[MUD-Dev] Text vs Video; Movies, Books & muds.

Nathan Yospe yospe at hawaii.edu
Fri Jan 9 11:34:51 New Zealand Daylight Time 1998


On Thu, 8 Jan 1998, Adam Wiggins wrote:

:[Jon A. Lambert:]
:We finally arrived at the conclusion that she simply has great difficulty
:conjuring visual images.  Whereas for me being presented an image puts a
:cap on how beautiful or stunning it can be, whereas I can imagine an
:infinitely beautiful scene.

:Thus, it's not that reading forcers or requires exercise of the imagination.
:It's that those with more vivid imaginations will enjoy it more.

I think something that has been missed by earlier posts is - books require
visualization. Movies supply visualization. Conversely, movies require
character insight. Books supply character insight. Of course, we're talking
quality examples of each, and generalizing terribly here. But, the main
difference seems to be in that area. Something that shows up with muds is,
even in the area of text, traditional muds cannot give character insight
without becoming static and, imnsho, rather poorly written. They have to 
rely on text motivated visualization.

:> I think it would be a bad novel indeed which imposed or forced this task 
:> upon the reader.  As it is many muds are really bad novels, if that at all. 
:> I think the effort and responsibilty of exercising the imagination lies 
:> with the author.  A good author will draw the reader into the mood and 
:> images he/she wants to imprint on the readers mind.  Resistance to the 
:> author's image becomes futile for the reader.  

:Another point is that there's a huge difference between the writing
:in a book and a mud.  The stuff on a mud can be thought of as snipits
:from a book, true, but IMO a good zone only describes the area, and
:leaves mood to the reader, since it actually varies from character to
:character.  Darkness and shadow could indicate that the area is spooky
:and potentitaly hiding enemies for one character, whereas it could be
:quiet, solace, and protection for another character.

I think this is a major point of mky efforts with Physmud++ - a client that
is intelligent (so to speak) enough to describe the setting in terms directly
relevant to a particular character without losing the emotional aspects of
the descriptions. I think that the one is too restrictive, the other too
unemotional, and modern computational power means that is ripe to change.

:> I think it has more to do with difficulty.  The activity of reading itself 
:> is an "unnatural" activity for humans.  A communications contrivance we 
:> have developed over the centuries, which is as alien to our physiological 
:> perception senses as seeing neutrinos are to our eyes.  That is smelling, 
:> touching, listening, and visual examination are far more "natural" to us 
:> and easier than reading.  I think it is quite natural for most people to 
:> prefer a graphical game than a textual game and not really an indicator of 
:> intelligence nor imagination.

:I agree.  Text is a very handy format for packing tons of information,
:but is not natural for humans to use as an interface.  Society has
:only bred us to be good with it; some are much better than others, and
:some even have grown to prefer it.  The later are still in the minority,
:I believe.

Perhaps, but we are increasing in number. *grin* Seriously, it is one of the
supreme ironies of evolution that we DO have a center in our brain
_even_more_developed_and_complex_ than our speech center which seems to 
serve no function beyond the _absorbtion_ aspect of written communication. 
In other words, reading. To elaborate; By sheer chance and good fortune, 
both of you are wrong: phisiologically, reading and text are as natural an
interface as the spoken word for humans. Which probably explains why there
has been, in one form or another, written text in virtually every human
civilization. Northern Native Americans (temperate climate and above) are,
if I recall correctly, the largest exception. Even the pacific islanders
had developed petroglyphs to the point that they were structured writing.

:> Historical Aside: Silent reading to oneself was largely unheard of as 
:> late at the 4th century AD and quite likely much later.  A monk, Father 
:> Ambrose, in the south of France (not the famous St. Ambrose) was one of
:> the first to be observed to have a rather strange and unusual habit of 
:> reading without speaking. 

That's interesting. Obviously, you're only considering _europe_, as most
of the asian, middle eastern, and medeteranian empires, at or before the
4th century AD, had written forms that translated poorly or not at all to
spoken form. In other words (taking chinese, sanscrit (excuse my spelling,
none of my linguistics texts are around at the moment) or egyptian
heiroglyphs for examples) people who were capable of reading and writing 
did so in what was, essentially, a completely seperate language from the
spoken one(s). Even in later European cultures, the written language would
remain primarilly latin, while the spoken language would be some local
dialect. This is beginging to happen in the "english speaking" world now.

:> Not sure where I'm going with that aside, but perhaps it is more natural
:> and easier to listen to someone read than to read silently.  Of course
:> the style of our prose has changed so much that the oral nature of reading
:> has been a largely lost art.  There is the significant exception of poetry! 
:> If anyone were to make good use of audio, I think a writing conventions 
:> and styles would change quite a bit.

This is true, but as I pointed out above, this is more the norm than the
active presence of oral/written forms.

:Well, one might assume that writing styles changed quite a bit as
:silent reading became popular.  Certainly phrasing for a conversation
:is very different from phrasing for 'silent' text.  Sometimes this is good;
:I think this list benefits quite a bit from being in the format it is
:in, rather than either recorded audio clips or a live audio conference.

That too. Writing tends to be more considered than text.
--

"You? We can't take you," said the Dean, glaring at the Librarian.
"You don't know a thing about guerilla warfare." - Reaper Man,
Nathan F. Yospe  Registered Looney                   by Terry Pratchett
yospe at hawaii.edu   http://www2.hawaii.edu/~yospe           Meow




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