[MUD-Dev] Hard Sci-fi muds was Character evolution

Brandon J. Rickman ashes at pc4.zennet.com
Thu Sep 18 17:16:02 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On Thu, 18 Sep 1997 cg at ami-cg.GraySage.Edmonton.AB.CA (Chris Gray) wrote:
>:So tell me again why you are keeping track of an uninteresting place
>:where no one ever goes?
>Well, all of the real world was essentially "uninteresting" at some
>point - i.e. the interesting things in it hadn't been discovered yet.
>A lot of what makes an area interesting are the things that players
>and builders have done to it. Someone looking to start from scratch
>will *want* to go out into an "uninteresting" area. If there are enough
>in-game mechanisms available, then you don't even have to be an official
>"builder" to do it - just take you trusty axe and some other tools, and
>go build yourself a cabin in the woods. Perhaps others will join you,
>and you can create a new town.
>Requires lots of in-game support systems, but if they are there, then
>there *are* reasons for going to "uninteresting" places.

So they aren't so much "uninteresting" places as they are unexplored
places.  But by modeling all of the unexplored places as stable-state
grassy clearings one seems to intentionally want those unexplored places to
be truly uninteresting, i.e. DULL.  This is fine for the first case
described above, where that strange creature known as a Builder wants to
start from scratch (everyone should go read How to Build a Really Good Moo
at http://www.zennet.com/pub/moo/misc/hbrgmoo.html).  And the case of
building a new town is a challenge, but it is truly absurd - and 
impossible - to propose that someone would want to "build a log cabin
in the woods" while maintaining that the woods are "uninteresting".
Where do you build the cabin if you can't differentiate between one
place and another?  At the edge of the forest?  Three rooms west of
the old bridge?  These places aren't uninteresting at all.

Perhaps the difference is that building (by authorized Builders) means to
create something new, but constructing (by players with axes) is to
change something old.  Each requires a different set of tools.

To grossly oversimplify, tinymuds and MOOs excel at letting everyone
create new objects.  We all should know what that looks like by now:
a big messy sprawl of incompatible junk, and no one is allowed to touch
anybody else's stuff.

Combat muds (lp, diku) allow people to create new areas with a limited
toolbox.  Zones are created in a complete void then tacked on somewhere.
Surprisingly, in my opinion, building things with a toolbox can produce
more interesting results than free-form creation.  But then data rot
takes over, because no one wants to impact someone else's zone without

I had a point in writing this, and that was... hmm.  Ah, that the whole
"creating new areas" thing has been done to death, and the "changing
old areas" never happens because egos get in the way.  If a player
builds a cabin in the woods, two months later you can't just say
"oh, the cabin was old and fell apart and these trees grew there."
Because maybe the player burned down _all_ the trees, and sowed the
earth with salt.  And now the ego of the creator gets mad and says "I
won't let that happen."

The conclusion being: You cannot simutaneously have 1) everything
created by hand and 2) let players be destructive.

(I would also boldly claim that stable-state systems are artificial and
therefore hand-made.)

Ah, enough trouble for one day...

- Brandon Rickman - ashes at zennet.com -
While I have never previously found a need for a .sig, this
may be considered one for the purposes of this list

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