[MUD-Dev] RE:

rayzam rayzam at home.com
Thu Nov 8 21:55:45 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jeff Cole" <jeff.cole at mindspring.com>

> The condescending attitude that somehow (beyond providing the
> gamespace) the PerMM* developers, rather than other players, are
> better suited to entertain is rather shocking.  Were I given to
> hyperbole, I would invoke Hybris, Ate and Nemesis.

In a PnP RPG, how many players make good players? How many of those
make good GMs? How many players do you know who wouldn't ever really
want to GM, and instead enjoy playing their characters while in a
story being created to entertain them? If the GM is responsive to
their actions, it is 'their' story, but it's also the GM's story. I
don't consider it a condescending attitude. It may be a bit of
selection though, those able to, who enjoy making the stories, do.

Then take a LARP. Having run and played in them, it's much more
enjoyable for there to be a story/plot/background/etc to play in,
though you still create your own itneractions, and how you deal with
the situations is all in the hands of the player.

What happens if the only entertainment comes from the players? If
it's a good group, it could be good, but there's a regression to the
mean [the law of averages is hard to beat, second only to the law of
gravity ;)]. Those with more ability to create the backdrop for the
entertainment will, hopefully, rise to the position.

  Boffo - 'So I walk along and find a vorpal sword!'

  Bob - 'While you do that, I look behind the bush and find
  chainmail of invulnerability'

  Or Boffo and Bob: 'I slay the dragon and save the damsel.' 'No
  way, man!  I slay the dragon and save the damsel!'

Now, if the GM creates the situation with the dragon and the damsel,
then Boffo & Bob can work together or against each other and thus
the final result is created. I don't believe that's the player's
making the entertainment, because it truly does require GM -- read
developer -- input.

Is it necessary to make the entire plot/story? No. However, setting
up mechanics and rules, envisioning the system, balancing it, making
it fair, i.e. providing content and context, is required. These are
often not spontaneously created by the players.

Many many years ago [300 baud modem age!], I recall being involved
in those conglomerate/cooperative stories on BBSes. Fun and amusing,
but with a variety of it's own faults. Especially when more people
are involved in it, i.e. regression to the mean again.

My final analogy is to liken it to a game [surprise!]. Take a board
game, or the pieces of one game, the board of another, the cards of
a third, the dice of a fourth. No rules. Put people in front of
it. They could eventually work out a fun way of playing with it. Put
a designer there with all the pieces and have them design a way to
play it. Hopefully, they'll come up with an entertaining game, as it
is something they're skilled at.

Or take the game Cosmic Encounter. Rules, designed, created by
developers. Now play it with people who roleplay their alien
races. The players are making it more entertaining, but again, the
developer has already been involved.

After all this, I hope I didn't misunderstand your point :) There
seems to have been a movement towards 'players-drive-content' across
multiple postings. While player-driven content is an important
component for a better game, I doubt it is sufficient, for all types
of games [emphasis on all].  That is, it is not a holy-grail for the
next generation of games.


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