Simulation, just how much? (was: RE: [MUD-Dev] Uniqueness of Games)

Derek Licciardi kressilac at
Tue Oct 9 22:55:30 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ling Lo

[snipped out a whole bunch of good stuff]

> Simulation and fun needs to be balanced.  Sometimes the fun is the
> simulation itself, see all those sims that exist in the market.
> More often than not, simulation impedes.  For instance, take
> Mechwarrior...  It has big robots (I like), it's realistic within
> its own context (nice), but that means these mechs quite literally
> have to run up next to each other before firing (doh!).  Take real
> tanks, they often have a range of several kilometres.  Try Quake,
> maybe carrying a rocket should slow you down (buzzz! wrong
> answer!).  SimCity, the major (and hence the player) dies of old
> age...  I realise this strays from the above point but bear with
> me.  There are a lot of suggestions from players of muds
> concerning "what really happened in ye olde times", going into
> details of precise harvest productions and so forth - this might
> make things more realistic but quite frankly I don't think the
> players truely want this sorta thing.  They want to be legends,
> forever remembered by bards and retold to each generation for
> centuries to come!

My only real comment with this is that it is wonderful in theory.
These same players that couldn't be bothered by the "simulation"
side of your game, will be the first players to bitch that the
economy in the same game is completely broken and worthless.  The
balance lies somewhere in the middle as you say, but the middle is
not as easily defined.  When economies rely on things like distance,
resources, harvest productions, money availability, and other
realistic notions, it is there that the game designers have to make
their decisions about simulation and how far to take it.  I tend to
believe that things like hunger, thirst, shelter, safety,
protection, and regional distance are some of the most critical
pieces of a well balanced economy.  The question for me as a
designer is what can I do to make these seemingly tedious parts of
the game interesting to the player in a way that enhances the
gameplay.  For some things, I agree, they are boring, end of story,
but eliminating them out of the game may cause some aspect of your
carefully planned game to fall apart.

> On a related note, my favourite definition of realism within games
> comes from an rpg writer: "Realism is defined as what the player
> is willing to accept."  A pleasant definition.  I felt this was
> ...

Absolutely.  I tend to think we are into the idea of suspending
disbelief as they do in the movies.

Just my 2.5 yen on the topic.


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