[MUD-Dev] Re: CGDC, a summary

J C Lawrence claw at under.engr.sgi.com
Thu Jun 4 15:59:33 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

On Tue, 2 Jun 1998 23:15:24 -5 
Jon A Lambert<jlsysinc at ix.netcom.com> wrote:

>> From: Marian Griffith <gryphon at iaehv.nl> 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:
>> > 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.

> Multiplex, in this case, likely means "to create many different
> problems".

More, "likely to create many minor variations of the same problem
without altering the base problem."

> I think the primary goal of an economic as well as an ecological
> game is to create wealth.  But accumulation of wealth is a boring
> game in itself, it's the spending of wealth that's far more
> interesting as a game.  

>From an economics viewpoint, money only has value when it moves.
Stationary it is valueless.

> When I asked them what they where doing they revealed that members
> of clans regularly went out in groups to kill and loot mobiles
> primarily for money.  They would collect this money and when they
> had enough they would give it to the implementor and he would add
> some clan rooms, special guardian monsters and special equipment and
> objects for the clan hall.  In fact, one of the most popular items
> where statues of characters with plaques with player written
> epitaths. These cost an incredible amount of money (millions of
> GPs).  I can only imagine the time it took to accumulate this
> wealth.

Anybody else here immediately start thinking of the Egg and other
special objects in habitat?  AIR possession of the Egg was major
brownie points, along with Egg Parties and all the rest.

> So the GAME here was primarily a building and aquisition competition
> between clans.  


To an extent: wanna be MUF-ish programmers without the background or
belief that they can or would want to.

> I've seen muds where if you are not killing, you are penalized in
> the rate at which you get xps for killing.  They call this time
> "idling". <boggle>

'Tis a dog eat god world...

> What I was trying to say in my blathering further up, was that often
> when "thinking" or "pondering" new game goals, it might be best to
> NOT think about how these goals will enhance/detract/interface with
> the HnS combat game and concentrate solely on the idea/goal as a
> stand alone game, enjoyable and consitent by itself.

Exactly, and then once you have arrived at an interesting goal,
attempt to see what other goals the injection of this new goal creates 
in the system, and how you might take advantage of that.

Key here, and this is the lesson that M59, UOL, and company seem to
have been fighting, is the reverse of the old catechism of catching
more flies with honey: You can't stop players from trying to do things
you don't want them to do.  They're going to try to do whatever enters
their tiny gourd like craniums.  You can't stop it If you fight it
you'll just end up setting yourself up as the target de jour, and have
created an instant confrontational situation.  "How can I work around
these stoopid admins?".

Fight the players, even under the covers, and by golly, you're a much
more canny and interesting opponent than a game ever could be and its
a LOT easier to get emotive about the big nasty admin who is stopping
you than it is to get angry about the big nasty force of gravity that
is stopping you from flying...

In some manner you need to set yourself up as always working /with/
the players, even while attempting to proscribe their actions.  Its a
funny balance, and the echo of the only real effect of law making
being that of creating more outlaws/law-breakers.  

My visualisation of the correct process (ie more likely successful) is
aking to channeling a torrential river.  You can't just put up dams.
Torrential rivers have a habit of not liking dams, of under-mining
them, over-flowing them, or just busting clear thru them.  You have to 
guide, channel, divert, put big juicy carrots on the ends of
not-too-long sticks, provide reward-paths that just "accidentally"
happen to lead elsewhere than the behaviour you'd like to avoid.

You can't stop the river.  You can dig a nice deep gorge and "persuade"
the river that it would be rather fun going down that way.  The really 
tricky bit is to ensure that its never, "go down that way instead of
doing this", as they you've just set up something to be pushed
against.  You have to just do the, "Hey, this over here is neat!",
part of the distraction while you silently build a hug dam in the
background and work your arse off so nobody notices it.

> Then like JC describes.  Let the birds and bees take care of the
> cross-pollination that other game.  ;)

Randy little buggers too.

>>> 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.

> Aye. I noticed this.  Instead, Bartle simply dumps these refugees
> who happen to be lost or hanging out on your traditional HnS style
> mud into his hearts category.  In truth you've got two distinct
> classes of these socializer-types, those who are engaged in Mud IRC
> and those who are engaged in a game that is primarily driven by
> social interaction.

True, but pente-axis systems are so much harder to draw in flat ASCII.
I also feel that the Explorer-type can be similarly split.

> I think they are certainly games.  Someone posted on the Bettleheim
> activity "play".  Yet I'd be hesitant to describe it as such, even
> though competition is many times absent, though not always.  There
> is often a great deal of formality and rules invovled.  Of course, I
> bet this varies from game to game (or should I say play to play?)  I
> would call them games where once goals are achieved or abandoned,
> new ones are invented or old ones are revisited.  These are games
> with no defined end point. (Not mechanically like Space Invaders)

They are games where the primary goal is in the process, not the
achievment of an end condition.

>>> 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"?

> Really.  Imagine the game is to role-play Conan.  The goals of one's
> play would necessarily change during the course of Conan's
> "career". Winning the game of role-play is not whether or not Conan
> actually achieves his goals, it's more whether yourself and others
> are convinced, amused, and/or entertained by your play of Conan.
> Progress in such a game can be measured in terms of audience
> approval, thus many RP muds have player-voting mechanisms.

Bingo.  The goal is in the process, not the compleation state.

> Here's another inadequate analogy.  GOPing is hockey and RPing is
> figure-skating.


> Then again maybe it is Bettleheim's play or maybe the distinction is
> really unimportant.  When one plays informal softball or volleyball
> with friends, is it a game or play?  Are you playing to win or
> playing for the sake of playing?

As above, no?

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...

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