[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
long.
 
> >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.

Regards,
	-Matt Chatterley
	http://user.itl.net/~neddy/index.html
"Speak softly and carry a big stick." -Theodore Roosevelt




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