[MUD-Dev] [STORY] Story and population size

John Buehler johnbue at msn.com
Thu Dec 6 20:12:06 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

Matt Mihaly writes:
> On Wed, 5 Dec 2001, John Buehler wrote:

>> One last observation would be that it is my opinion that
>> implementations of MMO experiences need to back WAY off on their
>> ambitious goals.  They need to figure out how to bring a number
>> of people into an interactive environment and give them simple,
>> entertaining things to do.  Folks need to stop trying to create
>> an online world with graphics and story and instead come up with
>> something simple and entertaining.  Take a first competent step
>> instead of jumping off a cliff and hoping to fly.  As this just
>> occurred to me the other day, I'll have to ponder it a bit more
>> to see what would be good entertainment.

> Erm, you make it sound as if people haven't been taking those
> steps for the past 20+ years. It's not as if someone woke up in
> 1975 and said "Hey, there are no online multiplayer games
> around. Let's go whole-hog and make a 3d graphical one!" There's
> 20+ years of history in the MUD industry.

> People who aren't interested in complexity are playing hearts and
> solitaire.

I think you misunderstand the point of my post.  It was to suggest
that the current crop of games tend towards doing many things poorly
instead of a few things well.  The disparity between the marketing
and the reality of the games is a constant point of discontent among
player bases.  That is, player expectations are set high, only to be
fed by weak implementations.

I'm refering to something with a higher 'entertainment density' than
current games.  Current games suffer from the model of being open 24
hours, being carefully structured for combat 'balance', for solo
play, attempting to derive all their entertainment from simple
animated combat sequences leading to the death of sprites.

To contrast, chess is quite complicated, but it has a high
entertainment density because of all the thought involved in a
fairly short period of time.  The same can be said of the game of
go.  I haven't hashed this out yet, but I'm wondering if there is
are treatments of game content and player interaction that will give
a higher entertainment density - more to do in a shorter period of
time.  Players should be deciding to step away from a game because
they've had enough, not pounding on the developers for more.

Certainly it wasn't my intent to belittle the efforts of the MUD
design and development community over the past 20 years.


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