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

Paul Schwanz paul.schwanz at east.sun.com
Fri Nov 30 11:29:01 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001


John Robert Arras  wrote:
> On Nov 28, 2001, Marian Griffith wrote:

>> The key issue is, I think, that there is a difference between the
>> mud *providing* the story and the mud *being* the story, ane even
>> that does not exactly express what I mean.  I think that part of
>> the problem is that we are talking about something new, so that
>> our words do not accurately describe it. We try to explain it but
>> we can only interpret it in terms of words that are meaning other
>> things in more traditional contexts.

> What I think it means is that we need to have a good enough, large
> enough, complex enough simulation to generate the kinds of stories
> that will be interesting. Stories in the real world are generated
> by people doing things, and by random things happening, but many
> of the best stories are generated by people doing things. You
> can't expect players to always come up with interesting reasons
> for things to happen, but a good enough simulation might be able
> to. And, you can't expect a small group of people to make up
> enough good stories to keep a huge number of people
> interested. There should still be handcrafted stories, but other
> ones can be generated.

> So, how do we do this? Imagine a world with many populations, each
> of which could be neutral or allied along
> faction/kingdom/alignment lines. They have their goals and
> activities and they go about doing what they want to do, and these
> actions and desires generate quests and stories.

<SNIP OF REALLY GOOD EXAMPLES>

> So, I guess I am saying make MUDs more like giant RTS'es and you
> will have the ability to generate enough different quests to keep
> your players from getting bored.  

Yes, yes, yes, and yes!  This is exactly what I mean by
process-intesive stories.  It isn't a sandbox.  You deliberately
design to provide interesting goals, but the game is still fully
interactive.

We can quibble all day about what it means to *tell* a story, but when
it comes down to it, I want two things from a MUD.

  1) Interesting things to do.
  2) Interesting reasons for doing them.

Two me, #2 can be very much about story.  What is particularly
important to me, however, is that #2 and #1 are not independant of
each other.  If there is a disconnect between the two, then either
the game doesn't truly feel interactive, or it doesn't truly feel
like it has a purposeful story.

I've often said that MMOPRGs suffer particularly in the area of goal
management.  Since this is an area where an RTS seems to shine, it
seems natural to me to try to bring the two concepts together into
one virtual world.

--Phinehas

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