[MUD-Dev] Acting casual about casual gamers

Madrona Tree madronatree at hotmail.com
Mon Jul 3 09:50:34 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

----- Original Message -----
From: "John Buehler" <johnbue at email.msn.com>
To: <mud-dev at kanga.nu>
Sent: Sunday, June 25, 2000 4:10 PM
Subject: RE: [MUD-Dev] Acting casual about casual gamers

>   I also believe in limited gain during a realtime period for the player,
> but I have the notion that there is only so much skill gain that can be
> accumulated in, say, a 12-hour period.  This permits players to decide
> at what point in their play time that they want to go and perform
> advancement.  The Burst Hour notion suggests that everyone should log
> out near a location where they can do their skill gain the next time they
> log in.

Not necessarily.  It only suggests that whatever skill(s) they'll gain the
next day will have to do with what they're doing today.  And maybe not.  I
mean really, the burst hour shouldn't start till you start using a skill, so
that if you are just standing around doing nothing (that the game recongizes
as skill-gain activity) for the first 15 minutes, you shouldn't be punished
for that.

So if I went out killing mobs, and then went back to town to sell my loot,
and logged out in town, and went out to kill mobs again the next day, my
burst hour wouldn't count the time I'm buying/selling ... it would only turn
on the minute i whacked the mob over the head with my weapon.  Maybe you
could even set it - hit a checkbox next to a skill or two that you
particularly want to raise, and have your burst hour begin when you use
those particular skills.

>   The player would spend his time watching graphical depictions
> of each thing that the character does.  Pumping of bellows,
> quenching of metal, hammering, shaping, the whole nine yards.

On its face, it sounds very interesting and fun.  In practice, I worry that
after the "oooh, neat!" wore off, it would get boring.  And if folks aren't
pumping out their plate tunics at a sufficient rate, they will become
extremely expensive; perhaps too expensive for other players
to buy.

>   I have it in my head that the game worlds are designed such that
> they require casual travel over long distances, meaning that the
> instant elsewhere mechanisms are required.  So I'm claiming that
> there's a chicken and egg problem here.  If we remove teleportation,
> I wonder how the game world has to be structured in response.

You'd probably need to put in a lot of small safe zones (villiages?) in
between your big cities so that folks could feel like they wouldn't have to
go to a main town to do their usual buy-food/sell-loot type activities.
Kind of like driving across the US -- if you start in New York and travel to
San Francisco, you might only cross one big city (Denver) on your way there,
but surely there would be places to stop and eat and buy gas on the way.

Your game will also need to be built in smaller chunks.  Teleportation is a
boon to the Casual Gamer; it gets them where they want to go - fast - so
that they can do what they want to do - fast - and get back to their
extra-computer lives.  If you take that away, you'll need to put something
else in its stead, or you'll need to design your game's map so that travel
to anywhere won't take more than 5 minutes if you don't want it to.  Did you
ever play Fallout?  It might be nice for the casual gamer to have a map like
Fallout; where you travel from place A to B on a higher map, and if there
are any hostile confrontations, it stops you for them.  Course, there are
problems with this, too...

>   I understand you point about randomization and I certainly
> agree with the spirit of a changing world.  I'm a big fan of
> using simulation techniques in order to get that.  But can we
> do that with geography?  I don't want spoiler sites popping
> up for geography, because they are the bane of the explorer.
> I wonder if sheer volume of information - size of a world - is
> one answer to that particular problem.

Geography can change, although it is harder.  I am an explorer, and I am
always very glad for the maps that other explorers make.  I don't want them
to tell me everything, you know... however, the maps that come with the
games are usually not very good.

Madrona Tree.

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