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

Caliban Tiresias Darklock caliban at darklock.com
Wed Jan 27 14:19:43 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

-----Original Message-----
From: T. Alexander Popiel <popiel at snugharbor.com>
To: mud-dev at kanga.nu <mud-dev at kanga.nu>
Cc: popiel at snugharbor.com <popiel at snugharbor.com>
Date: Wednesday, January 27, 1999 2:00 PM
Subject: [MUD-Dev] Re: MUD Design doc - Combat

>In message:  <199901262056.OAA15686 at oldzoom.bga.com>
>             "Dr. Cat" <cat at oldzoom.bga.com> writes:
>>I trust that for telephones, the answer is sufficiently obvious that it
>>requires no debate.
>I guess you haven't used a CB lately.

Who has? ;)

>>I feel that it's the same for MUDs also.  Certainly
>>in every chat system I ever used, talking was the default action, and
>>people would have been baffled if anyone suggested doing otherwise in an
>>interface design.
>All of the multiplayer games like Doom, Starcraft, Civ, etc. that I have
>seen have talking as a distinctly secondary option that must be prefixed
>with a special command.

Text in general is distinctly secondary to the games you mention. None of
them have *communication* as their primary goals; MUDs do. Multiplayer, to
these games, is something of a gimmick. In a MUD, graphics are the gimmick,
and multiplayer is sort of the entire point. You might compare whether a
television is designed for entertainment or for information; certainly, it
does both, but which is the primary function?

Yeah, I know. The primary function of television is *really* the display of
commercials. :P

>>I think that what most MUD
>>players primarily want to do is talk to other people - and this will only
>>increase as a focus as the demographics of the Internet shift more and
>>more away from the early adopters, and towards the demographics of the
>>average human.
>I think that this shift is unlikely, since all the gamers are being
>trained by their other games that talking requires a special action.

I think in any given game, no matter what the context, ANY activity should
require something on the user's part. On a telephone, if you want to talk,
you talk; if you want to hit a button, you hit a button. If you want to use
the phone at all, you pick up the receiver. There actually IS no "default"
action. Talking at a button certainly won't cause it to do anything on the
average phone, and pushing the mouthpiece doesn't send a message. Likewise,
when you want to do something on a game, you should take some action;
nothing should "default" at all. The default action of a computer-based game
should be to wait for player directions.

This is all just my opinion, of course, and whether it is right or not is
left as an exercise for the reader. ;)

>Of course, it's possible that the populace with self-select into two
>factions with biases in each direction, leading to different interfaces
>and expectations, but I doubt that the population is large enough for
>that to really have an influential effect.

I think this has already happened. Compare the average RP MUD player with
the average combat MUD player. The RP MUD may actually have NO combat
commands -- cf MUSH, out of the box -- while the combat MUD will probably
have a whole big bunch of them, with long lists of commands like punch,
kick, bite, hit, club, cut, attack, kill, grapple, wrestle, tackle, etc. The
RP MUD may have no mobs at all; the combat MUD is likely to be dominated by
them. And when was the last time you saw a formal mutual consent and dispute
resolution policy on a combat MUD?

| Caliban Tiresias Darklock            caliban at darklock.com
| Darklock Communications          http://www.darklock.com/
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