[MUD-Dev] Re:)

Travis Casey efindel at io.com
Sat Aug 30 17:51:58 New Zealand Standard Time 1997


Jeff Kesselman <jeffk at tenetwork.com> wrote:
> Ola wrote:

> >However, I don't think making a commercial MUD dependant on the
roleplaying
> >skills (acting and imagination) is a very profitable option. Actually I
> 
> Tell that to TSR, Wizards of the Coast, and the entire Roleplay industry.
> You seem to forget that here in teh US the TSR novles have consistently
> been on the tops of the best sellers lists.

Umm... reading a novel requires no roleplaying skills.  Many people who
read TSR novels have had little or no roleplaying experience.  Further,
for profitability -- TSR almost went bankrupt recently, and wound up
being bought out by Wizards of the Coast.  Wizards of the Coast has made 
most of its money off of Magic: The Gathering, which is *not* a roleplaying
game.  Indeed, to date WotC has produced *no* roleplaying materials so far 
which have made enough of a profit for WotC to continue producing them --
though this may change now that they've acquired TSR.  The primary
designers
of most of the popular paper RPGs still have to keep day jobs to make ends 
meet.

> >usually feel lucky when I meet one in any system.  Rollplayers (stats-
> >focusing) players are something different, right?  But what keeps most
> >people online for a sustained period of time seems to be communication,
> >that is: their net friends expect them to show up. Social pressure
> >if you like.
> 
> You don't know much about roleplay claearly.  Roleplay is a social
> phenomenon.  Teh most loyal NEWNers ahve always been the heavy
roleplayers. 

Hmm... people seem to be forgetting that there are multiple definitions
of what "roleplaying" is.  By the original definition, anyone who is
playing an RPG is roleplaying.  By some definitions, many people playing
RPGs aren't roleplaying, because they haven't defined a "role" and stuck
to it -- they're playing the game *as a game* instead of as if they were
a real person in the world described by the game.  To someone who includes
"computer RPGs" (by which I mean things like Might & Magic, not muds) as
roleplaying games, it's possible to roleplay by yourself.  (For that
matter, it's possible to roleplay by yourself without a computer --
pick-a-path-to-adventure type books, for example.)

> MUDs are directly descended 9though distantly at thei point) form the
> original single user adventure games whichw ere, belive it or not, an
> attenmpt to capture the feelingof D&D games on a computer.

Well, actually, no.  The first single-user computer adventure games were
created in the 1960's, before D&D even existed.  They have spiritual roots,
at least, in a branch of French literature which focused on the idea of 
creating stories with multiple possible plots and endings -- sort of like 
modern "pick-a-path" books in concept, but very different in execution  (I
say "spiritual roots" because I don't know for sure that any of the people
who developed the early adventure games were aware of that branch of
literature).  In the 1970's, concepts from paper RPGs, such as attributes, 
combat systems, and variable outcomes depending on luck, began to be 
integrated into adventure games, but games on the original model still 
survive.

> If you really jsu twant to build a chat space then I suggest yo ucall it
an
> 'environmental chat space" or some such thing and leave the term MUD open
> for the rest of teh community BUT I think you are staring at a tree and
> missing the forest.

I believe that the *default* meaning of "mud" is a multi-player game
environment, but I also believe that other things can be considered "muds,"
just with qualifiers -- e.g., "social mud," "educational mud," etc.
Personally, I'd prefer it if "mud" *were* reserved for just games, but
I think the usage in other contexts has already spread too far to put
things back (much like the change in meaning of "hacker.")
--
       |\      _,,,---,,_        Travis S. Casey  <efindel at io.com>
 ZZzz  /,`.-'`'    -.  ;-;;,_   No one agrees with me.  Not even me.
      |,4-  ) )-,_..;\ (  `'-'        rec.games.design FAQ:  
     '---''(_/--'  `-'\_)      http://www.io.com/~efindel/design.html



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