[MUD-Dev] Expectations of in-game reality

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Thu Oct 25 21:06:08 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

In <URL:/archives/meow?group+local.muddev> on Mon 22 Oct, Matt Mihaly wrote:
> 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.

Not entirely. Of course there is a certain degree of arbitrariness
to it, but then so is the case with what we call reality.  I mean,
why do dishes fall down and shatter when they hit the ground. And
why do slices of bread always land with the buttered side on your

> 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?

I think not. It is easier to suspend disbelief on the existence of
some creature, however improbable.  It is quite a different thing to
accept monsters just popping into existence out of thin air.  I
think people, at least the ones who actually think about this, are
more comfortable if the monsters actually (are said to) come from
somewhere.  I.e. they migrate from uncharted territories, or they
breed, or whatever really, as long as there is some rational ex-
planation where these monsters come from.

> 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.

Maybe it did not matter to your playing, so you not so much be-
lieved in it, as well as simply ignored it. Just like you ignore a
thousand things when you are reading a book. Things that you know
must go on but are never told about and never miss for a moment.  In
fact being told about those things would actually distract from the
experience of immersing yourself into the story.

Yes - at last - You. I Choose you. Out of all the world,
out of all the seeking, I have found you, young sister of
my heart! You are mine and I am yours - and never again
will there be loneliness ...

Rolan Choosing Talia,
Arrows of the Queen, by Mercedes Lackey

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