[MUD-Dev] Mudpie

Koster Koster
Tue Jul 10 16:35:42 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Matt Mihaly

> Red Herring has a fawning article (imagine that) about Rand Miller
> and Mudpie, Cyan's upcoming MUD this month. There were three
> interesting (to me) aspects about it that I wasn't aware of (maybe
> you're not either, or maybe I'm just an ignorant hick, I dunno.)
>   1) Mudpie is meant to be played over broadband connections with
>   voice-over-IP tech. Rand sees himself as driving the sale of
>   broadband in the same way that Myst helped drive the adoption of
>   CD-ROM drives.

The only thing that will drive the adoption of broadband in a
significant way is getting more coverage of the actual
landscape. Most of the country plain can't get it. DSL is hopelessly
hard to get (even in "wired" cities, you get told "sorry, you're 100
ft past our max distance") and digital cable is unavailable in
something like 95% of the country. A killer app isn't going to lay
wires by itself. The CD-ROM analogy is invalid because a user can
take initiative and buy one (even back when it was really
expensive)--the availability was there. Broadband availability
simply is not.

>   2) The article says "The company's burn rate is only
>   $350,000/month, but the 42-year-old Mr. Miller says he will need
>   to spend a lot more to finish Mudpie........If this is truly to
>   become the vision we expect, it will be the most expensive
>   computer game ever." So presumably he's talking well over $30
>   million, which seriously raises the bar. Hmm, maybe not. The
>   only $30 million+ projects I know of are console ones, and
>   possibly he wasn't including those.
> Anyway, the reason I found that interesting was that in a 3 year
> MUD developmenet cycle, a burn rate of 350k/month comes out to a
> bit over 12 million. That seems like a lot, but Red Herring is
> really quite right. It qualifies as an 'only.' That is very
> depressing for small developers.

12 million is a lot for any PC product. It was a lot in the days of
Wing Commander 3, and it still is a lot in the days of MMORPG
development. Hit PC games get made for a third of that quite often.

>   3) He seems to be predicting millions of players. Rand says,
>   "Myst reached a mass market. We believe we can bridge the gap
>   between gamers and the mass market. We're talking about
>   attracting millions of people."
> Seems awfully unlikely that he'd repeat Myst's success, especially
> without Robin, and in essentially a totally different medium, but
> who knows. Interesting times.

The brand alone, like Star Wars, Sims, Star Trek, Harry Potter, etc,
can drive substantial adoption rates. But as we on this list know,
the name of the game is retention...

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