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

J C Lawrence claw at under.engr.sgi.com
Tue May 19 12:09:14 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

On Fri, 15 May 1998 19:47:11 -0700 
John Bertoglio<alexb at internetcds.com> wrote:

> From: J C Lawrence <claw at under.engr.sgi.com> 

>> 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>

>>>> 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 discussing.
>> 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.

Me sorry.  Me try keep to short words now on.  Okey dokey?  

Me-um gottum biggum, ohh, whatever.


> 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.

Bingo!  Additionally the attrition in player base could easily prove

>> 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.

And those who formed such an itch would wander off into the sunset to
get fatal retinal sunburn and never be seen again.  Dramatic,
intrigueing, wonderful story potential, but makes a lousy game I fear.

> 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...

UOL's most significant problem could very likely be its requirement to 
honour the old Ultima games.  Forget PK.  That single limitation
apparently forced endless hacky compromises in the game design.

>> 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. 

Worse, the apparency of failure will prompt most players to instantly
abandon it for likely greener pastures.  As discussed here previously, 
the trek across the endless desert with most dieing en-route of thirst 
and starvation is dramatic and potentially gripping story material.
However, how many players are going to NOT quit their characters once
thry figure out that most will die, and tht the majority of their time 
will be spent struggling for mere existance?

Rats from a sinking ship.  We now have the worst of mass media -- it
has to be constantly exciting and titilating or they'll turn off the

> 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.

Harrumph.  Point taken.  Then again I generally figure that having
kids was possibly the smartest decision I ever made.

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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