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

Matthew D. Fuller fullermd at futuresouth.com
Tue Jan 26 19:15:39 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999


On Tue, Jan 26, 1999 at 10:11:44AM -0800, a little birdie told me
that Caliban Tiresias Darklock remarked
> 
> >> It's actually the
> >> same problem I see in the PC market with Windows (don't get me started on
> >> that rant).
> 
> Which in turn was the reason many of us old timers shunned the Mac.
> Recently, I've been looking at Macs and PCs and seeing so little difference
> I'm actually giving serious consideration to the purchase of a G3 box. I
> mean, originally, I thought the Mac was ridiculous because of its stupid
> interface and paranoid concealment of every O/S aspect behind a thick wall
> of chrome. 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  ;)

> There's a middle ground, though. I think MS should, for example, be bundling
> Visual Basic with Windows instead of IE; IE is primarily a passive,
> spectator thing. VB is active. (Posit: The web has made the computer
> analogous to the television and the internet analogous to cable. Discuss.
> Not on this list, of course, but discuss.) The question is not so much
> whether you can set up easily or progress to great heights, the question
> falls more along the lines of how much you need to know to start with and
> how easy it is to learn more.

I agree totally that a middle ground is necessary.  Though I'm sure I
fall more into the 'elitist' 'steep learning curve' group than what is
objectively best (that's just the way I am).  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.  I have a Chaung Tsu quote that fits nicely in
here, but it's in a book at home...

> Observation: Learning is a skill. If you do a lot of it, you get good at it.
> If you don't do any for a while, you get out of practice.

Expansion: Once you're in practice, and in situations where it's
reasonable, you tend to keep in practice.  And vice versa.  Lots of
intertia applies there.

> There are opposite ends of the spectrum, neither of which works very well.
[snip extreme examples]
Agreed.  At the low end, you have too much crap to wade through to get to
the few 'good' places/people/ideas/etc.  At the high end, it just gets
too sparse, though most of what's left is 'good'.  It's just like playing
a Civ-type game; too little taxes you go broke, too many your people
revolt.  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
stubborn)

> Once upon a time, you could honestly say that probably 80% of the internet's
> population had these skills to a reasonable enough degree that they could
> either run a MUD immediately or learn to do so in a short period. That's not
> the case anymore. We have people on the net who know almost squat. People
> who ask how they can use some feature on their web page, and then get
> confused by the words "tag" and "code" and ask for explanations of what a
> notepad is and how they get their web page to open in it, and what do I mean
> by "cut and paste"?

Then again, a lot of people would argue that if you can't swim, get outta
the ocean.  It doesn't take much intelligence to click through porn
pages and play bingo on the internet.  It DOES take intelligence as well
as hard work to make a decent mud.  Despite what I may do for a living,
my C skills are hardly outstanding, but I understand thoroughly better
than 95% of the ROM code (yes, I admit it, I have a ROM mud I play with),
and I have the basis of my own personal Ultimate Mud hashed out.  I've
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.

It's a significant investment of time to be sure; but then, so should
running a MUD.  Should you have to spend years studying?  No, but you
shouldn't grab a kit and run 'install.bat' and be done with it.  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, unless it was made for practically exactly what
you want to do anyway.

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
little.

> What we need to do is provide a stairstep progression. One step after
> another, with each step accessible and easily achieved, building on the
> previous height attained. It may be valuable to look at administration as
> yet another class or 'ladder' in your game; certainly it would benefit from
> many of the same rules and observations made recently about player/character
> progress.

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

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


---

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| Matthew Fuller     http://www.over-yonder.net/~fullermd |
* fullermd at futuresouth.com       fullermd at over-yonder.net *
| UNIX Systems Administrator      Specializing in FreeBSD |
*   FutureSouth Communications   ISPHelp ISP Consulting   *
|  "The only reason I'm burning my candle at both ends,   |
*    is because I haven't figured out how to light the    *
|                     middle yet"                         |
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