[MUD-Dev] Expectations of in-game reality

J C Lawrence claw at 2wire.com
Sat Oct 27 01:50:43 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

On Fri, 26 Oct 2001 22:03:46 -0400 
Michael Tresca <talien at toast.net> wrote:

> 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).

One of my core annoyances with NPCs has been the attempt to conflate
NPCs with players, to somehow make them analagous, to strive for the
ideal that an NPC should be mistakable for another (human) player.
I tend to this being a Bad Thing, and that the attempt is generally
destructive of player reality and of general verisimilitude.

  Perhaps the most direct comparison of the relation of PCs to NPCs
  is as external invaders ala Heinlein's "The Puppet Masters".

To return to Alice, the Cheshire Cat is nothing like a player
character (ignoring questions of role and suitability), yet as an
NPC remains both intriguing and useful for world definition.  From a
plyer vantage there is little (no) value in being like the Cheshire
Cat, or in even being the Cheshire Cat (who never actually does
anything).  One of the ways this has been done previously (Island
especially, and some MUSHes) is that they did not attempt to make
NPCs be human/player analogues, but instead to be variously iconic
or entirely defined by external (eg literary) allusion.


Which is perhaps one of the things I'm attempting to head for: the
potential implementation of NPCs as allusory entities.  (cf Myer's
'Silverlock' -- whose characters are all, without exception,
entirely defined by external allusory references) The walrus is an
allusry entity (tho rather softly defined), as is the RedQueen, The
Cheshire Cat, and the hooka smoking caterpillar.

It certainly seems to add depth, but also partially kicks my earlier
definition of depth as proportional to judgment etc in the head.
Hurm.  That is unless you use the awareness of depth and reaction to
it as an example of "personal evaluation and judgment" and thus a
producer of depth.

J C Lawrence
---------(*)                Satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas.
claw at kanga.nu               He lived as a devil, eh?
http://www.kanga.nu/~claw/  Evil is a name of a foeman, as I live.

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