[MUD-Dev] Respecting NPCs

Ola Fosheim Grøstad <olag@ifi.uio.no> Ola Fosheim Grøstad <olag@ifi.uio.no>
Sat Oct 27 14:48:53 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

gamaiun at yahoo.com wrote:
> J C Lawrence <claw at 2wire.com> wrote:

>>   "*plop* You have died.  Please create a new character."

>>   "*plop* The guard has killed you.  You have died.  Please create
>>   a new character."

>> I don't think there is a fundamental difference.

> The difference is in the interactivity, in choices, and in the
> illusion of control and free will.

I disagree, the difference is in causality and possibly
predictablity: "hmm, that guard looks rather scary, I better behave"
vs "ah, I'm the only one here, now let's smash something".  This
depends on the universe though: physics versus invisible spirits.

>   3) Similarly, you (a player) steps off the path. There is a
>   world of difference between:
>     a) You step off the path. *plop* You're dead. New character.


  You step off the path.
  > n
  You head north, 10 inches.
  > n
  You head north, 5 inches.
  > n
  You can't move.
  > l
  You see lots of leaves.
  > say Hello?
  A bush can't talk.
  > tell peter "I am stuck!"
  A bush can't talk.
  > shout "what the hell?"
  A bush can't talk, do what bushes do, if you must.
  > wield sword
  Ack, to late, do what bushes do, if you must.

> Do you see the fundamental difference? Using NPCs, even as an


> enforcement of world mechanics, yields player entertainment, since
> it provides internally consistent in-game consequences while
> giving the _player_ so many more options than a similar mechanical
> system.

This is not typical though. Guards tend to be braindead and
invincible enforcers. And there is very little interpretation that
needs to be done.

A real difference would be to have real strategic interaction with
the guard that requires knowledge transfer from other domains
(fiction, genre, physical world). I.e. to send someone to distract
the guard then sneak into town.  Or, to wait for the walking guard
to pass, then do whatever is to be done, in the few "safe" minutes,
_believing_ that even the faintest sound will give you away.

Ola  -  http://folk.uio.no/olag/

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