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

Dave Rickey daver at mythicgames.com
Mon Jul 17 10:38:55 New Zealand Standard Time 2000


-----Original Message-----
From: Dr. Cat <cat at realtime.net>
To: mud-dev at kanga.nu <mud-dev at kanga.nu>
Date: Sunday, July 16, 2000 9:02 PM
Subject: [MUD-Dev] Re: MUD-Dev digest, Vol 1 #165 - 14 msgs


>
>"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.

    Interesting....  I feel like we may be skirting the edges of a
conceptual break here.  I have a hard time imagining "meaningful" conflict
resolution that does not involve combat at some level.  I can grasp it in an
intellectual sense, but it doesn't hold any interest for me.  The question
then becomes, is it just me?
>
>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.

    Hm....  But the thing about the "casual gamer" is that he doesn't *want*
immersion, doesn't want compelling environments.  He chooses his games for
their simplicity, and the fact that he can set them aside at any time
without a qualm.  You can show him advertising, but I don't see any other
way you're going to get money out of him.
>
>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.
>
    But I don't *want* to make stupid games for stupid people. ;-)  A future
for online environments that is to what we have now what soap operas are to
theatre quite frankly worries me.  Worlds made by hacks, recycling the same
cliches over and over for an audience with the apparent intelligence of a
slug?
>
>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.

    First mover advantage in this arena is huge.  You want to establish
brand loyalty, move fast.
>
>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)

    Nah, I agree with you about achievers.  But you can't ignore Killers,
they're the only ones with any real gumption.  Properly channeled, they're
leaders.
>
>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.

    I could point at the even older war simulations like Chess or Go, but if
anything that would support your position.  Is that really the future of
online environments, places where hopelessly average people do hopelessly
pointless things, and "mastery" requires minutes, after that it's all
chance?  It's certainly seems like a bleak picture.
>
>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.
>
    I'd argue that *that* is a temporary phenomenon, a leftover caused by
the large legacy population who *didn't* grow up playing video games.  The
generation raised on Mortal Kombat is not going to grow up and play Spades
like their parents.

--Dave Rickey




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