[MUD-Dev] Re: MUD-Dev digest, Vol 1 #163 - 25 msgs

Matthew Mihaly the_logos at achaea.com
Fri Jul 21 09:03:05 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

On Fri, 21 Jul 2000, Colin Coghill wrote:

> On Thu, Jul 20, 2000 at 05:18:54PM -0700, Tamzen Cannoy wrote:
> > 
> > I'm sorry, but a stupid person cannot convincingly play a genius. If 
> > you don't got things like diplomacy and tact in RL, you aren't gonna 
> > be a very convincing ambassador. Etc. You gotta work with what you 
> > got.
> I disagree.

You disagree. That's quite an interesting angle to take. I feel like I can
almost credit the possibly of a stupid person playing a genius, but then
all my powers of imagination give out on me and I start to giggle
hysterically. Yeah, we have players who attempt to play a genius. The
thing is mate, Tamzen Cannoy did not mean play someone who is labeled a
genius in a game. No one gives a shit about that. That's easy to do. Just
make big signs they can hang around their necks that say "Genius."

Stupid players who attempt to act like geniuses are just stupid players
trying to act like geniuses. As such players are, actually, stupid (note
the prefix 'stupid' before players), and as stupidity is sort of a very
large barrier to mental dexterity, they fool no one except stupider
people. It's no different than going into your local bar and talking to
the drunk guy who thinks he's discovered the concept of solipsism.

> To me, one of the big attractions of RPGs and MUDs is that I get to
> be something I'm not (in real life).

No, see, you can't ever, in any game, actually _be_ something you are not.
You are your character. Your character is just a mask. You can ACT at
being something, but you can't actually _be_ something else, because by
definition, everything you do in the game is merely a subset of the sum of
your being. You cannot escape your limitations.

> I get to experience a little of what it would be like to be able
> to use magic, or be physically impressive, or be able to explore
> dangerous caverns.

You get to pretend to be physically impressive, pretend to use magic, and
pretend to explore dangerous caverns. Being physically impressive is just
a matter of typing a description and having some statistics. Using magic
is just a matter of the game shifting some bits around. Exploring
dangerous caverns likewise. 

Being, say, a clever politician, on the other hand, is not a matter of
shifting bits around, because it involves convincing real people of
things. AI certainly won't be able to handle the intricacies of
person-to-person politics for the forseeable future.

> I don't see any fundamental difference between a character that can 
> do "jump across grand canyon" or "trick ambassador fred into giving 
> me land".

Because "trick ambassador fred into giving me land" only works if
Ambassador Fred is an NPC. A real player would get quite irritated
generally if that sort of thing worked. Further, that doesn't make you a
clever ambassador except in the most trivial sense. People want to be seen
as clever in the sense that they themselves are clever, not in the sense
that the game tells them they are clever after typing some command.

> I think the current focus on games letting you have physical skills
> that you don't otherwise have but not giving you mental skills (in game)
> that you don't have comes mainly from history. I would think that most
> people who played "tabletop" RPGs (and MUDs) originally tended to be
> more intellectually skilled than physical, and it made sense for the 
> game system to make up for physical skills but not bother with mental 
> ones.

Eh? I know lots of games that have telepathy, ie a mental skill. So what?
Look, in an environment where you are given the opportunity to sound
stupid frequently via communication with your fellow world-dwellers, all
that matters in terms of actually being a clever <whatever> is that you
actually are clever. You can't fake it.

> Having said that, there does need to be some challenge in the game,
> and given the format, it can't really be physical - so it has to be
> mental.



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