[MUD-Dev] Asheron's Call, Story and Population Density.

Christopher Kohnert ckohnert at yahoo.com
Fri Nov 30 11:31:32 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

Sasha Hart wrote:
> [Zak Jarvis]
>> Either they feel isolated from other players and they solo the
>> game with the occasional interactions, or they join some sort of
>> guild and have no real interaction outside their group.
>> I'm positing that all the solutions I've come up with previously
>> and I've seen others posit are Band-Aids on bullet holes. These
>> problems don't get fixed until we can build games that operate
>> around real-world population densities, and that's a new can of
>> worms entirely.
> Hmm. Seems to me that the main way this might work is by simply
> increasing the raw number of player-player encounters. (This said,
> I don't see how this is going to lead to good stories.. could you
> spell it out?)

While increasing player-player interaction is always good. I think
that there lies more potential in a player-group based
interaction. If a player is part of a group (or organization) which
exists in the environment while he or she is not there, then you
provide a more persistent target for interaction. This can increase
your involved players to potentially all members of a group
(regardless of when they actually play). This sort of thing changes
the scope of any sort of story that might evolve from the
single-player type to a form which encompases these groups or
structures. Which, I think is quite interesting. A rogue stealing
from a given guild's treasury causes quite an uproar and upsets a
lot of people. But not only that, the act persists across peak hours
(even days or weeks) as members of the guild plot how to exact
revenge or try to decide what sort of punishment is
suitable. Repeated attempts could turn the otherwise apathetic guild
into a group dedicated to ravenously hunting for thieves, or perhaps
the word gets out that they are easy to steal from and they suffer
the plight of repeated attempts. The group begins to assume an
identity of its own, which players define and change (from both
within and without), all the while providing a coherent link as some
players log on and others off. Of course, the next natural step is
group-group interaction...

This of course assumes that the group structure is somewhat dynamic
in that players can affect it in some way, either directly or via
another group. It also helps if you can facilitate a more codified
method of communication (such as a newsboard) so that you're not
relying purely on word of mouth. *G*

> I am confident that anyone who really takes interaction seriously
> as a design goal can make it better and more common without ever
> dealing with population or the physical size of their world (both
> somewhat difficult problems themselves.)

Quite right, I would almost say that twiddling with these parameters
(only to affect player interaction) is itself a band-aid.

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