[MUD-Dev] Interesting things to do (was: Player Accounts on a Non-Commercial MUD)

John Buehler johnbue at msn.com
Fri May 3 08:13:49 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

Damion Schubert writes:
> From John Buehler

>> My opinion is that if players had something else interesting to
>> do, they wouldn't reverse engineer the systems so much.  Some
>> certainly would, but reverse engineering is a mainstream
>> occupation for players these days.  That's one way to get them to
>> *want* to do things other than reverse engineer your systems.

> Interesting assertion.  My experience has been quite the opposite:
> when you give players something interesting to do, the first thing
> they'll do is reverse engineer it so they can figure out how to
> most effectively and efficiently disassemble that system.  Call it
> cheating and rolebreaking, or call it strategy and tactics, but it
> is a fundamental part of MUDplayer nature.

Three thoughts:

  1. If you give players new content, they will experience that new
  content the way you intended for some period of time.  Then they
  will reverse engineer it because there is no longer value in just
  experiencing it - in games that are achievement oriented.  Some
  players will choose to pursue the revere engineering task
  immediately because that is a big reason why they play the game in
  the first place.  There is a notoriety in doing the reverse
  engineering first, more completely, etc.  This is the
  Inquisitiveness Factor.

  2. Give players a game which is not focused on achievement, such
  that doing something more efficiently gives you nothing in return.
  In fact, it will give you less.  It's like running through the
  National Museum of American History.  The more efficient you are,
  the less entertainment you find.  The reward for reverse
  engineering vanishes, and as a result, only those who actually
  enjoy reverse engineering for its own sake will do it.  I maintain
  that that is a much smaller number than the number of people who
  would like to just enjoy the experience that the game presents.

  3. Do people reverse engineer simulators?  They tend to be so
  involved and provide so little information about how they work
  that nobody wants to tackle the challenge of reverse engineering.
  I've talked about discrete versus continuous functions in the
  past, and I think it's another tool towards both providing
  entertainment as well as limiting the possibility of reverse
  engineering.  Oh, and this goes hand in hand with not lifting the
  hood and letting people see all the numbers that drive your game.
  Do that and you're inviting them to reverse engineer your systems.


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