[MUD-Dev] Quality Testing

Daniel.Harman at barclayscapital.com Daniel.Harman at barclayscapital.com
Thu Oct 25 13:02:07 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

From: Robin Lee Powell [mailto:rlpowell at digitalkingdom.org]
> On Tue, Oct 23, 2001 at 09:13:58AM -0500, Jeff Cole wrote:
>> I would argue that the AO and WW2O releases didn't put Mythic
>> under the pressure to release a stable product, but so lowered
>> the consumer's expectations that Mythic was able to release an
>> incomplete game.  Success is(was) measured in stability rather
>> than content.  Consumers are(were) so happy to have a game that
>> they could actually play that they have yet to realize that it is
>> far from finished.
> Uhh, what?
> The only incompletenesses I've seen:
>   1. Lack of in-game descriptions of skills and spells and such.
>   Woo.  At the rate they're adding material in patches, which is
>   impressive as hell, by the way, I'm hardly concerned.
>   2. The thief classes don't seem to be finished (and slownewsday,
>   for one, is quite upset at the recent attempts to finish them).
> That's hardly an 'unfinished game'.
> Black and White was an unfinished game.  The last Ultima game was
> unfinished.  DAoC needs polish, at most.

Depends on your expecations, its kind of light in hand generated
dungeon/city type content etc, also the magic seems to lack
diversity.  Splitting the world into three means they have their
work cut out too, as you are only likely to see 1/3rd of the
content. I think EQ may be the only one able to work so hard on
content, and that's probably why its my favourite.

A lot of the recent games trade depth for content, yet as I see it
the RPG game stereotype doesn't go that deep*. Sure, they can
assault you with a billion items and stats (hello AO), but it
doesn't make it deep its just obessity. If its information you can
reduce then its just obfuscation not depth (i.e. 7 variables
impacting dmg/time doesn't make it deep, it reduces to one variable
- dmg/time). Depth is found when a player can apply his personal
skill to a situation, which is almost antithesis to stat based games
where its meant to be about the character not the player. Frankly
Quake has more depth than any of these games, as you can continue to
hone your skills indefinitely - in RPGs, there really isn't that
much to it. This can all be remedied, but it means letting go of the
'character stats define the abilities' mantra. How about a spell
system where you have to type into the numeric keypad with numbers
corresponding to runes. The computer then measures the rythym and
depression time and that corresponds to your intonation, affecting
the spell in a multitude of ways. That adds some player skill, and
for me thats depth. Then when someone proclaims to be the best, its
because they are demonstrably better at something, not just because
they happened to camp/ebay purchase/whatever some marginally better

I think its time to jettison 'autoattack'.

As for Black and White, thats more of a tamagotchi than a game ;)
I've been waiting for an article from GameDev Magazine on Black &
White's AI to make it up onto Gamasutra (several months lag always)
so that I can draw the lists attention to it. I think a lot could be
gained applying similar techniques to MUD npcs so that towns could
have dynamic AI governance.

  * (standard disclaimer, I'm making generalisations about the games
  I've played above, if you disagree and wish to site a specific
  example, it doesn't negate my point. If you disagree and site a
  LOAD of examples it might ;)


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