[MUD-Dev] Re: [MUD-Dev]World Size and The "Hot House" Factor Was Re: PK and my "Mobless MUD" idea

John Bertoglio alexb at internetcds.com
Fri May 15 19:47:11 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

From: J C Lawrence <claw at under.engr.sgi.com>
To: mud-dev at kanga.nu <mud-dev at kanga.nu>
Date: Friday, May 15, 1998 1:21 PM

>On Tue, 12 May 1998 22:16:13 -0700
>John Bertoglio<alexb at internetcds.com> wrote:
>> From: J C Lawrence <claw at under.engr.sgi.com>
>>>> From: Dr. Cat <cat at bga.com>
>>>> <Oasis is a player-run city built on one of the Ultima Online
>>>> servers>
>>> I'd argue not.  The sheer overcrowding of UOL creates something of
>>> a hot-house environment.  Much like your fruit flies -- things
>>> breed faster when they're hot, sweaty, and can't escape each other.
>>> Interestingly enough this experiement has been done with rats.
>>> They breed like rabbits, and eat and kill each other almost as
>>> fast.
>>> If you increase the world distance, travel expense, or reduce the
>>> population density (all essentially the same effect at this level),
>>> then the hot house suddenly just isn't as hot any more, and them
>>> fruit flies are off communing with the glass walls more than each
>>> other.
>> Minor disagreement. The three examples cited above are not
>> co-equal. The first two, travel distance and expense are essentially
>> synonyms. But the third, population density is absolutely different.
>Yes, they are different, but not at the level of the mechanic we are
>Lets say UOL started with a truly enourmous world with few centers of
>population and great dangers inherent in striking off into the
>wilderness.  What would happen?  I'd wager than endless streams of
>players would gleefully wander off into the wilderness, would die
>there, and would then give up.

God, I hate discussions with rational, intellegent people.

You are right about the wandering off into the sunset. The frustration
level would grow since you would be essentially stuck in your starting
zone. This would destroy the diversity of the areas as it would become
necessary to generisize the areas to provide the need services.

>There's precious little of a _game_
>nature to keep them in the population centers.

Assuming all other things being equal (and in agreement with your analysis,
I don't), the cities would still bulge with people whomping on each other
and creating an itch to go.

>There is quickly
>monotonous fun in exploring the wilderness where no virtual foot has
>tread before.

My experience with the game would suggest that this is not the case.
Players (with an interest in action) seem to gravitate to the "wilder"
areas where the competition for game and critters is lessened. I would
suspect you would see people moving farther and farther out until it was
necessary to establish "suburbs" to support the wider activity. Exploration
is montonous only if the activity level is low and there is nothing to
discover or exploit. I also think that generated cells (which are
non-persistant---I like persistant generated terrain :)  You get to explore
and create at the same time!) zones have much of the same problems. I
suggest that the idea of exploring areas where none have gone before is a
powerful human trait. (Cave explorers, undersea, space flight, etc.)

>> My suggestion was not designed to relieve population density. It was
>> to create an _option_ for players who have reached a point in the
>> game where they want to invest the time and energy to build
>> something "away from the Madding Crowd".
>Understood, and actually agreed with.  However, from a game design and
>social perspective, you need the population density, uncomfortable as
>it is.  To echo the assertion that UOL is paralleling European history
>with great speed, we're not *quite* ready yet for the mass
>colonisation of the barbarian and heathen wastes, the convict
>colonies, or the colonial empires.  The pressure has to build a bit
>more in the pressure cooker first.  If we allow the steam to escape by
>opening the borders, instead the population will dissapate instead of

You are probably right. I may be attempting to suggest a solution that
really hasn't happened yet. I've always felt the world of Ultima created
far more design limitations than advantages. Perhaps we should let eat
their young for a few more generations...

>>> You *need* a turgid environment.  You need the constant
>>> in-your-face presence of the "other" to force the reaction of
>>> forming social sub-groups.  You need the instant reaction effect
>>> forced by that constant presence to allow those same reactions to
>>> positive-feedback into something notable -- without it they just
>>> fizzle.
>> You are correct. This is an essential part of the world. We had such
>> a world during the "Age of Discovery". A few people risked all to
>> leave high density Europe and UK to explore and settle the "New
>> World." My point was that such a New World does not exist on UO or
>> any other mud (that I am aware of).
>Umm, err.  It will.  UOL *has* to crete a new world to keep the game
>moving forward, _and_ to implement new features not compatable with
>the original base world design.
>> The boiling caludren of people produces those who will take high
>> risks for high rewards. When this world creates a group who is
>> willing to take risks to improve their situation, there is no path
>> open to them...
>There is a simpler problem.  The mass of people so motivated is not
>large and not cohesive enough that any attempt they make will survive.
>They go out, they fizzle.  They can't afford to have them fizzle.

Here, too, you are most likely correct. Unlike the Roanoke colony, a failed
city in UO will be known world wide in a matter of minutes. One of the
driving forces of risk taking is ignorance. I wonder if discovery and
colonization would been so fast with 16th century general technology and
late 20th century communications. A favorite saying of mine:

"All programmers are hopeless optimists and lousy forcasters. How do I
know? If they could accurately predict the time and resources required to
mount a major software project, virtually none would ever be started."

Kind of like kids...Ok, I would still have had them with what I know now,
but it would have been a closer call.

>>> Yes, its not comfortable for the players.  Comfortable players
>>> don't get their dander up enough to actually *DO* anything.  Rub
>>> their face in it enough, and then don't let them escape, and they
>>> DO do something.
>> My postulate is that the "escape" is far riskier in terms of effort
>> and resources than accepting the status quo.

Note: "is far riskier" should read "should be designed so it is far

>>The planning of such an
>> undertaking would be great fun for those involved. Even the security
>> around the exodus would be interesting. If the start time was
>> leaked, PK's would stay home from work (and school, of course) to
>> attack while the group was close to a source of
>> resupply. Diversions, feints, (ala the first RoadWarrior film) and
>> the final caravan...an epic of sort thing in the game world.
>Very much so -- one hopes that UOL will do something like this when
>they open new areas.
>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.

MUD-Dev: Advancing an unrealised future.

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