[MUD-Dev] Continuous versus Discrete Functions

John Buehler johnbue at email.msn.com
Fri Dec 21 22:45:31 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

Raph Koster writes:
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: John Buehler

>>> 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?

> I am not sure you can without also removing all forms of
> feedback. People simply like to compare themselves to
> others. "Keeping up with the Joneses."  Yes, you can minimize it
> by removing many of the common design techniques, having more
> ladders to climb, trying to find ways to recognize every player
> for whatever special niche they occupy--but they'll find ways to
> compare themselves and form a pecking order.

I don't doubt that this phenomenon will remain intact to some
degree, and we can argue the degree forever I'm sure.  Can it be
reduced in the near future to the point of being a sidelight - such
that min/max fears and 'balance' are no longer a significant concern
of system designers?  Can designers cease fearing the use of
continuous functions, and to cease fearing the use of other
mechanics/mechanisms that 'give up control' to the players?  I ask
that completely independent of considering the issue of what players
can be or should be permitted to do with that control.  That was
recently tossed around on this list as I recall.


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