[MUD-Dev] Innovation restrictions (was: Information sharing)

John Buehler johnbue at msn.com
Mon May 7 14:40:59 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

Richard A. Bartle writes:
> On 06 May 2001, Greg Munt wrote:

>> Or, at least, players are unwilling/unready to accept big changes
>> to something that they already use. Innovation has to be presented
>> as a completely new game.

> Exactly. Even if it is a new game, though, the players of existing
> games will tend to feel uneasy about it. After all, by implication
> it's supposed to be "better" than the game they're playing at the
> moment. This perhaps explains some of the generally cynical response
> that new ideas receive.

Oh, I interpreted your original post as a claim that players try to
fit the innovation into their existing favorite game and find that it
wouldn't work there.  A simple example of this would be permanent
character death as perceived by an EverQuest player.  They assume that
permadeath would be put into a game that is a clone of EverQuest.  I
encounter this all the time.

The inevitable problem with innovation is that it's unclear whether
the innovative solution will be better than the current solution.
Thus the value of demos.  New things need to be experienced to be
understood by those who haven't formed an extensive mental design
model of the area affected by that thing.  Is light rail better or
worse than busses?  Is Thackaray zoning better than Current Use
zoning?  (I made that up)

>> They have limits on their growth; anything outside those limits has
>> to be presented as a sequel, or another game entirely.

> A lot of this may be to do with the fact that they can wring more
> money out of the players if they do it that way.

It is my hope that a game world can become a platform for
entertainment, not unlike an operating system is a platform for
applications in general.  A game world that permits many additions
(which ties into my hope for per-system server hardware topologies).
Obviously, this is not an innovative hope unto itself, but if somebody
pulled it off, it would permit a game world to provide many orthogonal
forms of entertainment.  Eventually including stamp collecting.

Such a world would put more eggs into one basket, obviously, but the
payoff could be tremendous.  Consider the integration of Microsoft's
applications into a suite of applications that work together.
Integration was one big element of what made Microsoft Office stand
apart.  I think that the same will be said of a game world someday.
There will be one-off games all over the place, but when you can take
your blacksmith and go surfing - or perhaps even hop a ride on a
starship - that game company is going to have something.  Single
experience games have a limited future as far as I'm concerned.


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