[MUD-Dev] Story Implementation

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Sat Dec 8 11:39:04 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

In <URL:/archives/meow?group+local.muddev> on Wed 05 Dec, Jeff Freeman wrote:
> Lee Sheldon Wrote:

> When I say that we should be doing game-systems that create story
> by virtue of being played - i.e. games as story - the above is
> pretty close to what I'm saying we should be doing.

That is the difference between a narrative (where you tell somebody
else a story) and acting (where you participate in a story).  The
first will (can) not work in a mud, the second is the most natural
way, but requires a lot more abilities on the part of both the game
and the game's characters (not the players).  It also gives the
players the power to fundamentally and permanent- ly alter the
gameworld, and it has to or otherwise the game would be experienced
as stagnant and boring very quickly indeed.  If you are an actor in
the game then your actions must matter or you will not bother.

> Which leaves me to think that we've been arguing as the result of
> not having a common-vocabulary, rather than as any real
> disagreement as to what games should be trying to do.

The two of you perhaps :) The discussion on the other hand started
out with the unformulated assumption by some people that they could,
and should, tell stories to the players, and whether or not the
backstory of current games mattered at all, as well as the long
expositories that frequently accompany quests on muds.

> Your arguments against the linear quest which every player
> experiences as though they are the only ones to do it, which has
> no impact on the world whether they succeed, fail or logout, are
> my arguments against the "storied game".  I hope that helps to
> explain what I mean when I write "storied game".

The reason why quests are closed, linear and repetitive is because
players must, by nature of the current muds, be unable to alter the
game world. Every new player must experience the same game as every
other player that has gone before her, with the same difficulties,
the same challenges and the same rewards.  There are good reasons
for this, but they make for a game that can not fundamentally be
changed by the players.  The problem is of course that the game
worlds are much too shallow to trust players with the ability to
permanently alter it. Somebody else said that if you give players
the ability to burn down things the gameworld will be permanently
burned down. That is unfortunate- ly true, and it is the reason why
I said that the gameworld must be large enough (not inert enough !) 
to be able to absorb the player's actions.  You can easily burn down
the average mud world . You can not, on the other hand, burn down
even the smallest state in the US even if nobody tried to stop you.

[snipped presentation of a number of challenges to stories on muds]

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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