[MUD-Dev] Containing automation?

Caliban Tiresias Darklock caliban at darklock.com
Tue Aug 10 03:12:29 New Zealand Standard Time 1999


On 09:33 PM 8/8/99 +0100, I personally witnessed Ling jumping up to say:
>On Mon, 26 Jul 1999, Caliban Tiresias Darklock wrote:
>
>> >> We've discussed a change in which we would split the available devices 
>into
>> >> "hardware" and "software" devices, with some devices needing both
hardware
>> >> and software, but I'm holding off on this concept for the moment 
>because it
>> >> may be too complex for people to understand.
>> >
>> >How about all devices are hardware things but can be augmented with the
>> >addition of software.  Or maybe have software that uses devices in novel
>> >ways...
>> 
>> The recalibration idea actually led to this thought, since it seems
>
>Odd but untrue, I wrote the above paragraphs in reverse order.  Maybe my
>mind made the connections before I figured what was happening.

No, no, no. I was talking about where *I* got the idea for splitting
devices into hardware and software. I wouldn't presume to tell you where
*your* ideas come from.

>> While a laser battery or missile platform is obviously hardware, the
>> targeting of such a device is software. While it seems like a good idea in
>> theory, it may just be too much for most players to grasp.
>
>I wasn't thinking of software as in scripting.  Just as another game item
>to be bought, sold and bartered.

So was I. Scripting only entered the picture as an example of why I don't
want to get into defining the SW/HW boundary right now -- because when you
label something "software", people will expect to be able to write it.

Consider for a moment that players can currently choose from over 500
devices. This is a tremendous area of difficulty for most new players, and
I would like to make things easier on them. If I add the further complexity
of some number of software devices which are installed in a different place
and have different effects and are necessary to the proper operation of
these 500 devices in various ways, that doesn't make things any easier. It
makes them harder. A *lot* harder. 

>> Likewise, to many players it may seem intuitive that if you can *buy*
>> software, you can *write* software. 
>
>If software means scripting, yep.  Otherwise, no.  

But it doesn't matter what software means in the game context. Software is
a set of instructions for the computer. When I buy software and put it in
the computer, I'm providing it a set of instructions. I *should* by all
rights be able to give it new instructions, no matter what the mechanism --
whether it's a scripting language, a "custom build" application process
through a GM, or a "Computer Programming" skill coupled with some sort of
game system. 

I don't want to provide such a mechanism. Of any sort. There must therefore
be a COMPELLING reason *why*. I haven't come up with an effective one yet
(i.e. one that I, as a player, would find more satisfying than "because I
said so").

>You can't really do
>much if all software did was give a +1 modifier.

See the computer programming systems in FASA's Shadowrun, in which programs
do pretty much that... and can still be written by player characters. It's
not a question of scripting so much as it is a question of people wanting
to do something because it makes sense that they could do it, when the
requirements of the game dictate that they can't. 

-----
| Caliban Tiresias Darklock            caliban at darklock.com 
| Darklock Communications          http://www.darklock.com/ 
| U L T I M A T E   U N I V E R S E   I S   N O T   D E A D 
| 774577496C6C6E457645727355626D4974H       -=CABAL::3146=- 


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