[MUD-Dev] Re: MURKLE: Wot it is

Raph Koster rkoster at origin.ea.com
Thu May 14 17:38:55 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

On Thu, 14 May 1998, J C Lawrence wrote:

> On Fri, 08 May 1998 17:54:27 -0700 
> J C Lawrence<claw at under.engr.sgi.com> wrote:
> > A preface on MUD game design:
> >   The largest failure of MUDs is that they have generally never, and
> > never stably, been able to assemble large simultaneous populations.
> > What is "large" in this context?  I would start at 500 as still
> > being on the verges of small.
> >   Raph, Sellers: Can you provide context from UOL and M59 here?
> I would be interested in a genetic comparison here in particular.
> What is the minimum population required to supply sufficient genetic
> diversity to be considered "viable"?  Yes, I know that this is highly
> dependant on the range of genetic diversity in the subject species, as 
> well as its rate of internal divergence and other factors, however the 
> same principle seems to underlie.

I'm not sure what sort of context you are looking for. UO during the beta
test had already started developing things like player towns, if that
sort of activity is what you were referring to. That was
during the second beta phase, which I think numbered around 20,000 total, 
for around 2500 simultaneous playersB. I do
not recall any player towns developed in the first phase, which was an
order of magnitude smaller. But then, there may simply not have been
enough time for them to develop.

As far as "genetic diversity," you'd have to give me some criteria for
what sort of thing you are looking for.

> I'd *really* also like to avoid a
> tile based game (they don't handle convex hulls well for instance --
> and I *really* want to handle reasonably complex surface forms (yes,
> incl klein bottles and your standard Escher art re-mocks)).  This is
> going to be a heavily puzzle-oriented and allusory game world.  Visual
> puzzles and tricks are fun.  I want them.

There are of course HUGE advantages to tile-based. Particularly if you
have limited art capabilities. Don't knock it. :)

>   Third preference: 3rd person over the shoulder cam.  Nothing
> terribly unusual here, tho its my least favourite.  Main complaints
> against it are that I find the site of the character waving things
> about in front of his face, and thus my view (cf M59) expressly
> irritating.  1st person view is merely a variation on this irritation,
> especially given the problems of peripheral view and awareness as
> discussed earlier (stand in place and spin like a top?).

There was a thread probably available via DejaNews in which a couple of us
(I think Dr Cat, myself, and possibly others) argued 1st person versus 3rd
person in a mud context on socialization, pre-conception, and player
behavior grounds. It was a couple of years ago. 
> >   Object destruction: Objects (generally, and especially magical
> > objects) consume resources during their life.  If they are unable to
> > satisfy their hungers they self-destruct.
> <grumble>  Raph raised some very valid playability points associated
> with using object wear as a darin on the economy.  For one it tends to 
> bug the crap out of players.  <grumble>  Its about as popular as
> "rent" on DIKUs, and i can see why.  Players like to be able to keep
> what they gain.  THey also come up with all sorts of interesting
> tricks to manage that (holder character etc).  

Yes, I pointed objections, but I still consider it indispensable. There's
a couple of ways to go about this:

* a "maintenance" fee is replenishing a damaged item, replacing a
destroyed one that died thru wear and tear, etc. This is more acceptable
to players than
* a "tax" whereby a fee is assessed for the item's mere presence (cf

Beyond that, "maintenance" itself can also be required because of either
ongoing decay (as you have it) or because of decay caused by item use,
which is quite different (use a sword, it gets damaged faster).

In the end, I think you gotta use all of the methods. :) Some just fit
better in some contexts than others. For idle item cleanup, a plain old
decay timer refreshed by player proximity works just dandy. For equipment,
adding damage based on use works better than slow overall decay. But
magical items can go "unstable" when the magical energy pent up in them
dissipates, so you can justify gradual decay with no refreshes easily...
and so on...


MUD-Dev: Advancing an unrealised future.

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