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

Ben Sizer brsizer at kylotan.eidosnet.co.uk
Tue May 8 00:42:17 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

From: Koster, Raph <rkoster at verant.com>
>> From: Ben Sizer

>> The second reason I think that free muds tend to evolve and change
>> whereas commercial muds stay relatively static, is because some of
>> the new ideas are deliberately held back for sequels. Since I don't
>> work in the industry (yet), I am purely speculating here, but I'd
>> be very surprised if publishers and the like didn't 'encourage'
>> developers to leave big and interesting things out of the ongoing
>> game patches, so that they can form selling points for a subsequent
>> sequel (or indeed, expansion pack.)

> Hurm, can't say that I ever recall that happening with any product
> that I've been close to. Usually the stuff for an expansion pack is
> just so durn big that you'd never even consider it for a regular
> patch.

Does that go for -everything- in that expansion?  I know people don't
(usually) sell expansions consisting purely of patches... but it
wouldn't surprise me if there might be some small-yet-significant
things that are included alongside the extra artwork and zones which
may have been held back.

Or maybe features are held back under the guise of 'having to meet
deadlines'. I know some developers these days are openly admitting
that they had to ship a game with a feature (in some cases, a
near-essential one) missing, knowing that they can just add it in when
the patch is released. Sad, really.

> Come to think of it, I do seem to recall discussion of whether we
> would patch "Big Window" (aka, an in-game desktop, essentially, so
> you could arrange your in-game windows on it) to everyone in UO or
> whether it would be a feature for the Second Age expansion pack. As
> I recall, we touted it with the 2nd Age box, but also patched it to
> everyone.

This would not be an uncommon strategy: promote and sell the patches
and upgrades to those who can't and/or won't download them and install
them separately, yet still make them freely available to those who
demand to get fixes for free. Without wishing to go down the OS wars
route, Microsoft have been doing this with the Win9x range in recent
years. No doubt many others use this strategy.

Ben Sizer

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