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

Matthew Mihaly the_logos at achaea.com
Fri Aug 11 12:34:25 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

On Wed, 9 Aug 2000, Sellers, Michael wrote:

> Finally, while I really do agree with the advice above, it's important too
> not to get stuck on just what *you* find nifty in a game, nor what you find
> impenetrable.  Your tastes are inevitably a small, thin, skewed subset of
> what others will consider fun.  
> To design games I think you need to be able to appreciate them, to see what
> makes them tick, to see what makes *other people's* faces light up, and to
> develop a sense of when something is too dry, too difficult, too tedious.
> All of thise naturally requires a penchant for playing games.  But it also
> requires the more difficult ability to stand back and see how others react
> when they play games, which is not at all the same thing.  

Permit me to put forth a contrarian position, at least partially for the
sake of playing devil's advocate. If you are aiming for a large player
base (UO/EQ/AC) then I would certainly tend to agree with you. McDonalds
is successful precisely because it attempts to appeal to the largest
possible audience, with the blandest type of fast food. (That's not a
veiled insult to Raph or any of the other large commercial designers.) On
the other hand, I'd like to create games as art. I certainly haven't
succeeded yet in my mind, but I do not think that one creates great art by
pandering to the desires of others. I believe that art is created when a
talented someone creates what _he_ wants to create. If others like it,
great. John Grishman, for instance, is certainly a more popular author
than James Joyce, but Grishman is a commercial hack whereas Joyce was an
artist. I'm not sure who I'd rather be (Joyce was poor. I don't do poor
very well.) but I'm damn glad that there are artists out there who create
art without worrying too much, during the process of creation, about what
other people want to see.

As applied to muds, I also think that there is significant value, at least
in niche markets like Achaea's, in creating what you want and then hoping
other people like it. That's definitely what I did with Achaea, and I'm
quite pleased with the results. I suspect if I had set out to create
Achaea while thinking, "What do mudders want?" I'd not have a successful
product right now. Achaea succeeds in part because I created what I
wanted, and I'm fortunate enough that some segment of the mudding
population finds my vision to be attractive enough to pay me for it. Of
course, particularly as Achaea grows, I am forced to think more about what
the players want, but the initial vision out of which Achaea grew had
nothing at all to do with thinking about what mudders want.

"He that is wounded in the testicles, or have his penis cut off, shall not
enter into the congregation of the Lord." Deuteronomy 23:1

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