[MUD-Dev] Alignment

Adam Wiggins nightfall at user1.inficad.com
Wed Sep 10 00:56:38 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

> >    at 09:51 PM, "Jon A. Lambert" <jlsysinc at ix.netcom.com> said:
> [snipped Chris "abusing" Tron]
> I've certainly used and abused Civilization and other games in other 
> ways.  Calculating the shortest path to nuclear weapons, building as 
> many as possible, nuking every city on the map including my own, and 
> then rebuilding from nuclear winter. Not that I consider any of this 
> abuse, it's just playing with the system.  Discovering ways to beat 
> the system or conquering boredom of an already conquered game. 

And this works another way in multi-player games: doing things *differently*
from everyone else.  When I start doing anything for the first time, my
usual method is to find out how everyone else does it or feels is the
best way to do it, and then do something completely interesting.  Ie,
I will tend to pick a class/race/whataver that no one else is playing.
If I play a mud/P&P RPG where everyone is playing magic users, I'll tend
to play a magic-hating barbarian who is intensly superstitious; or, if
everyone is playing susperstitious warrior-types, I'll play a mage.
The main motivation for this is just because I want to carve my own path,
same as Chris with Tron or you with Civ.  It may be an 'already conquered
game', but that's because others have 'conquered' it a certain way.  I'd
rather do my own thing.  Secondly, it is a hell of a lot more satisfying to
do things your own way and succeed via your own inventiveness and ingenuity
than by following everyone else's example.
I consider this the #1 factor in the design for my own mud.  I don't want to
tell anyone how to play, although there are certain styles of playing which
I favor, and this probably shows.  But I won't be satisfied until I'm sure
that there's so many different paths to 'success' (whatever that is) that
they aren't even catalogable.  Likely this will happen anyhow, but at the
very least I'd like to achieve the same effect as Legend where there are a
bunch of different categories of playing-style, none of which is clearly
the 'best', and all of which can be approached in many different ways.

> a commercial environment.  I think we may have touched upon this 
> before in USENET(?).  The notion that the mud exists for the sole 
> enjoyment of the players and they have certain inalienable rights.
> My conclusion, if I didn't state it explicitly, was the mud exists 
> for MY amusement and when that ceases so goes the mud. 

Ker-plunk.  That's why it's so much more fun than my work.  I write RPGs
both there and at home, but at work I have to say, "Well, players like this
or that...and don't like this or that...so we'd best make it this way."
At home (the mud) I can say, "Players will hate this.  Well, I think it's
cool.  Fuck 'em."

> An immortal in my game has the controls or adminstration of the 
> mechanical systems imbedded within the character.  A deity is both
> game mechanics and player in one being.  Quite possibly this is 
> a contrived solution to the above problems.  Important game resources 
> must be logged.  I fully expect bugs or holes to develop in the 
> system.  I note in the Habitat treatises that they were able to 
> measure the amount of gold in the world and tracking it over time led 
> to discovery of discrepancies in prices in different locations.  You 
> also mention your desire to be able to run queries into how many of X 
> where killed by means of Y, etc.  I've always wondered how 
> effectively one could administrate a mud without any notion of what's 
> actually going one inside the world, especially these critical 
> resources.  Muds as world simulations _must_ have administration 
> tools for game balance. Otherwise you are completely dependent on 
> player rumours, random snooping and logging.  I see a new thread 
> here!  

Play a mortal.  All the best muds I've ever played had immorts that actively
played their own characters - not toy character created with beefed up stats
or Swords of Foozle-Slaying, but real characters.  This allows you to spot
bugs, understand game balance from the inside, and understand what the players
are talking about when they come bitching to you.  Not only that, but since
you're making the game for your *own* amusement, it should be fun for you
to play.  And of course, if it's fun for you to play, it's fun for others
who think like you.

> [snipped shoebox analogy]
> I find this quite useful.  Simcity represents to my mind a very 
> similar shoebox.  It's very difficult to deviate from the state of 
> stasis, the more sims introduced into the mix (each building a 
> sim).  The fuller the shoebox becomes and motion (change) is reduced.

I enjoyed SimCity quite a bit - possibly my first glimpse at the idea of
making a computer game with no real goal state.  Even the multi-player games
I had played up until then (BBS games, mostly) generally had some sort of
victory state.  But yes, there are not enough elements in SimCity to
keep things fresh for very long.

> >   You have 50 rank points you can freely assign.
> > 
> >   There is a position (whatever) up for grabs within the game.
> > 
> >   Bubba has a very perverse imagination and has some ideas for what
> > he'd like to do if he got the position.  His activities will result in
> > demolishing many other game structures, causing bankruptcy, starvation
> > etc etc.  But the ride up to the fall looks like being a real hair
> > raiser, full of interesting twists and clever features.
> > 
> >   Boffo is much more staid and promises to coninue things largely
> > unchanged and in a predictably "positive" and constructive manner.
> > 
> > Who do you give your RP's to?  Why?
> >
> You presume that Bubba's perversity is not ideal for the position.  

He does?  I thought his point was that Bubba was more fun, therefore
you vote for him.  Then again, maybe I don't represent a normal voter - I
would probably have voted for Clinton if he had said, "You're damn right
I inhaled.  That was some killer weed."

> How long will Bubba survive if even a small minority of disgruntled 
> players exists in the world. Not very long. 

Yup.  Evil characters tend to have short, exciting lives.  That's why
I like 'em so much.

> If Bubba's exploitation and perversion of game systems causes them to 
> fail, including life sustaining ones affecting other players and non 
> players alike.  Do you think a second Bubba will be allowed to arise.

Well, here you have to define 'failure'.  If Bubba was elected on the a
ROM and the next two hours were spent trashing Midgaard and most of the
Smurf Village, I'd re-elect him in a second.  If I was playing a completely
different mud, one where I depended upon the village for survival and I
had other, more fun/productive things to do someplace else that Bubba's
trashing of the village hampered, I'd string him up myself.

> This is what I'd like to achieve.  It's not necessarily a morality 
> play but a simulation of cascading effects.  

Bingo.  The game itself has no morality, any more than the universe
has morality.  It's just a bunch of pre-defined mechanisms; players can
then do with them what they wish, which will probably include assigning

More information about the MUD-Dev mailing list