[MUD-Dev] Request for ideas

Jon Leonard jleonard at slimy.com
Sat Sep 29 00:57:33 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

On Mon, Sep 24, 2001 at 10:44:08AM -0500, Eli Stevens wrote:

[snip: year-long student group project: a MUD!]

> Specifically, I would like pointers to past Good Ideas that
> haven't been explored enough, or are implemented poorly, or are
> just under-represented in general.  We are not looking to just
> make a Diku clone, although combat will be a feature.  We want to
> push the edge a bit.

JCL and I discussed this a bit on DevMUD on the evening of the 25th.
Since then I've been trying to come up with some more ideas.  Not as
many as I'd like, but a few.

My first recommendation is to concentrate only on one or two novel
features, as an academic year doesn't provide as much coding time as
you'd think.  (This would be an argument for a text only game.)

If you wind up ahead of schedule, you can always add something,
polish the code, or even just test it.  :-)

Depending on what the assignment permits, you might want to reuse
code from existing projects for the boring parts, or at least use it
as example code.  (I know where public domain socket code can be
found, for example.)  This could give you more time to work on the
novel portion of your design.

[specific list of ideas trimmed]

You have an opportunity to explore the negation of many of the usual
assumptions for successful games.  (I think this is the thread
aspect JCL found most interesting.)

For example, in a commercial game, you can't afford to let players
collect and store everything they feel like, because that costs too
much hard disk space (which is money).

This could allow for some sort of game where player status is based
on the amount (and rarity) of things they'd collected.  This could
concievably be extended to some sort of potlatch style PvP.

That may not appeal to all sorts of players, but appealing to
everyone isn't even necessary in the commercial space (Achaea,

Negating the rule about never trusting the client, there are some
intereseting distributed-MUD designs.  Some would be novel from a
computer science perspective in addition to a MUD perspective.

Some other random ideas:

  * A game where not all players play at the same level (Some
    players are generals, and get a broad view, while most are just

  * A game with a contingency-based spell system, where all magical
    effects are latent, and only happen in the future when some
    other event triggers them.  (JCL compared this to "UggUgg's mana
    fight.")  I was thinking more about trap-setting...

  * Economic-based games, where players control businesses, hire
    employees, consume resources for sale and profit.  In a MUD this
    has the unique potential of having the contracts actually
    enforced by the game.  (This has side effects as well...  What
    to do about illegal contracts, or players who can't meet
    contractual obligations?)

Jon Leonard
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