Cline
brandon at sedona.net

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