[MUD-Dev] The Relationship between pkers and monster AI?

Matthew Mihaly diablo at best.com
Wed Sep 8 19:56:13 New Zealand Standard Time 1999


On Wed, 8 Sep 1999, Ilya, SCC, Game Commando wrote:

> On Wed, 8 Sep 1999 17:39:27 -0700 (PDT), Matthew Mihaly wrote:
> 
> ))and realism obviously isn't really the goal of any fantasy or
> ))sci-fi mud. The goal of most muds is to make a fun game, not a realistic
> ))world.
> 
> I would contest that one hotly. The two propositions or concepts do
> not stand in contradiction one to another.  These concepts (realistic
> world and fun game) are foundation and structure.

No, they don't stand in contradiction to one another, but as far as I'm
concerned, realism is not the goal. A fun fantasy mud is. Realism is only
useful insofar as it supports that goal, which is why I require that
people eat (adds atmosphere), but not require them to then process that
waste out of their body, which I would do if I cared about internal
consistency or realism generally.


> 
> Realistic world (or just realism) is the reasonable foundation on
> which the structure of fun game can best be built.
> 
> I mean realism in two aspects:
> 1 - realism = correspondence with familiar things in reality; and
> 2 - realism = internal consistency
> 
> Oh yes, playability comes in there.  Suspension of disbelief comes
> into play to.  But realism (in one of those two forms above) is the
> most effective tool in reducing the frequency and scale of all those
> silly "gotchas" one finds in so many game worlds ("But _why_ can't
> I knock on the door -- it's right there?"  "But _why_ can't I take
> the candlestick -- I can see it there in the room?"  "What do you mean
> 'You can't do that?'").

This isn't true in my experience. The only players I've ever seen react at
all like that are first-timer mudders, and within an hour or so they have
internalized the implicit rule that the things you can interact with
represent only a portion of what actually exists. I agree that being able
to interact with every item you can see is ideal, but it's not worth the
effort. Making a game where I have to sit there and model the
characteristics of everything from chairs to the floor surfaces, to the
ceiling beams, etc isn't my interest, and I have never met someone who
played a text game and said "Damn it, how come when I dump my bucket of
blood on this slightly angled surface, the blood doesn't take longer to
wash away than on the heavily angled surface." 

> 
> It is certainly impossible to remove all silly gotchas.  This is
> a given.  But this is no excuse to try to reduce them.  Realism is
> a great tool for this, and is unworthy of being placed in opposition
> to 'making a fun game.'  The latter always requires huge doses of
> the former, in both the aspects I describe.

Right, that's my point. Realism is a tool, not a goal. Incidentally
though, I would describe Achaea as having tons of the "defects" you speak
of. They range from making no attempt at letting people interact with
things mentioned in room descriptions (people with ansi on can see very
clearly what they can and cannot interact with, as the things they can are
coloured cyan), to not letting you strip items from dead player bodies, to
even there not being equipment or gold to take from most dead mobiles. I
mean, from your point of view, it'd be a really dire situation. Yet, I
have literally never had _one_ complaint that was along the lines of
yours. I'm not exaggerating. And this is from a game that people
presumably expect more out of, since their characters cost them hundreds
and even thousands of dollars, that is fairly successful. 

What you are saying does make sense on the surface, but in the end I don't
think the players care very much. They just accept those limitations as
it's a game, not a simulation.
--matt




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