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

Bruce Mitchener bruce at puremagic.com
Mon Nov 26 08:28:17 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

Hans-Henrik Staerfeldt wrote:

> 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.

This seems a rather absolutist view.  I think there's a lot of use
for aspects of narration (and, in addition, other bits of literary
theory and analysis, as well as semiotics) in a mud.

In an open environment (as I'd discussed in [1]) (similar to an
'open work' or 'open text'), the narrative would help guide the
presentation of the world to the user, but would still leave the
interpretation of the world and the act of making interpretative
choices in the hands of the user.  In this case, there would be a
narrative presenting the world to the user, but it would be guided
and directed by those interpretative choices made by the user(s).
In [2], I'd listed some things that I thought could benefit from
narrative techniques or structures to varying extents.

This would allow the use of narrative and narrative techniques for
those aspects of the system that would best benefit from them,
leaving the rest of the system, as with cinema and discussed in [2],
to take advantage of those aspects which make it unique and separate
from a strict narrative form.

  - Bruce

[1] http://www.kanga.nu/archives/MUD-Dev-L/2001Q4/msg00553.php
[2] http://www.kanga.nu/archives/MUD-Dev-L/2001Q4/msg00613.php

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