[MUD-Dev] List rituals

J C Lawrence claw at 2wire.com
Tue Jul 3 19:35:15 New Zealand Standard Time 2001


On Thu, 28 Jun 2001 10:20:27 -0400 
Travis Casey <efindel at earthlink.net> wrote:
> Wednesday, June 27, 2001, 11:11:50 PM, J C Lawrence wrote:
>> On Wed, 27 Jun 2001 12:04:21 -0400 Travis Casey
>> <efindel at earthlink.net> wrote:
>>> Wednesday, June 27, 2001, 3:31:50 AM, J C Lawrence wrote:
>>>> On Sun, 24 Jun 2001 15:38:41 +0200 Ola Fosheim
>>>> <=?iso-8859-1?Q?Gr=F8stad?= <olag at ifi.uio.no>> wrote:
>>>>> J C Lawrence wrote:

>>>>> The net result may be that designers are no longer able to see
>>>>> the mechanisms behind strategic game play.  Neat. :)

>>>> Quite.  It encourages attempting detente.

>>> I'd like to note that the whole notion of "detente" depends on
>>> something else: the idea that the game is a struggle or
>>> competition between the game designers/builders and the players.
>>> This is not the only model for games.

>> Yup, its only really applicable to GoP games.

> Well, it doesn't even apply to all GoP games.  For example,
> consider a mud where the setup is one group of players vs. another
> -- it's a GoP mud, with a goal of "defeat the other team", but
> there's no struggle between players and the game's
> designers/builders.  Thus, there's no reason to hide your
> strategic communications from the designers.

Sure there are, if you suspect that you are taking advantage of
techniques/capabilities the game designers didn't intend you to use.
This is possibly the most basic and common player vs admin scenario.

  "I don't want the admins to know how I am doing this or they
  might change it."

> In a mud, this kind of trust generally doesn't happen, because the
> players don't know the GM personally, the way they do in a
> pencil-and-paper RPG.  Further, the same level of trust isn't
> necessary, because a mud GM generally *can't* change the
> capabilities of monsters, the existence of traps, etc. instantly
> and seamlessly, the way a pencil-and-paper GM can.

Additionally in a MUD the GM is perforce operating a t a more
abstract level generally manipulating systems which affect all
players in some fashion rather than a particular special
case/scenario for a small set of players for just one lazy
afternoon.

> I understand that some pencil-and-paper groups don't trust the GM
> to that extent, and instead use a sort of split-GM model: there's
> the GM, who performs much of the world setup and all the "game
> judge" activities, and an Adversary, who is responsible for
> running the opposition to the players (and sometimes for creating
> it, with guidelines given to him/her by the GM).  If a mud used
> this sort of model, it should be possible to set things up so that
> the GM has access to player communications, but the Adversary does
> not.

Oooo!  <ponder>

>> There are two levels of strategy in that regard:

>> 1) Doing something logically consistent based on the assumed
>> real-world-like rules of the game world

>> 2) Doing something logically possible given the capability
>> definitions of the game world.

>> You seem to be referring to #1.  Players generally seem to be
>> referring to #2.  The interesting part I see is not in attempting
>> #1, but in making a sufficiently detailed and logically
>> consistent (to itself) #2.

> My goal is that #2 should be as similar to #1 as possible.
> Ideally, anything that your character could do in the game world,
> you should be able to have your character do within the game.

> Now, that's not always achievable, of course -- but I think that
> it is a good goal to keep in mind.

Good analysis.

>>> The flexibility of a world-modeling system allows an incredible
>>> number of creative solutions to problems.

>> Yospe has talked about some interesting work in this area.

> Yep... I remember those, and always thought that they sounded like
> a wonderful basis for the kind of things I'd really like to do.

<nod>

>>> This is both a blessing and a curse, though -- if the players
>>> are truly free to come up with creative solutions to obstacles
>>> they encounter in the game, then the amount of work that the
>>> game designers and builders have to do goes up exponentially,
>>> since they have to try to anticipate the creative solutions and
>>> guard against them in some way, so that they don't become easy
>>> routes to success.

>> Quite.  Complexity theory comes to dominate and balance
>> calculations tend to go out the window.  About the only approach
>> then is to make balance calculations dynamic based on observed
>> action.  This tends to unfairly (?) penalise the skillful, as
>> well as unfairly (?)  advantaging the rummager in out of the way
>> places and challenges.

> I'm not sure what sort of balance calculations you're referring to
> -- do you mean calculations used to establish a "difficulty" for a
> task, so you can set a reward for the task based on that?

Both a difficulty and a reward/effort calculation.

> Personally, I'm a pragmatist -- I'd say that if their behavior is
> consistent with having a goal, then we can say they have that
> goal, even if that goal doesn't seem to make logical sense.

Precisely.

> I'd read it before, but it had been a long time, and I'd forgotten
> it.  As you say, I see a lot of points of similarity between them,
> and I think the different communities have things to learn from
> each other.  That's one reason why I stay here, even though I have
> little active interest in muds right now.

<bow> You add a valued voice to the list.

In the end its all humans on the ends of the wires/swords/email and
a game attempting to tie them together.

> I think part of it is that it's often much easier to respond to a
> post than to create one from scratch.  Responding to a post gives
> you something concrete to work off of -- something you can compare
> and contrast your own stand with.  Creating a post requires you to
> work without guidelines, creating from scratch.

> Also, creating a post requires a bit of courage, or possibly of
> pride -- the belief that you actually have something interesting
> enough that other people will want to read it or respond to it.
> When responding to a post, you know that you're probably going to
> have an audience of at least one who's interested; the original
> poster.

Yup this is consistent with and explains why most threads are not
started fresh, but are forks off already running threads.  Its
easier to drop a fork in an already expressed interest than it is to
stick your neck out in the cold and possibly unfriendly light of
day where everyone may see.

--
J C Lawrence                                       claw at kanga.nu
---------(*)                          http://www.kanga.nu/~claw/
The pressure to survive and rhetoric may make strange bedfellows
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