[MUD-Dev] Expectations of in-game reality

Matt Mihaly the_logos at achaea.com
Mon Oct 22 22:11:38 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001


On Mon, 22 Oct 2001, Paul Schwanz wrote:

> On the other hand, these are prominent among my goals in a MUD.
> And I find that every time I am presented with a situation in a
> MUD that can only be explained or understood as a "game rule," it
> is an unwelcome reminder that I am only playing a game.

Sure, having different goals for entertainment in different games
makes sense. How do you deal, psychologically, with the fact that
fire-breathing dragons exist? I mean, they are only explainable as a
game rule, unless you want to say "magic". Of course, respawning
mobs can be the result of "magic" too. I've never seen a magic
'system' that didn't boil down to just arbitrariness.

So why are all of us (including myself) willing to accept
fire-breathing dragons more quickly than respawning mobs as 'real'
within the fiction of the world? Is it because fire-breathing
dragons have a long tradition of being an element of 'fantasy'
worlds?

What about other, even more improbably things, not found in normal
'fantasy' worlds. For instance, Achaea has 'humgiis' that serve as
garbage cans. They're cute little creatures that can eat anything,
of any size. It makes no sense at all that something the size of a
small dog (even with its big mouth) would eat, say, the corpse of an
elephant. Yet, I've seen 'em do it, with my very own eyes, and
didn't have any problem believing it.

Anyway, I don't have time to think about it right now, but I'd be
interested in hearing opinions as to why something like the humgii
is believable yet something like mob-respawning is not. There's some
perceived (it's not really a real distinction either, as both are
ridiculous if thought of in context of the physical world)
distinction between the two, and I can't put my finger any closer
than, "I know it when I see it." (which is utterly unsatisfying).

--matt

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