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

Caliban Tiresias Darklock caliban at darklock.com
Tue Jan 26 17:55:38 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

On 07:15 PM 1/26/99 -0600, I personally witnessed Matthew D. Fuller jumping
up to say:
>On Tue, Jan 26, 1999 at 10:11:44AM -0800, a little birdie told me
>that Caliban Tiresias Darklock remarked
>> Now I look at Windows and go hey, this is precisely what I hated
>> about the Mac, and precisely why I didn't buy one, and now I have it anyway.
>Note that I don't  ;)

Some of us get paid to build things your average Joe will use, like, and
pay for (not necessarily in that order.) ;)

>But the shallower the curve
>is, the more people you'll get that jump in on the low end and never even
>CONSIDER going beyond it.

That's not necessarily a bad thing. I'm on that shallow end of Visual
Basic, myself; I know enough not to embarrass myself, and that's all I care
to learn. If I need to know more than that, I'm going to start making noise
about working in a "real" language. (If working in another language isn't
an option, then I'll climb as high as I need to and stop.) There are plenty
of people out there who don't NEED to write database-driven web sites with
DHTML and loads of server-side script. Why should they learn to do it?

Not everyone who runs a MUD wants to advance the state of the art; and as
much as many of us might detest the idea of BEING followers, you have to
admit that without any of them at all -- the process of leading becomes
rather pointless.

>Some sort of middle ground is necessary, but you'll never get
>any two people to agree on where it is  ;)  (especially me, I'm really

I keep saying over and over in thousands of ways that the human mind cannot
really grasp an absolute. When I say "middle ground", everyone immediately
looks to the one side and then to the other; then they select an area which
is squarely in between those points, and that's the middle. Can't argue
with that. But as soon as you get someone else there, he sees different
endpoints, so he places the middle ground somewhere else. Then they argue
about where the endpoints are, and it tends to be "as far as you can see in
THAT direction" without regard for how short- or far-sighted the other
person may be, or what the visibility conditions are from moment to moment. 

Or, more succinctly: how far away is the horizon? Hmmm. 

>Then again, a lot of people would argue that if you can't swim, get outta
>the ocean.  

But what exactly does "swim" mean? I mean, most people figure if they can
jump in the water and paddle around a while without drowning, they can
swim. However, if you think swimming the English Channel is a good
warmup... you're likely to have a healthy degree of contempt for those
people, aren't you?

>never had any formal training; what I know about C is from reading the K&R
>book long ago, trial and error, and reading manpages.  Makefiles, all from
>reading existing ones and the manpage.

The vast majority of the world -- I know, I don't understand this either --
does not enjoy reading technical documentation! How they ever get along in
the world is beyond me, too, but oddly enough they surely *are* the type of
people that make up the preponderance of the population. 

>Should you have to spend years studying?  No, but you
>shouldn't grab a kit and run 'install.bat' and be done with it.  

If you replace "be done with it" with the phrase "start playing with it", I
think that's *exactly* what you should do. When you start playing with it,
you should be able to get answers to your questions quickly and easily; if
it's a pain in the ass to get an answer, then you start to associate that
pain in the ass with asking the question in the first place, and eventually
you stop asking questions and only learn when you stumble over something.
If then... someone once said "All men stumble over the truth now and again.
Most of them pick themselves up and hurry on as if nothing happened." ;)

>I think
>I can feel pretty confident saying that there is NO base system you will
>ever find that you can customize to exactly the way you want your world
>without touching code

I'm *completely* confident in saying this is a tremendous and arguably
unforgivable oversight on the part of MUD developers. ;)

>I hold a rather extreme view, but that's party because the status quo is
>(IMO) too far to the other extreme, so I'm trying to counterbalance a

Extreme views are nice. They make very good platforms from which to launch
flaming arrows. ;)

>Indeed.  Interesting meta-approach; maybe a mud of muds, where higher
>'level' players get more 'stuff' on their sub-muds...

I've been thinking about something really heinous: the idea of people on
some MUD being able to work their way into staff positions within the game
context, and from higher levels of that actually *fork* the MUD -- spawning
off an exact copy of the MUD, which *they* control. 

>The problem is you have to make the person WANT to learn more; too much
>mentality these days is 'I want to know as little as possible, but I
>still want everything to do what I want it to', which is a good deal of
>why Windows/Mac are so popular.  

Inchoative thought: give learning the system some kind of reward built into
the game. In my current project, you can script the game, and scripting it
has real benefits to the player within the game -- specifically, rather
than tediously shuttle back and forth between two locations 50 times, the
scripter can just run a script that does this fifty times. If he gets
better at scripting, he can write a loop which he terminates after it
finishes his task. If he gets even better, he can make a loop that executes
fifty times. A real master can make a loop that figures out how many times
it needs to run, runs that many times without generating output, and alerts
the user when its done.

Now, the part I haven't figured out yet is how you let people *know*
they'll get real tangible benefits from scripting.

>You have to somehow break around that to
>really succeed, and that's pretty tough to do.

Agreed. What would you suggest to get around it? I have some thoughts, but
they're in serious need of clarification before I can actually write them
down. You know how sometimes you have this idea, but you just have no clue
how to say it to someone else? That's where I am on this.

| Caliban Tiresias Darklock            caliban at darklock.com 
| Darklock Communications          http://www.darklock.com/ 
| U L T I M A T E   U N I V E R S E   I S   N O T   D E A D 
| 774577496C6C6E457645727355626D4974H       -=CABAL::3146=- 

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