[MUD-Dev] Re: (fwd) Re: POLL: Games ruined by bad players (Player killers, tank rushers etc)

J C Lawrence claw at under.engr.sgi.com
Fri May 1 17:04:56 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

On Mon, 27 Apr 1998 19:05:06 -0500 (CDT) 
Cat <cat at bga.com> wrote:

> J C Lawrence (claw at under.engr.sgi.com) wrote: 

>> <bow>
>> BTW, I heartily agree.

> Thanks.  So many people agree with things and just give the silent
> "Usenet Nod".  :X)


<<previous quote inserted below>>

>> Understood.  Others will and do view such cases as a chance to
>> model something in their own image.  You are looking for
>> DisneyWorld.  Others prefer the outback.

> I would contend that the games that are out there, both free and
> commercial, provide ample opportunities to visit "the outback" for
> those that prefer it.  And I also feel that there's very little for
> those that are looking for "DisneyWorld" - or most other
> "non-outback" types of environments that people might want.

Utterly disagreed.  

The current MUD range is almost mono-typic. Certainly it is no better
than bi-polar: you have your choice of partially tribally violent
variations, or (overly?) sanitised talker variations (I'm classing RP
functionally as a talker morph).  My problem is that both ends of the
yard stick are simplistic and monochrome.  The tribal variations all
(very very minor exceptions) follow the same big stick model.  The
talker/social variations similarly follow the same Star-Trek-ised
super-sanitised twee view of an idealised society (yes, I know the
game world might be different -- I'm talking of expected _player_
behaviour and inter-/intra-player societies and cultural norms).

LambdaMOO and UOL are the only current projects I'm aware of with any
scope which are attempting to break this triviality (I can't comment
on DragonSpires/Furcadia).

A universe of two is not big enough, even with the the above
exceptions.  Species don't survive with such a small variation in the
gene pool.  Why should we argue that MUDs are different?

I see your variation on the super-sanitised extreme as a possible
exception to the norm with your apparent (I've never seen you state
this) intended goal of using tribal-class player groups backed by code
(repainted as "the big happy game family") to maintain the sanitised
social definition.  I'm merely insufficiently civilised (or possibly
excessively civilised) to personally approve much of the model.  I do
value its genetic variation.

> I think it's probably somewhat natural that the majority of the
> "early settlers" in online gaming are the the type of people that
> want to "tame the frontier".  But in the long run, once the masses
> arrive, I think more people will want to spend their time and money
> on the "resorts" - just like in the real world.

Agreed.  Ever noticed how resorts are succumbing to the American mall
tragedy?  Any mall anywhere in the world has become nearly
indistinguishable from any other mall anywhere else in the world.
Similarly with resorts: the only variation seems to be bikini size and
palm tree population.

> Our game has the basic principle that nobody can do anything to you
> without your consent.  While this is not how real life works
> overall, since people still do get robbed, raped, killed, etc. -
> efforts to set up environments that provide that level of freedom
> and safety are generally looked upon as desirable and valuable.  

I'll note quietly that I don't approve or value such efforts IRL.
Excessive sanitisation breeds infection.  Consider Japan's current
cultural mandate on environmental sterility -- a significant factor in
car sales there now is the fact that some car's steering wheels come
coated with antibiotic/antiseptic exuding rubber...

> I think the millions of non-gamers out there in particular will
> prefer the "safer" places rather than the "wild and wooly" ones.
> Even if they're not called "games", but just "environments".  Even
> when it comes to games, there's an awful lot of people who play the
> ones that don't involve violence and killing (Monopoly, poker,
> Trivial Pursuit, bridge, Scrabble, etc. etc.) rather than the ones
> that do (like 9 out of 10 computer games).  

I would note that any competitive game which involves the concept of
"beating" another player is actually a variation on the "killing"
games, just with a prettier face drawn over the gore via poker chips
or property cards etc.  This suggests that the deliniation among games 
on this point is specious, or at best artificial.  

The point I have difficulty with is the concept that the explicit (as
vs masked or implicit) violence in a game is a valid point of
discrimination amongst games, rather than the _quality_ or _character_
of that violence.  It reeks to me of simplistic protectionism with all
the self-defeating and ultimately suicidal ills that bears.

We already live in an insufficiently discriminating society.  I'm not
going to champion that same parasitic trait in VR.

Note to self: At some point I should probably post a list of the games
I do play,

Note to Lambert:  Have a look at LinCity, an interesting OpenSource
variation on SimCity.

> And I think the frequency of sexual harrassment is enough in itself
> to keep many women from wanting to participate in the totally
> unregulated, unpoliced environments (and the ineffectually policed
> ones).  Sure, a few women will adopt a male identity, or a gender
> neutral one, but I think a lot more will simply leave and never come
> back.

The obvious question: Is this a fault, a problem, or merely a cultural
characteristic?  I suspect the answer is implicit in the above quote.

> Summary: The outback is all very well and good, for that audience
> that wants it, and it's perfectly ok to provide that for them.  But
> we've already got that covered, and we really ought to offer some
> OTHER types of environments too!

I see an extremely simplistic, self-referential and narrow version of
the outback being cloned hundreds if not thousands of times.  There is
no variety.  There is precious little discrimination (esp in a society
which professes to value discrimination and then works actively to
suppress any if can find).  The field is both stagnant and

Munt with his diatribes against stock areas has a point, if perhaps a
straw target.  Genetic variation is not exemplified by facial mole
size variation -- it runs a bit deeper than that.  

<<dismounting high horse and vigorously scratching saddle-itch>>

J C Lawrence                               Internet: claw at null.net
(Contractor)                               Internet: coder at ibm.net
---------(*)                     Internet: claw at under.engr.sgi.com
...Honourary Member of Clan McFud -- Teamer's Avenging Monolith...

MUD-Dev: Advancing an unrealised future.

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