[MUD-Dev] Re: Storytelling vs. Simulationist (Was Re: Room descriptions)

Peck Peck
Sat Oct 3 01:26:01 New Zealand Daylight Time 1998

Rick Buck wrote:
> At 10/2/98 9:03 PM Caliban Tiresias Darklock (caliban at darklock.com) 
> altered the fabric of reality by uttering:
> >One of the problems with attracting volunteers to an online game is that
> >while MUDs usually offer the appearance of impartiality with a cultural
> >understanding of bias and prejudice, MUSHes offer the appearance of bias
> >and prejudice with a cultural understanding of impartiality. 
> One of the problems with attracting volunteers, as far I can see, is that 
> the process is of necessity "catch as catch can". While there are some 
> functions I indeed intend to entrust to volunteers, if they can be had, 
> I'm not sure something as important as writing the stories of a virtual 
> world is one of them. After all, in my system's world view, the world 
> *is*, to a large degree, the sum of its stories.
That is, of course, always the problem with volunteers.  You can only get
those people who are willing to do what you wish of them for free.  The
difference between you and I is that you, as CEO of a corporation, can
afford to hire people to build your world and its stories, I, as the
administrator of a MUD and a college student, simply cannot afford to do
that.   Thus I can only recruit people who are interested in helping to
recreate a world within a computer in their spare time.  This is not to say
that they are bad at their jobs, there are a lot of talented people out
there in that capacity, but there are also some not so talented people as

> >This is the problem. The physical world is bound by laws which can be
> >quantified by physicists and mathematicians and other "hard" scientists,
> >and as a result can be modeled. However, there is no program out there
> >which can write consistent, cohesive storylines which will spark the
> >interest and participation of players -- there has to be a human being in
> >there. 
> Of course there does... but not to the degree of having one human whose 
> primary purpose is providing plot for every four or five players in the 
> game. Much of the storytelling problem of GM'ing can be offloaded to a 
> computer system with careful planning and ingenuity. I can't comment much 
> more on systems that are under NDA and in fact may be patentable, but I 
> will say that, even with our system, we're going to need more writing 
> talent on staff than I'd really like to have. But, if the experiment 
> works, we've found a way that at least isn't prohibitive.
I totally agree.  If you provide the tools, the computer system can work
wonders for you.  However, much of that capacity for storytelling simply
isn't inherent within most code bases.  As proof of that, I offer your own
statement that your company is  working on a commercial project, with a lot
more resources to toss at it than I.  I'd love to do that, but am limited by
my own time as well.

> >>But remember, I'm coming at this from the viewpoint of a commercial 
> >>venture. 
> ---------------------------------------------------------
> Rick Buck, President and CEO  <mailto:rlb at big-i.com>
> Beyond Infinity Games, Inc.
> See you in The Metaverse! <http://www.big-i.com>
Matthew Peck
No Homepage to speak of
x96724 at exmail.usma.edu or 
valatar at mb2.mudservices.com

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