[MUD-Dev] Re: Introducing the background hook

Michael.Willey at abnamro.com Michael.Willey at abnamro.com
Mon Sep 14 09:49:05 New Zealand Standard Time 1998


     ____________________Reply Separator____________________
     Subject:  [MUD-Dev] Introducing the background hook
     Author:   mud-dev at kanga.nu (Ling <K.L.Lo-94 at student.lboro.ac.uk>)
     Date:          9/13/98 6:22 PM

>Unlike fantasy muds that can assume some cliches are
>universal, eg: dwarves are short, elves have pointy ears,
>I have a sci-fi mud which has a huge unknown factor.
>Absolutely nothing can be assumed so somehow, I must
>introduce an almost entirely different universe to the
>players.
>
>Does anyone have any suggestions?

I feel your pain.  I've been mounting a crusade on my home
mud to encourage more world builders to break away from
typical Tolkienesque fantasy.  Our premise involves the
idea that each area is a separate universe ("cosm"), bound
by it's own laws and attached to a central nexus world via
mysterious portals.  Currently only two cosms are not
fantasy - one is small, and the other is orphaned.

I would suggest that fiction, if you have any talent for
it, is the quickest and most effective way to convey the
*feel* of a setting.  If you can instill that into people,
background details are a minor addition.  Detailed histories
usually come off as dry and boring, and most people will
forget all those details as soon as they're done reading.
But if you can give them a sense of what it's like to live
there, or at least spend a day there, then you've got them
hooked.

For a postmodern setting, one of the best ways to get this
across is by simulating popular media.  News reports,
magazine articles, traveler's brochures and advertising.
(For a good example of this in action, see the movie
"Robocop".  Most of the background details and feeling is
conveyed through newscasts and commercials.)  For a truly
odd setting you may need to get more in depth and personal.
I'm working on an explanation for a new central cosm that
runs as a stream of consciousness monologue from a native
talking to a recent arrival.  Slightly cheesy, but effective.






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