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

J C Lawrence claw at kanga.nu
Sat Feb 20 16:18:20 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999


On Wed, 17 Feb 1999 22:30:12 -0800 (PST) 
Matthew Mihaly<diablo at best.com> wrote:

> Sigh, no kidding. I had all these big plans to do incredibly complex
> things that would challenge the players views and open up "new
> worlds" for them. What a slap in the face actually trying to make it
> work is. For instance, I was going to have subtle clues all over the
> game, permeating many things, hinting that the best thing is
> Aristotle's "Golden Mean".  Then, as part of the criteria for
> Ascending to Divinity from mortality, the players were going to have
> to correct answer "What is the best thing" (the idea was that any
> player intelligent and perceptive enough to have figured it out is
> likely to be able to be trusted not to tell others the answer). Ok,
> you guys can stop laughing now. Obviously I discarded that idea as
> soon as the first player logged on.

Sounds like Island.

I'm not willing to learn that lesson.  I'm willing to make the game
not depend on the player's observing such minutiae, but I still like
to put it in there for the occassional odd soul that comes thru and
actually notices what I was doing.  For one, it acts as a very simple
filter on my players for those who really are looking for something
more, and in doing so allows me to create games within games, and in
certain cases, games within those games again.

Some of you may recall my descriptions of Fortress Fract and its
moving and tilting floors, its elevator towers, and the general
problems of mapping and navigating a maze which changes about you due
to remote influences.  One of the very quiet jokes in there was that
getting down to the bottom floor from the thone (as long as nobody
else did anything in the mean time) consisted of doing a left handed
spiral according to the digits of 'e', and ascending from the pit in
the bottom floor was a right handed spiral according to the digits of
pi.  Princess Julia wandered a rather odd but predictable track
whenever she was free based on Avagadro's constant and oscillating
rotations.  The base route thru the Blue Grass Path to Fortress Fract
from its most public landing spot at one end of Mobius Row right by
the Scintillating Calender was always the binary representation of the
current year, where '1' meant "forward" and '0' meant "back".  The
reverse path was always the binary representation of MMDD (MM ==
month, DD = day).

Did anybody every notice any of this?  One person noticed the year
bit, due to some very heavy handed clue laying on the Calender
(actually the clue laying was pretty heavy all round, as were the red
herrings).  About half a dozen people thought that there must be a
pattern in the fortress or Julia, and a couple proposed variously wild
schemes (one of which I recall mostly working by heppenstance despite
being based on totally unrelated code I did for the Cheese Factory and
White Oak Tree).  Nobody figured the rest of it.  I ended up telling
the basics to a few people who groaned mightily (once you knew the
clues were *really* obvious, where-as before they were merely mildly
annoying) and failed to get me to promise to never do anything like
that again.

Still, I thought the project a success as people had *tried* to figure
out if there really was a pattern, and if so, what it was.  Want a
good currently available comparison?  Go solve the musical pillars in
Shades.  It is an atrociously bad pun, truly bad, and quite funny.

The summary however was that it was amusement for me, both in planning
the puzzles, and it watching others attempt to detect and solve them.
It had nothing to do with game design for my basic player base.  I
don't think I could stand doing worlds aimed at the center of my
demographics, especially not in the US.

--
J C Lawrence                              Internet: claw at kanga.nu
----------(*)                            Internet: coder at kanga.nu
...Honorary Member of Clan McFud -- Teamer's Avenging Monolith...


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