[MUD-Dev] Re: Character evolution

coder at ibm.net coder at ibm.net
Sat Aug 30 08:56:11 New Zealand Standard Time 1997


On 26/08/97 at 06:37 PM, clawrenc at cup.hp.com said:

>I am sufficiently uncomfortable (can you say "allergic reaction"?)
>with the concept of attempting to embed a concept of "good" and "bad"
>or "good" and "evil", let alone any sort of morality or ethical
>structure (note: ethics != morals), that I wouldn't touch this with
>an infinite lever.  This is not to say that such morality games are
>not fair grist for a MUD, indeed they are, but I see them as things
>to be embedded in the social constructs of the world, not within the
>base mechanics of the game.  

Been doing some reading and thinking about this.

Its a rather tenuous and hard-to-define line for me which essentially
has to do with my distate for game systems that invade the player's
heads, or in some way to tell the players what they should think.  The
term alignment can cover a host of things from Travis'
rebel/imperial/etc, to good/neutral/evil, to what the view of a game
system is of the character.

The idea that I would ever see something like:

  > l at bubba
  ...
  Bubba is evil.

is extremely distateful.  That is a decision I feel should be left
solely to players.  However:

  > l at bubba
  ...
  Bubba has a faintly glowing putrid green aura.
  > tell bubba The Great God GooGoo must really like you!

is more attractive.  Reverting to Travis's StarWars scenario, the idea
that I would be able to determine a character's alignment thru simple
examination seems bogus.  Instead something on the order of:

  > l at bubba
  ...
  Bubba is wearing an imperial stormtrooper's armour.
  > tell bubba I'm gonna kill your imperial arse.
  Bubba tells you, "No! I'm a Rebel!  I'm in disguise!  
  Check the membership logs!"
  > consult rebel alliance membership lists on bubba
  Bubba has helped the alliance significantly within the last year.  
  However he has been seen with many high level Imperial officials 
  which casts some suspicions on his actual role.
  > think lets find out whose side he's really on...

Seems a lot more playable and invasive (well, with shorter commands).

For this goes back to the base question of the role the human player
holds in regard to his character in the game, and how much capability
that character has independant of his human.  Having the game make
decisions for the player on what to think of another character (NPC or
player) is distasteful.  Having it observe and report the obervations
to let the human decide is attractive:

  > l a bubba
  Bubba is surveying the town square.
  > go to court house
  > consult recent crime records
  ...There have been many unsolved beggar murders lately...
  > ask police chief about bubba
  The chief says, "He seems a pretty upstanding citizen, but somehow
  he's always one of the ones we see at these beggar death crime 
  scenes.  maybe he's just sort of sick that way...  He's really
  rough on his clothes too for such a rich guy.  Seems to get them
  dirty a lot."

--
J C Lawrence                               Internet: claw at null.net
----------(*)                              Internet: coder at ibm.net
...Honourary Member of Clan McFud -- Teamer's Avenging Monolith...





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