[MUD-Dev] Logical MUD Areas

John Buehler johnbue at msn.com
Tue May 8 00:20:26 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

Derek Licciardi writes:

> Greg Munt writes:

[Misattributed.  This was actually in reply to my post.  JB]

> I am not sure if this view of evil you hold is one that I like to believe.
> My view of the 'evil' topic is not so cleanly defined as yours is
> and tends more towards eastern philosophies.  Evil is one side of an
> extreme.  The overzealous paladin can be just as dangerous to
> society as can the blatant rogue who undermines the law.

That's certainly true.

> How do you translate this into gameplay, create a fun game, and
> avoid having the next Democratic president try to hang you as a
> poster child for all that is wrong in this country.  Good question.
> I do know this.  Creating evil monsters that are immutably evil
> removes entire dimensions from your ability to compellingly tell a
> story.

It sure does.  The dimensions that permit a player to believe that
they are committing evil acts.

> Robin Hood is a thief and therefore is evil because no good NPC
> could possibly be a thief as well.

Really?  Who said taking from the evil guys to give to the good guys
was a bad thing?  If I wanted to support a Robin Hood character, I'd
have oppressive evil NPCs who steal and do other nasty things.
Players SHOULD be stealing back the money, fighting for their homes
and so on.

> My problem with your approach is that it is way to heavy handed and
> sweeping in its assumptions.  Some of the most fascinating works of
> literature, art and film have been derived from the greyness that is
> the human moral struggle.  (ie the desire to blow up your boss and
> provide your family with food) These mutually exclusive decisions is
> what makes conflict exciting, life rewarding and existance
> interesting.

These games aren't literature, art or film.  Would you have us all
start a new world war in order to get going with some really good
moral struggles?  I'm assuming not.  The forms that you mention don't
actually affect anyone.  They are cases presented for our inspection.
With characters, we're one step away from reality.  We identify with
our characters, and we are affected by what other players do.  I want
to avoid negative effects on my players where possible.  The pursuit
of sweeping, impactful decisions in these games is a perfect example
of what I do NOT want to see in these games.  I don't want the level
of immersion that you seem to want.

> Your system would tell the players that they were not free to make
> the choice unless they were ready to become immutably evil with no
> return.  Its a little too black and white for me and I feel that you
> lose a dramatic ability to tell your story by not greying the lines.

Note that players might be permitted to pursue evil acts, but those
acts would carry heavy sanctions.  That, as opposed to pursuing good
acts, which carry benefits.  All games have a habit of
sanctioning/disallowing certain actions and rewarding still others.
These decisions are usually made in the interest of entertainment.  I
am also pursuing maximum entertainment from the game and believe that
it is naturally intertwined with the whole moral issue.

> As for the effects such a system would have on the children, well
> lets leave that up to the guidance of the parents to teach their
> children what they should learn from a given encounter or story.

I mentioned elsewhere that I believe that we are all responsible for
our interactions with children.  If a child is paying attention to
what I'm doing, I should be mindful of my actions.  If I am writing a
book that children will read, I should be mindful of my words.  And so

> I personally do not believe I should create the most gory game on
> the planet, but I am a firm believer that it is not my
> responsibility to care for the health and welfare of someone else's
> kids because the product I produce is voluntary in nature.

And in a perfect world, you'd be all set.  Unfortunately, everybody
affects everyone else.  It's up to you as to whether it's a negative
or positive influence.

> If the parents do not like my product, then stop their kids from
> having it.

But not all parents are monitoring their children.

> Taking it one step further, if the parents would take the time to
> talk to their kids about the games they play, there exists a great
> opportunity to properly solidify the child's moral beliefs by
> examining the decisions they make during gameplay involving those
> grey areas.  (end soap box cause I could go off on this topic)

I agree that parents should be mentoring their children through an
experience that poses new moral dilemmas to them.  Produce your game
with moral dilemmas and then structure the user interface such that it
requires an interaction by both parent and child and I'll be promoting
your product.


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