[MUD-Dev] Player Manipulation of Environment/New Laws

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Sun Dec 2 16:49:13 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

On Mon 26 Nov, Paul Schwanz wrote:
> Marian Griffith wrote:

>> It seems this leads to two new laws :)
>>   1) Muds can't be narratives for the players.

> I'm comfortable with the notion that MUDs cannont *be* narratives.
> I think this is a result of the fact that MUDs offer player
> interactivity while narratives impose authorial will.  On the
> other hand, MUDs certainly can *have* narrative content.  What
> form that content should take and whether or not it will be
> ignored by players in favor of interaction are questions still
> very much in debate.

I would even go so far as to say that any mud that wants to be
successfull in the long run better *has* a lot of narrative. It
can not be imposd on the players from the outside, but it is
needed to make the game interesting to the players once the initial
thrill wears off of discovering how the game works and meeting new
friends.  You are also talking about setting hooks in the game that
the players can use to connect their own stories to.  This is very
difficult and it has the risk of attempting to force the players
into your own global narrative.

>>> 2) The game world must be large enough to absorb the player's
>>> ability to affect it.

> I think the requirement for density (I'm assuming you are talking
> about player density) can be lessened where players are allowed to
> interact more with the game world.  If the game world itself seems
> more "alive" you don't need as many other players around giving
> the virtual world its liveliness.

I guess so, though to be perceived as lively the gameworld must be a
lot more capable than most games are now.  This of course directly
ties in with your rant (which I will snip for brevity :)

> The developers at Mythic have determined that I will have one and
> only one method for interacting with pigs (and virtually every
> other creature in the game).  I can kill them.

That certainly is the limitation of the current games. In fact I
would not call them games.  They are hoops that the players must
jump through.

> Bleah.  I hate rants.  They tend to simplify and point out
> problems without offering solutions.  I want to offer solutions.

Sometimes rants are very useful, especially if they do point out the
exact problem, unobscured by other issues. The fact that you can
only interact with the game in one specific way (killing) is the
source of most of the problems that we perceive in muds at this
moment. It is nice for some single player games, but it can not be
transplanted in a mud. Not in the long run anyway. If our games
provide the players with a world to play in then it must be a world
that is feeling real to the players.  Otherwise the world will feel
stale quickly and the replayability will be low.  In games that rely
on being replayed that is a very bad thing I would say.

Yes - at last - You. I Choose you. Out of all the world,
out of all the seeking, I have found you, young sister of
my heart! You are mine and I am yours - and never again
will there be loneliness ...

Rolan Choosing Talia,
Arrows of the Queen, by Mercedes Lackey

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