[MUD-Dev] Continuous versus Discrete Functions

Caliban Tiresias Darklock caliban at darklock.com
Sun Dec 23 02:46:41 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001


----- Original Message -----
From: "John Buehler" <johnbue at email.msn.com>

> What I'm hearing is that current games, which are predicated on
> advancement, assign no real value to less-than-optimal outcomes,
> so producing a non-optimal result is a failure.

I don't think that's what he's saying.

Current PLAYERS assign no real value to suboptimal outcomes, and
real value to optimal outcomes.

Let's use an example. A series of six dwarves is guarding a gate on
some MUD somewhere. Each dwarf is carrying an axe (which sells for
three gold coins back in town) and two gold coins.

A low-level character wanders into the area, and knows that he can
manage to kill one of the dwarves without much difficulty. Maybe
two, if he's lucky.  For his trouble, he will get 5 or 10 gold coins
-- enough to cover his food and water for a day or three. But there
are six of them, so he attaches no value to the attack and wanders
off to find a room with just one dwarf in it. While the game
attaches real value to the suboptimal outcome of killing one or two
dwarves, the player does not attach any value to it.

A high-level character wanders into the area, and can slaughter the
dwarves easily. The resulting six axes will be rather a nuisance to
carry and sell, and the twelve gold coins are barely a crumb to the
millions he carries around... but he can kill them all, so chances
are he's going to. The value attached to it by the game engine is
miniscule,. not even enough to be called trivial -- but the player
attaches value to the optimal result of killing everything in the
room, nonetheless. He may even pick up the treasure for the
exclusive purpose of destroying it, just so he won't leave anything
behind.

Essentially, it's all or nothing. If you can't do everything, don't
do anything.

This is also a large part of what's wrong with the commercial
software industry.


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