[MUD-Dev] Character evolution

Brian Price blprice at bedford.net
Sun Aug 31 19:21:08 New Zealand Standard Time 1997


I have at various times toyed with the idea of a hard Sci-Fi mud 
(sans psi aka magic) borrowing heavily from the Traveller rpg for the 
overall game system.  I would like to implement such an mud if I 
could get around a few nagging problems such as:

   If players have access to starships you _rapidly_ 
run out of areas.  This leaves you with three basic choices:
A. do not allow players access to starships
B. use a plot mechanism which justifies a finite univerese
C. use a random area generator

Choice A could lead to a very viable game, perhaps along the lines of 
an aftermath scenario.. ie. starships don't exist.  However this is 
personally unsatisfying as part of the lure for me of sci-fi is the 
device of travelling between the stars.

Choice B could be done by assuming a wormhole or jumpgate style of 
interstellar flight.  While this works, it undermines the ability of 
pcs to move between differing political entities since system 
entry/exit points are easily defended/controlled.

Choice C seems at first to merely be a design problem, but assuming 
you solve the design problem of generating 'realistic' worlds/systems 
randomly, you now have a storage problem...  your universe file will 
become _HUGE_.

Even assuming you manage to solve the problems associated with one of 
the above choices in a logically consistant yet interesting manner, 
you are still left with huge game design problems (from a mud 
standpoint).   The plot device of magic easily sidesteps many 
problems that a hard sci-fi mud would need to deal with logically.

There are ways of minimizing some of the problems, such as assuming a 
Star Trek level of technology, but the further you diverge from known 
science, the 'softer' your sci-fi becomes.  Eventually, with soft
sci-fi at least, you reach the 'sufficiently advanced technology is 
indistinguishable from magic' point and the sci in sci-fi 
dissappears.

I think the task of creating an enjoyable and realistic semi-hard 
sci-fi mud is doable but it would seem to be a _very_ difficult task 
to do it well.   From the stand point of an ex Traveller rpger, I've 
yet to see a sci-fi mud that even approaches satisfactory levels.

> Date:          Sun, 31 Aug 1997 10:24:13 PST8PDT
> From:          coder at ibm.net
> 
> On 27/08/97 at 07:54 PM, "Travis Casey" <efindel at io.com> said: >>
> From: clawrenc at cup.hp.com
> >> 
> >> This raises a point I've been musing on for a while:
> >> 
> >>   The general approach (assumed orthodoxy?) of most of the list is to
> >> create a game world which largely resembles or simulates RL in terms
> >> of physical mechanics and such, and then attempts to extend it via
> >> magic, religion and other similar techniques to add a fantastical
> >> entertaining aspect.
> ...
> >All of the ideas you presented are also worlds which simulate RL in
> >most ways, but vary it in others... they just vary things more than
> >the typical mud, or in ways that seem strange to most people.
> 
> True.  I realised that after posting it.  The standard approach is to
> take a familiar format and then only vary those parts that you wish to
> direct attention to.  What ends up specifically annoying me about this
> is that it becomes an implicit canon.
> 
> Of all the membership of this list, other than myself and Nathan, are
> there __ANY__ not doing a fairly standard variation on a fantasy
> world?  Oh, I know the details will be different, you'll have various
> forms of internal economies, or magic systems, or family or clan
> systems, or interesting forms of heavy/light RP, or whatever.  But the
> base structure of a glorified medieval world overstocked with magical
> touches...
> 
<snip remainder>

Brian Price aka Delver <blprice at bedford.net>



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