[MUD-Dev] Containing automation?

Matthew Mihaly diablo at best.com
Wed Jul 21 19:24:42 New Zealand Standard Time 1999


On Wed, 21 Jul 1999, Marc Hernandez wrote:

> 
> 
> 	What about Mu* games where building _is_ the game?  Is this going
> to appeal to anyone but a small subset of people?
> 	I am currently writing a multiuser system where people come
> together and can collaborativly (or seperately) build things.
> 	The original plan was to have people build spaceships out of
> building blocks (instead of the common: select hull size N, It has P ports
> for weapons.  It has C cubic metres for cargo.  Select laser etc).  But I
> found building a full spaceship out of such things is a monumental task.

Before I offer some constructive criticism, let me just say that I think
your idea is interesting, and if done right, could be a lot of fun. I'll
comment on the stuff before, but one thing about building spaceships is
"why?" It strikes me that this is the sort of thing that people want to
build not for the sake of building, but for the sake of having the
biggest, baddest ship around, capable of kicking everyone else in the
thrusters.


> 	So I have switched to a less ambitious design.  Currently I am
> doing what amounts to virtual legos.  However once I call it a block
> building game (not even invoking the Lego god) it tends to be considered a
> game aimed at a younger audience.  Not that that is bad I just happen to
> want a building game for older people that like to build things.

You are in dire need of some jargon =). I'm sure someone on this list can
come up with a complicated-sounding name to describe what it is people in
your game would do. 


> 	I have an economy worked out.  You can get plain gray blocks in a
> quarry for free.  Colors come from plants people can collect.  Sometimes
> you will find Gold or Silver blocks.  You can use these to build or use
> them to buy items from a central store.  The central store will stock
> items that are computationally expensive (like springs or motors or
> magnets).  I have some ideas about having lights and electricity and
> switches with simple, user designed circuts to work them.  Perhaps a
> market of cool circuts will develop, who knows?

What will people do with the circuits? I think that you're really onto
something, but that you need to allow some sort of competitive element.
Just tossing ideas off the top of my head here, but why not let them
design widgets that can be pitted against each other in some sort of
competition (combat, races, etc)? 


All in all, your idea sounds very cool and unique. What you need to do
though is provide some reason for people to build these things, aside from
the sheer joy of building them. In my mind, the most powerful motivator in
all walks of life is fear - generally the fear of being outdone by your
peers. Give them a competitive element, make the system complicated enough
that it will have emergent properties, and you'll have a damn cool game.

--matt




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