[MUD-Dev] (no subject)

Travis Casey efindel at io.com
Tue Nov 23 00:02:11 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

On Monday, November 22, 1999, Marian Griffith wrote:
> On Sun 21 Nov, Travis Casey wrote:
>> On Friday, November 19, 1999, Jon A. Lambert wrote:

>> A lot of the people who set up "stock" muds seem to be builder
>> wannabes -- they don't want to design a *new* mud, they just want to
>> build some areas, and maybe add a few classes and races.

> Which is very odd, because quality -building- is probably as difficult
> as coding, if not more so. Of course I could not code my VCR if my li-
> fe depended on it, but I do not claim to be the average wannabee ;)

True -- but low quality building is much easier than designing and
implementing a rule set.  And, let's be honest -- the majority of muds
*are* of low quality, really.

>> > The only thing that CoolMud lacks is the attentions of a mud game
>> > designer.  There are even fewer of those than there are mud coders. >:->

>> Yep... I'll note that all the popular mud codebases seem to be stuck
>> in the late 70's or early 80's, as far as RPG design goes (speaking,
>> as I usually am, in terms of paper RPGs).

> My guess is that this has to do with the fact that players have their
> expectations of muds,  as have people interested in putting a mud up.
> It is like designing a new house.  Everybody knows what a house looks
> like  so you can not be too different,  or nobody is going to buy it.
> With muds it is the same. Even if you would create a radically diffe-
> rent mud,  nobody would be interested in it,  because  they would not
> recognise it as such.

One could have equally well argued in 1974 that "Even if someone
could create a radically different paper RPG, nobody would be
interested in it, because they would not recognize it as such."  With
the benefit of hindsight, we can see that this wasn't true -- far from
generating an infinite succession of D&D clones, the RPG industry
immediately branched out in several directions.  By 1980, we had the first
skill-based RPG (Runequest), the first RPG with non-random character
creation (The Fantasy Trip, IIRC), the first RPG deliberately designed to
be simple (Tunnels & Trolls), the first "play the monsters" RPG (Monsters!
Monsters!), and the first universal RPG (Basic Roleplaying).  For
genres, there was "generic" fantasy, SF, superheroes, post-holocaust,
military, detective, espionage, Westerns, swashbucklers, Arthurian fantasy,
and even an RPG based on the Dallas TV show.

All this was within 6 years of D&D's publication.  It's now been 25
years -- and the RPG "state of the art" has advanced such that someone
who introduced an RPG like the original D&D today would be laughed at
by most paper RPG gamers.

Now, contrast this with muds -- what sort of muds were out there 6
years after the first one?  Note that after about 20 years of mud
development, people can put up a new mud that's of about the same
level of sophistication as the original muds, and most mudders will
consider it a decent mud.

What's the difference here?  Why did paper RPGs explode in different
directions so much faster than muds?  Well.... I have a few thoughts,
but the clock is ringing midnight here, and I have to go to work in
the morning.  More later.

       |\      _,,,---,,_        Travis S. Casey  <efindel at io.com>
 ZZzz  /,`.-'`'    -.  ;-;;,_   No one agrees with me.  Not even me.
      |,4-  ) )-,_..;\ (  `'-'
     '---''(_/--'  `-'\_)

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