[MUD-Dev] Raph's collection of MUD design Laws

Greg Underwood gunderwood at donet.com
Mon Feb 28 00:10:09 New Zealand Daylight Time 2000


Egads.  Has it been 2 weeks already?  geesh.  How time flies.  Anyway:

At 11:24 PM 2/12/00 -0500, koster at eden.com wrote:
>on 3/13/2000 1:45 AM, Greg Underwood wrote:
>
>> Raph must have put up his page-o-laws whilst I had traffic turned off, so
>> the first I saw the page was just this week.
>
>Wow, you must have been without traffic for a while, considering how often
>they get mentioned... :)

Yeah... 6 months whilest I was in Germany, and about another 6 months prior
to that, through me changing email addresses, lack of time, etc.  One way
or another, I was w/o traffic for most of a year.  And apparently, no one
has bothered to mention them in any of the threads I've been reading these
past six months since I turned traffice back on.  :)


>In any case, as an FYI to the group--I am once
>again giving a talk on the Laws at the Game Developer's Conference this
>year. It's March 9th through 12th in San Jose.

Ahhh... *sigh*  Won't be able to go this year.  Though maybe next year, and
even at my company's expense.  Though that will depend on if I can get a
project of mine off the ground.

Now back to the real topic... ;)

>Well, the thing to consider is that the subcommunities often form way way
>sooner than 250. They can start forming with just a dozen or so people. I
>don't think there's anything wrong with providing tools for even small
>groups to make their group identity clear.

Well, my point wasn't that you shouldn't provide them prior to the 250
level, just that you ought to carefully consider what you will allow people
to use to divide themselves.  Heck, you probably ought to carefully
consider it at any level, but I guess my arguement was that the laws seemed
to be saying that prior to the 250 mark, you ought to pay much closer
attention.  Once you get beyond that, you reach a kind of critical mass,
where subdivision is not as much of a problem.

>That law is really more about the scope for hierarchy in groups of small
>size. 250 is the point at which communal consensus forms of policing seem to
>fall apart and the position of "manager of community force" needs to be
>established (eg, when you need a boss for the group).

Hmmm... maybe the law ought to be restated then.  That's not at all what I
got out of it.

[removed my comments on the social breakdown of EoD MUD]

>But did these guilds prevent the players from playing together? 

Well, yes and no.  The whole idea behind having guilds is to give the
players a means of playing against eachother in a more organized fashion.
If you have 100 people, split into 2x 50 person guilds, you can get some
pretty fun dynamics... guild wars, etc.  Heck 4x 25 person guilds, or even
10x 10 person guilds could work.  But we had something like 15x 5 person
guilds, with about 25 unalligned people.  There were too many openings, and
not enough people... and as a result, there was a time when everyone was
desperate to get enough people to make their guild one of the "winners";
the ones that survived a long time, had a lot of sway, etc.  Then came a
time when we had something like 1x75 guild, 3x5 person guilds, and 10
unnassociated people.  The fundamental goal of providing strife fell apart,
because everyone went with the guild that seemed to be the most powerful,
thus actually making it the most powerful, w/o any real opposition.  the
system broke down.

So, yes, they did help people play together, sort of, and no, they
prevented the very kind of play they were orignially added to encourage.

>That's
>really what the law is referencing--stuff that actually keeps players apart.
>A good example would be putting racial enmities that somehow automatically
>forced fights or damaged reputations or something when the opposing groups
>came into contact. With too low a playerbase, this would be unsustainable.
>With enough critical mass, it would be great fun.

Very true, and I'm not disagreing with that at all.  I just think that
guilds can act on both sides of that.  Depending on the situation, they can
encourage group play, or discourage it, and when your player base is under
250 or so, you ought to take a little more time thinking about the ways you
let your players subdivide.

-Greg




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