[MUD-Dev] Logical MUD Areas

John Buehler johnbue at msn.com
Sun May 6 15:52:37 New Zealand Standard Time 2001


Greg Munt writes:

> Why not? Why should it be black and white? Why shouldn't everything
> be grey?  There is too much emphasis on killing in muds - almost as
> if the ending of another life is acceptable.. That the life of other
> beings has no meaning. I don't see that sort of morality as
> something that should be encouraged. This raises another point: do
> we, as mud developers, have a responsibility for the morality
> suggested by our games? Should we be or feel responsible if this
> sort of negative morality is taken on board by our players? Should
> we encourage a certain morality, or leave it up to the players?

Yes, we have a responsibility for the morality that we espouse through
our games, whether we intentionally present a moral code or not.  We
encourage a morality through our systems and the opportunities that we
provide our players.  What form that responsibility takes is anyone's
guess, but we can start with the general notion of responsibility and
work from there.

In a piece of software that is geared towards entertainment and for
which there are not real, honest to goodness consequences in the real
world, a strict division of good-guy/bad-guy needs to be present so
that players don't derive *entertainment* from killing people.  And
generally VERY gratuitous killing at that.

As you say there is too much emphasis on killing.  I'm working on a
game that is going to emphasize socialization, exploration and
crafting.  If I work in conflict, it will begin muted and we'll go
from there.

> There has been talk on this list, in the past, about how players
> completely screw up a well-designed ecology, by decimating it. Would
> the triggering of emotional responses be a good way to combat this?

I'm not interested in strong emotional responses from players.  I
think that's A Bad Thing and ultimately leads to disaster - unless you
carefully control the entry into and exit from that period of strong
emotional response.  "Schindler's List" does this very carefully.  The
emotional response is drawn out of the viewer and then they are
brought back to reality.  In a game, the crafting of the emotional
response is random, as is the duration of the response.  This, of
course, is due to the interactivity of the medium.  The player has
control.

What would happen in "Schindler's List" if the viewers controlled the
way the story unfolded?

> It also makes me compare this situation with how the germans were
> portrayed by WWII propaganda. We make them evil. It makes them
> easier and/or 'acceptable' to commit mass genocide against them.

A good example of why I don't want any race that we hunt to be
anything other than truly, defineably, evil.  They do not possess
redeeming qualities.  This is true in fact, not simply in the
perceptions of their enemies.

> Along with the moral objections to this, it makes them flat,
> characterless, two-dimensional. It reduces the possibilities for
> immersion into the world, and it sharply reduces a player's
> suspension of disbelief.

I'm one of those people who doesn't want players to get immersed in
these games.  I intensely believe that if The Matrix were available,
we'd all just hunt around for A Matrix that we liked and then live our
lives there.  Immersion into a virtual reality means separation from
reality, and that's simply a bad idea, particularly where the player
decides how long they can be immersed in the virtual reality.

JB

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