[MUD-Dev] Graphic MUDS/Ultima Online

Matt Chatterley root at mpc.dyn.ml.org
Wed Aug 13 07:30:18 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On Tue, 12 Aug 1997 clawrenc at cup.hp.com wrote:
>    at 07:36 PM, Jeff Kesselman <jeffk at tenetwork.com> said:
> >At 07:17 PM 8/5/97 PST8PDT, you wrote:
> >Plot elements can also be considered a respource, as can puzzle
> >answers and such.  Ultimately there is a general type of resource
> >caslled "information".
> Absolutely.

Yup. And very valuable it is - although with many current muds, not for
> >Unfrotunately players share info way to ofreely as a rule... for
> >example the Guttenburg Project at the UO vault that already has the
> >text of every book you gusy ptu into the game...
> >How do you prevent or control the cheapening of such info resources??
> There are several parts to this problem:

Its certainly not easy.
>   Exact solutions -- To get by the Demon Wroth do X, Y and Z as
> follows and yada yada.  I consider these signs of greviously poor game
> design.  That's the sort of bumph I expect in  single player Infocom
> games, its not suited at all to MP games.

This dog has had its day, and its time for it to be put down - exact
solutions are easily recordable and communicatable, making them valueless.
>   Character solutions -- To get by the Demon Wroth you're going to
> have to either scare it away from the drawbridge, or lure it away.  So
> far the DW seems to be attracted to curvaceous virgins in too-small
> bikinis from the local villages, and somewhat scared of Cerebus.  I've
> managed to get by him twice with the bimbos (got killed three more
> times trying that same trick tho), and just got past him again getting
> Cerbus to chase me and then running straight at DW.  Of Cerebus keeps
> catching me just the other side of the drawbridge which is another
> problem.

This is of course far, far better - the information you can give another
player consists of what happened to you, not what you know will happen to
them. Better still are quests (if we consider this a quest) that cease to
exist, or change dynamically with time and completion (for instance
"Retrieve X object" might entail retrieving it from the last person to
finish the quest!).
> In an MP environment rote solutions to problems, puzzles are a flim
> flam game.  They're not worth the effort to code.  Its somewhat like
> relying on a a maze to make getting somehwere difficult and assuming
> that no player will map the maze and then pass on his maps.  

But with a maze, you can generate it randomly (with an engine), so it is
only mappable for one time period (completion).
>   Another part could be called, "secrets".  The classic example is
> perhaps the various World of Darkness MUSHes where, properly done,
> nobody who is not a vampire has any idea that vampires even exist. 
> Secrets in games are useful.  They can provide a sense of pacing and
> drama.  They allow for the carefully crafted "Ahh ha!" reaction, and
> the sudden flash of insight.  

Yup. This works less effectively in 'full real time games' like many of us
are considering, rather than the somewhat stop-start RP environment found
in many of the WoD mushies.
> Simple example:  The underworld is ruled  by the streetsweeper who
> wanders about the one of the main cities of the land, innocuously
> chatting with the inhabitants, picking up trash, and generally acting
> the harmless old fogey.  Broadly disseminating this fact destroys some
> of the mystery implicit in the world construct.  Played properly
> players would only find this particular fact out thru incredible
> insight (more kudos to them!), or after significant investigation and
> play, which process would have already immersed them in the world and
> given them a stake.  Newbie players would have no idea -- there is no
> evidence the streetsweeper is anything but a harmless old fool.

Yup - I don't know how to cover this up, though, or rather stop it being
passed around, unless the information bestowed some advantages on the
player that they did not wish to share.

	-Matt Chatterley
"Speak softly and carry a big stick." -Theodore Roosevelt

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