[MUD-Dev] Re: MUD-Dev digest, Vol 1 #301 - 15 msgs

Baron Baron
Sun Apr 1 19:33:08 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

Raph replied:
> Will & co are paying quite a lot of attention to social dynamics,
> actually.  For example, they're codifying "six degrees of separation"
> using an interface much like The Brain (http://www.thebrain.com).

I think you and I were both a bit shocked - I know I was - by how
quickly Will picked up on key elements of MMOGs.  Plus, unlike
entirely too many successful developers, he was attending GDC for the
sessions, taking notes and absorbing everything he could from the
lectures and roundtables.  Impressive, to say the least.

So, does it simply come down to EA trusting Will Wright?
> <....> you could argue that the interestingly selective sanitization
> that The Sims world represents is already a sufficiently escapist
> departure. Two, there's all that user-generated content that pays no
> respects to the bounds of intellectual property. The Sims had plenty
> of Star Trek, Buffy, X Files, and superhero skins made, for example.

I agree.  This could serve to remove an enormous barrier to entry -
it's based on an almost cartoon abstraction of life that even Ozzie
and Harriet could feel at home in, yet you make it your own.  Again,
this speaks to the brilliance of the product as it is.  EA notes that
well over a million people have visited related web sites.  Indeed, it
was a blast seeing what folks did with the game.

Still, how does my self expression relate to others in an ongoing game
world?  Do I search for folks whose forms of expression resonate with
me?  Do I wander the world, become amused at Gothtown, annoyed by the
opulence of uptown?  What is my motive to interact with the world?
How do I get to know people beyond the mechanic that I need social
interaction to advance, and people interact with me because they need
to in order to advance?

In short, where is the conflict that reveals people for who they are
despite their every effort to craft their image for the world?  What
element of my fantasy life does this game feed?  A bigger house,
perhaps, than I'd ever own in real life?  More "friends?"  The power
of this medium, at its best, is to enable people to realize more
facets of their abilities and character than they can in our little,
limited physical worlds.  What will they learn about themselves here?
What revelations can come from any conflict mechanic arising from The
Sims that can form enduring social bonds?

Not saying it won't work, Raphael.  I don't want it to fail.  I simply
can't get my mind to imagining it working, is all.

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