[MUD-Dev] Re: Black Snow Revisited

holding99 at mindspring.com holding99 at mindspring.com
Tue Apr 2 22:00:48 New Zealand Daylight Time 2002

At 09:51 AM 4/2/2002 -0500, Tammie Gorzelsky wrote:
>At 08:16 PM 3/31/2002 -0800, Brad McQuaid wrote:

Actually, this quote is from me, not Brad McQuaid.

>> However, game pieces in online games are intrinsically entangled
>> in the game, and cannot be separated. My character, and all of
>> his "stuff", not only doesn't exist outside of the game, but
>> CAN'T exist outside of the game. Fir this reason, it will be
>> considered part of the game for legal purposes. Remember, it's
>> not the perceptions of those who are associated with online games
>> which matter in a court of law; it's the perception of the
>> judge(s) (and any associated jury), almost all of whom are not
>> online game designers, and are not online game players.

> I believe that this is an incorrect assumption. Take this example:
> You have an ancient piece of rock that has some hieroglyphics on
> it.  You do not read hieroglyphics, yet you have the rock. Does
> this mean the rock does not exist?

> Just because you may not be able to interpret the raw data that
> makes up the character on the server, does not mean it cannot
> exist outside of the game.

I would beg to differ. Hieroglyphics on a rock can be copied to a
piece of paper, or even read and converted to speech (even if I
can't do it, there may be now or at some point in the future someone
who can). Theoretically, they are detachable from the rock, and even
when detached from the rock still contain the same meaning. (That's
why often archeologists work from photographs or rubbings of such
things; it is assumed that the transfer of medium does not affect
the message.)

In contrast, the data of game pieces, such as characters and the
objects they manipulate, ONLY have meaning when considered in the
context of the game. For example, if I really really wanted to, I
could write down all of the information for a specific item,
including all of it's stats and descriptions. But without the rest
of the game world, that item no longer means the same thing. In
losing its context, it's lost the meaning it once had. IMO, that's
what motivates some of the comments about putting the data on a disk
and sending it to the complainers. Without the game world, the data
is effectively useless for the purposes to which it had been put.

T.H. Cooke

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