[MUD-Dev] Re: MUD-Dev digest, Vol 1 #165 - 14 msgs

Dr. Cat cat at realtime.net
Sun Jul 16 18:44:59 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

> From: "Dave Rickey" <daver at mythicgames.com>
>    Err, I think you're right, for the wrong reasons.  When it all shakes
> out, "character advancement" and hack-and-slash games *will* become fringe.
> The mainstream will belong to games that let people kill each *other*.
>     It's possible, as a literary excercise, to write a novel in which there
> is zero conflict.  The general public will never read it, will not be able
> to understand why anyone would *write* it.

"Conflict" is interesting, though it's not the only thing that's
interesting to humans.  (Sex and food and music spring to mind).
However "combat" is a subset of "conflict", and "fatal combat" is a
subset of "combat".

I think that games that have the forms of conflict so popular in soap
operas and romance novels may turn out to be quite popular, even if
they have little or no killing.  Already seen some of that kind of
interaction on some MUSHes, only it's all vampires and werewolves ending
up in soap-opera type situations rather than regular folks.

You don't need to have people killing each other to have conflict.

>     Numbers so bogus it boggles the imagination, they are not only counting
> John C. Gamer twice when he's registered at different sites, they're
> counting him multiple times on  the same site, often once for every
> different game he plays, and for each IP address he logs in from.  I've said
> it before, I'll say it again, for commercial purposes (yes, I realize most
> people on this list don't have commercial motivations) the "casual gamer" is
> a myth.

Try telling that to the Bingozone guys that pull in millions of dollars a
year from advertising.  There's significant sized audiences & revenues at
Mplayer, Internet Gaming Zone, pogo.com (now ranked as THE stickiest site
on the web apparently), and maybe even WON.  The numbers are most likely
bogus.  But if the ratio of casual to hardcore isn't actually 30 to 1, but
more like 20 to 1 or 10 to 1, the point that they're the vast majority
still holds.

I'd note that the one million number for hardcore online gamers might be
similarly inflated.  Or more likely, I would strongly suspect that when
a much higher percentage of hardcore gamers got on the Internet early, and
the more of the rest of earth's population that gets on, the more the
ratio will shift towards casual gamers.

> >The question in my mind isn't how to work socializers in, but rather how
> >to make a place that caters primarily to socializers - the majorit of
> >humans.
>     Err, no.    According to the stats on the Bartle Test, Explorers are the
> largest single segment, with Socializers a close second.

I'm assuming the Bartle Test has only been applied to mud players here.
When I refer to "the majority of humans", that refers to a group of some
six billion or so people.  And I think you've got a seriously skewed and
not statistically representative sample there.

Many developers might not care about the billions of people who aren't on
the Internet yet.  But I'm quite interested in them.  Especially the
millions of them that will be getting on the Internet for the first time
within the next few years.  Much easier to establish brand loyalty with a
customer who hasn't gotten hooked on any rival brands yet.

>     We have a long way to go in finding ways to attract and hold
> Socializers, but starting by completely abandoning Achievers and Killers is
> probably not the best bet.

I think you can abandon killers without abandoning achievers.  And I
think there's other ways to satisfy an achiever than "pumping up
some things called 'levels', 'gold' and 'experience points'".
But maybe that's just me.  :X)

>     Sorry, but I can't see how it is relevant to *anyone*, who isn't
> starting from the presumption that this whole "Combat Oriented Gameplay"
> thing that has dominated the *entire* games software industry from the
> beginning is just a fad.  Even in Online Backgammon, the attraction is that
> you're playing against a live person.

Radio is not "just a fad".  But if I were around in the dawning days of
television, I would hope I'd have had the vision to tell people "Hey this
is going to be the big thing, let's get involved in this business".

As a student of the history of gaming, I have to view computer and video
games as an infant medium, and it's hard to tell what it'll be like when
it's a mature medium.  But I think it's particularly telling that you
choose to mention Backgammon.  While there's a tiny hint of combat
(hitting blots), it's primarily a race game.  What type of gaming
dominated boardgames in the 1800s?  The very first one mass-produced
in the United States, The Royal Game of Goose, was a race game.  There
were plenty of others.  Through the history of "humans playing games",
I see gambling games, manual dexterity challenges, strategy & logic games,
trivia games, light games that mainly just provide a focus for
socialization, learning games for little kids, and all kinds of things
other than combat games.  Go walk the boardgame aisle in Toys 'R Us and
see how many of the games are about combat.

Even in computer and videogames, where many of the games are about combat,
if you look at the all-time mega-mega-hits, there's a number that aren't.
Tetris, possibly the top selling game ever, is not.  Neither is Myst, nor
Windows Solitaire (probably the most-played PC game ever).  And I believe
there have been times in the last year or two when 4 of the top 10 games
on the PC best-seller charts were Barbie titles.

Anyway I consider online backgammon to be an argument for my case, rather
than against it.  Yes, the attraction is that you're playing with another
person.  That's a given in any argument about what will be the most
popular multiplayer games, they all have that "other person" thing in
them.  You say it'll be about killing the other person, I say most people
will want to do something else with the other person.  Talk, have
cybersex, or race around a backgammon board.  The most popular online
games currently seem to be Spades and Hearts.  Precious little killing
there, I'm afraid.

   Dr. Cat / Dragon's Eye Productions       ||       Free alpha test:
*-------------------------------------------**   http://www.furcadia.com
    Furcadia - a graphic mud for PCs!       ||  Let your imagination soar!

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