[MUD-Dev] Nation of shopkeepers

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Mon Aug 4 20:10:14 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On Sun 03 Aug, Matt Chatterley wrote:
> On Sun, 3 Aug 1997, Marian Griffith wrote:

> > On Sat 02 Aug, Brandon Van Every wrote:

> > > In a mathematical, systemic sense, I can think of 3 ways to break this
> > > deadlock of tedium:
> > > 1) make other axes that are truly orthogonal.  I'll leave other people to
> > > give an example of this, it would make for interesting discussion.

> Other game concepts that are abstract to the central. In my case, where
> the central is 'acquire power', an abstract concept might be to go on a
> great conquest across one of the continents, crushing all the small
> peasant villages underfoot, and building up a reputation as a great and
> feared warlord. This does not in itself directly make you powerful
> (although knowledge is power, and by implanting the knowledge of yourself
> that you want in others, you can exercise some force over them).

*grin*  I can only hope you have enough continents to crush for all your
players or there's going some major fights over who's going to smash the
other continent into submission this time.
More seriously though,  how do you measure power if it is that abstract?
Or will you simply let the players decide for themselves and do you plan
to not give them any predefined goal to reach?

> > > 2) Map the axes in 2 directions.  Why is always having "more" money the
> > > goal?  One could concoct scenarios where having "more" money is good for
> > > some things, but "less" money is good for others.

> > True. Acquiring more money isn't going to make an interesting game. Just
> > as acquiring more experience points or more equipment  is not fun in the
> > long run on on traditional muds.  At some point you have reached a prac-
> > tical limit and then getting more is just the same old.

> Right. I think a key concept is that of providing dynamic goals, for
> instance: The conquest example above.

> You run on a mighty conquest with your army of 10000 men, smashing a whole
> continent into submission. Not much more you can do there, but, its not
> the only continent in the world. If you appear to pose a significant
> threat to other great powers, they will come looking for you, and you have
> a constant battle of both political and physical implications to juggle.

I would strongly recommend on making those other powers to be the other
players. And also make sure that nobody will ever be able to become all
powerfull. Or even remotely near that point.

> > A better system would require you to risk you money  in order to be able
> > to keep it. I.e. a farmer must invest most of her money in seeds and can
> > only hope that, come harvest,  there is enough to pay all debts and then
> > have some left to safe. Shops run much in the same way, they must invest
> > in getting stocks and then sell them at enough of a profit.

> Yes. This doesn't work the way many muds handle things, of course. A large
> problem with money in a reasonable medieval theme: Where the heck do you
> put it that its safe?

If  things are running as they should  most of the money is put into the
ground as seeds/crops or is on the shelves of your shop. Or in the pock-
ets of your guards. Money shouldn't be amassed. It should be put to work

> > The big problem I see here is that this alone isn't going to spark inte-
> > rest in players.  The system must either be as varied as the combat  (or
> > better still: more varied),  or it must be a minor sideline to the game.

> You can begin to decentralize combat very nicely by continuing along these
> lines. Or at least, personal combat. Who would put his own neck at risk if
> he can pay someone to do it for him?

Well. That's exactly the take I would like to see in a next development of
muds. Rather than a simplistic killing spree have a game world were every-
body can be what he or she wants to be. Without the need to also be an ex-
pert fighter. As a merchant you hire guards or you simply hope that you'll
not run into brigands.  As a guard you keep drunks out of taverns, keep an
eye out for thieves and muggers and spend part of your daily prayers kind-
ly requesting that the city council not get themselves entangled in a war.

> > > 3) Make distinct points or regions of the axis qualitatively significant. 
> > > In this view it isn't important to have "more" or "less" money, but rather
> > > to have "the right amount of money" within some tolerance value.

> > I think I understand what you're trying to get at,  but I fail to see how
> > something like this could ever be incorporated in a game. At least not in
> > a way that would make sense to the player. I feel that the entire concept
> > of having too much of something would not sit well with them.

> It really depends. You can have enough, and you can have too much - back
> to my conquest example.

> If you take over a small country (say.. scotland), and stop there,
> neighboring countries may bristle lots (say.. england & wales), but may
> not take direct action against you. Other major powers (for instance, the
> army of elves that completely hold a huge nearby continent) will probably
> have relatively little interest on you. If you go on to take England too,
> those Elves are going to start watching.. eventually they'll act, and you
> could lose everything.

Ok. You have convinced me that it could very well work. I guess I was
put on the wrong track with those numbers Brandon used.

> > *grin* Economy need not to be boring.  Mud economies are boring because
> > they're the strongest example of an inflatory economy ever modelled. At
> > a larger scale economies can be very interesting.  That's why there are
> > computer games that are nothing more than economic models.  The players
> > have to balance resources.  Pure growth is discouraged  by creating un-
> > wanted side effects.  These side effects can then be reduced,  but this
> > means resources will be used for that instead of for growth.

> Mud economies are typically boring because they are entirely too shallow,
> and use simple economical concepts without bringing more interesting
> elements (social and political) into play.

Of course mud economies don't deserve to be named economy. There's nothing
remotely resembling an economy in them.  There's just an endless supply of
resources (scavenged equipment) paired with an endless demand (shops). The
result is predictable: rampant inflation. This completely skews the notion
of prices (which end up being ridiculous out of scale)  and several poten-
tially interesting game concepts, like food, become totally irrelevant.

Yes - at last - You. I Choose you. Out of all the world,
out of all the seeking, I have found you, young sister of
my heart! You are mine and I am yours - and never again
will there be loneliness ...

Rolan Choosing Talia,
Arrows of the Queen, by Mercedes Lackey

More information about the MUD-Dev mailing list