[MUD-Dev] code base inquiry

Matthew Mihaly diablo at best.com
Tue Feb 15 15:57:45 New Zealand Daylight Time 2000


On Tue, 15 Feb 2000, David Bennett wrote:

> On 2/15/00, at 2:24 PM, Matthew Mihaly wrote: 
> 
> >I disagree. I think it's pretty damn clear that commercial muds are, on
> >the average, FAR higher quality than free ones. I would like to see it
> 
> Because there are less of them?  Do you have some sort of useful heuristic
> here?  There are (and have been) several high quality free muds available.
> I don't think it matters much if the stock mud is free of commerical, if
> people don't put in effort it won't be anything interesting.  I don't think
> people would put in any more effort if they were writing a commerical as
> compared to free mud.  Although it does (in some ways) change the
> relationship with the players, this is both a positive and negative thing.

No, I said average. There are several high quality free muds available, I
agree. And yes, if people don't put in the effort, it won't be anything
interesting. This is entirely my point. Why do most free muds have little
effort put in them? Lack of motivation and ability. What is an
all-but-universal and generally squeezably good motivator? Money. Money
attracts quality people and motivates them. That's not always the case of
course, as demonstrated by the handful of high-quality free muds, but
generally speaking, money is a fantastic motivator for people. There is a
reason that it takes money (and lots of it) to retain the best people in
almost any area of life.

And if you really don't think people would put more effort into writing a
commercial mud, well, I've spent years working full-time on Achaea. I
would never have started a mud if there was no commercial opportunity, so
that's at least one person I can definitively say would put in more
(infinitely more in this case) effort in creating a commercial mud than a
free one.

 
> >The solution is
> >attracting quality people who have the energy, ability, and money to
> >produce quality content. This is what happened with cable television. I
> 
> Muds (and games in general) are always going to be a low paid field, so in
> general the people that end up in this sort of field are people starting
> out thinking it will be fun.  Or people who cannot get employed elsewhere
> :)  Although there are a few fanatics that stick with it.

You are incorrect. I make a very good salary running/developing Achaea,
and every quarter I make more. (the company too, but I'm talking about me,
personally). Further, I know at least one other mud admin (not sure if
he'd appreciate me saying who) who used to (don't think he still
does) make more than I currently do (rather not specify exact
amounts. It's much more than the pitifully low wages paid by big game
companies though.)

I started a commercial mud because 1) I believed I could make money doing
it, and 2) I love muds. 2) would never have been enough. I was talking to
a mud admin recently who wants to go commercial, and I thought what he
told me was very telling. He's done his mud from scratch, and said
(paraphrased), "When I started <mud x> I was a bit naive. I thought it'd
be worth it just for the enjoyment, but I've since discovered
otherwise." This is a guy who once called me a capitalist parasite for
charging for Achaea too. Again, clearly it's not the case for everyone
that money is necessary, but it certainly is for a lot of people.
 
> I disagree about Cable giving better content.  Even though I do watch the
> cable channels (free to air reception is pretty useless where I live,
> mountains and all that), I quite often find myself browsing all 200
> channels and not finding anything that looks in vaguely worth watching.
> Where do I find most of my interesting programs?  BBC America, and when I
> was in Australia the ABC, which are both Government run, not for profit,
> channels.

You may not find it better but the fact is that they provide content you
simply cannot get on the networks. You cannot watch sports any hour of the
day on a network. You are not going to find music videos 24 hours a day on
a network. You are not going to find news 24 hours a day on a network, and
so on. Just like you, more people prefer networks to any single cable
station, but, cable is now watched, in the states at least, as much as the
networks. 

As for the BBC America and so on, they may not be for profit, but that is
because the taxpayers are being robbed to pay for the content. If you can
get someone to do that for you for your free mud, by all means, relieve
the poor sucker of his or her or its money. In the meantime though, I
really doubt any free mud is going to be getting significant government
subsidies. 

 
> >On the other hand, I believe that making it
> >easier for entrepreneurs to create commercial muds would produce more
> >commercial muds which will nearly always be of significantly
> >higher quality than your average free mud. That the profit motive is a
> >very good and very strong motivator is pretty obvious. Someone using a
> >stock base to start a commercial mud would be forced to really gussy it
> >up, or no one is going to pay. He could, of course, code one from scratch,
> >but this is a much more difficult thing to do. 
> 
> Plus the fact that muds have low profit margins anyway (like all games),
> until you get to a reasonable distribution size.

Sorry to be so contrary, but you are wrong again. Small muds (we've never
had more than 150 people online) that are run properly have fantastic
profit margins. Our profit margin exceeds 80% which is astronomical by
anyone's standards.

--matt




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