[MUD-Dev] CGDC dinner

J C Lawrence claw at kanga.nu
Wed Mar 15 18:46:04 New Zealand Daylight Time 2000

On Sat, 11 Mar 2000 22:14:02 -0800 
Joe Andrieu <joe at andrieu.net> wrote:

>> [J C Lawrence]

>> -- The various levels of bandwidth consumption among the
>> commercial games, and what trade-offs were made to get there
>> (mostly in terms of what is dynamically streamed from the server,
>> and what is stored statically on the client-side).

> Wow. I missed that. What are the levels of bandwidth on these
> systems?  I've always wondered...

It wasn't a long discussion, more a passing commentary by Raph in
the discussion of streaming world contet (the talk ranged so widely
it was tough to spend much time, or depth, on anything in

Perhaps Raph could chime back in?

> Btw, I'm thinking the "EQ guy" you are referring to was me,
> sitting between Shannon Appel from Skotos and the guy from Smaug
> (Derek?)  and the economist academic/grad student whose name
> escapes me but had really cool things to say.

Were you the fairly short haired chap I asked, in regard to the
problems of EQ characters being sold on EBay, "But is it EQ's
responsibility to guarantee that sort of consistent principle for
the game for players?" (or some words to that effect)?  I was across
from him/you, and one seat to his right.

> Actually, I'm with a start-up named RTD...

Aye, that was one of the discussions I wanted to be in on, but was

> ...Jeff Rawlings (formerly of AOL) was also at that end of the
> table, sitting next to Scott Martins from Worlds Apart
> Productions, producers of The Eternal City, and a chap from Skotos
> to his left, which I think rounds out that end of the table.


> One thread that spun off the "deflationary economic model" of EQ
> was whether or not it might be useful to model the economic
> systems for managing durable goods in using a different model from
> the one for consumable goods.  It was mentioned in the EQ talk at
> the conference that to balance hording, they would create
> consumables that were very expensive, but really desirable. So
> folks would convert their horded piles of stuff into cash and buy,
> for example, potions or whatever that go away with use.  This
> seemed like a hack.  Instead, what about managing/designing how
> people build their durable net worth with one model, and design
> the system for consumables with another. Tune the wealth building
> separately from the "flow" of goods that make up the consumer
> economy.


Conceptually I look at the two as potential engergy versus kinetic
energy.  They're both exactly the same thing, measured in exactly
the same units, it just that one is in the process of moving.  This
has the advantage of also bring in the concept of the difference
between static and dynamic friction in regards to rates of change of
energy levels.  If you look at it that way, the problems with
hoarding degrade into problems with over-charged batteries or large
weights being held up -- things that the RL universe conspires
against thru simple decay (unpopular with players), and its less
obvious osmotic counterpart entropy (things leak back towards
zero-sum steady-state (ie decay)).

Entrpoy is a concept that doesn't seem tobe directly dealt with much
in current game designs (other than the crude level of direct object
decay).  The Ur/Meta/Instantiated object concept potentially
provides a model here for gross entropic events (bank robberies?,
thief silently replaces your mega-sword with a tinfoil sham without
your noticing?).

> And if we have a consumer economy, why not create a debt mechanism
> so players could buy gear on credit and go adventure to pay for
> it--very motivational and more challenging than the endless hack
> to scrape a few coins together to upgrade my dagger to a short
> sword.  And if they can't pay back the credit when credit is due,
> when, just think Loan Shark and some very interesting in-game
> solutions pop up.  This of course also creates a direct mechanism
> for managing the money supply, a la Greenspan and the Federal
> Reserve.

I'd find it a little more interesting to create active supports for
players to play bankers, loan sharks etc.  Make the players
instantiate the financial industries, along with all the normal
safeguargs (and their costs) or lack of such safeguards (and lesser
costs), and all the normal mafioso-style interesting behaviour that
surrounds it.

J C Lawrence                                 Home: claw at kanga.nu
----------(*)                              Other: coder at kanga.nu
--=| A man is as sane as he is dangerous to his environment |=--

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