[MUD-Dev] Re: Simulation (Was Re: Room descriptions)

Ola Fosheim Grøstad <olag@ifi.uio.no> Ola Fosheim Grøstad <olag@ifi.uio.no>
Sun Oct 4 14:45:13 New Zealand Daylight Time 1998

Koster, Raph wrote:
> Ola wrote:

> Let me start by saying that we seem to be talking at cross-purposes
> here. You apparently have a MUCH broader definition of simulation than I
> do--a definition that I find useless for any sort of real discussion.
> Under your description, it seems that simulation is anything which
> operates according to a set of rules...

Well, I distinguish between running a simulation of a model which describes
some (statistical/math) properties of another system and where high-level
concepts are formalized (top-down) and running a simulation of a
evolutionary model in which concepts aren't formalized, but constructed by
smaller low-level entities (bottom-up).

With the latter you can get things which the designer's didn't think of (as
with LEGO), in the former the possibilities are much more limited (as with
Playmobil). In a simulated world you probably would like to mix the two
approaches and thus formalize thus concepts which are close to the user (the
avatar for instance).

> 3 a : the imitative representation of the functioning of one system or
> process by means of the functioning of another <a computer
> simulation of an industrial process> b : examination of a problem often
> not subject to direct experimentation by means of a simulating
> device
> And you seem to be mostly focusing on 3b. :) I am also coming at it from
> the common usage of the term in the game industry, where it means a
> fairly specific thing.

The gaming industry is pragmatic, fashion-ridden, full of me-too thinking,
most games are basically kitsch, and success is defined by how easy
something is to sell.  The industry also sees itself as a content provider. 
In my view, a virtual world should provide infrastructure (come and build a
world with us), not necessarily content (come and enjoy our world).

> > Nature will rebuild.  Nature is life.  Life is nearly
> > everywhere on this
> > planet. Of course, you won't get humans, but who cares?
> Well, I care. :) Seriously, though, if you destroy all life on this
> planet, I would bet that you won't get any more. At least not for a very
> very long time.

I think you need more than several million nuclear warheads to destroy all
life on this planet.  Hopefully, we'll never find out.  But the concept life
is surprisingly robust, and humans are perhaps overrating their own ability
to destroy and control (hubris).

> > AHA! So UO doesn't try to simulate the physical world as we
> > know it. Why do you complain about Boulderdash then?? :^)
> The degree of similarity to the physical world is a heck of a lot higher
> than in Boulderdash...

Depends on your focus. If you are concerned about digging and pushing
boulders Boulderdash scores higher than UO. It really depends upon your
perspective. I know I am being difficult here, but I think some of your
views are politically influenced by where you want to place UO.

> Yes, except that I don't see what a single-player experienced within a
> standalone Ultima as a "culture"...

It is easier to provide the experience of a "simulated culture" in a single
player game (or book or movie). According to some complaints of UO players
found in various players, they are concerned about UO not providing the
right "culture" (social mores etc).  Thus it is at least perceived as
"culture".  I claim that Tolkien's writing provides a cultural setting, his
fans do share this cultural setting when they interact.  I don't see where
Ultima differs from Tolkien here.

> > > If you only want to model one law, or two, sure. I'd say that the
> > > objective of fully simulationist worlds is to have a fully
> > consistent
> > > environment that operates on defined, simulated reasonable laws of
> > > physics, with a simulated ecology and economy and so on,
> > that players
> > > can interact in and with.
> >
> > So basically you define "full simulation" as the original
> > design docs for
> > UO? :^) That's pretty convenient.
> Uh, no... DartMUD for example was a simulationist mud in many ways.
> Nathan's Physmud++ is a HEAVILY simulationist world.

Maybe they are, I've never tried them. Nathan's GURU sounds like a heavily
simulated world though (if I remember correctly).

> >  I see your point though.  You want
> > something which you and your average player will immediately
> > perceive as a fair attempt at simulating the physical world in a fun
> way.
> No, actually, I don't necessarily; after all, i started this thread
> kinda pointing out the flaws ina simulationist approach. :)

Well, but if you wanted one, then that is what you want?  And if other
simulations like Boulderdash/Worms/Lemmings succeed in a MUD, then they
aren't full simulations because they don't aren't perceived as an attempt at
simulating the physical world??

I can of course not agree, right now I am more concerned about the
infrastructure than actual content.

Your definition of a "full simulation" seems to be content driven.

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