[MUD-Dev] Re: MUD Design doc - Combat

Koster Koster
Wed Jan 13 09:46:37 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999


> -----Original Message-----
> From: J C Lawrence [mailto:claw at under.engr.sgi.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, January 12, 1999 6:33 PM
> To: mud-dev at kanga.nu
> Subject: [MUD-Dev] Re: MUD Design doc - Combat 
> 
> 
> On Mon, 11 Jan 1999 08:22:05 -0800 
> T Alexander Popiel<popiel at snugharbor.com> wrote:
> 
> > The obvious pitfall to charging money for things like 'say' is
> > that pretty soon most of your players will stop talking to each
> > other.  This makes for a pretty boring game, IMNSHO.

I have seen muds that charge movement points for yelling and/or
shouting, presumably in order to reduce spam. They seem to me to be
missing the point that interaction with others is why one plays a mud as
opposed to a standalone game. Channeling communication for higher signal
is more profitable for the game than merely preventing it.

> A curious observation along that line is that for many people having
> to type is actively considered as part of the cost of a command.
> Thus a "say" command, which typically contains a fair bit of user
> text, is subjectively considered an expensive command as it requires
> more typing than, "kill bubba".

This is absolutely true; else we would not have the proliferation of
fancy autocompletion systems in mud parsers. Note that the most basic
abbreviations on a mud are those for "say" and "emote".

It would be worth debating whether speech should need a command at all;
just typing talks, and all other commands require a prefixed symbol
instead. Graphical muds seem to be following this path--EverQuest for
example requires a slash / in front of its commands, as in /who, /con,
etc. It would be interesting to see how this would manifest in a text
mud, and what environments it would be suited for. I considered once
adding a "converse" mode to Legend, wherein whatever you typed was
assumed to just be speech until you changed modes back to normal
(possibly a "locked tell", since tell conversations entail typing "tell
bubba" over and over--and you can only abbreviate names so far in a
populated playerbase before you run into conflicts).

> I've often seen comments by players along the line of, "I'm sick of
> typing (chatting), I'm off to kill something."

Which is probably why many see real-time voice as the "killer app" for
online games. The effort is reduced to a bare minimum. It does fly in
the face of roleplaying, unless APIs like Voxware's "Voice Fonts" become
common, cheap technology.

> Ease of use is the big hidden cost.

Isn't it always? :)

-Raph




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