[MUD-Dev] Containing automation?

Adam Wiggins adam at angel.com
Mon Aug 2 17:22:26 New Zealand Standard Time 1999


On Tue, 20 Jul 1999, Greg Miller wrote:
> > Greg Miller wrote:
> > > > People use automation for two things, in my experience. 1) doing things
> > > > they don't like doing due to being repetitive and 2) automating things
> > > > that they aren't good enough to do without automation. Our combat system
> > > > falls under the second part. Most people can't think quickly enough to
> > > > keep up with those who can fight properly, so they get cheesy and use
> > > > automation.
>
> [snip]
> 
> That's one fun thing for most people. Obviously, nobody's going to
> bother playing a mud unless they find parts of it fun, and they're going
> to skip the parts that aren't fun if at all possible. That's
> particularly true on a pay mud, so I have my doubts whether this trigger
> paranoia many people suffer from accomplishes much other than
> frustrating players. Few if any people will bother writing anything
> other than the simplest imaginable triggers unless the game has some
> hideously unpleasant game mechanic in an otherwise terrific game.

That's not completely true, although it is largely so.  I've played muds
where automation is very popular, and in fact encouraged by the admin.
People run helpful "bots" which hang out in town and heal or otherwise
help people out.  Often they take donations and add them to a "pot", and
then roll a dice for a chance to win all the donations that the bot has
received so far.  Usually the botting players are the most social ones,
for one because everyone know thems (using their services), and two
because they are more interested in meeting to people and chatting than
they are in playing.  Often the botters are people who have played the mud
for a long time and have grown tired of the "regular" gameplay.
In addition, a lot of gameplay on the mud I'm thinking of benefits from
some basic scripting.  Since you can control up to three characters,
keeping them all in line without any sort of scripting client is next to
impossible.  It also leads to a lot of fun - writing little "who's on
first" routines for your characters, or other such nonsense.  All in all
it leads to a very different style of play, something that makes the mud
different from most of the single-character, anti-scripting muds out
there.

Generally speaking, though, muds which were *not* designed for scripting
to be part of the gameplay still suffer from the "repetitious action"
problem which makes scripting attractive.  I don't like having to eat and
drink manually, but many (GoP) muds force you to do it.  I almost always
automate it; I simply don't find keeping track of food very fun.  (LPs
usually have eating not be mandatory, but something that can give you a
quick energy boost - a very good way of handling it, IMO.)

Anyhow, just trying to point out that scripting isn't an implict evil,
which seems to be the attitude on this list frequently.  But I certainly
agree that if you find a lot of players scripting certain things in your
game, they are probably too tedious by themselves, and bear examination.

Adam W.





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