[MUD-Dev] Player-admins, was wimping/wiping and the big blind spot

Matt Chatterley chattemp at ee.port.ac.uk
Wed Aug 9 10:27:36 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

On Tue, 8 Aug 2000, Brian 'Psychochild' Green wrote:

> Patrick Dughi wrote:
> > > Peter: 'Ugh, how can you code if you don't know what's fun?'
> > 
> >         I have to raise a complaint against this mindset, as I've
> >  encountered it many times in the past and found it to be poorly concieved.
> Oooh, I think I'll do likewise with your points.

I'd expected the wimping/wiping thread to die painfully, but it seems to 
be taking all kinds of interesting new twists. :)
> >  You do not have to play a game in order to know what would be good or bad
> >  for your game, for in truth this is not that difficult of a thing.  
> If it's not that difficult, why do so many players think that admins
> screw it up on a regular basis?  Heck, why do so many admins they they
> screw it up on such a regular basis?  (Myself included!)

While I would say that you do not have to play a game in order to have 
good ideas as to what could be added to it, or improvements which could 
be made (it depends *what* you do code-wise, in part - if you work mainly 
on points of user interface, you can test them amply without being a 
player, if you work on spells or combat moves, its harder if you haven't 
tried them in the player context), if you *do* play the game, you'll 
probably notice more things, and pick up on some of the player mindset.

As to players thinking that admins have screwed up, that becomes slightly 
circular - many players will whine when something which the 
administration consider a bug, is squashed, but which makes play more 
difficult for a particular guild or character class. :P
> The ideal situation would be to play your game exhaustively.  Play every
> race/class combination in every area using every possible skill. 
> Obviously, unless your MUD is extremely limited (or, you have given up
> the need to sleep and are independently wealthy), then this is
> impossible.  So, most people settle for playing a subset of the game and
> judging it from there.

Yup. Plus, I'd say, in a lot of ways, admins and coders tend to try and 
create/run the sort of game which they've always wanted to play. 
Certainly, if my own Mud project ever reaches completion, I'll have to 
struggle to divide my time fairly between playing and working on it.

Perhaps this is one reason why quite a lot of games allow responsible 
players who have worked their way up through all the levels, to become 
staff. Player experience *is* useful.
> Feedback has the evil of being filtered.  No matter how honest someone
> is, they're always holding something back.  Perhaps they don't want to
> hurt your feelings, or perhaps they DO want to hurt your feelings, or
> perhaps it just takes longer to explain the whole playing experience
> that you have the time.  So, you have to settle for listening to a
> subset of the feedback out there.

FeedBack from players (or infact anyone) is biased too, towards their own 
advantage (no matter how subtly). This doesn't invalidate it, of course.
> There's also the option of winging it.  Don't play the game and don't
> bother with feedback.  Just do what you think is right.  I'll leave
> investigation into this method for others.

Could be interesting, if a little fiery. ;)
> >         This is also where the problem lies.  As a player, your
> >  preconcieved notions take on a subtle pro-player cast, often at the
> >  expense of the entire mud.  
> I think the problem here is that you haven't defined what a "good MUD"
> is.  I like to think of a good MUD that's like a good paper RPG; it
> provides entertainment for the players.  It's not so hard as to be
> frustrating, but not so easy as to be unchallenging.  Given this
> definition, a "pro-player" attitude is quite helpful, I think.

OTOH, I would say you cannot define a 'Good Mud' because of the many 
human factors involved in any game (particularly in its atmosphere), and 
because there are so many particular likes and dislikes which people hold 
about Muds. Certainly any game must be fun (to be otherwise is surely a 
contradiction in terms), unfortunately the pro-player spin from some 
people does tilt a little too far to one side. This in turn builds up to 
lead to whining, and we get back to the wimping thread, really. :)
> >  That is to say, you loose your objectivity
> >  which allowed you to generate a well oiled interconnecting series of
> >  systems (combat, exploration, socializing, etc).  It's replaced with less
> >  of a game-orientation, and more of a personal, individual orientation.
> Again, depends on what you want from your MUD.  If you're looking for a
> perfect world simulation, then perhaps taking a sympathetic view to
> players is harmful.  They should live or die upon what the world
> simulation says.  If you're looking to capture the challenge and fun of
> a paper RPG session (without the Mountain Dew and Chee-tos), then being
> biased toward the players could provide a more fun environment.

Aye. There are all sorts of muds out there, from the downright silly, to 
the fairly realistic medieval world, to the fantasy world with high 
internal consistancy. Most of 'em have quite a few players - there are 
lots of different tastes out there. My ideas have always been more than a 
little inspired by the depth available in a good paper RPG, but expanded 
by the fact that instead of relying on a Human DM, you have a computer to 
do it for you - give it mathematical tasks and it'll be far superior, 
but, it gets a bit stuck when you come to imagination. Dynamic, 
imaginative content is tricky to achieve here. :)
As a side point, has anyone here played Majesty? What do we think of it? :)

It has certain Mud-like facets, albeit from a different viewpoint. :)

-- Matt Chatterley
".. You live for the fight, when its all that you've got .."
		Jon Bon Jovi; Livin' on a Prayer, as always.

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