[MUD-dev] Fun in Games

Daniel.Harman at barclayscapital.com Daniel.Harman at barclayscapital.com
Mon Apr 29 10:45:05 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

From: Brandon J. Van Every [mailto:vanevery at 3DProgrammer.com]

> 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."

As a general rule I agree, but you've not given me any solution that
would apply in an online game. Your lunar lander analogy is very
similar to what Half Life did in its intro, and I think Battlezone 2
or 3 even did exactly what you are describing (including the mars
bit etc). It worked very well in those games, but in a single player
game, you have much finer control over the passage of time. I don't
see how you can do the lander thing in a MMOG.

I still don't see how you get people to care about the plight of the
dwarfs however. Sure you could be a little more evolved than current
games and make it directly impact the trade aspects of the game -
dwarfen armor+weapons could become extremely scarce and hard to keep
maintained. Thats just hitting players in the wallet however, they
still don't really care about the dwarfs.

Of course, maybe its not even a realistic goal, they are after all
just npcs. Will rational people ever really care about them? When I
watch Schindler's list, the people I sympathise with aren't the
characters in the film, its the thousands who suffered in the real

The fact that these games aren't reality is an important point.


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