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

Koster Koster
Mon Oct 5 15:33:20 New Zealand Daylight Time 1998


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ola Fosheim Gr=F8stad [mailto:olag at ifi.uio.no]
> Sent: Monday, October 05, 1998 2:15 PM
> To: mud-dev at kanga.nu
> Subject: [MUD-Dev] Re: Simulation (Was Re: Room descriptions)
>=20
>=20
> Koster, Raph wrote:
> > > From: Ola Fosheim Gr=F8stad
> > > Koster, Raph wrote:
> > > > Ola wrote:
>=20
> > > The gaming industry is pragmatic, fashion-ridden, full of
> > > me-too thinking,
> > > most games are basically kitsch, and success is defined=20
> by how easy
> > > something is to sell.  The industry also sees itself as a
> > > content provider.
>=20
> > Yes. Does this make its terminology not useful? I mean,=20
> academia fits
> > the same description in most ways. :)
>=20
> The next thing you are going to say is that games (as they=20
> are now) are more
> useful than science! :-)  Academia are doing better at describing and
> defining systems as well as providing "state of the art". =20

Depends what part of academia you mean, I suppose. Certainly my
experience in it was that it was fashion-ridden, full of me-too
thinking, pragmatically centered around publish-or-perish, and success
was defined by getting tenure, not advancing the field... probably a
different discipline than what you are talking about though.

> *shrug*  I don't
> take whatever conclusions the game industry comes up with as=20
> definitive
> answers.=20

Nor should you.

> Whatever terms they come up with pretty much describes what
> "everybody" does, the future is more interesting, isn't it?

Yes, the future is more interesting, but having shared terminology =
would
seem to be of value...

> > > In my view, a virtual world should provide infrastructure
> > > (come and build a
> > > world with us), not necessarily content (come and enjoy=20
> our world).
> > I started out with the same view. However, UO players=20
> disagree with me
> > about it. They want content.
> They probably expected content.=20

Presumably.

> I believe even I would demand=20
> content if I
> expected it right from the start. IRC doesn't provide content, I =
never
> expected it to do so either.

Correct; UO was presented as a virtual world and as an online
roleplaying game. The expectations of content would appear to arise =
from
the notion that an online roleplaying game must supply narrative
experiences.

> > I sort of feel like we're heading down a garden path of
hairsplitting...
>=20
> Well, my hair is only about 4 mm, so please... be careful.

Heh. :)

> When I personally witnessed Caliban witness that I jumped=20
> into this thread
> was when you argued that UO was an example of the failure of=20
> simulationist
> thinking.=20

Not failure--pitfalls. I don't think that the approach is a failed one,
by any means.

> I simply pointed to a few successful classic games with a
> worldlike simulation focus as a counterexample. These games=20
> were designed AS
> simulation games and only simulation games right from the=20
> start I believe.=20

I would REALLY challenge the notion that any of the designers of Worms,
Boulderdash, or Lemmings thought they were simulations of anything.
Remember, they all came from the game industry, and probably would use
its terms. ;)

> This being somewhat different from UO in which you had this=20
> prototypical "Ultima-culture" limiting the possible design choices.
> 1. How do I make a balanced MUD with simulation and only=20
> simulation as the main focus?
> 2. How do I utilize simulation to create an Ultima?
> These are two very different questions...

Quite agreed. However, I think I'd take the second question at actually
get at something more interesting as a general topic for the list:

2. How do I utilize simulation in an online roleplaying game to provide
the sort of narrative experiences that users seem to expect from an
online roleplaying game?

> > Boulderdash and Worms and Lemmings strike me as not being=20
> sims precisely
> > because even the aspects they model are knowingly modelled=20
> incompletely
> > and inaccurately (eg, the granular soil you mentioned=20
> doesn't behave at
> > all like real soil even in the limited set of interactions the game
> > provides). Thus they don't seem to me to pretend to be=20
> simulations of
> > anything real.
>=20
> "Incompletely" compared to our physical world.  Not=20
> incomplete if viewed in
> their own right, because then Boulderdash simply _is_.
>  I pretty much see the word "simulation" as an objective word and
don't really=20
> accept all these subjective "values" being associated with it. (So,
nope I=20
> don't accept the moronic terminology of the industry)

I thought I had promised myself to stop arguing the hairsplitting
definitions of simulation. :) Oh well. Ola, If you want to say that
"simulation" is any modelling of any behavior, whether it exists in any
real world or is an extrapolation of any known reality, then great. I
personally find that to be fairly useless as a term for the purposes of
discussion on this list, but that's OK, it just means we need another
term for what I am trying to get at.

> Hmm yeah, but the debate I jumped into was about whether UO=20
> was suitable as
> an example for showing the "failure" of the simulation approach.
> --
> Ola

I don't think the simulation approach failed in the first place. I =
think
it has FAILINGS. So does any other approach.

--Raph




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