[MUD-Dev] Graphical Mud-in-a-box musings

Justin Rogers justin at mlstoday.com
Fri Jul 6 23:12:12 New Zealand Standard Time 2001


[compliments ala Brian Hook]

> 1.  "MyMUD"
> 2.  "BuildYourMud.lib"
> 3.  "MudWorld"

Actually after talking to lots of Microsoftie's (maybe not the best
population of developers and technical people, but a very vocal one)
the best solution would probably be MyMUD.  It's what people want.
I think nearly every Microsoft employee is going to by NWN because
they get to easily build their own world and run around in it, even
by themselves, they could careless about the MM part but really like
the ORPG part.

So the solution is to build into this model all of the features that
people are going to require.  First they need an easy set of editors
that can administer every part of their world.  They need to be able
to easily set up and maintain a server.  They need to be able to
connect those servers to other servers.  And they need to be able to
bring theirs down without bothering others.

NWN is providing most of this.  But they aren't providing editors
for every aspect of the game.  They aren't letting you edit game
mechanics, those are computed based on the d20? Rulebooks.  I could
have that a bit wrong, but all mechanics are set in stone.  They
aren't letting you create new monsters, and every monster must come
from the compendium.  You won't be able to create new land tiles.
What will you be able to create?  Weapons and Items, oh joy.  You
see their business model states that they must break even with the
client software probably selling around $50us, and then the kicker
will come from them creating expansion packs of tilesets and
monsters as they see fit.  Probably 1 expansion pack every 6-8
months.

Will anyone else be able to generate these tilesets?  At current
look, NO.  Monsters, NO.  Edit game mechanics for your server, NO.
So while they sit and do many things that we like, they still have
to maintain a business model to make money because they can't find
another way.  This being said, what type of model could be generated
to make money for a more open source project?  I am thinking the
following:

Have you ever gone to an adult site and seen that they required some
sort of community pass?  (don't flame me on this note, studying the
porn industry which is one of the largest on the net, and the same
industry that paid for the net in the beginning is a viable way to
discover business models) The same sort of thing could be applied to
an open source code base.  How does this work?

  #1 Open source server and client graphical code base

  #2 Open source tools and editors for developing an actual game

  #3 Get everybody's mothers brother to start generating modules for
  the game

Basically emulate NWN but allow for more customization than NWN
allows.  Provide an engine, tools, graphics, etc... all generated by
a community.  As people bring up servers they can run in one of two
modes.  Mode 1 anyone can connect.  Mode 2 your server/modules
require a MudPass for you to connect.  How does the MudPass work?  A
bunch of Module authors register with some central authority which
handles MudPass authentication.  People who buy MudPass'es can then
connect to these servers.  At the end of a month subscription fees
are divided based on user participation on the various servers.
That way the community of authors makes money, while this central
authority keeps enough to cover costs, manage the money, the credit
cards, etc...

Does it leave room for error and abuse?  Lots.  The central
authority will have to be highly trusted.  The module authors will
have to be kept in check so they don't submit erroneous user
connection data.  But it would be a step in a positive direction for
a community of developers to make money while working on the open
source code they love so much.

Justin Rogers

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