[MUD-dev] Fun in Games

Brandon J. Van Every vanevery at 3DProgrammer.com
Fri Apr 26 18:32:19 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

Daniel.Harman at barclayscapital.com

> How can you relay the suffering of the dwarfs to the players, when
> you can't show them the events directly? Obtuse clues just don't
> cut it.

You *can* show the events directly.  You just have to abandon the
simulationist/realist unified 1st person perspective and go for
something more Cubist.  You have to do it at a pace that doesn't
impact badly on the player's sense of self-direction and
interactivity.  You can't just shout the story at them.  You might
make them enact aspects of the story.  This might mean dissolving
the player's unified role in a story, maybe he takes on many small
roles in order to illustrate to himself what his primary role is

For example, in the backstory of my "Ocean Mars" project, the
Russians arrive on Mars first in 1975.  It's just backstory, but it
does determine where the international Martian colony ends up.  So,
rather than just tell the player about this backstory, I'm toying
with them *playing* the backstory.  They'll take 10 seconds to
touchdown a "lunar lander" somewhere on the planet.  Then they get
on with whatever their actual faction/character is supposed to be
doing, i.e. they're not the Russians.  You could call it play, you
could call it configuration.  Anarchy Online has some configuration
elements at the beginning that resemble play, you move around to do
them, you hit weird buttons and so forth.

Just as the movies have a maxim "show, don't tell," probably games
need a maxim "play, don't show."

Cheers,                         www.3DProgrammer.com
Brandon Van Every               Seattle, WA

20% of the world is real.
80% is gobbledygook we make up inside our own heads.

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