[MUD-Dev] Affecting the world

Matt Chatterley root at mpc.dyn.ml.org
Fri Sep 12 23:10:53 New Zealand Standard Time 1997


On Fri, 12 Sep 1997, Marian Griffith wrote:
> On Thu 11 Sep, Jon A. Lambert wrote:
> 
> > I wrote :)
 
[Snip]

> > What sort of games involve this type of group mechanics, other than
> > pure role-playing?  The percentage of women playing on Mush-type
> > servers is higher. (I agree with Miro's observations)
> 
> Even on a pure hack and slash game groups and group mechanics can be
> important.  E.g. when solo characters have a severely limited proba-
> bility to survive it's important to form groups, and to cooperate as
> a group.  Especially when it goes beyond the automated healing  that
> can be performed by a client.

It all depends on the basic skew of the game, in other words? That appears
to be what you are shooting at - and its something I definitely agree
with. Aims and intents as to game direction can be very vital to the sort
of atmosphere you wind up creating.
 
> > So then the question might be:
> > Outside of traditional muds, what games attract a large female 
> > following?  

Just a side note. How would one define a "traditional mud"?
 
> I tried to avoid this kind of discussion. It isn't particularly con-
> structive. Attracting male or female players should not be a goal in
> itself. What I wanted to point out was that 'combat' muds are single
> minded. At least that was the most important thing I wanted to say.

It is rather DEstructive to separate the sexes for any discussional
purposes beyond basic observations (eg: I doubt anyone will challenge me
if I say that in *general* *most* women do not play severely violent and
nasty games, but it I were to say 'women do not play violent games', I
would be rightly pounced).

There are lots of approaches to combat (strangely it always seems to be a
key issue in any game beyond a talker): The lo-tech (such as Riverworld
*plug* which has no hard set combat system beyond a command enabling you
to die with a given reason), hack'n'slash (stock diku, et al), and so
forth. Personally I plan on offering combat as 'one means to an end'. It
will probably be utterly inavoidable for 99% of players, at one time or
another - even a baker could get into the odd scrape!
 
> > > Nothing of the above can be very new to anybody on this list.  But
> > > what has made me wonder is, how do you get around the limitations of
> > > players to have an effect on the game world.  What is the point of
> > > having politics if there is nothing that a politician can
> > > effectively do?  
> 
> > A politician holds a position.  That position should allow control of
> > certain environmental systems.  Those systems should affect the game
> > in positive and negative ways.  If there's nothing the statesman can
> > do, it's merely a title.  A couple things come to mind. Allow
> > statesmen to control taxes, pass laws, commision buildings and
> > improvements, regulate guilds, raise and equipment armies, etc. 
> > Create positions that have effects on players.  
> 
> I agree with this. Now the next question is: is anybody considering
> to expand their game to include this kind of things?

Allowing statesment to control taxes / pass laws / commission buildings /
regulate guides / raise armies:

I handle this by not preventing it. I refuse to have admin-endorsed PC
governments in any form (a personal objection which I feel VERY strongly
about), but I do NOT prevent players from assuming power in some sense.
The governmental structures in any given place will be semi-invisible NPCs
(rarely will actually be present), and if a player wishes to set himself
up as being 'ruling body' its fine. Its more feasible to actually mass an
army and stomp the town (conquer it), but still. :)

Players could set themselves up to tax / enforce laws on each other, and
could request something be added in terms of a building (we are pondering
some sort of dynamic building handling). Since guilds are largely a social
orientational grouping, influencing them is fully possible, and as to
raising armies.. that is one of the two main 'high level' options.

The last point is a matter of scale. If you wish to amass power with any
rapidity (is that a word?), you really have two options:

1. Become a stonkingly powerful hero by one of an assortment of means.
Think "Hercules" and "Conan", and so forth. Suitable for the loner who
prefers to game alone (or with temporary interactions with others), and
roam around getting his/her hands dirty.

2. Raise an army, and squash those who stand in your way.
 
> > [full agreement with resets being bad, limiting equipment and 
> > persistence in general]
> 
> > > I do not really expect anybody on this list  to fundamentally
> > > disagree with this, it has been discussed in many forms already, 
> > > but are there any ideas how to go about it? I mean not in the
> > > technical sense although that is part of it also,  but how to design
> > > a game  around this goal?  
> 
> > I think there is something to be said for a layered approach to 
> > designing these things.  One could attempt to model a simple economic
> > system and a biological system for starters. I think these two things
> > are the basic blocks to build from.  I also look at other games.  My
> > ideas on economics come from the games "Rails" and "Tradewars".  My
> > ideas on biological systems come from "SimLife" and "SimAnt".  All of
> > the games, save "Simlife", have aquisition as their goals.  I'm not
> > sure this is any more attractive to women than combat oriented games. 
> 
> I don't think attracting women specifically should be a goal anyway.
> No doubt there are many men who don't enjoy hack and slash, or sim-
> ilar games with a single focus to 'win'.

Personally I would say:

If you are building a game to attract players, you are fighting a losing
battle. I stand by my "If you build it, *they* will come." view - 'they'
being likeminded individuals.

Regards,
	-Matt Chatterley
	http://user.itl.net/~neddy/index.html
"In space, you never know when to expect danger.. except when an
Enterprise away team beams down on a routine mission." -Greg Proops




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