[MUD-Dev] Fair/Unfair? Scenarios (fwd)

Dan Shiovitz dans at drizzle.com
Mon Dec 6 23:25:12 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999


On Mon, 6 Dec 1999, Sellers, Michael wrote:
> JC wrote:
[..] 
> To you.  I think I can safely say that you're in a tiiiiiny minority who
> feel that way.  The idea that (as they say in the theatre) "a pistol placed
> on the mantel in the first act must be used by the third" is seen all
> throughout our culture's fiction.  A corollary to that is that you don't
[..]

It's important to remember that a game is not a story. Games don't have
plots, except in retrospect, and you won't be able to make it work out by
planning stuff in advance. (You can, however, cheat and make it look after
the fact like you planned stuff, but that's a different flock of seagulls
entirely). 

> > "Life isn't always fair.  Deal with it."  We've all heard the line.
> > How true is that for our players?  
> 
> People play games as a diversion, escape, or for fun.  Life isn't fair, and
> it often isn't fun.  Why should our games follow the same restriction?  

This is absolutely true for me, though. It's not true for a
small-but-vocal minority that are so involved in the game that they want
it to be absolutely real, but I don't want to make that kind of
investment. So I want to play things which are fun.

[..]
> > 
> > So, the wandering Bands of Bubba, nasty headhunting brain bashing
> > villains that they are, have been magically transported into the
> > Village of Rue by a wayward wizard, and, just happen to meet up with
> > their dire enemies, Boffo's Brutes who are enjoying a spot of pie at
> > the local pub after losing their way due to a disorientation spell.
> > 
> > Of course a battle royal ensues across the tradionally tranquial
> > streets and squares of Rue, that utopian dream of bucolic
> > simplicity, and our young newbie, knowing nothing of this, walks
> > into the middle of the fray, finds himself lost and both a head
> > shorter and dead, tho possibly not in that order.
[..]

I agree with this in theory, but in practice the game looks like:

% look
Town Square
This is a peaceful town square with no enemies in sight. Tra la la.
A cityguard is standing here, doing nothing because nothing is going on
in the vicinity.

% south
Other Half of the Town Square
This is a peaceful town square.
Seven aggressive monsters are here. 

The agressive monster hits you! You are dead. RIP.


In other words, it's all well and good to preach realism, but many game
designers only seem to implement enough details to screw the players over,
without providing the other details that are equally realistic and would
let them know what's going on, like (in this case) noise, being able to
look into surrounding rooms, friendly NPCs acting in a realistic manner to
aid PCs, etc.

> Mike Sellers
--
Dan Shiovitz :: dbs at cs.wisc.edu :: http://www.drizzle.com/~dans
"He settled down to dictate a letter to the Consolidated Nailfile and
Eyebrow Tweezer Corporation of Scranton, Pa., which would make them
realize that life is stern and earnest and Nailfile and Eyebrow Tweezer
Corporations are not put in this world for pleasure alone." -PGW




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