[MUD-Dev] MUD Design Fundamentals (Was: Looking for books...)

coder at ibm.net coder at ibm.net
Sun Aug 31 10:46:04 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On 28/08/97 at 03:19 PM, Ola Fosheim Gr stad <olag at ifi.uio.no> said:

>(1)I've kept an eye on the discussions on the list and there is A LOT
>of talking about more or less trivial game mechanics issues, like
>alignment and such, but I've seen few posts in the past week that
>talked about game mechanics based on a desire to create a better
>social environment or even a more FUN environment or USABLE.

There has been fairly extensive discussion of such.  I've not been
very good at promoting the social or user interface threads as they
are not areas of design that interest me.  There have been a lot of
threads on the fun aspect.  You happen to have hit the list during a
dry period for such -- after all, the list has been running for
several years now.  Some things fall out of fashion.

If you, or anyone else, is interested, I'll forward copies of the list
archives for the last several months.  

>(2)The thought "I am designing a world" is your best friend and worst
>enemy.  It is difficult to keep complexity down to a reasonable level
>(in all respects) when you are thinking WORLD.

True.  For me the biggest kicker is in limiting the base set of
mechanical actions, and thereby limiting their (more interesting)

>You said "The idea is to extend the state of the art by at least an
>order of magnitude of more", but I'm afraid that won't happen soon
>unless there is a radical change in attitudes to design among even
>the "hobbyists".  

I disagree.  There are many motions implicit in the membership of this
list which extend the current state of the art.  Consider Keegan's
naming and language systems, Nathan's text and IO handling, Lambert's
aggregate and layer handling, etc.  Many little pieces, not all doing
everything at once, but each growing away from the center of the

>The search-space is vast.  I think it would be
>rather nice if at least one started to think in terms of "utilizing
>the resources to the benefit of 95% of the users", who cares about
>features that only the last 5% have strong opinions on? (I'll make an
>exception for features that adds building/maintainance capabilities)

I won't argue as I don't disagree.  However it si not my interest or

I initially became involved in MUD server work when I was offered a
possible job writing a MUD and making real $$$ (IOWA project).  SInce
then my interest has been more cerebral.  The base concepts and design
of a MUD server, its world, and the game fascinate me.  Popularity is
not one of my goals.  Crafting a system to demonstrate and implement
ideas I think are interesting, equally hidden in the server guts or
right up in the user's face (I don't distinguish) is the core
interest.  The result of course is a never-ending project with no
defiinition of "done".

This is why I have things like body stealing, multiple bodies per
character, multiple characters per login, particle-based closed
resource ecologies, high magic (merely another economy), free user
programming in a goal-oriented game, combat packages and combat
scripting, no public namespace, anonymous user naming, etc.  These are
things which interest me, and which can be done in ways which are more
attractive to me than any of the current attempts.

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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