[MUD-Dev] Affecting the world

Matt Chatterley root at mpc.dyn.ml.org
Wed Sep 17 22:57:39 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On Wed, 17 Sep 1997, Nathan Yospe wrote:

> On Tue, 16 Sep 1997, Matt Chatterley wrote:
> :On Wed, 17 Sep 1997, Jon A. Lambert wrote:
> :> Might I call them 'solo-hack-n-slash' muds?
> :Since I would depict this as 'one type' of game, I have no objection. This
> :is also quite a good term as it is simple, and fully self explanatory.
> We've been dealing with four elements lately: group dynamics, methods of
> play/advancement toward goals, social dynamics, and world dynamics. As far
> as I can tell, S/HnS is zero GD, combat-oriented goals, unspecified SD, 
> and generally minimal WD.

Sounds about right to me; I'm tempted to write up something on my views as
to the sliding scale of 'game type', and three major types - I will, if I
get a chance (probably over the weekend, if I remember).
> :> > Or where players are 'subtly' thrown together to cooperate against the
> :> > environment.
> :> Yep.  Being subtle is a key element.  Player's should be given the 
> :> opportunity of discovering these subtle mechanics.  Once the 
> :> subtleties are known and repeatably exercised dynamics may change.
> So make them impossible to determine short of an effort similar to that of a
> RL physicist?

Heh. This depends what sort of physicist you are - the "What would happen
if I.." type, or the "If I do this, I wonder.." type. ;)
> :Yup. Subtlety is very important (even if I can't spell it). I suspect
> :players would complain if there were a written stipulation that they play
> :in teams of certain numbers - whereas if the game nudges them into doing
> :so, very few will harbour such a grumble.
> True.

I think this is true of many things - limits which feel very artificial
will be (conciously, and unconciously, justly and unjustly) defied by many
people, whereas those which insinuate themselves into the mentality of the
playing community become just 'part of the game', even though they may add
up to the same.
> :> Direct group mechanics.  Your adventuring party would fall within 
> :> this category, as well as haggling, bartering, trading, socializing 
> :> at the individual level.
> :Yup. Something along the lines of 'shared and unshared skills and
> :abilities' too?
> How about things like accidental trapping of another player in your bear
> trap?

Well, that'd just be painful for the other player. <g>. This does create
some interesting (if brief) pair or group interaction, though.
> :> Indirect group mechanics.  Economy, ecology, politics.  
> :Eg, things with globally reaching influence, both social and actual?
> Engineering a plague.

Hmm, more a causitive thing than a 'game mechanic' though.
> :> A simple but odd example:
> :> 1) Players kill all the cats in Ithaca or King Bubba decrees all cats 
> :> are illegal.
> :> 2) Rat population increases.  
> :> 3) Grain storage decreases. 
> :> 4) Disease chance increases.
> :> 5) Bread prices inflate. 
> :> 6) Population begins to decline.
> :> 7) Boffo makes a killing importing dogs from Troy.
> :> 8) The alchemist Al finds en excellent source of income in selling 
> :> poisons. 
> :> 9) Bob starts a grain import business.
> :> 10) Perhaps at some threshold the peasants revolt and depose King 
> :> Bubba or attempt to lynch the offending players. 
> :> 11) Bob goes bankrupt. 
> :> 12) Boffo now imports cats as well.
> :> 13) Bread prices deflate.
> :> 14) Al has stumbled onto something a bit more deadly...
> :> ...
> :Woah. :)
> I like this. A lot.

Me too.
> :[Snip]
> :> Part of the problem with the solo-hack-n-slash mud is the ability for 
> :> characters to become jack-of-all-trades.  There are a few likely 
> :> causes.  Skill advancement is too fast and there are so few really 
> :> used/useful skills available that it's easily possible to build the 
> :> perfect character in short order through min/maxing, remorting, etc.
> :Definitely! I intend for PCs to only be able to become proficient in
> :chains of things which make 'sense' together (by implementing something
> :along the lines of skill decay, in part).
> My skill webs are of this sort. Decay, but even more important, relational
> maintainance of skills. If a set of related skills support each other, the
> tendancy is toward maintaining one or two major sets of skills.

Yeah - thats the part of the 'skill web' theory that I like the most. I'm
pondering on using this in some (albeit simplified) form - basically if
skill B depends on skill A, and A decays, so will B. Also, if the stat
which A or B depends upon decays, the skills will suffer indirectly.
> :> You mention the amassing of player armies.  The cost and logistics in 
> :> labor and resources would be vast.  The effects of this on local 
> :> economies can be both explosive and devastating, even excluding the 
> :> effects of actual warfare (the old guns or butter issues).  Then 
> :> there's those elusive things called morale, training, and readiness 
> :> which might make it all for naught.  
> :Absolutely. This will probably work over long periods of time (both real
> :and virtual), and from a small point up. If you have the money to finance
> :a large or modest army from scratch, good for you - if you can't, you need
> :to work up from something smaller. For instance, Robin Hood's merry men,
> :or a band of thugs (synonymous with each other, based on your
> :perspective).
> Not to mention the results of armies looting as they move for food, or to
> screw the enemy... in fantasy, this becomes a major issue. (In sci-fi, it
> does as well, but in other ways.)

Yup. If your goal is to conquer a significant city, who knows how many
small towns you'll lay waste to while preparing for the assault..

Since my environment is 'variably magical' (it is extremely high magic at
the center, and this fades as you stretch outwards, to places where magic
barely works unless extremely powerful or unworldly), this can vary
wildly. You may have places where a long seige is a very desirable
situation, and others where blowing big holes in your enemys
fortifications as fast as possible is the best course of action.
> :> > There will probably be some means for entering the 'higher up' positions
> :> > in guilds (since the guild will only be a small group to start with).
> :> > Pondering this in more detail at the moment. :)
> :> I was thinking along the lines of traditional medieval occupational 
> :> guilds and other organizations like schools, universities, political 
> :> and religious institutions, in addition to player implemented 
> :> societies.  Some might be already in-place thematic constructs and 
> :> while others might be primarily social player constructs.
> :Could be interesting. Think along the line of the guilds in Pratchett's
> :Discworld books. ;)
> Flautist playing without a licence walks with a stiff gait? (I feel sorry for
> the tuba player. Not to mention the drummer.)
> I'd like to see someone set up a seamstresses' guild. Mrs. Palm in a mud?

My favourite snippet from any Pratchett book to date is the following
exchange between Sir Samuel Vimes and Vetinari:

'Did you really punch the president of the Assassins' Guild?'
'Yes Sir.'
'Didn't have a dagger, sir.'

	-Matt Chatterley
"Smoking is one of the leading causes of statistics." -?

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