[MUD-Dev] Re: [DESIGN] To kill or not to kill?

Michael.Willey at abnamro.com Michael.Willey at abnamro.com
Wed Oct 7 10:41:09 New Zealand Daylight Time 1998

The Wildman writes:
>On Tue, 6 Oct 1998 Michael.Willey at abnamro.com wrote:
>> I'd suggest that while players will create and work
>> towards their own meta-goals, you'll have to provide
>> smaller goals in order to provoke the games you want
>> them to play.  No. 6's meta goal was to retain his
>> individuality (and, in the beginning, to escape).
>> No. 2's meta goal was to break No. 6's will and/or
>> find out some nebulous bit of information (why No. 6
>> resigned).  In each episode they also played out smaller
>> games for control of certain markers. [destroy the
>> General, save the retiring No. 2's life, win the
>> election, get rid of the current No. 2, etc.]
>> Usually the marker took the form of a plot, rather
>> than a specific object.
>True. This, I think, would be the hardest part,
>since one would have to subtly introduce the subplots
>rather than beat the players over the head with

Nod.  There is one person you're allowed to beat
over the head, however: No. 2.  That position could
be a great amount of assistance to getting plots
started.  Prisoners seem to get their information
through the Village announcer's boxes and gossip
in the gathering places mostly, though I saw at
least one episode with a television set (that
broadcasts subliminal/hypnotic messages, of course).
Plots are likely to have some effect on prisoners,
since they're the only things in the Village that
the wardens don't already control.

>It just occured to me to ask: how would the quest
>engine determine who controls the marker, since
>the marker is likely to be intangible.
>Also, each new player who logs in is a likely marker.
>(Rather disturbing thought.)

Hmm.  Assume that the quest engine is not meant
to be responsible for every subplot, but instead
represents "special requests from No. 1".  (They
could even come in via the *red phone*)  The
markers might not always be tangible, but warden's
control of it should have some tangible effect
(because your entries into the quest engine database
are careful to avoid markers with no measurable
effect.)  If the effect can be seen at the end of
a specified time period, then the engine can assume
that the wardens have won.  If not, then the wardens
have lost.  The successes of these engine run subplots
are likely representative of the overall control
that the wardens retain over the prisoners.

In that way, the control of the wardens over the
prisoners isn't measured directly, but through a
representative sample.  If No. 2 isn't keeping
effective control over his prisoners, that will
show up in his failures to complete the assigned
goals.  The threat of elimination should inspire
him to take control, thereby creating his own subplots
(that should take care of the intangibles that
your engine can't measure).

I'm assuming here that No. 2 is a playable role,
and the highest position to which a warden can aspire.
It's also the most tenuous position in the game.
I'd suggest a slight break from the show at this
point - I'd promote wardens from within the ranks
of players, when the new No. 2 was apparently brought
from the outside world.  Not only does this give
your wardens an Easter Egg to strive for, it also
gives them half a chance to survive in that spot,
since they'll be familiar with the Village and have
their own social network built up.

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