[MUD-Dev] Re: WIRED: Kilers have more fun

Koster Koster
Mon Jun 29 11:21:22 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Maddy [SMTP:maddy at fysh.org]
> Sent:	Monday, June 29, 1998 7:00 AM
> To:	mud-dev at kanga.nu
> Subject:	[MUD-Dev] Re: WIRED: Kilers have more fun
> On Fri, 26 Jun 1998, Koster, Raph wrote:
> > Very nice analysis. Of course, the alternative is for the game to
> play
> > the cop, which is actually rather hard to pull off.
> Not really - a NPC sees two people fighting.  They wander over and
> break up
> the fight, maybe even arrest them and put them in a jail.  The idea
> that a
> cityguard would imediately try and kill someone just for starting a
> fight
> seems a bit hypercritical(sp?).
Either way, the game is playing cop. Whether it uses deadly force is
really a side issue. Deadly force is of course a LOT easier to code. :)
However, let's analyze the basic scenario you described, with typical
problems we ran into:

"An NPC sees two people fighting."

How? Line of sight? What if the players block the view? Do we allow the
use of NPC witnesses? Can the guard be called to the location? Who can
do the calling? Who GETS the call, what is the itnerface? Do you need to
call guards to empty air, and thus monitor the guarded space for all
speech, place the monitoring code on the players, or have NPCs hear the
call and thus permit "deserted alley" fighting without guards showing

"They wander over"

Pathfinding? How expensive is it? What if the fight is on the roof? What
if the door is locked? What if other people or objects block the way?
What if the combatants (or specifically, the aggressor) runs away, can
the guard catch them?

"and break up the fight"

How? Remove any combat pointers between the two combatants? What if they
re-initiate? How long does the guard monitor them? Do we physically
separate them? How? Do we do searches of the area to determine open
space to which to move the two characters? (And do we feel comfortable
with the idea of taking control of a player's character this way?) If we
do move them, do we have any sort of movement prediction queue which
will be messed up by this?

You get the idea. FWIW, in UO we used to have guards who were called by
players, said call heard by an NPC, were created offscreen, walked to
the point of the incident, announced their intention to stop the fight,
and attacked the two players if the fight didn't go away immediately.
And players ran LOOPS around 'em. So now they teleport to the guy and
slay 'em in one blow.

> Hmm.  What I meant was, why does the average player have to be the one
> to
> stop killers running through the streets killing innocent people?  I
> think
> Marian (not Mike - left his attribution string in by accident)
> actually
> meant that normal players would have to stoop down to the killers
> level,
> rather than killers being the one to take on the killers.
It doesn't have to be the "average player." It could be particular
players. It could be NPCs with parameters set by players. And of course,
in the classic mud model, it could be the code or the admins. But that
is sort of limiting to player governments, and what I try to evolve away

> Well I wasn't just talking about players - they're the minority in
> most
> muds.  I'd imagine that there are loads of NPCs that would want to be
> watchmen & bodyguards to make up for the lack of numbers *8).  As for
> the
> corpses, you probably want streetcleaners too?
Sure, but then the standards are set by the coders, in the areas defined
by the coders, and players have no power. (Nor responsibility).

> If the game isn't providing fun things for a player, it either means
> the
> game isn't fun, or the player is doing stuff they don't want to do.
> Now I
> would have thought that if a player wanted to play a cop, the game
> would
> provide fun cop-type things to do, for example chasing down dangerous
> criminals, or solving crimes.  In essence provide quests that fit in
> with
> the cop-characters.
Ah, now we're outside the realm of governance altogether. I agree with
you, but it's really peripheral to the topic.

> You can leave the day-to-day boring parts of being a guard, such as
> walking
> about the town doing sod all to the NPCs as they'll just be following
> their
> programming.
Which puts us back where we started.

> > In the player-run cities of UO, we've recapitulated many of the
> classic
> > problems: player-run cities having problems with absent guards,
> guards who
> > turn out to be in the pocket of the gangs, guards who quit, guards
> who
> > would rather go on vigilate sprees of their own...
> To me, these kinds of things aren't a problem and are perfectly
> natural
> things to find in a roleplaying environment.  In fact none of these
> things
> in themselves affect anyone else enjoyment.
They do if that guard you expected to be there isn't, and a roving
warband comes in and ruins your carefully constructed roleplay event.

I suspect we are speaking at cross-purposes here. I was talking about an
environment where players are building governments, setting their own
laws, and there is a considerable amount of freedom. You seem to be
assuming a fairly high level of admin/code governance...


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