[MUD-Dev] Re: Affordances and social method (Was: Re: Wired Magazine...)

J C Lawrence claw at under.engr.sgi.com
Fri Jul 31 15:58:57 New Zealand Standard Time 1998


On Thu, 9 Jul 1998 19:39:45 +0100 (BST) 
Marian Griffith<gryphon at iaehv.nl> wrote:

> The problem as I (and the original author) have is not so much that
> Buffy's shop can be raided but that it is Buffy herself who has to
> defend it.  She is a tailor and possibly has no interest at all in
> becoming a sword swinger or else she would not have chosen that
> profession in the first place. 

There's a design choice implicit in there under the inferred "right"
to do soley what she is intersted in, or to rephrase "To what extent
are the game or the game designers obligated to support narraw career
definitions?":

  Buffy is a tailor and thereby should (pick one):

    a) Never have to involve actions or skills notably outside her
       chosen profession.

    b) Occassionally have to involve skills or actions outside her
chosen profession whose success or failure are guaranteed not to have
catastrophic or exemplary affects on her life as a tailor.

    c) Occassionally have to involve skills or actions outside her
chosen profession whose success or failure may have catastrophic or
exemplary affects on her life as a tailor.

    d) Occassionally have to involve skills or actions outside her
chosen profession whose success or failure will have catastrophic or
exemplary affects on her life as a tailor.

    e) Regularly have to involve skills or actions outside her chosen
profession whose success or failure will have catastrophic or
exemplary affects on her life as a tailor.

    f) Almost always have to involve skills or actions outside her
chosen profession whose success or failure will have catastrophic or
exemplary affects on her life as a tailor, and where her tailoring
skills or activities are actively in the minority of the total set and
and are guaranteed not to have catastrophic or exemplary affects on
her character's life.

    g) Almost always have to involve skills or actions outside her
chosen profession whose success or failure will have catastrophic or
exemplary affects on her life as a tailor, and where her tailoring
skills or activities are actively in the minority of the total set and
and may have catastrophic or exemplary affects on her character's
life.

    h) Almost always have to involve skills or actions outside her
chosen profession whose success or failure will have catastrophic or
exemplary affects on her life as a tailor, and where her tailoring
skills or activities are actively in the minority of the total set and
and will have catastrophic or exemplary affects on her character's
life.

Now repeat the same decision process where the question is varied to:

  Buffy is a tailor and thereby may (pick one from the above):

Where the should/may substitution isolates the intended
cross-pollination and spread between skill sets.

Please note that none of this is predicated on combat

> Some- how in a game there must be ways for players to control
> harmful actions of other players in such a way that it does not
> involve more of the same. If a player attacks and kills other
> players the victims shouldn't be required to become better fighters
> if they do not care for that role (and the game al- lows them to
> play different roles).

<ponder>

Some shared or common skill sets are assumable.  Here in the US it is
usually reasonable to assume that any non-senile adult is able to
drive.  Other skills follow as a matter of culture and societal
structure.  There is in any design an assumed or assumable baseline of
a common set of skills which all characters will have in some
non-negligable degree.  This fact is of course almost universally
ignored, which is why that baseline is equally almost never defined,
despite the fact that any game design implicitly defines one.

So, what is the baseline in your system?  Yes, you are playing a
tailor, which is a valid occupation in this game, and are not playing
a sword wielding armoured warrior, which is another supported role in
the game.  This does not mean that the tailor should not and does not
have some skill at self-defense or street fighting, or more simply,
that he is not savvy in the more physical aspects of his world.  It
all depends on the game designed-in assumable skill sets.

Another view of this is how narrowly the occupation skills are
defined, or at least how narrowly pursuit of an occupation defines the
other skill sets.  Is a good or even excellant tailor necessarily an
abysmall sword swinger?

There's also a further simple question:

  How widely seperated are the skills and/or abilities of defense from
attack?  

Can a comparitively untrained tailor defend well against a skilled
swordsman?  (ie easy defense, touch attack) Can a tailor hold off a
ravaging horde with one hand while he cooks a soufle?  Or can a grumpy
leprotic midget toast a million tailors in idle twitches while he
contemplates his navel?  Or is the ratio closer to par or even
reversed?

--
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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