[MUD-Dev] Logical MUD Areas

John Buehler johnbue at msn.com
Tue May 8 18:53:30 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

Kevin Littlejohn writes:
> "John Buehler" wrote

>> Okay, so if some people have greys today and I present them as
>> blacker than black, then I'm presenting them with a new angle on
>> things.  If I really believe the things that I believe, it is worth
>> my time to present those views to others.  If I'm off-target or
>> simply incapable of presenting the ideas, I'll be ignored.
>> Hopefully, I won't ever actually push anyone away from continuing
>> to try to uncover a truth in a certain area.

>> I spend a fair amount of time considering goods and evils.

> So, you understand that you _will_ be presenting people with
> disturbing choices to have to make, shades of grey, putting them in
> situations where they'll be "encouraged" to do things they find
> distasteful, etc?  Simply by virtue of your set of beliefs not being
> the same as everyone else, that _will_ be the case, unless you build
> a completely trivial stereotypical world and present it as such -
> even then, you're likely to slip up on something you hadn't
> considered, like this "hunting animals for food" thing.

Relative to their standards, yes, I'm presenting them with a shade of
grey.  Relative to my own, I'm not.  I'm referring to the
responsibility of a game designer to the players.  There's a
difference of intent between my offering shades of grey that encourage
a player broadly towards what I understand to be a positive end versus
another designer offering shades of grey that don't lead anywhere in
particular.  That designer is content to let players be negatively
affected by their creation.  Negative effects are fairly inevitable,
but it is the conscious acceptance of them that bothers me.

> Designing with this idea that you'll present no shades of grey, no
> "interesting" dilemmas, is just going to send you down the same path
> most other people have taken, where they present the good guys and
> the bad guys, and various people go "but, what if I want to do
> blah?".

I'm not going to encourage immature players into dilemmas that they
are not prepared to handle.  The dilemma of whether to run away or
whether to support my friends in combat will be available to them, as
will many others.  Dilemmas of immorality and death are not dilemmas
that I care to offer my players.

> Design alongside the understanding that people will find things to
> disagree with no matter what you do, and give people the flexibility
> to play how _they_ want rather than pushing them into your mould,
> and you'll get closer to the idea of "don't present disturbing
> choices" than otherwise - but then you're dumping kids into
> something that requires them to make decisions *gasp* ;)

You seem to be assuming that I'm after happy-happy-la-la land.  This
is all about a question of degree.  Some people are not prepared to
deal with certain moral dilemmas.  The dilemmas that children below
the age of about 18 are not typically prepared to handle, I would
attempt to avoid.


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