[MUD-Dev] Continuity of experience in movies

eric ericleaf at pacbell.net
Sat May 11 16:47:39 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

From: "Valerio Santinelli" <tanis at mediacom.it>
> From: "eric" <ericleaf at pacbell.net>

>> And as soon as the old idea of the gamemaster/wizard/dungeon
>> master being the active force in this is broken we may see some
>> innovation in this regard.  Thats actually why my interest in
>> muds was recently rekindled, working on that exact topic right
>> now.

> I do not see plots in MMOGs a problem per se. The real problem is
> providing the same quests to every player without breaking your
> world. What I mean is something that Ted L. Chen discussed in a
> previous post. If you're going to provide a plot that is related
> to an NPC being kidnapped, you cannot provide the same experience
> to every user. Let's call the NPC Mr. McDonald (thanks
> Ted!). There's only one such NPC. If he's been kidnapped, only
> certain players will go and investigate on the case. If another
> player wants to join in, that's fine. But you cannot repeat this
> same quest forever. It makes no sense.

> That's why GMs are needed to provide quests.

Not true. Who kidnapped Mr McDonald, and why? That is, what *is* the
story here. Was it orcs, to eat him? Or maybe King Ivris the Red to
force to devulge the floor plans of his enemy King Bulwark the
Blue's castle? If there is a motive, then removing the GM, and
letting players play orcs and Kings (or kidnappers) could reproduce
this "quest" in a dynamic way. As for the notification of said
event, if Mr McDonald was just a hermit living in the hills, its
likely no one would even notice the kidnapping, if its the town
sheriff and then you as a deputy will notice when Mr McDonald
doesn't show up for morning muster.

News travels differently depending on who it is interacting with, a
traveling ranger that stopped by the inn and heard the tale likely
wouldn't care and would be a dead end to the news. A local gossiping
wife would no doubt duplicate the news to many people.

In certain circumstances it could be an impossible quest, you notice
the mayor is missing, you track the clues as you can, but you come
up with no leads, poor Mr McDonald, worked in an orc mine for 3
years until a chance adventure stumbled into the mines and killed
the orc captors.

> This makes sense if you're aiming at continuity in your world. If
> you're not interested in having a life-breathing world, you can
> provide the same quest over and over for as long as you want (thus
> having it automated), but to people living there it would surely
> look old that every 2 hours Mr. McDonald gets kidnapped.

> I still do not have a clear idea about how to provide fully
> automated quests without being repetitive.

Remove the automation and there ya have it.

> But there sure will come a solution. The main problem I see is
> that the game has to maintain a sort of knowledge base of events
> happening in the world, and assign them a meaning. This way, based
> on data related to events, characters, NPCs, etc.. it should be
> able to make simple quests based on some guidelines provided by
> the implementors.  I am going to think more about possible
> solutions to this issue.

I don't think this is a problem. Players are more than able to pass
news all by themselves. They also have the ability to choose their
own feelings about a given subject. They can decide to take action
or not. And given the oppurtunity, players will play the roles of
hero and antagonist. That last statement was proven in the first age
of multiplayer online games (that is until the implementors banned

There is no other solution, you can't make any system to randomly
create interesting events in a world. And by interesting I mean in
the true sense of story, not what you currently see in games. We're
basically in the black&white silent movie stage of development in
gaming, despite the near realistic graphics.

I always face this question when I'm playing a game, or especially
an RPG.  This is me speaking: "Oh NPC Guldrag you lost your blue
key? Yeah? So what, go find it, are your legs broke?", "Hi NPC Dria,
no I won't deliever that message, and I think your are foolish for
offering that magic sword to do so. Sell the sword then hire a kid
to deliver the message and keep the other 90% of the gold.", "Hmm,
NPC Yrreth the Mage let me tell you what I'm thinking. I stab you
with this here sword, take your treasure map, find this
treasure. And then ride my horse down to Certilde and pawn it. As
for the tome of knowledge you want, I'll leave it there so you can
haunt it once you are dead."

Its like that supposed quote from Ford, "you can have any color that
you want, as long as its Black". Remove the word NPC from the above
and let all those be players and my responses could be used. As for
why a player would want you to deliver a message or find them a
magic tome, its likely they wouldn't without a more interesting

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