[MUD-Dev] The audience is the medium. For now.

F. Randall Farmer randy.farmer at pobox.com
Sat May 18 12:47:56 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

John Szeder, on Saturday, May 04, 2002, said,

>   How many people have experimented with having a venue for
>   "Observers" in their game?

Over here! :-)
>   Has anyone really cottoned to the idea of enabling this more in
>   their games?

>   Why not introduce the concept of an audience into the game?

The Habitats all had an observer mode. We called it "ghost" mode,
and the process of becoming an avatar was called "deghosting."

It isn't really what you described (a observer-only account on an
interactive system) but it provided some interesting benefits.

You can read about the history of Habitat, and about ghosts in some
of the papers written by Chip Morningstar and myself here:


Without a doubt, having an always-available observer mode provided
the users a choice of personal engagement 'level' with a social
situation. Observer mode was _vital_ to the formation of group
performance and large scale in-world gaming (bingo, lottery, etc.)

I'm sure there are some folks who almost never "came down" out of
ghost mode, but participated "at a distance."

If you are interested in further discussion of Habitat ghosts, just
let me know. :-)


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