[MUD-Dev] Something in the water

Sean Kelly sean at ffwd.cx
Fri Jul 27 06:45:39 New Zealand Standard Time 2001


From: "Joe Andrieu" <jandrieu at caltech.edu>

> There's a lot of confusion IMO because game designers and
> programmers generally consider the objective simulation to be the
> actual thing that matters.  It may be the only directly measurable
> thing, but it is certainly NOT what matters.  What matters is that
> happens in the mind of your players.

I read some articles to this effect a long time ago as it related to
VR.  Users responded better to a system that was quick and
responsive but had poor graphics (like representing things as cubes
and whatnot) than a fancier system that was less responsive.
Imagination is excellent at filling gaps so long as you provide a
system that is intuitive.

This is why so many people still play text MUDs.  3D graphics can't
compare to one's own imagination, and it takes away from the
experience when they are present.  I would argue the same is true
for systems as a whole.

One statement I heard from a game designer was that the goal was not
to model realistic behavior but to model consistent behavior.  You
want to establish whatever laws you think are appropriate and then
stick to them.  Users don't care about realism so much as they care
that things behave in a predictable manner.

> As to whether or not you can automatically identify RP, I agree,
> you cannot. But if you design your system well you can create it.
> Can any artist really know what the effect of their art is on
> their audience? No.  But real artists (*ahem* just like the real
> art they make--tongue firmly in cheek) strive to reach through the
> medium into the mind/heart/life of their audience.

Were you being sarcastic? :) I would argue that most artists create
their art for selfish purposes and if their art happens to appeal to
others than so much the better.  I don't think it's making others
see or feel anything in particular so much as giving something
inside you substance.  The best art tends to be very personal.
(hehe and no, I don't want to get in a debate over what constitutes
art) It soulds like what you're describing is the school of
contemporary art which is all about causing a reaction.  So far as I
know, no one has created a MUD with the intent of causing a public
outcry... but it might be a fun project to try ;)

Sean

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