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

ApplePiMan at aol.com ApplePiMan at aol.com
Sat Oct 3 04:05:42 New Zealand Daylight Time 1998

At 10/2/98 11:26 PM Matthew Peck (x96724 at exmail.usma.army.mil) altered 
the fabric of reality by uttering:

>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

Hmmm... I think I may have (unintentionally) given the wrong impression. 
There's actually less difference between you and I than you might 
imagine, except that I have lots of entrepreneurial experience under my 
belt, giving me a good idea what'll "fly" with investors and what won't. 
I also have the unmitigated moxie to have recruited an incredibly 
talented group of people to work with/for me in exchange for a bunch of 
stock that might end up being worthless. =) In that sense, you *could* 
say my "employees" are really volunteers at this stage of our startup. 
The only difference then is that my "volunteers" have bought into my 
dream to the point that they are expecting their wallets will eventually 
become fatter. Yours are motivated by more idealistic goals.

So please don't think of me as a corporate fat cat or some sort of big 
shot. I'm just yer average joe who happens to have the title of CEO in a 
tiny startup with a huge dream.

I was thinking you meant volunteers as in promoting people from the ranks 
of your players who want to become more involved in the world in some 
way. *That* was who I was saying I wouldn't entrust to craft my world 
stories. But sure... if you're going out and *recruiting* volunteers who 
happen to already have the skills you need, you're shifting the 
motivating factor to a higher ideal than monetary gain, but otherwise 
doing exactly what I did. With the right plan, the right contacts and 
enough gall you can convince lots of folks you wouldn't think you could 
to "volunteer". ;)

<snipped explanation of why a human being has to be involved in story 
>> 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.

As to resources to throw at problems, we're struggling just like you. 
None of us is particularly well known outside of certain small spheres in 
the hi-tech industry, so we have to preen and play the peacock to get 
investors' attention (and money). We've just chosen a different route 
that makes sense for us, given my background: with my entrepreneurial 
tendencies, I wouldn't be a part of a project I couldn't take from ground 
zero to (hopefully) thriving. It's in my blood.

But that certainly doesn't make "my" method any more valuable or 
productive or even "right" than "your" method (or vice versa). It just 
means we're both approaching the same problem space from different 
directions and viewpoints, and that what "makes sense" for one of us 
might not for the other. But for all I know, you and I might each be 
holding the missing pieces of the others' puzzle...


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>

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