[MUD-Dev] I Want to Forge Swords. [Another letter to game designers]

John Buehler johnbue at msn.com
Mon May 7 23:36:16 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

Martin Burke writes:
> On Monday 07 May 2001 21:26, Auli wrote:
>> John Buehler wrote:

>>> I'm of the opinion that the social structure of a game is the
>>> players and that the characters only afford an excuse for the
>>> players to interact in an interesting way.  It could just as
>>> easily be a deck of cards.

>> I'm sure communities do get built around online card games :)

> I started playing irc poker in '96, the same year I started playing
> Dragonrealms heavily, and I can vouch for the community that exists
> in online card games.

> While I've gotten to know IRC poker players quite well, though, it's
> far different than a gaming community.  I enjoy the poker players on
> one dimension: how fun they are to chat with while playing cards,
> which takes place seperately from the chatting altogether.  With
> gaming it's how the character behaves and what we do together in the
> game that counts, and it's a more cohesive package.  Treating the
> social structure as a seperate entity from the game dilutes the
> overall experience.

Before this takes too extreme a left turn, I was talking about a real
deck of cards.  Consider the days of pencil and paper games like D&D.
It was essentially the same format as a card game, but with the 'card
game' being massively more complicated.  It seems to me that if online
games stop muddling the distinction between character and player, we
might start building features into these games that will eventually
lead back to the sensation of being in a room with other players,
sharing an adventure.

For example, given voice communication between a bunch of players,
they might have a grand old time joking and laughing about things,
while at the same time injecting commentary through their characters
into the virtual world. Right now, players get together at
conventions.  I would think that those same players might enjoy
dealing with the real players all the time.  Other players would
remain anonymous through their characters all the time.

Character speech would sound appropriate to the character, while
player speech would carry to the other players as a real voice.  This
all continues in the direction of reminding players that they are
indeed playing a game, regardless of the immersion level of the
characters, which I very much like.


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