[MUD-Dev] Story Implementation

Jeff Freeman skeptack at antisocial.com
Sat Dec 8 04:02:05 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

From: Lee Sheldon <linearno at gte.net>
> From: Jeff Freeman

>> If that's what you mean by "storied game", well ok then.  I think
>> you're right.

> But I'm "force-feeding" the players a story, Jeff.  I'm just doing
> it with a bit more subtlety than you might have given me credit
> for.  I'm telling the story I want to tell, allowing them to
> experience it and build on it in whatever way they choose.  Their
> interaction won't throw me.  I'll adjust.  To quote you from an
> earlier post:

If you're adjusting to the players' interaction, then I wouldn't
call that "forcing a story on them".  Trying to maintain that across
(say) 50 different server-clusters/worlds/shards/whatever is going
to be hard, but otherwise, sounds peachy.

So far the solution to that problem has been "no matter WHAT the
players do, THIS will be the outcome".  I think players resent that
a lot.

>> And I don't think it's a good idea to attempt to do both (tell
>> stories AND allow the gameplay itself to be the story), because
>> the attempt to tell Our story will stomp on the players' story.

> I'm doing both.  Am I stomping on the players' story?  You tell
> me.

What you're proposing seems more like "story creation" rather than
"story telling".  With the players, rather than at them.  But I
gather from your post (now) that it's just the label you've applied
to the idea that makes me cringe, not the idea itself.

> And I want to direct the stories those game systems tell, but in a
> way that is not obtrusive to the gameplay, that in fact -enhances-
> it.

Seems perfectly legitimate to me.

As I wrote in some other previous email, I'm really not Pure Sandbox
Guy.  I don't think that's sufficient - for the reason Matt just
gave a message or two ago.

I don't think we should *just* give players the tools they need to
dam the river, but introduce the villain on a mission to break the
dam that's already there, and flood their town.  If they can stop
him, great.  If they can't, then they can rebuild the dam.  If they
decide they prefer to live in a swamp, that's fine too.  Maybe they
can build houses on stilts.

> And I hope you understand a bit better now why I rail at
> badly-done story, and how it shouldn't be used to slam ALL
> attempts at authorial storytelling.

Is it just the terminology?  Giving the players some choice as to
how the story goes, are you still the "author", "telling" a story?
It seems more like... I don't know... "creative direction".

> I would never dream of suggesting this one example is the only
> technique open to us.  It is -a- technique, one that took 5
> minutes to write up.  There are many others, equally unexploited.

Understood, I was just responding to the one example, as such.

> I refuse to be detered by content-consumption arguments until
> someone responds to the figures I laid out.  Two quests per person
> per day should not crush any game content creator.  It certainly
> hasn't any that -I've- hired.

    [some snippage]

> I'm not going to try to convince you that it's a moot issue.  I
> suspect you'll need to see it in action one day.  I'm not blaming
> you.  You're certainly not alone.  I hope you -get- to see these
> concerns dissolve... at least in -my- lifetime.

No, we're in agreement there.  I don't think content consumption is
an insurmountable problem.

> Remember this is an example aimed at a specific game: DAoC.  What
> you describe can't happen in DAoC.  In a game where it could
> happen (EQ Maybe), the example wouldn't necessarily apply, or
> would need to be adjusted.

Yeah, I veered off course there and stopped speaking to the specific
example to blabber about developers' fears (which I also don't think
is an insurmountable challenge). :P

[snip examples]

>> That said, yeah, what you describe: That's the sort of thing I
>> want to do.  Whatever you call it.

> I call it "storied" games.


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