[MUD-Dev] Re: Black Snow Revisited

John Buehler johnbue at msn.com
Mon Apr 8 22:49:55 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

T. H. Cooke writes:
> At 08:46 AM 4/3/2002 -0800, John Buehler wrote:

>> 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.

> Just because the data can be extracted and reused does not mean it
> retains the same meaning. For example, let's say that someone
> (say, Bob) does as you suggests, and reverse engineer's the save
> file of a DAoC character. He then creates another game, calls it
> maybe Semi-DAoC, that uses the same file format. Now characters
> can be imported from DAoC into SDAoC without a problem. Same
> character, different context. Is the meaning of the character the
> same?

I believe that's a non sequitor.  The point is that a game can be
created that DOES duplicate the apparent meaning of the original use
of the data.  As a result, the character is portable via its data.

> All I am arguing is that what we call a "character", or a "sword",
> or anything else in these games is more than just a collection of
> bits. There is also a socially constructed meaning behind them,
> which everyone understands (or comes to understand) within the
> context of the game. Remove that context, and the meaning is
> lost. Change that context, and the meaning also changes.

Sure, if we assume that 'the' context cannot be duplicated.  I'm
also including 'a' context that is entertaining to those involved.
All that I need is a context that the player is satisfied that his
character has been transported.  It need not be identical.

> An example: while a table is a table, a table in the dining room
> often carries different meaning from a table in the bedroom, or
> even a table in the kitchen.

Yes, but you're arguing about how many tables you can furnish the
head of a pin with.  Or something like that.  If I take my character
data out of EverQuest and drop it into another environment that
retains similar game rules and a similar graphical environment, the
players will consider that character to have been transported.  As a
purist, you could say that it's not actually transported, but the
non-purist gamers out there will be content.  De facto, it has been


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