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

Matt Mihaly the_logos at achaea.com
Wed Sep 19 08:13:15 New Zealand Standard Time 2001


On Tue, 18 Sep 2001, Derek Licciardi wrote:
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Matt Mihaly

> 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.

Right. I think that that basically involves an increase in the
number of connections each game element has to others.

 
> 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.

Have you checked out Shadowbane? It claims that it will do what you
are talking about, but even there, I have my doubts about how well
it will create depth. At worst though, it's a step in the right
direction. It's what I'd do with Achaea if I were starting over
today. (Our political units are admin-created player-run entities as
it stands, and the world accomodates only dynamic formation of
groups, not groups of group.

At best, of course, I'm wrong and it'll create limitless gameplay
opportunities for players. There's some sort of principle at work
here that involves how players perceive content, which impacts how
we measure how 'much' content we've created. In other words, some
content may involve limitless depth for some players, and little
practical depth for others, who might not be interested in it at
all, the ungrateful curs.

> 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.

Yeah, that's the whole point of geometric content creation. Its
usefulness relies on the assumption that player consumption of
content is linear. They might catch up, but if you're creating
content geometrically (and hey, I don't claim to know how to do it
well) you'll be able to outpace them.

--matt

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