[MUD-Dev] Alignment

Jon A. Lambert jlsysinc at ix.netcom.com
Wed Sep 10 21:55:48 New Zealand Standard Time 1997


On 10 Sep 97 at 2:02, Adam Wiggins wrote:
> > >    at 09:51 PM, "Jon A. Lambert" <jlsysinc at ix.netcom.com> said:
> 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.
>

Exactly.  Sure the "fun" factor is there for yourself.  This is one 
way to gather those essential player "rumors".  I won't have any toy
characters. ;)

One of the things I was trying to get at was that the state of the
worlds resources might be critical to administering a world 
simulation. This could be body counts, population counts, amounts of 
gold, wheat or spice in various regions, balances of trade, 
inflation, player wealth, "simpeep" wealth, mana availability, 
equipment availability, ad nauseam.  In other words, tools/commands 
to allow an administrator to get a leg up on the players in noticing 
game balance problems and correcting them before players get wise.

Aside: I don't believe in punishing players for bug exploitation or 
"sure ways to beat X". The only reason I'd boot a player in this area 
is for repeatably crashing the server after such a nasty bug has been 
found and broadcast.  

> > [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.

Simcity represents an ideal dictatorship to some extent.  I think 
this leads to boredom faster.  Add multiplayer control of the various 
inputs to the mix.  Wouldn't advancing up the city-state food chain, 
be analogous to advancing up the combat food chain?  An important 
question needs to asked, What is the "goal state" in a pure combat 
mud?  King of the hill?  What do you do after attaining it?

> > 
> > 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."

<begin off-topic humor>
After directing the royal guards to bring a woman to his chamber, 
Bubba pauses and looks off-screen to a virtual camera and exclaims, 
"It's good to be the king!". 
<end off-topic humor>
 
> > 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.
>
It provides great "fun" for your good characters as well.  It 
gives them a cause and causes _conflict_.  Muds with no PC villains 
and muds with no _conflict_ are boring.

> > 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.  

Problem is everything would be the same in 30 minutes or so. :P

> 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.

That's the idea, translating destructive behavior into game affects 
which then affect other player goals.  Even constructive behavior 
can have side-effects:

Group of "good" players go out and slay an most foul and mighty 
dragon.  They bring back tons of gold to their home city and begin a 
spending spree.  Inflation begins to spiral out of control because 
of the large artificial influx of new capital.  

--
Jon A. Lambert




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