[MUD-Dev] Re: META: list "peerage"

Andy Cink ranthor at earthlink.net
Mon Jan 25 00:36:04 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

At 08:06 PM 1/20/99 -0800, Matt (diablo at best.com) wrote:

- Note: This note is about 3 days old, it didn't get posted
before due to the list down time.

>Improving the general caliber of muds is a lofty goal, and an unrealistic
>one I think. Achaea is hosted with Mudservices, and if any of you are
>familiar with the mailing lists associated with them, you know exactly how
>incompetent 99% of mud admins are. I apologize if that sounds terribly
>arrogant, but most mud admins not only lack the ability to solve or
>implement solutions, but are unaware of the problem in the first place.

Hosting services like mudservices cater to newbie mud implementors.
They sell server space specifically for the purpose of getting new
people into running a mud. Many of these people don't really have
any experience, so it follows that they're probably going to make a
lot of mistakes. (Obviously, some people host there that do know
exactly what they are doing, but in general, the service is pointed
at getting new people to buy server space from them)

>By way of example, I mentioned once in a thread that I think a well-done
>player v. player combat system is the most intense experience one can have
>in a MUD. A bunch of people wrote back saying things like, "You don't know
>what you're talking about. Player combat is just a matter of getting the
>best equipment and then typing KILL <whomever>." It had never crossed
>their minds that combat could work otherwise.

In cases like this, rather than argue with people about it, it would
probably be a lot more productive to simply do it the way you think
it should be done, and then see if people like it. Some people are
very stubborn about their opinions, until they actually try it a
different way and discover it's not too shabby. (I avoided eating
broccoli for the first 16 years of my life; when I actually tried
eating some I found out I liked it)

>It's lovely to talk about improving the quality of MUDs generally, but the
>problem isn't the concepts used, it is the people running them, and as
>long as any idiot can just download a code base and slap up a
>cookie-cutter mud, that problem isn't going to go away. The barrier to
>entry is just too low.

Ultimately, people have to learn somehow. I don't think there is a huge
amount of published material on mud design. (If there was, most likely
I'd have some of it) Therefore, the only way to learn how to design a
game (or even build a world, or administrate, etc) is to actually put
up a working mud. Therefore, I consider it a net positive that people can
easily get code and set up a mud. This makes it easier for people to enter,
and ultimately expands the pool of available talent, as well as increases
innovation. (More example code to look at, more people to answer questions,
write FAQs, etc, etc)

I do however think that a major problem is that talent is simply spread too
thin out there. While it's all fine if someone wants to learn how to run a
mud, putting said "cookie cutter" muds up on search pages adds a lot of
garbage to wade through when looking for a mud. Moreover, these muds recruit
from the limited pool of talent, ultimately spreading thin the scarce numbers
of people to work on a mud.

I think the best thing that could happen to the mud "universe" is if less
people started opening their own muds, and more people worked together to
generate a quality mud. Perhaps some sort of service could be designed to
match people to projects, such that people with similar aims could work
together, rather than each independently building a similar mud. I think
a problem with this is that people have a "virtual god" complex and don't
want to share the limelight with anyone else.

>Speaking only for myself, I don't find anyone intimidating. The main
>reason, I think, is that while there are some detectable attempts by
>people to big themselves up with jargon, I don't see much of it, and the
>impression I get from most people who post here is that they're not about
>puffing up their egos at the expense of others on the list.

I feel as intimidated as hell. Every time I post I wonder if
everyone thinks I'm a yutz or not. But I post anyways, because
if I post, hopefully some of the other new people will too,
and that can only help the list grow.


EARTH FIRST! We'll stripmine the other planets later.
Ranthor at earthlink.net

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