[MUD-dev] Fun in Games

John Buehler johnbue at msn.com
Thu May 2 01:17:34 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

Raph Koster writes:
> From: John Buehler
>> Raph Koster writes:

>> If you want an emotional response from your player, you better
>> damn well make sure that it is a positive one for your player.
>> Just yanking players' chains in an effort to get them whipped up
>> in emotional situations is not a healthy way to present
>> entertainment.

> Oops, you better return the money you paid for TITANIC.

That's pretty much what I'm hoping to avoid in the interactive, and
it is a reason that I rant about social responsibility.  The
interactive medium is more impactful than the purely 'impositional'
media, a statement that most would agree with.  Given the impact of
the imposition media, I'm a little scared of what capitalists will
do with the expressive ones.

>>  Are the> player characters in a concentration camp going to
>>  adhere to the> behavioral norms of a concentration camp?

> That would depend on the design, would it not?

Exactly the point of asking the question.  Is it acceptable to
design a concentration camp where the player characters go dancing
at night, despite the fact that they are burning more calories than
their meager diet permits and that they are only accelerating their
own demise.  It would seem to trivialize the entire notion of a
concentration camp.  Warping reality through 'art' is something that
an artist seems to take pride in, despite the fact that some of
these warpings have a net negative effect on society.

>> I'm working up my own design for a virtual environment, and it
>> involves fairly autonomous characters that the player only
>> directs, not controls.  I see that model as viable for what
>> you're pursuing because it ensures that the social context of the
>> characters remains intact.  And at the same time, the players
>> interact with each other as players, permitting player community
>> to build.  It's almost a step away from interactive movies, where
>> people in the theatre get to nudge characters to do this and
>> that, and the people in the theatre get to talk about what
>> they're witnessing.  That would seem a viable model for a
>> concentration camp or Colonial Williamsburg, rather than the
>> current model of direct control of every action taken by a
>> character.

> I usually use both those examples as examples of "impositional
> worlds" as opposed to "expressive worlds," cf

>    http://www.legendmud.org/raph/gaming/narrativeenvironments.html

> Short form: I agree with your approach.

Where does Star Wars Galaxies (?) fit on the spectrum of
impositional to expressive worlds?  Have you picked a sweet spot
that you would like to explore?  I'm rather more interested in a
midpoint between expression and imposition.  This permits the
players to actually cause things to happen (choose to fill a trade
order or not according to their own agenda), while maintaining the
social norms (politely declines the mayor's request for the trade
item, versus simply ignoring a peasant that he never liked anyway).
It seems that environments like the one I have in mind aren't
practical given today's technologies in artificial intelligence.


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