[MUD-Dev] Logical MUD Areas

John Buehler johnbue at msn.com
Mon May 7 15:43:14 New Zealand Standard Time 2001


Adam Martin writes:

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "John Buehler" <johnbue at msn.com>
> To: <mud-dev at kanga.nu>
> Sent: Sunday, May 06, 2001 8:12 AM
> Subject: RE: [MUD-Dev] Logical MUD Areas

>> Greg Munt writes:

>>> You just don't leave your home that easily! I'd be interested in
>>> portraying goblins in a realistic way, too. Instead of the
>>> player-fodder token evil NPCs, they should be seen as simply
>>> another race of sentient intelligence. They should bear children,
>>> raise them, make demands on local resources, just as humans
>>> do. There should be some empathy.

>> While I completely agree that goblins should be defending their
>> homes or actively trying to push away competing populations, I
>> disagree about the whole empathy thing.  I believe that things that
>> we kill must either be non-sentient or they must be inherently and
>> immutably evil.  That means that they are not misguided beings just
>> doing their thing and that works out to be something that the
>> player characters don't like.  It means that they are soulless
>> beings that exist in order to destroy that which is good.

>> Why do this?  Because players should not be encouraged to kill
>> things that they are also encouraged to empathize with.  It's a
>> recipe for disaster.  Sure, it should produce some significant
>> emotional reactions as one group of players sides with the goblins,
>> but those aren't the sorts of emotions that I think we want in
>> gameplay.  Do we also go in and kill goblin children?  Hopefully,
>> you see the effect that I'm worried about.  To go to an extreme, do
>> we want to produce screams of children as they're killed?  I'm sure
>> plenty of people would empathize with *that*.

> But that is the kind of thing that e.g. Lionhead are aiming for in
> Black & White - because it goes a long way to fulfilling the
> "immersive" promise made by many games in their marketing briefs, by
> making players actually care about their actions instead of "merely
> playing a game, which isn't real anyway".

I'm trying to pursue a recipe where players are willing to suspend
their disbelief, enjoy the entertainment that the game offers and then
go on their way.  I believe that part of this is to remind them gently
every now and again that they are playing a game.  A very complex,
intricate and entertaining one.

When players get seriously drawn into the game - that is, they become
immersed - they lose track of time, they place more emphasis on their
game actions than their real world actions, etc.  It's a recipe for
disaster.  How many people are immersed in Soap Operas and reduce the
time they actually spend living their own lives?  Trying to live one's
life can be difficult.  Having somebody else's life to live only
reduces the impetus to try.

I'll be truly thrilled if I'm proven wrong that immersion is a Bad
Thing.

JB

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