[MUD-Dev] Continuous versus Discrete Functions

John Buehler johnbue at email.msn.com
Thu Dec 20 19:13:28 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001


Brian Hook writes:

>> The aspect of this that is most disappointing to me is that the
>> designers have eliminated the possibility of players choosing a
>> variety of strategies and uses of their character capabilities.

> Right, primarily because of the fear that you can't balance all of
> it.  If you make an expressive magic programming language that
> lets the end user create spells with a set of variables (mana
> cost, recharge time, range, damage, AoE vs. targeted, duration,
> casting time, etc.), they will min/max the hell out of it, and
> will likely find ubercombinations that make other versions
> obsolete.

> One of the common struggles when giving flexibility to players is
> "give 'em too much, and they'll min/max it into the ground"
> vs. "give 'em too little, and you're basically not giving them
> anything at all".

Balance seems to be half (or more) of what vocal players concern
themselves with (i.e. complain about) in these games.  Is it
possible that a smart game designer could obviate that entire
problem by eliminating the player-versus-player race that forms the
absolute backbone of games of this genre?  It would require other
forms of entertainment in the game environment, and continuous
functions offer the possibility that game scenarios would be
infinitely variable, ever changing.  I would think that would
provide a certain base opportunity for entertainment that players
wouldn't consider to be 'work'.  Not that continuous functions are a
silver bullet at all, only that their dearth seems to be a symptom
of the current game formula, which is
a race for advancement.

JB

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