[MUD-Dev] Alignment

Jon A. Lambert jlsysinc at ix.netcom.com
Sun Sep 14 12:15:46 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On 12 Sep 97 at 12:11, clawrenc at cup.hp.com wrote:
> 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:
> >> 
> >I see.  The assumption of my election was that of a RP environment.
> Ya gotta know that's a windmill for me by now.

Nod.  I tried to stick mostly within the parameters of the "game" 
only discussion.  I had to put in the RP pieces as caveats,  so I 
have an escape exit if I find myself on the wrong side of the 
argument. *grin* 

> >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.

No disagreement with this. 
My thought is that the world (mud world) does not exist as a blank 
and utterly neutral or value-less slate.  It could.  I would venture 
that your game will operate in this fashion (clay for players to 
manipulate).  It could also have values built into game constructs, 
good or evil, relative to RL. This hinges on the ratio of player 
population influence vs mud population influence. There is question 
of balance here.  At what point do the game systems become tyrannical 
vs the point where the game systems are impotent.  Or said another 
way, how pliant is a particular subsystem to the attempts by players 
exerting a given value set vs other value sets.

> >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.

Hmm. Perhaps something along the lines of the chaos mathematician in 
Jurassic Park who said, "Life will find a way".  Replace Life with 
dastardly/devious/bored mud players. 

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

dastard! ;)
> >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.

Yes but... There were no active game constructs working against the 
BR save a few wizards running behind them "havening" the locations 
after the fact.  There is also apparently no notion of perma-death 
within this mud, making the 100 kill mark rather easy.  Imagine a 
more pro-active "simpeep" population, a cruel legal system, "wizards" 
with little or no interest in player feelings/aid.

> 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.


<snipped position on mud ownership>

> >...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.

Exactly my notion.  To a great extent these simulations are untested 
and an Imm must be prepared to modify, extend, grok and tinker with 
these subsystems until one is pleased with the resulting balances or 

> 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.

I also haven't seen this sort of resource logging either.  I've 
noted Felix's post though for further investigation.  I know many 
drivers have all sorts of ways to investigate processor, hardware, 
memory resources but these are only ancillary to the investigation 
and tracking of game resources.  If your server be of the softcoded 
sort these would necessarily reside there.

> >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?"

Hey, it's on to Athens...then the world muhahaha

The admin has noted the ease in which Bubba subverted the Spartan  
subsystems.  To provide for further challenges and excitment for 
all, a bit of tinkering is need to adjust the fulcrum of this system. 
That is if the destruction was of such a nature as to utterly 
destroy Sparta, the other city-states should be quietly investigated 
and modified to stiffen the challenge or alter the dynamics of other 
potential targets.  

It helps if the admin is under the mistaken impression that he is 
smarter than his players, otherwise he will recognize the futility 
of his efforts much to the detriment of the players enjoyment. :)  

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

A note on personal preferences:
If susystems are unable to handle Bubba in a matter that pleases ME, 
changes and tinkering are quietly accomplished.  I've always hated 
how many mud admins post explanatory mud notices and other nonsense.  
Like "Due to some bugs involved with the <insert activity> we have 
<groked/modified> the offending code."  Posting explanations leaves 
one open to answering to the players "needs".  I don't want players 
to get the notion in their heads that they actually have input into 
the running of the game.  They may well have significant input and 
influence on how I proceed, but letting them KNOW that is 
unproductive, if you catch my drift.   

> >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.

So then...
"Perversity will find a way." - JC Lawrence

> 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.

I'll go out of bounds a bit to note that in an RP environment there is
a higher level of player investment in characters.
Otherwise your characterization is accurate.
> >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...

This sounds like a good warning for the potential admin.

Then again the game is sure to be infected with my own warped view 
of the world such as the cascading effects may result in a morality 
play put on for my own enjoyment.   

Jon A. Lambert

If I'd known it was harmless, I would have killed it myself.

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