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

Scatter scatter at thevortex.com
Fri Dec 17 09:58:41 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999


> From: J C Lawrence <claw at cp.net> Save Address Block Sender
> Sellers, Michael <MSellers at maxis.com> wrote:
> > JC wrote:
> >> ...  The idea that the game world (or game designer for that
> >> matter) is going to come up to me prior to every "dangerous"
> >> section and warn me off (however subtlely), or ensure that I can
> >> never trap myself without a means of escape is somehow deeply
> >> offensive.

I'd agree that ensuring you couldn't trap yourself without a
means of escape is offensive - the game then feels like someone
is watching over you all the time to make sure you don't do
something stupid. I don't agree that subtle, well placed warnings
are offensive though, providing they are subtle and well placed
and not blatant in-your-face warnings.

If there is a cave that people go in but never come out of, perhaps
there are npcs in nearby towns, inns or pubs who tell each other
tales of people who went missing that way.

If the path across the cliffs is crumbling away and dangerous,
its condition should be able to be inferred from its descriptions.

The guideline I work by is that the wary, observant player should
be able to be not caught out by such things. It should be possible
for the player to work out that doing whatever it is could be
dangerous. That certainly doesn't mean that every player is going
to notice the warning signs, let alone heed them. But if a player
crys 'not fair, no warning' I want to be able to point to the
warning.

> _IF_ the game is responsible for protecting and warning the player
> in regard to all possible dangers of magnitude, several things
> become interesting:
>   -- traps
>   -- ambushes

With regard to these two, I wouldn't place specific warnings
about what kind of things are likely to happen. I would try to
place hints that a given area may be dangerous. I.e. not warning
the player that a group of bandits are lying in wait on a specific
road, but perhaps npc rumours that bandits are known to be in
the area.

>   -- monsters found outside of their normal haunts

This one is more interesting, as the monster may be away
from it's normal place for any number of reasons. But wandering
monsters do leave tracks and spoor that could warn people
that something unusual is around.

>   -- environmental conditions

Common sense warns of most of these - that path over the cliffs
is certain to be more dangerous when it's icy.

>   -- externally caused state changes to local objects
> 
> Consider the example I posited a little later in that post:
[snip]
>   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.

Surely if a battle royal was going on, the newbie should be able
to hear the sounds of battle before arriving in the middle of it?
This, to me, is sufficient warning!

> Now the game designer has some obvious responsibilities in the
> 3ExitRoom, but what responsibilities does he have in the
> BandsofBubba scenario?

Obviously none specifically for that scenario, but general design
choices, e.g. propagating loud sounds through adjacent rooms, can
be enough to provide some indication of dangerous events going on.

> Shuld, upon the instance of that battle, a surrounding circle of
> beggers and grizzledold men uttering warnings of dangers ahead
> suddenly spring into existance surrounding the village?

No. Although a fleeing citizen npc shouting a warning to the
player as he passes might just be acceptable.

Of course, this doesn't hold if the player is just teleported into
the battle as your second example showed - but as my mud will have
only very restricted forms of teleport, I don't have to cover this
situation. =)

--
Scatter ///\oo/\\\



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