[MUD-Dev] Proposed Law

John Buehler johnbue at msn.com
Wed Oct 17 17:15:46 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

Ola Fosheim Grostad writes:
> John Buehler wrote:

>> There's no entertainment in its destruction, but it facilitates
>> entertainment if used.

>> Part of this law is a prod to encourage designers to get away
>> from the motif of constant destruction.  I'm working on a design
>> document for a game, and combat is predicated on blunt weapons
>> and martial arts.  Nobody dies.  They get knocked out.  That way
>> I don't lose the content of my NPCs and their relationships with
>> other NPCs and players.  NPCs can die, but it's an unusual
>> occurrence, and not controlled by players.

> Not really sure what you mean here. Dying does not destroy
> content?

Huh?  Dying destroys content if dying eliminates an NPC from the game.

> Burning creative user built content (i.e. a wonderful garden)
> destroys content.  Still, attacking defense systems, leaving 25%
> in ruin does not destroy content, it gives content a meaning. And
> thus enhances content... and probably stimulates further
> creativity, i.e. the search for an improved design.

Who is going to bother with creation in a game world where
destruction is the focus of the game?  Certainly not me.  It's like
making sand castles in the face of a rising tide.

> Designer originating content, hmm, that should not be destroyed
> permanently anyway, so how is that a problem?  The schema should
> not be destroyed, and design are better done at that level, not
> the instance level.

Okay, then consider destruction as poor leverage of content.  How
long is destruction entertaining?  It's very one-dimensional.  It
stopped being entertaining for me in the big three graphical games
in very short order.  I only kept playing for social reasons.  Which
were complex enough to entertain me.  For a while.  Social
interactions that only revolve around killing and accumulation of
power wane after a while as well.

> The real problem is tied to establishing visible and compelling
> non-destructive cooperative achievement scales for social
> comparison.  Which developers won't do because players expect to
> win by destroying things.

This illustrates the pinpoint focus of current developers and gamers
alike.  Not all players need to achieve in order to be entertained.
Not all players need comparisons to be entertained.  Not all players
need to win to be entertained.  We're only exploring a tiny segment
of the potential player population.


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