[MUD-Dev] Expectations of in-game reality

Michael Tresca talien at toast.net
Fri Oct 26 22:03:46 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001


Ian Collyer posted on Thursday, October 25, 2001 7:15 AM

> We could ease the strain on our players' credulity by creating a
> suitable in-game fiction, skeletal warriors rising from shallow
> graves for example.  Much more believable than having them simply
> pop into existence.

On RetroMUD, we distinguish PCs from NPCs as "Gifted Ones."  Gifted
ones can telepathically contact each other (through "tells") and are
capable of distinguishing the "real" time stream.  Only they know
the universe is destroyed and restarted so often, only they can see
that life and death are meaningless to some beings and that they
come back to life, repeating the same actions over and over.  Gifted
Ones also retain their memory upon death (unlike the NPCs, who die
and respawn as if nothing happened).

Thus the term, the "Retroverse" where everyone is doomed to repeat
their own actions.

It's Matrix-esque -- before the movie came out of course.  Also
outside of the "reality stream" are the gods (NPCs) and the
immortals (PCs) who are in a continual battle of destruction
vs. construction.  Immortals seek to build, to create, to keep the
Retroverse expanding.  They are the builders of the cage that holds
the gods -- who conversely, seek to destroy it permanently and in
doing so escape it.  So Armagg-odhin destroys it (but it never stays
destroyed), Sikkar seeks to horde enough souls that have found
"salvation" in heaven to escape, and the Nameless One greedily
gobbles up souls through his Fallen minions.

All of this is just elaborate trapping to explain the basic foibles
of the game: PCs can see who else is playing, talk to each other
without being in the same room, and clearly "die" in a different way
than NPCs.

To avoid all this, creating a game that makes absolutely no
distinction between a PC and a NPC might be a good place to start.
The impression I've gotten is that that's a significant strain on
the game that's not necessarily being fully utilized -- nothing like
having a semi-intelligent rock that has the capabilities of an
entire player object, but only speaks once a year.  So games take
shortcuts, and ultimately you end up with barely intelligent
mannequins.

Mike "Talien" Tresca
http://www.retromud.org/talien


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