[MUD-Dev] New laws. (was: Player Manipulation of Environment)

Hans-Henrik Staerfeldt hhs at cbs.dtu.dk
Sun Nov 25 12:00:37 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

On Fri, 23 Nov 2001, Marian Griffith wrote:

> It seems this leads to two new laws :)
>   1) Muds can't be narratives for the players.
>     Players "live" in the game, they participate far more directly
>     than the reader of a book, or the viewer of a
>     movie. Techniques and strategies that work for a narrative
>     structure do not work for muds.  This is a direct result from
>     the "everybody wants to be the hero of the game" law.

This is only if you assume that Muds necessarily provide a high
degree of freedom for the player. I'd say its more a sliding scale
of two dimensions;

  Free Will vs. Narration.

The more free will you give the player the more difficult narration
becomes. There is no problem with both being the hero and
participating in a great narrative (see FPS game such as Max Paine),
problem is that your free will becomes extremely limited (in MP its
limited to shoot everything that moves or Game Over).

The obstacle here is to _ensure_ that each and every action of the
players become meaningful elements in a(the?) narrative, which is
not an easy task, unless you limit the free will of the players.

>   2) The game world must be large enough to absorb the player's
>   ability to affect it.
>     The more freedom the players have to affect the world the big-
>     ger that world has to be, or the they will rip it apart sooner
>     or later.  Probably sooner.  This however requires some
>     serious change to the way games are organised, including the
>     fact that for games to be experienced as lively they need to
>     be extremely dense, which directly conflicts with their need
>     to be big.  Of course currently players have no ability to
>     affect the world in any meaningful way, which lead to the game
>     feeling stale and to repetitive gameplay.

While i agree that this is good advice for dynamic, persistant
environments, concluding that no system currently supports that
players can affect the environment in a meaningful way is a bit too

Hans Henrik Stærfeldt   |    bombman at diku.dk    | work:  hhs at cbs.dtu.dk      |
Address:                |___  +45 40383492    __|__       +45 45252425     __|
DTU, Kemitorvet,        | Scientific programmer at Center for Biological     |
bygn 208, CBS.          |  Sequence Analysis, Technical University of Denmark|

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