[MUD-Dev] Re: State of the art?

diablo at best.com diablo at best.com
Tue Feb 16 00:00:05 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

On Mon, 15 Feb 1999, Andy Cink wrote:

> This got me thinking, is there a difference between "fun" and
> "state of the art"? For example, maybe mud A is well coded,
> has lots of fancy code, is extremely efficient, has lots of
> buzz words (all the fancy technical stuff about databases
> and such that goes right over my head :)) but is completely
> boring to play.

State of the art doesn't just mean code. I don't think I'd even consider a
mud that was state-of-the-art code-wise, but fairly blah otherwise to be
state-of-the-art. It might have state-of-the-art code, but it isn't a
state of the art MUD, when considered as a whole.

> Then we have mud B that's based on merc or envy or circle,
> and has lots of clever ideas, spells, races, classes, as
> well as interesting quests for the players, lots of items,
> variety, etc, etc.
> In terms of advancing the state of the art, it's entirely
> possibility that the kudos would go to mud A. They found
> lots of clever and advanced ways of making things happen.
> Their groundwork would later allow future coders to do
> things that mud B could never support. But the thing is,
> mud A is a technological marvel but completely boring,
> and mud B is a lot of fun, but technologically lacking.

I think part of what you are saying depends on whether you wish to talk of
a MUD-in-whole, or about aspects of a MUD. For instance, take a MUD that
has a single brand-spanking-new feature. Is the MUD state-of-the-art? Does
it get to be called that by having one new feature, especially if it isn't
near the cutting edge in every other area? Further, we all certainly have
different opinions on what would constitute state-of-the-art design and
code wise (especially design), so what standards prevail in answering this

I'll give an analogy. Let's say you wanted to talk about state-of-the-art
in restaurants. You'd think about a place that advance the culinary art.
A temple to food with an innovative chef who creates new combinations, and
uses subtler flavours, and who executes everything so beautifully and
flawlessly you feel as if surely something divine has found its expression
in the hands of the artist who created the food. 

On the other hand you have McDonalds, a chain of nearly identical,
plastic-moulded offences to taste that serve cheap, consistent, and nearly
inedible 'food'. You don't dine at them, you feed at the trough. However
bad their food is though, their business model, which is essentially their
code, is great and they have to be commended for that. They were pioneers
in the area of franchising and were (perhaps not anymore) state-of-the-art
in that area. But, would you say that they are a state-of-the-art

I certainly would not, although I would call the first restaurant
state-of-the-art. Some may consider McDonalds a state-of-the-art
restaurant, but their idea of what the word restaurant differs from mine.
McDonalds, as a restaurant, fails on every level except consistency and
cleanliness, to me, and these are just basic standards I expect in a
restaurant. Nevertheless, there are aspects of McDonalds-as-an-entity that
are (or were) state-of-the-art, although they are invisible to me as a
potential customer.

I'm not really positing any answers with this question, but more
suggesting that the question as posed of 'What is state of the art?' is a
difficult question to answer without deciding on what basis you want to
judge it. Design issues primarily, but coding issues to lesser extent, are
not a case of "C is universally better than B, B is universally better
than A".

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