[MUD-Dev] Geometric content generation

Brian Hook bwh at wksoftware.com
Tue Sep 18 19:44:04 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

At 08:11 AM 9/18/01 +0000, Matt Mihaly wrote:

> This list seems to accept the maxim that you can't generate
> content fast enough to keep up with player consumption of it.

That's debatable, depending on your notion of "content".  There's a
rather strict definition of "art and design assets" to the far more
general definition of something like "forms of gameplay" or "depth
of experience".

> though, that can't be true. There doesn't seem to be any inherent
> relationship between player consumption rates and developer
> generation rates that would raise consumption rates as generation
> rates are increased, so there doesn't seem to be any barrier, in
> principle, to attaining this.

I think the notion is that construction is significantly more
difficult than traversal.  Building a bridge takes much longer than
walking across it.

> 1. Simply outspend the users. Put more and more developers on the
> project.
>     - This seems like a financially infeasible solution, so it's
>     not really worth considering. It can, of course, be used to
>     increase both depth and breadth.

I don't think this is physically feasible either.

> 2. Increase the power and capability of development tools.
>     - A long-time, on-going process, but tools seem to be a lot
>     more effective at breadth creation rather than depth
>     creation. Algorithmic content has so far been shallow.

This is definitely important.

> 3. Increase the complexity of the game/world.
>     - The example that made me think of this is chess.

I don't consider that content, I classify that as "depth of
gameplay".  Now, if you had 64 levels of chess with new pieces you
could earn later, then maybe you can make an argument for calling
some of it content =)

The expression I've generally used is "compete on the experience,
not the size of the game".

> Games that are fundamentally about monster-bashing are going to
> have a hard time, in my opinion, with real longevity and equally
> long success.

Hmmm...define longevity?  There are many AD&D grognards.  And, of
course, EQ is going stronger than ever years after its launch.

> So one of our game systems is deep though. A lot of players aren't
> even interested in combat, so it does them no good at all.

I have no idea what Achaea's PvP system is like, but I feel the need
to say that "complexity does not equal depth".  Adding more and more
stuff to a system so that it takes on its own kind of life sounds
appealing, but in the end it will get dissected by min/maxers and
the system will become refactored (by them) into a simpler one.  At
which point all the extra stuff becomes irrelevant because everyone
does a handful of things within the greater system because they're
the most powerful.


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