[MUD-Dev] Containing automation?

Marc Hernandez marc at ias.jb.com
Thu Jul 22 15:36:33 New Zealand Standard Time 1999


On Wed, 21 Jul 1999, Matthew Mihaly wrote:

> 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.

> 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

	Thanks.  The done right part is why I posted here.  Designing in
a vacuum is loud and noisy and you tend to lose your thoughts.
	<spaceship game comments at bottom>

> 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. 

	Marian suggested describing it as a building game.  However when I
start to describe the concept the immediate response is 'Oh Legos'.
Perhaps it is just the people that would like to design and create with
Legos that I would like to be attracted, however I think there is
opportunity to expand beyond what Legos can 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)? 

	Some competition comments below.  I remember personally being
fascinated with taking batteries, switches and lights and making them
blink and such.  Striping digital circutry of the 'boring' stuff could
enable kids to build fairly complex devices at a younger age.
	Just sitting around brainstorming we had a ball designing
catapults and traps out of the given set of blocks we had designed.
Wouldnt SimCity be fun multiplayer (got a bit boring single player (until
I figured out the file format and made an all land map to build off of
with 18.7 billion dollars)).

> 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.

	I agree.  After getting a few alpha testers in using the system I
am sure fun competitions could be thought up and implemented.  
	I personally just like to build.  Which is partially why I am a
programmer and attracted to game programming.  The act of putting together
something that is unique or useful or even just difficult to build is fun
for me (and I would suggest it is for some others also).
	I think a useful analogy is sandcastles.  Some people just build
them for the sheer joy of doing it.  Others like to enter competitions and
build the 'best'.  I tend to be anticompetetive and thus would like to
provide that sort of atmosphere, but the system will support both.  In
multiuser systems the more people the merrier.

<Comments on spaceship stuff>
> 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.

	I had planned that as a single player game.  I was going to have a
simple linear progression through a Spaceship design firm.  basically you
would start out modifying previous designs (for various reasons) then you
would progress through all the way to Owner building the cool stuff.  
	What turned this off was the sheer complexity of designing a
working system.  Then again perhaps people would like to spend a month
designing the Enterprise from scratch (given proper training up to that
part like Marian suggested).  Anyway I have currently shelved that for
now.  Too many ideas too little time.


++
Marc Hernandez
the dream child moving through a land of wonders wild and new
in friendly chat with bird or beast- and half believe it true
						lewis carrol





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