[MUD-Dev] Nation of shopkeepers

clawrenc at cup.hp.com clawrenc at cup.hp.com
Mon Aug 11 18:10:06 New Zealand Standard Time 1997


In <199708021819.LAA23458 at animal.blarg.net>, on 08/02/97 
   at 11:24 AM, "Brandon Van Every" <vanevery at blarg.net> said:

>Tedium comes from positing that "everyone must accumulate
>wealth/resources to be successful."  Mathematically speaking, if the
>goal is wealth then you're creating a mono-axial system of game
>interaction.  Call it the "money" axis.  Everyone is struggling to
>move towards the positive end of the axis, and there aren't any
>orthogonal axes to pursue instead.  

This can be varied by extending to:

  Everyone is struggling to accumulate resources.  

  The definition of a resource occupies a multi-tude of axis, each
perpendicular to if not contradictory to all the other axies.  

Then, yes, you could accumulate a wealth of resource Z, but be in
poverty on resource X and Y.  There's still a single axis on resource
accumulation, but the definition of a resource is now complex and
inter-dependant.

>Do you always have to "save up" to get power in the game? 

Spend to earn is another vector.

>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.

I have such, but they're not truly orthogonal:

  1) Resource collection is one goal.

  2) Power to create resources without implicit cost is another.

  3) Power to affect others is a third.

  4) Godhood (represents max on all above).

Concentration on any one tends to prevent or diminish progress gained
on others. #2 btw is sympathetic with #4.

>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.  Then the
>player becomes caught in the tradeoff of whether to have more or less
>money at any given time.  The system becomes a dynamic balance
>between the forces of "more" or "less" money, rather than
>ever-expanding gaseous vacuum towards more money.

cf making the goal to die at exactly the right moment.  I've been
trying for some time now to think of a decent scenario where this
would be a logical goal.

>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.  This destroys the notion of accumulation.  If
>you've got the right amount of money, then there's no incentive to
>accumulate.  Unless you want to "hop" to a different "island" of
>money, so as to experience a different "quality" in the universe. 
>Which isn't really about accumulation, since you're only going to hop
>a known, finite distance to another island.  Although if you wanted
>to make it more challenging, you wouldn't tell anyone where the
>islands are.  Then the game becomes a matter of iterative research,
>with people wondering "hmm, I'm hanging out pretty good at 26, but I
>wonder what happens if I move to 63?"  One could metaphorize this to
>"tuning the channel on a radio."

Functional inflexion points... interesting.  Must think more on this.

>In general, what I'm developing here is a mathematical notion of
>ECOLOGY, rather than ECONOMY.  Economy is boring.  It's based on the
>ever-expanding gas cloud known as The Almighty Dollar.  Most of us
>have to play this game in real life, which is why we don't
>necessarily want to do it when we're online.

I like unstable self-collapsing positive feedback loops.  They make
for interestingly dynamic ecologies.

--
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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