[MUD-Dev] Re: Laws of Online World Design

J C Lawrence claw at under.engr.sgi.com
Fri Oct 16 13:46:53 New Zealand Daylight Time 1998

On Thu, 15 Oct 1998 22:01:39 EDT 
ApplePiMan <ApplePiMan at aol.com> wrote:

> At 10/15/98 5:43 PM J C Lawrence (claw at under.engr.sgi.com) altered
> the fabric of reality by uttering:
>> ApplePiMan <ApplePiMan at aol.com> wrote:
>>> At 10/13/98 4:44 AM mud-dev at kanga.nu (claw at under.engr.sgi.com)
>>> altered the fabric of reality by uttering:

>> You're not just restricted to writing on paper, but you can
>> program, create, and actually define the base laws and modes of
>> operation of TV, radio, RADAR, telepathy, sign language(s), the
>> WWW, email, NetNews, etc etc etc yada yada, _and_ automate and
>> interate all of that.  In essence you can play God with the very
>> medium that is used for communication rather than being
>> restricted to merely creating instances of communication.

> Thanks! I'm with you now.

> What's your target market for such a creation? Is the "play[ing]
> God with the very medium that is used for communication" a
> requirement for being a citizen of the world (or at least, for
> getting the most enjoyment from citizenship), or just something
> those with such an inclination *may* do? 

The latter.  Much like RL, a small percentage will actually go an do
anything notable there.  A slightly larger yet still small
percentage will extend and aggregate intersting net things about
those new creations.  The vast rest of the great unwashed will then
use those new products -- which is precisely what has happened on

> It seems to me there
> would be a very steep learning curve that many might not care to
> undertake for something that is supposed to be a leisurely
> occupation. Witness the small percentage of folks who undertake
> such things as those in your list in the "real" world, and then
> extrapolate how many you think would care to do them in our
> created microcosms (the number should be somewhat higher, but I'm
> not convinced it would encompass the majority -- in fact, I'm not
> sure I'd be in their number if it entailed learning yet another
> language).

Not many.  It doesn't take or need many.  A few will do -- the rest
ride their coattails.

>> (Perl has largely accomplished the same feat thru its language
>> features, CPAN, and other such culural pivots)

> Still, how many folks who don't breathe our rarified air are
> _really_ capable of learning to fluently express themselves in
> Perl (I can't speak to LambdaMOO's language as I'm not [yet]
> familiar with it), much less will take the effort to do so "just"
> to play a "game"?

No, you're missing the point.  The idea is not that everyone will
use those reality editing features, just that they *can*, and that a 
small percentage *will*.  You don't need very many Edison's per
capita of general population.  You do need at least one however.

> I'm not in any sense implying there isn't a market for such a
> thing (in fact I think it would gain a *very* vocal niche very
> quickly), just wondering if there's some way to broaden the market
> without insulting the intelligence of the existing market...

cf LambdaMOO.

> Agreed. But, again, is there an implementation palatable to both
> the geek and the technophobe? How do you break down the entry
> barriers so your (average) players won't take a look and decide
> that growing things is not more trouble than it's worth? A few
> people, those who would, as in your example, go and create their
> own worlds, will go to the trouble no matter what; but is there a
> way to get your average Bubba and Sally Jo in on the fun? A
> solution that could be carried over to the mass market (who
> generally can't, or won't go to the trouble to, program their own
> VCRs) would be ideal.


The hope is that it feeds on itself.  The early adopter s enclude
enough hackers that they create features that are leveraged by the
later adopters to create new things ad infinitum.  

> Again, how many do you think will go to the effort? And won't the
> ones who won't go to the effort (rightly or wrongly) complain as
> much about the way the ones that *do* go to the trouble implement
> the world as they would have a world completely of our own
> invention?

Absolutely.  This is not only guaranteed, it is necessary and
desirable.  They are emotive, which means that there is a sense of
attachment and value.  They can also, should they be sufficiently
motivated, step up and "do it right" any time they wish.

Players will complain.  This is a given.  The world with complaint
free players is farcical utopia that logically can't exist.  If you
have a player complaining about something that means that there is
something they like and value there which they would like to
appreciate and value even more.  Translation:  They've taken the
bait and swallowed the hook.  Your only question is wether you need
to set the hook or not.

> The very expressiveness of the English language is also
> responsible, to a large degree, for many of the misunderstandings
> between people supposedly speaking the same language. An example
> that springs immediately to mind is that, even though I have a
> very sophisticated English-language parser (a human brain with
> English as its native language), I didn't fully comprehend your
> first post on this subject. The fault was not in your choice of
> words or their ordering (you stated it very well, actually), but
> in my lacking the context to understand the nuances. How do you
> propose to have a computer do better?

I don't.  I'm looking to have a *world* and a mechanical model that
is expressive, not a soft code language per se.

J C Lawrence                               Internet: claw at null.net
(Contractor)                               Internet: coder at ibm.net
---------(*)                     Internet: claw at under.engr.sgi.com
...Honourary Member of Clan McFud -- Teamer's Avenging Monolith...

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