[MUD-Dev] Re: CGDC, a summary

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Mon Jun 1 13:15:14 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

On Tue 26 May, J C Lawrence wrote:
> On Thu, 21 May 1998 17:40:10 +0100 (BST) 
> Marian Griffith<gryphon at iaehv.nl> wrote:

> > In <URL:/archives/meow?group+local.muddev> on Mon 18 May, Travis S. Casey wrote:
> >> On Friday, 15 May 98, Chris wrote:

> >>>> The nominative value of progress is also significant.  "I know
> >>>> I'm playing well becasue I keep gaining score and advancing in
> >>>> levels!".  Its a self-referencing, self-supporting, and
> >>>> self-defining closed system which defines both the goals and the
> >>>> expected accomplishments of players.  Its actually almost
> >>>> definitionally impossible to have an open-ended or user-defined
> >>>> game with this sort of system in place as point rewards are tied
> >>>> to activities, and thus implicitly devalue and thus damn all
> >>>> non-rewarded activities.  ("Thou shalt have fun killing monsters
> >>>> 'coz you get points for that, but thou shalt NEVER poison the
> >>>> water supply to kill all the monsters, or build towns, or RP, or
> >>>> set up wineries and blacksmith shops because you get no points
> >>>> for that.")

> > So the challenge of a roleplaying oriented mud is to provide an
> > alternative system for levelling that does not bias towards one
> > particular type of behaviour.  

> Any system is going to be biased.  You can't avoid it.  You can
> provide multiple biases, but that's merely multiplexing the problem,
> not solving it.  The nasty bit comes when sufficient multiplexing is
> deemed "good enough".  When does that occur?  

*grin* Actually I was trying to say -ONE- particular type of behaviour.
I could be happy in a game where you could actually play in a different
style without messing up the game goals.  Like a game where a healer is
expected to do just that and not to go out and kill the monsters.
I do not understand what you mean by multiplexing though  and why it is
such a bad thing.

[bit snipped]

> So, instead you build in enough goals, and enough reward systems, with 
> enough cross-pollination and cross-currency among them that the total
> set of valuable (per player viewpoint) permutations is "large".

<--- imagine totally blank expression

> Yup,
> carving anorexic tree god statues from ogre brains may very well not
> be rewarded by the game, and will thus be selected against.  Ditto
> perhaps for excellant deep sea fisherman skills, or being able to live 
> an entire life balanced atop a hermit's pillar.
> Ya gotta draw the line beyond which you just don't care any more.  Its 
> an arbitrary.

I see no problem with that, as long as the things that you -can- do are
sufficiently varied.  I am not speaking for UOL as I never played that,
but for most muds that I am familiar with there is only one thing to do
and nothing else matters.

> >> This is the primary reason why I favor learn-by-using-based skill
> >> systems.  In such a system, players are free to define their own
> >> goals (at least, as far as character advancement goes), and the
> >> means of achieving those goals to is to exercise the skill in
> >> question.

> > I think things would even better if the game did not define an
> > ultimate goal for the players?

> We enter the question of the definition of a game.  Is a "game" which
> has no goal (ultimate, sequential, or otherwise), still a game?
> Arguably, no.  This is the crux of Bartle's dismissal of the entire
> Tiny-* clan in his MUD survey.  While they're not games per se, he
> never really defines either what they actually are, or what drove (and
> drives) their success.

There is a difference between having no goal and allowing the players
to define their own goals.
I think that what makes mushes intereting to play is that they do not
have a goal.  They are a stage  where you have a limited control over
your environment  and they allow you to do what you like.  Within the
limitations of the theme.

> My preferred viewpoint on the mechanics of games: Games consist of
> goals, barriers and freedoms.  The barriers attempt to prevent
> accomplishment of the goal(s), and the freedoms are the possibilities
> which can be used to accomplish the goal(s).

> Remove the goal and, at a mechanical level, you don't have a game
> anymore.  Echoes of Bruno Bettelheim's "game" and "play"?

A mush is more play than game perhaps, though many have all the things
you described above. They are just not part of the game itself but are
created by the players instead.

> >>> Is it too much to hope that the PK-ers would tend to leave the
> >>> non-levellers alone, since they really aren't worth it? Unless of
> >>> course they are *really* ticked off, but then they are effectively
> >>> role-playing in their killing!

> > Hardly roleplaying since they use OOC emotions as a justification
> > for IC actions. If it is roleplaying at all then it is very poor
> > roleplaying.

> This is of course the line between "functional roleplaying" and the
> more classical forms of roleplaying.  Functional roleplaying is of
> course a variation on rollplaying.

Which is why I rather not use it in conjuncion with the word roleplay.

Yes - at last - You. I Choose you. Out of all the world,
out of all the seeking, I have found you, young sister of
my heart! You are mine and I am yours - and never again
will there be loneliness ...

Rolan Choosing Talia,
Arrows of the Queen, by Mercedes Lackey

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