[MUD-Dev] Simulations - was: 'A flamewar startingpoint.'

Jon A. Lambert jlsysinc at ix.netcom.com
Mon Jan 12 22:58:37 New Zealand Daylight Time 1998

On  5 Jan 98 at 20:05, JC Lawrence wrote:
> On Mon, 29 Dec 1997 11:55:29 PST8PDT 
> Marian Griffith<gryphon at iaehv.nl> wrote:
> > The same can be said for other simple goals.  If you know which
> > monster to kill and how to do it then ordinary muds can be
> > considered drudgery and boring too. In fact I guess they are. The
> > trick is to create a game that has something of all this.
> Agreed, and to me this is the great weakness of the various SimCity
> etc games.  The problem is that it very quickly becomes apparent to me
> in playing them that underlieing the game world is a rote equation,
> and if I can merely find and stay on the sweet spot I can build
> whatever I want (and that I have a feel for what that balance is).
> Instantly the game becomes mechanical and loses all charm and almost
> all of its interest.  Now its just a mechanical resource balance game:
> not too much of this, not too little of that, make sure we copy the
> game designer's ideas of how it should be and we'll "win".
> Boring.

But, can one maintain the "sweet spot" in the face of other player 
collusion, competition and subversion?  And more importantly, with a lack 
of global and reliable information?  With SimCity or Civilation, one has 
the advantage of being a dictatorial mayor or emperor for life and being 
privy to much more information and control than would be available to one 
living _within_ the simulation as a mere 'peep.  Another aspect of the Sim 
games is the design philosophy that leads to a specific goal.  For SimCity 
and Civilation this is generally to maximize growth and prosperity of the 
entire system, therefore the systems are weighted in a non-neutral 
direction.  I think PC participants in the simulation will also have other 
more self-interested goals rather than it's overall health (unless of 
course they _are_ mayor/emperor).   

Jon A. Lambert
"Everything that deceives may be said to enchant" - Plato

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