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

Ola Fosheim Grøstad <olag@ifi.uio.no> Ola Fosheim Grøstad <olag@ifi.uio.no>
Mon Oct 5 20:15:11 New Zealand Daylight Time 1998

Koster, Raph wrote:
> > From: Ola Fosheim Gr=F8stad
> > Koster, Raph wrote:
> > > Ola wrote:

> > 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.

> Yes. Does this make its terminology not useful? I mean, academia fits
> the same description in most ways. :)

The next thing you are going to say is that games (as they are now) are m=
useful than science! :-)  Academia are doing better at describing and
defining systems as well as providing "state of the art".  *shrug*  I don=
take whatever conclusions the game industry comes up with as definitive
answers. Whatever terms they come up with pretty much describes what
"everybody" does, the future is more interesting, isn't it?

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

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

> > 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.

> I don't particularly care where UO lands on the spectrum frankly. This
> thread seems to have taken up two touchstones (UO and Legend) for
> defining ends of the spectrum, and I worked on BOTH of them. I don't
> have any particular axe to grind there... I don't regard UO as being at
> the far end of simulation either--several projects on this list go WAY
> farther.
> When I say simulationist mud, I mean one where systems in the game are
> based around modelling real-world behaviors with some degree of
> accuracy. That's all. I sort of feel like we're heading down a garden
> path of hairsplitting...

Well, my hair is only about 4 mm, so please... be careful.

When I personally witnessed Caliban witness that I jumped into this threa=
was when you argued that UO was an example of the failure of simulationis=
thinking. I simply pointed to a few successful classic games with a
worldlike simulation focus as a counterexample. These games were designed=
simulation games and only simulation games right from the start I believe=
This being somewhat different from UO in which you had this prototypical
"Ultima-culture" limiting the possible design choices.

1. How do I make a balanced MUD with simulation and only simulation as th=
main    focus?

2. How do I utilize simulation to create an Ultima?

These are two very different questions...

> Boulderdash and Worms and Lemmings strike me as not being sims precisel=
> because even the aspects they model are knowingly modelled incompletely
> and inaccurately (eg, the granular soil you mentioned 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 simulations of
> anything real.

"Incompletely" compared to our physical world.  Not incomplete if viewed =
their own right, because then Boulderdash simply _is_.  I pretty much see
the word "simulation" as an objective word and don't really accept all th=
subjective "values" being associated with it. (So, nope I don't accept th=
moronic terminology of the industry)

> The debate started over whether you present merely an environment with
> no emotional content, and the player supplies all emotional content; or
> whether you impose emotional content on the player. These got termed,
> respectively, simulationist and dramatist. Simulationist presumably
> because the best way to present said environment is to mke everything i=
> it as interactive as possible, reacting in predictable ways based on
> "laws of physics" incorporated into the game engine. These are clearly
> differences in content as well as in general approach.

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

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