[MUD-Dev] [DGN] MUD developer's motives

Dave Rickey daver at mythicentertainment.com
Thu Apr 11 10:11:30 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

From: Brandon J. Van Every <vanevery at 3DProgrammer.com>

> I am curious why some of you are motivated to create MUDs, as
> developers.  I'm not interested in why *players* play MUDs.
> Personally I feel the divisions between pkers, power gamers,
> socialites, role players, and builders is well trodden ground.
> I've had those discussions to death 8 years ago.  I'm more
> interested in why some of you keep going as MUD developers, what
> drives you, what continues to inspire you.

Ever been God?  At the core, beyond all the rationalizations, that's
why I do it.  I can point to the mountain and say "Move", and *ZAP*,
it's gone.
> No new trail for humanity is being blazed, hence no cause for
> alarm.  And even if it was, why react with alarm?

Social engineering has never been an experimental science before.
We create worlds, and those worlds become the centers of societies,
and the nature and limits of those worlds shape the resulting
> So why do these particular MUD developers stridently participate
> in the imagined and projected social consequences of their
> actions?  Is it a form of social activism, much like rock stars
> trying to save the world?  Is it a fascination with systems of
> social engineering, as opposed to fascination with systems of game
> mechanics?  Is it a fear of losing control, and a mistaken belief
> that we can actually do a lot to affect online social evolution?
> I do not believe that life gives you the control over it that you
> might like.  I accept a certain loss of control in order to keep
> breathing.  Yet, where these developers' comments led, I was
> wondering if they'd go so far as to legislate online behavior.  I
> saw many parallels to debates about sexual harassment in the
> workplace.

Legislate online behaviour?  We can go a lot farther than any chief
of state or legislature, we *can* sweep back the tide.  King
Canute's bureaucrats weren't wrong, just premature by a few

Anyway, real-world social rules have grown centered around certain
rules known as the laws of physics.  Only so much food, only so much
living space, only so many potential breeding partners, etc.  The
virtual worlds do not have to obey those rules, in fact they violate
them routinely.  As a result, there is at least the *potential* for
creating societies that go beyond anything possible in the real
world.  It's the doctrine of human perfectability, re-written for a
digital age.

> Bottom line: what are you trying to get done by building MUDs?

Create a form of Utopia.  Do God one better.  Yes, that's a very
hubristic thing to say, and in the short term (say, the duration of
my lifetime) I don't actually expect to succeed, but that's the


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