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

Travis Casey efindel at
Mon Oct 15 19:39:08 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

On Thursday 11 October 2001 02:51, Christopher Allen wrote:
> Derek Licciardi wrote:
>> Ling Lo wrote:

>>> 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.

> I have to strongly agree with you on this one. We see evidence of
> this in Castle Marrach and Galactic Emperor. For instance, each
> game of Galactic Emperor is a week long, and ends with either the
> election of one of the players as Emperor, or the evil NPCs
> conquer the empire. We designed no continuity between the games
> other than the player "family" names. We thought that each game
> would be thought of as a separate one, yet the players have
> decided that each really does follow the other, that every
> thousand years or so the Galactic Emperor is assassinated and the
> evil V'Hurgh attack. It doesn't make a lot of sense, but that is
> the consensual reality that the players want to have.

> Related, we are seriously considering that all game play in
> Lovecraft Country (a horror game) will take place at night. Day
> exists, sort of, but you never really experience it -- that is the
> time for classes at Miskatonic University, drudge day jobs,
> etc. But when you are playing the game it is evening and your
> classes and chores are done. We haven't figured out exactly how to
> do all this, but we believe that the players will accept this
> bending of reality willingly if we are careful.

Personally, I think that you're right that players would accept it, but my 
gut reaction is that it's a bad thing to do -- at least, if you want it to 
have a truly Lovecraftian feel, rather than just being "a horror game".  
One of the things that distinguishes Lovecraft is that he often did "sunlit 
horror", with nasty things out and about in broad daylight.  

Lovecraftian stories are fundamentally about the ideas that:

 - There are Nasty Things in the universe.

 - We mean about as much to Them as roaches do to us.

 - There is no safety -- nowhere you can hide, no safe time or
 place.  At most, you can put off the day that the Nasty Things will
 come again -- you cannot get rid of them.

To me, to have the game take place only at night carries with it an
implication that the Nasty Things can only operate at night -- and
that ruins the third point for me.

To put it another way, Lovecraft's stories are not a bad Hollywood
horror movie where you know that everyone's safe until the sun goes
down.  In them, you can never be sure that anyone's safe.

       |\      _,,,---,,_     Travis S. Casey  <efindel at>
 ZZzz  /,`.-'`'    -.  ;-;;,_   No one agrees with me.  Not even me.
      |,4-  ) )-,_..;\ (  `'-' 
     '---''(_/--'  `-'\_) 

MUD-Dev mailing list
MUD-Dev at

More information about the MUD-Dev mailing list