[MUD-Dev] Re: Black Snow Revisited

John Buehler johnbue at msn.com
Wed Apr 3 08:46:54 New Zealand Daylight Time 2002

T.H. Cooke writes:
> At 09:51 AM 4/2/2002 -0500, Tammie Gorzelsky wrote:

>> 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.

Just to set this 'detachment argument' to rest, any data can be
extracted and reused.  I don't care how arcane the data.  It can be
reused.  I don't care how arcane the format.  It can be reused.
This means that a character's data can be extracted from the game
and placed into another game and the character continues on there.
This is the same as somebody reverse-engineering Microsoft Word's
format.  If everyone could get their hands on their character's
data, it would open the door for a standard character format because
there would be games that would welcome characters from other games
- adding to the appeal of that new game.

Consider an even simpler example: a renderer.  I get my character
file from Mythic and turn it over to a third party that has
reverse-engineered the data so that they can produce a 3D raytraced
image of my character, which they then sell to me for a cost.  That
is reuse outside of the game and is predicated only on reverse
engineering of the character data.


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