[MUD-Dev] Re: (fwd) AD: [custom graphical] whitestar Crossfire MUD

Adam Wiggins adam at angel.com
Mon May 4 14:15:48 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

On Mon, 4 May 1998, Koster, Raph wrote:
> I'd be curious to hear what the motivations of those on the list are. 
> Or as a broader topic: what do people see as motives for people 
> crafting muds? One of the primary motivations I have seen in the past 
> is, "to make a game like the one I used to play until they changed it 
> on me." How much of the stagnation of mud development do you think is 
> attributable to this motive?

I always think of myself as making the game I thought I was playing in the
first place.  That is; when I first started playing muds, I imagined them
as being carefully-balanced game worlds modeled in intricate detail and
controlled by an intensely complicated set of neural nets.  I imagined the
players as being devoted followers whose primary concern was complete
immersion in the game world and their role.  I imagined NPCs with
long-reaching personal agendas.
Obviously it didn't take very long for me to realize that they were
actually a ramshackle collection of "areas" written with what was
frequently far less detail or interactivitey than an old Infocom game;
that the AI scripts for NPCs rarely exceeded fifty lines or kept any sort
of storage; and that the game mechanics were mostly a huge list of
conditional logic for handling special cases.  (The first mud I played had
such a huge number of special-case handlers that I was fooled into
thinking it was much more comprehensive than it actually was.)

So, I set to trying to create a world which had all the posibilities which
current muds overlook.  Mainly this involved re-examining the fundamnetals
of the server design and philosophy and decided what were the worthwhile
of current muds that I (we, actually) wanted to preserve.  We found that
many of those qualities were practically side-effects of the way that the
muds worked, and set about trying to integrate those things into the base
design.  We wanted to model things in such a way that you had both the
fantastic and exciting elements of heroic fantasy without using the linear
and closed world of a normal RPG.

Was this commercialy viable?  Of course not.  But it has been extremelly
rewarding in ways that catering to the mass market never is.  And, there
is a commercial venture (potentially a big-name one) on the horizon for
Orion and myself to which I hope that we can apply all that we've learned
with our experiments to make a completely unique kind of gameplay, just as
Raph did with Ultima Online.


MUD-Dev: Advancing an unrealised future.

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