[MUD-Dev] Character evolution

Jeff Kesselman jeffk at tenetwork.com
Sun Aug 31 12:26:10 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

At 08:37 AM 8/31/97 PST8PDT, Adam wrote:
>Here it's difficult to define 'abuse'...I suppose it's up to the
>admin.  If a clever player finds a way to gain an advantage by using
>something in a way I as the coder never though of, I will applaud them.

I see two problems with this in practical applciation.  Misusing  (or if
you prefer taking advantage of) bugs in the system tends to be a MUCH more
effective way to "win." Therefor if you allwo thsi behavior, or mroe
encourage it, you really HAVE defined your game as trying to break the
system.  That's ALWAYS the winning strategy.

Secodn problem is that thsi attitude leads to hacking very quickly, as soon
as you have closed ,msot of the obbvious or easy bugs.

>I guess I don't see bug abuse as a mortal sin, only kind of lame.

heh. We define lameness as one of the veneal sins.  I could get into the
history of that if anyone really wants me to and why we did that.

>> Absoilutely.  The Judges aren't gone from our new mdoel, but they have much
>> higher level tools to work with/.  They are re no longer beat police,
they are
>> mroe liek the helicopter patrol ;)
>'The Judges'?  Is this the admin, or some special device for supervising
>the game?

Remember our mdoel is a bit different then msot MUDS.  The repvailign MUD
approach today is "envrionmmental simulation." Thsi makes sense as an
outgrowth of single player adventure games, really, that tried to do what
they coudl to environmentally simualte on limiedt ahrdware with a single
"brain" invovled in the game.

We on the other hand take our model primarily from pen and paper gaming.
Ours is a judged game and is thus fundementally different in cosntruction.
IMO thsi is the true root of the difference between his proejctand mine
that JCL mentions from time to time.

The game 'staff" or 'admins" are seen by us as "Assiatant Dungeon amsters"
or "Assistant Judges" (equivelent terminology in pen and paper.)  I've
written an intro to our game for players to help them understand it because
it IS different from what has coem before on computers i nsoem fundemental
ways. WEhen we get to teh poitn where I can release it (clsoer to down) ill
post it here for amusement of the list.

In any event the ADMs exist totally and compeltely outside the game as does
a AD&D judge.  Yo ucan reach them by paging "staff" (which is a emchanism
that is anonymous from the users presepctive though tracked for the senior
Judge's review.) Oterhwise though they are never seen. Theyc an freely
shift their viewpoints arouidn the world and have a great many "inspection"
tools. Ina ddition the MUD istelf ttracks things it thinks migth be worth
ADM attention and effectively pages the ADMs on line for decisions.  (For
instance or key word infamy system at least to start with will be fowarded
to humans for decision abotu the scnatch of text.  Eventually we may try to
automate it mreo but only AFTER we jhave enoughe xperience to see clear
patterns.  I have in the abck of my midn teh diea that i might be able to
train a neural net of of the human resposne over a long time, but thats
justa sort of curiosity project for me.)

>Excellent.  Gonna have to steal that little idea, if you don't mind...
>*yoink* :)

Go ahead, with my compliments :)
Just dont tell my prodcuers or theyll make me stop contributing here ;)

>karma, and vice versa.  There are many ways to actually distrbute the karma:
>a simple, hidden system where certain actions give you negative karma, and

An idea I personalyl like though its wa y to redical to get itn oa
comemrcial product is "Karma Dice".  As your Karma gets worse your dice get
"loaded" so taht you have less and less ability to effect anything in the

>others give you positive, plus the admin can manually fool with your
>character's karma...or slightly more interesting, one where the players
>actually get a number of karma points that they can deliver each day to
>people other than themselves.

We've played with this idea and in fact are workign with oen group who are
very seriosu abotu it. Internally we have our doubts. The problem is that
ANYTHIGN players can do to effect each other ends up, in our experience,
becomign just another weapon or coercion tool. period.  If Karma is very
effective IMO yo uwill end up with "Karma wars" with guilds pooling their
karma points and aoiming them aqt leaders of opposing guilds and such..


Jeff Kesselman
Snr. Game Integration Engineer
TEN -- The Total Entertainment Network -- www.ten.net

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