[MUD-Dev] Alignment

clawrenc at cup.hp.com clawrenc at cup.hp.com
Fri Sep 12 10:52:29 New Zealand Standard Time 1997


Not as thorough a reply as I'd hoped for, but time and other questions
press.

In <199709090625.BAA01336 at dfw-ix2.ix.netcom.com>, on 09/08/97 
   at 11:27 PM, "Jon A. Lambert" <jlsysinc at ix.netcom.com> said:

>On  8 Sep 97 at 10:25, clawrenc at cup.hp.com wrote:
>> In <199709050330.WAA27771 at dfw-ix12.ix.netcom.com>, on 09/04/97 
>>    at 09:51 PM, "Jon A. Lambert" <jlsysinc at ix.netcom.com> said:
>> 
>> It started life as a polemic against Good necessarily being the winner
>> in the initially referenced election.

>I see.  The assumption of my election was that of a RP environment.

Ya gotta know that's a windmill for me by now.

>I also see good and evil as relative issues here.  The reverse could 
>be true, Evil might be predisposed to win in certain races.

Part of the underlieing point I'm indicating that is that the value
systems which we assume in RL don't really apply to in-game.  What we
may define as good/evil in RL really has no bearing on their
definitions in-game.
 
>> Spooky?  I had not expected my posts to haunt the place.  <fading
>> scream>

>There were many fleeting shades of ideas that lurked within that 
>post. 

Yeah, There were a lot of half-saids.  I still feel that there's a
core concept there I've only hinted at which I have yet to see.

>> Yep, I'm heading for several items:
>> 
>>   1) There has been much discussion here of social and political
>> systems which attempt thru game-internal mechanisms to shadow or
>> emulate their counterparts in RL.  I now strongly doubt if this will
>> work with a GOP player base as the motivation is so massively
>> different from the motivation of the players in the RL structures.  

...bit on impact of RP ellided...

>Surely one can tie GOP into a realistic economic game.  

Yep, but as with the long bit on consensus admin I just posted, the
question remains on the economics remaining the game-purpose.  I can
easily see such an economic game with The Black Rose running in full
force, totally ignoring the economic underpinnings of the game in
pursuit of PK-fests.

The question of course is whether this is a Bad Thing.  That's a
viewpoint based call on what you as admin and imm desire from your
game, and what you refuse to have in your game.

>...My
>conclusion, if I didn't state it explicitly, was the mud exists  for
>MY amusement and when that ceases so goes the mud. 

As I just posted on Usenet:

  Your job as a player is to keep me as an Admin, happy with this
game.
  Failure to keep me sufficiently happy, and thereby interested in
this 
  game will result in the game being removed.  Becoming a source of 
  irritation will result in your, and possibly the game as well, being

  removed.  Note that sucking up is considered irritating.
  
>>   This echoes #2, but extends the argument to the challenge of the
>> game.  MUDs are inherently mechanical.  Mechanical systems are
>> implicitly easy to beat once one has learned the "trick".  There's
>> always some sort of basic formulae which can be followed to "success"
>> within a mechanical system.  If you don't want this, a major portion
>> of your system must then be non-mechanical -- ie heavily influenced by
>> players or the Admins.
...deletia...
>>   Thus, it is left to the admins.  They have no vested interest in the
>> game mechanics or their impacts on player's and accomplishment of
>> in-game goals.  They can freely be rogue elephants, or the looney
>> bearing the steel football on Airforce One.  They can, with a little
>> imagination, inject real randomity into the system.  They are utterly
>> unpredictable at base within the game as they have no interest in
>> winning the game.

>...Important game resources 
>must be logged.  I fully expect bugs or holes to develop in the 
>system.  

Of course.  We are actually attempting to simulate a close ecology
with an open-ended system.  That's a pretty large nut to get right the
first time.  Attempts (such as mine and I think Raph's) to do this by
making the system dependant on closed/finite resource loops run the
(large) risk of dieing (too quickly) thru entropy.  

Thus we sit outside as Imm's and tend the fire, introducing a little
petrol here, and a little water there to keep the fire neither flaring
or going out.  The key here is that you are outside of the game, and
have no vested interest in the in-game mechanics and their benefit to
you.

>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.  

Yup.  As I recall they suddenly noticed that the total count of money
in the world has increased by an order of magnitude.

>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.  

I'll note that I know of no current MUD servers (LP, DIKU, Tiny-*,
MOO, Unter, Uber, Yama, DGD, OgHam, Merc, Interlude, Cool, ColdX etc)
which have anything along this line of audit facilities.

>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!  

Verily.

>>   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.  
>Bubba may well be very good for Sparta.  Perhaps he wishes to embark 
>on a campaign of conquest of the other city states destroying all 
>other game structures.  

Okay, lets refine the scenario:

  Bubba is competing for the position of Admiral of the the Fleet. 
His stated goal is to take the fleet and to go a pirating, scouring
every town, ship, and iland of all the life they can find.  Murder,
mayhem, rape, torture and pillage are to be the name of the game.  

>Let's assume what I'm sure you meant.  Bubba wants to be king of 
>Sparta so he can destroy the Spartan game systems.  Bubba wants to
>destroy just for the sheer joy of it or because he's bored with  his
>"spartan" lifestyle.

Capiche.

>Assume Bubba by GOPing manages to extract RPs from the many 
>mechanical AIs by playing each one like a fiddle.  Also, we have 
>many Spartan players willing to go along with Bubba's explicitly
>stated (through socials that is) goals.  Bubba gets his position
>destroys the economy (ruins many player businesses, naturally), burns
>surrounding villages and starvation sets in (many players die,
>naturally), reduction in trade effects other city states (other 
>players investments go bankrupt, naturally), etc.  

I can see them now:

  "Oh boy!  What a fun ride!  Next?"

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

Quite.  Bubba then creates a new character to try something else
"fun".

>I would allow Bubba to exist and might even encourage the attempts.
>But let the natural games systems handle it, naturally and 
>realistically.

<bow>

>> Now you are Bernie beer swillin' redneck, who do you give your RP's
>> to?  Why?

>I would imagine many players including myself would give Bubba a go.

Quite.

>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.

Yes.

The question here is that of importance of investment.  How much do
you players have invested in their characters, and how important is
that investment to them?

Many MUD players are temporary.  They are in for a couple week,s or a
month or three, and then off again.  As such their sense of
investment, and the value of that investment, is low.  Perhaps a
decent analogy would be the English view of the Norse raiders?  The
Norse quite obviously had little investment in England.  But England
did seem to have a nice supply of toys and other crumpet to bonk and
bash every so often.

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

Or, as I once imagined:

  You are standing on a large rubber sheet.

  Under the sheet are a large number of blind herbivores, ranging in
size  from rabbits on up to elephants.  

  Also under the sheet are a number of rabid dogs outfitted with
tazers.

  BTW: Did I mention you *were* standing?  You also need to get from
one side of the sheet to the other...

--
J C Lawrence                           Internet: claw at null.net
(Contractor)                           Internet: coder at ibm.net
---------------(*)               Internet: clawrenc at cup.hp.com
...Honorary Member Clan McFUD -- Teamer's Avenging Monolith...




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