[MUD-Dev] [DSN]Geometric content generation[LONG]

Derek Licciardi kressilac at home.com
Tue Sep 18 21:31:34 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

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

> So then the best and surest way to stay ahead of the players seems
> to be geometric content generation. If you think of the the
> elements of a game as a network, then the analogy to the
> geometrically increasing value of networks of people becomes
> clear.

I think your post makes lots of sense.  In the future, games will
become more complex if they are to pull subscribers away from the
established MMORPGs and MUDs out there.  The problem with current
MUDs is that many of them seem to have the idea that bigger is
better.  I agree with you that you need a little bit of both breadth
and depth and I would argue that a new MMORPG or MUD doesn't need to
be as big and massive as the current generation.  If instead that
breadth was replaced with simple rules that completely interact with
the other simple rules of the system then you could achieve a
significantly increased combination of outcomes given any situation.

The simple rules provide a game like chess with a predictability
that a player can become accustomed to.  The rules system is simple
enough where you will not hear someone NERFing a rule because its
complexities were not thought through(they didn't need to be
continually revisited).  I like to think of chess and go as closed
systems for gaming.  The rules are simple yet comprehensive and
define with absolute limits the boundaries of the game leaving
players to be creative within the realm of the game in an attempt to
develop a strategy.  Often times that sort of creativity is frowned
upon in a MUD and typically it is the result of a breakdown in the
design of the rule system employed to manage the game.

My contribution to your thoughts in this post would be that you
could achieve geometric generation of content if the rule system
that governs that content is sufficiently complex without losing its
ability to be comprehended and processed by the player.

The way Elysian Productions is planning to accomplish this is by
giving the players all of the tools necessary to manipulate their
world.  These tools will allow players to generate content for
themselves in the form of adventure, politics, government, community
and trade.  Our admins will be on-hand to respond to the needs of
this content generation by providing the assistance needed to build
a player run city, a religious faction or a country.  In our case
the admins are needed to serve as a sort of zoning
commission/regulatory committee for establishing cities.  I like to
think of our admin staff as playing The Sims with real people
controlling the Sims in the game.  Add a shop to this collection of
guild houses and it becomes a small village.  Allow that village to
organize in a meaningful way and it becomes a city.  Allow the city
to purchase NPC/PC militia and give them the control over them and
it becomes a large city.  Allow two cities to band together and form
an alliance and it becomes a country.  We think that by adding to
the level of complexity within the interactions of players and by
better simulating the real world in terms of game system rules (ie
economic specialization that means something such as certain areas
produce more fish than others...) that we can create a much more
immersive and complex game without causing the players to overcome a
HUGE learning curve.  This should meet your description of geometric
content generation.

One other note that has yet to be simulated in a MUD/MMORPG is the
idea that in the real world the rules are simple, yet so
multi-layered that as an individual we are forced to find our
specialization which creates our perspective on the world.  We
attempt to get a deeper understanding of one, two or three aspects
of the world and can't really comprehend more than that with any
real depth.  Because we can never get our hands around the entire
ruleset governing life, we rely upon eachother to collectively get
our hands around that ruleset. (which we still have not
accomplsihed) This reliance is where I believe the complex
interactions that I speak of, come from.  Once the entire ruleset
and its resulting combinations can be collectively analyzed by the
players, your world is doomed to become a comprehensive stratics.com
website.  Once that happens, any minute change you make to the
ruleset to change the optimal strategy will be quickly assimilated
into the optimal strategy computation resulting a new strategy.
You're never going to catch up at this point.


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