[MUD-Dev] Re: PK and my "Mobless MUD" idea

J C Lawrence claw at under.engr.sgi.com
Wed May 13 12:11:48 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

On Thu, 7 May 1998 23:36:21 -0700 
John Bertoglio<alexb at internetcds.com> wrote:

> From: Dr. Cat <cat at bga.com> 

> You are absolutely correct. The commercial game market (and by
> extension, the entire entertaiment industry) is RUN by people who by
> in large seem to have born without the capacity for original
> thought. The computer game industry had avoided the worst of this
> mindlessness until the last few years when huge budgets coupled with
> a corporate mentality makes it look more and more like Hollywood.

Lots of homilies about there being no loss in ever underestimating the
intelligence of the buying public, the rate of fools/suckers being
born, and also ignoring Keegan's and other's well founded points on
originality being counter-productive to popularity not were not typed

>> Here on the list, I see things even more narrowly focused, with
>> maybe one or two types of "ideal games" that people are clustered
>> around and trying to figure out how to make.  It's frustrating to
>> me to see so little diversity of opinion and artistic style.

> I think this is something of an overstatement. I have almost
> finished reading the "back issues" of the list (and accepted the
> general personal productivity hit because of it)and find about the
> only common thread is a preference for object-oriented models
> (something my design does not use, BTW). 

The list has a very heavy population of Bartle's spades.  "The few,
the proud, the tinkers!"  The list seems to take an excessive delight
(certainly not shared by the general populace) in puzzle solving,
complexity, intricacy for the sake of inner elegance, and other
cerebral intoxicants.  I attempted to remedy to remedy this a while
ago with a mass influx of what I classed as "RP'ers" (look in the
archives just before the founding of the GoP term, with mixed results
(we got several spade-like RP'ers among other things, lost most of the 
hardcore concensual/storytelling RP'ers etc...).

> A lot of the examples used seem to relate to traditional mud
> thinking but when you look carefully they relate to very
> sophisticated design issues. 


That's something I've championed heavily.  Use uqiquitously common,
sterotypic and assumption ridden bases for your scenarios, and then
vary ONLY the single point you want to discuss away from that norm.
yes, yes, yes, we can all bitch about levels and the silliness of
being able to force objects on other players by merely giving them to
them -- but thery're nice, safe, well known mechanics that we all know
and share.  <shrug> When you're discussing methods of tracking state
changes for logical correctness, you really don't want to also get
into an argument of acceptable level models, skill trees or webs, and
what protocols and negotiations should be used when one player wants
to give another an object.

> I see this a courtesy to others who think in more traditional
> terms. The Bubba stuff has helped me to see many issues and angles
> which would otherwise be obscured by C++ coding and atomic
> threads...whatever they are?


> I would like to see far more discussion of commercial issues on this
> list.

One aspect of the commercial interests which runs expressly counter to
much of the list's population is that utterly simplitic (if only at
the interface level, but usually also mandated at the administration
level) is absolutely required.  You just CAN'T have a complex under
interface for something like UOL, AC, EQ, etc.  You need DOOM-level
obviousness (something Cat has been championing here, bless him).  

I, for instance, have a big weakness for clever interfaces which
maximise flexibility at the expense of transparency.  <shrug> Its not
uncommon -- happily I usually end up weeding out those bits by the
time I've worked thru the rest of the product.

> One fact of life on the internet (I have learned from my wife's
> single women friends in the 30-50 age range) is they now let
> "anybody" in. When a lot of these people started using the net is
> was a somewhat exclusive club due to technical complexity and
> economic issues. This made it an attractive place to meet people. (I
> know of at least 3 marriages and several more long-term relationship
> which were spawned on the internet.) Is it possible to recreate that
> original spirit and sense of a "special place"?

<cock eyebrow>

Perhaps.  I'd like to think that I'm working in that direction both
with this list (if not necessarily the romantic aspects), and a few
other projects.

> If you go advertising supported, you run the risks of network
> television.  Advertising means two things, numbers (of households)
> and demographics. Can you maintain creative control when advertisers
> demand greater numbers of households or more penetration into
> specific demographic groups. A world with a million players will be
> an attractive market for advertisers...but will your product devolve
> to level of WB sitcoms to reach it?

A simple mechanic governs that devolution (and is the reason I don't
read newspapers or watch TV):

  The purpose of any given media product is to maximise viewing public
(within desirable demographic groups) such that advertising content
can be delivered to them.  Veracity, signal content, etc are secondary
to this.  

The problem is that this purpose has no direct relationship to the
state purpose or content of the journal in question.  Newspaper
purport to deliver news, but in fact must concentrate on whatever
delivers the maximal public for their advertising body as defined by
their demographics.

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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